Read the Bible in 2011 ◊ Week 29: Sunday
“Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ,who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. ”
Sunday’s Bible reading is Colossians 3–4.The strands of doctrine and life continue to be interwoven in this letter as in these last two chapters Paul shifts back and forth from teaching us who we are in Christ to teaching us how we are to live in Christ in our life within the church, within the family and within the world.
“….since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him— a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all.”
These last two chapters are sober reading when contrasted with the state of many churches in America.
The church today has been called the Laodicean church, and when you read the description in the assessment by Jesus you can see the parallels:
“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:
“The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this:
“‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see.’”
Paul has already mentioned the Laodicean church of his day in Colossians 2:1, and in Colossians 4:13–16, he tells the Colossians to send their letter on the the church at Laodicea, and to read the one he had sent there.
We don’t know the contents of the letter Paul wrote to the Laodiceans, but what could the Laodicean church of today learn from Paul’s letter to the Colossians? The church today frequently lacks both sound doctrine and sound living—we’ve lost truth and love. The church needs to return to Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ is the center of Colossians. I wrote in Colossians 1–2: Rescued & Redeemed, that in Colossians accurate and exact teaching about Christ and the powerful transformation of those who are Christ are so intertwined in Paul’s words as to be inseparable. Christ is our life because of who Christ is and what Christ has done for us. Paul’s teaching about Christ propels us to know and comprehend the riches and glory of Christ in us.
Look what Jesus goes on to say in Revelation:
“‘Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’”
He loves the church, and so He reproves and disciplines, and commands repentance. Look at the promise He makes to the one who overcomes—whatever others whom you know may do, you be faithful.
Paul closes with these final words, authenticating his letter1 and adding a personal request and a blessing for the recipients:
“I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. Remember my imprisonment. Grace be with you.”
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Original content: Copyright ©2011 Iwana Carpenter