Life Group Lesson for the Week of October 8, 2017
As a zealous young man initially on fire for ‘legalism’ the apostle Paul became a totally new person on fire for Jesus once he encountered the risen Christ. No longer was he about persecuting followers of The Way. Now through the incredible power of the risen Christ, Paul became all about the proclamation of Jesus as Savior—that there is forgiveness of sin available for all who believe. Paul and his team covered a lot of ground (and water!) as they spread the Gospel westward. They had their work cut out for them, but their work was not in vain. Upon Paul’s death, thousands upon thousands had already begun to respond to the Good News of Christ.
Although Paul never stepped foot into the city of Colossae, a commercial center about 120 miles east of Ephesus in Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey), he loved this church. He knew they were included as “God’s holy people … faithful brothers and sisters in Christ.” He said, “We always pray for you, and we give thanks to God… for we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and your love for all of God’s people” (Colossians 1:2, 3-4). Believers at Colossae first heard the Gospel through their faithful brother, Epaphras, and Paul says: “He has told us about the love for others that the Holy Spirit has given you” (Colossians 1:7-8). Reaching the next generation will come from an outpouring of this same “love for others” ignited by God’s Spirit.
Read Colossians 1:15-21
After greetings, Paul opens this letter with a hymn defining the very Person of Christ and exalting the supremacy of Christ in the world from even before creation:
“Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through Him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see—such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through Him and for Him. He existed before anything else, and He holds all creation together” (Colossians 1:15-17).
1. Look closely at the three verses above (Colossians 1:15-17) and name at least 5 things you learn about Christ, perhaps that you have never seen before.
The reality of God being Triune is not an easy concept to wrap our minds around. But when we think of the ‘Trinity’ – God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit – something should resonate deep within the heart of every believer. If we look at the way Colossians 1:15 describes, or defines, Christ, the “visible image of the invisible God” existing before any created thing and supreme over all creation, we can begin to get a glimpse into the never-ending, ever-unveiling power of the risen Christ. In fact, one begins to see Christ on every page of Scripture. When the ‘visible’ God personally meets, speaks, intervenes, or leads His people throughout the Old Testament, could it be Christ the “visible image of the invisible God”?
2. Long before the Christ of God was born into this world and given the name, Jesus, Christ existed with the Father. There are a plethora of Scriptures we could refer to, but quickly compare the following passages for further insight into the power and position of God’s Christ. Take special note of His position: where is Christ in the beginning, in the pages of Scripture, in the future?
Deuteronomy 18:15 and Acts 3:17-26
John 1:1-5, 14 and John 1:29-34
Matthew 17:1-9 and 2 Peter 1:16-19
Daniel 7:13-14 and Matthew 26:62-64
Acts 9:1-9 and Revelation 1:12-18
How do I sense the Lord (God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit) moving/working in my life personally today?
Like the sand running through a huge hourglass, time is ticking. There is coming a day when the sands of time will run out. So we must realize we were not made for this earth but for heaven. Just like we can’t stand in our backyard tonight and will ourselves to the moon, we cannot will ourselves into heaven by our own strength. And just as an astronaut needs a transport and special covering to travel through the atmosphere to outer space, we too need a means beyond ourselves to one day stand in heaven’s glory. Our transport will be the risen Jesus Christ Himself as this flesh is one day changed from glory to glory! So where should out focus be as we are living in the here-and-now in these pre-resurrected bodies?
Read Colossians 3:1-11
3. In the end, Christ is all that matters. Does He live in you? Your heart can be Christ’s home. Through the power of the Holy Spirit you can begin your journey to heaven today and prepare to meet the Lord one day face-to-face.
Lord, thank you that you know just where I am. I don’t understand everything about your love and this life of faith, but I want to know you. I believe you have a purpose for me that transcends any pull of this world. In this moment, I surrender to your love. Please forgive me of my sin. Help me to turn from darkness to light. Please fill me with your love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
“After that generation died, another generation grew up who did not acknowledge the LORD or remember the mighty things He had done for Israel” (Judges 2:10).
NOT ON MY WATCH!