Reconciliation: The Message of the Cross (Colossians 1)

What is the message of the cross?

What was conveyed by the death of the Messiah?

Over 2000 years ago Christ was crucified on a cross in Jerusalem, Israel.

The land of Israel at that time was under the jurisdiction of the Roman Empire.

Although declared innocent, Christ died as the condemned on a Roman cross.

What significance did Christ’s death have?

Why does all of humanity look back to that moment on Golgotha?

And having made peace…  Colossians 1:20

God is the great peacemaker

When man ponders peace, his mind is invaded with thoughts of war, rumors of war, the loss of countless lives taken in war, and his own inner war.

When mankind speak peace

Mankind usually speaks of peace only in terms that concern relations between neighbors or that concern relations between various nations of the world.

The need for a greater peace

However, the need for a greater peace emerges.  That need is for peace between mankind and his Creator.

Mankind has broken God the Creator’s established law thus bringing the separation of mankind from his Creator. That separation could not be removed until the penalty the law demanded was paid.

The law required the death of a perfect sinless sacrifice (without spot or blemish). Mankind is not perfect or sinless; therefore, mankind could not and cannot pay this debt.

God is holy and just

Because God is holy and just, His demands for justice must be met.

What is justice?

Justice means that sin or the breaking of the law must be judged and condemned.

The law sets the standard. We cannot meet that standard because we are lawbreakers. We have broken the law. Therefore, the law condemns us.

Sin separated man from God

The condemnation of our sins separated us from God. To be reconciled back to God, the penalty for breaking God’s law had to be paid. That debt could not be paid by mankind.

God desired reconciliation

But God, in His wisdom and love for mankind, knew the one and only way that reconciliation could be accomplished. However, that pathway was costly. Costly not for mankind, but for God Himself.

That reconciliation was made (Col. 1:22) in the body of Christ’s flesh through His death, His sacrifice on the cross, so that it would be possible for us to be presented as holy, unblameable, and unreproveable in His sight:

  •                As a reconciled people
  •                In a reconciled state
The pathway to reconciliation came at a great cost.

→ redemption → forgiveness → reconciliation

By him to reconcile all things unto himself… (Col. 1:20)

Man cannot solve the peace problem

Man could not and never would be able to solve the peace problem between himself and God.

However, God initiated the peace process by sending Christ to die for you and me.

The shedding of Christ’s blood at Calvary was for the reconciliation of all things unto Himself.

The reconciliation of all things (Col. 1:16, 20)

  •                That are created
  •                That are in heaven
  •                That are in earth

God Himself paid the price for redemption

Christ’s sacrifice satisfied the demands of the law. His death paid the redemption fee.  His substitutionary death on the cross satisfied the Law’s demand for justice.

In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins (Col. 1:14).

Because Christ paid the debt for the guilty and because justice was met, mercy can be bestowed.

Therefore, God has chosen to show mercy to those who will accept His sacrifice, believe on His Son, and ask for forgiveness of sin.

God Himself made a way for man to be reconciled to Him

The message of the cross is that God loves mankind. He so loved mankind that He was willing to step out of heaven, be manifested in the flesh, and place Himself on a cross to pay our sin debt.

His death and subsequent resurrection back to heaven show that He is Almighty God. Now that the price of redemption has been paid, He, as Almighty God, can show mercy and grace to His creation.

Those who reject His sacrifice, however, refuse to accept His substitutionary death for their sin.  Therefore, they refuse reconciliation, peace with God, and a future home in heaven.

Those who reject Jesus Christ, reject the peace that mankind can experience between man and his Creator.

If you have not received Christ and His substitutionary death for you, please accept Him today.

You can know the peace that only comes by allowing Him to be your Saviour.

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Apostle Paul and His Ministry

Preacher and Missionary

Apostle Paul was a first century preacher of the Word of God. He was converted while traveling on the Damascus Road. Later, he was ordained a missionary by the church at Antioch.

The Apostle Paul conducted three missionary tours extending from Antioch through Asia Minor to modern-day Greece. After arriving in Jerusalem on his third tour, he was arrested and taken to Rome, Italy. After a period of imprisonment, he was beheaded for his faith.

Moved by the Holy Ghost

Being moved by the Holy Spirit, Paul also wrote the New Testament books of Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, and Hebrews. Six of his books or epistles were written while he was imprisoned at Rome, Italy.

 “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Peter 1:21).

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God” (2 Timothy 3:16).

Steward of the Gospel

Paul used every opportunity to present the teachings of Christ. He saw himself as a steward of the teachings he received from Christ.

“Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God” (1 Corinthians 4:1).

“[D]eclaring unto you the testimony of God” (1 Corinthians 2:1).

Three-fold Ministry

In his epistle to the Colossians (1:28), Paul’s preaching ministry is described as three-fold: warning, teaching, and presenting.

His messages warned believers and non-believers alike of the deceptive tactics of Satan. Believers were warned of the possibility that they could lose rewards for not following Christ’s commands. All were warned of the judgment to come.

Paul teachings revealed the mystery of Christ “which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). He sought to clearly present the gospel message, establish believers in their faith, and ground each in Christ’s doctrine.

Christ tells us to seek that we may find, to knock and it shall be opened unto us. Our searching should be for eternal things because those things will last beyond this life.
Christ tells us to seek that we may find, to knock and it shall be opened unto us. Our searching should be for eternal things because those things will never see corruption.

Evangelist and Minister

Paul’s goal was to “present every man perfect in Christ Jesus” (Colossians 1:28). Not only was Paul an evangelist who preached the gospel of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, but Paul was also a minister who instructed his converts to continue in the faith and grow to maturity in Christ.

Product of His Ministry

Paul took the responsibility of his ministry seriously. He labored in preparation for the day that he would present to Christ every person to whom he had preached as a product of his ministry. His desire was that that product would be acceptable to Christ.

Every preacher, evangelist, and missionary today should take that same mindset: that the products of their ministry will be those to whom they have presented the gospel of Christ.  May those products be mature Christians who also share in Christ’s ministry.

Copyright©2017 by Peggy Clark


Join in the Conversation:

What do you find intriguing about Paul’s ministry?

Have you ever thought about being a missionary?

Paul continued his ministry while imprisoned in Rome. Should we allow obstacles to prevent us from fulfilling our calling?

How can we “remember” those who are imprisoned for their faith?

Hope Laid up in Heaven, Colossians 1

A Hope to Be Thankful For, Colossians 1

 

Paul and Timothy expressed their thankfulness for hope laid up in heaven for those in Colosse and Laodicea.

We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you.  Colossians 1:3

For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel.  Colossians 1:5

 

Hope which is laid up in heaven…

 

What was this hope that Paul and Timothy spoke of?

 

  • Hope is believing the truth of God’s Word by faith.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  Hebrews 11:1

 

  • Hope is believing that there will be a future resurrection.

And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust.  Acts 24:15

 

  • Hope is knowing that Jesus Christ was resurrected from the grave.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.  1 Peter 1:3

 

  • Hope is also believing in the soon coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.  Titus 2:13

 

  • Hope is trusting God’s Word will be performed even though we can’t see the accomplishment of it at the present.

Abraham showed this hope by placing his trust in God’s proclamation that he would be the father of many nations even though he was childless at the moment that this promise was made.

(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.

Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be.  Romans 4:17-18

 

  • Hope is also believing the truth of the gospel unto eternal life.

In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began.  Titus 1:2

Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil.  Hebrews 6:19

 

  • Hope is confidence, confirmation, affirmation, expectation, and acknowledgement.

Hope is not wishful thinking. It is placing our confidence in the One who is able to redeem our souls and resurrect us from the dead.

It is the confirmation shown by a changed life.

It is the affirmation of the Holy Spirit which indwells those who receive Christ. It is the expectation of Christ’s second coming for His own.

Hope is the acknowledgement that a place has been reserved for us in heaven. We await Christ’s coming to take us to our heavenly home to be with Him forever.

For this hope we also give thanks to God our Father.


Join in the conversation.

Are you thankful for hope?
 Are you walking in that hope daily?
How are you expressing your hope?
Are you ready to give an answer to others who ask about the hope that you have in Christ?

 

 

Peace with God

Peace with God

Do you have peace with God?
What is peace with God?
Can you have the peace of God and not have peace with God?

Peace: a settled mind, an untroubled heart toward another, not being anxious in the presence of another, safety, feeling secure, to be at one

 

For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your minds by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister. Colossians 1:19-23

Peace of God

God the Father sent Jesus Christ His Son in the flesh to die on an old rugged cross so that you and I might be reconciled to Him. That reconciliation is possible only because of Christ’s death at Calvary. When we received His gift of reconciliation, we were given the peace of God.

Peace with God

But to maintain peace with God after salvation, we must continue in the faith grounded and settled. We have been given the peace of God, but we must remain in a right relationship with God to have peace with Him.

When a man and woman join themselves in holy matrimony (a covenantal relationship), they are given the blessing of the law in that they are married and are considered as one. They have the peace of that legal relationship as they build a house, make purchases, and enter into business contracts, etc.

However, just because they are married does not mean that they will always be at peace with one another. They must maintain the relationship.

They must work at keeping a right relationship with each other. They must walk together, talk together, dream together, and share in each other’s wishes and desires.

When one spouse grows cold in the relationship, it unsettles the other. Insecure feelings creep into the relationship. Hearts become troubled. They are still married, but they are not at peace.

However, when the two renew the relationship with each other, peace ensues. Insecurity leaves and their hearts are at peace.

It is the same in our relationship with God, our hearts grow cold at times. We move away from our relationship with Him. Our hearts soon become insecure and weary.

God woos us back into a right relationship with Him.

When we allow Him to draw ourselves back to Him, our relationship is renewed. We are at peace once again with Him.

Our conscience does not bother us when we feel His presence. We enjoy hearing His voice. We long to feel Him tug at our hearts. We have communion with Him daily. That is when we have peace with God.

Is your heart troubled?

Do you have the peace of God in a covenantal relationship (salvation)? If He came for you today, would you be ready to go with Him to heaven?

Do you have peace with God?

Is it okay if He interrupts your day with His presence?

Does the preaching of the Word of God bother you about any area in your life?

Is there anything that is hindering your relationship with Him? Confess those areas to Him and allow Him to cleanse you and to renew your fellowship with Him.

Yes, you can have the peace of God and not have peace with God.

But wouldn’t you rather have the peace of God and enjoy peace with God?

 

Have you received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? If not, you can experience the peace of God when you call upon His name and receive Him into your heart. 

Seek Him while He may be found.

Call upon Him while He is near.

Receive Him and be forgiven of all your sin.

Enjoy your relationship with Him.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below.

Sovereignty of God and True Liberty

True liberty cannot be enjoyed by a people who do not recognize the sovereignty of Almighty God.

 

It is God and God alone who has absolute authority over the affairs of men.

The Institutions of Home, Church, and Government

It is God who rules in the Heavens and the Earth, who has created the Laws of Nature, and who has instituted the home, Church, and government as societal institutions under His authority.

 

“For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him.”  Colossians 1:16

 

To protect these institutions, God gave laws governing the conduct of each.

 

“Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” Genesis 2:24

“And you, be ye fruitful, and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein.” Genesis 9:7

 

Home

Mankind was to exercise dominion over the earth.

The responsibility of the institution of family is one of reproduction. The display of government in the home is also a reflection of God and His glory.

The rejection of God’s laws concerning the home is a rejection of not only God’s sovereignty but a rejection of God Himself.

 

“And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away. And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” Mark 10:5-6, 8-9

 

Church

The Church (local body of Christ) as instituted by God has also been given an important role in society.

Under God’s direction, the Church is to provide moral and spiritual guidance.

It is also to give instruction and provision for worship and fellowship.

 

“And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.” Colossians 1:18

 

In rejecting God’s sovereignty over the church, man is declaring himself to be sovereign.

The deception of a man’s heart will lead him to follow vain philosophies and traditions.

His unrealistic view of life will cause him to blame his environment, government, or other factors as the cause for the complications and consequences of his uncontrolled desires. He will not see himself as a sinner in need of a Saviour.

 

“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.” Romans 13:1-2

 

Civil Government

Not only did God institute the home and the Church, He also instituted civil government.

 

“For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.” Romans 13:4

 

Civil governments were instituted by God to restrain evil.

The law is a schoolmaster to show us clearly our sinful natures. That law is based on God’s natural laws and the laws or principles as given in His Word, the Scriptures.

God’s laws do not change according to man’s desires. They remain the same.

When man rejects God’s sovereignty in this area, he will create his own laws. Those laws will change as his desires change. He, therefore, will lose respect for present law and for those whose duty it is to implement that law.

Refusing to adhere to God’s laws, society will continue in a downward spiral. The continued lack of respect for godly authority will give way to ungodly authority and that society’s eventual downfall.

 

“But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.” Colossians 3:25

 

True Liberty

True liberty comes as we subject ourselves to the commandments of God concerning the three areas He has instituted for society.

As families follow God’s principles for the home, families will be blessed. Wives and children will be protected.

As local churches follow God’s instructions for evangelism, worship, fellowship, and guidance, families and communities will grow stronger.

As civil governments and civil servants follow God’s mandate for the implementation and obedience to God’s unchanging standard concerning good and evil, society will be safer.

 

“He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life, righteousness, and honour.” Proverbs 21:21

“And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.” Colossians 1:17

 

True liberty can be experienced by all men as they submit themselves to God’s sovereignty and divine will.

 

For further study in Colossians, a great resource is So, What's the Latest News: Messages from a Prisoner in Rome. This title is available from WestBow Press, a division of Thomas Nelson & Zondervan.
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A Great Example of the “Preacher”

The apostle Paul was and is a great example of the “preacher.”

Paul’s Focus

After hearing of the establishment of the church at Colosse, his response, as recorded in The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Colossians, was not to immediately begin making preparations for a series of sermons to be delivered, but rather his focus was on the spiritual needs of the body of Christ in order to further stabilize them and increase their knowledge and discernment of the things of God.

His first response was to get a “word” from God.

In Colossians 1, we see that the “word” he received began with a message of grace and peace. His response in seeking God continued as he did not cease to pray.

Paul’s Desire

Paul’s prayers revealed his desire for the Colossians — that they might be filled with the knowledge of [God’s] will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; and [t]hat [they] might walk worthy of the Lord.

Paul’s Duty

Paul obviously saw his main duty toward men as instructional.

He followed Christ’s example in that Christ set about training and developing disciples who would then take the gospel message to the world.

Paul was seeking to build saintly men who would further seek to train saintly men who would continue the pattern.

Paul’s Prayer

Paul’s letter to the Colossians is filled with instruction born not from Paul’s mind but from the mind of God. It was Paul’s prayer life that brought forth God’s Word that was revealed to the saints at Colosse.

The “preacher” is first and foremost to be a man of prayer.

His communication with God brings forth the “word” from God that is needful for his congregation, for it is God and God alone who knows what is in the heart of men, what message is needed to facilitate change desired by God, and Who is the only One that can give the wisdom and discernment needed to deliver that message.

When the “preacher” mounts the pulpit, his message conveys whether or not he has been in communication with God. In other words, a strong prayer life reveals the true “preacher.”

Paul’s example as a great man of prayer is the example of the “preacher” that is needful today.

Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily. Colossians 1:29


The Character of Epaphras: “The Servant of Christ”

In The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Colossians we read of a man named Epaphras. This man had traveled by unknown means to the city of Rome from the city of Colosse.

By stating unknown we are recognizing the fact that people in those days either walked or traveled by caravan long distances. However, we do not specifically know why Epaphras came to Rome. He could have come on business, been brought by Roman request, or have come particularly to seek out the apostle Paul for wisdom and direction.

Whatever his reason for coming to the capital of the empire, he did wind up face to face with the apostle during the time of Paul’s confinement.

We learn several things about Epaphras during this particular period as stated in the epistle.

A Saved Man

In Colossians 1:7 and 4:12-13 we learn that Epaphras was a saved man who served Christ.

His position in Colosse and the surrounding cities of Laodicea and Hierapolis was as a minister. Whether that was as the pastor of a church body or as a traveling evangelist or circuit preacher is of little consequence. He was definitely ministering and evangelizing the area.

A Faithful Man

The above verses also tell us that Epaphras was faithful.

Not only was he faithful to Christ, but he was faithful to those to whom he ministered. He spoke highly about the positive traits of the church.

Although by reading the Scriptures we can infer that he also spoke of conditions concerning the church. Those were spoken of only because of Epaphras’ desire for help in ministering and establishing the saints in their personal walk with the Lord.

A Positive Man

His conversation was as any minister’s should be.

He spoke of the love shown by the Colossians toward each other, their faithfulness to Jesus Christ, their reception of the gospel, and the fruit that was being displayed by the church. He also spoke highly of their love of spiritual things (Col. 1:4-8; 2:5). In no way was he negative of the members of the body of Christ where he served.

A Praying Man

We also see that Epaphras was a prayer warrior (Col. 4:12-13).

Scripture tells us that he was “always labouring fervently” in prayers. His prayers were not general; they were specific requests to God.  Those requests manifest to us his desire to see the church “stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.”

His burden is further shown by his great zeal.

It is refreshing to hear a minister speak excitedly about his congregants and the growth that is being experienced by the individual members of the body.

Epaphras’s focus was on what was right about the church.

His concerns focused on what would help the church go further in their walk with Christ. He wasted no time in gleaning from Paul instruction that would help him further his ministry to these people.

A Standing Man

Epaphras is also mentioned in Philemon 23.  Here he is described as being a “fellowprisoner.”

Was he arrested while visiting the city, arrested while ministering in Colosse and then brought forcefully to Rome, or arrested later and brought back to Rome, we do not know. We only know his stand for Christ led to his imprisonment of some sort.

The mention of his name in Paul’s letter to Philemon lets us know that Epaphras remained faithful in spite of difficult circumstances.

Faithfulness is a character trait that each of us should covet especially in these times of uncertainly. Faithfulness, service, zeal, and prayerfulness should be the description of every saint’s character.