THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT

PROGRAM AIR DATE 6-15-03

LESSON TITLE: PAUL'S LETTER TO THE COLOSSIANS: "CHAPTER 4- BEING PREPARED IN OUR SERVICE TO GOD"

WELCOME

Thank you for joining us this morning, let me welcome you to the program. The Living Word is a work of our Lord, dedicated to doing God's Will in His Way! As always, it will be our privilege today to sing songs of praise and to study from His Word. In these acts of worship, may we all be encouraged, but ultimately may we each praise God according to the sacrifices to offer toward His Throne. It will also be our honor this morning to speak with God through prayer. Will you bow with me as we talk to our creator?

(PRAYER)

It's now time to start our songs of praise. We want to begin by singing a hymn that reminds us of the great privilege we have of being purified by God and accepted no matter who we are. How wonderful it is to know that through God we can be made clean if we are willing to repent and do our part. So, won't you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together, "Just As I Am!"

(SONG # 1)

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

In the religious world today, I think many often forget just why Jesus came to this earth! This is very evident in the fact that many seem to always talk primarily about our savior, yet they forget the facts as to why our savior really was doing what He did!

I remember even as a young boy, Jesus already had His head on straight about who He was and what He was to be doing. Do you remember what He even told His mother in Luke 2:49. There Jesus said, "...I must be about My Father's business?" Did you catch that, Jesus was busy with God the Father's work, not His own. Notice this same idea being relayed in John 5:30, where Jesus in His own words clarifies what His ministry was all about. There he said, "I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me. You see Jesus did not come to do His own thing or to control according to what He wanted or His own will. Rather what Jesus was all about was God the Father! One other point I would like to make in relationship to these things is that although Jesus was here to do the work of His Father, He was still considered as God's Son, and thus deity. For example, in John 1:1, we read that Jesus was in the beginning with God, and He was God! In John 3:16, Jesus is proclaimed the Son of God, who died to save the lost of this world. And further in Philippians 2, the inspired Paul confirms for us all that we have discussed thus far, that Jesus is the Christ, yet He was also God in the flesh. Beginning in verse 5 it says, "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, "who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name."

So just how well do you know your Jesus? I might further ask, just how well do you know that Father, in whom Jesus came to serve and accomplish His will according to His Father's good pleasure. Let's also remember how blessed we are to have both a Father and His Son who cared enough to fulfill their respective parts to see that we have the hope and promises that we do today. How well do you know your Creator? Maybe it's time you spent more time getting to know Him more clearly!

In just a few minutes it will be time to begin our main study of the day. This morning, we will be concluding our study on "Paul's Letter To The Colossians." Our specific lesson of the morning will cover, "Chapter 4: Being prepared in our Service to God." So please stay with us and after our next song, I will be leading us in this important study from God's Word. Now let's again join in song together, as we sing the hymn, "No One Ever Cared For Me Like Jesus!"

(SONG # 2)

LESSON:

Speaker: Ray Sullins

It's going to be great to conclude our study today on the book of Colossians. We've been looking together again at Paul's great letter here, an encouraging letter, a letter about Christ and His church and about the life of a child of God to those Christians at Colossae who were assembling there very faithfully on a regular basis to accomplish those good and wondrous things of Jesus Christ as commanded to them through the inspired men, the apostles of that day, those given the authority by Christ after He had left through the Holy Spirit who eventually recorded for us and gave us the authority through the Word of God that they wrote with the help of the Holy Spirit so that we might know those things as well that God desires of each and every one of us.

We've seen so far in this study a lot as I've already mentioned in relationship to the church. Chapter 1 dealt a lot with Jesus, His Lordship and how that He certainly is the King of His church. He's the head of it and how that as He is the preeminent one sent by the Father Himself, we are taken out of the dark world and put into that kingdom and given a chance to be pure and holy and righteous as God is.

The second chapter deals a lot with putting away those things that were old and really more specifically focusing in that chapter about putting away the old law, the Old Testament. Many of the Jews of that day were still caught up desiring to follow the things of old and certainly that was not God's plan. He had replaced the old law as we even read in that chapter, chapter 2:14 by the old law. The old law was nailed to the cross and it was replaced by the new law, the new covenant, founded in the blood of Jesus Christ. What better sacrifice could be made than the very blood of Jesus Christ the Son of God being shed to seal with His blood that covenant between us and the Father again in the new law.

In chapter 3 last week we were able to look even further into the concept of the old and new ideas, the old man more specifically in our own daily lives and how that we must put away and have put away as New Testament Christians that old man and all those works or actions of the flesh. They die and they are put into a watery grave and as we rise or are resurrected as Christ was resurrected from the watery grave of baptism, we are considered as new creatures. He also mentioned there in chapter 3 about the need to put away those attitudes that were wrong and to rather put on that which is more godly, that which is more righteous such as tenderness and kindness and love and joy. All of these good and wholesome things that God would be like. In fact, in the first verse of that chapter where he says, "Set our minds on things above where God is." Well that's what he's saying. Put on good and godly and wholesome things and put away the old. In fact, he's actually saying, "You've already put that old man away, so leave him there. Leave him dead and don't bring him up again or allow him to somehow interfere in what you should be doing." In all things," he summed up there in verse 17 of chapter 3, "we must be doing what God has asked in word and deed in the name of Jesus Christ," or by the authority of Jesus Christ, and that authority ultimately being again the Word that He has left us.

Then finally we looked in that chapter even at the authority or really positions of husbands and wives and how they mutually submit one to another as again Ephesians chapter 5 confirms for us. We looked at the role of children and obeying their parents and parents really not provoking their children as we again see there in the same place over in Ephesians but in chapter 6 verses 1 and 2.

But now also we see another concept that has directly gone into in that same chapter of Ephesians where it talks about masters and servants and I really wanted to pick up here this morning because we left off last week. I wanted to pick up here because really this is where chapter 4 begins in this concept of really the master and servant relationship. So let's look at that together beginning in verse 22 as it says there, "Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh not with eye service as men pleasers but in the sincere heart or with sincerity of heart," there it says, "fearing God."

So certainly here a bondservant, that means one that was owned. That means actually in that day and time a slave, someone who had been purchased with a price. A bond had been paid. Something had been set forth to own that individual and therefore they were required to obey the master. He says here to obey the master if you were a child of God and even if you are a slave, obey him and not just in an eye service or a lip service but do it from the heart, fearing God, doing it so that he might see God in you. And certainly again, I think what this is showing is that no matter where we may be, whether we're parents or children or masters or servants or slaves, no matter what part of life, when we put away the old we live for the new. And people see Jesus in us no matter who we are or what situation we're in, whether it's a good situation or a bad situation. Guess what. People still see joy and happiness and Christ in us. I believe that's again what he's saying here.

Then he says basically as we have even seen in that same chapter that "whatever we do must be done by the authority of Jesus or in the name of Jesus." He in this verse clarifies, that is verse 23 that "we must do whatever we do heartily." I like that there that concept where it says, "whatever you do have energy. Be excited about it. Do what God has asked you to do and do it to your best. Do it with excitement and zeal and enthusiasm. Do it heartily and allow people to see through your actions and your energy that you're all about God, all about Christ." So "do it heartily," as he says here, "as to the Lord and not to men." We see many depictions of this throughout scripture. Matthew 25, Jesus Himself was saying that whenever we do something, whenever we do something to another individual, guess what. We're doing it to the Lord. Here again, He says, "Do whatever you do heartily to all men." Why? Because when you do it, you're doing it to God. In other words, it's the same. If you do bad to others, it's as if you're doing bad to God even if they're not followers of God, even if it's someone of the world. If we do bad things against them, when we say ugly things to them, it's as if we're doing it to God. Why? Because in all things, guess what again? We are to be those that put on Christ, have been resurrected with Him, the new man, the new creature. Whatever we do has to exemplify Christ and that's the summation at the end of the day. It's all about God. It's all about being Christ-like and serving Him and doing our best to show that we love Him.

And why should we do it? Well verse 24 says why. It says that "when we do it we'll receive the reward, the inheritance." Now what better reason do we have than to know that not only we'll receive blessings on this earth, physical and spiritual blessings as have been promised through the Word, but we'll receive the great promise of eternal life in heaven. So why should we live this way? Why should we be good and do good no matter what and no matter who we are and no matter what we have, no matter what the situation? Because we will receive the reward. We will be blessed for our service to Christ.

Then verse 25 gives a warning. He says, "But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done and there is no partiality." In other words, if you do good, you will receive good. If you do bad, you'll receive bad. That's a pretty simple concept, isn't it? A pretty simple law that is really shown throughout the New Testament that the good receive good and the bad receive bad. That basically is what God also has promised according to His Will. He first says, "Here's what I want you to do. If you do it, you're blessed. You've done good and you'll be given all that you have been promised and you'll receive the reward of heaven. But if you do bad, you're going to receive and reap according to that badness."

But now in chapter 4 and verse 1, he continues these thoughts. And in verse 1 actually again goes back to the masters and he says, "Masters, give your bondservants what is just and fair knowing that you also have a master in heaven." Now he turns it around. He says that not just slaves as we looked at at the end of chapter 3, but also the master has a requirement, an obligation to live as he should. What does this tell us about the church of the New Testament? It tells us that we had parents in the church in the New Testament. We had those who were children who were in the church in the New Testament. We had those who were slaves in the church in the New Testament. We had those who were masters and owned slaves in the church of the New Testament. So thus when we look at verse 1 and it says, "Masters," brethren as he's talking to the Colossians, "Masters do good to your laborers, your servants, your slaves. Treat them right. Care for them." In fact, I like how he specifies it here because he says, "Do what is just and fair." Don't just do what you can get away with but do what you need to do for their welfare and their care and their families and really show them the love of Christ once again. So whether you're a slave obeying someone over you or whether you're over others, who own slaves, treat them as you would want to be treated. The golden rule. A simple concept, Matthew 7 and verse 12. An idea that Jesus permeates throughout the New Testament and again here no matter what individual we are or where we live or what we do or where we're from or what occupation or what place in life, he says to be like Christ. Live like Christ and show through every action no matter who you are or what position you have that certainly Christ is in you and you're going to act as you need to act.

Then in verse 2, we have brought in a beautiful concept that really is important to those who want to live like Christ and that is prayer. He first of all states there in verse 2 that he really is continually and earnestly in prayer and being vigilant with thanksgiving. He says, "Be a prayerful people. Continue earnestly in it without ceasing," as it says over in 1 Thessalonians 5 and verses 16 and 17, "rejoicing in the Lord and then do it always and then pray without ceasing focusing on God, speaking to Him, communicating to Him," as we have that opportunity through prayer. But he says, "Also meantime," he says, "pray for others also." He says, "Don't just pray about your own needs or thank God," as we have here clarified that a part of prayer is thanksgiving. He says, "Don't just ask God what you need and thank Him," but he says, "also pray for us." And he says, "Pray for us so that God may open the doors for the Word to speak the mystery of Christ for which I am also in chains." He say, "As I am sitting here in prison," in bondage in a sense, he says that "I sit here and ask God to give me the opportunity to serve Him even more and more greatly in these chains, allow someone to be brought to me or for me to be in a position to affect someone and bring them to the fold of God. So pray towards that end, for yourself thanking God for your own supplications, but also for us that we might be successful to do even more for God even in our sufferings," and presently as he was most likely under house arrest. And then why? Because in verse 5 he says, "Walk in wisdom. Walk there in wisdom. Walking in the wisdom that we talked about back in the book of Ephesians, in the book of Philippians. We've talked about the walking of wisdom and walking in wisdom according to the Word of God and those things that are righteous and above and holy and where God is in heaven. He says here, "Walk in wisdom, redeeming the time, doing what is good unto God and thus let your speech be always as it should be."

We look in Ephesians 5 and 29 and the concept of really being those who don't let corrupt things come out of our mouth, but only those things good for the hearers. But here he says to "let your words and your voice be seasoned with salt." Let it do good and affect things for the positive in order that we might be able to give an answer just as is found over in 1 Peter 3:15, "Always give an answer in a good way for that hope that lies in us with meekness and fear."

We finally see there in chapter 4 the ending of the book where he mentions several beloved individuals, Tychicus. We have mentioned there in verse 9 a man named Onesimus. We have a book in the New Testament written to Philemon. This is the slave of Philemon here who evidently at this time was with Paul, a faithful brother, a beloved brother. Aristarchus is mentioned there in verse 10. Mark, again the cousin of Barnabus that we saw earlier did not make it on the missionary journey. He also mentions Justus in verse 11. Again in verse 12, he says Epaphrus. Then in verse 14, "Luke, the beloved physician and Demas greet you." So Luke was evidently was as well with Paul at this time and all of these individuals. We see a continuous love and really a personal touch to the letter here, to the Colossian brethren showing that truly the writer here, Paul, knew exactly who the readers were. He not only sends them greetings from those with him but he greets specific people who would be there and mentions to them how much that he loves them and salutes them and cares for them and his chains.

Why not learn the great lessons of Colossians and be those who learn not only who God is but how to serve Him, how to be new creatures in Jesus and do all that we can do everyday to exemplify in our lives, in our words, in all that we do that we are not only servants of Jesus Christ but slaves but doing all that we can do to be seen by our fellow man as faithful and therefore receiving the great reward from our God in heaven?

(SONG # 3 - "Paradise Valley!")

CLOSING COMMENTS

Thank you again for choosing to be with us today, in giving this time to God. What a blessing it has been to share this time together in Christ. We invite you back every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this service of God!

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May we all take more time to prepare ourselves better, and thus to be more effective in the service of our God. In what better way can we truly give God the glory!

(Program closing)