Colossians was written during Paul’s imprisonment, but the letter does not tell us where he is imprisoned. Paul wrote to the church in Colosse in response to the disturbing news about the presence of heretical teaching being taught and threatening the well-life of the church.
Paul’s reason for writing Colossians was threefold:
Regarding the heresy a dangerous position making its way into the Colossian church was the devaluation of the person of Jesus Christ. To those holding to and teaching this heresy, Jesus Christ was not the victorious Savior to whom all authority in heaven and on earth had been committed. To them he was only one of many spirit beings who spanned the space between God and men.
So, in response to the heresy Paul writes to the Colossians to proclaim the ultimate supremacy and sole sufficiency of Jesus Christ. It is essentially Paul’s full thesis on Jesus Christ. Today we are going to look at some of his teaching that refutes the widespread heresy in Colosse.
Colossians 1:13 - 23
Vs. 13: “For He has Rescued us from the kingdom of darkness”. The word rescued is from a Greek word that means to liberate, save, or deliver someone from something or someone. Jesus has delivered or saved us from eternal damnation. Before any of us became a Christ follower we were at enmity with or an enemy of God… We were bound for hell. But Paul tells us in verse 13 that Jesus intervened, and he rescued us from eternal damnation through his willing sacrifice on the cross.
He transferred or removed from one place and put into another those who believe in faith. This transfer meant that when you believed you were plucked from the shackles of death, sin, and brokenness and placed into the glory of God’s presence, His Kingdom and placed under the rule and dominion of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
Kingdom of his dear Son – According to John MacArthur in his commentary on Acts, “The Father gives the kingdom to the Son He loves, then to everyone who loves the Son.” This kingdom is the royal power granted or given to all who believe in Christ.
Vs 14: In Christ we have redemption which leads to forgiveness.
Redemption – Liberation or being redeemed. Redemption is a term that speaks of a release brought about by the payment of a price The ransom payment or price was paid on the cross of Calvary. Christ took our debt of sin that we could not pay and paid the ultimate price so we can receive salvation to any who believe faith. This redemption leads to forgiveness. When we are redeemed we are pardoned from sin and by faith we are released from its bondage. God no longer sees the sin we lived in, for in Christ He has thrown our sins as far as the east is to the west and remembers them no more.
The Supremacy of Jesus Christ.
Vs 15: In this verse Paul acknowledges the heresy being spread and puts it to rest by declaring the supremacy of Jesus Christ. He writes, “He is he image of the invisible God” Jesus Christ is God in human flesh. He is the true representation and replica, if you will, of God Almighty. In Jesus Christ, the invisible God has become visible. If we want to know the father, then we must look at the son. John 10:30 says, “I and the father are one.” There is no distinction between the two.
Vs 16: In Christ all things were created by Him (He is the Creator). Everything in Heaven and earth was created by Him. He is the Lord of all creation. In Christ all things were created in Him and for Him (God). All of creation was created for His purpose and His glory.
Vs 17: He is before all things and in Him all things are held together. Jesus is eternal and he is not only the author of all creation, but he is the sustainer as well.
Vs 18 -19: Jesus is the head of the Church. To be head of the church is to be sovereign or supreme. In the ancient to modern church, the pastor, the Deacons, Trustees, church council, not even the congregation are the ultimate authority. Preeminent – Hold first place. IN EVERYTHING Jesus must hold first place in our lives and Church. We need to affirm the headship of Christ as our authority. Therefore, prayer is a vital aspect of Church life. If we want to know the direction our church should be heading, it is important that we find out what the “boss” wants us to do. This includes every aspect of the body from the music we play, the sermons I preach and the future of our congregation. Christ is the head of the Church, and He is also the head of the believer’s life as well. We are subject to him.
Vs 20: It pleased the Father to reconcile us to Him. He enjoys restoring fellowship with Him. In our redemption we are forgiven and restored to proper fellowship with God Almighty. This includes all of creation.
The only way we may be brought back to proper standing with the Father is through the blood of Jesus Christ. He has made peace with us through the shed blood of Jesus Christ.
Vs 21: B.C. Before Christ we were enemies of God and were shut from his intimacy and fellowship. We were hostile toward God because of the sin in our lives.
Vs 22: Reconciled and presented holy in His sight, perfect and without guilt. Christians we need to start living this and believing it. We are Holy in God’s sight, we are without blemish, and we stand innocent before Him, NOT because of who we are or what we have done but because of what Christ has done. He has reconciled us through his blood, and we are now his children
Vs 23: IF you continue in your faith, if you have been reconciled to God then live like it. Our works are not the reason we are saved, they are the evidence of our redemption.
Many people have become followers of Jesus by responding to an altar call given at church, camp, or a conference. I have seen numerous people go forward and experience some intense emotion but soon (usually a couple of days) find themselves slowly going back to their old habits and sinful lifestyle. A lot of people have the misconception that all they need to do is go forward for an altar call and they become a Christian. Unfortunately for many it is all too common that it is just an intense emotional response that rarely makes an impact in someone’s life.
The NLT says, “You must continue to believe this truth (the Gospel message) and stand firmly in it.” Paul warns the believer to not “drift away”. Drifting from God is a subtle thing. Mostly when people drift away they don’t even realize they have. Have you ever been to the beach and seen a person floating on a raft or boat? The person starts out near the shoreline and may fall asleep or isn’t paying attention and eventually finds himself a good distant from the shoreline… sometimes dangerously far away. This person drifted away, and he may not have even realized it at the time. This happens to so many Christians. We make the commitment to Christ and just float around in the world, trying to fit in and not having a care about anything. We begin to neglect our relationship with Christ and start spending more time in the world and less time with Christ and eventually we find ourselves so far away from Him we no longer have a relationship with Him. It’s a subtle and sad thing, but it happens all the time. The subtlety of drifting is dangerous, and this is why Paul tells us to stand firmly in the message of Christ.
If you are truly reconciled, you will remain in the faith. This does not mean that you have permission to live however you want because you are saved. Nowhere in the Bible does it give anyone permission to live however they want because they are saved and cannot lose their salvation.
However, if we are truly reconciled to God, our lives will be changed forever. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” When you are saved your life will change. I believe this means more than you won’t swear as much, or you will cut back on drinking, or you will become a better father. It is true those things will be a result, but the true change happens in your heart. You will begin to desire the true spiritual things. You will become more than a better person; you will become a man or woman who is completely submitted to God. You will begin to understand what it means to “take up your cross and follow me”, you will know and experience what it means to love your neighbor as yourself and how to show true forgiveness. Your life will be turned upside down. People won’t recognize you because you are now a new creation in Christ.
So, what is the purpose of this message? Let me tie it all together for you so you will leave with an undisputed understanding of what the core of Christianity is. For this believer the following is true for you to the unbeliever this is what God’s plan of redemption is for you…
 Curtis Vaughan, “Colossians,” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Ephesians through Philemon, ed. Frank E. Gaebelein, vol. 11 (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1981), 180.
Jeff has been in ministry for well over two decades. He currently serves as Campus Pastor at West Bradenton Baptist Southside Campus in Bradenton, Florida.
Jeff Has authored an Advent Devotional (The Advent of Jesus) and a devotional on the book of James (James: Where Faith and Life Meet). Both are available on Amazon.
He is married to Carrie and they have four children, Micaiah, Gabe, Simon, and Berea.
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