Colossians 3:18-4:18 - "It's All About Christ!" - Part Eight
18 Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them. 20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. 21 Fathers,[a] do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged. 22 Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. 25 Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for their wrongs, and there is no favoritism.
Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair, because you know that you also have a Master in heaven. 2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. 3 And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. 4 Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. 5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.7 Tychicus will tell you all the news about me. He is a dear brother, a faithful minister and fellow servant[b] in the Lord. 8 I am sending him to you for the express purpose that you may know about our[c] circumstances and that he may encourage your hearts. 9 He is coming with Onesimus, our faithful and dear brother, who is one of you. They will tell you everything that is happening here. 10 My fellow prisoner Aristarchus sends you his greetings, as does Mark, the cousin of Barnabas. (You have received instructions about him; if he comes to you, welcome him.) 11 Jesus, who is called Justus, also sends greetings. These are the only Jews[d] among my co-workers for the kingdom of God, and they have proved a comfort to me. 12 Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured. 13 I vouch for him that he is working hard for you and for those at Laodicea and Hierapolis. 14 Our dear friend Luke, the doctor, and Demas send greetings. 15 Give my greetings to the brothers and sisters at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house. 16 After this letter has been read to you, see that it is also read in the church of the Laodiceans and that you in turn read the letter from Laodicea. 17 Tell Archippus: "See to it that you complete the ministry you have received in the Lord." 18 I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.- Colossians 3:18-4:18
This is our last message in our study of Colossians. Paul has taught us throughout that "It's All About Christ!" The church must reach its' potential in Christ. The message of the church is Jesus Christ. The ministry of the church is Jesus Christ. The church must be focused on Jesus Christ. The church must live freely in Jesus Christ and not by the false teachings of this world. We are free in Christ to live in right relationship with God the Father. The final passage today teaches us that we free in Christ to live in right relationship with those involved in our lives daily, with unbelievers, and with the family of God. We are well on the way to living the life that God created us to live when Jesus Christ is the filter through which we look at the world.
Colossians 3:23-24 is the key we must apply to our lives daily. "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving."
Whatever we do, we must do with all our hearts, as we are doing it for the Lord Jesus Christ. It is Jesus Christ we are serving. We are to honor Christ in who we are and what we do. We are to allow Him to dictate how we interact with others. If Jesus is the cornerstone of our behavior then our foundation is built on the Solid Rock and not on sinking sand.
We are free in Christ to live in right relationship with those involved in our daily lives. In Colossians 3:18-4:1, Paul shows how a life centered on Jesus Christ should act at home with family and at work.
Paul writes specifically as to how believers are to relate to our loved ones. Wives are to submit to their husbands, husbands are to love their wives, and children are to obey their parents. The head of the home is Jesus Christ and each person is to honor Christ. The husband is to love his wife as Christ loves the church. The wife is to submit to the leadership of her husband as Christ submitted to the will of His father. Children are to obey their parents and follow them as their parents follow Christ. Fathers are to encourage their children to fulfill their God-given destinies and not to embitter them with harsh discipline or a negative spirit. The home will flourish as each person serves Christ wholeheartedly and interacts with others in a manner than honors Christ.
Paul then instructs us as to how we behave at work. His teaching applies directly to slaves and Masters while the application for us today is worker and bosses. We are to work as if Jesus is our boss. We will then do our best for we know that it will be the Lord who rewards us. In the process, our lives can be a testimony to our co-workers and bosses who are not believers that Jesus Christ makes a difference in our lives. There will be times at work when we are treated unfairly. But, we are not to become anxious about that for it is the Lord who will bring justice. He will repay the wrong and will do so without showing favoritism.
Paul tells bosses who are believers how there are to treat their workers. The bosses are working for the Lord as well and are accountable to Jesus for their treatment of others. Christian bosses can then be a testimony to their workers who are not believers that Jesus Christ makes a difference in our lives.
We are free in Christ to live in right relationship with unbelievers. In Colossians 4:2-6, Paul shows us that we must be prepared to share with unbelievers the reason for our relationship with Jesus Christ. Our starting point to being in right relationship with unbelievers is that we are aligned properly with the heart of God. Our devotion to prayer, being watchful to the happenings that surround us, and a heart of thankfulness with center our heart and mind on Jesus Christ. We can then pray for doors of opportunity to open so that we can share our faith with others. Paul was our example of one who asked for open doors so that he could share the mystery of Christ even while he was in chains.
We are told to be wise in the way that we act towards outsiders. We look for opportunities to share our faith with them. When we speak in a manner that reflects Christ then our language will be full of grace and will be different than other voices. Our language will be like salt. It will preserve what is good, it will bring healing to a wound, and it will bring out the best in all situations. We are to represent Christ at all times. When we bring wisdom, openness, grace, and goodness into a conversation then we will be equipped to answer everyone we encounter.
In the final verses of Colossians we read that we are free in Christ to live in right relationship with those in the family of God. Paul gives examples of Christians who are serving Christ and serving one another. Each one is giving himself or herself to benefit others and to help others grow in their relationship with the Lord. This is how we are to relate to each other in the church today.
Epaphras is mentioned as one who was "always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured." He is a fantastic example of a believer devoted totally to Jesus and one who wants everyone around him to be in a mature relationship with Jesus. If believers are following this example then we will make our service to Jesus Christ our top priority. We will then seek to do all we can to assist others to fulfill their destinies in Christ as well.
Jesus Christ is our Savior and Lord. We must follow Him with the entirety of our being. When He is the center of our heart's affection and our mind's attention then we are positioned rightly in relationship with God. When we live our theme, "It's All About Christ!" then we are free to live rightly in relationship to those in our lives daily, with unbelievers, and with those in the family of God.
You can find success in life and be the person that God wants you to be if you will live for Jesus. "It's All About Christ!" May the Lord find us faithful.
Dear Jesus, please be the center of my life. I want to honor you in all of my relationships. Please help me to be the person that you want me to be. Please open doors of opportunity for me to share your love to others. In Jesus' name, Amen.
For You to Consider
- How can a wife submit to her husband and how can a husband love his wife in a manner that honors Christ?
- List three ways that you can be a witness of the love of Christ to those at your place of work.
- What must you do to be prepared to share your testimony with an unbeliever?
- How can you help other believers grow in their love for Jesus?
- What will you do this week to make our theme of Colossians, "It's All About Christ!" be the focal point of your heart and mind?
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