Colossians: Rooted in Christ - week 9
Study: Christine Bailey
Reading: Colossians 3 v. 12-17
When you have joined a club or organisation of any kind, how often have you looked up the rules/expectations of members beforehand? Have you ever had any surprises if you haven't read the rules beforehand?
Please read together Colossians 3 v.12-17
Having taught the theory and theology in chapters 1-2, the writer of Colossians started on the practical applications of the Christian life in chapter 3. Except that these aren't 'rules' as such, they are more about the characteristics and growth that naturally come from Christian discipleship. But we regularly need encouragement in them.
Last weeks’ reading had a list of 'do's and 'don'ts. Now we have a more positive list to think about.
To recap, we are trying to live like this because:
• Verse 3 “Your life is hidden with Christ in God” and because
• Verse 10 “You have put on the new self”
In verse 12:
“As God's chosen people”...
Q. 1 Discuss what this means to each of you both a) here and now, and b) after death.
“Holy and dearly loved”...
Q. 2 We all know, in theory, that we are dearly loved by God, but do we feel we are 'holy'? What does 'holy' mean, and are we close to it?
“Clothe yourselves with”...
Q. 3 do you find this image helpful?
Q. 4 Discuss, the meaning of the next qualities listed: compassion to patience. What do they look like in practice? How can we cultivate them? Which other list do they remind you of? [Gal.5.22-23]
Verse 12 'Chosen' doesn't mean others are rejected, but that God has particular tasks for us to do, and be a blessing to his Creation. 'Holy' means: set apart for God's purposes.
In verse 13:
We see that it deals with grievances and forgiveness. This is a huge subject in itself, but we can at least touch on it.
Q. 5 together, try to define forgiveness and describe instances of it in your lives
Apart from God's forgiveness of us
Q. 6 what might be the difference between forgiveness and reconciliation? Can you have one without the other?
In verse 14
“Love which binds together in unity”
Q. 7 when have you seen this work well?
Reconciliation is the restoration of the relationship that has been broken by the grievance. Hopefully, forgiveness leads to this restoration. But we must be careful not to assume that both parties are truly repentant of their parts in the problem. When it has concerned violence and/or abuse of some kind, we must beware trying to force both parties back into that situation. One can forgive, but not ever contact the abuser again. And remember: forgiveness is more often a process than an event.
It can take time.
In verse 15
Q. 8 do we have the Peace of Christ, which enables us to have compassion, love, forgive etc.? Or do we learn to love and forgive and find that it brings the peace of Christ?
Q. 9 similarly, do you see yourself “called to peace” as a Christian within the Body of Christ?
In view of the history of the Church over the centuries, how good/bad have we been at this?
So where do we go from here? Have we got plenty to be thankful for?
In verse 16
“Let the Word of God dwell in you richly”
Q. 10 Share what you understand this to mean and give some examples where you can.
“Teaching and admonishing.... ‘’a bit more tricky!
Q. 11 when have you seen it working? Do we have the right to teach and admonish others? Or is it more of a responsibility? How does the “worship and gratitude” help in this?
In verse 17
This is a sort of summary of the passage, and gives the impression of a constant awareness of God in everything.
Q. 12 is this your experience? How can we train ourselves to be more aware of God 'in the present moment'?
As a result of your discussions, do you feel motivated to change something in your life?
Can you, as a group think of a practical application of things you've shared?