1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,
2 To the saints and faithful brothers1 in Christ at Colossae:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father.
Thanksgiving and Prayer
3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, 5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, 6 which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth, 7 just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant.2 He is a faithful minister of Christ on your3 behalf 8 and has made known to us your love in the Spirit.
9 And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; 12 giving thanks4 to the Father, who has qualified you5 to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. 13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
The Preeminence of Christ
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by6 him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, 23 if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation7 under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.
Paul’s Ministry to the Church
24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, 25 of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, 26 the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. 27 To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. 29 For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.
Or brothers and sisters. In New Testament usage, depending on the context, the plural Greek word adelphoi (translated “brothers”) may refer either to brothers or to brothers and sisters
For the contextual rendering of the Greek word sundoulos, see Preface
Some manuscripts our
Or patience, with joy giving thanks
Some manuscripts us
That is, by means of; or in
Or to every creature
Ephesians 6 & Philippians 1- 4 (1.28.23)
Grab your Bible, and let’s dig into Philippians chapter 1.
Paul says in Philippians 1:3, “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you.”
Paul is thankful for his blood-bought family even without their presence. That’s how blessed it is to be in the family of God.
Does your being a part of the family of God cause you to cry out with thanks to God? It means that much to Paul. It means that much to me. To be a part of this ministry is to be a part of a very special family.
Listen how Paul takes this to another level in verse 8:
Philippians 1:8 For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus.
Paul is speaking of a family of God with an affection that is greater than other relationships. It is a part of his joy and rejoicing.
It is a part of his reality—his daily reality—that gives him enduring joy.
Does the family of God do this for you?
He says this another way in Romans:
Romans 12:10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.
This is not loving one another just with deeds. It is saying, “Have feelings for each other. Desire relationship and fellowship with each other.” The idea is that our hearts know joy when we are around each other or thinking of each other or praying for each other. Because we are family!
But the word for “love” in Romans 12:10 refers to a special kind of love. It refers to “tender affection, particularly family affection.” So, the verse is calling for Christians to have “tender affection toward each other in family love.”
This is a command for how we are to relate to each other in the body of Christ—we are to feel an affection—a tender affection for each other.
We also read in 1 Peter 1:22 (NASB), “Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart.”
Here again is something much more than treating each other well. Here is something from the heart. Something earnest, something with fervor, something of family affection.
But I think Paul says it best in Philippians 1:8: “For God is my witness, how I long for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus.”
The word for “affection” is “intestines” or “inner organs.” The idea is, “I long for you and love you, not just with an act of will power, but with deep and tender affections. I miss you. I am homesick for you. I feel.”
Philippians 1:4 says, “always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy.”
I want to break this into two parts of focus: prayer and encouragement.
Pray for One Another
Ephesians 6:18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints
He wants them to know of the real brotherly love he has for them, and that it’s a love that drives him to CONSTANTLY, REGULARLY pray for them. This is a sweet thing, right? When someone is praying for you faithfully, it is very sweet. Like Paul, we are not just called to suit up and sit around. Like Paul models and commands, we are called to suit up and PRAY “AT ALL TIMES.”
We are called to “KEEP ALERT BY MAKING SUPPLICATION FOR ALL THE SAINTS.”
Supplication means prayers. Are you praying for all the saints? Are you praying for one another?
Jesus models praying for his brothers, knowing the war they are in!
Luke 22:31-32 “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”
Paul models this all the time for us. It is a part of his JOY to pray for his blood-bought family: “always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy” (Philippians 1:4).
I love this prayer of Paul:
Ephesians 3:16-19 … according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
In your prayers for yourselves and for one another, are you asking for deepening eyes to see and ears to hear? An attentiveness to the gospel’s 24/7 work and power? That we, too, might be transformed and others around us might take on a new identity entirely from the lies and lostness of the temporary?
We need to pray for one another as an active way of loving and fighting for one another.
Romans 15:30 (NASB) Now I urge you, brethren, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God for me
The basic point of the verse is to motivate the Roman Christians to “strive” or to “struggle” or to “fight”; it’s a strong word—not just pray but strive or struggle or fight—in prayer to God for Paul as he goes to Jerusalem with a contribution for the poor Christians of the city.
Encourage One Another
Both in his prayers and in writing this letter, we see Paul encouraging his family.
It is an encouragement just to know I am being prayed for.
Hebrews 3:13 (NIV) But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.
God commanded that His people encourage each other, because He knows we need it.
In the Gospel of John, Jesus warned that “in this world you will have tribulation,” which He then followed with a much-needed encouragement: “… But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
Romans 15:5 May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus
Hear this today: If we are going to truly know and practice encouragement, we must first know the “God of encouragement.”
God cares for His people with a holy passion. The church of Jesus Christ is the blood-bought bride of His Son, and He loves us with a minute-by-minute, omnipotent care. Only in Christ do you have the care and loving engagement of the God of encouragement. Apart from Christ, you rightly sit under the perfect, just wrath of God.
Additionally, the “God of encouragement” has given us the weapon that is designed to defeat these enemies: “… the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17).
Now look at the previous verse in Romans 15.
Romans 15:4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
I pray that we see the joy it is for Paul to pray for and encourage his church family. I pray that you come to know the joy that it is in your life to practice these things. Even when, like Paul, you are in a hard time and maybe feeling lonely, may the ministry of prayer and encouragement be a way to stay joyful and know that you are not alone but connected to an awesome and eternal family.
Philippians 1:5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.
Paul has been praying for them because of their partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. He is acknowledging the special relationship that he has with all of his blood-bought family. His adopted brothers and sisters share an amazing bond—an eternal bond—in Jesus because of the gospel, which brought them new life in Christ and true unity. From their new birth until this point in the exile journey, they are family and partners in the mission God has given them.
Do you think about other Christians this way—even if you hardly know them?
Do you think that you share a partnership in Christ, a gospel partnership, that is a relationship like nothing else?
Think about the different people you meet along the way that truly love Jesus and share your purpose for living. This is truly a joy.
This is why the word says there are to be no divisions among you. Because you are partners in the gospel. You are not partners in a self-serving business venture that can go bad. You are not partners in a relationship where you can break up. You are not partners on a team that has a season, and then it’s over. You are partners in the gospel. Meaning from your new birth in Christ and for the rest of eternity, we are gospel partners. Paul gets this and is reveling in it. He is so pumped by this connection and bond in the gospel and the special mission that God has set before them. He is joyful to pray for them.
Skip verse 6, as we will come back to it in a moment, and look at verse 7 with me:
Philippians 1:7 It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel.
Some might say it is strange he is so pumped about someone he hardly knows. They may even say, “I think it is weird that your similar religious convictions create such a strong bond.” But it is not religion or religious similarities. Those are superficial!
What does Paul say it is? He says together they are “… all partakers with me of grace” (Philippians 1:7).
This is why he holds them so dearly in his heart. This is why he feels this way about them. This partaking of grace causes them to run this race together despite what they face—imprisonment, the defense of the gospel, and the confirmation of it. They are suffering, but they endure.
For us to embrace being “partakers of grace,” we must rightly understand grace.
Grace defined: Unmerited favor (or an undeserved gift) given by an unobligated giver.
Grace is a gift from God! He is not obligated to give (His obligation is justice, judgment, wrath). We are not deserving to receive (we deserve His judgment, wrath).
It is in the gospel of grace in which Paul’s joy is grounded. It is like a well springing up to eternal life despite his circumstances.
Ok, moving on. Look back at verse 6 with me:
Philippians 1:6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
Paul is joyful despite his separation from normal life and loved ones in that he understands the faithfulness of God to finish what he began. Paul is joyful, for he understands the saints will endure to the end and persevere to the end. WHY? Because their salvation belongs to the Lord.
Their faith is a gift from God and will endure to the end. How does he know? Because it belongs to God. Notice what he says: “HE who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Therefore, it is not up to you. If you are free, you are free indeed. If you are truly saved, you are saved forever. God doesn’t make a mistake in anything.
Do you remember we studied this in John chapter 6?
John 6:37b-40 “and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
Here we see the beautiful doctrine known as Perseverance of the Saints.
Listen to the promises of Christ concerning the security of the saved ones as I highlight them here:
John 6:37b “whoever comes to me I will never cast out.”
They will not be cast out. God will not change His mind and reject them later. We did nothing to gain His love or acceptance. We can do nothing to lose it. We are forever His! Forever secure in His power. When the storms rage in your life, do you stand in this assurance?
John 6:39 “… I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.”
We cannot be lost. Every one of His sheep are precious in His sight. Not only are we precious, but we will stand with Him in victory. He will raise us up on the last day.
John 6:40 “For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
Eternal life–not eternal death and destruction.
Philippians 1:6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
Are you SURE? Do you rest on who you are in Christ no matter your circumstances?
He will bring it all to completion. He will finish what He began in you!!!
This is why Paul endures in joy! In what else do we have this kind of assurance and confidence as the house is raging on fire, our child is dying of cancer, our spouse abandons us for another? Only in Jesus. He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion!
Philippians 1:9-11 And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
9a: “And it is my prayer that”
Again, Paul loves his adopted family and is praying for them.
And what is his prayer for them?
9b: “your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment”
What did Jesus tell us about love?
John 13:34 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”
Mark 12:29-31 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
1 John 4:19-21 We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.
I could go on and on. We are to walk and talk in love—love for one another and for our enemies.
This doesn’t mean we don’t stand on truth, for love is not love if not in truth.
Notice how he says it abounds—In knowledge and discernment.
The love of God is of God. Therefore, we must know and discern what God says is loving and true.
Not just go with our gut—our instinct—because our flesh is deceitful and self-serving, through and through.
So, Paul is praying that our “love may abound more and more.”
Why? Because it is the love of God that is at work in us and causing us to love others like He loves us.
What is the purpose of this?
10: “so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ”
So that we may approve what is excellent: the things that honor God.
I think it is the process of discerning true faith in Jesus—of a life that honors God.
Why? So we, the people of God, are pure and blameless for the arrival of the Groom—Jesus Christ.
Paul is saying, “This is the primary work, the work of love, of gospel testimony. The work of disciple making, raising up those who are excellent and pure and blameless as they grow in sanctification.”
Why? Because the Groom is coming for His bride. Because this work is the greatest thing in this life that we get to do. It is the joy of our lives to make ready the bride of God for the wedding feast of our Lord.
11a: “filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ”
Where does the power to do these things come from? NOT FROM YOURSELF!
From God, “THROUGH JESUS CHRIST.” The fruit of righteousness or the Holy Spirit is the result of Christ at work in us. I want the tree of my life in Christ to bear much fruit—to be FILLED!
And ultimately, why do we do these things that Paul is praying for the church to do?
11b: “to the glory and praise of God.”
This is my prayer for you and yours as we live to make much of His holy name.
By His grace and for His glory
Joshua “Shepherd” Kirstine
Soldiers For Jesus MC
4:1 Therefore, my brothers,1 whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.
Exhortation, Encouragement, and Prayer
2 I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord. 3 Yes, I ask you also, true companion,2 help these women, who have labored3 side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness4 be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 What you have learned5 and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
10 I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. 11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
14 Yet it was kind of you to share6 my trouble. 15 And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only. 16 Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. 17 Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit.7 18 I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. 19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. 20 To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.
21 Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me greet you. 22 All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar’s household.
23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
Or brothers and sisters; also verses 8, 21
Or loyal Syzygus; Greek true yokefellow
Or strived (see 1:27)
Or these things— 9which things you have also learned
Or have fellowship in
Or I seek the profit that accrues to your account
Righteousness Through Faith in Christ
3:1 Finally, my brothers,1 rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you is no trouble to me and is safe for you.
2 Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh. 3 For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God2 and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh—4 though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law,3 blameless. 7 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
Straining Toward the Goal
12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. 16 Only let us hold true to what we have attained.
17 Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. 18 For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.
Christ’s Example of Humility
2:1 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,1 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,2 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant,3 being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Lights in the World
12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. 17 Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. 18 Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.
Timothy and Epaphroditus
19 I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, so that I too may be cheered by news of you. 20 For I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare. 21 For they all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. 22 But you know Timothy’s4 proven worth, how as a son5 with a father he has served with me in the gospel. 23 I hope therefore to send him just as soon as I see how it will go with me, 24 and I trust in the Lord that shortly I myself will come also.
25 I have thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, and your messenger and minister to my need, 26 for he has been longing for you all and has been distressed because you heard that he was ill. 27 Indeed he was ill, near to death. But God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. 28 I am the more eager to send him, therefore, that you may rejoice at seeing him again, and that I may be less anxious. 29 So receive him in the Lord with all joy, and honor such men, 30 for he nearly died6 for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was lacking in your service to me.
Or which was also in Christ Jesus
Or a thing to be held on to for advantage
Or slave (for the contextual rendering of the Greek word doulos, see Preface)
Or he drew near to the point of death; compare verse 8