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4. Christ in You (Colossians 1:24-2:5)

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Day One Study

Read Colossians 1:3-2:5.

  1. Now look specifically at verses 1:24-2:5.
  • Which ideas or words do you see repeated here from the previous passages (give verses)?
  • Which ideas or words do you see repeated within this passage (give verses)?
  1. When you hear the word “mystery,” what comes to mind?

Focus on the Meaning: The Greek word translated “mystery” means something “previously unknown, but now-revealed truth.” The Greeks talked much of “mysteries.” Paul takes their very word and uses it for the gospel. This contrasted with the Colossian heretics’ notion that a mystery was a secret teaching known only to an exclusive group and unknown to the masses. (The Bible Knowledge Commentary New Testament, p. 674)

  1. Looking at Paul’s reference to mystery in Colossians 1:26-27 and 2:2-3.
  • What does Paul say about God’s mystery?
  • What is the mystery now revealed?

Scriptural Insight: The mystery was not that Gentiles would be saved but how they could be ‘fellow-heirs’ (Eph. 3:6, KJV), on the same level with Jews, with no middle wall of partition between them (Eph. 2:12-14) …That God would save “Gentiles” was no new revelation (Isa. 49:6), but that He would dwell in them and deal with them—on the same basis as He did Jews—was new revelation. (Dr. Constables Notes on Colossians, p. 30)

  1. Deeper Discoveries: Look up the following verses which represent the New Testament writers’ reference to the mysteries of God. Fill out the chart following the example given.

Verse(s)

The mystery revealed

By whom?

To whom?

Example: Matthew 13:10-11

The knowledge of the secrets of the Kingdom of heaven

Jesus

The disciples

Romans 16:25-26

1 Corinthians 15:50-54

Ephesians 3:2-6

Colossians 1:25-27

Colossians 2:2-3

1 Timothy 3:16

  1. Based on the context of what you have read so far, what do you think may have been the “fine-sounding argument” (2:4) proclaimed by the false teachers at Colosse?
  2. What does Colossians 2:2-3 say about that?
  3. The gospel is public information. There are no secrets just for a few. How do Paul’s words in Colossians 1:6, 23, 26 support this?
  4. Reread Colossians 1:24. In trying to understand what Paul is saying, we know that Christ’s suffering was enough for our salvation so Paul doesn’t mean that it wasn’t. He completed His work (John 17:4, 19:30). So, Paul is not saying that we have to suffer to add to what Christ did. Let’s see what he could mean.
  • According to Acts 9:1-6, who suffers when we suffer?
  • What does 2 Corinthians 1:5-9 say about how we share in Jesus’ sufferings?
  • Now read 2 Corinthians 1:9; 13:4 and Romans 5:3-5. In what ways is suffering beneficial to you as a Christian?
  1. In Colossians 1:25, Paul talks about a commission or stewardship he received from God.
  • Read Acts 9:15-16 and 26:12-20, from whom did Paul get his commission?
  • What was the commission (stewardship) given to Paul from the first day of His faith in Christ?
  • Was suffering part of his commission?
  • Has he experienced suffering while fulfilling his commission? (Hint: from where is he writing?)
  • Has he stayed true to that commission in spite of suffering? See Colossians 1:25 again.
  1. Staying Healthy: Thinking back on any suffering that you have experienced.
  • How was that time of suffering beneficial to you or to those around you? Can you now see good that came from it?
  • If you are still struggling to see a benefit to suffering, pour out your heart to Jesus and ask Him to help you see some good in it.

Day Two Study

Read Colossians 1:24-2:5.

  1. As you read through the following verses, notice the phrases, “in Him,” “by Him,” “in Christ,” and “through Him.” What do these verses say about who you are AND what you have in Christ?
  • Romans 5:9 —
  • Romans 8:1 —
  • 1 Corinthians 1:30 —
  • 2 Corinthians 5:17 —
  • 2 Corinthians 5:21 —
  • Ephesians 1:3 —
  • Ephesians 1:13 —
  • Ephesians 2:5 —
  • Ephesians 2:10 —
  • Ephesians 3:12 —
  1. Why do you think there is so much emphasis on the phrases “in Him,” “in Christ,” and “through Him?”
  2. Deeper Discoveries (optional): Read Ephesians 1:1-2:10. Write down what you possess as a believer, or what is true of you as a believer. Personalize it. EXAMPLE: “I am a saint.” (1:1)
  3. As a believer, you are “in Christ.” According to Colossians 1:27, what is also true about you?

_________________ ______ ___________, ________ __________ ____ ____________

What could “the hope of glory” mean? Glean all of Colossians 1 plus 3:4 for your answer.

Focus on the Meaning: Your position in Christ is your: Acceptance before God, assurance of salvation, and identity. Christ’s presence in you is: Life (regeneration), power for living, the basis of a relationship with God, plus promise and hope. The Holy Spirit is called a “deposit” or “down payment” on our salvation, giving assurance of the completion of His work. (Ephesians 1:13-14)

  1. According to today’s passage, why should we proclaim Christ?
  2. Read Colossians 1:22, 29 and Philippians 1:6. The same energy working in Paul is also working in you.
  • Who enables (empowers) you to become “fully mature” in Christ?
  • What part do you have in the process of becoming “fully mature” in Christ? See all of Colossians 1:1-2:6 for your answer (give verses).
  1. Why does Christ so powerfully work in you? Review Colossians 1:10 and 23 for insight.

Think About It: The entire statement shows that through faith in Christ we can link our life with a source of strength that enables us to rise above our natural limitations. (Dr. Constables Notes on Colossians, p. 32)

  1. Staying Healthy: What difference does knowing about Christ’s power in you for your own spiritual maturity make when you are facing everyday life, a difficult day or a strenuous task? Get specific—think about events in your recent past (like yesterday!!) Remember, dependent living is recognizing your weakness and relying on His power to make you able to do whatever He gives you to do.

Think About It: “Jesus Christ laid down His life for you so that He could give His life to you so that He could live His life through you. That is the gospel! (Ian Thomas, The Saving Life of Christ))

  1. Reread Colossians 2:1-5. What does Paul want for everyone who has not met him personally (that includes you)?
  2. Considering the relationship that Paul has with this church and the main emphasis of his letter, what would be the value of believers being “united in love” (verse 2)?

Think About It: “Only a love which penetrates to the heart and wells up from the heart can sustain the sort of unity that Paul sought.” (Constables Notes on Colossians, p. 25)

  1. In what 2 specific things about the Colossian church does Paul delight (verse 5)?
  2. Thinking about what you’ve learned in this lesson, how is Paul “present” with them in spirit though absent from them physically?
  3. Staying Healthy: Meditate on Christ in you. How does that truth make you feel? How should it impact your life? What habitual attitudes and actions on your part would you like to see Christ in you change? Just say, “Lord Jesus, I can’t do ____________ (the change) on my own, but you can in me and through me. I will trust you to do that.” Then, watch what He does!

Day Three Study: TRUTH—the Prescription for Healthy Living

Dwell in Truth You Can Know

  1. Review the Colossians passage we studied in this lesson. List the truths about God and His relationship to us that we can KNOW.

Humbly Accept the “I Don’t Know or Understand”

  1. Make note of anything in the Colossians passage we studied in this lesson that you do not understand at this time.

Discern Teaching through the Complete Revelation of God’s Word

  1. Evaluate something you have read or heard in light of the TRUTH you are learning—books, social media, billboards—things that sound nice and comfy but may actually lead to or be based upon error in biblical thinking. Does anything come to mind that fits with today’s lesson? Discern truth from error using the following process.
  • Step #1: Define the terms and issues involved.
  • Step #2: Ask questions and support your answers with Scripture, looking for truth you can know and what you can’t know.
  • Step #3: Think of a graceful response to someone holding to that type of thinking.

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