Colossians Episode 7
We are working on the foundational ideas from the Book of Colossians. This lesson deals with Connected Families.
Let’s begin with some of the foundational ideas already established earlier in this series of studies from the Book of Colossians. We are learning to look at life from eternity's view point. That is why we need to learn and understand the nature of God. Jesus came for that reason. Jesus, as a man during His time on earth, had a mission of explaining God to us.
When we die we are stripped of: All of our physical possessions. That includes your Bentley, your bicycle. It includes your house. Yes, even the one by the river. Your dolls, electronic toys and games - - all left here. None of any of these things will be needed. Not even the computer nor any of your tools. Not even the cooking wear nor the furniture.
Now that hurts. No Lazy-Boy recliner. No wardrobe.
You've seen it. Someone dies and all is left behind. Left.
Here is a biggy. Your physical body remains here. No more bathroom and grooming time. No more showers.
Genesis 3:19. Dust. Think about HOW that all the money we work for our whole lives is 90% spent toward this stuff that ends in dust!
So, what is there left of it all? YOU! That part of you created in the image of God. You see, none of those other things are a part of God's image. They are a temporary provision for our earthly journey.
Why are we clothed in a physical body?
I believe that it is because it allows God to remain hidden. Hidden so that we are free. Free to choose.
Free as to what and how we will develop our spirits.
All that God is; including His Goodness, His Love, His Truth, His Light. We are created with the capacity to develop all those aspects of His nature. Why? So our spirit can communicate with God's spirit.
Your spirit was created for and given to you by God. Your spirit is your breath, your life. Your way to communicate with God. Your spirit is what you are without the things you can see.
The spirit is the part of you that goes back to God who gave it to you at birth, when you drew your first breath.
That is the package. Understanding this gives us the purpose and reason for developing Connected Families. Because when we die and have formed our spirit after God's, we receive a glorious body - Philippians 3:20,21
The family is God's instituted order for our earthly journey with the goal of fully developed spirits in the likeness of God's spirit.
In Christ, Families have the ideal place and means of learning what life is about from eternity's viewpoint. That ought to be one big priority.
With that essential ideal in mind lets get started with the elements of a connected family.
Mother, Father and Children all connected to each other and in harmony with each other. The predominant factor seen in connected families is the order and the value system held to by all members. It is a visible factor.
Many factors disrupt this picture of beauty. Whatever they all may be, dysfunctional families are the result. This seems to be the norm today. The cause is as varied as the individuals in the family itself.
The railroad train to get to its destination has to stay on the track. It has to stay connected, Even through the storm of life. Stay.
Stay connected. When there is a derail, it takes so much effort and energy to get back on track. Lives can be ruined for life when a disconnect takes place.
The heartbreaks, the sadness, the shattered dreams, the disappointments, the emptiness when disconnect takes place.
Today's lesson gives to us the most basic ingredients for a connected family. A connected family ought to be one of our dearest dreams and is worth every effort to achieve.
Any one ingredient missing can derail the train.
Proposition: How do we get connected and stay connected as families?
THERE NEEDS TO BE A WIFE.
Colossians 3:18 A family "in the Lord (Jar)" is a mini church.
There needs to be a wife, and if children, a mother.
Anything that eliminates the wife will derail the connection.
Modern theology and social mores threaten to derail the order of the connected family.
Undermine the foundation of any institution and eventually it will crumble.
Is there a reason why Paul begins here? Nearly everything printed and shown on the TV erodes this foundation. The Colossae Church was in the midst of paganism and idolatry. Women had little value as human beings. We are heading back that way today.
The women were being bandied about like rolling dice and the husbands didn't much care! Paul's instruction to the families were such a relief to the wives.
The wife in this passage is given only one responsibility and one standard for that responsibility.
Paul would not have to address this matter if there were no issue. With all the opposing views being held at the same time in the Colossae church, it seems to be affecting the family unit.
The trickle-down affect: When we don't think straight it eventually affects everything.
Take a good look at the deteriorating situation of the home in this generation.
How many connected families do you know? Surely, something is wrong. Whatever it is, it is not working to make beautiful families. Hollywood has sure had its effect on the home. The humor of the world hasn't added reverence to the family unit.
The current financial stress on families can be laid at the feet of government. It may be intentional.
Some may say...about Colossians 3:18, Well, it doesn't mean what it says." Well, then, what does it mean? It must mean something or it wouldn't be here.
The most powerful word in any language for and to the wife! Some may even suggest that God is wrong for inspiring these words. But is God wrong?
What is it? SUBMIT.
The meaning of the word submit in this context is:
The wife is to open the door so that her husband can enter.
It is not addressed to anyone else...just those "in Him."
It is to allow order. Order!
I open the door so that my chosen guest can enter. This is an orderly process of those "in Him." It is not addressed to anyone else...just those "in Him." It is to allow order. Order.
The wife allows the husband to fulfill his responsibility for her benefit. The wife chooses this action. It is not imposed nor forced upon her. That is why she is addressed.
First we need to look at how it is used elsewhere:
Christians toward God
Allow God to have an impact on YOUR life!
Colossians 1:9; Romans 12:2
DO the Father's will (Matthew 6:10; 7:2; John 1:13).
Through what means? Colossians 3:16
"Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you."
We are to allow His energy, His holiness, His truth to have a continuing impact on our lives. God is pleased when we keep ourselves in the BIG picture - His Big picture...even "Love" - Jude 21.
Christians follow the example of Christ in keeping themselves subject to God.
Christians toward human institutions...
I Peter 2:13
We place our vast sums of money in a bank. It is our money. As long as it is in the bank, your money is subject to the bank's rules! You will withdraw it on their terms. You carefully consider that prior to placing it in their hands.
Governments go awry. But the Christian has a disposition toward obedience. There may be times when unfortunate choices have to be made. As a last resort? Always! (Acts 4:19; 5:29).
Authority cannot be allowed to derail our basic connection. Our first connection is to God. Our second connection is to our immediate family: wife, husband and children.
So often we seek excuses for not doing what we ought to do. Could it be because we are immature? "I don't want anyone telling me anything?" Are we stubborn and rebellious?
It ought to be our deepest desire to do what God desires us to do and that is to be in a state of submission to the authorities of civil order.
Christ to God
I Corinthians 15:28
Yes! But God is perfect!
Hebrews 5:8 Christ's subjection and obedience cost Him His life! But He saw the BIG picture.
Church to Christ
Some folks don't like this one much either. "In the same way as..." Colossians 1:18. This church is taught to set Christ in preeminent position. Not tradition,
Not human devised creeds. The proper order.
Christians to one another
"In the reverence! It is to have a disposition that says that I don't
have to have my way!
That about covers it doesn't it? We don't seem to have a lot of trouble understanding the above uses of the term.
No one !...is injured by the effects of this term. No one is made inferior by the effects of this term. It is used as the basis of order. It is the result of choosing and the placing of oneself in proper order. That order is the right alignment and is most beneficial.
The practice of submitting allows any institution to function properly.
In our text (Col. 3:18) the same word is used. It is used of wives as
it is used of husbands toward Christ - I Corinthians 11:3.
We read into it...that the wife is to go through life looking like a whipped pup. That is NOT the intent here at all.
This word "submit" is NOT in the active voice but in the passive voice. What does that suggest? It is a choice to preserve order and to let the one selected to do what they need and want to do to maintain the BIG picture.
The word means to rank under. Now we didn't have any problem with the other uses above, did we? The other uses all seem honorable. In our text it is still honorable! To rank under because of the benefits of ORDER.
Rank under for some purpose!!!...The Big Picture! Long-term.
Is Christ of less value and more restricted because He ranked Himself under God...Do you exceed the excellence of the Saviour to justify non-compliance?
In this passage, the primary intent is that a wife is only to be connected and in the BIG picture of her OWN husband.
Don't be subject to the gang mentality of paganism, but only to THE man (husband). The wife is instructed to be selective. This is the emphasis.
Accept the response of ONE man. Your man. Don't allow yourself to get infatuated or emotionally involved with any man but YOUR man.
It is never to be used as an opening for abuses. It projects no sense of superiority nor inferiority. It is the selection of who you are connected with as in all the other USES we've considered.
IN ORDER TO ESTABLISH ORDER AND THE FOCUS ON THE BIG PICTURE...THERE IS GIVEN A ROLE MODEL
The wife in this passage has a role model...Verse 18
"As it is fitting in the Lord."
Fitting: as it is always proper. Fitting is to be in harmony with the nature and character of God. WHY? Because of where we are: "In Him." (In the Jar).
"TO HAVE COME UP TO ANYTHING, TO EXTEND TO."
Suitable. It is a lot like modesty. Suitable for the occasion.
I Timothy 2:9. The word means well-ordered, orderly, well behaved, discreet... The emphasis here is on the occasion, situation. The word "fitting" is to be suitable and proper because of the position! What is that position? "In Him."
Where do we find that? "In the Lord" That is in "the Jar." That is where the nature and fullness of God is. It is positional "in."
Ephesians 4:13 teaches us that we are to come up to the full stature of Christ. We are to fill up to our stature with the nature and character of Christ.
The family unit is to absorb the nature of the body. Ephesians 1:22,23
So many don't have a clue. Why? The church is not teaching it. It is certainly not taught anywhere else.
That is one reason why so many weird ideas about God persist.
The Lord's church insists that the thinking about God be in full alignment with the God who is there! It isn't easy! Every thought is be brought captive to truth.
How do we do this?
Be in the "Jar." This is where the nature, the character, and the love "live."
Observe the fullness of God in "the Jar."
Be committed to grow into that character.
Illustration: "Go shoe a horse." No idea of how to go about that venture! Can you imagine the fun it would be to watch someone try who has never done so before!!!
An art and skill that must be learned.
Some who choose to not abide by this will slither out of the Jar to escape the role model within the Jar.
We've been discussing CONNECTED FAMILIES. What a rare sight in this generation!
Like a train, all cars are connected with a destination in mind.
There is a unique benefit to those being "in the Jar." "In Him." What is it? That is where the wonderful fullness of God resides. - Ephesians 1:22,23; Colossians 2:9
How does the fullness of God get in the Body, "in Him.?" "Let the Word of Christ dwell among you" - Colossians 3:16.
Why? Colossians 1:9,28. There you have it! The fullness of God is in His Word and when the Word dwells among us we are in the fullness of God.
The folks in the "Jar" are there as a God-governed people...No Shame in that! That is the church of God's choosing. Is that our aim?
For a connected family, we need a wife who is holding fast to her God-given rank and her selection to benefit fully from the established order. There is more.
THERE NEEDS TO BE A HUSBAND COLOSSIANS 3:19
Compare Ephesians 5:31-33 Each one's responsibility!
The apostle is sorting this matter out for us. He is giving us the way to get and stay connected as a family. Do we care? The inspired author is being very specific.
There is a tendency to be non-specific, neutral.
Whatever! Ever hear someone say flippantly, "Whatever?"
But in the "Jar" there is to be order, not chaos.
Did you ever notice that some kids make a mess? Then, they leave it and are as happy as a left-handed clam.
Others see it and put it in order. I've seen children build a beautiful sand castle on the beach...great works of art. Others come along and ruin it. Order turned to chaos. Now, back to order...
He moves quickly to the point. "Husbands love your wives." The husband is not to love anyone else's wife!
Here, again, it is selective. Each husband is to have his own wife. That one wife is be loved in a unique way.
That was a strange teaching in the polygamist society of Colossae. It brings Order! The way it ought to be "in Him." There is a need to understand the church, the body which is the identity of the fullness of God (Colossians 1:10).
Husbands are to direct their energies toward one wife.
What is love? What does love do?
Love is to consult her real interest.
That takes time to learn so that one can regard in a unique way. It is to esteem; To cherish with reverence. Love is subject to a decision. A decision of the will.
That is what makes this love so solid!
Love is the driving and operative principle of the internal feeling of kindliness. Kindliness in the pursuit of order and purpose and a continuing focus on the BIG pictured.
No wonder the wife selects this man!
No where is it taught that the wife is to a clone of the husband. The overall mission is the same for both. The attack-strategies for the accomplishment of the mission are uniquely individual. This difference needs to be recognized and appreciated - NOT smothered.
Kindliness does not smother. It encourages toward individual excellence.
In America that's why we teach Christian Courtship.
What is this about?
It is HOW to select a mate. One begins that process by anticipating the end result with children and their eternity and one's own eternity.
Remember that Children are the ONLY thing in this life that you CAN take with you into eternity by your teaching and example.
The husband is to be self-limiting. One Woman! The BIG decision comes into play here again. Making the BIG decision is to let it make all the small decisions for you.
In this case the verb "love" is in the active voice.
He is the one held responsible for the quality of love. A love that provides the direction, the way, and anticipates the needs and keeps the purpose ever present. Love does its homework.
It is to be the BIG decision. To love THE WIFE. The ONLY one!!! It is to be by a decision. NOT a fuzzy feeling but a determination of the will.
The confidence of the wife must be in that she is the only one loved by her husband in this way.
Single parents are not found here. A connected family has a mother and a father. There may be circumstances where a disconnect happens. Then many problems invade the situation. Derail. Sometimes we have to make the best of a less-than-ideal situation.
"In the Jar" there is support and comfort.
But Paul isn't done with the Husbands. He goes a step further. "Be not bitter against them." Why, oh why, did Paul have to go there?
Bitter: First, it is in the passive voice. What is the significance of that here?
Do not allow what the wife does or says to foster bitter feelings. Now that is tough!
If a husband allows his wife to determine his feelings, then the husband has lost self-control.
Don't let a wife or anyone else dictate how you "feel." Don't give others that power over you - YOU STAY IN CONTROL OF YOU!
A lesson for ALL human beings!
Wives can say or do things that cause bitterness. That is why Paul is addressing this issue. So, Paul, doesn't let it go by without a notice.
Stay in control of your responses - the most difficult thing to do.
And THERE the apostle hits home!
What is the idea of bitter?
Meaning of bitter: to grow angry, to allow irritating feelings to take control.
Cruel and oppressive, harsh, resentful.
"Bitter" can indicate a deep resentment. It does not go unleashed for long. It will break its boundaries in time.
"Bitter cold" We usually mean that it has a real bite to it. Sharp. Like opening the door to a minus 30 degree blast of cold air!
The author by inspiration has given us a hand-full.
An absolute essential foundation to stay connected as a family.
CONCLUSION: For a connected family...
There needs to be a wife.
Every wife is a unique and special person with varying personalities, talents and skill.
Comparisons are ruled out in the principle of 2 Corinthians 10:12
In a connected family we see a wife who has made her selection and holds true to that MAN and to that man only. "As is fitting IN the Lord."
There needs to be a husband.
The husband has been assigned two responsibilities:
To love and not be bitter - both acts of will and self-control.
He is to gather up the love as found in the body of Christ and express it specifically in a very special way to the woman of his choice. This won't be in a disgusting, emotional public display of affection. But a deep, controlled, deliberate awareness of true needs of order and purpose.
That is the beginning of a connected family.