Dear Student of the Word,
I finished this last installment of our Colossians study one week ago, but I forgot to send it out. So please accept my apologies along with wishes for a Merry Christmas and happy holiday season. You won't hear from me for about a month as I take a break before starting the study of John's gospel.
As Paul closed his letter, I closed this study by writing these words for the last day's devotional:
It was important for the early church to receive these infusions from Paul, the apostolic leader of the day. It is important today for you to be reading and receiving fresh insights and inspiration from the Spirit as well. What are you currently reading outside of the Bible? What are you listening to? I hope it isn’t that crazy stuff about the end times that is circulating, fables and myths that supposedly have their foundation in Scripture. I am talking about things that can build your faith and teach you more about God and His ways. What websites or web logs do you visit regularly? Who are your favorite teachers? I hope not those who spew forth a load of garbage about current events, claiming to have insight into where those current events are predicted in the Bible.
When you read this letter from Paul, it is full of words that exalt the Lord Jesus Christ, encourage the saints and give practical advice on how to apply godly principles to every day living. I fail to see how some moderns who talk about Israel, Iran, the Antichrist and world conspiracies are doing what Paul did. Truthfully, they are not. They are stirring up fear and confusion among God’s people, making the kingdom of God seem like a novel as it unfolds. God’s work isn’t centered around the Antichrist, but the Christ. We are not to be concerned about this war or that rumor of war, but of spreading the gospel to all men and nations. Please don’t tell me you are spending your time and money on fairy tales with biblical terminology from supposedly reputable men and ministries, who reap millions of dollars from their fictional labors!
v. 17 – What a powerful admonition this verse holds. Archippus (the ninth person mentioned in this closing) was warned by Paul to finish the work he had received from the Lord. This means 1) Archippus knew what the work was; 2) Archippus was considering not finishing it; and 3) that the Lord knew this and revealed it to Paul. Archippus must have had it in his power to finish that work for Paul ordered him to “see to it” that it was done and complete. What work do you need to complete in the Lord? Do you know what your work or assignment is? What hindrances are there from you finishing that work? How can you address and overcome these obstacles?
v. 18 – Paul must have dictated the letter and closed by signing it in his own handwriting. He asked the readers to remember his chains, perhaps a request for prayer and also a reminder about the seriousness and urgency of their Kingdom work, which had many opponents. I am intrigued by people who can be so laid back when the stakes are people’s lives and their eternal destination. Paul had no such laid-back attitude. He was in prison for what he believed, yet that did not stop the work. What is stopping your work that you need to press through to regain your momentum? Your work from God is important! Seize the moment and do your thing!
Paul closed with a simple prayer: Grace be with you. As we finish this study, that is my wish and prayer for you. I pray God’s grace on you as you work, labor, live and learn. May the grace of our Lord Jesus help you be as purposeful as Paul and may God expand your influence to ends of the world or at least to the ends of your world. Amen.
As always, I welcome your comments to this week's study. You can write them or find the studies to Corinthians, First Timothy, and Matthew's and Mark's gospels on the site where this week's entry is posted. You can also go there to sign up to receive each week's study.
Plus my website archives contains a complete collection of all my verse-by-verse Bible studies from Matthew, Mark, Luke, Acts, Romans, 1&2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, 1&2 Thessalonians, 1&2 Timothy, Hebrews, James, 1&2 Peter, Hebrews and Revelation, along with the unpublished Faith Files.
SPECIAL HELP: As 2008 comes to a close, please consider a special gift to my work in and through PurposeQuest International. You may contribute using PayPal through my website or send a check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 91099, Pittsburgh, PA 15221. Thank you.
FAITH FILES eBOOK: My latest book, The Faith Files, is now available as an ebook that you can download. What's more, the service allows you to pay in Canadian dollars, US dollars, UK pounds, Australian dollars and, get this, Indian rupees! Just go to the ebook website, enter your payment information and download the book. You can then print it or have it on your computer for your devotional pleasure.