Increasing in Knowledge of God’s Plan
Book of Colossians 1:17-29
At the end of last week’s lesson, the Scriptures described Jesus Christ as the image of the invisible God.
That word invisible means that it was not the body of Jesus that was important, it was His characteristics!
Those that worship angels, and those that believe that those who die being Christians become angels should take note, no one can represent God, but His only begotten Son.
In the Lord’s divine nature, the invisible image, in His human nature, the visible image, of our Father in Heaven, who existed before all the worlds, before all time, from all eternity!
It is this world and all things that are seen that were created by Him.
It is Heaven and all the unseen world that were also created by Him.
All the things seen and unseen were created by Him and for Him.
All things created, seen and unseen, have a purpose in the salvation plan of God!
*****Col 1:17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
The Lord Jesus Christ is the “glue” that binds this entire creation together.
If you believe in evolution then you believe our world evolved from chaos. The truth is Creation as described in the Book of Genesis makes our world a cosmos rather than chaos.
The Lord Jesus Christ was and is the essential element of our Creation!
All those who are confused about creation need to pay close attention!
Since it is the Lord Jesus Christ who is the complete image of our Heavenly Father and He is before all things, then we are fools to think we are not subject to Him!
We may live in the “here and now” but there is coming an end to all things.
1Co 15:24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.
Many talk about the great battles near the end such as Armageddon but just the voice of the Lord can end any battle, just the appearance of the Lord will annihilate all sin and all sinful men.
The Lord Jesus Christ is the Head of all things!
*****Col 1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
That “body”, is the “body of Christ”.
The Church is a living organism, which carries on lively activities, by individual living believers. The head of this “body” is our Living Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
This world considers any group who gather to be a church. The truth is, the Church is made up of a group whom God has called out of this world as a special group of His own.
There is the universal Church: Eph 1:22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,
Eph 1:23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.
There is the local Church: Eph 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
Eph 5:24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
Eph 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
As our own head gives direction to our bodies, so does Jesus Christ give direction to the Church, both local and universal!
It is Jesus Christ who gives us the gifts for the building up of the Church.
Eph 4:7 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.
Eph 4:8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.
Eph 4:9 (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?
Eph 4:10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)
Eph 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
Eph 4:12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
Eph 4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
Eph 4:14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
Eph 4:15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
Eph 4:16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
Those so-called places of worship that reject the ways of Jesus Christ are not a church and certainly not part of the universal church!
The Church is alive but it seems today that the church is on the death bed with little or no life, because the church has rejected the teachings of Jesus Christ who is the Head of the Church!
The true Church is totally dependent on its Head, and that Head is the Lord Jesus Christ!
Study on this end time prophecy of the final Church Age and you will see that even this prophecy has come true
Rev 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
Rev 3:21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
Rev 3:22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
This is another reason we should realize that the Lord is soon returning to take us home!
It is Jesus Christ who began the Church and there can be no church without Jesus Christ.
The person who does not follow the teachings of Jesus Christ cannot be part of the Church!
Today the Church is full of lies:
1Jn 2:21 I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth.
1Jn 2:22 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.
1Jn 2:23 Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.
1Jn 2:24 Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father.
God intended for the Lord Jesus Christ to have preeminence over all things on this world but also in Heaven.
*****Col 1:19 For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;
There is no way to avoid this Scripture! It cannot be misunderstood! The fulness of God is within the Living Lord Jesus Christ
It is the Divine will of the Father that the Lord Jesus Christ possess the Divine Nature of God enforced by the Holy Spirit.
How do we describe our God?
God is Spirit.
God is self-existing.
God is perfect, God is absolute perfection.
God is one God, but God is in three persons, the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit.
God is the truth.
God is love.
God is Holy.
God is eternal.
God is immense.
God is omnipresent.
God is omniscient.
God is omnipotent.
God is merciful.
God is “Grace”.
God is Just and He is the Justifier of those who seek to be just.
God is Almighty and there are many other characteristics of God!
But it pleased the Father that all these things and more dwell in the Lord Jesus Christ.
How can we deny our Savior?
*****Col 1:20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.
This great All Powerful, Almighty God, poured Himself into a body of flesh to die for all our sins. Our Savior made our peace with His Father by the shedding of His blood.
It is earth where sin began. thus, we are all sinners.
The things in Heaven, being the saints in Paradise, or Abraham’s bosom, who had died for Christ had come.
It was not the cross that was needed to catch the eye of the Father.
It was not so much that Jesus Christ was willing to die for us.
The truth is, it was “love” that took Jesus Christ to the cross, that His blood be shed for each and every sinner who has ever lived!
Joh 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Joh 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
Joh 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
But we see that “faith” in these things is the key to salvation!
It is “faith” in the work of the Lord Jesus Christ who possesses the fulness of God the Father that we can be reconciled to God!
*****Col 1:21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled
Notice that God has reconciled all humans to Himself but He has also reconciled all His creation to Himself (all things).
First: Did the Lord shed His blood for every human being from the time of Adam until sometime in the future? Absolutely!
Then is this a universal salvation as some believe? It could have been!
It is important for us to consider certain things.
We must know the Lord God on a personal level! This is impossible without making peace with God!
Rom 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
To live in this world after salvation we must have the peace of God:
Php 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
Php 4:7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
To be a Christian is to have the God of peace live in our hearts:
Php 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Php 4:9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.
We know that that enemies of God are always hostile, hateful, and rebellious.
We should also notice that the death of Jesus Christ met the requirements of Divine Law and opened the door to Divine Love!
Mat 22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
Mat 22:38 This is the first and great commandment.
Mat 22:39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
Mat 22:40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
We who were once the enemies of God have been reconciled to Him by the blood of His Dear Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who by His resurrection has now opened the door for our own resurrection!
The mind that was once full of deceit and lies can now be filled with the love of God!
1Co_2:16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
We must clearly understand, it is by the death of Jesus Christ that we are reconciled to God!
*****Col 1:22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:
The entire material body of flesh of the Lord Jesus Christ was the instrument of our reconciliation. The body of Christ here represents His manhood and not any part of the Church. It is through the death of the physical body of Christ that we are reconciled to God. We cannot stress this enough.
The sacrifice of Christ was the voice of God proclaiming love!
Rom 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Rom 5:9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
Rom 5:10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
Rom 5:11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.
God sacrificed the body of Christ so I did not have to sacrifice my own body!
Isa 53:5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
Jesus Christ in His flesh, exhibited the character of God, therefore He could be the substitute for our sins!
It is only by the “Cross” that we learn that we can have a brotherhood of Christians who can make a great nation.
Politicians cannot do this, and political process can never achieve this thing!
As Christians we are reconciled to God but we are also reconciled to ourselves. We find it hard to forgive ourselves but God has made a way to even solve this problem by the death of His Dear Son.
It was by the death of Christ Jesus that each believer can be holy, unblameable, and unreproveable in the sight of God. What a blessing!
It is by the “Cross” that we begin learning of our Father and our Elder Brother, the Lord Jesus Christ!
It takes “faith” to understand these things and we must continue in “faith” to be grounded and settled in the truth of God!
*****Col 1:23 If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;
The truth is we will all face the Lord in Judgment.
The Christian will face the Lord when we meet Him at the “Judgment Seat of Christ”. This is not a judgment for salvation because that is already taken care of or we would not be Christians.
Paul is saying it just makes sense for us to continue to be grounded in our “faith” and settled and be not moved away from the hope of the “Gospel”.
We need to keep in mind that we can never move the hand of God without “Faith”!
The foundation of that “Faith” must be the “Gospel” of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Gospel can reach any class of people!
Those teachings contrary to the Gospel can only reach certain classes of people.
For what is the hope of the “Gospel”?
That we all might be reconciled to God and presented perfect before Him.
That we might be given the privilege of living forever with Him.
That we may worship Him and serve Him throughout eternity.
That we may go wherever He goes forever.
We must not only profess Christ, we must live for Christ to get a full reward.
2Jn_1:8 Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.
If we profess Jesus Christ and do not live for Jesus Christ, we are living a lie!
As Paul explains, these are the rules for reconciliation!
What did Jesus say? Joh 15:6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
Joh 15:7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
Paul repeats what our Saviour said: He rejoices in his sufferings for the Church.
*****Col 1:24 Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church:
Col 1:25 Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God;
The Lord Jesus Christ had great joy in providing the pathway for our reconciliation to His Father.
Heb_12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Paul being as much like Christ as he possible could, also rejoiced in his own sufferings.
The foundation of the Church is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God.
Mat 16:15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
Mat 16:16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
Mat 16:17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
Mat 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church “which is His body”
Eph 1:22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,
Eph 1:23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.
The Lord’s body being now substituted by Christian believers.
1Co 12:12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.
1Co 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
The Church is now in need of a minister who will willingly suffer for others and that is where the individual Christian comes in.
The Lord Jesus Christ suffered greatly to form His Church.
The Apostle Paul and all the apostles suffered greatly to further the Gospel and grow the Church.
We are now the ministers of the “Gospel”, this is not just the job of the Pastor!
1Pe_2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
We may be that generation of the Church Age which will end when the Lord returns!
Laboring for Jesus Christ on this earth will never be easy.
Serving the Church in this world will never be easy.
We will always have to suffer for Jesus Christ!
For the most part, the church means nothing to the average man or woman.
The church is only tolerated if it stays in its place.
It is alright for the church to do social service in the community but not by Jesus Christ.
The Church is never to interfere with the workings of mankind or the workings of government.
We can see that the world does not understand the church nor the Head of the church, our Savior!
This is not the Church that is the body of Christ!
To trust in the Lord is to ignore foolish people
The job of the church is to fulfill the will of God!
2Pe_3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
All these things were a mystery to the Old Testament Saints.
*****Col 1:26 Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:
The great mystery to the Jews was namely, Christ justifying and sanctifying Gentiles, as well as Jews.
There are many mysteries in the Scriptures that are hidden from the natural man but God does not hide anything to those who are saved and spend time studying the Scriptures.
A man once wrote that when the Lord first reaches into the mind, He will cause it to think and then later He will touch the heart to reveal His purpose for our life.
Another great mystery to those who are lost is God’s plan of salvation!
Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Eph 2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
The average person cannot understand how this is true and again this is our job to show them the way!
The truth is in the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
*****Col 1:27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:
Every Church must have a Pastor who will share the “great mystery of God”.
This mystery is “Christ in you the hope of glory”!
Religion after religion speak of the many ways to get to Heaven but the truth is there is only one way to reach the “glory world” and this is by Jesus Christ!
Unless Jesus Christ comes to dwell within you, you have no chance of seeing Heaven much less live throughout eternity with our Heavenly Father.
Php_1:19 For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,
It is only by the work of Christ that we can be reconciled to God and then only if we believe these things to be true.
If Christ abides in us then we must abide in Him. Christ must be accepted by “Faith”!
We might question the things around us whether they are truly ours, but what is inside of us we certainly possess!
Gal_2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
The sure ground we stand upon is our “hope in glory” and this hope is sealed by the blood of Jesus and His guarantee is that He lives within us and will never leave us.
Joh 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
Joh 14:17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
Joh 14:18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.
Some may say, well I thought this was the Holy Spirit. God in the flesh, is Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit in His presence is the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ lives in each believer in the person of the Holy Spirit!
We see that is God the Father who took the time to make these things known to all the world, but this has been rejected by most of this world!
Jesus Christ rose from that grave because He conquered death and now we can live eternally with Him.
Jesus Christ is the first fruit!
Rom_11:16 For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches.
We should remember when Jesus Christ rose from the dead those that followed Him saw that His claim of being God in the flesh was true.
God can never be bound by death because He is the true essence of life!
Another thing we must certainly realize is that Christ Jesus is not picky, He will live in any believer, no matter their background.
2Co 1:21 Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God;
2Co 1:22 Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.
God has warned this entire world that no one can enter into His glory unless Jesus Christ lives within them!
This is the very reason Jesus is hated so much, the world knows this is true!
*****Col 1:28 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:
You see God must warn all mankind of this truth or He would not be God!
You see as an individual, we must submit to the truth of God in Jesus Christ.
Eze 33:9 Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.
As believers this is our job today and really it is our only job with living holy to increase our chance to witness to those who do not know the Lord.
*****Col 1:29 Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.
To labor is to work hard. Some think it is only the Pastor who is to do this thing but the Lord Jesus said we all are to do this thing called evangelism!
When we have used all our own strength then the Lord will supply the needed strength to continue.
1Co 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
When we can understand the plan of God and know that the Lord Jesus Christ lives within us by the Holy Spirit, we will find the yoke of the Lord is easy but this world will show us how much they are our enemy.
If we focus on this wonderful place called Heaven and not on the things of this world, our job will not be so hard.
If we need extra strength it will come from the Lord.
If we have loved ones, let’s begin with them and then friends and then whosoever crosses our path.
God’s plan is the only plan that will work in this evil world!