1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,
2 To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are in Colosse: grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,
4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints;
5 because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel,
6 which has come to you, as it has also in all the world, and is bringing forth fruit, as it is also among you since the day you heard and knew the grace of God in truth;
7 as you also learned from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf,
8 who also declared to us your love in the Spirit.
The city of Colossae was located in south-central Asia (present-day Turkey) in the Roman province of Lycia, just a few miles south and west of Laodicea, one of the seven churches of Revelation addressed by the apostle John.
This letter is interesting as it seems to indicate that Paul had never visited this church during his travels, and it appears as if Paul was still imprisoned in Rome when it was written. While imprisoned at Rome awaiting trial before Nero Caesar to answer to the false charges brought against him by the corrupt High Priest, scribes and elders from Jerusalem, Paul frequently sent trusted disciples to the various churches seeking to know their welfare and passing along instructions and teachings.
It is thought that this letter was written between 55-60 A.D.
9 For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;
10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;
11 strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy;
12 giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.
13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love,
14 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.
Again Paul seems to indicate that he has never visited this church before, but is lending his known authority as a hand-picked apostle chosen by Jesus Himself to put his stamp of approval to what they had been taught by Epaphras and others, confirming their hope and faith.
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.
17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.
18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.
19 For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell,
20 and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.
Paul affirms the preeminence and Heavenly authority of Jesus as the Creator of all things, indicating that as Master of all Creation, He controls all things and that nothing happens without His permission and intent. And as no one has seen or can see the Father, Jesus, as the ONLYintermediary between God and Man, and being God Himself, is the visible representation of the Father.
Paul apparently assumes that the Colossian church is fully aware of the fundamentals of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus and the reasons for it having happened, as he skims over the issue hitting the high points but not going into detail.
21 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled
22 in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight--
23 if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.
Paul warns the Colossians to remain faithful and be diligent in the faith in order to be clean in Jesus' sight and to remain steadfast against anything or anyone who might try to lead them astray, continuing his warnings about false teachings and teachers.
24 I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church,
25 of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God,
26 the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints.
27 To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
28 Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.
29 To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily.
Paul reminds them that he has been appointed by Jesus to defend the Churches before Caesar, both as an example of how suffering for Jesus purifies our faith and to show how Satan and his servants in the world hate us.
By Paul appearing before Caesar, he could show Nero that Christians were no threat to Roman authority, thereby perhaps lessening the persecutions of Christians throughout the Empire, and fulfilling Jesus' promise that we would be brought before ruling authorities for His sake for testimony to them, and against them.
1 For I want you to know what a great conflict I have for you and those in Laodicea, and
for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh,
2 that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ,
3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
4 Now this I say lest anyone should deceive you with persuasive words.
5 For though I am absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ.
6 As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,
7 rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.
8 Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.
9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily;
10 and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.
Paul is anguished that he cannot personally visit both Colossae and Laodicea to ensure that errors have not crept into the churches, and with good reason. There were several heretical doctrines sweeping the Greco-Roman world at the time, and three of the primary ones were;
EPICUREANS: This philosophy believed in attaining happiness through indulgence in luxurious, sensual pleasures (although in moderation) and deliverance from fear through study of science and the natural world. Basically a light form of hedonism.
STOICS: This philosophy teaches that all strong emotions (anger, jealousy, lust, greed, love, etc.) were the results of faulty judgments of the person feeling them and the ultimate goal was to rid oneself of these emotions. The true sage, it was thought, attained peace and happiness when all strong emotion was suppressed.
Paul had numerous run-ins with these two groups as shown below;
16 Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him when he saw that the city was given over to idols.
17 Therefore he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and with the Gentile worshipers, and in the marketplace daily with those who happened to be there.
18 Then certain Epicurean and Stoic philosophers encountered him. And some said, "What does this babbler want to say?" Others said, "He seems to be a proclaimer of foreign gods," because he preached to them Jesus and the resurrection.
NICOLAITANS: This group was mentioned by God several times in the Book of Revelation as a doctrine that He hated. This Christian heresy taught that the flesh is inherently evil but the spirit can remain pure through Jesus. Therefore these people could indulge in any sinful desire they wished while the spirit could remain pure. Another view was that while ritual sex (with cult prostitutes) was forbidden by the Law of Moses, Jesus having freed us from the Law removed that prohibition.
Finally, there were false teachers who preached that Gentile Christians had to follow the Law of Moses in order to be saved, an issue which had been settled early on;
5 But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.
6 And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter.
The Law had been created by God for the Jews, although if Gentiles wanted to worship God they had to at least be circumcised at which point they were to be accepted as one born in the land.
48 And when a stranger dwells with you and wants to keep the Passover to the Lord, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as a native of the land. For no uncircumcised person shall eat it.
49 One law shall be for the native-born and for the stranger who dwells among you."
6 "Also the sons of the foreigner who join themselves to the Lord, to serve Him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be His servants-- everyone who keeps from defiling the Sabbath, and holds fast My covenant--
7 Even them I will bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on My altar; for My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations."
When Jesus fulfilled the Law through His death and resurrection there was no need for anyone to keep the Law of Moses, therefore the Gentiles were no longer required to keep the Law, as James, Jesus' physical brother, the head of the Jerusalem Church, (not Peter) determined. Therefore they had sent a letter to the Gentile believers saying;
24 Since we have heard that some who went out from us have troubled you with words, unsettling your souls, saying, "You must be circumcised and keep the law" --to whom we gave no such commandment--
25 it seemed good to us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,
26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
27 We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who will also report the same things by word of mouth.
28 For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things:
29 that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell.
Stoicism, Epicureanism, Nicolaitanism, obslete Judaism - These are only some of the corrupt Satanic philosophies that Paul was worried were corrupting the churches.
11 In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ,
12 buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.
13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses,
14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.
15 Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.
One of the biggest lies that the contemporary Jews had against Paul was that he forbid circumcision, something he did not do. As he said above, we are all circumcised in spirit with the cutting away of the spirit from the flesh, a circumcision "made without hands" in giving our spirit dominion over the flesh.
The physical rite of circumcision required in the Law of Moses was a physical symbol of the spiritual circumcision to come, just as most of the commandments of the Law were designed to do. But the Jews of Paul's time were blinded to the spiritual aspects of the Law and it continues even today in fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies of Isaiah and king David, as quoted by Paul:
8 Just as it is written: "God has given them a spirit of stupor, eyes that they should not see and ears that they should not hear, to this very day.
9 And David says: "Let their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a recompense to them.
10 Let their eyes be darkened, so that they do not see, and bow down their back always."
The willful stubbornness and spiritual blindness of the Jews caused Isaiah to prophesy concerning Jesus as the Messiah;
14 He will be as a sanctuary, but a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense to both the houses of Israel, as a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
15 And many among them shall stumble; they shall fall and be broken, be snared and taken."
16 So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths,
17 which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.
18 Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,
19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God.
Paul warns that the commandments of the Law were physical in nature (do this, don't do that) but that each was created as a physical representation of a spiritual event. But with the fulfillment of the Law in Jesus, He took away the physical requirements of the Law (such as circumcision, animal sacrifice, and ritual purity of foods), replacing them with spiritual laws.
There has long been controversy as to whether Saturday is the Sabbath (Judaism) or Sunday (most Christian churches.) Yet Paul says w are not to despise those who observe a different Sabbath than we do. Paul previously said;
5 One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind.
6 He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks.
It doesn't matter which day you observe as a Sabbath, as long as you set a day aside as a
Sabbath and rest on that day.
And just like today as they did in Paul's day, people seeking attention, wealth and power were teaching heretical man-made doctrines based on their own imaginations. Some sound very reasonable and entrap many, but those who know the Bible can quickly ferret out the truth, which is why we need to keep the Word fresh in our lives.
20 Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations--
21 "Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,"
22 which all concern things which perish with the using--according to the commandments and doctrines of men?
23 These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.
The Law was filled with strict regulations that if not followed would make a person ritually unclean, such as eating certain unclean animals, meats from animals sacrificed to idols, etc. Some were for hygienic purposes (eating carnivorous animals such as pigs and carrion birds were forbidden because of disease) while some were ritually unclean (pagan sacrifices and items served at pagan feasts where foods were offered to demonic entities).
The Law had simple regulations concerning physical cleanliness in eating of foods, but the religious authorities over time had corrupted these simple laws into burdensome, draconian traditions which they taught as commandments. (Remember, most common people were illiterate, and relied on educated scribes and Pharisees to read and interpret the Laws of Moses to them thus they learned corrupted commandments and man-made traditions)
Jesus took issue with this when He accused the Pharisees:
1 Then the Pharisees and some of the scribes came together to Him, having come from Jerusalem.
2 Now when they saw some of His disciples eat bread with defiled, that is, with unwashed hands, they found fault.
3 For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands in a special way, holding the tradition of the elders.
4 When they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash. And there are many other things which they have received and hold, like the washing of cups, pitchers, copper vessels, and couches.
5 Then the Pharisees and scribes asked Him, "Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashed hands?"
6 He answered and said to them, "Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: 'This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.
7 And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'
8 For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men--the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do."
14 When He had called all the multitude to Himself, He said to them, "Hear Me, everyone, and understand:
15 There is nothing that enters a man from outside which can defile him; but the things which come out of him, those are the things that defile a man.
16 If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear!"
Paul also reinforced this when he said:
1 TIMOTHY 4:1-5
1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons,
2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron,
3 forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.
4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving;
5 for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.
Jesus and Paul state flatly that food does not defile a man, as food is a physical thing and is eliminated after eating. It cannot defile a person's spirit, but sinful words can defile a man, as they come from the heart.
And we needn't concern ourselves with origins of foods (whether it is ritually clean or not) as it is cleansed by prayer, and again does not defile us by eating it.
As for false humility, two examples come to mind:
The Scala Sanctum (Holy Stairs) - These are 28 marble stairs in Rome that the Vatican says are the steps that Jesus descended in Jerusalem after receiving the death sentence from Pilate. These stairs were allegedly transported to Rome by angels after Jesus' death (tradition, no proof given, of course)
Hordes of penitents crawl up these stairs on their knees (Martin Luther had his revelation concerning the errors of Roman Catholicism while doing this) publicly demonstrating their humility to the world, kissing certain steps where again, according to Catholic tradition, Jesus stumbled or fainted. (Again, no proof)
Flagellism - This was popular during he Dark Ages and is still practiced in some major religions
today (Roman Catholicism and Islam) where penitents lash themselves with knotted cords, ropes,
whips or canes as they pray, to show their humility before God. (Pope John Paul II is reported to
have practiced this regularly).
These and other physical debasements and self-abuses (such as Christians who nail themselves to crosses on Good Friday) are useless in God's eyes as they are works of the flesh. He never commanded these and they are abominations in His eyes.
1 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.
2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.
3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.
Paul reminds us that the things of this world are temporary and will one day perish or be taken away. Riches can be lost in a moment, and riches cannot buy eternal life. Isaiah spoke of riches' inability to save the owner, when God sent the Medes and Persians against Babylon;
17 "Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, who will not regard silver; and as for gold, they will not delight in it.
18 Also their bows will dash the young men to pieces, and they will have no pity on the fruit of the womb; their eye will not spare children.
If we keep our minds on God, remembering His promises, His peace will remain with us and the hope of His promises to provide for our needs will sustain us during evil times, so that we have His promises not only of eternal life, but eternal riches and glory in Heaven as well!
We also have to be careful when we watch the news nowadays, what with openly biased reporting by the mainstream news, minority groups being "outraged" at everything, loudly accusing everyone of being "racist" for the most ridiculous of reasons, (many of which have nothing to do with racism), paid protesters who admit that they have no idea why they're protesting, anarchists and looters who use peaceful protests as an opportunity to loot and destroy, politicians accusing others of corruption and are themselves worse than those they accuse, etc.
With all of this, it's hard to remember sometimes that God is in control, and that He has planned all of this. When same-sex marriage became legal in this country, He told me that we had just passed through the gateposts of the End Times and watching the news, He was right.
The worse things get around us the more we need to remain close to the Lord, remembering that Jesus Himself said:
25 "And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring;
26 men's hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
When the sea is mentioned in prophecy, it usually means multitudes of people. Thus the multitudes of people will be in an uproar of confusion and uncertainty during the End Times. And what we're seeing is only the beginning!
But if we remain close to Jesus, His peace will help us endure the difficult times ahead.
5 Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.
6 Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience,
7 in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them.
8 But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth.
9 Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds,
10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him,
11 where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.
Our sin nature would love nothing more than to indulge our sin-corrupted natural desires, even though we know that God punishes these behaviors for good reasons. God knows how hard it is to fight our own sinful flesh and the rebellion we inherited from Adam, which is why He gave us power over our own flesh through the 'circumcision made without hands".
With the separation of the spirit from the flesh and the help of the indwelling Holy Spirit we can overcome our sin natures and walk before Him in righteousness. We also have graphic examples in the Bible to show us His wrath against sin, examples which have been verified historically and archaeologically.
Paul also reminds us that we were just like those who live in sin and that as God had mercy on us, we should have mercy on them as well, seeking to bring them to Jesus, being examples of Godly living, being as lights in a world growing ever darker.
And Paul reminds us that in God's sight race doesn't matter, we are all sinners in His sight and that our spirits have no race affiliation before Him. For a while (and some still believe this) there was a false doctrine of "replacement theology" in which it was taught that the Christians have replaced the Jews as God's chosen people after the death of Jesus. This is NOT true, for through Jesus, ALL believers regardless of ethnic or national origin are inheritors of the promises of God given to Abraham as sons of God.
As for God replacing Israel as His people and substituting Christians in their place as His Chosen People, God told Jeremiah;
37 Thus says the Lord: "If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, says the Lord.
35 Thus says the Lord, who gives the sun for a light by day, the ordinances of the moon and the stars for a light by night, who disturbs the sea, and its waves roar; (The Lord of hosts is His name):
36 "If those ordinances depart from before Me, says the Lord, then the seed of Israel shall
also cease from being a nation before Me forever."
12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering;
13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.
14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.
15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.
16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
As Jesus was an example to us in conduct, we should live toward others as living examples of Him both to believers and non-believers alike. Believers in doing so support each other and remind each other of what constitutes Godly living. And by doing so, unbelievers will not have anything of which to accuse us as wrongdoers.
We must also remember that just as God as forgiven us of our sins, so we must forgive anyone who sins against us, remembering Jesus' words of;
14 "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your
Remember, though, we DO NOT have power or authority to forgive sins not made against us, personally, neither has God given any man that power. There are some religions whose clergy claim to be able forgive the sins of others in God's place, but Scripture states that only God can do this.
17 Now it happened on a certain day, as He was teaching, that there were Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting by, who had come out of every town of Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was present to heal them.
18 Then behold, men brought on a bed a man who was paralyzed, whom they sought to bring in and lay before Him.
19 And when they could not find how they might bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the housetop and let him down with his bed through the tiling into the midst before Jesus.
20 When He saw their faith, He said to him, "Man, your sins are forgiven you."
21 And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, "Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?"
22 But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, He answered and said to them, "Why are you reasoning in your hearts?
23 Which is easier, to say, 'Your sins are forgiven you,' or to say, 'Rise up and walk'?
24 But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins"--He said to the man who was paralyzed, "I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house."
25 Immediately he rose up before them, took up what he had been lying on, and departed to his own house, glorifying God.
26 And they were all amazed, and they glorified God and were filled with fear, saying, "We have seen strange things today!"
Jesus, being God in the flesh, DID have the power to forgive the paralyzed man's sins, but NO MAN has the power to do this, nor has God given such authority to men. Jesus paid for ALL sin and has been granted power to forgive sins by the Father. Any person who claims to be able to forgive sins in the place of God, makes himself equal to God, which is blasphemy.
Jesus, knowing the thoughts of the men seated around Him, proved His Godhead by healing the paralytic right before their eyes, something only God could do. And while the apostles performed miracles, healed the sick, and raised the dead, they never forgave the sins of people who had not sinned against them. And if we could do this, why would we need Jesus?
Bottom line: If we do not forgive those who sin against us, God will not forgive us either.
18 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them.
20 Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord.
21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.
22 Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eye-service, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God.
23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men,
24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.
25 But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality.
Paul reminds the church members to act as if the Lord is watching them, and we are to treat each other with the love and respect that we ourselves expect to be treated. We all must remember that God does not respect the person of men, but all are equal in His sight, and no matter who we are, good behavior will be rewarded and bad behavior will be punished without partiality or favoritism.
1 Masters, give your bondservants what is just and fair, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.
2 Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving;
3 meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains,
4 that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.
5 Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time.
6 Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.
Paul reminds owners of servants and slaves to remember that how they treat them will be how they will be treated by God. Christians especially need to be humane with servants and slaves as this is a visible example of our faith, and mistreatment will bring condemnation on both ourselves and Christianity as a whole.
We need to keep those who spread the Gospel in prayer, both for their protection and that the Word of God may spread far and wide. Christians today are coming under increasingly violent persecution especially in Muslim communities here in the United States, and judges unfortunately, afraid of Muslim riots, are ruling in favor of the Muslims in disputes up to and including hiding criminal behavior of Muslim thugs.
The final war between the forces of Satan and the forces of God has begun, and far too many Christians are asleep and don't see it coming. Satan is becoming bolder and will soon start the Great Tribulation foretold by Jesus. Are you ready?
Don't rail or rage against those that oppose the Gospel, but answer them calmly and with wisdom. I was on a Christian chat channel one time when a young lady who was into witchcraft popped in with questions.
Things went ok until she mentioned that she was a witch, and the site immediately erupted with
scathing comments and condemnations from "Christians" on the site. This went on for several
weeks. I answered her questions calmly as best I could, and some weeks later she accepted Jesus.
Shortly after that she sent me a private message saying, "You will always have a special place in
my heart, as you were the only person on this site who did not condemn me." If she had died in
her sins because of the behavior of those condemning Christians, they would be held accountable
for her blood before God. As Jesus warned;
37 "Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
7 Tychicus, a beloved brother, faithful minister, and fellow servant in the Lord, will tell you all the news about me.
8 I am sending him to you for this very purpose, that he may know your circumstances and comfort your hearts,
9 with Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will make known to you all things which are happening here.
Paul, being imprisoned in Rome, frequently sent letters and fellow believers to other churches in order to ensure that false teachers hadn't corrupted them and that they might know how things were with him as he awaited trial before Nero Caesar.
It is interesting that he mentions Onesimus, as Onesimus was a runaway slave of a fellow
believer named Philemon. Onesimus met Paul and became a believer and Paul wrote to Philemon
(in the New Testament Book of Philemon) offering to send him back, but asking to keep him as
he apparently diligently served Paul during Paul's imprisonment. It appears that Philemon granted
Paul's request and Paul trusted Onesimus enough to send him to Colossae with Tychichus, a
10 Aristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you, with Mark the cousin of Barnabas (about whom you received instructions: if he comes to you, welcome him),
11 and Jesus who is called Justus. These are my only fellow workers for the kingdom of God who are of the circumcision; they have proved to be a comfort to me.
John Mark (who wrote the Gospel book of Mark) was with Paul, which was interesting as early on in Paul's missionary journeys, Mark deserted them while they were in Pamphylia (in southern Turkey)
36 Then after some days Paul said to Barnabas, "Let us now go back and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they are doing."
37 Now Barnabas was determined to take with them John called Mark.
38 But Paul insisted that they should not take with them the one who had departed from them in Pamphylia, and had not gone with them to the work.
39 Then the contention became so sharp that they parted from one another. And so Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus;
40 but Paul chose Silas and departed, being commended by the brethren to the grace of God.
41 And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.
12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a bondservant of Christ, greets you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.
13 For I bear him witness that he has a great zeal for you, and those who are in Laodicea, and those in Hierapolis.
14 Luke the beloved physician and Demas greet you.
This is the same Luke who wrote the Gospel of Luke and who wrote the book of Acts. And Demas being with Paul shows that this was written during his first imprisonment, as Demas deserted Paul during Paul's second imprisonment. As Paul wrote to Timothy;
1 TIMOTHY 4:9-11
9 Be diligent to come to me quickly;
10 for Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed for Thessalonica--Crescens for Galatia, Titus for Dalmatia.
11 Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for ministry.
This is a reminder to us all, to count the cost before we commit to something. Jesus Himself said;
61 And another also said, "Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house."
62 But Jesus said to him, "No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God."
Committing to something for the Lord is as bnding as swearing an oath to Him; He expects you to do what you have promised; Solomon spoke of this when he said;
4 When you make a vow to God, do not delay to pay it; for He has no pleasure in fools.Pay what you have vowed--
5 Better not to vow than to vow and not pay.
15 Greet the brethren who are in Laodicea, and Nymphas and the church that is in his house.
16 Now when this epistle is read among you, see that it is read also in the church of the Laodiceans, and that you likewise read the epistle from Laodicea.
17 And say to Archippus, "Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it."
18 This salutation by my own hand--Paul. Remember my chains. Grace be with you. Amen.
The church of Laodicea is the same church of Laodicea that John wrote to in the Book of Revelation and was a few miles west of Colossae. Unfortunately for us, Paul's letter to Laodicea has not survived.
At times Paul dictated his letters to others who wrote them, but in this case he wrote this letter by hand, probably in Greek as that was a common language for that area, and ends by asking for prayers on his behalf.
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