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Tuesday, August 22nd, 2023

Scripture: Col. 1:3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you,

Col. 1:4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints,

Col. 1:5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel,

Col. 1:6 which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth,

Col. 1:7 just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on yourbehalf

Col. 1:8 and has made known to us your love in the Spirit.”

Teaching: In the last two weeks, we discussed how Paul is opening his letter to the Colossians and what we see today is that he is already setting up the major arguments he will make throughout the letter against the false teachers amongst the Colossians. Reading ahead, we will see how Paul emphasizes the preeminence of Christ as the foundation of his arguments. Building towards that here, we see him emphasize that the Gospel they first heard from Epaphrus is the same gospel that is bearing fruit around the world. What they heard and received in faith from Epaphrus was not unique to Colossae. Why is this so key to establish at the outset of this letter? Because false teachers thrive when they can convince listeners that what they originally heard was either wrong or incomplete; it is the “what you have is OK, but what I have to tell you is greater” type argument. It can also take the form of “levels” of knowledge, where one can become more saved by means of knowing more, or knowing of a secret kind of knowledge. This is known as Gnosticism and was a heresy that Paul and other early church leaders fought against. In today’s world, there are religions that cling to this kind of salvation, one achieved by greater levels of knowledge. Between verses 4-8, Paul makes clear that the Gospel of Jesus Christ that came to them, that has caused the fruit of the Spirit to blossom and love for one another to grow in Christ, is the same as in the entire world. They heard it then, and it is continuing to have its effect on each of them just as it did on the first day. Their Gospel is not unique to them, just as it is not unique to anyone else. Additionally, they do not have anything to add to it; what they received in the first hearing of it is enough.

Takeaway: Jesus Christ is the bread of life and He does not require special condiments or dressings. When we submit ourselves to false teaching, such as heresies like the prosperity gospel, Gnosticism, legalism, or even a repackaging of Jesus in a misguided attempt to make Him more palatable to certain audiences, we no longer cling to Jesus but instead to our own preferred conceptions of Jesus, which in fact is not Jesus at all. When we invent our own conceptions of Jesus that contradict what is clearly written in Scripture, we become stumbling blocks to others of faith and personally miss what a true relationship with Christ is. Jesus is not who we say He is; He is who He says He is and we are called to believe it.


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