1) The theme for this letter is the preeminence of Jesus in our lives, meaning Jesus having His rightful place of priority in our daily walk as Christians. What do you think that means for you? What adjustments need to be made in order for Him to have that place of priority?
Vs. 1 & 2
2) Paul as a Christian knows his calling and his gifting. Do you? Are you exercising them? If not, why not? We know that grace and peace go together especially at the point of salvation, but it seems to be true also in our daily walk as well. We want peace in situations but are you walking in grace?
Vs. 3 - 5
3) Paul commended this group on their maturity as followers. What are the three things he mentioned? These are very evident early on in our walk with Jesus but somehow we can start to go through the motions but not be moving in His Spirit. Read 1 Thess.1:3 and then review what Jesus said approximately 45 years later from Rev. 2:2-5. Regarding these three evidences, what would Jesus say to you today?
Vs. 6 - 8
4) Notice how these three things are the outworking of God's Word and how this brings forth fruit. It is transfered by the Spirit to others around us as we are faithful like Epaphras to pass it on. Read Romans 10:17. Are there people in your life that God is prompting you to pass it on to?
Vs. 9 - 14
1) In these verses we have Paul's prayer for the believers in Colosse. It is such a wonderful example of how to pray for believers. Notice how Paul prays directly to God and does not try to direct God in how He should answer, but rather leaves room for God to move in His way. Using this prayer as an example, how can your prayers be improved in order to be more effective?
2) Based on this verse how do we know what God would do or what God is like? How can we know His divine nature and heart in specific matters? Read John 14:7-11
Vs. 15 - 18
3) In these four verses we see the word "all" used 6 different times in direct reference to Jesus. In Rev. 4:11, we find we are created for His good pleasure (KJV). Also in Psalm 118:24 it says, "This is the day that the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it". If everything is His then all of our life is His and that is how things are really held together even for us. Our tendency is to compartmentalize our lives, yet that is not compatible with the Scriptures. Can you see ways in your everyday life that you could begin to acknowledge His preeminence and experience a more fulfilled life?
Vs. 19 & 20
1) God in the person of His son has reconciled (paid the price for our sin) through the blood of His cross making peace between us and God. Share with the group when this first became clear to you (when you got saved) and what were the circumstances.
Vs. 21 & 22
2) Clearly we were all once enemies of God by our sinful nature, but in HIm (because of a personal relationship with Him) we are holy, blameless, and above reproach. Because of this truth, what should be our response according to 2 Cor. 5:14-21?
3) Paul tells us that we need to continue in the faith through perseverance. Remembering that the theme of Colossians is Jesus' preeminence, discuss how we as believers stay grounded, steadfast and not moved away from the hope of the Gospel that each of us have heard.
1) Paul says that he rejoices in his sufferings for others. This is a challenge, yet he sees this as part of his relationship to Christ and the church.
Read these few scriptures regarding suffering as believers and then discuss how this should be worked out in our daily lives.
2 Timothy 3:12 a promise for us, Romans 5:3-5 also James 1:2-4, it's part of our development, 1 Peter 1:6-7 also 1 Peter 4:12-16 it honors God,
2 Corinthians 12:7-9 we get closer to Jesus and find true strength, and Romans 8:16-18 keep your eyes on the prize.
2) God still calls us all today to be ministers, which means servants of others. He has also placed us into the body of Christ (the church) and we all have received a stewardship or place of purpose from Him. This means our gifting and calling, in which we are to function, fulfills His Word. Are you currently in a place of service in the body? Do you have a sense of purpose within your gifting and calling? I know that this is something that each of us are working on, but I'm hoping it stirs up a desire to focus on His plan for your life.
3) Do you see how serving and suffering many times go together? Paul, like Jesus, was very 'others' focused and in that there is great fulfillment. What are some practical ways to apply this truth to your life?
1) Based on the new covenant relationship from Jeremiah 31:33, what does "Christ in you" mean?
How does that work out in daily life?
2) How can we warn others or share the truth with them regarding our faith in our everyday life?
3) Paul says that it's God working through him. Talk about ways you experience Him at work in your life.
1) In this first section Paul addresses one of four issues stemming from false teachings, that being philosophy of men / pseudo-intellectualism. From the very first verse he is clearly and deeply concerned for the Church there. Discuss from these 10 verses how this deception erodes the truth of who Jesus is in a believer’s life. What is meant in vs.9 & 10?
2) In these verses we find three more false teachings. The first of these is in verses 16 & 17, legalism. The second is in 18 & 19, mysticism. The third is in 20 -23, asceticism. Discuss how these come into play today in various forms. Paul seemed to be very passionate about these things being mixed with the truth. Why? Should we, in our day and age, be concerned too?
3) Paul gives us the solution to the problems these false teachings are trying to address. They really don't help against the real issue, sin.
Forgiveness found in the blood of Jesus is the only answer and our only hope. Discuss what it means to appropriate the blood or to disarm the enemy.
We are Heaven Bound!!!
1) Where do you call home? What do you think Paul means to "seek those things which are above"? Read Hebrews 11:13-16, 2 Corinthians 5:1-11, John 14:2-3 and Philippians 3:20-4:1
2) Paul gives us a directive in this verse. It is clear that he believes that in the Spirit we can do as he tells us to. Discuss the importance of us having this type of perspective.
3) Remember you died! Romans 6:1-14. We have a new life in Jesus. We are no longer obligated to our old sin nature to obey it's lusts. How does this apply to being heavenly minded?
4) "Christ who is our life" - If we can daily more fully grasp that truth then He will surely be glorified in what we say and do. It is so easy to get caught up in trying to get earthly glory but to what real benefit? If we are more aware of our true source of life then Jesus gets the glory. What’s your focus?
Discussion Topics - Part 1
1) Paul is reminding us of our former life without God and unregenerate. This was to be our past and we are able, in Him, to put this old life off. Read Rom.6:11-12.
What is Paul saying to us about our former life and how should we be responding?
2) The new man we are to put on is to be renewed. How can we be renewed?
3) Again Paul tells us to "put on" some things. The idea is that we can do this in Him. Does your Christian life reflect more of the old or new life?
4) In what way can these verses help you as a believer determine God’s will for your life?
Discussion Topics - Part 2
1) Talk about each of the 7 characteristics that are a part of God's Loving nature that now dwells within us. Define each of these characteristics and discuss how each of these can be applied in your everyday life. How did Jesus forgive you? How should you forgive others?
2) Why is love considered the bond of perfection? (Read 1Corinthians Chapter 13)
3) Revisit the discussion of discovering Gods will from these verses. Are you thankful? For what?
4) Talk about the challenges of this verse: "whatever you do in word or deed" and "do all in the name of the Lord Jesus". This simply is how our lives can give God glory when we can do the mundane tasks in His name for His Glory.
Colossians 3:18 - 4:1
1) In these verses the Holy Spirit is giving us the outline for a Godly marriage and a fruitful family. Discuss what is meant by submit, love, obey, provoke and discouragement. Remember this is displayed in words, actions and our attitudes.
2) This has more to do with our employment and our work ethic. Even in menial tasks there seems to be an eternal focus knowing that God sees and cares.
How does that speak to you?
3) Again God sees all and knows all. He is just with all and there is an equality of all in Him. Regardless of your roll or title here on earth we all have one Master.
Are you displaying an eternal view with that understanding?
1) What does it mean for us to continue earnestly in prayer? What is prayer? Discuss some of the other aspects covered in these three verses as it relates to your prayer life such as: “being vigilant”, “with thanksgiving” or “an open door for the word.”
2) Discuss some of Paul's intent regarding the believers contact with the world. He gives five areas for us. What are they?
3) Notice the concern for others. This is displayed in these verses and the clear spiritual focus in these relationships. What can you learn from this?
4) In these three verses we have Paul's closing thoughts but let's look at verse 17 closely. How does that speak to you?