Today you should read: Colossians 1:1-14
We are diving into the book of Colossians this week! While it’s only four chapters long, it packs quite a punch. Here is a snapshot of this letter’s background:
Author: Paul & Timothy
Written To: a young church, planted by one of their disciples (Epaphras)
Date: 60-62 A.D. (around the same time as Philemon, Philippians, Ephesians), while Paul was imprisoned (often called the “prison letters”)
Theme: 1/2 Theological, 1/2 Practical
One of my favorite parts of this letter is that the mission is being carried out by a seemingly unknown leader named Epaphras. He was a disciple of Paul’s and Timothy’s. Their discipleship worked; he was making more disciples, he was perpetuating a gospel movement. You might feel like you’re relatively unknown, and you may doubt that God could use you in a significant way. DON’T. Epaphras is testimony to the fact that God knows who you are and where you are and will use you if you yield your life to Him.
I want to highlight for a moment the theme of this letter. Douglas Moo (yes, that’s an unfortunate last name), one of the world’s foremost New Testament scholars, has some great thoughts on this. As I stated above, Colossians has a really nice blend of theology and practical Christian living. Moo agrees, and emphasizes the heart-receptivity we need to have in both areas:
The letter to the Colossians is a beautiful blend of theology and practice. It combines some of the deepest and most sublime teaching about Christ with very basic instruction. As strongly as any other book in the NT, Colossians reminds us that Christ must always be preeminent in a Christian’s affections and worship. – Douglas Moo
It can be summarized this way: What you believe affects how you live. This is a mantra you hear often at Center Point. It is an echo of the great commandment: Love the Lord with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength. We drive this home in our simple mission statement: Our mission is to take everyone we meet one step closer to becoming a true disciple of Jesus Christ. A true disciple is one whose heart and mind has been gripped by Jesus. Paul contends, though, that there are even more marks of a true disciple (though they all emphasize the great commandment). Here is a flyby of his train of thought in Colossians 1:
Marks of a True Disciple:
- Has faith in Jesus (v.4)
- Loves the Church (v.4)
- Is in the Word (v.5-6)
- Submits to godly leadership (v.7-8)
- Is constantly growing (v.9-12)
- Lives with character (v.10)
- Bears fruit (v.10)
- Finds their strength in God (v.11)
- Endures trials/suffering with joy (v.11)
- Has a thankful spirit (v.12)
- Commissioned by God (v.12)
Let’s interact with this a little bit today. Here are some questions for us to discuss in the comments section below:
- What can we learn from the relationship that Paul has with Timothy, and that Paul and Timothy have with Epaphras?
- Why is mentoring/discipleship so vital for Christians?
- Go through the list above: which of these marks is most convicting/challenging to you? Why?
- Read Romans 12:9-21. What does this passage add to the discussion?
- Big picture takaway: what did you learn today? How are you going to apply this passage to your life?
Posted by: Todd Thomas