Friday, April 30, 2010

An international Sunday school lesson commentary

For Sunday May 2, 2010

(Pray for one another in accordance with GOD’s will)
(Colossians 1:1-14)

Paul was imprisoned in Rome when he wrote this letter to the Colossians circa A.D. 61. Colosse was a city that he never got a chance to visit during his travels. However, he had come to know the believers who lived there, while he himself resided in Ephesus, during his second missionary journey. The Christian community in Colosse had grown considerably under the leadership of Epaphras and Archippus, whom Paul had sent to help grow the church in that city a few years earlier.
Colosse was a city within the Roman province of Asia, which is now western Turkey. It was situated in Lycus River Valley about 100 miles east of Ephesus. As early as the fifth century B.C., Colosse was known as a prosperous city, but by the start of the Christian era it had been surpassed by its two neighbors, Hierapolis and Laodicea in growth. Thereafter, Colosse continued to decline to the status of a small town, but it was able to retain some degree of importance well into the third century A.D.
Paul wrote this letter to the Colossians after learning of a new and unique heresy, which would later come to be known as “Gnosticism”, that had sprang up in the Christian community. Here in this letter, Paul incorporates his resounding theme of the trilogy of virtue, Faith, Hope, and Love, which he often used in his doctrinal epistles.
Paul believed that “Faith” is the soul looking up to GOD, “Love” is what looks out to others, and “Hope” looks forward to the future. In other words, “Faith” rests on the past works of CHRIST JESUS, “Love” works in the present, and “Hope” anticipates a future with GOD.
It is for the purpose of GOD that the Christian is called. It is by the work of the HOLY SPIRIT that a person’s heart is hallowed towards GOD. And it is by the sprinkling of the blood of CHRIST JESUS that past sins are forgiven, and we look forward to a future of obedience to GOD.
We as Christians cannot profess to have faith in GOD, and then, perpetually disobey HIS word. False teaching and false religion comes into existence when we try to reach GOD by ways in which GOD HIMSELF did not prescribe. It is one thing to recognize GOD, but it is quite another thing to obey GOD. To “believe in GOD”, is not the same thing as “believing GOD”.
Scripture makes a clear distinction between knowing about GOD, knowing HIM in a saving way through faith, and, knowing GOD in a sense of experiencing HIS presence. Paul’s prayer for the Church at Colosse reminds us, that, to know GOD in this way, we need to be able to grasp the implications of scripture for living, and then, put GOD’s word into practice.
In Colossians 1:9, the Greek phrase Paul uses in his original writings, “thelematos autou”, is translated “that which GOD has willed”. We come to know what GOD has willed by reading and studying HIS word. Knowing GOD personally and experientially begins with the objective revelation given to us in scripture.
Men ought always pray, but we must first learn what GOD’s will is for us, by reading and studying HIS word, in order that we might know how to petition within HIS will. That way, when we do pray, we are more able to pray fervent, effective prayers that only a person living in the righteousness of CHRIST can pray. And then we can be assured that GOD will always answer in the only way HE can, and that way is, “The Best Way”.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander

Larry Dell Alexander - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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