How to Please God
1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, 2 To the saints and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father.
Thanksgiving and Prayer
3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, 5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, 6 which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth, 7 just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf 8 and has made known to us your love in the Spirit.
9 And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. 13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
- Part 1: What is a Child of God?
- What do you think it means to be a child of God?
- What does a child of God do in order to please God?
- Part 2: We Please God by Doing Good Works
- What abilities, dreams, and life circumstances do you think you can honor God with as good works?
- Can you name someone who you think is living as an example as a child of God? What about them convinces you that they are such a good example?
- Part 3: We Please God by Getting to Know Him
- What kinds of things have helped you come to know God?
- Do you believe that God is pleased when you get to know Him?
- Part 4: We Please God with a Thankful Heart
- (Encourage groups members to name at least 3 things that they are thankful for before discussing final question.)
- While it is easy to be critical of life circumstances, how can we learn to be thankful in the good times and bad times instead? Give examples.
An Easy Life or a Great Life
The Preeminence of Christ
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, 23 if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.
Paul's Ministry to the Church
24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, 25 of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, 26 the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. 27 To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. 29 For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.
2 For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face,
- Part 1: What Makes Someone Successful?
- What do you think makes someone successful?
- How do you think Christ views success in contrast to how the world views it?
- Part 2: To Be Successful You Must Be Willing to Suffer
- Suffering is a difficult word to think about. In order to think about this clearly, what causes you anxiety, stress, fear, anger, or sadness that makes it difficult to get through the day?
- What are some ways that we suffer to be faithful to Christ?
- Part 3: To Be Successful is to Serve
- What does it mean to be a servant leader like Paul (Re-read Colossians 1:26-29)
- Can you provide examples?
- Part 4: To Be Successful is to Struggle
- What is the biggest struggle you have in your Christian life? What tempts you to want to give up?
- Another way to think about “struggling” is to remain steadfast or determined to the end, even when things are tough. What is the difference between remaining determined to the end and just living out life like your winging it?
A Stable Walk with God
1 For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face, 2 that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God's mystery, which is Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4 I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments. 5 For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ.
Alive in Christ
6 Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, 7 rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
- Part 1: Considering the Cost
- When you first became a Christian, what did you think it meant to become a Christian and what did you think it would cost you?
- How has your perception changed over time?
- Part 2: Live in Christ, Rooted in Him
- What do you think it means to be “rooted in” Christ?
- Do you believe you are rooted in Christ? If so, what caused it to happen – if not, what needs to change in your life?
- Part 3: Live in Christ, Built Up in Him
- How can we be built up in Christ? Name as many ways as you can think of.
- Read 1 Cor. 3:9
- For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.
- What does it mean that we are God’s field or building?
- What does that imply about our own attempts to make ourselves holy?
- Part 4: Live in Christ, Strengthened by Faith
- What does it imply about our efforts that the weakness of God is stronger than our strength?
- How can the Lord be your strength? Give practical examples from everyday life.
Think Like a Christian
8 See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. 9 For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, 10 and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. 11 In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. 13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. 15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.
- Part 1: What is True Christianity?
- How would you define sin? Why does it offend God?
- Do you think you can be good without God? If so, do you think God accepts that kind of goodness? If not, how do you explain good things people do?
- Part 2: In Christ We Have the Fullness of God
- What are some hollow and deceptive philosophies that you hear about regularly today? What makes them hollow and deceptive? How can they take us captive?
- In what ways is Christ radically different from what them world offers us?
- Part 3: In Christ We Have Forgiveness of Sins
- Which of the following statements best represents what our attitude should be toward sin?
- I know I will sin, so I don’t worry about it.
- I know I will sin, but I confess anything that I know is wrong.
- I know I will sin, and it always devastates me.
- I know that one day I will reach the point where I quit sinning.
- Why did you pick the statement you did? How does that belief affect your life? Which statement is the closest to being true? How do you know?
- Think about one thing that is master over you. Spend time in silent prayer asking God to give you his power in that area.
- Which of the following statements best represents what our attitude should be toward sin?
Let No One Disqualify You
16 Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. 17 These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. 18 Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, 19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.
20 If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations— 21 “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” 22 (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? 23 These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.
- Part 1: Oh the Many Options and Opinions
- What do you think is the main difference between Christianity and other religions?
- Have you ever been a part of another religion, even if it’s another denomination of Christianity? What made you leave it?
- Have you ever been tempted to give up on being a Christian? If so, why?
- Don’t Get Sideswiped
- What are some things that sideswipe your faith? Another way to think about this is what causes you to lose focus on Christ in your everyday life?
- Have you ever been confused by rules other Christians have tried to impose on you? Does that mean we should have no rules for our Christian lives? How can we find a balance?
- Part 3: Don’t Get Sidelined
- What kinds of things tend to sideline you in your faith? Another way to think about this is, what causes you to get distracted in your faith to the point where you aren’t focusing on Christ?
- How do people lose connection with Christ, the Head? How does that keep us from growing in our faith?
- Part 4: Don’t Get Sidetracked
- What are some rules Christians add that are not found in Scripture? Name as many as you can think of.
- Why are we tempted to make the Christian life more difficult than it is? Why is it so satisfying to measure our Christian lives by outward accomplishments?