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
- to develop a mutual love v8 reciprocal with all believers
- filled with spiritual wisdom & understanding v9 believing , not skittish and bonkers
- live a life worthy of the Lord - bearing fruit in every good work v10 Nurture and share with all
- 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.
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