Let's begin Colossians:
The theme of Ephesians was the Body of Christ. It held for the truth that from the beginning of time God predestined to create a people who would bring salvation to mankind. By joining oneself to this Body one becomes part of the predestined group. The book of Colossians upholds the Mystery of Christ Himself. Both books should be taken in concert, Christ restores mankind to become once again like God, but in order to do so one must grafted into His body—the Church.
I. Introduction PAUL, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timoyour our brother, 2 To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are in Colosse: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.*
-Colossae is 100 miles east of Ephesus in the heart of Asia Minor. Originally it was a trade city between Ephesus and deeper into Asia Minor. However, by the time of Paul Colossae had begun to decline and shrink in size and prominence.
-One of the major reasons for writing the book was to help them recognize and defend themselves against heresy. This will become apparent when we get into chapter 2
-The type of heresy that was begining to attack this church was Gnosticism. Gnosticism is a broad category of heresy that the church fought through the second century; various forms would pop up in different places throughout the empire. If you want a thorough understanding of all the various forms of Gnosticism, take a trip through St. Ireaneus’ Against Heresies.
-Two basic ideas were common to all forms of Gnosticism. First, salvation consisted by being initiated into a secret truth or knowledge. Second, there was a belief that God was so transcendent that He related to man through various emanations; each emanation was further and further from God; the secret knowledge allowed man to recognize each emanation and eventually reach back to God Himself. Also there was usually a low view of the body and all matter, because it was the body that prevented man from having direct relationship with God and the need to travel through the emanations.
-The Gnosticism of Colossae was a combination of Greek speculation; Jewish legalism (primarily dietary laws, holy days, and circumcision); and eastern mysticism
II. Thanksgiving for the Colossians
A. Their Faith, Hope and Love. 3 We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, 4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints; 5 because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel,
C. Their Minister 7 as you also learned from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf, 8 who also declared to us your love in the Spirit.
-The last time we ran into Epaphras was in Philippians; he had been ministering there as well. Epaphras had probably founded the Church in Colossae. Paul it appears never actually visited Colossae, but he had sent Epaphras when he was working in Ephesus.