JohnSWilson3 Blog


“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” Part 1
July 15, 2010, 2:27 pm
Filed under: N Letter to the Colossians

At the end of Chapter 3 of Paul’s letter to the Colossian church I notice that right away I am going to have to suspend my natural and earthly biases and see what God says about household relationships. As a result I did some researching on households related to the Greco-Roman world (see https://johnswilson3.wordpress.com/2010/07/12/some-thoughts-on-greco-roman-households/) and related matter about misconceptions of how others perceive household relationships (an excellent resource is Jon Zens book, “What’s With Paul and Women?”).

I am also reminded that before I read this section on household relationships Paul specifically states: “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Paul essentially states that everything that he has just stated up until now is to manifest Jesus Christ to one another in our households and society! To “live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father” is truly worked out when we live by Jesus life not only within the gathering of the church but also within our households. We must remember that the church gathered in homes that were made up of a household.

These households were made up wives and husbands, children, and slaves. The husband, in accord with societal rules was the “head” of the household, who literally owned his wife, could do whatever he wanted with his children, even to infanticide, and was master over a number of slaves or freed persons in his home. Each household make up and rules were different from one another, urban versus agrarian, based on being upper class or lower class, Roman or Greek, etc. The master of the home could either be a female widow or the man/husband. With the blatant sexual immorality within the pagan cultures and the harshness allowed by the head of the household it was truly a focus of “impurity, lust, evil desires, greed, which is idolatry”, and “anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language.” The home was truly dysfunctional in every sense of the word. Not unlike many of today’s households. What a transforming effect that Jesus Christ, being manifested in, through, and to one another had on the households of every city where the church was formed! Could it be that the church gathering in the homes was the key strategy of God to manifesting His life to the world? What if the church decided to discard its institutionalism and the “come to my church building” mentality and decided to meet organically in homes with no leader but Jesus Christ! Perhaps that’s what the Lord is waiting for in His people in this if not every generation!

The good news of Jesus Christ came to these people in Colosse meeting in their households and they received Christ Jesus as Lord and the Holy Spirit came upon them and they were “made fit to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For he rescued us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” That “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” “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.” In each person in each household who called on the name of the Lord they were “given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.” God had “made (them) alive with Christ” and had forgiven them from “all (their) sins”! So all these “human traditions…basic principles of this world…human commands and teachings” they were now dead to because they had “died with Christ” to them. “For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”

After Epaphras had shared the good news of Jesus Christ to those in Colosse, he, following Paul’s example, helped form a gathering of those who believed the message and they began to meet in their homes. They learned Jesus Christ by living by His life, by living by the Spirit. They were to focus on seeking “things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God” and setting their “minds on things above, not on earthly things.” They were rooted in Christ by the work of Epaphras but now they must “continue to live in him” and “being built up in him, strengthened in the faith as (they) were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” Don’t you know they must have been thankful to be freed from “whatever belongs to your earthly nature…these (for which), the wrath of God is coming”! Now as they gathered they were to learn Christ together, who is the head of the church. There was no more distinctions, no more biases, which are earthly. The same Spirit resides in each person who has received the Lord: male, female, Greek, Jew, slave, free, etc. Each now could freely function in the gathering as directed by the Lord. There was no male space or female space in the home wherever the church formed. All freely functioned together in the same space, giving thanks to the “Father through him”!

In their gatherings, mixed with males, females, children, slaves, free, Greek, Jew, Roman, barbarian, Scythian each no longer were to look at themselves with their earthly biases but as “members of one body” as members of Jesus Christ. “Christ is all” of the church, it is His body, and “is in all” the members of the body by His Spirit. He cannot be divided. Therefore to live by His life they learned to accept that their “earthly nature” had “died with Christ.” They did so by living by His life, they looked inwardly to His Spirit to guide and direct their gatherings. They “let the peace of Christ rule in (their) hearts” so that all decisions were now by consensus not by the earthly “head” of the household. They learned to listen to Christ in an inward way as they taught and admonished “one another with all wisdom” through one another functioning together in an orderly fashion as well as through singing, whether individually or all together, with and without musical instruments. This is how they worked out their salvation, knowing and learning Christ, who is our salvation! This would determine whether they would have a solid “faith in Christ.”

Brothers and sisters this is what Paul taught, this is the example, the tradition that he asked all of the churches to follow! It was not an order of worship and a set of doctrines, it was learning Christ together freely! It was creative, it was demonstrative, and yet orderly and led by the Spirit. We do not try to order our meetings, this is fleshly and earthly, it is directed by Christ, the head, not anyone else who whether they realize or not, attempts to usurp the headship of Jesus Christ over His church. If you are a male or female, or if you are the host for the church gathering, that does not give you the right to be head of the church or to make every decision for the church, or choose how the church will meet together! That is for Christ, our head, who directs His body however He desires and by His grace! We gather together to know and learn Christ together, His wonderful love and grace, and to listen to Him! It is Christ who directs whoever He desires in the body, and he desires that everyone functions freely by His Spirit! How thankful to God we are for this! How thankful we should be for all that He has done for us! “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.” Amen!

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2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

This is fantastic brother!!! Thanks for sharing it. It is a message the body needs to hear…Christ being manifested!

Comment by Anthony

Thank brother, after going through the letter and coming to the section of households it seemed to lead to a review of the entire letter in that context, just made a lot of sense to me. You’re right, don’t think this message is truly known by many out their. God bless.

John

Comment by John Wilson




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