Christ Led Ministries Resources

This website was developed to provide an opportunity for the individual who would like to be a part of a Bible study group but may not have the occassion to attend Bible study, or may have the desire to study in a nontraditional setting. This online study is also for those individuals who may not know who God is, and desire to know how God applies in the 21st Century, this study is for you also.

studying the word
Studying the Word

Anyone who has a desire to share in the Chapter studies or our on line study of God’s word is welcome. You may contact CLM at 310-936-0234, or PO Box 83716, Los Angeles, CA 90083. You may also contact us by email at ChristLedMinstry@AOL.Com or website at www.ChristLedMinistries.org for registration instructions, curriculum or financial partnership.

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Pray for each other. Jesus set an example for us on what to pray. He prayed for His disciples and for every generation to come that would follow Him. His prayer was that God protect and strengthen them as long as they were in this world. Jesus also prayed for those who would come to believe in Him through the Gospel message (John 17).

Pray with faith. “So, you see, it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that there is a God and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).

Pray with worship and reverence. “Exalt the LORD our God! Bow low before his feet, for he is holy!” (Psalm 99:5). “‘Yes, Lord,’ the man said, ‘I believe!’ And he worshiped Jesus” (John 9:38).

You will know with confidence that God can hear you when you pray, so open that line of communication! Pray, knowing that no matter how far you roam, your connection with Him can never be lost!

“I pray that your love for each other will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in your knowledge and understanding” (Philippians 1:9).

Background Information

The town of Colossae was located on a ridge overlooking the Lycus River valley in central Asia Minor. At the time of Paul’s writing, its neighboring cities, Laodicea and Hierapolis were becoming more important while Colossae was in a period of decline. Travelers were using a newer road that went through the other two cities but by-passed Colossae. Churches were established in all three of these cities by Epaphras (Col 4:12, 13) and Timothy, but Paul never visited the believers there personally (Col 2:1). However, he did tell Philemon, a native of Colossae, that he was hoping to visit him (Phile. 1:22).

Paul is believed to have written to the Colossians about A.D. 60 during his first imprisonment in Rome. While most agree that it was written about the same time as Philemon, Ephesians, and Philippians, it is not certain which was written first. Epaphras (also a native of Colossae) came to visit Paul in prison and gave him a report not only of the progress being made there but also of the problem with false teachers who had gained a foothold in the church.

Paul sent the letter back with Onesimus (Philemon’s slave) and Tychicus (Col 4:7-9), but for some unknown reason Epaphras did not return at that time (Col 4:12). Paul’s purpose in writing this letter was to refute the heretical teaching that was influencing the Colossian church. Paul’s references to circumcision, food regulations, and feast days (Col 2:11-16) indicated that this heresy involved Judaistic tendencies. It differed from the heresy in Galatia in that it integrated an early form of Gnostic philosophy which consisted of ascetic ideas (Col 2:20-23), and the worship of angels as intermediaries between God and man (Col 2:18, 19). Supposedly, one could achieve perfection by progressing through a number of initiations and levels of wisdom in spiritual mysteries.

Instead of refuting the false teaching point by point, Paul shows that all things are fulfilled in the person of Christ. He stresses that all wisdom and spiritual understanding can be found in the God-Man who redeemed them and now holds authority over all things (Col 1:9——2:19). He then goes on to explain the relationship of “mortifying” the deeds of the flesh to being alive through the spirit (Col 2:20—–3:17). Finally, he gives practical injunctions for Christian behavior (Col 3:18—-4:6).

Reference: King James Version Greek Hebrew Study Bible.

Theological Setting

How do you find victory in Christ? This question becomes especially acute when problems become evident in the church. A number of common problems plagued the churches of Asia Minor, including the church at Ephesus. First, the heathen religions had to be reckoned with as powerful and growing forces. These groups were making bold claims of power and supremacy while offering enticements to the human nature in the name of religion. For example, the religious rites involving prostitution exercised in connection with the temple of Diana in Ephesus were famous and alluring.

Second, internal bickering threatened the churchly itself. The Christians with Jewish backgrounds felt their previous, historical heritage gave them an advantage over Gentiles. This view caused hard feelings within the body of believers.

Third, the allure of the world attempted to claim the allegiance of believers because their vocational land financial success often was wrapped up in how they related to the secular world. Therefore, the believers in Asia Minor faced some very difficult options. (1) They could try to “fit in” in both worlds. This attempt would mean compromise in the areas of both integrity and morality. It would bring them into conflict with the Spirit of God residing in their lives and with all they had been taught by Paul and other teachers sent from God It would mean the deadening of their consciences. (2) They could choose to withdraw from all the battles of life and to live a monastic existence, avoiding the pain and agony of “taking a stand.” (3) They could maintain their commitment to the cause of Christ at all cost and run all the risks inherent in that kind decision. The risks might include public humiliation, loss of earning power, and even physical persecution. To follow this direction they would need to be dependent upon the lordship of Christ and to keep unity in the body of believers.

In writing Ephesians Paul was encouraging the believers in Asia Minor to opt for the latter life-style and was informing them not only of the ingredients of this life-style but of the difficulties of that decision. His readers could have reacted to the letter with indifference, except for several factors. First, Paul bore in his own body the marks of a life of commitment. It was common knowledge that Paul had suffered great persecution because of his unwavering faint in Jesus Christ and of his zeal for the cause of Christ. At the time this letter was written Paul was confined to prison in Rome ((3; 1, 13). He did not ask the recipients of this letter to live by any standard he had not already set for himself. If necessary, he could point to this own life as a model to be followed. It is difficult to take exception to that kind of life statement.

Second, Paul’s letter commanded great authority because of his relationship to the recipients. The lengthy and tedious process of founding the church at Ephesus was begun during a brief stat at Ephesus on his second missionary journey (Ac 18:18-21), reasoning with the Jews and teaching the new converts.  Serious students of the Bible generally agree the book of Ephesians reaches the pinnacle of Pauline literature. It has been called by many the “queen of the epistles.” The letter has inspired and transformed the lives of countless readers since its writing in the first century.

It is a widely held belief that the words of Paul in this writing were meant for a wider audience than just the believers in Ephesus. The only reference to the Ephesians is found in (1:1), and this phrase, “to the saints in Ephesus,” is not found ink the two oldest Greek manuscripts. The letter was probably a “circular letter” sent too many churches and assemblies of believers in Asia Minor. As the letter was delivered from churchly to church, each one could insert its own name in (1:1) because it was applicable to such a broad range of believers. This fact adds to its relevance to every Christian today.

The letter is one of Paul’s finest because he was not dealing with any one particular issue, nor was he defending the gospel against any one heresy or group teaching heresy. Rather, he intended to let the recipients know who they were ink Christ, all that was available to them in Christ, and the importance of oneness within the body of Christ in the struggle of life. He was doing a masterful job of disciplining the believers for the years to come when he would not be with them in prison. He knew the opposition they would be facing in a society turned against them. He desired for them a strong faith that would produce confidence and boldness, out of which would come victory (Disciples Study Bible N.I.V.).

The Greek word for Hades like its Hebrew equivalent Sheol is used in two ways.

1. To indicate the condition of the unsaved between death and the great white throne judgment (Rev 20:11-15). Luke 16:23-24 shows that the lost in Hades are conscious possess full use of their faculties, memory, etc., and are in torment. This continues until the final judgment of the lost (2 Pet 2, 9), when all the unsaved, and Hades itself, will be cast into the lake of fire (Rev 20:13-15).

2. To indicate, in general, the condition of all departed human sports between death and the resurrection. This usage is found occasionally in the OT but rarely, if ever in, the NT (compare Gen 37:35; 42:38; 44:29, 31). It should not lead anyone to think that there is a possibility of change from one state to the other after death, for Luke 16:23, shows that when the rich unsaved man dies and goes to Hades sees Abraham and Lazarus, they were “afar off” and v. 26 states that between the two places there is a great gulf fixes, so that no one can cross from one to the other.

Some interpreters thank that Eph 4:8-10 indicates that a change in the place of the departed believers occurred at the resurrection of Christ. It is certain that now all who are saved to at once into the presence of Christ (2 Cor 5:8; Phil 1:23). Jesus told the penitent thief: “today you will be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43). Paul was “caught up to the third heaven into paradise (2 Cor 12:1-4. Paradise is a place of great joy and bliss, but this bliss is not complete until the spirit is reunited with a glorified body at the resurrection of the just (1 Cor 15:51-54; 1 Thess 4:16-17). Though both Sheol and Hades are sometimes translated “grave” (compare Gen.37:35), they never indicated a burial place but, rather the state of the spirit after death. See also the note on Hab 2:5.