Colossians 2

Colossians 2: Beware of Deceit

                Paul warns the Colossians in Colosse about men who will come to them and attempt to confuse them with ‘doctrine of men’;

“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” (Colossians 2:8)

Paul explains that only through Christ can we be ‘complete’. Paul expounds on how baptism should be performed;

“Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.” (Colossians 2:12) Notice how he said ‘buried with him’, this means baptism by immersion. In our baptism is represents the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, as we follow him as a new and clean person. We should leave our sins behind in the baptismal font.

Colossians 1

Colossians 1: Christ created all Things

                Paul addresses the Colossians in Colosse and both Him and Timotheus greet the saints there. Paul explains that because they are followers of Christ, Jesus has made them “…partakers of the inheritance…” (Colossians 1:12) Paul explains this to drive home the point that members of Christ’s Church, His Saints… His Followers are all part of the wonderful plan that God set forth before the foundation of the earth was laid. We as followers of Jesus Christ share the inheritance that God will give us, this was only made possible through the “…redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:14) Through the suffering and crucifixion of Jesus Christ, we have been given a path back to live with our Heavenly Father, and through Christ obtain our inheritance with the Father and the Son.

Paul goes on to address the saints and explain that Christ created all things;

“For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, of powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, by him all things consist… he is the head of the body, the church…” (Colossians 1:16-18)

Paul comforts the saints to continue in the faith; “…continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel.” (Colossians 1:23)

                He explains that in every dispensation (when the authority is on earth and a prophet is called) that God reveals the mysteries of the world to His Children through the mouth of His servants the Prophets. Paul explains that he is a minister in that dispensation;

                “…I am made a minister according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God; Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:” (Colossians 1:26)

Paul urges the members of the church to preach to every man and warn them with wisdom of the sins and wickedness of the world, so that they may stand blameless before God in the Judgment Day;

                “… preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.” (Colossians 1:28)

Summary of Philippians

Summary of Philippians

                Paul writes to the Philippians in epistles from prison, he writes to them to thank them for their continued support and encouragement.

In Chapters 1-2: Paul writes about his sufferings, but writes that because of his sufferings the work of God has continued; “… I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel.” (Philippians 1:12) As a follower of Jesus Christ, you often have to surrender your life to further the work of Christ’s kingdom on earth. For as a believer of Christ we have to not only have “…to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake.” (Philippians 1:29)

Paul explains that because Jesus Christ suffered for us, God exalted Him on high, that “…every knee should bow…And…every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord…” (Philippians 2:10-11)

In Chapters 3-4: Paul expounds on the joys of being a Christian and encourages the church to press forward with the Gospel. Paul continues to explain how we can have joy in Jesus Christ, and that the believers will rejoice in Him when they are grounded in prayer and thanksgiving. He ends by explaining that whatsoever things are: true, honest, just, pure, lovely, virtuous and of good report , should be on the minds of the Saints who believe on Christ.

 

 

Philippians 4

Philippians 4: We Believe in Being Honest…

Paul ends his address to the Philippians by urging them to “…stand fast in the Lord…” (Philippians 4:1) He asks them to unite as one, and help each other. He urges them to rejoice in the Lord, and to be in a state of thanksgiving always.

He then gives some really good advice; “…Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true… honest… just…  pure…  lovely… [OR]… of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (Philippians 4:8)

In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints we believe on what Paul said, in fact it is part of one of our Articles of Faith (13 short articles declaring what we believe);

“We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul-We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.” (Articles of Faith, 13)

In Philippians 4:8, Paul was urging the Saints of the Church (the members) to be good upstanding citizens, not only in the Church, but in their communities. Paul tells them that with Christ, he can do anything, and they can too; “I can do all things through Christ, which strengthened me.” (Philippians 4:13)

Philippians 3

Philippians 3: Sacrificing All for Christ

                Paul opens this letter with some advice; “Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision [mutilation]” (Philippians 3:2) I think it is safe to say that Paul was referring to dogs in the same sense that was used in Proverbs; “…a dog returneth to his own vomit, so a food returneth to his folly.” (Proverbs 26:11) Therefore, Paul is telling the Philippians that they need to avoid fools, evil workers and they need to avoid mutilating their body (i.e. tattoos, piercings, etc.)

Paul explains that while he was raised Jewish and was circumcised in the flesh, it was more important to be circumcised of the Spirit in your love for Jesus Christ. Righteousness comes not from the letter of the law, but from the Spirit of the Law, by following Christ. By following Jesus Christ and doing his will in following the Spirit of the Law (i.e. loving your neighbor) Paul is filled with righteousness, which allows Paul to know Christ and the power of his resurrection. This does not mean that Paul is perfect, but he presses on to do what Christ has called him to do. Paul urges the Philippians to follow his example.

Philippians 2

Philippians 2: Every Knee Shall Bow, and Every Tongue Shall Confess

                Paul urges the Philippians to be “…likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.” (Philippians 2:2) Paul explains that the Saints should not act from selfish ambitions. He urges the members to be like Jesus Christ; “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God.” (Philippians 2:6)

What does Paul mean when he said that Jesus Christ thought it was not robbery to be equal with God? What does that mean for the followers of Christ? It means that as Jesus Christ wanted to be like His Father, we too want to be like our Father. It is ok to have a desire to become like God, Paul himself said; “For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there by gods many, and lords many,) But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.” (1 Corinthians 8:5-6)

Can we become like God?

                The question arises, can we as children of God, become like Him? OR in other words, is it possible for mankind to become gods? Notice I used a lowercase “g” for “gods”, instead of the uppercase “G” for God the Eternal Father. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believes that we are of divine nature and therefore have the potential to be like our Heavenly Father, and the Bible agrees with this doctrine;

From the beginning; “…God said, Let us make man in our own image, after our own likeness…” (Genesis 1:26) Later, after Adam and Eve had partaken of the fruit; “…the Lord God said, behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil…” (Genesis 3:22) This suggested that the purpose for Adam and Eve to have partaken of the fruit and to have knowledge of Good and Evil was part of God’s plan from the beginning, for mankind (His Children) to one day return and live with Him in His Kingdom, and to become like Him. Remember we have divine potential to become LIKE Him, but NOT BECOME Him.

Later we read in the New Testament when Jesus Christ is being accused of blasphemy, they charge Him by saying; “…because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.” (John 10:33) Jesus responds to them saying; “…Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken.” (John 10:34-35) Jesus Christ was referencing an Old Testament Scripture; Psalms 82:6.

We need to understand that having a belief that one day a human can become a “god” is in no way devaluing our relationship with THE God. If we truly are His offspring, it is only natural for us to want to become like our Father. He has shown us the way, and has asked us to follow Him and His Son, Jesus Christ. If we truly believe in Them and have a desire to follow Them, we will also want to become like Them! It is like a father on earth who is an accountant, who has a son, who also grows up to be an accountant. Like father, like son.

Paul goes on to explain the divine nature of our Savior Jesus Christ, and how being obedient to the Father, He was exalted on High; “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things of earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:10-11)

                Paul explains that because of this great sacrifice from Jesus Christ we must do the work and will of God and “…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” (Philippians 2:12) This means that through Jesus Christ we can be saved, but we still have our part to accept His gift to us, therefore we must ‘work out’ our own Salvation, and do so; “…without murmurings and disputings:” (Philippians 2:14)

Paul then tells the Philippians that he will soon send Timotheus to them.

Philippians 1

Philippians 1: Everything Happens for a Reason

                Paul opens his letter to the Philippians and explains that Timotheus and he are both bond servants of the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul prays the Philippians may be without offence until the day of Christ, filled with the fruits of righteousness. He urges members to speak more boldly, as he has of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul explains that everything happens for a divine reason; “…the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel;” (Philippians 1:12) The reason for his suffering and imprisonment was so others could be more confidence and speak “…more bold[ly]…without fear.” (Philippians 1:14)

                Paul urges the Saints to “…stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation… For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake; “ (Philippians 1:27-29) Essentially Paul is telling the Philippian Saints to not worry about what will happen to them or be afraid of the evil. He explains that as followers of Christ, they too must suffer for his sake, however all things work out for a reason. Be not discouraged or upset by the adversaries who attempt to dismantle your belief in Jesus Christ!