Speak the Mystery of Christ

There are many “religious” acts, that are done in the name of God. This “religion” is defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary as any kind of “A cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith” and Paul describes these as “human commandments and teachings in Colossians 2:22 that have an “appearance of wisdom” but they in Colossians 2:23 “do not have any value against the indulgence of the flesh”. These things Paul says in Colossians 2:17 “are a shadow of what is to come, but the reality is Christ” so Paul goes on to say, in Colossians 3:16 “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another with all wisdom, with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God”. There is a world that needs to know the love of God and we that know “the reality is Christ” are to “speak the mystery of Christ” in Colossians 4:3 and in Colossians 4:5–6 “Live with wisdom toward those outside, making the most of the time. 6 Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how it is necessary for you to answer each one”.

In Him All the Fullness of Deity Dwells Bodily

Colossians 2:6–15

An Appearance of Wisdom in Self-Made Religion

Colossians 2:16–23

What does it mean to be religious? According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, it is:

  • The service and worship of God or the supernatural
  • Commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance
  • A personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices
  • A cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith

It is only the first of these that even mentions God and as it does, it includes God as if He were the same as anything else supernatural we might think about.

It is this kind of association of “the service and worship of God” with a cause, a commitment, attitudes, and beliefs which can all represent any kind of thinking or behavior that is the heart of the word “religion”. Paul list some of these “religious” ideas, these man-made rules about what to eat or how to eat it or what to drink or not to drink or a feast or other special days that are somehow more holy than others in

Colossians 2:16 (LEB) “Therefore do not let anyone judge you with reference to eating or drinking or participation in a feast or a new moon or a Sabbath”

Of these things Paul says, they are a shadow in

Colossians 2:17 (LEB) “which are a shadow of what is to come, but the reality is Christ”

If those religious behaviors and acts are only a shadow and “the reality is Christ”, then what does true religion, “the reality”, “Christ” look like? It is none of these things and Paul cautions saying in

Colossians 2:18 (LEB) “Let no one condemn you, taking pleasure in humility and the worship of angels, going into detail about the things which he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind”

These “human commandments and teachings in Colossians 2:22 seem like wisdom, but have no value, no ability to help us with the real problem in life, our flesh as Paul says in

Colossians 2:23 (LEB) “which things although they have, to be sure, an appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and humility and unsparing treatment of the body, do not have any value against the indulgence of the flesh.

Christ is Seated at the Right Hand of God

Colossians 3:1–4

Christ is Seated at the Right Hand of God

Colossians 3:1–4

Put On the New Man

Colossians 3:5–11

Let the Word of Christ Dwell in You Richly

Colossians 3:12–17

How is it that we become the people that God desires us to be? Do we know what those people look like? Jesus made it clear that it wasn’t the wealth of the world when he answered the rich young ruler in

Matthew 19:21 (LEB) ‘Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give the proceeds to the poor—and you will have treasure in heaven—and come, follow me.” ’

but it also wasn’t that we were to vow poverty and have nothing we need for life because he commended the Samaritan who cared and paid the bill for a stranger in

Luke 10:35 (LEB) ‘And on the next day, he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, and said, “Take care of him, and whatever you spend in addition, I will repay to you when I return” ’

So what is it that makes us the people God wants us to be? It isn’t just one thing and try as they might, the Jews could not fulfill the law and here Paul give us a good starting point in

Colossians 3:16 (LEB) “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another with all wisdom, with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God”

It is good for us to read what Jesus said and live by His words which have the power to change us. Paul doesn’t stop with us reading and pondering the words of Christ, he also says that we are to “put on” these behaviors which are very much the fruit of the Holy Spirit who is our teacher and comforter and advocate in

Colossians 3:12 (LEB) “Therefore, as the chosen of God, holy and dearly loved, put on affection, compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience”

We might convince ourselves that we have these attributes operating in us in abundance but then Paul says in

Colossians 3:13 (LEB) “putting up with one another and forgiving one another. If anyone should have a complaint against anyone, just as also the Lord forgave you, thus also you do the same”

This is the true test of our Christianity, can we “put up with”, can we “forgive” and still move forward with the plan and purpose God has for us and for our congregation? There is a bond that is necessary to hold us together and that is love, not the Hallmark pretty words kind, but the God kind that proves itself with thankless action that doesn’t grumble but remains thankful to the Lord in

Colossians 3:14–15 (LEB) “And to all these things add love, which is the bond of perfection. 15 And the peace of Christ must rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body, and be thankful”

From the Lord You Will Receive the Reward

Colossians 3:18–4:1

Speak the Mystery of Christ

Colossians 4:2–6

We that believe the gospel of Jesus Christ have a great gift, our eternal salvation, our future home and place with Him in heaven. There is a world of people around us that don’t yet know the love of God so Paul encourages them in

Colossians 4:5–6 (LEB) “Live with wisdom toward those outside, making the most of the time. 6 Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how it is necessary for you to answer each one”.

It is right for us to consider our ways, our thoughts, and learn as we can, how best to approach those around us. It is also right though, that we don’t know who is ready and when they will receive so Paul also encourages them in

Colossians 4:2–4 (LEB) Be devoted to prayer, keeping alert in it with thanksgiving, 3 praying at the same time for us also, that God may open for us a door of the message, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which also I am a prisoner, 4 so that I may reveal it, as it is necessary for me to speak”.

There are those that will listen to us and there are those that will hear through another, it is for us to pray always for laborers in God’s harvest field for our generation and “that God may open for us a door”.

Study Verses

Today’s Reading

  • Colossians 2:6-23
  • Colossians 3:1-18
  • Colossians 4:1-6

Luke 5:4–11
And when he stopped speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” And Simon answered and said, “Master, although we worked hard through the whole night, we caught nothing. But at your word I will let down the nets.” And when they did this, they caught a very large number of fish, and their nets began to tear. And they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both the boats so that they began to sink. And when he saw it, Simon Peter fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, Lord, because I am a sinful man!” For amazement had seized him and all those who were with him at the catch of fish that they had caught, and so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were business partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid! From now on you will be catching people!” And after they brought their boats to the land, they left everything and followed him.
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