Colossians 3


‘Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.’ Colossians 3:1-4

Paul reminds the saints at Colossae that they need to keep their hearts and minds on heavenly things. This is so important even for Christians today, especially if we want to become mature by being transformed.

Romans 12:2 ‘Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.’

Romans 8:5-6 ‘Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.’

One way to help us keep our mind of heavenly things is simply to follow Paul advice over in Philippians 4:8

‘Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.’

Paul gives us another reason why we should keep our hearts and minds set of heavenly things. He says,

‘we died’,

this happened when we were baptised into Christ.

Romans 6:3-6 ‘Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin.’

But what did we die to? We died to sin.

Romans 6:7-13 ‘because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore, do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness.’

The good news is not only did we die with Christ but we were also

‘raised with Christ’

which happened when we come up from the waters of baptism.

Colossians 2:12 ‘Having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.’

But we were raised with Christ for a purpose.

Romans 6:4 ‘We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.’

Notice also that Paul says our

‘life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.’

Our story will end in glory and the truth is we’ve already been glorified, it’s just that people haven’t seen it yet.

Paul says in Romans 8:30

‘And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.’

We’ve have already been glorified. Now you might think, well, nobody can see it. Do you know why?

Because they can’t see Jesus’ glory either. It’s impossible apart from the illumination of the Holy Spirit for people to see the glory of God in a man on a cross. And since your life is hidden in Christ and they can’t see His glory.

Your life doesn’t make sense to them either. Here you are trying to focus on heaven, live by a different preoccupation, not getting caught up in the worry of the things of the world. And your life makes no sense at all to the world, because you’re hidden in Christ and they can’t see who He is.

Paul says,

‘someday that’s going to change’.

There’s going to come a day, when the real world is revealed. That day is going to be the revelation of the Son of God.

‘Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices’ Colossians 3:5-9

To keep our hearts and minds on things above we must get rid of our earthly nature. ‘Sexual immorality’ in Greek is the word, ‘porneia’, this is a general term for any illicit sexual intercourse which includes adultery, homosexuality, lesbianism, bestiality.

‘Impurity’ in Greek is the word, ‘akatharsia’ and it means uncleanness in a moral sense, the impurity of lustful, luxurious, profligate living.

‘Lust’ in Greek is the word, ‘pathos’ it was used by the Greeks in either a good or bad sense, in the New Testament in a bad sense, it means depraved passion, vile passions.

‘Evil desire’ in Greek is the word, ‘epithumia’ and it means desire, craving, longing, desire for what is forbidden, lust.

‘Greed’ in Greek is the word, ‘pleonexia’ and it means greedy desire to have more, covetousness, avarice. Notice Paul says this is the same as ‘idolatry’. Greed puts things in the place of God.

We’re to set our minds on things above, where God is, but when we’re greedy for material objects we have our minds on things below, making such objects our idols! Why is it important to put these sins to death?

‘Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.’

Colossians 2:6-7 ‘So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.’

It’s one thing to do these things when we lived in them, but in Christ we have died to them.

But Paul hasn’t finished in his list of sins that need to be put to death within us. Notice he begins by naming the sins which are related to our emotions.

‘Anger’ in Greek is the word, ‘orge’ which means a movement or agitation of the soul, impulse, desire, any violent emotion, but especially anger.

‘Rage’ in Greek is the word ‘thumos’ and it means passion, angry, heat, anger forthwith boiling up and soon subsiding again.

‘Malice’ in Greek is the word, ‘kakia’ which means malignity, malice, ill-will, desire to injure. Now notice that Paul now gives a list of sins which deal with the tongue.

‘Slander’ in Greek is the word, ‘blasphemia’ and it means slander, detraction, speech injurious, to another’s good name; impious and reproachful speech injurious to divine majesty.

‘Filthy language’ in Greek is the word, ‘aischrologia’ and it means foul speaking, low and obscene speech.

‘Lying’ in Greek is the word, ‘pseudomai’ and it means, to lie, to speak deliberate falsehoods, to deceive one by a lie, to lie to.

And what is the reason for putting to death all these sins?

‘Taken off our old self.’

God is trying to help us become mature and sin only hinders us from becoming mature. And let’s be honest, we won’t put to death these sins and other sins not on Paul’s list here, overnight, they may take days, weeks, months or even years in some people’s cases.

Colossians 2:11-12 ‘In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.’

‘And have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.’ Colossians 3:10+11

Notice what Paul says here, to encourage us to put to death those sins, He reminds us that have put on our ‘new self’. Again, this is a reference to what happens at our baptism.

Galatians 3:27 ‘For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.’

Those behavioural practices of life that they put off must be replaced with positive actions of righteousness. Now that they were walking in newness of life, their behaviour must characterise the One after whom they called themselves.

Philippians 1:27 ‘Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel.’

We are ‘new’ because of the washing of sin by the blood of Jesus, we are ‘new’ because we made a decision to maintain direction in our life that’s guided by his knowledge of Christ. We’re continually renewed by the knowledge of Christ in walking the Christian life. The renewing process is a continual growth in the knowledge of Jesus.

2 Corinthians 3:18 ‘And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.’

2 Corinthians 4:16 ‘Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.’

2 Peter 3:18 ‘But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.’

Our growth is pointed in the direction of the image of Jesus, and so, we’re continually becoming more like Jesus.

2 Peter 1:3-8 ‘His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.’

One identifying characteristic of those who are being conformed to the image of Christ is the fact that they begin to see humanity as God sees all men. God sees no race, social or economic classifications.

In Christ, our racism is broken down. Racism is dissolved in the minds of those who grow to understand that we are one in Christ. Though sociological behaviour between groups of people divide men in societies by cultural characteristics, such cannot divide disciples in the church.

Galatians 3:26-29 ‘So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.’

Being in Christ doesn’t mean that men lose their culture, all men are related with one another in society through their common cultural characteristics. However, when we come into Christ, our culture is moulded by God.

We’re transformed into the image of Christ, and so, dwells as one man with all who are in Christ. In the Christian community, therefore, every member is moulded to be able to dwell in eternity with those of other cultures.

Fellowship in the church becomes the test as to whether we can dwell in heaven with those who have come from different cultural backgrounds.

We need to remember that

‘Christ is all and in all’.

This is one of the greatest statements made in Scripture that declares the fact that it is all about Jesus. In life and worship, the Christian must proclaim the centrality of Christ to our behaviour. If our worship is focused on what we can get out of it, then we have missed the point.

If we become a Christian to see what material blessings we can receive, we don’t understand who Jesus is and what we must be in response to His deity. Every disciple must awake every morning and declare that it is a day the Lord has made, and thus declared Christ is all in all for the day.

‘Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.’ Colossians 3:12-17

Now notice that Paul gives us other reasons as to why we should put on these new


He says we are

‘God’s chosen people, holy, dearly loved and forgiven by Christ’.

If these things alone don’t encourage us to be transformed, I don’t know what will.

God has foreseen that in final judgment He will elect out of the world His children.

1 Peter 1:21 ‘Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.’

1 Peter 2:5 ‘You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.’

1 Peter 2:9 ‘But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.’

From our standpoint that is confined to time, we haven’t realised the action of His future election of the church out of the world. However, since God does know the future, and what He will do, then Christians can be referred to in time as the elect of God.

Therefore, since we are the ones who will in the future be called into eternal glory, we must put on the nature of Christ with whom we will dwell in heaven. The nature that must characterise the elect is developed by loving God and one’s neighbour.

Matthew 22:37-40 ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.’

John 13:34-35 ‘A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.’

Interpersonal relationships are based on loving our neighbour. Love in action will thus produce the fruit of the Spirit in one’s life.

Paul continues to describe the ‘clothing’ Christians must put on. He begins by reminding us that there are two ways we need to treat others.

‘Compassion’ in Greek is the word, ‘oiktirmos’ which means pity, mercy or a heart of compassion. ‘Kindness’ in Greek is the word, ‘chrestotes’ and it means usefulness, kindness. Paul continues and gives us two more things that we need to put on in relation to our state of minds.

‘Humility’ in Greek is the word, ‘tapeinophrosune’ and it means to have a humble opinion of one’s self, a deep sense of one’s moral littleness, modesty, humility, lowliness of mind.

‘Gentleness’ in Greek is the word, ‘praotes’ and it means mildness, meekness. Paul continues and gives us three more things that we need to put on in relation to how we act when we’re being mistreated by others.

‘Patience’ in Greek is the word, ‘makrothumia’ and it means forbearance, longsuffering, slowness in avenging wrongs.

‘Bearing with one another’ in Greek is the word, ‘anechomai’ and it means to sustain, to bear, to endure. ‘Forgiving one another’ in Greek is the word, ‘charizomai’ and it means to do something pleasant or agreeable, to do a favour to, gratify, to grant forgiveness, to pardon. Forgiving others is demanded, because we have been forgiven by Christ!

Paul continues and gives us one more thing that we need to put on and that’s


This is the Greek word, ‘agape’ meaning good will, benevolence. Paul says love

‘binds them all together in perfect unity.’

Without love, none of the other virtues can last, with it, the others can be easily maintained.

And when all these are tied together the Christian can display the character of Christ Himself. But Paul isn’t finished yet, he speaks about

‘the peace of God which must dwell in our hearts.;

Why? Because we were called to be at ‘peace’ in one body, the church. This is one reason why Jesus came to die on the cross.

Ephesians 2:14-18 ‘For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.’

In other word, if we disrupt the peace of the body, church, we disrupt the work of Christ on the cross and so we must be diligent to

‘maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond peace.’ Ephesians 4:3

Let’s be honest with ourselves, where there is contention and strife, it’s among members of the body who aren’t letting the peace of God rule in their hearts. Peace in the body, the church, begins with peace ruling in our hearts.

And this whole process begins when we follow Paul’s advice in Colossians 3:1-2

‘Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.’

And this peace is experienced as we engage in

‘thankful prayer’.

Philippians 4:6-7 ‘Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.’

Paul continues with our new ‘clothing’ and tells us we need to

‘let the message of Christ dwell among you richly.’

This is possible only through a serious effort to learn it, whether it be through Bible study on our own or in a class or through sermons but as we know learning is one thing but obeying what we’re learning is another.

James 1:22-25 ‘Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.’

Notice also that Paul says that the message is to dwell in us ‘richly’, this happens when we add to our study of the Word of God the element of ‘song.’ We know this because Paul says we’re to let the Word dwell in us richly, in other words, by

‘teaching and admonishing one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit.’

In other words, if the Word of God is going to dwell in us, it doesn’t only involve the mind through Bible study but it also involves the heart, our emotions, through song. We have to understand the words of the songs we’re singing and sing with gratitude in our hearts and when we do it’s all joy.

Ephesians 5:19 ‘Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord.’

In both Ephesians and Colossians notice the phrase ‘one another’ is used, Paul is reminding us what the type of music is to be used, and that type of music is congregational singing.

Paul mentions three categories of singing, ‘Psalms’ which are songs from the Old Testament book of Psalms. ‘Hymns’ are song of praise and ‘Spiritual songs’ are basically poetry songs. All of which are to be sung with the purpose of ‘teaching’ and ‘admonishing’ one another with spiritual truths.

The Ephesian passage also tells us that we are to

‘make music in our hearts’.

When we sing, we are teaching and admonishing each other and so filling each other with the words of Christ. This isn’t an outward attitude, expressed with instruments, or by clapping our hands in time with the song, it’s very much an inner attitude.

God says listen,

‘apart from glorifying Him, singing is also a way of getting fed spiritually’.

When we’re singing the words to a song, we are feeding each other on the word of God at the same time. And because we are feeding on those words, we are also promoting purity of the heart within ourselves.

God tells us that we’ve got 4 things to think about when we are praising Him in song.

1. We can sing Psalms, spiritual songs and hymns.

2. Our singing needs to be aimed at Him.

3. We need to sing with gratitude.

4. We need to sing from the heart.

That’s why we sing together as a body of believers and that’s why we have to sing together at the same time because when we sing together, we are praising God together, and that’s part of our worship to Him.

Now have you ever noticed what comes before Ephesians 5:19? Yes, it’s Ephesians 5:18, but what does Ephesians 5:17-18 say?

‘Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.’

Now is Paul jumping on to a different subject in verse 19?

Of course not, he’s still speaking about our attitude towards other people and the will of God. You see, being filled with the Spirit means filling our minds with the word of God and what that does, is creates gratitude in our hearts, which is expressed in our singing to God. That’s why Paul says,

‘Don’t get drunk on wine’,

he’s saying the Lord’s will for us is joy, not alcohol.

He goes on to say in Ephesians 5:20-21

‘Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.’

In other words, everything we do in our worship assemblies is done out of gratitude. Paul says it should always be like this, he says we should be thankful for all things, we should be thankful for everything in Jesus name, and our thankfulness should be aimed at God.

Singing praises to God is a privilege, it’s a joy and God has given each of us a voice with which to praise Him. Think about it, if our singing comes from our hearts, it goes straight to the heart of God, and that’s a wonderful experience.

The word ‘singing’ in our English translations is from the Greek word ‘psallo’, which literally means,

‘plucking the heart strings.’

When we use our voices to praise God, we are plucking our heart strings and so not only is God pleased but it also brings us great joy.

Paul continues and says,

‘and whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.’

This is speaking about the authority of Christ. For if we say or do all

‘in the name of the Lord Jesus’,

that is, by His authority, then it’s evident that we have really put on the LORD Jesus Christ in our lives.

‘Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged. Colossians 3:18-21

After speaking about the sufficiency and supremacy of Christ, and all the sins we’ve to put off and the new virtues we’ve to put on, Paul now moves on to speak about how families and servants and masters should conduct themselves.

He begins by telling us,

‘wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.’

The Greek word for ‘submit’ is ‘hupotasso’ and it means to arrange under, to subordinate, subject, put in subjection, obey. And so, wives are to be in submission to their husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.

Ephesians 5:22 ‘Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.’

The word ‘fitting’ in Greek is ‘aneko’ and it means to pertain to what is due, duty, as was fitting. To be willing to submit to another is certainly in keeping with Jesus’ own teaching and example.

Matthew 20:25-28 ‘Jesus called them together and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’

Ephesians 5:21 ‘Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.’

Hebrews 13:17 ‘Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.’

1 Peter 2:13-15 ‘Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people.’

1 Peter 2:18 ‘Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh.’

1 Peter 5:5-7 ‘In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, ‘God opposes the proud but shows favour to the humble.’ Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.’

Now what does ‘in the Lord’ mean?

I think the way to figure this out in part is to look at this phrase ‘in the Lord’ every time it occurs in the Bible. That won’t take long. It only occurs three times.

1 Corinthians 7:39 ‘A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, only in the Lord.’

Does it mean that the person she marries must be a Christian? That is certainly one alternative.

It occurs in Ephesians 6:1

‘Children, obey your parents in the Lord.’

Now, does that mean that if you have Christian parents, you have to obey them and if you don’t have Christian parents, you don’t have to obey them? No. I think it means that children are to obey their parents in the sphere of the Lord’s authority.

You have to obey your parents the way the Lord says to obey your parents.

‘In the Lord’

means in the way that the Lord guides you, in the way the Lord teaches you, in a way that shows you are in submission to the Lord.

Colossians 3:18 ‘Wives submit to your husbands in the Lord’.

Does that mean that if he is a Christian, you have to submit to him, but if he isn’t a Christian, you don’t have to submit to him? No. Paul’s counsel is to the wives. Wives, you are to submit to your husbands. How? In the Lord, in the way the Lord would have you do it.

Submit to him in the way the Lord leads you to submit to Him, not in the world’s concept, but in Jesus’ concept. Wives, submit to your husbands in a way pleasing, acceptable to the Lord. ‘In the Lord’ signifies a realm of authority.

Paul continues and says,

‘husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.’

Paul speaks more about this in Ephesians 5:25-27

‘Husbands, love your wives as the Messiah loved the church and gave himself for it, so that he might make it holy by cleansing it, washing it with water and the word, and might present the church to himself in all its glory, without a spot or wrinkle or anything of the kind, but holy and without fault.’

Our role model is Christ, and His love for the church and husbands are to love their wives just as Christ loved the church, in other words, it’s sacrificial kind of love.

Ephesians 5:28-29 ‘In the same way, husbands must love their wives as they love their own bodies. A man who loves his wife loves himself. For no one has ever hated his own body, but he nourishes and tenderly cares for it, as the Messiah does the church.’

Just as we nourish and cherish our own body, so husbands should love their wives. The word, ‘nourish’ comes from the Greek word, ‘ektrepho’ which means to nourish up to maturity, to nurture, bring up.

The words ‘tenderly cares’ is from the Greek word, ‘thalpo’ which means to warm, keep warm, to cherish with tender love, to foster with tender care, again, this is how Christ loves the church.

Notice also that Paul says our love for our wives should have any ‘harshness’ involved. The Greek word for ‘harsh’ is ‘pikraino’ and it means to produce a bitter taste in the stomach, to embitter, render angry, to be embittered, irritated.

1 Peter 3:7 ‘Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.’

I believe the principle is clear, when husbands love their wives as Christ loves the church, and aren’t harsh toward them, then it’s much easier for wives to be submissive to their husbands. Since husbands are to be the leader in the family, then let them show leadership by fulfilling their responsibility.

Paul continues and says,

‘children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.’

This is one of those verses which children throughout the world don’t like, only because they don’t understand that they are actually pleasing God.

Ephesians 6:1-3 ‘Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honour your father and mother’—which is the first commandment with a promise— ‘so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.’

Nobody likes a rebellious child and neither does God and father’s need to remind themselves of the dangers of a rebellious child. In the Old Testament for example we get a glimpse of what God thinks of rebellious children.

1 Samuel 15:22-23 ‘But Samuel replied: ‘Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you as king.’

This shows us the importance of trying to raise our children correctly and helping our children to understand why it’s important for them to obey their parents, especially their father. When we think about it, fathers have a very important responsibility towards their children. Father’s need to encourage and understand their children and show them some compassion.

Joshua 24:14-15 ‘Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.’

Fathers need to train their children about spiritual things.

Ephesians 6:4 ‘Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.’

It’s so easy to treat a child unfairly, whether that be through inappropriate punishment or showing favour to one of their siblings and even worse, being a hypocrite.

Please take special note here, parents, especially fathers are to train and instruct their children in the ways of the Lord, they are not responsible for their children becoming Christians, that’s God department.

Some children have been raised in the church and have went off the rails, especially preacher’s kids but parents can’t always take the responsibility for their children’s actions. If your child decides they don’t want to Christians, this isn’t necessary a failure on you part.

Keep loving them, keep encouraging them and let God do what only He can do.

1 Corinthians 3:6-7 ‘I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So, neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.’

‘Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favour, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for their wrongs, and there is no favouritism. Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair, because you know that you also have a Master in heaven.’ Colossians 3:22-4:1

How do you become a slave? Well you could become a slave 1 of 3 ways.

1. Your father was a slave and if his dad was a slave and he was born into that family, he was the owner’s property. The owner could sell him and do whatever he wants with him.

2. Maybe he was a thief who stole money and under Jewish or even Roman law, if you stole and could not pay back, then they can take you as a slave.

3. Maybe he was a murderer, but instead of killing him, they would decide to give him to the victim’s family and the family could take him or sell him or do whatever they liked.

So whatever reason, a slave has no rights what so ever, he was a piece of property, his masters owned him. And at the slave market they would auction them off. Then someone would buy them for so many shekels and now the slave belongs to him.

Imagine when the slave’s new master takes him home. Who is going to supply a bed for the slave? His master is going to supply a place for him to sleep. In the morning where is the slave going to get food from?

The slave doesn’t have any food with him, so his master has to feed him. The master has to feed and clothe and provide a place for his slave to sleep. The slave depended completely on the master for his life, he had nothing if the master did not provide it for him. That meant that the slave didn’t worry because he simply depended on the master but no matter what the master said the slave had to do it.

There is a section in Deuteronomy, which describes a special rule.

Deuteronomy 15:12-17 ‘If a fellow Hebrew, a man or a woman, sells himself to you and serves you six years, in the seventh year you must let him go free. And when you release him, do not send him away empty-handed. Supply him liberally from your flock, your threshing floor and your winepress. Give to him as the LORD your God has blessed you. Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and the LORD your God redeemed you. That is why I give you this command today. But if your servant says to you, ‘I do not want to leave you,’ because he loves you and your family and is well off with you, then take an awl and push it through his ear lobe into the door, and he will become your servant for life. Do the same for your maidservant.’

In Deuteronomy 15:12 it says, that on occasion a Hebrew would end up purchasing a fellow Hebrew as a slave.

‘If a fellow Hebrew, a man or a woman, sells himself to you and serves you six years, in the seventh year you must let him go free.’

Can you imagine for a moment that you are a Hebrew and you have served me for 6 years? And congratulations, it’s your 7th year, you’ve served me and now you are free to go.

However, Deuteronomy 15:13-14 says

‘And when you release them, do not send them away empty-handed. Supply them liberally from your flock, your threshing floor and your winepress. Give to them as the LORD your God has blessed you.’

Now if this was applied to today, if I was to give the slave £5, the Lord would ask, is this supplying him liberally? No.

Liberally is saying,

‘here is a blank cheque, here is the keys to a brand-new car for you which is parked outside and there is a holiday villa which is yours waiting in Hawaii.’

The slave has just gone from being a slave with nothing, to having a charge account, a car, and a place to live. I have supplied him liberally now.

Now any slave is saying, ‘his is my lucky day’ and most slaves would say, ‘thank you very much’ when the master says,

‘ok, it’s all yours, you’re free to go’.

But as the slave begins to go, he turns, and says,

‘I don’t want to go’.

Deuteronomy 15:16 says, when the servant says,

‘You know what master, I appreciate all of this but I’d rather stay, you take care of me, you give me life, I don’t have to worry, can I stay?’

The Scripture says,

‘If he says that, then you take him to the door post of your house’.

The reason you would go to the doorpost is because there is a strong piece of wood and then you take an awl, which is a metal object used to poke holes in leather.

You would take his ear and you take a hammer and you would drive it through his ear, piercing his ear. And in that hole, you would hang something from it, which probably had his master’s name on it and for the rest of their life, they were your servant.

Though in this context Paul deals specifically with slave-master relationships that were the common work relationships of the Roman Empire, the principles that he discusses here should also be applied to employee-employer relationships. In such societies, an employee isn’t under bondage as a slave, for he can quit the job whenever he so desires.

However, he is to treat his employer with no less respect and servitude as Paul here enjoins on servants to respect their masters. In fact, we would conclude that an employee in today’s economic structure should treat his employer with even greater servitude in view of the fact that he has freedom to quit the job.

In all things, the Christian employee must remember that it’s his responsibility to make his employer successful. If through irresponsible conduct he does not, he will be out of a job, and subsequently bring shame on the name of Jesus.

Ephesians 6:5-8 ‘Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. Obey them not only to win their favour when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free.’

Slaves should obey their masters with a sincere heart. If they give grudging service, such will bring harshness upon them by their masters. Their service should be motivated out of a heart that fears God.

In the Old Testament, the fear of God was in reference to our obedience to God. Those who feared God obeyed His commandments. In this context, when we fear God we will be the best employee he can possibly be in response to the will of God.

‘Work at it with all your heart’,

should be the attitude of all Christians who serve either masters or employers.

Ecclesiastes 9:10 ‘Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.’

Christians should serve with diligence in everything they do.

Romans 12:11 ‘Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervour, serving the Lord.’

Paul’s point is that Christianity changes the nature of our service to others. Those employees who are in the world may give grudging service to their employers but not so with Christians. Their attitude toward their masters and employers should be based on their fear of God.

1 Peter 2:18-25 ‘Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. ‘He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.’ When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. ‘He himself bore our sins’ in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; ‘by his wounds you have been healed.’ For ‘you were like sheep going astray,’ but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.’

The service of the Christian is given to others as if they were working for the Lord, and not a master or employer. When the Christian is working for their living, therefore, they are working on behalf of the Lord. When we become a Christian, our attitude changes concerning our work in making a living.

As a Christian, they go to work every day for the Lord. By working to earn a living to support our own necessities, we earn in order to help the poor and to support the Gospel being spread throughout the world.

Romans 10:15 ‘And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’

Philippians 4:17 ‘Not that I desire your gifts; what I desire is that more be credited to your account.’

Those servants and employees who do wrong to their masters and employers will reap what they sow. Both servants and masters, employees and employers should work in view of the fact that all men will stand in judgment before God.

2 Corinthians 5:10 ‘For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.’

As Christians, we must remember that all our service in this world to others is in view of the fact that God served our sin problem through Jesus.

Paul continues to encourage masters to deal fairly with their servants.

Ephesians 6:9 ‘And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favouritism with him.’

Christian masters must understand that they will also give account before their Master in heaven. Therefore, they should deal with their servants or today employees, in view of the fact that they will stand in judgment for their own behaviour.

It’s an encouragement that is based on the concept that they should do to others as they would want the Lord to do to them.

Matthew 7:12 ‘So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.’

And most all, we all have to remember, whether slave or master, that on Judgement Day, the only people that will walk through the pearly gates are those who respond to,

‘Well done, good and faithful servant!’ Matthew 25:21

Go To Colossians 4



"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

Isaiah 41:10