Monthly Archives: June 2018

Epistle to the Colossians

The twelfth book of the New Testament, the Epistle to the Colossians was authored by Apostle Paul during his first imprisonment in Rome (around 60 AD) and addressed the Church of Colossae. The city of Colossae was situated about 100 miles east of Ephesus in Asia Minor (present day Turkey). While of little importance at the time of this epistle, it had been at one time considerably influential. Colossae was one of   three cities (the others being Laodicia and Hierapolis) situated on the Lycus river near where it flows into the famous Meander.

The church was most likely founded by Epaphras who had been converted during Paul’s three-year ministry in Ephesus and had carried the gospel to Colossae. Though Paul never visited the young church, he nevertheless had a vital connection with them. Concerned that the church became the target of a heretical attack by false teachers who conspired to limit the greatness and authority of Jesus Christ and to limit the efficiency of redemption in Him, Epaphras visited Paul in Rome.

Paul ultimately wrote a passionate letter, encouraging Colossian Christians to remain devoted to the exalted Jesus and not to give into the pressures from false teachings and from other religions. His message remains relevant today. With the advent of the internet, social media, and news coverage 24×7, false religions are all around us, tempting us with the next “must have” technology; tolerance for extreme lifestyle options and belief system; and ministries that promise the “good life” and prosperity. Paul teaches us to tune out that “noise” and to instead focus on Jesus’ gift of salvation. Through His death and subsequent resurrection, Colossian believers and believers up to and including today are now reconciled with God. No longer bound by a law that restricts our life, each of us has an opportunity to live transformed lives. As new creations, there is no part of our life that remains untouched by Jesus’ loving and liberating rule. To be truly transformed though, we must each re-examine our suffering, our temptations to compromise, our moral character, and the dynamics of our home life and relationships.

Having assessed my own life, I am first to admit that such a transformation does not occur overnight. Reborn 8 years ago, I am still tempted to say the wrong thing on occasion; to binge-watch my favorite show on Netflix rather than vacuum or do laundry; or eat too much of a good thing when going out to one of my favorite local restaurants. There isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t ask God to help me to communicate with loved ones more lovingly or to repair a still fractured relationship. With each new day though, I feel stronger, see more progress, and find joy in knowing that in spite of my imperfections I still have yet another chance to start fresh and transform. Truly humbled, God is a loving and merciful one, offering many “second chances” to transform. I cannot think of a more beautiful gift than that of salvation and everlasting life!


I.    Introduction – greetings, thanksgiving, and prayer.

II.  Supremacy of Christ – Jesus is the true image and firstborn of our heavenly father. At the cross, Jesus reconciled man in front of God with the Holy Spirit now dwelling within us.

III. Paul’s Labor for the Church – Paul’s suffering is not a sign of defeat. Rather, it is his way of participating in Jesus’s suffering as an act of love for us.

IV. Freedom from Human Regulations through the Life of Christ – Paul encourages Christians to fully understand and appreciated who Jesus is and what He did for them. Warning them not to compromise or to turn from Jesus, he refutes false teachers and pleads with them to reject false teachers.

V.  Rules for Holy Living – As a result of Jesus’ resurrection, Christians have become a part of a new humanity that’s joined to Him.. With their lives now transformed and a part of the new humanity, Christians must serve and please Jesus alone. Their devotion to the exalted Messiah transforms their lives, their households, and every relationship.

VI.  Final Greetings and Benediction



Epistle to the Philippians

The last of four Prison Epistles, Paul wrote the letter to the Philippians as he anticipated his release from prison (AD 61 or 62). Epaphroditus, who had visited Paul in Rome (Philippians 2:25; 4:18), was to deliver the letter to the Philippians. Unfortunately, Epaphroditus took ill during his stay in Rome, delaying his return home and delivery of the letter (Philippians 2:26–27). As a result, this letter was not delivered at the same time as the other three prison letters.

While Paul’s letters to the Galatians and to the Colossians addressed issues they were struggling with, he wrote to the Philippians to express his appreciation and affection for these believers. More than any other church, Apostle Paul felt a very deep connection with the Philippians, with his affection clearly evident throughout the letter.

In this letter, Paul confirms the faith of this community, encouraging them to continue to be a living example of Christ; cautioning them against Judaizing teachers; and expressing gratitude for their Christian bounty. This letter specifically portrays Jesus Christ as a humble servant (Philippians 2:5–11), teaching this community that believers can only live in harmony by modeling the humility of Jesus Christ with one another. Offering his own life to Christ as an example, Paul expressed that he had found great joy and contentment in serving Christ in the wake of suffering. By centering their lives on Christ rather than on their struggles, Paul said that they, too, would experience true joy in their life.

This loving message, while written to the Phillipians, is intended for all believers ….today and back then. Like many, I often get caught up in the daily pace and pressures of life and find myself overlooking the many blessings God has provided me. I have a loving husband, a beautiful home, meaningful work, and a bounty of love from family and friends. Yet at times desperate to find that ever elusive joy, I seek solace in other people, other places, and at times in material possessions only to discover that none of these provide lasting joy. Taking a closer look at my life, I realize I need to shift my focus. By dwelling on life’s challenges rather than on my blessings, I am allowing those challenges steal the very joy I seek. Upon shifting my focus, I discover joy all around me in the form of God’s many blessings.

Both Apostle Paul and the Philippians knew this, saying that true joy only comes through humble faith in Jesus Christ; in fellowship with other believers; and in serving others in the name of Jesus Christ. It was a life Philippian believers came to know and is a life that remains available to all of us today.

This letter consists of four chapters:

  • Chapter 1, Paul offers up thanksgiving and prayers for the good work of grace in the Philippians; expresses his affection and prayers for them; and fortifies them against being cast down at his sufferings. Encouraging them to stay strong in spite of the suffering they may face, Paul expressed that he offered his life to Christ and stood prepared to glorify Christ whether with his life or his death. He begins this loving letter encouraging the Philippians to continue to profess and spread the gospel .
  • Chapter 2, Paul cites the benefits of believers who share the “mind of Christ”, modeling his kindness and humility of spirit and behavior. Teaching this community about the humanity of Jesus Christ. Paul cites that He laid down His glory and became a perfect human man in order to rescue and restore mankind back to a relationship with God. Paul exhorts Philippians to be living examples of Christ to the world and concludes this chapter by citing the purpose for his visit to Philippi.
  • Chapter 3, Paul cautions the Philippians against false teachers. Renouncing his own past , Paul expresses the great joy he has found in offering up his life to Christ. He encourages the church to press forward with the spreading the Gospel, citing himself as an example to other believers.
  • Chapter 4, Paul again exhorts Philippians to stand fast and to rejoice in the Lord. Instructing believers the importance of being well-grounded in prayer and thanksgiving, Paul offers praise and thanksgiving to God thanks for the many provisions they are blessed with, “my God shall supply all your needs.”

Where do you find joy in the midst of a trying circumstance?