Unto the Kingdom of God

Colossians 4:11-18 – And Jesus, which is called Justus, who are of the circumcision. These only are my fellow workers unto the kingdom of God, which have been a comfort unto me. Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, salutes you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. For I bear him record, that he has a great zeal for you, and them that are in Laodicea, and them in Hierapolis. Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you. Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house. And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea. And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou have received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it. The salutation by the hand of me Paul. Remember my bonds. Grace be with you. Amen.

‘Jesus, which is called Justus’ – Paul lodged with Justus, who is called Titus Justus in some MSS and versions in Acts 18:7. A man that was chosen to be voted on in Acts 1:23. It is not clear whether these were the same or two different men.

‘These only are my fellow workers unto the kingdom of God, which have been a comfort unto me.’ Tychicus, Onesimus, Aristarchus, Marcus, and Justus are all mentioned here; no doubt they were all fellow workers of Paul. The last three were of the circumcision, meaning they were Jews. This book was written in about 64 A.D.

‘Epaphras’ – He was a fellow prisoner of Paul in Rome and a minister of the gospel. He was one of the Colossian believers.

‘That you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.’ This seems to be the great desire of the early Bible teachers.

‘Laodicea’ – A city located in Phrygia, a few miles west of Colosse (Rev.3:14).

‘Hierapolis’ – A city of Phrygia near Colosse. It was called a holy city because of its many heathen temples of Apollo, Diana, Aesculapius, and Hygeia. All these gods were worshipped here.

‘Luke, the beloved physician’ Luke, wrote the gospel of Luke and was called the beloved physician because he took care of all Paul’s wounds (2Tim. 4:11; Phm. 1:24); and the “we” portions of Acts 16:10-17; 20:5-15; 21:1-18; 27:1 – 28:16). He was a Jew and perhaps the Lucius of Romans 16:21 and Acts 13:1. If so, he was related to Paul.

‘Demas’ – A companion of Paul who later backslid and deserted the gospel work (2Tim. 4:10; Phm. 1:24).

‘Nymphas’ – A Christian of Laodicea who had a Christian congregation in his house. Not mentioned elsewhere.

Beloved Brother

Colossians 4:7-13 All my state shall Tychicus declare unto you, who is a beloved brother, and a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord: Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that he might know your estate, and comfort your hearts; With Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They shall make known unto you all things which are done here. Aristarchus my fellow prisoner salutes you, and Marcus, sister’s son to Barnabas, (touching whom you received commandments: if he come unto you, receive him)

‘A beloved brother’ – is a fraternal epithet among Christians (Acts 9:17; 21:20; 2Cor. 2:13; Heb. 2:11-12; 1Pet. 1:22). From Hebrews 2:11-12 we see that Christ, who is the great Sanctifier, sets apart and consecrates men to the service of God. They who are sanctified or thus consecrated and set apart to the service of God, are all one, in the same family, and are called brethren – that includes male and female (Gal. 3:28), because we represent the male body of Christ just as the nation Israel as the wife of God, in the Old Testament, was representatives as God’s nation. 

‘Tychicus’ – One of the trusted companions of Paul and probably an Ephesian. (Eph 6:21; 2Tim. 4:12; Tit. 3:12).

‘Onesimus’ – A runaway slave of Philemon, a native of Colosse, and converted by Paul in Rome (Phm. 1:10).

‘Aristarchus’ – A Macedonian who was a companion of Paul and a prisoner with him at Rome (Acts 19:29; 27:2; Phm. 1:24).

‘Marcus’ – John Mark is the author of the gospel of Mark. He was the nephew of Barnabas (Col. 4:10) and a disciple of Jesus (Acts 12:12). Paul and Barnabas took him on the first missionary journey but he got homesick and left the party (Acts 12:25; 13:5, 13). Paul and Barnabas separated over Mark when they started on the second missionary journey (Acts 15:33-39). He was a convert of Peter (1Pet. 5:13). He later worked with Paul (Col. 4:10-11; 2Tim. 4:11; Phm. 1:24).

Continue in Prayer

Colossians 4:2-6 Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak. Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer every man. 

‘Continue’ [Greek: proskartereo] to be earnest toward a thing; persevere; be constantly diligent; attend to it continually or regularly (Rom. 12:12). If all this would be practised in prayer, it would be easy to: Mortify the members (3:5). Put off the old man (3:8). Put on the new man (3:10). Do the 12 things of note from Colossians 3:17. Submit to husbands as to Christ (3:18). Love wives without bitterness (3:19). Obey parents in all things (3:20). Love the children (3:21). Serve masters as unto God (3:22-25). Be just towards servants (4:1).

Every person struggling with any of the above problems will do well to pray for the grace to help him. Wives should pray for the grace to submit to their husbands; husbands for grace to love their wives and be cured of bitterness; children for grace to obey parents; fathers for wisdom to deal with their children; servants and masters for grace to solve their problems, and all Christians should pray to overcome all selfishness and live right.

‘Prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving.’ Eight practices for all believers: Continuing in prayer (4:2). Watching continually in prayer. Giving continued thanks to God. Praying for ministers and their work (4:3). Praying for the success of the gospel (4:3-4). Living Christian life before men (4:5). Using time for God. Being tactful with men (4:6).

‘Seasoned’ [Greek: artuo] spice, seasoning. Let your speech be always spiced and seasoned with answers that will oppose sin and preserve from the corruption thereof. Let it be holy, wise, gracious, Christian, savoury, wholesome, courteous, respectful, desirable, and worthy of being kept in the memory of others.

Servants and Masters

Colossians 3:22-25 – 4:1 Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: And whatsoever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord you shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for you serve the Lord Christ. But he that does wrong shall receive for the wrong which he has done: and there is no respect of persons. Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.

‘Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God.’ Six commands for servants: To obey your masters (i.e., be faithful employees). To be conscientious in service (Eph. 6:5). Not to render eyeservice (Eph. 6:6). To do the will of God from the heart (Eph. 6:6). To render cheerful service to men as you would to the Lord (Eph. 6:7; Col. 3:23). To recognize that if you are not properly recompensed by man you will be by God (Eph. 6:8; Gal. 6:7-8; Col. 3:24-25).

‘Knowing that of the Lord you shall receive the reward of the inheritance …’ This is the 2nd and last New Testament prophecy in Colossians (3:24-25) and it is unfulfilled. This refers to the judgment seat of Christ where all the saints will be judged after the rapture for the deeds done in the body, whether they be good or bad (Rom. 2:12-16; 14:10-12; 1Cor. 3:11-15; 2Cor. 5:10; Gal. 6:8; Eph. 6:8; Luke 14:14; 2Tim. 4:14; Rev. 2:23; 22:12).

‘Give unto your servants that which is just and equal.’ Three commands for masters: Act in the same affectionate, conscientious manner toward your servants, as they do toward you (Eph. 6:9). Do not threaten your servants (Eph. 6:9). Recognize that you have the same Master as your servants and that there is no partiality with Him (Eph. 6:9; Rom. 2:11).

Children and Fathers

Colossians 3:20-21 Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged. 

‘Children, obey your parents in all things.’ Ephesians 6:1-3 expand on these commandments: To obey parents and to honour them, with the reasons that firstly it is right; it is a commandment (Ex. 20:12); it is a blessing of well-being and long life is promised. Threefold blessing to those who remember and keep the commandments (Prov. 3:1-2): Length of days (Prov. 3:2, 16; 4:10; 9:11). A long life (1Pet. 3:10-11). Peace (Isa. 26:3).

Parents must teach their children the importance of obedience otherwise they fail God and their children (Prov. 15:32).

‘Fathers, provoke not your children to anger.’ Fathers are not allowed to provoke their children to wrath. They must avoid making sport of them (Prov. 26:17-19); severity, anger and cruelty. Cruel parents generally have rebellious children. Correct them, do not punish them. Punishment is from a principle of revenge; correction is from a principle of loving concern. Bring your children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. The mind is to be nourished with wholesome discipline and instruction which will bend them toward God and Christian living (Eph. 6:4).

‘Be discouraged’ [Greek: athumeo] have their spirit broken.

Christ is All in All

Colossians 3:11-13 Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all. Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do you. 

‘Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision.’ In the new creation, there is no distinction made in rights and privileges because of race, sex, colour, or position in life (1Cor. 12:13; Gal. 3:28).

‘Scythian’ – Regarded by the ancients as the lowest type of barbarians. Bond slaves.

‘Christ is all, and in all’ – Christ is all things to all believers and is in all believers For if Christ is in us, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him that raised Jesus from the dead dwell in us, He that raised Christ from the dead shall also quicken our mortal bodies by His Holy Spirit that dwells in us (Rom. 8:9-16).

‘The elect of God’ – All classes, races, colours, sexes, and types of people in Christ make the elect, not just the Jews. Anyone chose by God – an individual or nation – is the elect of God (Luke 18:7).

‘Holy and beloved’ All true Christians are: Holy [Greek: hagios] (Rom. 11:16; 12:1; 2Cor. 3:17; Eph. 1:4; 2:21; 3:5; 5:27; Col. 1:22; 3:12; 1Thess. 5:27; 1Tim. 8; Tit. 1:8; Heb. 3:1; 1Pet. 1:15-16; 2:5, 9; 3:5; 2Pet. 1:21; 3:2; Rev. 22:11) and the beloved of God [Greek: agapao] Rom. 1:7; 2Cor. 7:1; Col. 3:12; 1Thess. 1:4; 2Thess. 2:13; 1Jn. 3:2; 4:1, 7, 11).

With Him in Glory

Colossians 3:4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall you also appear with him in glory. 

‘When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall you also appear with him in glory.’ This is the 1st New Testament prophecy in Colossians (3:4,) and is still unfulfilled. When is not stated, but the fact of it is (John 14:1-3; 1Thess. 4:16). This refers to the rapture.

‘Our life’ – Eternal life is in Jesus Christ (John 17:2-3; Rom. 5:10; 1Jn. 5:11-13).

‘Appear’ [Greek: phaneroo] to make visibly manifest. Translated “make manifest” (3:4; 1:26; John 1:31; 3:21; 9:3; Rom. 16:26; 1Cor. 4:5; 2Cor. 2:14; 4:10-11; 5:11; 11:6; Eph. 5:13; 2Tim. 1:10; Heb. 9:8; 1Jn. 2:19; Rev. 15:4); “manifest” (Mark 4:22; John 17:6; Rom. 3:21; Tit. 1:3; 1Jn. 1:2; 3:5, 8; 4:9); “manifest forth” (John 2:11); “declare manifestly” (2Cor. 3:3); “be manifest” (1Tim. 3:16; 1Pet. 1:20); “show one’s self” (John 21:1, 14); and “appear” (Mark 16:12, 14; 2Cor. 5:10; 7:12; Col. 3:4; Heb. 9:26; 1Pet. 5:4; 1Jn. 2:28; 3:2; Rev. 3:18). Here it means to make Himself visibly manifest to those whom He translates or causes to meet Him in the air (John 14:1-3; 1Thess. 4:16-17; 1Jn. 2:28; 3:2). It is in glory that we shall apear with Him. We must first appear with Him in the glory of heaven before we come back with Him in His glory to the earth to reign (John 14:1-3; 1Thess. 2:12; 4:16-17; Eph. 5:27; Jude 1:24). The word “glory” is used of heaven in 1Timothy 3:16 and 2Peter 1:17.

Having Nourishment Ministered

Colossians 2:18-19 Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he had not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increased with the increase of God. 

‘Let no man beguile you of your reward.’ Let no man take your prize. You have found Christ and been made free from sin by the gospel and the Holy Spirit. You started in the spirit so do not let any man induce you to finish in the flesh (Gal. 3:1-5).

‘Voluntary humility and worshipping angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind.’ Five facts about false cults: [1] Self-imposed fastings and self-denials of many things to appear religious, that is not forbidden in Scripture – touch not, taste not and handle not (2:18, 20-23). [2] The Greek word threskeia means worshipping (2:18) and religion (Acts 26:5; Jas. 1:26-27). Here it is a cult or religion of angels and demons (2:18, 23; 1Tim. 4:1-8). [3] Religion that is based upon visions that are supposed to come from God and angels (2:18; Deut. 18:1-22; Jer. 23:1-40; Ezek. 13:1-23). [4] Religion that is based upon the superior knowledge, new discoveries, occult secrets, piety, and sensuous feelings (2:18, 8; Rom. 1:21-23; 1Tim. 6:20). [5] Religion that is not Christ-centered and true to the gospel (2:19; Eph. 4:14; 5:11-12; 2Cor. 11:14-15; Matt. 7:15)

‘Holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered.’ Not acknowledging the Head of the body (Christ) on whom every member depends for nourishment and life.

All The Fulness

Colossians 2:9 For in him dwelled all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. 

‘For in him dwelled all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.’ In Christ alone – not in the philosophies, vain deceit, human traditions of the Jews and Gentiles, or the world principles, church religions – will be found the fullness of the Godhead in reality, or bodily. Jewish institutions were mere shadows of the realities and of the redemption made through the offering of the body of Christ in sacrifice (2:14-17; Matt. 26:26-28; Rom. 7:6; Eph. 2:16; Heb. 10:1-18; 1Pet. 2:24). Hence, the Greek word somatikos translating as bodily and referring to that which is real in contrast to that which is typical, or shadowy as in Colossians 2:17 and Hebrews 10:1.

The Greek word for Godhead is Theotes meaning Deity. It occurs only here and relates to the Godhead or Deity personally. Christ is the personal and bodily manifestation of all the fullness of Deity. He was God incarnate and the manifestation of all the fullness of God’s power and blessings to men (Isa. 7:14; 9:6; Matt. 1:18-25; Luke 1:34-35). The fullness of the Holy Spirit rested upon Him and worked through His body (Isa. 11:2; 42:1-7; 61:1-2; John 3:34; Acts 10:38). The fullness of redemption from the Deity came through His body (1Pet. 2:24). This is why we become complete in Him and why He is the head of all principality and power (2:10; 1:16-18; Eph. 1:20-23; Php. 2:9-11; 1Pet. 3:22).

The Image of the Invisible God – Part 5

Colossians 1:15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature

As God, the person we now know as Jesus Christ had no beginning, was not begotten, was not a Son, and did not come into being. He always existed as God (Ps. 90:2; Mic. 5:2; John 1:1-2; Heb. 1:8). But as man and as God’s Son He was not eternal. He had a beginning. He was begotten – at the same time, Mary had a Son. Therefore, the doctrine of the eternal sonship of Jesus Christ is irreconcilable to reason, unscriptural, and contradictory to itself. Eternity has no beginning, so if He has been God from eternity, then He could not have a beginning as God. Eternity has no reference to time, so if He was begotten “this day,” then it was done in time and not in eternity.

The word Son supposes time, generations, father, mother, beginning, and conception -unless one is a son by creation, as Adam (Luke 3:38), and angels (Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7; Gen. 6:1-4). Time, created, and beginning, are opposites to God and eternity and are absolutely impossible to reconcile with them. If sonship refers to deity, not to humanity, then this person of the Deity had a beginning in time and not in eternity. It is plainly stated in Psalm 2:7; Acts 13:33 and Hebrews 1:5; 5:5 that God had a Son “this day” and not in eternity. It is stated in Hebrews 1:5-7; Luke 1:35 and Matthew 1:18-25 when this took place. It was nearly 2,000 years ago. It had been predicted that God would have a Son (Isa. 7:14; 9:6; Heb. 1:5; Matt. 1:18-25; Luke 1:32-35). This was fulfilled when the virgin conceived “of the Holy Ghost” (Matt. 1:20), not at any other time. To say that God had an eternal Son would mean He had two; but it is plainly stated that Jesus was “the only begotten of the Father” (John 1:14, 18; 3:16-18; 1Jn. 4:9).