Oct 22, 1027

Mature in Christ: Life Group Study 8

SPIRITUAL CONTEXT:

Given what we've already learned of them, it would be easy to cast the Colossians as simple-minded people who were gullible to any argument that would prevent them from fully embracing the Christian message.  As this passage shows us, however, their desire to cling to new teachings is rooted in real human needs.  The Colossians concerns are our concerns.

Like all Christians trying to live a life that pleases the Lord, they were wrestling with their sin.  While they heard the Cross was enough to free them from sin's power, their experience told them otherwise.  They kept sinning in heart, body, and mind, and this frustrated them.  They felt trapped by their sin, and this lead them to feel distant from God.

Into this situation came the false teachers.  They taught that, by adhering to their teachings, the Colossians could finally escape the tyranny of sin.  This is why the Colossians were so ready to believe and follow them.

LITERARY CONTEXT:

After expressing the good news of our union with Christ (2:6-3:4) and those things we should put to death as a result of our union with Christ (3:5-3:11), Paul now describes the things that Christians are to do as a result of their union with Christ (3:12-17). However, he writes much more than a simple to-list: he describes the life of someone transformed by the forgiving love of Christ, who in turn seeks to live his/her life in gratitude and loving obedience to the Lord.


Scripture | Colossians 3:12-17

  1. Have you ever made a commitment to do something routinely (New Year’s Resolution, agreement with friends, regular meeting with colleagues, etc.)? How long did it last? How did you try to maintain the commitment? What was the result?
  2. While instructing the Colossian Christians in their moral character, Paul first draws attention to the God who saved them. What does Paul say God has already done for believers in the first few verses?
  3. Paul instructs the Colossian Christians to “put on” the qualities that follow. How does this continue the analogy made in v. 9-10?
  4. Is this passage a list of do’s (12-14) and don’ts (5-9)? Or is it something deeper?
  5. What are the attributes of someone won over by Christ’s forgiving love (12-14)? What do these mean?
  6. What is the cause/source of these attributes? Is it willpower? Is it giving it your best shot everyday?
  7. How does this truth change how we combat sin and how we pursue a holy life?
  8. What further charges does Paul give the Colossians (15, 16)? Why do you think he chooses to use the passive voice (let…)?
  9. What is our response to this great work of God?
  10. Why is this message good news to a broken and hurting world? How does it transform us? Our spheres of influence (live, work, play, learn)?