COLOSSIANS—ONLY JESUS!

An introduction by Eugene Peterson—

“Hardly anyone who hears the full story of Jesus and learns the true facts of his life and teaching, crucifixion and resurrection, walks away with a shrug of the shoulders, dismissing him as unimportant.  People ignorant of the story or misinformed about it, of course, regularly dismiss him.  But with few exceptions, the others know instinctively that they are dealing with a most remarkable greatness.”

“But it is quite common for those who consider him truly important to include others who seem to be equally important in his company—Buddha, Moses, Socrates, and Muhammad for a historical start, along with some personal favorites.  For these people, Jesus is important, but not central, his prestige is considerable, but he is not preeminent.”

The Christians in the town of Colosse, or at least some of them, seem to have been taking this line.  For them, cosmic forces of one sort or another were getting equal billing with Jesus.  Paul writes to them in an attempt to restore Jesus, the Messiah, to the CENTER of their lives.”

“The way he makes his argument is as significant as the argument he makes.  Claim for the uniqueness of Jesus are common enough.  But such claims about Jesus are frequently made with an arrogance that is completely incompatible with Jesus himself.  Sometimes the claims are enforced with violence.”

“But Paul, although unswervingly confident in the conviction that Christ occupies the center of creation and salvation without peers, is not arrogant.  And he is not violent.  He argues from a position of rooted humility.  He writes with the energies of most considerate love.  He exhibits again what Christians have come to appreciate so much in Paul—the wedding of a brilliant and uncompromising intellect with a heart that is warmly and wonderfully kind.”

As we read Paul’s letter to the Colossians, pray that Jesus Christ be the center of all our thinking.  If he is, we will learn and grow, maturing on his love because of his mercy and grace.  With Jesus in the center of our being, we will become more and more like Him in every way.  This is what is pleasing to God.

Colossians 1:1-14, The Message

1-2 I, Paul, have been sent on special assignment by Christ as part of God’s master plan. Together with my friend Timothy, I greet the Christians and stalwart followers of Christ who live in Colosse. May everything good from God our Father be yours!

Working in His Orchard

3-5 Our prayers for you are always spilling over into thanksgivings. We can’t quit thanking God our Father and Jesus our Messiah for you! We keep getting reports on your steady faith in Christ, our Jesus, and the love you continuously extend to all Christians. The lines of purpose in your lives never grow slack, tightly tied as they are to your future in heaven, kept taut by hope.

5-8 The Message is as true among you today as when you first heard it. It doesn’t diminish or weaken over time. It’s the same all over the world. The Message bears fruit and gets larger and stronger, just as it has in you. From the very first day you heard and recognized the truth of what God is doing, you’ve been hungry for more. It’s as vigorous in you now as when you learned it from our friend and close associate Epaphras. He is one reliable worker for Christ! I could always depend on him. He’s the one who told us how thoroughly love had been worked into your lives by the Spirit.

9-12 Be assured that from the first day we heard of you, we haven’t stopped praying for you, asking God to give you wise minds and spirits attuned to his will, and so acquire a thorough understanding of the ways in which God works. We pray that you’ll live well for the Master, making him proud of you as you work hard in his orchard. As you learn more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work. We pray that you’ll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us.

13-14 God rescued us from dead-end alleys and dark dungeons. He’s set us up in the kingdom of the Son he loves so much, the Son who got us out of the pit we were in, got rid of the sins we were doomed to keep repeating.

Lord,

Be the center of my life.  I lay all of my life before you right now, at this hour, in worship to the One and Only who saved, rescued and redeemed me.  Because of your work on the cross, defeating death in the grave, going to hell and back again in victory defeating the enemy, I am free from my own sins and free from self.  I am free to love like you love me without conditions, worship with abandon, all while your holy Presence walks with me.  There is no better way but you, dear Jesus.  You are Life.  You are the center of my thoughts in the quiet of this hour.  You are at the center of my being.  Continue to mature me so I will be more and more in every way like you.

In Jesus Name, For your Glory, Amen!  Yes!

And I’m singing— “In Times Like These” (George Beverly Shea)

In times like these you need a Savior
In times like these you need an anchor
Be very sure, be very sure
Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock!

This Rock is Jesus, Yes He’s the One
This Rock is Jesus, the only One
Be very sure, be very sure
Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock!

About randscallawayffm

Randy and Susan co founded Finding Focus Ministries in 2006. Their goal as former full time pastors, is to serve and provide spiritual encouragement and focus to those on the "front lines" of ministry. Extensive experience being on both sides of ministry, paid and volunteer, on the mission fields of other countries as well as the United States, helps them bring a different perspective to those who need it most. Need a lift? Call us 260 229 2276.
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