Soul Growing.2

by admin on October 21, 2013

Colossians 3
Reflections for 13 October 2013

Homework: “I tell you, love your enemies. Help and give without expecting a return. You’ll never – I promise – regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we’re at our worst. 36 Our Father is kind; you be kind. [Luke 6:35-36]

How did that go this week?

This week we will continue our teachings and discussion on soul growing. This week: Hitching to a star.

Ever been in a disaster? Sometimes we call it: an unmitigated disaster. What gives? Disaster = without a star. Literally to be without a light in darkness, a point of orientation. Colossians written by St. Paul sometime around 50-55CE. He never visited the place but the Jesus apprentice community was begun there by a protégé of Paul, Epaphras. Most biblical scholars think that the presenting issues in Colossians have to do with “thrones, dominions, rulers and elemental spirits” (1:16; 2:8; 2:18) The people at Colossae were putting their future into star gazing. They were in astrology thinking that the future was wrapped up in the stars. The question Paul raises is this: if all tars are equal, where does one look for direction? What’s your guiding star?

In Greenwich a couple of weeks ago we visited the Royal Observatory: where navy, astronomy and time all come together. Looking for that guiding star. Do you have one?

Religion in the ancient Mediterranean world was a cafeteria: a virtual shopping mall of religious ventures. Here St. Paul very clearly presents the one true option he considers worthy of true north guidance. Faith and trust Jesus Christ and the shaping of one’s life journey around that,

Chapter 3—New Life in Christ.
WHAT?

Vv. 1-44 ⇒ Raised with Christ. Present reality, therefore way is open to seek after the high (moral) things in life. You have died and your life is hidden—being overseen my God in heaven. In other words< live today on earth as you would in heaven side by side with the savior. ‘Dallas Willard thought: your reassurance is in heaven—bank on it—use it now. Buried along with Christ = God is the source of all wisdom and knowledge. Big deal in Gk-Rom world. Vv5-11⇒ Put to death. Once done. Is Paul here referring to one’s initial commitment and sign up with Jesus? Sort of like the first day on the job away from the fishing nets at the Sea of Galilee? Put away—you began that process, see it through to the end—earthly things: 4 sexual vices and in verse 8: five anti-social sins. These are to be left behind when one signs up for apprenticing with Jesus.

Upshot: process of shedding. These previously held on behaviors and thinking have no place in disciple’s life because there where not present in Jesus’ life.

Listen to the verbal forms:
Vv5-11⇒put to death.

V8⇒you must get rid of

V9⇒you have stripped off old self

V10⇒clothed self with new

V10⇒ which is constantly being renewed in knowledge of the ICON of God.

V11 ⇒ to bring thoughts to close: ultimate challenge to social demarcations: Christ is all that matter. He is the source of ultimate truth and the practical application of that truth in the organization of human relationships.

Vv12-17⇒Clothe yourself in virtue. Compassion. Kindness. Humility. Meekness. Patience.

V13⇒ What’s the practical implication here: as God is already for us, so we to one another. Natural human complaining rises to the resolution of forgiveness. Paul is big n forgiveness. Why? Practical experience. I am the worst, yet Jesus used be for the best.

V14⇒ love is the highest virtue. Perfect harmony = intended perfection and maturity.

V15⇒ Peace of Christ rule = referee. Peace that Christ gives should settle disputes, not self-interest. How would Christ/God be glorified if I did this to alleviate my pain vs. that?

V16⇒ We follow Christ’s teachings if we teach (doctrine what Jesus taught: Kingdom of God) and if we admonish (morality seek the practical implications of Kingdom of God) This is the basic outline of all of Paul’s letters, btw.

V17⇒ Every action should be an act of thanksgiving to God: done for the love of Christ. Love is action.

Vv18-4:1. Advice to households. Paul takes the more conservative ethic already at work in the Gk-Rom world. Some people think Paul wasn’t being very creative here. We will concentrate on the previous section.

SO WHAT?

1. Where do you find the moral resources to find your way through the maze of alternative versions of what life is supposed to be like? For Paul that guiding star is the life narrative of Jesus, especially the “crucified, dead and buried; Risen, ascended and coming again” narrative. How does this relationship with Jesus shape character and community?

Dallas Willard definition of disciple apprentice of Jesus. Anyone who is learning from Jesus Christ how to lead his/her life as Christ would live it if he were I.

We have heard the virtues of Jesus life. How do they play out in yours? Maximilian Kolbe. Love must be real.

Normal? The original Christians were about creating and sustaining a unique culture—a way of life that would shape character in the image of God. They were determined to be a culture, a quite public and political culture, even if it killed them.

2. Empire vs. Kingdom.
(v5) Idolatry vis-à-vis renewal of the image of God (v10).
(v9) empire embedded in lies of violent and estranged way of thinking, vis-à-vis kingdom is renewal of knowledge (v10).
(v11) Empire imposed religious, ethnic, cultural, economic divisiveness and marginalization (outs and ins) vis-à-vis Kingdom in community were Christ is all in all. The final criterion of truth. (v11).

3. Comprehensive salvation and restoration.
In Christ we are restored to full humanity as stewards o creation and shaper of culture. Sound familiar? Genesis1, 2. Since our misplaced grasp for autonomous knowledge was the origin of our estrangement in Eden our restoration in the image of God (ICON—Genesis 1) entail the renewal of knowledge.

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