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Being Filled

"Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are at Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father."
Good Morning My Beloved,

Welcome to worship this Lord's Day!
We would like to welcome our brothers and sisters from all around the world who have come to join us today, we're so glad you're here. Know that we are fervently praying for all of you.

As we embark on a new journey in the book of Colossians, I believe that it is critically important for us to have some overall understanding and background. I also believe there a number of reasons to study this marvelous epistle, first, its in the Bible and second, I believe its just as relevant for us today, as it was when it was written by Paul to the church in Colossae.

Colossae was an ancient city of Phrygia, located in Asia Minor, and was one of the most celebrated cities of southern Anatolia.

We are living in the age of science and technology. In fact, science and technology, is advancing at such a rate so rapid, it would be impossible for any human being to master as much as a single day's discoveries. I would suppose that its safe to say, that nearly every scientist who has ever lived or is alive today, has naturally questioned, how is God related to any of this?

I believe that Colossians clearly answers this question. In verse 16, "For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him."

We are also living in the age of Ecumenism. Ecumenism is a movement which aims to unite differing denominations of Christianity. There are a range of ecumenical communities which, although run differently, have the same primary goal which is to unite Christians from different denominations and backgrounds in one worship and community. In essence, a One World Religion.

It calls to my mind the nagging question, how can there possibly be true unity, a true church, without true doctrine? The answer is quite simple: There can't! This super church strives to remove the doctrinal barriers that divide Christianity, Catholicism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and so on. Merging together Rama, Vishnu, Zoroaster, Buddha, Muhammad, Confucius and Moses into one big happy family, all on different paths, heading to the same heaven. 

Can we really merge everybody religiously on the basis of philanthropy, culture and commonality socially? The Apostle Paul's letter to the Colossians points to the existence of an early Christian community in a town known for its fusion of religious influences.

Let us bow our heads.

Heavenly Father,

Father, we thank You for this wonderful portion of Your Word, for the clarity given to us by Your Holy Spirit. Bind it tightly to our hearts, help us O Lord to make the necessary application to our lives that we might live a life pleasing to You. 

Lord, if there is anyone among us, who is yet living in darkness, may today be that day, You would open their eyes to the truth in Your Word. Father, You know that we are living in an age, where all authority is suspect, an age when people are denying any absolute, the overthrow of anything is allowable and encouraged. We have in our world the religion of man, the religion of mind, where every man is entitled to develop and be his own religion. Thank You for Your Son, who redeemed us, that we might worship in adoration and love, for those of us who know Him.
In His name we pray
Today's Message: Being Filled
For some of us, it will be like going home, look at something familiar, that we’ve read before and may have forgotten. For others of us, it will be like reading it for the first time. Bringing a renewed vibrant inspiration. 
Open your Bibles with me to the book of Colossians. Today’s message will introduce the book and get us ready to begin a more in-depth study of the 95 verses of Colossians. Colossians weaves together God’s uncompromising truth with His wonderfully warm love. It is a marvelous epistle from which I am certain we will all be richly blessed.

I encourage you to follow along with me as I read to get it set in our minds. Colossians 1:1-2.

"Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are at Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father."
The church, which was in present-day Turkey, was flourishing until some false teachers came and disrupted the growth and confused their theology. This letter needed to be written to encourage the believers to combat errors that had begun to find their way into the church.

This false teaching was partly pagan and partly legalistic Judaism. This amalgamation of philosophies, beliefs, and errors is called “syncretism.” They believed they had a kind of special knowledge and a better understanding because of some mystical wisdom they possessed. Much like those who use the book of Mormon, Jehovah Witness Watch Tower, Qur'an, Psychics and astrology, or Love and Light, the new age teachings do today.

The most dangerous part of their belief, the heresy, was the deprecation of Christ, which subtly denied the supremacy of Jesus. In fact, Colossians is the most Christ-centered book in the entire Bible. That’s one of the reasons we’re studying it right now. In the midst of our cultural confusion about Christ, we must come back to His absolute superiority and preeminence.

We live in a world not unlike that of the Colossians. There’s a lot of mixing and mingling of views today, isn’t there? People borrow a little from this and a little from that. I like to call it "pop culture theology." It comes from various religions, movies, MTV, books and philosophies that have their root in the same beliefs that surfaced in Colossae.

It is a world where a lot of people and groups, though they aren’t necessarily against Jesus, they don’t necessarily feel that Jesus is sufficient enough to sustain and guide their life. They believe that Jesus is important, but He is not central. Jesus is prestigious, but not preeminent.

Paul under the direct inspiration of the Holy Spirit, wrote this letter to let the Colossian believers know, and to let every generation and culture that would come after the first century, know, in no uncertain terms, that Jesus Christ is supreme! He is the center of creation. He is the center of life! Jesus is all we truly need. The sufficiency of Christ is the theme of the Book of Colossians.

For practicality in writing, Paul identifies himself as he does all his letters in his greeting. "Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,"

Following the practice of correspondence in the ancient world, Paul begins the letter with his name. Paul was the most important and influential person in Christian history since our Lord Jesus Christ. His personality was the remarkable combination of a brilliant mind, an absolutely indomitable will, and a tender heart. 

He was Jewish in ancestry, from the tribe of Benjamin, made him, a "Hebrew of Hebrews," as recorded in Philippians 3:5. Paul was educated under Gamaliel, one of the leading rabbis of that time. He was also by birth a Roman citizen, and exposed to Greek culture in his home city of Tarsus. He even became a Pharisee. Such a background rendered him uniquely qualified to communicate the gospel in the Greco-Roman world. It was largely his efforts that transformed Christianity from a small Palestinian sect to a religion with adherents throughout the Roman Empire. The church would be blessed to have record of even one letter from such a man, let alone the thirteen found in the New Testament.

So that his authority in the Church would be recognized, Paul presents himself as one being officially sent out by the Anointed Savior or an Apostle of Jesus Christ. His appointment and authority came directly from Jesus Christ. Apostolos means "sent one" or "messenger" and in the New Testament is used as an official title of the men God uniquely chose to establish His church and the receivers, teachers, and writers of God’s final revelation—the New Testament. He is not simply a messenger, but an official representative, an authorized spokesman for the One who sent him. What he writes in this letter is not merely his opinion, but God’s authoritative Word.

We do not typically call people Apostles today. Probably the closest we might have would perhaps be a missionary church planter, but even then they are not Apostles, for they have not received the gift of apostleship personally from Jesus Christ Himself. However, they would be considered apostles of the church. (spelled with a lower case "a")

Paul become an Apostle through his own efforts. Neither was he appointed to the position by any human organization. Paul was called and anointed as an Apostle by the will of God. God, having chosen him long before, brought His sovereign choice to realization with that most striking of conversions on the Damascus Road in Acts 9:1–9. It climaxed in his being set apart for missionary service by the Holy Spirit recorded in Acts 13:2.

Paul, as was his custom, mentions a co-laborer who was with him when he wrote: Timothy our brother. Timothy is also included in the introductions to II Corinthians, Philippians 1 and 2 Thessalonians, and Philemon. He was a companion and disciple of Paul. Such a reference does not indicate co-authorship of those epistles. Peter is certainly clear that the epistles bearing Paul’s name were written by Paul, II Peter 3:15-16.

Paul understood the importance of partnership in ministry. Timothy was not an apostle but was however, extremely close to Paul. Paul had a unique and special confidence in and love for Timothy. Timothy had ministered to him for many years, ever since they first met on Paul’s second missionary journey, in Acts 19:22. Although Paul was now a prisoner, Timothy, faithfully remained with him. Perhaps no passage expresses Paul’s feelings about his young friend more clearly than Philippians 2:19–22, "But I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, so that I also may be encouraged when I learn of your condition. For I have no one else of kindred spirit who will genuinely be concerned for your welfare. For they all seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus. But you know of his proven worth, that he served with me in the furtherance of the gospel like a child serving his father."

Despite his many strengths, Timothy was prone physically to sickness, I Timothy 5:23, and weakness. He even had an experience in Ephesus, when he was timid, hesitant, perhaps ashamed and disloyal to his gift and duty, and was in need of encouragement and strength, II Timothy 1:5–14. Still, no one served Paul as faithfully in spreading the gospel, Philippians 2:22. He was Paul’s true child in the faith, I Corinthians 4:17. It was to Timothy that Paul wrote his final letter, II Timothy and passed the mantle of leadership, II Timothy 4.

He joins Paul on his Second Missionary Journey and is also with Paul on his Third Missionary Journey. He is with Paul in his Roman imprisonment. His special work was as Paul’s representative. Remained in Berea. He was sent to Macedonia, he was sent to Corinth, he was sent to Philippi and to Thessalonica and also to Ephesus.

From apostolic times until the rise of liberal higher criticism in the nineteenth century, the church accepted the Pauline authorship of Colossians. The arguments for rejecting the authenticity of Colossians are unconvincing. They cannot stand in the face of the internal and external testimony to Paul’s authorship.

The external testimony to Colossians’ authenticity is impressive. Such leaders of the early church as Eusebius, Origen, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, and Irenaeus all attest to its Pauline authorship. There is no evidence that anyone doubted Colossians’ authenticity before the nineteenth century.

The date assigned for the writing depends on where Paul was imprisoned when he wrote Colossians. Colossians, Philippians, Ephesians, and Philemon are known as the prison epistles. Three possibilities have been suggested for the site of that imprisonment: Caesarea, Ephesus, and Rome.

The letter to the Colossians was most likely as written around AD 50-60, while Paul was a prisoner in Rome. It was probably requested by Epaphras to help with some problems that had cropped up in the church. This might surprise you but every church has problems! Why? Because every church has people.

Wouldn’t it be great if life came with a manual? I mean, when a problem came up you could open the manual to page so-and-so and wow, there’s the solution! Well, that’s what the Bible is, a manual for living. That’s why so much of the New Testament was recorded, to help us with our problems. Paul was one of God’s great problem solvers and he wrote down solutions for the churches to follow.

Colossians breaks down the problems apparent in their church and gives solutions. That it was preserved and placed in the Bible means that God recognized we too would experience problems like these and could benefit from these words of Paul.
Paul says three things to the church at Colossae: Your Savior is Supreme, your Salvation is Simple and you are Saved for Service 
In verse 2, we find the recipients of his letter, "To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are at Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father."

The first recipients of the letter lived in Colossae. Colossae was a city in what is today the country of Turkey. By the time Paul wrote the once major city of Colossae had become a small city located in-land about 100 miles from the Mediterranean Coast, 120 miles east of Ephesus and 7 miles away from the city of Laodicea mentioned in the Revelation.

Colossae was part of the Roman province of Asia (Minor), in what is now part of Turkey. Colossae was located on the Lycus River, not far from its junction with the Maeander River. At Colossae the Lycus Valley narrowed to a width of about two miles, and Mount Cadmus, some eight thousand feet high, towered over the city. This beautiful river valley was strategically located near two mountain ranges Cadmus rises steeply to the south and the Mosssyna Range to the north. Thus the highway that link east with west, Asia, Ephesus with Antioch, Syria ran through it.

The fertile volcanic soil around Colossae made it an excellent location for grass and vegetation. On it’s slopes grazed huge flocks of sheep. making it a epicenter for the manufacturing of wool garments.

Colossae was already a great city when the Persian king Xerxes, marched through it in 481 B.C. It was situated at the junction of the main trade routes running east from Ephesus and north to Pergamos. In Roman times, however, the road to Pergamos was rerouted through Laodicea, bypassing Colossae. That, coupled with the rise of its neighboring cities, Laodicea and Hierapolis, led to the decline in importance of Colossae.
The area was prone to earthquakes. Colossae, Laodicea, and Hierapolis were devastated by one, in about A.D. 60, though they were quickly rebuilt. In Paul’s day it was a small city, over-shadowed by its more prosperous neighbors. Largely abandoned by the eighth century, Colossae was destroyed in the twelfth century. Archaeologists have since found the remains of the acropolis, theater, and church. To this day, the site remains unoccupied.
The spiritual health of the city sounds much like almost any city in America today, meaning that there was a hodgepodge of beliefs, a pluralistic society. In other words, there existed a diversity of ethnic groups or different cultures with a variety of philosophies concerning religion, politics, and life.
Since Colossae was founded long before the expansion of the Greek and Roman Empires it was less Helenistic that its neighboring cities. The population of Colossae was predominantly Gentile, but there was a sizable Jewish community. Antiochus the Great, 223–187 B.C., transported Jewish settlers to the region. Other Jews were drawn by the trade in wool and other business ventures. Still others came for the mineral baths at nearby Hierapolis. 
Because Colossae had a mixed Gentile and Jewish population, it is not surprising that the heresy threatening the Colossian church contained Jewish and pagan elements. Many of these Jews had become idol worshipers as the Talmud complained, "The wines and baths of Phrygia have separated the ten tribes from Israel." Also indicating that Jewish refuges from the Babylonian Empire had been located there.
Luke tells us that during Paul’s three-year stay in Ephesus on his third missionary journey, "all who lived in Asia heard the word of the Lord." It was at this time that the churches in Laodicea, Hierapolis, and Colossae got their start. The man who founded them was not Paul, since he included the Laodiceans and Colossians among those who had never seen him in person. Nor does the book of Acts mention Paul’s founding a church at Colossae, or even visiting there. The man God used to found the church at Colossae was Epaphras. In Colossians 1:5–7, we learn that the Colossians had heard the gospel from him. Epaphras was a native of Colossae who was probably converted to Christ while visiting Ephesus during Paul’s stay there. He then returned to his city and began the church. He was vigilant in prayer and loyal to the point of being will to suffer whatever hardships necessary to serve the church as Christ’s ambassador. The Church met in the home of Philemon. 

Epaphras actions brought about the writing of the letter. During Paul’s imprisonment, Epaphras, the pastor of the Colossian Church made the 1,000-1,200 mile trip to converse with him. His favorable report on the church also made Paul painfully aware of the two main dangers the church was facing. First, immoral vices, actions were creeping in and allowed to continue. Second, man made philosophies were being exalted above Christ. They need to more fully realize the exalted nature and unmatched glory of Christ.
Still, Paul addresses the church as the saints and faithful brethren who are at Colossae. Saints and faithful brethren are not two distinct groups but are equivalent terms. And kai, could be translated, "even." The church is a special kind of family made up of "saints." Hagios, which translates saints or holy ones, refers to separation, in this case being separated from sin and set apart to God. They are called saints or holy, not because they are distinguished from others by their moral and spiritual qualities, or by their own efforts to please God, but because they have received and responded to a divine calling, they are set apart by belonging to Christ. We are saints by virtue of our position in Christ. We are transformed into a holy people by a holy God.
Saints are those who have been set apart by God to glorify Him. They are the “dedicated” or consecrated ones whose task it is to proclaim God’s excellencies, I Peter 2:9. Faithful believers are also public witnesses.

They are called “saints and brethren in Christ” because they were genuine. They were real. They weren’t playing a game. They were faithful brethren. We too are saints because we belong to Christ. We have been called and we are to be faithful to that call.

The letter is addressed to those "in Christ." "In Christ" is a phrased used by Paul more than 160 times in various forms. It emphasizes the spiritual position of believers. They are in Christ meaning the are united with Christ, joined to Him, as limbs are joined to the body. 
The greeting or salutation continues and becomes a pronounced blessing. "Grace to you and peace from God our Father."

Paul didn’t use the customary Greek salutation "hail or greetings," which can mean something like "hey" or "what’s up?" Instead, he chose "grace." Grace is God’s unmerited favor or enablement and peace is what results when God’s grace is received. Grace produces enabling and well-being. Grace is God’s provision for the Christian life. Peace is the enjoyment of those provisions. If someone does not have peace in their life, it may be because they’ve not yet experienced grace.

Peace, or shâlôm, is the assurance of reconciliation through the blood of the Cross. Grace and peace - are in Christ. Only God the Father can offer grace and peace. Grace always precedes peace. When we receive grace, we will have peace with God, then we’ll experience the peace of God and we’ll have the means to bring both elements of peace to others.

Grace to you and peace was the greeting Paul used to open all thirteen of his letters. Inasmuch, as God is the source of both, Paul says those two blessings are derived from our great God and Father.

In Closing....

Ultimately the Roman Empire couldn’t deliver peace. Historians say Rome fell in 476 AD, when the last Roman emperor was deposed. Neither will our Western society ever bring perfect and lasting peace. Peace comes when we are reconciled to God not to culture, and not to ‘powers and principalities’ which capture us through deceptive philosophy. Peace comes when we are reconciled to Christ and so at the heart of the letter to the Colossians is the supremacy and sufficiency of Christ, whether it be for those living in first century Asia Minor, or for us living in 21st century.

Colossians is one of Paul’s shortest letters but also one of the most exciting. We’re encouraged to explore the treasures of the gospel and to order our lives accordingly under the lordship of Christ. We’ll see that wrong thinking and doctrine always leads to wrong living. While we’re going to go through it section by section, it’s important to keep in mind that this letter is meant to be read as a whole. In fact, Colossians 4:16 encourages us to read it out loud. In order to fully comprehend it, you might want to consider reading the entire book a couple times each week for the next several months.

Beloved, if you’ve gotten to the place in your Christian experience that you want more, then here is where it begins! If your Christian life has gotten somewhat stagnant and that can certainly happen, a refreshing and refilling begins by getting to know God even better and by doing more good deeds for Him.

Good deeds will not earn you God’s favor, but you do them because you love God and you love others.

Knowing God better requires spending more time with Him. He’s a person, and like any other person you have to spend time with Him to get to know Him better. That’s your daily worship, your daily quiet time, or personal devotions or whatever you choose to call it.

There is a lot of fake happiness in our culture. A lot of people are pretending to have it all together on the outside but on the inside they are empty, Your life will not become dull and boring if you fill up on God every day. Your life will be not only be happy, but full of fresh enthusiasm. The word enthusiasm comes from the Greek words for "in God." The more of God you have in you, the more enthusiastic you will become! The more enthusiastic you are about the life, the more you will live up to your potential!
In fulfilling your purpose that God created you for, you will experience life as never before.

May it be so...
And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name

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The Brian Monzon Ministries



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