The Letter to the Colossians (7)

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Paul as Faithful Minister of the Kingdom (Part 1) Col 1:23b-2:5
Our journey through Colossians brings us to the part in the Apostle’s letters in which he talks about himself. Here in Colossians 1, Paul does this for two reasons, one is to Enlighten the readers about his Ministry, and the second is to Embody His Message to the Colossians. Let me explain these two reasons a bit more. Read the rest of this entry »

The Letter to the Colossians (6)

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King Jesus the Founder of the Kingdom Part Two (Col 1:18-23a)
Advancing the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ in a Disorderly World:

Last month we started examining this great Christ hymn which indeed is among a special class of New Testament passages. Paul presents Jesus the King as the founder of the kingdom, and in so doing defines who we are. It is only because of Him that we are what we are. Let’s read the passage again, Read the rest of this entry »

The Letter to the Colossians (5)

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King Jesus the Founder of the Kingdom Col 1:15-17 (Part 1)   Dr A Assumang

Advancing the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ in a Disorderly World

When I last joined you in the summer, we noted that Col 1:12-14 broaches the theme of the letter. It describes the founding of the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, the kingdom that you and I belong to, and are called to advance in this disorderly world. But before Paul proceeds to explain how this advancement occurs, he describes the Founder of this kingdom in Col 1:15-23a. Let me read the whole passage first:

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Colosians (4)

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The Founding of the Kingdom Of the Lord Jesus (Col 1:12b-14)
Advancing the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ in a Disorderly World
Dr A Asumang
In most of his letters, it is Paul’s common practice that just after his introductory salutation and prayer-thanksgiving report he provides an indication of the main idea of the letter combined with a description of his personal circumstances. That exactly is what happens in Colossians 1. Here Paul’s statement of his main idea and description of circumstances stretches from 1:12b-2:7. Often what Paul does in this section is to start by first broaching the main idea, frequently neatly tagged on to his prayer-thanksgiving report, then he explains his circumstances, before he restates the main idea in a more elaborate form.
We found that format when we were going through Philippians. Phil 1:1-5 is the introduction and prayer report. In Phil 1:6 Paul briefly broaches his main idea. Then in Phil 1:7-26, he provides a long description of his circumstances, before the elaborate statement of the main idea of the letter in Phil 1:27-30. A similar thing happens in 1 Corinthians. Introduction in 1:1-3, prayer-thanksgiving report in 1:4-9, broaching of the main idea in 1:10, description of his circumstances in 1:11-17, then the full statement of the main idea in 1:18-24, “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God…”. Paul doesn’t always follow this pattern; but it is so in several of his letters. It is a similar pattern that we have here Col 1:12b-2:7. As always however there is a slight modification which gives Colossians its own unique imprint. First, Paul broaches his main idea in 1:12b-14. As we shall shortly see, this describes the Founding of the Kingdom. Instead of proceeding to describe his personal circumstances, Paul instead describes the Supremacy of Jesus in Col 1:15-23. I title that section as the Founder of the Kingdom. This is a wonderful passage. Jesus, Paul says, “is the image of the invisible God the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (1:15-17). And so it goes. Read the rest of this entry »

The Letter to Colossians (3)

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Advancing the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus in a Disorderly World

Living the Kingdom Life in a Disorderly World: (Col 1:9-12a) By Dr Annang Assumang

The last time I visited you, we reflected on Col 1:3-8 which, in the structure of the letter, constitutes the apostle’s Thanksgiving Report. We mentioned that usually, Paul’s opening Thanksgiving Reports are brief and naturally leads him to a longer Prayer Report. The Thanksgiving Report in Colossians is, as an exception, complex and long. But, as expected, it leads the apostle to Prayer. After thanking God the Father for the believers’ faith, for their love and hope, for the fruitful ministry of the word among them, for the missionary growth of the gospel all over the world, and for the successful evangelistic work of Epaphras among them. After thanking God for these six items, Paul naturally turns to prayer!
Listen to his prayer: “And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light” (Col 1:9-12).
Amen! Our focus this morning is on this prayer. Read the rest of this entry »

The Letter to Colossians (2)

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How the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Advances in a Disorderly World
Sermon on Colossians 1:3-8: Series of Expositions on Colossians
Dr Annang Asumang
The last time I was here, we started a series of expositions on Paul’s letter to the Colossians. We learnt that the theme of Colossians is Advancing the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus in a Disorderly World. In that case, Colossians is as much a letter for then as it is for now. Colossians 1 speaks about the Founding of the Kingdom, Col 2, the Fortification of the Kingdom, Col 3 the Flourishing of the Kingdom and Col 4, the Fellowship of the Kingdom.
The passage before us this morning, Col 1:3-8, is technically called a Thanksgiving Report.
Paul’s letters regularly start with four elements. The first element is a Self-introduction. So here in Col 1:1 he begins, “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother” (1:1). The second element is the Address of the Recipients – 1:2a: “To the saints and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae”. The third is a Salutation which we find in 1:2b: “Grace to you and peace from God our Father”. The fourth element, which is the Thanksgiving-prayer Report, is lacking in Galatians and Titus, but we have it here in Col 1:3-12. Often the thanksgiving is brief and naturally leads him to the longer prayer report. But here in Colossians, the thanksgiving is long and complex, stretching from Col 1:3-8, and then followed by the prayer report in Col 1:9-12 which will be our focus when God willing I join you next time. Read the rest of this entry »