Author: Ron Graham
The Seven Ems Chart
—Intro and index to the studies in Colossians
In his letter to the Colossians, Paul prays that they would be "filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding" (Colossians 1:9). We are going to study what the letter to Colossae itself contributes to that basic understanding so essential to true spiritual enlightenment.
Of course Paul does not want the Colossians (and us) to be "saints in light" (Colossians 1:12) merely as an end in itself. Spiritual enlightenment is essentially a "knowledge of God’s will" (Colossians 1:9) and God’s will must be done, not just understood.
Paul wants our understanding and knowledge to produce...
- a worthiness pleasing to God (Colossians 1:10),
- increasing and abundant fruitfulness (Colossians 1:10),
- strength and steadfastness (Colossians 1:11),
- joy and gratitude (Colossians 1:12).
Understanding the Messiah ...is the first and foremost requirement for spiritual enlightenment. Paul makes a most comprehensive statement of who and what Christ is. What is your level of understanding of the things Paul says about Christ?
Note —MESSIAH The two titles, Messiah and Christ, are synonymous and interchangeable. “Messiah” is the Hebrew for which “Christ” is the Greek equivalent. The basic meaning of these titles is The Anointed One. See Strong: Hebrew 4899 (cf 4886), Greek 5547 (cf 5548).[A009]
Understanding the Mission of Christ’s church ...is nearly as important as understanding the Messiah himself. To what extent has the great commission (Mark 16:16) been fulfilled in the 21st Century compared to the 1st Century?
Note —GREAT COMMISSION a term traditionally used for Jesus’s command to his apostles to preach the gospel in all the world to all nations, and to baptize those who believe (Matthew 28:18-20). It is contrasted with the earlier so called Limited Commission of Matthew 10
Colossians 1:23-27, 2:8
Understanding the Message or Gospel of Christ ...is also important because it alone holds the hope of eternal life and reveals the mystery long hidden. This gospel is God's truth as opposed to the false philosophies of men. What is your level of understanding of Christ's teaching, and of your ability to distinguish between the "the word of truth" and "the tradition of men"?
Understanding the Ministry of the Gospel ...helps us to recognize true ministers of the word. Paul describes himself as "a minister" of the gospel. He laboured in the mighty power of God, not in his own strength. He also had many fellow ministers whom he mentions in chapters one and four. Their ministries were not essentially different from Paul’s.
Understanding the Method of Christ’s ministers ...(how they go about their work) is important too. They use every "open door" that God provides. Paul sets us an example of method in ministry. He based his ministry of the gospel on the following foundations (which all begin with P)... Prayer to back up his ministry, Providence to open doors, Positive attitude toward problems, Presentation clear and enlightening, Presence of mind to sieze opportunity, and a Personal approach to teaching.
Understanding your membership ...in the church of Christ is another essential. The spiritual body (church) was made possible by the sacrifice of Christ's fleshly body enabling our forgiveness, redemption, and reconciliation (Colossians 1:14,21-22). Paul outlines the characteristics that God expects of members of the church of Christ... a new speech, a new standard, a new status, a new spirit, a new song, and a new service.
Colossians 1:12, 2:12, 3:3
Understanding and knowing yourself ...is the deepest and most basic understanding of all —so long as you view yourself in the light of Jesus Christ and his gospel. Paul tells you that you can "share in the inheritance of the saints in light", be "buried with Christ by baptism... and raised up with him through faith", and have "your life hidden with Christ in God". If you have not accepted this, and embraced the liberty and responsibility that goes with it, then you do not understand yourself as you should.