The Supremacy of Christ

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Fullness in Christ
Study 2 – The Supremacy of Christ - Colossians 1.15-28

Welcome

What is the best thing you have ever made?

Share the joy and fulfilment of creating your cakes… DIY …family occasions…

Worship

To repeat last week! Read aloud the words about Jesus: Colossians 1.15-20.
Reflect in silence.

Thank God for the creation we see all around us.
Thank Jesus for the work of bringing us to God as reconciled people.

Word – Study 2– Lighter Bite – spend the whole study on Question 1, then onto Witness below

1. The wholeness, fullness, the glory of Jesus is described in Colossians 1.15-20.

Discuss each phrase: make a poster describing Jesus and his character, his work?

  1. What does ‘image of the invisible God’ mean to you?

John 14.7, 9-10; Hebrews 1.3; John 1.18; John 1.14; Colossians 1.19

Explore stories of the life of Jesus of Nazareth, to understand the qualities he displays (mercy, kindness, compassion, power, forgiveness, healing, sternness, challenge, salvation).

Leaders: use a list of the miracles of Jesus and parables of Jesus to help

  1. How would you describe Christ’s relationship to creation? Col 1.15-17.

Acts 17.28; 1 Corinthians 8.6; Jeremiah 33.25; Job 12.10; Hebrews 1.3

Psalm 33.6-8; John 3.35; Ephesians 1.20-22; Mark 4.39,41

  1. How would you describe Christ’s relationship to the Church? Col 1.18.

Ephesians 1.22-23; Colossians 2.19; 1 Corinthians 12.27

  1. Discuss the meaning of reconciliation. Colossians 1.20

Eph 1.20; Rom 8.19-21. John 3.16.  If you were to share this with a friend, how would you describe what Jesus has done? Look also at Colossians 1.22.

Lighter Bite - now go to Witness below to complete the study

Study 2 - Main Meal – Questions 2 and 3

2.  The Gospel is described in Colossians 1.21-23.

Describe the past, present, future, from Paul’s words here.
Why do you think Paul used the strong word ‘enemies’?
What is the evidence of God’s work in our lives? If you have time – share your personal stories with one another in pairs.
How would you understand alienation from God, and help a friend to understand?
Free from accusation! Look up Romans 8.1,3-4, 33-34; Revelation 12.10
Make a group summary of your discussion.

3.  Paul is working hard on behalf of the Church: Colossians 1.24-28?
 

What do you think he means about ‘filling up in his flesh what is still lacking’?
Look up Jesus’ words about the cross: Matthew 16.24 (Mark 8.34; Luke 9.23)

Note that the mystery described by Paul is the opening up of the Gospel to the Gentiles (verses 26-27). In our day we [Gentiles] do not usually understand this to be a mystery. Instead might we be tempted to take God’s generosity for granted? What do you think?

For Paul to work hard that everyone be ‘perfect in Christ’ (verse 28) could be an unsettling message alongside the gospel of grace that we have been studying.  What do you think he means? Is the key ‘in Christ’? Richard Rohr, a Franciscan theologian, writes in his daily notes about the Spirituality of Imperfection: Week 1. Perfection: A Self-Defeating Path. https://cac.org/perfection-self-defeating-path-2016-07-20/ “The path of union is different than the path of perfection. Perfection gives the impression that by effort I can achieve wholeness separate from God, from anyone else, or from connection to the Whole. It appeals to our individualism and our ego. It’s amazing how much of Christian history sent us on a self-defeating course toward private perfection. Union is instead about forgiveness, integration, patience, and compassion. The experience of union creates a very different kind of person.’ ………… It is quite unfortunate that the ideal of perfection has been applied to human beings. Strictly speaking, perfection can only be attributed to the Divine Self. Such a false goal has turned many religious people into pretenders or deniers—very often both. It has created people who, lacking compassion, have made impossible demands on themselves and others, resulting in a tendency toward superiority, impatience, dismissiveness, and negative thinking.”> Rohr quotes from the Old Testament: “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.” —Zechariah 4:6

Nevertheless, might we find it relatively easy to see the commitment and ‘labour’ of St Paul as a bit too extreme for us? I wonder whether we can learn from Paul? What do you think?

Witness

Our faith is grounded in Christ and his work. Paul says that ‘Christ in you’ is the hope of glory (Col 1.27). What does this mean to you?

In pairs discuss which aspect of the work of Jesus has the greatest impact on you personally. You may like to write a prayer or a song, to give thanks to God.

Final song suggestion

 

In Christ alone, my hope is found… AM 678
1. In Christ alone, my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My comforter, my all-in-all,
Here in the love of Christ I stand.
2. In Christ alone – who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe.
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones he came to save.
Till on that Cross, as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied;
For every sin on Him was laid;
Here in the death of Christ I live.
3. There in the ground his body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain;
Then bursting forth in glorious day
Up from the grave he rose again!
And as he stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me,
For I am his and he is mine,
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.
4. No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from his hand;
Till he returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand.

Stuart Townend & Keith Getty © 2001 Kingsway’s Thank you music

Marion de Quidt, July 2016