Put Off, Put On – Colossians 3:1-11 – Bible Study Notes

1. Paul is starting to focus on Christian living in this section. Why does he begin with this theological truth?

Christian living is built on this foundation. Because we know that Jesus is raised from the dead, our identification with him becomes real. The idea of being raised with Christ was introduced in 2:12. As we now see this truth, certain behaviour is appropriate to us.

The phrase ‘sitting at the right hand of God’ alludes to Psalm 110 and focuses on the sovereign rule Christ now exercises.

2. What does it mean to set our minds on things above?

The best Christian living comes from minds fixed on heaven. If our lives are hidden with Christ in God, and as Jesus is enthroned in heaven, our thoughts and hearts should be connected to heaven also. In order to seek these things, our minds must be set on them.

3. What is Paul trying to show by saying ‘Christ who is our life’?

This idea is for all believers. Elton John – music is his life or Usain Bolt – athletics is his life. For the Christian, Jesus is our life.

4. How can our understanding of v1-4 help us ‘put to death’ the things listed in v5?

These things are contrary to our identity with Jesus. He wouldn’t walk in any of these sins, and if our identity is in Him too, we won’t either.

5. Why do these sins invite the wrath of God?

The world loves this kind of sinful lifestyle and they don’t come in humility to Jesus. As they continue, it adds to their condemnation.

6. What’s the good news for the Christian?

These sins may mark a world in rebellion against God, but they are in the past tense for the Christian. The Christian should not live like the sons of disobedience. While they can occasionally mark a Christian’s life, they should not be a Christian’s walk.

7. The next list Paul gives seems like a list of ‘little’ sins. What’s the challenge Paul is giving?

Paul is challenging us to put off the old self in every area of our lives. These sins are primarily concerned with what we say. Nevertheless, silences can be just as false and misleading as any words.

8. What does it mean to ‘take off the old self with its practices’?

Paul has shown two high priorities in Christian living – sexual morality and getting along with each other in love. In Jesus, Christians are different people. When we feel compelled to do these things, we need to deal with it like an alien intruder.

9. Who is the ‘new man’ or ‘new self’?

The new man is renewed in knowledge, so is hungry to know what God says in his word.

Paul is alluding to Genesis 1:27 (God created Adam in His own image). Note that the first Adam is viewed as the old man who should be put off and thrown away, because we are now created after the image of the second Adam, Jesus Christ.

The new man is part of a family, which doesn’t favour any race, nationality, class, culture etc. It only favours Jesus, as Christ is all and in all. All the barriers have been broken down.

Pray that we would put sin to death and to put on our new self so that we live with our identity in Jesus.

The Preeminence of Christ – Colossians 1:15-23 – Bible Study Notes

In 1:1-14 we looked at how we can grow in our understanding of the gospel and how that helps us to live a life that pleases God, which in turn helps us increase in the knowledge of God.

Read 1:15-23.

Q1-5 are suggested as a way for your group to observe the passage. You may need to adapt them to suit your group.

1. Underline all verbs and draw boxes around connecting words.

2. Highlight anything that’s repeated and circle any key words or phrases.

3. Choose a category for each connecting word: comparison, contrast, purpose, cause, explanation, consequence or condition.

4. List the key themes you see in the passage (all things / creation / gospel / firstborn).

5. From doing this, have you noticed anything about this passage that you hadn’t before?

6. What do we learn about creation? Why does Paul repeat the phrase ‘all things’ (v15-17)?

All things were created through Jesus and for him. He holds everything together (sovereignty). He is the firstborn over all creation and from among the dead.

7. What does it mean for us that Jesus is the head of the church (v18-20)?

He has a personal relationship with us and is at the forefront of everything we do as a church.

8. How does Paul describe what we were like?

Alienated, hostile, evil.

9. Why is reconciliation so important?

We are presented holy and blameless.

10. What are the implications of v22-23? How does being ‘reconciled’ make you feel?

It’s a conditional statement. We are called to stand firm in the faith and not to stray from the hope we have in the gospel.

11. Why has Paul said all of this? Why has he gone into so much detail about Jesus?

Follows on from the previous paragraph. By explaining Christ’s qualities, we learn how we have redemption through him. It helps us to understand Jesus better.

12. Discuss how this passage encourages or challenges you and pray.

The Content of Prayer – Colossians 1:3-20 – Sermon Notes

Pray that we would be utterly pleasing to Christ

Paul continually and faithfully prays for a church that he has had no personal involvement with. We should do the same. Nothing wrong with praying for health, jobs etc. There’s a problem if that’s all we pray for. It’s important we don’t lose sight of what God wants for us, a life that’s pleasing to him. We first need to know God’s will. Paul knew that so that’s what he asked for.

Pray that we would be utterly pleasing to Christ through a thorough knowledge of God’s will

The Bible talks about God’s will as something we can know. It’s something God has made it known to us – he has revealed his will. And the Bible says a lot about what God’s revealed will is. It’s that we should hear and believe the gospel (Ephesians 1). That involves the work of the Holy Spirit, giving us wisdom and understanding.

God wants us to be forgiven, redeemed, brought back to him, to come into his son’s kingdom. We need to keep trusting. Keep understanding. Keep growing in our knowledge of God’s will. By doing this, we will be transformed in our attitudes. It should change the way we relate to him and the way we relate to the world.

He prays that we would be utterly pleasing to Christ through a thorough knowledge of God’s will with lives that bear the hallmarks of genuine faith

Paul expects us to be fruitful. Jesus expected a similar sort of fruitfulness from his followers. We should produce fruit that shows people we are connected to Jesus. He humbled himself for our sake. He entered into our would and shed his blood for us on the cross. He did this to reconcile us to him. It was at his own cost that he rescued us from darkness and brought us into his kingdom of light. We should pray that we’ll reflect his characteristics better.

We need to know what he values. As we ask God to fill us with the knowledge of his will, as the Spirit makes us wise and helps us understand the Bible, we will get to know him better. We’ll have more resolve to persevere with him. We’ll be less easily distracted by other things. We’ll become more and more convinced of God’s greatness.

Reflecting on this should bring us joy. When we really understand the glory of the gospel we will be filled with gratitude that will overflow in thanksgiving and joy.

By Whom All Things Were Made – Colossians 1:15-17 – Sermon Notes

The people who wrote the Nicene Creed wanted us to take these verses seriously.

All things are made by Christ – so he can save you

Everything was created ‘in’ the Son. Paul wants to make clear that Jesus is actively involved in every aspect of creation. If you look upon the sun, you see the very image of the invisible God. The miracles Jesus did were God’s. Calling Jesus the firstborn means he inherits everything. The universe belongs to him. Why should Jesus get everything? He is essential to the creation of everything.

Things we can see and things we can’t were made by him. He is God. Paul isn’t talking about how the world was made. He is talking about the who of creation. Jesus really is the boss. If you put your trust in Jesus, that’s enough. He’s the creator and sustainer of the entire universe.

All things are made for Christ – so salvation equals worship

The universe is built like an F1 car and not like a VW Golf. It was made for one driver. Jesus. The universe has got a purpose. It’s got a direction. It’s a bit more like a train. It’s got a destination you can’t change. Am I on board with that or not? Will you have him as your king? We’re less comfortable with the idea that the universe was made for Jesus. No exceptions. Everything in your life was made for Jesus. Your job is for Jesus. The world we live in wasn’t made for us. We are not the purpose. When we try and get in the driving seat, we don’t fit.

We need to recognise we are here for his glory and not our own. Jesus is well capable of restoring everything.

Victory – Colossians 2:6-23 – Sermon Notes

The Bible doesn’t present the cross as a defeat and the resurrection as a victory. It presents them as one complete victory.

The cross is a victory over Satan

Satan has had power since Adam and Eve. Paul was talking about the forces of evil. It’s clear that Jesus’ enemy is the evil one. Anyone can come to faith through Jesus. Satan’s grip is cut. The idea of the victory is seen throughout the Bible.

This victory is explained throughout the Bible

It’s predicted – see Genesis 3:14-15 and Isaiah 9:1-7. Jesus’ victory begins at the start of his ministry – see Luke 4:1-13; 10:18-20. The real victory is to do with people’s names bring written in heaven. See Colossians 2:14-15. The victory is confirmed – see Ephesians 1:19b-21. Then extended. See Colossians 1:13. It will be completed at his return. See Revelation 20:10.

The cross is a victory because it is a propitiation

It’s only a victory over Satan because it’s the place where Jesus paid the penalty for our sin. Paul shows us that Jesus has brought about forgiveness of sins. He has brought Christians from death to life. We have been reborn. He disarmed the powers of evil. The problem was that the law was opposed to you. As Jesus died, the law was cancelled for anyone who believes in him. At the same time, he disarmed the powers and authorities. Satan can’t use God’s law to accuse you.

We live free from Satan’s accusation

Satan can no longer be the accuser. We don’t have to obey religious rules anymore. They don’t make you good. Ever. Christian living is reflecting in your behaviour Jesus changing you as a result of what he did on the cross.

Cosmic Reconciliation – Colossians 1:15-20 – Sermon Notes

We need the reassurance that Christ is big enough and interested enough in our lives.

The Colossians were tempted to think they needed extra stuff.

The phrase ‘all things’ crops up a lot. Everything owes its existence to Jesus. He is interested in the whole of reality. The creation which is now groaning under the curse will be reconciled to Jesus.

Jesus can only be a sufficient saviour if he is the supreme Lord. He’s powerful enough to defeat enemies. We are their number one target. Jesus is the sufficient saviour for all we face. He is the creator of everything and is the head of the church. Wherever we go, he follows.

He also loves us intimately and will never let us go. How does Jesus intervene? He makes peace through his blood shed on the cross.

Is it personal forgiveness? Yes. Everything is under the blood. We have peace with God. The death of Jesus is never less than personal forgiveness but it’s always more.

1 Thessalonians 4:13. The church has an eternal future. Jesus is committed to humans forever. The new creation will be physical.

This is the rich fulfilment of the OT picture where God’s people will enter a new earth.

This great hope is the motivation to live lives that please the Lord. In the light of who we are, the motivation is to be a Christian in all we do.

Do everything as unto the Lord. Nothing is wasted. We should be concerned with all aspects of the world.

He invites us to live well in the light of the glorious future.