Colossians Bible Study Now Available

The entire Colossians study, The Fullness of God in Jesus Christ, is now available on Amazon.  I was blessed to be able to complete the study while being home from school since March.  I pray that you are blessed as you complete it.

To purchase the Bible study book, click here.  The video sessions are free and available here.

Free Online Bible Study: Colossians

Several of my blog posts have been portions of the Bible study I have written on the book of Colossians.  The first week of the study has been distributed throughout several of my posts.  Beginning Monday, August 3, I will be leading a study on the book of Colossians.  The study will last for seven weeks and will take place in a Facebook group.

The study is free.  A PDF copy of the entire study will be posted in the group as well as weekly videos.  There will be occasional, optional video chats.

If you are interested in joining me for this study, click here.

 

The Fullness of God in Jesus Christ_ A Study on the Book of Colossians Written By_ Allison Amber Mitchell

The Fullness of God in Jesus Christ, Week 1, Day 5

Day 5:  Love in the Spirit

“Who also declared unto us your love in the Spirit,” Colossians 1:8, KJV.

(If you are working on writing out the book of Colossians, today might be a good day to write out verse 8.  If you are behind on your writing, do not fret.  Simply catch up when time allows.  This is not a legalistic exercise but rather a fun challenge.)

On Day 4, we discussed Epaphras and his faithfulness as a servant of Jesus Christ.  Verse 8 above continues on to say that Epaphras had told Paul and others about the love those of the Colossian church demonstrated.  How did this love come about?  The Spirit of God!

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Image via Pexels by Luis Quintero.

Romans 5 states that the Holy Spirit pours out the love of God in us.  Incidentally, Galatians 5:22 states that the fruit of the Spirit is love.  We know we belong to Christ if we have love for one another.  That is not to say that we will not waver in our love walk.  I have many times, but if we truly love God, we will make the sacrificial choice to walk in love with others despite any ill feelings we might have.  This is not hypocrisy!  Choosing to do what is right despite what you feel is walking in the Spirit rather than the flesh (Galatians 5:16).

What does Romans 15:30 state that the love of the Holy Spirit will cause one to do?  What did Paul ask the Romans to do?

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If you are having trouble demonstrating love to someone, begin to pray for them.  I am not suggesting a God bless so and so prayer, or a “bring down fire from heaven” prayer.  I am talking about a true prayer of love and concern for the well-being of the individual in question.  Of course, I realize it will be a challenge in the beginning, but after a period of time, you will begin to see your irritating person in a different light, the light of God’s love.

What does Proverbs 10:12 state that love does with offenses?

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Friends, when we seek to expose the sins of others with malicious intent, our hearts are far from the place they should be in the Lord.  Proverbs is not suggesting that we ignore sin when it keeps occurring, but we can put those offenses under the blood of Jesus.  In doing so, we are trusting the sovereignty of God to deal with negative behavior while we refuse to let that same behavior control us. Rather, we are choosing to be led by the Spirit of God because we are reminded in Romans 8:14 that those who are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God.

We talked about love on Day 3, but we did not delve into the subject too deeply.  Today, I am attempting to become more in-depth although I will never give it the attention it deserves.

No love lesson is complete without 1 Corinthians 13.  Turn there now and read verses 1-8.  Write some of love’s attributes below.

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Image via Pexels by Roven Images

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How are these attributes similar to the parts of the Spirit’s fruit in Galatians 5:22-23?

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When we walk in the love of God, we will seek the interests of others rather than our own.  Why?  We have a love for others because God has planted it in our spirits.  We also are secure in God.  We know that He will take care of us.  Since we can trust God with our welfare, we are freed up to look out for others.  What freedom!  We can rejoice in that!  Do you realize what a weight is lifted when you stop worrying about yourself?

There is not even a hint of self-righteousness as I write this. Not that I have not experienced my share of that ugly sin, but I know what it is to struggle with demonstrating love to someone who has exhausted your patience.  The Holy Spirit will give you the grace to extend even more grace to the one annoying you.  He knows when to extend mercy, and He knows when it is time to speak the truth in love.

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Image via Pixabay by Rauschenberger

Yes, love and truth go hand-in-hand.  Often, love is speaking unpleasant truth to someone.  We might have to be straight-forward and tell someone that his or her actions are causing others pain.  We might have to put some distance between ourselves and someone else.  

You might be asking how that could be love.  I can say that it is when distancing is done by the leading of the Holy Spirit.  When I distance in the flesh, it only brings harm to others or myself.  When the Holy Spirit tells you to put some distance between yourself and someone else, it is for the protection of both parties. 

Sometimes, love requires correction to be given.  If it is done in love, you will get no enjoyment from it.  We live in a culture that is adamant in avoiding offense.  While I am not suggesting that we purposely offend others, I am stating that we have to stop the facade of being politically correct, in a manner of speaking.

People are often tempted to sweep the truth under the rug to keep the peace.  When we avoid the truth to keep from being offensive, we are not walking in love.  It is the act of selfishness to allow someone with whom we are close to persist in a destructive behavior simply because we do not want to deal with it.  We are doing no favors for anyone.

In order to bring a proper balance to my words, I will say that much prayer and time in Bible study should be done before speaking the truth.  Timing is important, and our heavenly Father knows when the time is right.  We only need to follow His leading.

Look up the following scriptures and write them in your own words.

John 13:34-35 ______________________________________

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1 Corinthians 16:14 __________________________________

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Ephesians 4:2 ______________________________________

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Colossians 3:14 ____________________________________

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1 Peter 4:8 ________________________________________

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1 John 4:7-8 _______________________________________

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In closing of today’s lesson and the first week of our study, choose at least two of the above scripture references to write a prayer below asking the Lord to help you to show love in the Spirit to those who need it.

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(If you are memorizing Colossians, add verse 8 when you are comfortable with 1-7).

The Fullness of God in Jesus Christ_ A Study on the Book of Colossians Written By_ Allison Amber Mitchell

 

Week 1, Day 4 of The Fullness of God in Jesus Christ: A Study of Colossians

Day 4:  Epaphras and Other Beloved Servants

“As ye also learned of Epaphras our dear fellowservant, who is for you a faithful minister of Christ,”  Colossians 1:7, KJV.
If you are writing out the Book of Colossians, you should take a moment to write verse 7.  

Before we begin, read Colossians 1:6-7. Although we ended with verse 6 in Day 3, there is a point in the last portion of verse 6 that I want to address.  The last half of verse six states the following:  “understood the grace of God in truth.”

In context, Paul had just been speaking of the gospel and how it had spread all over Asia Minor.  The grace of God is a part of the gospel.  Grace is God’s unmerited favor.  Unmerited meaning that we did nothing to earn or deserve that.  

Another aspect of this grace that we might want to think about is the fact that we would not be saved had the Holy Spirit not drawn us.  There are many portions of the Bible in which I do not have complete understanding, but scripture is clear that we did not seek God out ourselves.  The truth is He sought us for salvation.

Look up the following verses and write them in your own words.

John 6:44 ____________________________________________

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Romans 3:11 ________________________________________

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Ephesians 2: 8-9 _____________________________________

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From time to time, we must remind ourselves that we did nothing to merit God’s favor.  He loved us before we loved Him.  I do not know about you, but thinking about God’s grace in this manner makes me even more thankful for my salvation.  I was running toward hell at break-neck speed, but He saved me. Hallelujah!

Please take what I say into proper perspective. I still had to accept Jesus as my Savior, but He drew me.  We have to be drawn by the Holy Spirit before we can truly accept Him.  Let me assure you that if someone is inquiring about salvation, it is pretty obvious that God is drawing this person. 

I also want to touch on the point of the grace of God in truth.  John 17:17 states that we are sanctified by the Word because the Word is truth.  John 14:6 reminds us that Jesus is the way, the TRUTH, and the life.  Jesus is also called the Word in John 1:1.  It is important to know that  God’s grace was given to us through Jesus Christ.  The truth about grace is that our sins are covered when we repent and ask God to forgive us.  This counts even after salvation.  However, the grace of God is not a license to live purposely sinful lives.  Romans 6 is very clear about grace and license. 

Now, we are moving on to discuss Epaphras.  Just who was this man whom Paul referred to as a faithful servant?  According to scripture and Bible history, we can glean that Epaphras was the founder of the Colossian church.  He was a close friend of Paul, and he is mentioned in Philemon 23.  Epaphras is a shortened version of Epaphroditus.  His name literally means “charming” and handsome”.  Of course, I have no idea if he truly matched up to the meaning of his name, however, I do know Paul had confidence in him.

Paul refers to Epaphras as “faithful”.  The Greek word for “faithful”  which is pistus means trustworthy and one that can be relied upon. These are the type of people we must be in order to be effective in the callings God has placed on us.

Take a moment and think about someone you know who is faithful to the work of the Lord.  He or she does not have to be someone to whom you are close, but you can still notice faithfulness.  Write this person’s name below as well as what you see in this person’s life that lets you know he or she is faithful to the Lord.

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The following scriptures mention the word “faithful”.  What do each of these say?

Matthew 25:21 ________________________________________

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1 Timothy 1:12 ________________________________________

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Ephesians 1:1 _________________________________________

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If we are remembered for anything in this life, let it be that we were faithful to the Lord  Jesus Christ.  That is a true legacy to leave to our descendants and others who know us.

Before closing, let me ask you one final question.  Who is referred to as “faithful” that is more worthy of the adjective than anyone?  If you are not sure, here are a few places you might find the answer:  Revelation 19:11, Psalm 92:2, and Psalm 36:5.  No one is more faithful than our Lord!

Paul appreciated the faithfulness of the godly people in his life.  We should appreciate the faithfulness of others, and, most of all, the faithfulness of Jesus.  Write a prayer of thankfulness below for our faithful God and other faithful people in your life.

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(If you are memorizing Colossians, you might want to add verse 7 if you are comfortable with 1-6).

 

Free Online Bible Study

Biblical Spiritual Warfare

Beginning July 6 and ending on July 17, I will be leading an online Bible study entitled Biblical Spiritual Warfare. The study is 10 days with 2 days off on July 11-12.  The study will take place in a Facebook group.  At least one Zoom meeting will be held.

If you are interested in participating, please click here.

The Fullness of God in Jesus Christ: A Study of Colossians

Here is Week 1, Day 3 of the study.  The PDF of the study will be available in August.

Day 3:  Love, Hope, and the Gospel

“Because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the word of the truth of the gospel which has come to you just as it has in the all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth,” Colossians 1:5-6, NASB.

(If you are completing the writing challenge, today would be a good day to write verses 5 and 6.)

Although I placed verses 5 and 6 above, we are going to begin in the last portion of verse 4 which reads as follows (ESV):  “the love that you have for all the saints.”  In Day 2, we discussed Paul’s commendation of the faith of these people.  Today, we will talk about their love for each other.

Look up the following verses and write them in your own words.

1 Corinthians 13:13 _______________________________________

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Romans 5:5 ______________________________________________

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John 13:35 ______________________________________________

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Although I did not ask you to look up the following verses, I am referring to them here because they complement our lessons.  Matthew 7:20 states that one can know if a person belongs to God by the fruit he or she displays.  Galatians 5:22 states that the fruit of the Spirit (Holy Spirit) is love.  

In light of Paul’s commendation to the Colossian church, it should serve as an exhortation to us as well.  How believers treat each other speaks volumes to unbelievers.  If we slander and gossip about each other and mistreat each other, the world will take notice.

Of course, that is not to say that times will not come in which we must call out false teaching or error, but even that will be done in love according to Ephesians 4:15.  If the matter is private, it needs to be addressed privately, but statements that biblical teachers make in public sometimes have to be addressed in a more open setting depending upon the capacity of the audience that particular person reaches.  

Please note that I avoid calling out names when possible, and I will not call out names during the course of this study.  I want to uplift my readers, but I do need to tell you that many saved people can teach erroneously.  Depending upon the teaching, it might need to be corrected.  More importantly, seeking the leadership and guidance of the Lord and His word will keep everything in order.

In verse 5, Paul begins to address the hope these people have.  Their hope is laid up in heaven due to having heard and received the gospel.  What is the gospel?  It is the good news of Jesus Christ.  

We are all born with a sin nature due to the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. When we reach a certain age which some refer to as the age of accountability, we become aware of right and wrong.  The sad part of this truth is that we can do nothing to overcome the sin nature on our own.  Jesus came to this earth to live as a man and die for us becoming the atoning sacrifice for our sins so we can have peace and reconciliation with God, the Father.  We must accept His atoning work on the cross and believe in His resurrection.  If you are reading this and you are not saved, please take this portion to heart.  Once you accept Jesus and confess Him with your mouth, you are saved according to the Word of God (Romans 10:9-10).

Even if you are saved, we still need the gospel.  The cross of Christ is needed everyday of our lives for the sanctification process.  We cannot overcome our sin nature without it.  Not only do you need to hear the gospel, Christian reader, you need to share the gospel with others.  Our hope is in the cross of Christ.

Look up the following scriptures and write what they say about hope.

Romans 5:5 ____________________________________________

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Romans 8:24-25 ________________________________________

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1 Corinthians 15:19 ______________________________________

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Psalm 130:5 ___________________________________________

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Our hope is in God alone.  He is the one who has saved us. He is the one who brings deliverance and help in our daily situations.  What a loving and awesome God we serve who gives all we need for this life, then, when this life ends, we have a better one coming.

When I think of the gospel, I cannot help of thinking about when I first received Christ.  I was fourteen, and I will never forget how light I felt.  Before, I felt heavy-hearted.  The weight of my sin and my need for Christ was weighing down on me.  The weight lifted when I surrendered my heart and life to Him.

My dad began facing some major health issues during my late teens and early twenties. Not too long after I was married, dad had been hospitalized, which was frequent at that time.  On this particular day, I was going to pick him up because he had been released.  I remember that I kept getting delayed as I was traveling.  I would either get every red light possible, or I would get behind what seemed like every slow driver in southern West Virginia.  

It pays us to remember that our God is sovereign. He has a plan.  Dad’s roommate at the hospital was not a Christian.  Dad shared his faith with the man and led him to saving faith in Christ.  What if I had been earlier?  Sometimes, the most irritating of circumstances could actually be working something wonderful.

How about you?  Can you think of a similar experience?  Share a time when you witnessed the salvation of someone, or a delay ended up being the hand of God at work.

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As I said before, we need the gospel.  Sometimes we need to prompt ourselves so that we are reminded of what God has done.  The Colossian church had experienced the saving power of the gospel.  How do we know?  Paul spoke of their faith and love.  Fruit always comes as a result of salvation.  It might not come as quickly as we would like, but it will come.

What do the following verses say about the gospel of Jesus Christ?

Isaiah 52:7 __________________________________________

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Romans 10:15 _______________________________________

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John 3:16-17________________________________________

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The gospel began spreading quickly after Jesus ascended into heaven.  The Apostles got busy immediately.  Paul was soon called to be an Apostle.  He started many churches throughout Asia minor. Although Paul had never met the Colossians, he was friends with Epaprus who founded the church in Colossae.  Epaprus kept Paul informed.  

So, what are we waiting for?  Let’s follow the example of Paul and others and share the good news of Jesus Christ.

(If you are memorizing the book of Colossians, today might be a good day to work on verses 4 and 5, then adding verse 6 if you become comfortable with 4 and 5.)

Spiritual Maturity

Many Christians believe themselves to be spiritually mature.  In many cases, that might be so, however, there are cases in which one might be mistaken.  The qualities that people often believe are fruit of spiritual maturity fail to meet the mark.

When speaking of a Christian who is spiritually mature, one who possesses many spiritual gifts comes to mind.  If a person does not have multiple spiritual gifts, then a mature person will operate strongly in one, according to some.

The final authority as to the definition of spiritual maturity is the Word of God.  We will now see what the Bible has to say.

Be a Doer of the Word, Not a Hearer Only

Taming the tongue
Image via Pexels by Oladimeji Ajegbile

James 1:22 tells us that we must not only hear the word of God, but we must also do what it says.  People can quote the Bible, both in and out of context.  Even Satan knows the scriptures as seen in the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness.  Knowing the Word is not enough.  Having the wisdom to apply it to our lives and live it is evidence of true spiritual maturity.

I have lived a hypocritical lifestyle in the past.  I am far from perfect now, but I strive to seek to obey the Lord.  I say this because many people live hypocritically.  If they make it to church, they certainly do not take what they learn outside the four walls.  If this is you, simply repent and ask the Lord to help you live authentically.

How Do You Treat People?

It sad to say that many people consider themselves to be spiritual yet these same people will speak harshly to the waitress in a restaurant or demonstrate impatience with the cashier at the grocery store.  Some are mean to the members of their own immediate family.  Whatever the reasons are for this attitude, going to the Lord and seeking transformation is a must.

Social media is a soap box for some Christians to air their ill feelings toward others.  I am a firm believer that social media can be used for the glory of God, but more often, it is used to bash others.  If you derive pleasure from bashing people on Facebook, in gossip, or even speaking rudely to others in person, you need a renewing of your mind.  You need to humble yourself and see that God is not pleased when any Christian mistreats someone else.

How Is Your Love Walk?

John 13:34-35 reminds us that people will know we belong to God by our love for other Christians.  The fruit of the Spirit is love (Galatians 5:22).  While spiritual gifts are wonderful and God certainly wants us to have them, they are not the fruit of who we.  The fruit of the Spirit demonstrates that we are allowing the Holy Spirit to work in us.  We will not walk in sinless perfection, but we will not be using grace as a license to sin.

Another important point to note here is that godly love is not always a feeling.  While our emotions eventually line up with the direction in which we go, we cannot rely on our feelings to tell us whether or not we are walking in love.  It is a choice to obey God and treat people right no matter what our feelings are telling us.

Taming the Tongue Image
Image via Pexels by Rawpixel.

The Bottom Line

Spiritual gifts are wonderful!  I thank God that He gives gifts to many.  His gifts and callings are without repentance according to Romans 11:29.  We should enjoy these gifts and seek God’s leading as to their use.  However, we must realize that spiritual gifts are not a mark of spiritual maturity.  Walking in the love of God and obedience to His word are both evidence of true spiritual maturity.

The Fullness of God in Jesus Christ: A Study of Colossians

In a previous blog, I gave you Week 1, Day 1 of the study I am currently writing on the book of Colossians.  Today, I am giving your Week 1, Day 2.  Weekly video sessions will be available free of charge once the study is complete.  The e-book version of this study will be free to all. I will have to charge for a paperback copy to cover printing costs. It is my hope that you will continue this study once it is published.  My goal is help people to dig into the Word of God.

 

Day 2:  The Faith of the Colossians

“We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints,”  Colossians 1:3-4 (KJV).

(If you are taking the writing challenge, you could take a moment to write out verses 3-4.)

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Image via Pexels by Luis Quintero.

I am sure that you know someone personally who has great faith in Jesus Christ.  As a matter of fact, this person’s faith simply amazes you.  No matter the challenge or adverse circumstances, he/she does not seem to lose faith. This type of faith is the result of a focus on the cross.  When I say the cross, I am speaking of the work Christ completed in His death.

It is when I think about His sufferings and death that my faith is strengthened.  Take a moment and reflect on the cross considering that what Christ endured was for you.  You and I were born with a sin nature.  In that nature, we could not stand holy and righteous before God no matter how we might strive to do so.  

Because of the cross, we are made right with God.  Because of the blood, we are cleansed from sin and regenerated.  The righteousness of Jesus Christ is given to you when you accept Jesus Christ as Savior.  The atoning work of the cross is what makes a relationship with God possible.

After you take a moment to reflect on the cross of Christ, you might notice that any wavering faith is renewed and strengthened.  In order to grow in faith, you must read and study the Word and hear the Word of God taught and preached. 

Using your favorite Bible version, write out Romans 10:17.

 

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Paul stressed that he was thankful for the faith of the Colossians.  He also mentioned that he kept them in his prayers.  Perhaps, Paul mentioned prayer because he knew that God’s people need each other.  No matter how strong one’s faith might be, prayer and the Word are essential for us all.  

Write down the name of someone whose faith encourages you along with the reason.

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I could not speak of faith without asking you to turn to Hebrews 11.  Glance over the chapter.  Not one of the people specifically mentioned in this chapter was perfect by any stretch of the imagination.  As a matter of fact, some of them made some horrendous mistakes.  However, they are mentioned as having great faith.  This fact should encourage you.  No matter what sin you might have committed, no matter how many times you have acted rashly without using wisdom, you can still have faith and build upon it.

Choose one or two of the people mentioned in Hebrews 11.  Write down the name(s) and why this person’s story encourages you.

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Let me take this moment to insert a disclaimer.  Our faith is not to be idolized.  Too many Christians have used the word faith as a reason to become carried away into false teachings and doctrines.  Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.  Faith is not a life free from trouble, poverty, or illness. 

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Image via Pixabay by Artistic Operations

Many people have erroneously convinced others that their faith was weak simply because they had problems.  This is a serious error because the Bible warns us that we will have problems.   We will also be looking at some of the problems the Colossians faced. 

What do James 1:2-4 and John 16:33 say about trials?

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It is not the lack of problems that builds faith.  God will use our problems and other adverse circumstances to help us grow in our faith and knowledge of God and His sovereignty.

Polycarp was a martyr who lived from 69 AD to 156 AD.  He turned many people away from Gnosticism which was a popular but false teaching during the time of the Colossian church.  When the church was being severely persecuted by Rome, Polycarp was sentenced to death by burning.  History states that the fire would not consume him so he was run through with a sword.  Even with death looming over him, Polycarp refused to recant of his faith in Christ.  

Looking into heroes in our day and time, Brooke Bartz is a lady who suffers greatly from severe rheumatoid arthritis and other chronic pain.  She wrote a book entitled Chronic Love:  Trusting God while Suffering with a Chronic Illness. I listened to her testimony on YouTube.  She believes that God can heal her, but she also trusts that He is sovereign over her illness.

I mention Polycarp and Brooke because the outcome is not always what we personally desire, yet, trusting God in the middle of an undesired outcome takes great faith.  Some of you who are reading this know exactly what I am talking about.  You suffer from illness or some other circumstance that has not been changed.  Just as God was with Polycarp and is with Brooke, He is with you.  He is sovereign over your situation. He will get glory.  He has not forgotten you.

We will close today’s study by reading Romans 8:28-39.  Write Romans 8:28 below.

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Paul was thankful for the faith of the Colossian believers.  I am thankful for yours.  Keep praying and studying the Word.  Keep seeking God and drawing closer to Him. Your faith has great reward.

 

The Fullness of God in Jesus Christ_ A Study on the Book of Colossians Written By_ Allison Amber Mitchell (1)Tomorrow, we will look at love, hope and the gospel.

 

Memorization:  Continue working on verses 1-2, or add 3 if you feel up to it. 

 

God’s Sovereignty and Man’s Free Will

True Christians know and understand, at least to some degree, that God is sovereign.  In other words, He is in control.  He has a plan, and His plan will not be thwarted.  However, varying degrees of belief can be found throughout various denominations and Christian circles.

The issue of God’s sovereignty becomes confusing when the free will of man is mixed into the equation.  Reformed Christians tend to hold to the view of Predestination, or Calvinism, and believe that free will does not come into the equation.  Christians who hold to Arminianist views believe that man’s free will comes into play.  A third group falls somewhere in between.

Predestination and Election vs. Free Will

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Image via Pixabay by Rauschenberger

People who hold to the view of Calvinism generally believe that God has foreordained that certain people will be redeemed and certain people will be lost.  This belief comes from the writings of John Calvin, one of the theologians from the Reformation period.

While Ephesians 1:3-5, Romans 9, and a few other verses seem to indicate truth in this belief, further study and context shows that Calvin and others are mistaken. The verses in Ephesians 1 that are in question are saying that God wanted people to be saved and redeemed before the foundation of the world.  He had foreknowledge of the fall of man in the Garden of Eden yet He created us giving us the choice of whether to accept or reject Him. Romans 9 discusses God’s choice of Israel and inclusion of the Gentiles in His plan.

Many portions of the Bible point at man’s choice.  Man’s free will does not negate God’s sovereignty.  His purposes will continue with or without our cooperation.  Galatians 5:13, John 7:17, 2 Peter 3:9, Mark 8:34, and Joshua 3:15 are a few that confirm man’s free will along with God’s sovereignty.  John 3:16 is clear proof along with 2 Peter 3:9 that God desires for all to be saved, yet, we know in His foreknowledge, He knows who will accept in Him and who will reject Him.

TULIP Acronym Vs. Arminian Beliefs

Calvinist use the TULIP acronym to explain their beliefs in what they call the doctrines of grace.  T stands for total depravity.  U stands for unconditional election.  L stands for limited atonement.  I stands for irresistible grace. P stands for perseverance of the saints.

The Arminian belief agrees with total depravity, but differs in other aspects.  The other portions of the acronym would change as follows:  conditional election, unlimited atonement, resistible grace, and falling from grace.red-purple-and-yellow-tulip-fields-69776

Some Christians hold to either Calvinist or Arminian beliefs.  Others agree with some points of Calvinsim and some points of Arminianism.  A chart is available that goes into more detail of the beliefs of each side.

What I Believe

I am not going into the details of all the teachings concerning Sovereignty and free will in this post, but I will be discussing this in a video which I will post at a later date.  However, my belief leans more toward Arminianism although I agree with some points of Calvinism.  I know and understand that God is sovereign, but I believe he gave us all free will to choose whom we will serve.  Our free will in no way negates His sovereignty.  He is God!  He is capable of giving man free will and completing His ultimate purposes.

God has no desire for any to perish.  To believe that God chooses some to be damned while saving others would negate the scriptures in which He says that whoever believes on Him would have everlasting life (John 3:16)  and whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved (Romans 10:13 and Acts 2:21).

On the flip side, I love studying the history of the Reformation period.  Martin Luther and many others revived the doctrine of Justification by Faith during a time when the Roman Catholic church dominated and taught works-based salvation. I also listen to many Calvinist ministers such as John Piper and others and have Calvinist friends. I simply do not agree with much of the Calvinist acronym.

IMG_4193The following quote is from A.W. Tozer’s book, The Knowledge of the Holy:  “The attempt to answer these questions has divided the Christian church nearly into two camps which have borne the names of two distinguished theologians, Jacobus Arminius and John Calvin.  Most Christians are content to get into one camp or the other and deny either sovereignty to God or free will to man. It appears possible, however, to reconcile these two positions without doing violence to either although the effort that follows may prove deficient to partisans of one camp or the other.  Here is my view:  God sovereignly decreed that man should be free to exercise moral choice, and man from the beginning has fulfilled that decree by making his choice between good and evil.  When he chooses to do evil, he does not thereby countervail the sovereign will of God but fulfills it, inasmuch as the eternal decree decided not which choice man should make but that he should be free to make it.  Man’s will is free because God is sovereign.  A God less than sovereign could not bestow moral freedom upon His creatures.  He would be afraid to do so.”