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Colossians Chapter 1


Memory verses for this week:   Gal 1:6  I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:

Gal 1:7  Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.


Introduction:    We begin a new study this week on the book of Colossians.

The four Prison Epistles of Paul, which include the Epistle to the Colossians, have been called the anatomy of the Church because their subjects cover all aspects of the Christian faith. In Colossians our attention is directed to the head of the body who is of course Jesus Christ. The body, the church, is secondary. Christ is the theme of this chapter, and Christian living is centered in Him.  We will be covering three important doctrines in this chapter:  The doctrine of thanksgiving, the doctrine of the person of Christ, and the doctrine of Christ. 

I.  The Introduction 

Col 1:1  Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timotheus our brother,

Col 1:2  To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 

Paul begins by introducing himself as an apostle of Jesus Christ and an associate of Timothy in the work of the Lord.  He greets the brethren with thanksgiving and prayer.

This letter was written to the saints and faithful brethren in the church of Colosse. 

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

Col 1:4  Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints,

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

Paul was a man who remembered others in prayer, and he tells them that he gave thanks to God for those who were faithful there in the church in Colosse.   It is wonderful when our love is known towards other saints.   Oh that all churches might be known for lifting up the name of Jesus Christ and showing love one to another.   These had a hope like all of us who look for the soon appearing of Jesus Christ.


1 Th 4:14  For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

1 Th 4:15  For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.

1 Th 4:16  For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

1 Th 4:17  Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

1 Th 4:18  Wherefore comfort one another with these words.


Col 1:6  Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth:

Col 1:7  As ye also learned of Epaphras our dear fellowservant, who is for you a faithful minister of Christ;

Col 1:8  Who also declared unto us your love in the Spirit. 

When the truth of the Gospel is preached, it brings forth fruits.   And that is more than just the saved souls of those who turn to the Christ, but our lives have spiritual fruit that builds up and exhorts the church.    Paul speaks of Epaphras as the one who had thought them about the Grace of God, and he is the one who has communicated their love to Paul as he is here in the Roman prison. Epaphras was a special man to Paul, as he had been converted to Christianity by Paul while preaching in Ephesus. 

The KJV Study Bible said this about fruit bearing: 

6. Which is come unto you. Present with you. In all the world. The gospel was spreading all over the Roman Empire. Bringeth forth fruit. Is bearing fruit, keeps on bearing fruit. The gospel is dynamic, and this speaks of its inner energy and transforming power. It is folly to look for fruit before there is life. “By their fruits ye shall know them” (Mt 7:20). Increasing. Growing and fruit-bearing are simultaneous. There is inward growth and outward expression. The outward extension of the gospel never stops. We read in John 12:24, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” The church must germinate or terminate; it will either evangelize or fossilize. Since the day ye heard. This fruit-bearing and growing began and it continues. Knew the grace of God in truth. The grace of God was fully apprehended and should have made them immune from Gnosticism.  [1]


II.  Paul’s Prayer for these Christians 

Col 1:9  For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;

Col 1:10  That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; 

It is important to look at some of the things Paul prays for in regards to those in the church.   He first prays that they will be filled with the knowledge of HIS will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.   That is so important that we do what God desires of us, not necessarily what we would like to do.

 1 Timothy 2:4  Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.  7 Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity. 8 I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.

And my favorite verse in the Bible:  

2 Peter 3:9  The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

Another thing he prays is that they might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing and that they might be fruitful in every good work.   And he prays that they might increase in their knowledge of God.   The more we understand God, the less the pressures and trials of this life affect us.  I’m not saying we become immune to trouble, but as we begin to understand God and know that nothing happens to us without his knowledge, we begin to realize that even the tough times have a reason.   Paul had learned this.  That is why he could say in our study of Philippians that he could be happy in whatever state he was in. The Psalmist speaks so many times of the majesty and knowledge of God.  The knowledge of God is so wonderful… who can know it?    

Rom 11:33  O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!

Rom 11:34  For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?

Rom 11:35  Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?

Rom 11:36  For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.

Hosea 4:6  My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.   

Col 1:11  Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;

Col 1:12  Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: 

Paul also prays that they might be strengthened with all might, according to God’s glorious power.   If we want power, we need to look to God.  In our own strength, we can do little.  But when we work out of the true vine as a branch, there is virtually no limit to what we may be able to accomplish.    

We should forever give praise to the Father for allowing us to be sons of God.. we are joint heirs with the Son and have an inheritance of the saints in light. 

Rom 8:14  For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

Rom 8:15  For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

Rom 8:16  The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

Rom 8:17  And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

Rom 8:18  For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 

Col 1:13  Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:

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

It is God who delivered us from the power of darkness. 

Mat 4:14  That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying,

Mat 4:15  The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles;

Mat 4:16  The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.

Mat 4:17  From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.


John 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.  21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

Man in his natural physical condition does not want to be in the light, but loves the darkness.  Only Jesus can bring us into the light. 

Acts 26:18  To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. 

Only God can translate us into the kingdom of Jesus Christ.  This happens the day we are saved and turn to Christ for Salvation.  In verse 13 the tense of the verb is past tense when it says that God “hath” translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.  Every person who is saved has found their redemption in one and one only… and that is Jesus Christ.  By his blood our sins are forgiven, by his stripes we are healed. 

Hebrews 9:22  And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.  

Isa 53:4  Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

Isa 53:5  But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

Isa 53:6  All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Isa 53:7  He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

Isa 53:8  He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.

Isa 53:9  And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.

Isa 53:10  Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.

III.  The Doctrine of Christ’s Person 

Col 1:15  Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:

Col 1:16  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:

Col 1:17  And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. 

There is no greater than God… He is eternal.  He was before all others and rules the universe.  We know that everything exists because God created it.    The word firstborn does not mean that Jesus was the first one created.  Jesus was with God in the beginning and has an eternal existence.  It simply means that he was before all creatures.  It means He is greater than all and has sovereignty over all the creation. 

John 1:1  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.


Job 38:4  Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.

Job 38:5  Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?

Job 38:6  Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof;

Job 38:7  When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?


Col 1:18  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.

Col 1:19  For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; 

By God all things were created.   While we may not comprehend it, He created all things for a purpose.  He was before all things and by Him all things are held together.   Notice this: 

1.  Creative Act was ‘by Him”

2.  Creative End was  “for Him” 

Revelation 4:11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

Hebrews 1:10   And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands:

Verses 18 and 19 speak of the pre-eminence of Jesus Christ.  He is the head of the church.  The church was created to bring honor and glory to Christ forever, and the church is God’s spiritual representative on earth. 

Ephesians 2:21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:

Jesus is the first in the resurrection.

Matthew 28:1 In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. 2 And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.  3 His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: 4 And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. 5 And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. 6 He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.

1 Corinthians 15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.

Jesus truly is first in all things.   Is he first in your life?  If not, you need to change your priorities.  He should be the first priority in every one’s life.  God caused all fulness to dwell in the son.


IV.  The Reconciling Work of Christ


Col 1:20  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.

Col 1:21  And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled.

Col 1:22  In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:

Col 1:23  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; 

The world cries out for peace, but there is no peace like the peace the soul receives when we turn to Jesus Christ for salvation.   He brought all things under subjection when He died on that cross, and nothing can be held against us.  All things have been reconciled by Jesus to God.  He is our great mediator that stands between Satan and God.  When the evil accuser comes and brings a railing accusation against us, Jesus is there to take up for us.  In verse 21 Paul tells them that Jesus has reconciled the alienated and enemies in your mind by evil works.  Only Jesus can reconcile us and bring us Holy unto God. 

I thought J. Vernon McGee’s comments were good on verse 21. 

God did not wait until we promised to scrub our faces, put on our Sunday clothes, and go to Sunday school before He agreed to do this work of reconciliation. It was while you and I were in rebellion against Him, while we were doing wicked works, that He reconciled us to Himself. No man can say, “I’m lost because God has not made adequate provision for me.” A man is lost because he wants to be lost, because he is in rebellion against God.

“That were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind.” This reminds us that there is a mental alienation from God as well as a moral alienation. A great many people think that men are lost because they have committed some terrible sin. The reason people are lost is that their minds are alienated from God. I think this explains the fierce antagonism toward God on the part of the so-called intellectuals of our day. There is an open hatred and hostility toward God.

Some time ago I had the funeral of a certain movie star out here in California. The Hollywood crowd came to the funeral. One of the television newscasters commented on the funeral, and I appreciated what he had to say about it. He said, “Today Hollywood heard something that it had never heard before.” But I also saw something there at that funeral that I had never seen before. I had never seen so much hatred in the eyes of men and women as I saw when I attempted to present Jesus Christ and to explain how wonderful He is and how He wants to save people. There is an alienation in the mind and heart of man.   [2]


V.  The Mystery of the Indwelling Christ 

Col 1:24  Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church:

Col 1:25  Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God;

Col 1:26  Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: 

This mystery has been hid from ages and generations in the past.   But during Paul’s day, the mystery was made known to the saints.  And that mystery was that Christ came and died not only for the Jews, but also for the Gentiles.  I dare say the majority of the people who hear this or read this study will be non-Jews, meaning you are a Gentile.  We live in a period today known as the ‘Age of the Gentiles.’  During this church age, we have been given a special blessing to have our eyes opened to the truth of Jesus Christ.  Most Jews today still are blinded to the truth of Jesus Christ.  But the day is soon coming when God brings salvation back to the Jews during the time of the tribulation.   We should make it clear that any man, woman, boy, or girl, can be saved by turning to Christ.  But those Jews saved during this period are like Paul who said he was born out of due time. 

1 Cor 15:6  After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.

1 Cor 15:7  After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.

1 Cor 15:8  And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.

1 Cor 15:9  For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.


Col 1:27  To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

Col 1:28  Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:

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

Because God originally chose Israel as his ‘people’ to spread His word, the Jews thought that God was partial to them and reserved salvation only to them.  But we have the record of many Gentiles being saved, even during the Old Testament time period.   Rachel the harlot is a good example.  Paul preached not only to the Jews, but to ALL men.  And because of this, God worked mightily through Paul. 

Romans 1:14 I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise. 15 So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.

Ephesians 3:20  Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,

21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.



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Prov 4:18  But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.


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