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Deuteronomy 30:9-14 1
9 Then the LORD your God will make you most prosperous in all the work of your hands and in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your land. The LORD will again delight in you and make you prosperous, just as he delighted in your ancestors, 10 if you obey the LORD your God and keep his commands and decrees that are written in this Book of the Law and turn to the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. 11 Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. 12 It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 13 Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 14 No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.

clip_image161Background 2

Deuteronomy or Devarim (literally “things” or “words”) is the fifth book of the Hebrew Bible, and the fifth of five books of the Jewish Torah/Pentateuch. The book consists of three sermons or speeches delivered by Moses, a recounting of the law (thought to be the Book of the Covenant found in Josiah’s time), and supplementary material, including an account of Moses’ death. Theologically the book constitutes the renewing of the covenant between God and the “Children of Israel”.

Biblical Truths 3

They were completely weaned from idolatry; and this outward reformation was a prelude to the higher attainments they are destined to reach in the age of Messiah, “when the Lord God will circumcise their hearts and the hearts of their seed to love the Lord.” The Scriptures would point this out clearly: that the hearts of the Hebrew people shall be circumcised (Colossians 2:2); in other words, by the combined influences of the Word and spirit of God, their hearts will be touched and purified from all their superstition and unbelief. They will be converted to the faith of Jesus Christ as their Messiah—a spiritual deliverer, and the effect of their conversion will be that they will return and obey the voice (the Gospel, the evangelical law) of the Lord. The words may be interpreted either wholly in a spiritual sense (John 11:51, 52), or, as many think, in a literal sense also (Romans 11:1-36). They will be recalled from all places of the dispersion to their own land and enjoy the highest prosperity. The mercies and favors of a bountiful Providence will not then be abused as formerly (Deuteronomy 31:20; 32:15). They will be received in a better spirit and employed to nobler purposes. They will be happy, “for the Lord will again rejoice over them for good, as He rejoiced over their fathers.”

That law of loving and obeying God, which was the subject of Moses’ discourse, was well known to the Israelites. They could not plead ignorance of its existence and requirements. It was not concealed as an impenetrable mystery in heaven, for it had been revealed; nor was it carefully withheld from the people as a dangerous discovery; for the youngest and humblest of them were instructed in those truths, which were subjects of earnest study and research among the wisest and greatest of other nations. They were not under a necessity of undertaking long journeys or distant voyages, as many ancient sages did in quest of knowledge. They enjoyed the peculiar privilege of a familiar acquaintance with it. It was with them a subject of common conversation, engraven on their memories, and frequently explained and inculcated on their hearts. The apostle Paul (Romans 10:6-8) has applied this passage to the Gospel, for the law of Christ is substantially the same as that of Moses, only exhibited more clearly in its spiritual nature and extensive application; and, accompanied with the advantages of Gospel grace, it is practicable and easy.

Items for Discussion

  • What would our society have missed if we did not have books?
  • Based on modern technology like the Internet, how do you see knowledge changing?
  • In what ways does knowledge remove excuses for mankind? (not necessarily just from knowledge of God but from any subject)
  • In what ways has mankind’s responsibility for learning and knowing God changed as it becomes easier to learn about God?
  • What are the risks we face in today’s times with regard to the information on God?
  • How do we guard ourselves against those risks?

 

Colossians 1:1-14
1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, 2 To God’s holy people in Colossae, the faithful brothers and sisters in Christ: Grace and peace to you from God our Father. 3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people— 5 the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel 6 that has come to you. In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world—just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace. 7 You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf, 8 and who also told us of your love in the Spirit. 9 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Background

Colossians claims to have been written by the apostle Paul (1:1,23,24). The book of Colossians gives the clearest, most comprehensive teaching on Christ from the perspective of Paul. Colossians was written to the church at Colosse, probably between 60 and 63 AD. It was written from Rome during Paul’s ‘first’ imprisonment, at which time he also wrote Ephesians and Philemon. According to Acts 28:30, Paul was in Rome during this time and in both Ephesians and Philemon he refers to himself as being a prisoner (Eph. 3:1,4:1, Phn. 1,9).

These three letters were carried by Tychicus and Onesimus also with further instruction for the churches. Colosse was located toward the mid-southern region of Asia Minor, which today is modern Turkey. The letter itself mentions two neighboring cities: Laodicea and Hierapolis (Col. 2:1; 4:13-16). The city was on the Lycus River about 125 miles almost due east of the capital of Ephesus in the Lycus valley at the foot of Mount Cadmus. Under the Persian kings, it had been “a populous city, prosperous and great”, but by the time of the writing it seems to have declined in importance in relation to its two neighbors. The inhabitants of Colosse were mostly Phrygians, with a strong influence of Greek culture. There was a large Jewish community in the area which had been deported from Mesepotamia by Antiochus the Great, but the Church there and the focus of the letter seems to have been predominantly Gentile.

The reason Paul wrote this epistle was to combat what was later called the ‘Colossian Heresy’. This is probably why Epaphras came to Rome, to seek his help on this matter. The exact nature and origin of the heresy is difficult to ascertain, and even today there are still differences of opinion. But it appears to a forerunner to the Gnosticism of the second century. This heresy may have been the teaching of a single individual, but he was evidently a person of eloquence and influence (ch. 2:4,8,23).

Bible Truths 4

  1. Greeting, Colossians 1:1,2
  2. Thanksgiving for the faith and love of the Colossians in response to the hope of the gospel, which is the word of truth they had learned from Epaphras, Colossians 1:3-8
  3. Prayer that the Colossians would be filled with a knowledge of God’s will, Colossians 1:9-14
    1.  So they walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, Colossians 1:10
    2. So they are strengthened by the power of God in endurance and patience, Colossians 1:11
    3. So they give thanks to the Father for sharing in the inheritance of the saints of light, who were delivered from the dominion of darkness into the kingdom of his Son, in whom they had forgiveness, Colossians 1:12-14

Items for Discussion

  • While we may be saved by faith, what do we miss within our lives if we do not know the Gospel’s message?
  • What happens to people when they do not know God’s will for them?
  • How does the knowledge and acceptance of forgiveness help us with living in this world?
  • How would the world be different if there was perfect forgiveness?
  • Can forgiveness be learned?
  • Can anyone use the excuse, “I didn’t know what the Gospel’s message was all about?” Explain your position on this concept.
  • What is unique about the concept of inheritance? How does it work?
  • Would or could our world have hope if Christ did not die on the Cross?

Discussion Challenge

  • What should the modern church do about the Gospel’s message?
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