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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Home Improvement - Colossians 3:18-4:1

Home Improvement
Colossians 3:18-4:1

Have you every seen the show called 'Home Improvement'? It was one of my favorite shows in the 90's. I even have the series on dvd. The show consisted of how a normal blue collar family functions and grows with a crazy dad named Tim, a patience mom named Jill, and three wild boys Brad, Randy, and Mark. Throughout the series the family constantly had to do home improvement projects in the home and out of the home. Some had to do with physical matters, but primary the show exhibited emotional matters on how a family gets through the tough times and difficult days of everyday life expressings family morals and ethics.

Colossians 3 ends with this same approach by Paul. The Apostle Paul is instructing the Colossians on moral and godly characteristics for the Christian life in the family. They employ ethical teachings to illustrate how the relationships between husbands and wives, children and parents, and how slaves (employee) and masters (employer) should be as Christians in the first century. These first century principles are applicable to twenty-first century living!

This portion of scripture is known as the “household order”.

Paul uses this method of teaching to show the household as the basis for the overall social order in life.

Paul emphasis in this section of scripture to show the difference between the pagan and secular household orders or codes in comparison to the Christian household order. Pagan and secular household orders? Yes, there were some. This form of teaching even dates back to Plato the great Greek philosopher. People lived by Hellenistic (Greek) teachings that were not based off God’s word and therefore were ungodly (i.e. having multiply wives, abusing slaves, disowning children, etc.)

Since that is obvious, what is the deeper meaning to this text?
Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Paul wanted to show how Christian relationships must be rooted and grounded in their relationship to Christ.

1. (Wives submit) As is fitting in the Lord. (v.3:18)
2. (Children obey) For this is pleasing to the Lord. (v.3:20)
3. (Slaves obey, work hard) Do it whole heartily, as unto the Lord. (v.24)

Paul ended the definition of God's will for the new believer in Christ by saying “And whatever you do, do it in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Colossians 3:17

Therefore, this entire passage of the household order is completely pertaining to a believers relationship with Christ.

This passage is very similar to Ephesians 5:22-6:9. In Ephesians, there is a more exhaustive examination and exhortation by the Apostle Paul instructing all individuals beginning with marriage and ending with masters. He addresses the wife, husband, children, slaves (employee), and masters (employer). This same outline is used in Colossians.

However, In Colossians 3, Paul condenses his instruction to specific details that needed to be addressed towards the Colossians. Most scholars believe that Colossians was written at the same time as Ephesians, and therefore it is possible Paul had the ideals for the Christian household in his mind while writing Colossians. Others speculate that Paul was targeting specific things Epaphras reported to him while he was in prison. Either way, Paul was specifically instructing the Colossians through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to live for Christ inside and outside the home.

The similiarities and differences of Epheisans and Colossians Household order:

Ephesians 5:22 - 6:9
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. (v.5:22)
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church. (v.5:24)
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right – “Honor your father and your mother” Exd. 20:12, Deut. 5:16. (v.6:1)
Fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord. (v.6:4)
Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh…not with eye service, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. (v.6:5-6)
Masters, do the same things to bondservants, giving up threatening, knowing that your own Master also is in heaven. (v.6:9)

Colossians 3:18 – 4:1
Wives submit to your own husbands, as fitting in the Lord. (v.3:18)
Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter towards them. (v.3:19)
Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord. (v.3:20)
Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. (v.3:21)
Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eye service, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. (v.3:22)
Masters, give your bondservants what is just and fair, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven. (v.4:1)

Here are our three sections today:
I. Wives and Husbands
II. Children and Parents
III. Slaves and Masters

I. Wives and Husbands Colossians 3:18-19
Wives, Respect! (Submit)
As is fitting in the Lord – To give your husband respect and honor in obedience and faithfulness to God.

Husbands, Love!(Sacrifice)
Do not be bitter towards them – Do not and stop being harsh or angrily resentful towards your wife.

Ephesians 5:33,
“Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”

God desires a relationship between a one man and one woman to be a reflection of His love for the Church. Christ sacrificed (in love) Himself for the church. Therefore, the church recognizes such amazing love that it exhibits submission to Christ.

Marriage relationship should be the same where the husband consistently loves his wife, and that she submits her respect to him so that no one is reigning over the other, but that both are in subjection to one another in love.

II. Children and Parents Colossians 3:20
Children, Obey!

“Because it is well pleasing to the Lord.”

Ephesians 6:1,
“Because it is right.”

Ephesians 6:2,
“Because it is the first commandment with promise.”

Ephesians 6:3,
“So the promise may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.”

3 Things to remember about why you need to Obey your Parents as a Christian:

It pleases the Lord. (v.20)
It pronounces Lawfulness. (v.6:1)
It promises Longevity. (v.6:2-3)

Colossians 3:21
Fathers, do not provoke!

Fathers – Greek word is plural, meaning that ‘fathers’ refers to both a male and female parent.

Provoke – Greek word “erethizo”, meaning to stir up, excite, and stimulate anger or hatred.

Discouraged – Provoking causes discouragement and feeling not loved.
Remember, we are to love our parents because they are the only parents we have, and therefore God says to honor them!

God ordained this principle for Children to obey and bring unity and functionality to the family unit, demonstrating a believers faith with their Father in Heaven. As a believer honors their Father in heaven, God the Father multiples the quantity and quality of their days on earth.

III. Bondservants and Masters Colossians 3:22-24
Bondservants, obey your Masters!

Bondservants – Greek for doulos, meaning slaves.

In all things – This means the whole duty of our job is to be performed according to the job description! Be on time; Finish your work; Do not disobey the rules. Not with eye service, as men-pleasers – Paul is talking about those who work hard only when the boss is in the office, or the contractor shows up to the construction site.

Well if that is how a Christian should not work, how should a Christian work or labor?

In sincerity of the heart – Not self seeking, but working honestly, diligently, and free from hypocrisy; Doing the job the right way with no intention of trying to impress another.

Fearing God – This simply means remembering God and unleashing reverence to His omnipresence while your at work!

Colossians 3:24
“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.” NKJV

“Whatever you are doing, work at it with enthusiasm, as to the Lord and not for people, because you know that you will receive your inheritance from the Lord as the reward. Serve the Lord Christ.” NET

Paul is teaching us several things in this text:
-Do everything for God’s glory.
-Do everything with the knowledge of your glorious inheritance that you will be given one day --in heaven!
-Do everything by serving the Lord Jesus Christ.

Colossians 3:25
No partiality – There is no favoritism in Christ. There is no race, class, social, political, ethical division in Christ. Believers are all knit together in the body of Christ.

God shows no favoritism and will judge slave and master alike by the same standards One Day. Paul writes this to illustrate the unity there is in Christ. Therefore all will be judged by the same rule which is the Word of God.

Colossians 3:25-4:1
Masters, give what is just and fair!

Just and fair – these are the reasonable and negotiated terms and agreements of wages, time, and resources given for the work that was done. This is a call for moral uprightness.

Wrapping Up.
What does we have to improve inside and outside the home?

Inside the Home - Family
Wives submit to husband.
Husbands love your wives.
Children obey your parents.
Parents do no provoke your children.

Outside the Home - Work
5. Slaves, obey your Masters.
6. Masters, give what is just and fair to Slaves.

We need to be glorifying God in our family by the way we love each other and obey one another.

We need to be a radiant witness to the world while working at our jobs. We need to improve in these areas so we can illustrate the wondrous image of Christ in our lives daily!

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