The Genesis To Revelation Bible Course
By WILLIAM M. GROOM, Th.M., D.D.
Lesson No. 52 – Colossians
Copyright, 1921 BY THE BIBLE STUDY PUBLISHING CO.
KEY VERSE–Col 1:18.
KEY PHRASE–“CHRIST IS THE HEAD OF THE CHURCH AND OF ALL THINGS.”
* Sunday–Greetings and seven-told prayer,–Col 1:1-14.
* Monday–Seven superiorities of Christ,–Col 1:15-23.
* Tuesday–Danger of putting shadow MI substance,–Col 2:1-8.
* Wednesday–In Christ dwells alt fullness,–Col 2:9-17.
* Thursday–Old nature and the new man,–Col 3:12-25.
* Friday–The graces of the new man,–Col 3:12-25.
* Saturday–Pray and redeem the time,–Col 4:1-6.
WRITER–Paul. DATE and PLACE of writing, 62 A. D., during his first imprisonment at Rome.
COLOSSAE was the third-rate town in size, situated about 100 miles east of Ephesus in Asia Minor.
THE CHURCH was probably founded by Epaphras, Col 1:7, although Paul kept in close touch with the people, and was known and loved by the people.
OCCASION–Epaphras went to Rome to advise with Paul concerning the errors that were creeping into the church. The false prophets argued:–
1. That God is pure and good, but that matter is evil, therefore the world could not have come from God. This wrong theory of matter prevails in Christian Science today.
2. Therefore, they argued, there must be different degrees of angels, who created us, so we should worship angels. Angel worship is still acknowledged in the Roman catechism.
3. The only way to give our bodies is to discipline them with penances. This is still practiced by Catholics.
4. They made too much of ceremonies, ordinances and fast days, a serious error of Catholicism. These false teachings placed Christ in the background, and denied His headship, so to combat them, Paul sent this letter back to Epaphras.
PURPOSE–To exalt the person of Christ, and to teach that He is the Creator of the universe and the supreme Head of the church and of all things.
Great Facts I. The Pre-Eminence of Christ
Paul first thanks the Father for their faith in Christ, their love for the saints. and their hope laid up in heaven, Col 1:1-8. He then prays that they may experience a deeper insight into spiritual truth, may live lives worthy of the Master, and he fruitful in every kind of good deed, Col 1:9-14. He next glowingly describes Christ’s seven superiorities over all other created beings.
1. He is the exact likeness of the unseen God.
2. He existed before all creation.
3. He was the producer of all creation.
4. All things were created by Him.
5. He is the supreme authority over the church in all matters.
6. He is the Bringer-forth of the dead.
7. In Him all the fullness of the divine nature dwells.
Not only is He superior in His blessed person, but also in His saving work, for He has made peace through the shedding of His blood offered on the Cross, and by this sacrifice reconciled all believers to God, Col 1:20-23. Paul rejoices that he could suffer for Christ, and preach to the Gentiles the truth hidden from former generations, that Christ is in us, the Hope of glory, Colossians 1:24:29.
1. If it is Christ’s glory to be the exact likeness of God, then It should be our glory to be the exact likeness of Christ in knowledge, Col 3:10; in holiness and righteousness, Eph 4:24. We were predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, Ro 8:29.
2. If Christ made saints and angels then we should worship Him and not them.
3. The fullness of Christ’s wisdom will keep us from error, the fullness of his grace will subdue our sins, the fullness of His mercy will succour us In trouble, the fullness of His joy will de- light our souls with fatness, Col 1:19.
Great Facts II. Warning Against False Teachings
Paul here longs for the Christians to keep in view the full blessedness of firm conviction and to strive for a perfect knowledge of God’s truth, so than no shrewd false teacher should deceive them. The Gnostics, (so called because they claimed to know the doctrines of Christ, hut in reality were mixing Greek philosophy with Christianity) taught that Christ was only one of the mediums of communication between God and man. On the contrary, He is the Head of all spiritual and human beings, the almighty Deliverer from sin’s tyranny, and when He died on the cross He put the powers of evil to open contempt, Col 1:15. The believer should remember that he is emancipated from all ordinances of the Law, and need not keep fast days, for undue self-denial does not curb the lower appetites or passions, Col 2:21-23. Let none trick you into the worship of angels, but rather be ruled by the Head of the church who will nourish you, so that you may grow with a divine growth, Col 2:18-19.
1. Whoever robs Christ of His pre-eminences and glory robs us of our salvation. By so much as His position is lowered and His fullness diminished, by so much is our spiritual life imperilled and impaired. Whatever is taken away from the completeness of His person and the sufficiency of His meditation, is taken away at the same time from our assurance of pardon, from the ground of our faith, from our motive of holiness and from the certainty of our heavenly prize. He does not share with others the blessed work of saving and keeping the believer. Nay, neither angels, nor saints, nor virgins, nor prophets, nor martyrs rank with Him, for He is the very embodiment of the divine fullness.
2. There Is nothing religious in punishing the body, or in denying it necessary food, or in arraying it in uncomfortable clothes as the ascetics have done and do now. The sacrifice of God is a broken spirit and not a weakened body; a corrupt heart often dwells in a .fasting body.
3. All Jewish feasts and sacred days were connected with the shadowy Law. From the shadow the Christian turns to Christ the substance, and observes and enjoys only the gospel realities.
Great Facts III. The Old Nature vs. The Graces of the New Life
Col 3; 4.
The apostle here pleads that old nature should be destroyed together with all its vices, such as immorality, impurity, passion, greed, malice, slander, and unworthy talk. In their place we should put on as a new garment the graces of the new life such as tenderness of heart, kindliness, humility, patience, forgiveness and love. By practicing these things we are living as heavenly citizens in a spiritual realm, rooted indeed in Christ! In the Christian family, wives should submit lovingly to their husbands, and husbands should never be harsh with their wives. Children should obey their parents in everything, for that is pleasing to the Lord. Fathers should never irritate their children lest they become disheartened. Servants should render all service with honesty of heart, and masters should do what is right and fair by their servants. We should persevere in prayer, praying particularly that God will open a door for the gospel. Be cautious in dealing with unchristian men. Buy up the time for doing good. Our conversation should always be kindly.
1. The destruction of the old nature is a gradual process. There will be remains of the old life, but it should not be in power, but should be crucified daily.
2. Sin does not die out itself, we must kill it with the help of the Spirit. In the past we were delivered from the guilt of sin, in the present we should be delivered from the power of sin, and in the future we shall be delivered from the presence of sin.
3. The graces of the new life include a new nature for we are born from above. Also a new citizenship for we should have heavenly ideals. Also new conduct for we should be emancipated from old failures, and grow out of old faults. Mr. Burbank succeeded in raising out of a wild field daisy a blossom five to seven inches in diameter, and a poppy so increased in size that it measures ten inches across its brilliant bloom. So with our graces, we need corresponding enlargements. Too often, they are starved and meagre. Too often the fruits of the Spirit are as small wild fruit as grown in the woods. Man’s highest action is to reach up higher. Trees cannot grow up into the Sky, but they can grow up towards it. As life is unceasing change, let it be from good to better, and from better to best. The old nature should die, let it die. The graces of the new life should abound more and more unto the perfect day. Our life-long ambition should be to master every sin and to possess and practice every virtue.
Questions on the Lesson
1. Give the key word and key verse.
2. Give the writer, date and place.
3. Tell about the city and church.
4. What were the four errors that were springing up?
5. What the purpose?
6. Name the great facts.
7. Give the seven superiorities of Christ.
8. How may we have the likeness of Christ?
9. Should we worship saints or angels?
10. Tell what Christ’s fullness will do for us.
11. Who were the Gnostics and what their teaching?
12. Give the contrary doctrine.
13. In what sense are we emancipated from ordinances?
14. What happens if we rob Christ of His pre-eminence?
15. What are some of the vices of the old nature?
16. What are some of the graces of the new life?
17. What is expected of wives, husbands, children, masters and servants?
18. Explain how we can crucify sin daily.
19. Give past, present and future deliverances.
20. What do the graces include?
21. How may our graces be enlarged?
22. How much Of Colossians have you read?
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. — Proverbs 22:6 KJV