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Colossians 4





And just like that, we come to the end of this book.  Before we actually look at the chapter, it is important to remember that the chapter and verse designations were put into the Bible long after it was written.  In other words, Paul didn’t write with chapter breaks and numbered verses when he wrote his letters.  He just wrote letters like we do.

It was not until later that translators began to add chapters and verses.  Part of the genius of that is it helps us find particular passages of Scripture more readily and it helps groups of people get to a common place in the Bible.  But it is important to remember that the chapter and verse designations are not inspired and they certainly aren’t infallible.  In fact, there are a few occasions where it seems like a chapter break could have been better placed.

That is the case with the beginning of chapter four.  The first verse seems to fit much with better with the end of chapter three than it does the content of chapter four.  The first verse is still dealing with how the peace of God should impact our most important relationships.  From our context, this one deald with the relationship between the employer/supervisor and the employee.

The employer/supervisor is given a couple things to do. Be just.  Be fair.  Be just might be understood as do the right thing.  Be fair might be understood is be right with the folks who work for you.  The motivation for this is we all have a Master in heaven.

From there Paul goes on to talk about prayer.  The first part of the verse alludes to the importance of praying for ourselves.  Paul prayed for himself.  Jesus even prayed for Himself.  So, we should pray for ourselves.  In verse 3, however, the object changes.  Now Paul is asking them to pray for him.  By the way, as far as I know Jesus never asked anyone to pray for Him.  But Paul asked for prayer and so should we. 

In verse 5, the topic again turns a bit.  Paul is concerned about our lifestyles and in verse 6 our speech.  Basically he is challenging us to make sure that how we live and how we speak has a positive impact on people.  Our lifestyle and our communication should help more than they hurt.  Our lifestyles and speech are the vital basis of our testimony. 

From there Paul begins a short list of folks that are important to him and to the work he is doing.  How cool would it be to have your name immortalized in a good way in Scripture?  Paul being the humble leader that he was always seems to save space to make sure others get the attention they deserved.  We would do well to emulate that.  It is important that we make sure others know about the people who have been such a help to us.

The letter ends with Paul reminding the Colossians that after they have read this letter to send it to the church at Laodicea.  And they should read the letter that was sent to Laodicea.  Finally, Paul signs off with grace.

Colossians 3





This chapter begins with an important positional statement.  Paul is writing to those who have been raised with Christ.  This is not a reference to a physical resurrection (although that is to come). It is instead a reference to a spiritual resurrection. 

In verse 3, we are reminded that at salvation we died with Christ.  Again this is not a physical death but a spiritual one.  We died to ourselves when we were saved.  Part of what happened when that death occurred is we were hidden in Christ.  But notice it is our life that is hidden in Christ.  There is a great paradox here.  We “died” but our “life” is hidden in Christ.  Among other things that should tell us that our “life” as a Christian is not our “life” at all.  It is instead a life that is given to us and found only in Christ.  In fact, verse 4 says Jesus is our life.  So, as Christ followers we are hidden in Him.

But it doesn’t stop there.  Verse 4 also reminds of us the promise of resurrection.  When Jesus appears on this earth again, Christ followers will appear with Him.

All of this speaks to our position in Christ.  We should always be mindful of the fact that our position in Christ always leads to our practice.  Part of our practice as Christ followers is we should kill off some stuff that is characteristic of the unredeemed life (verse 5) and we are to put away some attitudes that are characteristic of the unredeemed life (verses 6-7).  As Christ followers, none of us is immune from any of that.  So we must consciously and consistently make decisions not to let those things be present in us.

Verse 9 sums this up. We are to put off the old self.  But we must also put on the new self.  Think of this in terms of clothes.  Imagine wearing some filthy, tattered, ruined clothes.  Imagine being offered new, clean, pristine clothes. No one would put the new clothes on over the old clothes.  We would all take off the old clothes first.  Because any analogy will eventually break down, don’t chase this too far.  But remember that as Christ followers, we have a responsibility to take the old stuff out of our lives and replace it with the things of Jesus.

Part of what we are to put on is found in verses 12-17.  As you look over that list, slow down a little in verse 15. 

The peace of God is to rule in our hearts.  That word rule is the source of our word umpire.  In other words, we are to let the peace of God be our decision maker.  If we do that stuff of the old life, our peace with God will be interrupted.  If we do the things of the new life, our peace with God will be deepened.  We should let that be the determining factor in what we do, how we act, what our attitudes are, etc.

Doing that has a most important impact on our most important relationships.  In verses 18-19, it affects our marriage relationships.  In verses 20-21, it impacts our parent/child relationships.  In verse 22, it should influence our work relationships. 

All of that culminates in verse 23 with an amazing statement.  Whatever we do, we should do to the best of our ability as though we were doing it for Jesus and not for anyone else.  Now that is an interesting motivation for our everyday lives.

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