A mystery made known

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‘In the vastness of creation, heavenly Father, you sent your Son to forgive and reconcile a guilty race. Obedient to your call, Jesus came for me, and I bless you today.’


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Bible passage Colossians 1:24 – 2:5


Paul’s Labor for the Church
 24 Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. 25 I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness— 26 the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints. 27 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

 28 We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. 29 To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.

Colossians 2

 1 I want you to know how much I am struggling for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not met me personally. 2 My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4 I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments. 5 For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how orderly you are and how firm your faith in Christ is.



New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society


Audio Bible passage


The audio version of the passage is taken from the Contemporary English Version (CEV).


Explore the Bible


Thirst for knowledge
We are inquisitive by nature. Not only are we curious about the world we live in but we’re fascinated at the thought of other life forms on distant planets, or by parallel universes. It’s as though we’re hardwired for mystery. And of course there’s always more to know about everything.

But the young Christians in Colossae have been told that their understanding of Christ is good but with gaps. These need filling in with deeper teaching and knowledge.

Revealed mysteries
Paul, however, draws them back to God’s self-disclosure in Jesus. All that was previously hidden and mysterious has been revealed in him. Three times he uses the word ‘mystery’ in relation to knowledge outside of Jesus, and then goes on to say that in him are hidden all the treasures of knowledge and wisdom.

Paul is not arguing for mindless Christianity, but he is advocating that Jesus is at the centre of all knowledge. He’s already told his readers that in Christ all things hold together (1:17) but he’s clearly worried about the reports he’s heard. He feels they’re being hoodwinked by clever and persuasive ideas (2:4) that will drive them away from the freedom they found in the gospel.


Respond


Bearing in mind all that we have learned through science, literature, politics and the media, where does Jesus fit into it all?

Gethin Russell-Jones


Deeper Bible study


As you read the passage, thank God for those who have helped you grow in faith.

Serving God and his people can cost us everything we have. Today we see how Paul gave his energies to caring for the Colossians. It was so demanding that he described it as sharing in Christ’s afflictions (v 24). Paul threw himself into the task of bringing believers to maturity. ‘To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me’ (v 29). This sense of struggle is underlined in the next verse: ‘I want you to know how hard I am contending for you’ (2:1).

It is impressive to see that his longing for their wellbeing – even without ever having met them – is something to which he gives such energetic commitment. We too should feel that burden: a longing for believers to grow to maturity in Christ. The reason for such commitment is expressed in Paul’s purpose in writing: it was to encourage growth to maturity, to urge the believers to continue in their faith and to teach and support them so that they came to complete understanding (v 2). He defines this simply but beautifully: ‘in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge’ (vs 2,3). Paul provides warnings about heresy or false teaching too (v 4), but his focus is on teaching the truth about the greatness of Christ’s person and work. No wonder he gave his full energies to the task (vs 28,29)!

Maturity is God’s purpose for all believers – and it is urgently needed in churches the world over. This calls for a total commitment to one another and a costly engagement that reflects Christ’s own sufferings, so that through the teaching of God’s Word and the prayerful support of one another, believers and congregations will grow to completeness in Christ.

Jonathan Lamb


Paul: model evangelist/pastor


The Greek verb translated ‘contend’ is agonizomai. An agōn is a contest. These words are the origin of the English word ‘agony’. Think of the efforts which athletes put into training for the Olympic Games! That is how hard Paul worked as an evangelist.

His effort (1:29 – 2:1)

• He struggled in prayer. The Amplified Version says ‘For this I labour [unto weariness], striving with all the superhuman energy which He so mightily enkindles and works within me.’ Notice how he matches God’s energy with his own effort.

• He kept himself informed (1:7).

• He cared, even though he had never met them.

His goals (1:29; 2:2,3)

• He wanted them to be encouraged (emotional).

• He wanted them to be united in love (moral).

• He wanted them to have complete understanding (intellectual).

• He wanted them to know Christ (spiritual).

These categories are not supposed to be watertight. They obviously overlap and influence one another, and are summed up in the spiritual goal that they should know Christ. But they do indicate the holistic character of Paul’s goals.

His concern to warn (2:4)

• Paul was not naive.

• He thought ahead of the dangers they faced.

• He wrote this whole letter to strengthen them against attack.

His balance of warnings with encouragement (2:5)

• He entered imaginatively into their situation. He knew the dangers that surrounded them.

• He praised them for their discipline (a military word meaning ‘order’. The Amplified Version expands this: ‘your standing shoulder to shoulder in such orderly array’). Their discipline was corporate, as they were united in love.

• He anticipated their victory, praising them for their faith which was already firm.

Annabel Robinson


Bible in a year


Read the Bible in a year.

Ezekiel 16,17

Psalm 119:145–176
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The splendour of the king (How great is our God)
Chris Tomlin, Jesse Reeves & Ed Cash
Copyright © 2004 worshiptogether.com Songs/sixsteps
Music/Adm. by kingswaysongs.com; for the UK & Europe
& Alletrop Music/Adm. by CopyCare
Buy this and other great worship songs at www.kingswayshop.com



Freedom – Johnny Parks
Johnny Parks & Claire Hamilton
Copyright © 2007 Thankyou Music


Comments
  • Angela Munday | Wednesday, 08 November 2017

    Victories have to be won; they require the work of alert, attentive, obedient people who join together to see the dangers that surround them all. Jesus is the perfect leader and His people are being led forward towards a glorious conclusion. The Spirit of Jesus is for us to accept as we live our daily battles. This is so evident in Paul's devotion to the fight God has given him and so he writes......."Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory." (verse 27) We know this is the truth and go forward in Christ's holy name. God is our hope and strength. Praying that Carol, Ruth and Hilary will be in good health soon and praying for you always, Jane. Amen.

  • Gilvin Crisifeca | Wednesday, 08 November 2017

    Paul’s ministry produced love among the brethren. Paul also gave the believers a revelation of Christ in them. What a true servant of Christ Jesus. This was a powerful ministry of love and encouragement.

  • Barbara Sabin | Wednesday, 08 November 2017

    I love the picture of the child with the open box which is full of light, how true this is for us as Christians opening God's Word which is full of light, your Word a light to my path and a lamp to my feet. I wonder if any more word livers feel like me sometimes, amazed that God should choose me from childhood to know Him love Him and serve Him. I thank him for His faithfulness to me. I want every day to be faithful. I am amazed when I think of God's love, So wonderful, matchless and free; The love that could see, from eternity, Something worth saving in sinners like me. I am amazed when I think of God's grace, O word with a heavenly sound! For sinners condemned, what way could be found? More than sufficient God's grace did abound. I am amazed when I think of God's Son, From Glory to Calvary he came To bear in my place sin's darkness and shame; O what a Saviour, and Jesus his name! I am amazed that the Saviour should die For sinners like me and like you; That we may be saved by the work he has done And not by the works that we do. But it's true, it's true, This wonderful story so old, but so new. I am amazed that the Saviour should die For sinners like me and like you.

  • Kath Prior | Wednesday, 08 November 2017

    #Respond - In the light of yesterday's hymn of praise to Christ, it's not that Jesus 'fits into' all that we have learned through science, literature, politics and the media etc but how these things fit into Him!

  • Helen Humby | Wednesday, 08 November 2017

    Thanks for prayers for my sister Hilary. All went well and she is home. We are very grateful for your prayers and God's goodness

  • Rebecca Huie | Wednesday, 08 November 2017

    Sinners Jesus will receive: Sound this word of grace to all Who the heavenly pathway leave, All who linger, all who fall. Come, and He will give you rest; Trust Him, for His word is plain; He will take the sinfulest; Christ receiveth sinful men. Sing it o'er and o'er again; Christ receiveth sinful men; Make the message clear and plain: Christ receiveth sinful men.

  • Peter Oliver | Wednesday, 08 November 2017

    Tomorrow I go for an angiogram. under local anesthetic I will be able to watch my heart on video please pray this will done quickly and safely thank you .

  • Gilvin Crisifeca | Wednesday, 08 November 2017

    Have done PETER

  • Angela Munday | Wednesday, 08 November 2017

    Will be praying for you PETER ; may God give you a good night's sleep as you prepare for tomorrow.

  • Barbara Sabin | Wednesday, 08 November 2017

    PETER my husband had this procedure he is a very nervous man when medical procedures done but he said it wasn't bad at all. Praying that you will be rock like as your name. The Lord will be with you all the way.

  • Eileen Smith | Wednesday, 08 November 2017

    Praying PETER

  • Ruth Lewis | Thursday, 09 November 2017

    Praying for you PETER. Praying for all of the Word Live Family, because we all have something we need Prayer for. I know I do, but I don't always post them. I will post this Praise report today for I am so grateful to God for!!! Monday my husband and I were out doing our errands and while walking up this little incline he fell. I tried to lift him up but was having a hard time. God sent 2 angels in the form of men running over to help and they got him up on his feet . He didn't break anything and was not in any pain from the fall. We were able to complete our chores for the day!!! We thank the two men and I told them they were God's angels. My husband will be 89 in December. Praising God for His keeping power and His Angels that come to help when we need them!!! All Praise and Honor go to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!!! I love all of my WL family and get so Blessed by all your comments and songs.

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