Back at it…

School has started! It is has been a good, busy and fruitful summer of youth ministry and family travels. During our summer season at Chisholm Trail we take a break from regular teen and adult classes and invite a speaker in for several weeks of a theme based series.

We started meeting with the teens on Monday nights a few weeks back. We began recently a walk through the Book of Colossians. Here are my study notes I use with our teens for our Monday night Bible studies:

Introduction to Colossians

  • Video of Paul prison’s letters
  • Colossians written by the apostle Paul mid/late first century
    • Written while in prison
      • Prison was captive audience!
  • Paul didn’t actually found the church of Colossians
  • Spent considerable time in Ephesus in the 50’s
    • Came into contact with Ephraphas, and the he took the gospel there to Colosse
  • Who is Paul?
    • An apostle
    • A former Jewish Pharisee
    • Persecutor of the church
    • Change by his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9)
    • Missionary over the Mediterranean world
      • As such, Paul took the story of Jesus in breaking kingdom into the world all over the world
  • Go ahead and turn to Colossians 1
    • Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To God’s holy people in Colossae, the faithful brothers and sisters in Christ:
      Grace and peace to you from God our Father
      . (Colossians 1:1, 2 NIV)
    • Even though he doesn’t Start the church there, he writes to them because they are within his sphere of influence
    • Paul is an apostle, sent one, special servant of Christ
      • He refers to them as Gods holy people, and as faithful brothers and sisters in Christ
      • Extends grace and peace to them
        • More than words: grace is God’s free gift, a new life in and through Christ
        • Peace: shalom, whole ness and holiness and relational with God
  • Colossians 1:3-14
  • We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people— the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel that has come to you. In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world—just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace. You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf, and who also told us of your love in the Spirit. (Colossians 1:3-8 NIV)
    • As usually typical in Paul’s letters the thanksgiving section provides clues about Paul’s main concerns
    • Colosse had problems, but as he opens the letter he doesn’t confront them directly, he first gives thanks for their faith and love (1:5) and hope that comes from heaven?
      • Let me ask you: how is the gospel a story of hope? How is it a story of hope to you?
    • what does Paul mean that the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throuout the whole world?
      • Does the gospel continue to bear fruit today?
    • The Colossians learnd the story of Jesus’ coming to the world and the new life offered through his death, burial and resurrects from Ephraphas
      • Who has taught you the story of Jesus?
      • Ephraphas had ongoing relationship with them, it is important to know that those who we respect As teachers are also our fellow brother and or sisters.
  • For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:9-14 NIV)
    • Paul opens v. 9 letting them know that from the first day they have heard about their faith they have not stopped praying for them
    • How do you think this church would have felt knowing that Paul and those he ministered with we’re praying for them?
    • What does Paul pray for them about? Check v. 10-13
      • Paul prays specifically for them to be filled with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the spirit gives
      • There is an attack of the knowledge creeping in the church
      • This knowledge is influenced by the pagan world that the Colossians lived in
        • false forms of spirituality
      • Why is what we know important? How does what we let in our minds affect the way we live?
    • This knowledge of God’s will is given by the spirit so that we live a life that reflect the story of Jesus ( to live a life worthy of the Lord and pleas him)
      • We are to be people who are bearing fruit– doing good in the world because we are the continuation of Gods work in the world (judges 6)
    • Living a life worthy of the Lord
      • We are strengthened by God, he gives us our staying power, a life of giving thanks (it would seem gratitude is one of the ways that we a strengthened)
      • When our minds are focused on God’s in breaking kingdoms into our world, and his rescue of lost and fallen humanity, how can we not feel gratitude that God would go to such great links to rescue us)
  • Colossians 1:15-23
  • The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant. (Colossians 1:15-23 NIV)
    • Apparently one of the issues that the church was having was there was a problem with size of Jesus
    • Paul demonstrates the superiority of Christ over all other spiritual forces* (notes from the Transforming Word Commentary of theBible, ACU press,974)
    • He does first by showing Christ first as creator of all things (1:15-17)*
    • Some scholars see this section as an early christian hymn that p-dates Paul*
    • Paul asserts that Christ is superior to thrones, powers, rulers, and authorities *
    • all of God’s fullness dwells in him, and by his death and resurrection he reconciles all things to the Father*
      • Importance of the cross
  • Colossians 1:24-29
  • 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. I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness— the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me. (Colossians 1:24-29 NIV)
    • 1:24-25, notice that he says he rejoices in what he is suffering for them and he fills up in his flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body which is the church
    • Scholars have a tough time with this passage figuring out precisely trying to discern what Paul  is getting out
      • Remember that Paul is prison, up to this point his work for the Lord has been  full of suffering
      • Maybe at what Paul is getting at that the Colossians weren’t cross- shaped yet, Paul was laying his neck on the line to teach them cruciform way
    • Secret knowledge was being promoted in Colosse, Paul says that he has revealed this special knowledge to the Gentiles, Christ in you, the hope of Glory
      • all through the OT and in pagan religions there was a desire to be in the presence of the divine
      • In the OT in the Greek and roman mythology god and the gods had come near. It is the desire of Yahweh to live with his people, the temple only foreshadowed what God truly desired from the beginning
        • To dwell inside of us
        • What does Christ living inside of us mean?
        • We are portable mobile holy places of God
        • The temple was only for the Jews, what Paul is getting out at is that both Jews and Gentiles can be the place were Gods new work in the world in and through Jesus resides — inside of us

About Jason Retherford

The random musings of a youth minister.
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