Exploring God's Amazing Word
18 Bible Studies on Positive Living in Christ.
The Word is amazing in its effect upon humanity. Lives have been changed as its truths have been applied. You will be inspired to see yourself as blessed with Heaven's best. Word studies, topical studies, expository studies. How far do you want to go with God's Word? 180 pages. IN STOCK.
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Christian, you are unique!
(The first in a series of articles on "Colossal Colossians")
I believe you can live positively in a negative world. To live positively you need the positive person in your life and that is Christ. You cannot live a positive, fulfilled life without Christ. Now I say that knowing that there are many books written about positive living that will tell you otherwise, but I believe that so long as you have that empty feeling within yourself that only God can fill, you will not live a positive life. Without Him we just float down the stream of this world's ideas of living. With Him we can do all things. With Him we have fantastic possibilities. The Book of Colossians emphasizes the place of Christ in our lives. It says to us in the first eight verses, "Christian, you are unique!" You are something special and you can live a positive life in a negative world.
"Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the saints and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father" (Colossians 1:1-2 ESV).
It is interesting that Paul never went to Colossae. He did pass through the area north of the city on his third missionary journey, but as far as the Bible record is concerned he never visited the city. So he is writing to a group of people he has never met, but he has heard a lot of things about them. There is a rather interesting relationship between Ephesus and Colossae; Ephesus is on the coast and Colossae about a hundred miles inland to the east. When Paul stayed at Ephesus for two years, he said the word of God reached all Asia [Minor] and one of those cities that it reached was that of Colossae. The believer who actually took the word of God there was a man by the name of Epaphras (verse 7), who sat at Paul's feet, learned the truth, and then took it home and started what became a powerful and positive church there in Colossae, as well as starting churches in Laodicea and Hierapolis. All three cities were destroyed by an earthquake around 62 A.D. Ephesians teaches that the believer is in Christ, while Colossians teaches that Christ is in the believer. Some writers point out that one-third of verses in Colossians are similar to verses in Ephesians.
Let's go back to verse one again because you may have noticed a difference from the King James Version and a few other versions. "Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus." All the Greek texts use the form Christ Jesus in this verse, not Jesus Christ. What is the difference? Am I any different if I am called Peter Wade or if I am called Wade Peter? Sometimes computer user names have your last name first and then your Christian name or initial, but it's still you, isn't it? The difference between Christ Jesus and Jesus Christ is a difference in emphasis. (There are about a dozen titles given to Christ in the New Testament.) If Paul is an apostle of Jesus Christ, the emphasis is upon the earthly Jesus, the one who was humiliated, the one who was crucified, and who later became the risen, victorious Christ. If Paul is an apostle of Christ Jesus, then the emphasis is on the risen, victorious Christ who had been humiliated. There is a great difference between those two concepts. Do we worship the Jesus of the beard and the sandals? Do we worship the Jesus crucified on the cross? Or do we worship Christ Jesus who sits at the right hand of God in the heavenlies, the powerful, victorious, overcoming One? You have to ask yourself those questions. I worship Christ Jesus, the victorious Son of God. I'm thankful for everything Jesus did for me upon the cross, but I've found in the Bible that God carefully uses words and when He speaks of what He has done for me, it's always the victorious One who made it possible.
The Book of Colossians is written to "the saints and the faithful brothers in Christ..." (verse 2). Not all saints are faithful. A saint in Bible terms is simply a Christian believer. It is not a person who has been canonized by the church years after they have died. They are simply persons who believe in God and have accepted Christ as their Savior. There will always be saints, and there will always be faithful brothers and sisters. There are those who have just made a commitment to believe yet have gone no further. And there are those who recognize their place in the family of God, and want to maximize their potential as a child of God, and want to see the kingdom of God extended. They are the faithful brothers and sisters in Christ.
"Grace to you and peace from God our Father." If this were the only document I had about the Christian faith, what would I know about being a Christian from this? If I was living in Colossae and I had no other documents, apart from perhaps the Old Testament in the synagogue, could I tell anything from this as to who is a Christian, what is their potential, and so on. I believe we can, so let's look at it for a moment. The first thing we find (and we have already seen this in the first two verses) is that a Christian is somebody who knows that God exists, as it says in Hebrews 11:6, and that He rewards those who seek Him.
A Christian knows that God exists. A Christian is one who has faith in the invisible. We will probably never see God in this life, but He is here and He is as real to us as our spouses, our mothers and fathers, and the rest of the people that we that rub shoulders with. God is just that real to a Christian. That is an important point to recognize. We can easily forget that sometimes. We see our friends and our family so often and we have no question that they are real. We need to get to the same place of recog-nizing that God is just as real as the people we can see.
Beyond the fact that God exists to those who are "in Christ" (verse 1), He has a Father relationship to them: "God our Father" (verse 2)--notice the personal pronoun. This expression is used some 18 times in the New Testament, and what a glorious truth it reveals! The God Who made the universe, Whose Son died on the cross and was resurrected and now seated in the heavenlies, is OUR Father. We have the thrill of being in His forever family, we are truly His sons and daughters, and we have all the benefits and responsibilities our position implies. Yes, we are unique because we belong to God's family. -- Peter Wade.
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