FINDING COMMON GROUND
The church in Colossae, to whom the letter we call “Colossians” is addressed, has gone off the rails doctrinally. They have adopted some wonky and heretical ideas about Jesus. In this letter, Paul seeks to lay out an orthodox portrait of Jesus and guide the church toward healthy responses to him. Even though they have some strange beliefs and practices, Paul still uses terms like “brothers and sisters” and “faithful” to describe them. He even thanks God for the common ground he has with them: namely faith, love, and hope. This opening section provides a challenging model for dealing with believers with whom we disagree.
BACK TO OUR ROOTS
In this message, Paul calls the Colossians back to their roots, back to the founding story that shapes the church. This story of deliverance centers on the figure of Jesus, on whom Paul spills a great deal of ink. He lays out a traditional, orthodox vision of Jesus that may not be readily accepted by the Colossian church.
CHRIST THE TAPROOT
Paul has just sketched out a traditional, orthodox vision of Jesus. But why should the Colossians believe Paul over against their own beliefs? In this message, he defends his authority and argues for why they should believe him. But since he can’t appeal to the Bible as the source of truth, can he appeal to anything else?
GRAFTED TO GOD
In this message, we look at what the goal of the Christian life is—being united to God. This unity was perfectly attained when the Colossians first began to walk in Christ, but now Paul calls them to become what they already are.
BEWARE OF PLASTIC SPIRITUALITY
Paul turns now to warn the Colossians against false spirituality—a spirituality of fasting and visions and mysticism. Such things appear pious, but in fact accomplish nothing. What’s worse, as the Colossians practice them, they are designed to unite the believer to God—something already done through their relationship with Jesus.
GROWING IN CHRIST
Paul turns now to “the practical stuff,” where he calls on believers to take off the old self with its practices that damage the life of the church and to put on the new self which aims to build up the church.
KEEP THE HARVEST IN MIND
In this final message in Colossians, we look at the difficult passage on the Christian household. How does this passage fit into the larger scheme of Colossians? And what relevance does it have for the modern Christian?