Philippians shows the church walking here on earth. Christian living is the theme; it is the periphery of the circle of which Christ is the center. Philippians emphasizes the kenosis, Christ becoming a servant.
Philemon gives us Christianity in action. We would say it is where the rubber meets the road, or in that day it was where the sandals touched the Roman road. It demonstrates Christianity worked out in a pagan society. We can see why these four documents have been called the anatomy of the church—they belong together to make a whole. Do you realize that if today you possessed those four original documents as they came from the hand of Paul, you could probably get any price you wanted for them—you would have the wealth of a king!
Well, we measure it in terms other than the dollar sign; their spiritual value cannot be estimated in human terms at all. I have never been to Colosse although I have been in sight of it—I have seen it from a distance.
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The ruins of it stand there in the gates of Phrygia. It is over in the same area where Laodicea and Hierapolis are. There are some ruins of the city; there are no ruins of any church.
The church at Colosse met in the home of Philemon. I doubt that there ever was a church building there. A great civilization and a great population were in that area. It was more or less a door to the Orient, to the East; it was called the gates of Phrygia. Here the East and the West met.
Here is where the Roman Empire attempted to tame the East and to bring it under Roman subjugation. All of these had been great cities of defense against invasion from the East. But by the time of Paul the apostle the danger had been relieved because the Roman Empire was pretty much in charge of the world by then.
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As a result, the people had lapsed into paganism and gross immorality at the time of Paul. And Colosse was typical of the great cities of that day. As far as the record is concerned, Paul never visited the city of Colosse. After I visited the Bible lands I could understand many things in Scripture that I had not understood before.
It seems that he did not come in through the gates of Phrygia, but instead he came into the north of Colosse over at Sardis. Apparently he took that Roman road to Ephesus and by—passed Colosse. Even though Paul was never in the city of Colosse, he was the founder of the church there. Epaphras was the leader of the church, and he may have been the direct founder, but Paul founded the church at Colosse. He was the founder in very much the same way as he was the founder of the church at Rome: he touched multitudes of people in the Roman Empire who later gravitated to Rome and formed the church there.
Paul may have visited Laodicea although I doubt that very seriously , and believers may have come from there to Colosse. Colosse is located just seventy—five to one hundred miles east of Ephesus. Paul spent three years of ministry in Ephesus, two of them teaching in the school of Tyrannus. There was a tremendous civilization in that area—the culture of the Roman Empire was centered there. It was no longer centered in Greece, which had pretty much deteriorated along with her philosophy and culture.
But the Greek culture was virile in Asia Minor, the area known as Turkey today. It was in this area that Paul did his greatest work along with his co—workers. We know that the apostle John became the pastor at Ephesus later on. Colossians — Paul greets the Saints in Colossae and declares that Jesus Christ is the Redeemer, the Firstborn among all creation, the Creator, and the Lord of all divine perfection, in whom is the reconciliation of the universe. Paul exhorts the Saints to establish their faith in Jesus Christ.
Paul warns against believing any false philosophy or tradition of men, including worshipping angels and going to extremes in denying oneself basic physical needs as a form of spiritual discipline. Paul exhorts the Saints to set their hearts on things that are above, to abandon the sins of their former lives, and to be merciful to one another.
He gives instruction about how Saints should worship, and then he gives counsel to wives, husbands, children, parents, servants, and masters. He closes the Epistle to the Colossians with commendations, greetings, and final instructions and blessings. In Colossians, the preeminence of the eternal Son over all things is revealed.
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The preexistent Son entered history and became human. Christ is the very image of God, whose perfections serve as the pattern for their renewal as image-bearers. This transformative work is preparing them to inherit the new creational kingdom of God , 15; The gospel of grace is on full display in Colossians.
God has effected a cosmic reconciliation at the cross through the blood of his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ The message of this salvation is producing spiritual fruit all over the world as it spreads across the earth in expanding waves When people embrace the gospel, God delivers them from the dominion of darkness and transfers them into the inheritance of light, the kingdom of the beloved Son He redeems them, forgiving all their sins The apostle Paul wrote Colossians and Philemon with the conviction that Jesus had brought the Old Testament epic story to its climactic fulfillment.
This biblical epic of the kingdom mission of God runs from creation to new creation.