- The Explore the Bible lesson for Oct. 17 focuses on Colossians 1:9-23.
As parents, we want the best for our children. However, sometimes we feel our best efforts are not good enough. Children tend to imitate the parents, specifically when it comes to values exhibited by the parents. The most hilarious example is one of girls pretending to be just like mom. Putting on pink lipstick and black eye mascara, wearing an oversized satin evening gown, or stepping into four-inch-high heels is their way of learning by pretending.
While imitating good moral values from parents are to be commended, the problem may arise when the child imitates the parent’s undesirable behaviors. Moral values are caught more than taught, especially with children, because they typically learn values by observing others. Values such as kindness, empathy, humility, respect, and caring should be continuously modeled by the parents. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23).
In today’s society, it seems as though the value system has diminished. Discrimination, dishonesty, disrespect, greed and abuse are on the rise in the world and in the church community. In Paul’s letter to the Colossians, instructions in living worthy of the call of Christ is his overall concern. As we study the lesson, keep in mind the price Jesus paid to rescue us from sin and death, thus granting us the power to live a worthy life.
Walk Worthy of the Call (Colossians 1:9-14)
The good news concerning the Colossian Christians brought tremendous joy to Paul. As noted in the previous verses (vv. 2-8), Paul was joyous because he heard about their faith in Christ, their love for the saints and their hope that Christ would return one day. It was Epaphras who taught the Christians and gave a good report about their spiritual growth. I believe any pastor would welcome the news about the spiritual growth of the Christians in the church.
Knowing and doing the will of God requires spiritual wisdom and understanding, which is given by the Spirit of God (v. 9). Paul prays for the Christians to develop the mind in such a way to know the will of God by listening to his voice. He prays the Christians will gain wisdom and understanding in regard to knowing the eternal truths of the gospel and then to apply these eternal truths in everyday living.
Paul also prays that God will give them power to apply the truths. “We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true by being in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life” (1 John 5:20).
Finally, Paul prays for the Christians to walk worthy, to be fruitful, increase in knowledge, and to be strengthened with patience and longsuffering (vv. 10, 11). We need God’s power and strength to endure the hardships, trials and tribulations. We need God’s power to remain patient and to suffer long as we stand in the gap for others.
Like Paul, we can experience the joy that comes in praying for others and the joy of seeing a significant change in their lives. Only through Christ are we delivered from darkness and only through his blood are we redeemed from death and hell. God’s forgiving grace is available to all who are willing to make the decision to surrender everything to him. What are your thoughts about the power of intercession? Are you learning to listen the voice of God?
God’s Image (Colossians 1:15-23)
Paul loves the gospel message of Jesus Christ. He also expressed great love toward his sisters and brothers and wanted them to know Christ. “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service” (1 Timothy 1:12).
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Paul understood how the grace and love of God covered him in his ignorance and preached passionately that the same grace and love was available to all. Paul argues against a teaching that Jesus Christ was not a full revelation of God. The only true image of God is seen in his one and only Son, Jesus, and there is nothing else needed to prove this argument (v. 15). The only way man can be saved is through God’s son, Jesus Christ, who is the firstborn of all creation (v. 15).
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). Jesus was actively involved in creation of all things and remains actively engaged in the lives of his people.
To the church, he is the head (v. 18). The pastor leads and guides the membership, but Jesus is the head of the body (church), giving guidance to both pulpit and pew. His shed blood on the cross makes us faultless and blameless before God (v. 22). Paul’s message to the believers is to be reconciled and to remain grounded and steadfast in the faith (v. 23). Are you as faithful to the gospel of Jesus Christ?
Margie Clayton is minister of education at Berean Tabernacle Baptist Church in Liberty, Texas.