The phrase, ‘In Christ, In Colossae’, the title of Derek Tidball’s book, helpfully describes the nature of Christian existence in the world – with Christians taking their identity from the place where they live and work (in Colossae) as well as their identity as those who are ‘in Christ’.
Colossae was a town of faded glory, and the majority of those living there would have been ordinary men and women who farmed crops, looked after sheep, dying wool, selling wool and textiles, some of whom would have been slaves, essentially scraping a living.
There are lines to be drawn between members of the church at Colossae with their various ‘frontlines’ and the 21st Century congregation – and encouragement to see that Paul’s letter orients us, as it did the Colossians, around the word of the Gospel and the lordship of Christ, showing who Jesus is, what he has done, and how that works out in the everyday lives of ordinary people.
|Fruitfulness on the Frontline: Growing in Christ
|Paul looks at the faith, love and hope of the Colossians, in which we find evidence of the growth of the gospel in their lives. The original mandate to ‘be fruitful and multiply’ (Gen 1:28) is finally being fulfilled in the growth of the gospel and in those who have been created anew in Christ.
|Fruitfulness on the Frontline: Fruitful for Christ
|Paul’s prayer is for the Colossians to be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in order that they can live lives worthy of the Lord, seen in bearing fruit, growing, being empowered, and giving thanks. Christians have been rescued from one kingdom and brought into another, like in the Exodus, which constitutes our identity as God’s people, and where God’s forgiveness provides the basis for our own actions as a mouthpiece for the truth of mercy and justice.
|Fruitfulness on the Frontline: Alive with Christ
|Paul encourages the Colossians to continue to be faithful to Jesus as Lord, rather than be drawn aside by anything that would detract from the victory God has accomplished through Christ. God has put his fullness in Christ, and we have the benefits of being joined to him, which includes the stripping away of the sinful nature and being made alive through the victory of the cross.
|Fruitfulness on the Frontline: Raised with Christ
|How we as Christians think, live, and relate to each other reflects our identity and status as those raised with Christ. Being raised with Christ brings renewal to our lives, as we enter into a an
identity that has deep implications for the way we are to live as moulders of culture on our frontlines. Having been raised, God’s people are called to ‘put on’ a new set of characteristics
which bear the marks of new humanity recreated in the image of Jesus.
|Fruitfulness on the Frontline: Working for Christ
|Colossians 3:17 – 4:1
|As disciples of Christ, every aspect of our everyday lives and relationships has been redefined in relation to Christ. This commitment to Jesus as Lord is to be worked out in all of these aspects as it embraces all that makes us who we are. Discipleship is whole-life, and therefore our working for Christ requires us to be in relationship with others – in the home and and work – not just in the church.
|Fruitfulness on the Frontline: Proclaimers of Christ
|Paul’s pattern of proclamation is one which involves: praying devotedly, acting wisely, and speaking graciously. He encourages the Colossians to look outwards, to pray for his evangelistic work and to be alert to their own opportunities to proclaim the mystery of Christ.