Colossians Module 2

2:1 Intro   people in context

Last time we met 14 people and noticed behaviour patterns    

next we want to examine context or circumstance (around)(stand)

 

Apart from places ‘Colossae’ ‘Laodacia’ there is minimal Geographic reference

As for ‘Date’ It is just possible with some detective work to calculate when it was written.

There is not much detail on those departments in the book itself

Lets assume that the writer had other things on his mind

 

There is a clear moral context, with God defining a ‘good’ way to behave in His eyes

There is a clear social context, relationships, gender, family and employment

There is a clear spiritual context, a clear connection between Spiritual Awareness and Physical Behaviour

 

Timeless, universal issues are confronted  -  recall the Kilim woman’s story last time that spoke our language

 

Urging a glorious synchromesh of dynamic spiritual life,  . . . . with work, parenting, sex and social skills.

Thats for the 14, and us

aside from different currency, fashion, technology etc  . . . . our deep needs match

Thats for the 14 , and us

 

Colossians - is about nurture, hear Paul urging the Colossians to safe nurture zones

warning them about predators and behaviour in the danger zones

. . and how he admits to a struggle as he nurtures in these classic circumstances

We have Four Zones:     1 bad, the danger place to recognize,  2.good, the nurture place

3 personal place , where Paul was 4 projected zone, for the reader

 

2:2 Danger Zone 

Always, everywhere human behaviour is  the same or very similar

. . and power mongers, attitudes to sex, labour and luxury multiply 

 

ch 3 is devoted to the newly reborn believer demonstrating this by changed behaviour

3:1-4  . . you were there, now reposition yourself here. 

Set your sights on a new place 

finite, earthbound targets are abandoned - we turn to better promises, better objectives

 

The beautiful world God created is now tenanted by a rebellious anti God populous 

We are to create a space in which to live out our new life with minimum contamination

 

In life we do enjoy something called ‘Common Grace’  residual ‘goodness’ - law and order - care and beauty

 

Paul describes key aspects of the human condition that are endemic   (for us to abandon)

The danger zone breeds the stuff of v 5 - 9    

v5 about accumulation - about wanting and having  . . sexual immorality, lust, evil desire, control and greed       

v8 about intent to harm others . . . . .  anger, rage, malice, slander and filthy language 

 

These two are the pillars of the modern world in some form or other

 

Paul is concerned to flag up these extreme dangers that are concealed in all of Adams children

The visible traits of the enemies of Christ

We are to recognize them as such

 

Their venom is apparent  . . . . here is danger

The world we inhabit is the universal Context of Colossians

 

2:3 Nurture Zone

Now, Paul is excited   -     thinking of Onesimus, Nymphia, Archippus and Apphia in Colossae’s nurture zone

despite rampant contamination 1:6  says - All over the world the gospel is bearing fruit and growing

Within the world of darkness 1:13   Micro climates of nurture are flourishing!!

Zones where people or groups of people are defining an alternative way of living

 

How we ask will this be?    Can this really be me?

Yep,    Redemption,   a Big Change see ch1 v13 

For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,

A change of circumstance - we are moved into the nurture zone

see ch1 v21-22

Once you werealienatedfrom God and were enemies in your mindsbecause of your evil behaviour.

Note the place of responsibility

But now he hasreconciledyou by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation

 

with the ALL important

if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. 

 

Paul’s enthusiasm flows through ch 1 listing the features of this Nurture Zone

read ch1: 7-12  as  He prays this gospel development for them having learnt from a faithful minister of Christ

  1. to develop a mutual love  v8               reciprocal with all believers        
  2. filled with spiritual wisdom & understanding  v9  believing , not skittish and bonkers
  3. live a life worthy of the Lord - bearing fruit in every good work  v10   Nurture and share with all
  4. with His glorious might have endurance and patience   v11     equipped for the long haul of service

Given both Purpose and Power to be different

 

2:4 Struggle Zone

The Blue Tit may have the nice safe nesting box - but that is the beginning of the work (not rest)

AND to gather nest & food resources our little bird enters the ‘greed and malice’ world

its all work and danger

Colossians is ALL about THIS - application to the work - awareness of the danger

These are the crucial zones of action,  this the context of the text,  in this light understand the words

 

Not surprisingly our author/prisoner is under pressure  see ch2 v1 ‘I am struggling for you’

I so want you to respond, pick up. He knows the danger of the ‘blank christian’.  

We are to work at faith, it will be a struggle   -    but we have purpose and power on demand

 

Jesus Christ battled when in this finite world, tempted and tested like us - He knows all about it

We and Paul will battle against the tide, we row against the wind.

ch1:24  Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church

Paul: happy to muck in and endure the flack put up by the enemy -again this is the context of everyday belief

 

 Ch 3 1-4 set you minds on things above (nurture zone things) not dreaming airy fairy stuff 

Then v5 Horror - put to death all danger zone material that remains in your new nurture zone status

(when moving house you alway bring stuff you were unable to dump  . . . but kept concealed)  

Back to 1:21 

Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behaviour.

Its bite the bullet ‘dump’ time

Its remaining malice/greed stuff,   vacillation, like it-dump it>like it-kill>it like it-want it> like it-KILL IT

This is our struggle - it is TOXIC - it has NO place in the nurture Zone

We have the power to act when Christ is in on the act

 

2:5 Home Zone

We can easily see why Paul called people in Colossae fellow-workers, fellow-servants, fellow soldiers

Its the nature of the game 

v21 again  . . .Once you were alienated  distant, (because of behaviour: evil i.e. grasping and malicious) 

Now He has reconciled you through Calavary to be holy in His sight

free from accusation

 

we are talking distinct zones

If Ruth clears and cleans my desk I know it

As we hear the word of God - He works in us - we are unsettled - feeling the power of the gospel at work

Naturally then  . . . . . .if you continue in your faith, steadfast

 

Or the words are distant, faint.  we are content with life as is - we not interested in a spiritual struggle

 

The context of urgency in Colossians is clear

Are you indifferent to Christ and being presented holy is His sight -  or remote tomorrow - careless

 

 

Or does it gnaw at your conscience    nag at you again and again

Yay! Happy person - Gods Spirit works in you! 

Do not neglect it, listen, nurture it!   Confess and abandon evil behaviour - Seek forgiveness - 

All over the world the Gospel is bearing fruit . the same Gospel that has come to you.

 

Be sure

These contextual zones today are identical to when these words were written

Set your heart on things above

If ever there was a time to act it is now -  embrace the beautiful holy Christ and find peace and joy