Searchlights from the Word by G. Campbell Morgan: Colossians

Helpful outline sermon suggestion from every chapter from the Book of Colossians

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The Book of Colossians - "Searchlights from the Word" by G. Campbell Morgan.

Chapter 1

The might of His glory.
Colossians 1:11

That is a far more arresting translation than the old one. "His glorious power," and it is more accurate. The latter is a phrase in which the emphasis is laid on a quality of the power - it is glorious. The real thought of the phrase is that it lays an emphasis on a fact concerning His glory, and that is, that it is characterized by might. The Apostle was recording his prayer for the saints, that they might be filled with knowledge in order to walk worthily, bearing fruit. The condition for all this is that they should be strengthened with all power. Of this power he gives a description in this phrase, "The might of His glory." God is essentially the God of might. The first great name by which the Hebrew people knew Him was Elohim, which speaks of that might in all its greatness. Everything of God has in it this quality of strength. In no application is the fact more unusual than in this of His glory. Glory is splendour, all the qualities of beauty and brilliance, whether material or mental; and one of the most marked qualities of human glory is that of its weakness. Sic transit gloria mundi, is a proverb expressing this conviction. Glory fades, passes, and that because of its weakness. The glory of God knows no fading, no passing, no perishing. It abides undimmed because of its strength. When the glory of God is seen, when to realize it becomes the passion of a life, it is found that in the vision there is strength, in the effort there is energy. His glory not only captures the mind: it empowers all upon whom it shines. It not only lures - it lifts.

Chapter 2

The mystery of God, even Christ.
Colossians 2:2

The phrase occurs in the record of another of the Apostle's prayers. His desire for all the saints was that they might know "The mystery of God, even Christ." That he desired this, shows us that in the true Christian sense a mystery is not something which cannot be known. It is something which man is unable to discover or explain; but it is something which may be disclosed to him, and which therefore he may know. And that is perhaps Paul's ultimate word about Christ. The last word has never yet been spoken about Him. There is nothing more wonderful than the persistence and ever-increasing discussion of all sorts and conditions of thinking men concerning the Person of our Lord. The subject is never exhausted; it never becomes out of date. Again and again men feel that they have formulated a Christology, only to find that some others have seen other facts not included in their system. And so He moves on, the Enigma of the ages, the inclusive Word, Whose ultimate secret is not expressed, the very mystery of God. Nevertheless through all the intellectual processes, He finds the heart of man, and gives Himself to it, so that in Him it finds rest, joy, satisfaction. Multitudes of simple souls who are unequal to any explanation, live in daily comradeship with Him. They know Him, and know Him well. They are more intimate with Him than with their dearest earthly friends. They tell Him all their griefs and joys, their doubts and hopes, their successes and failures; and they hear Him speak to them positively, prevailingly. He is indeed the Mystery of God, profound in the wonder of His being, and yet so real that the tiniest child talks of Him with sweet familiarity.

Chapter 3

Covetousness, the which is idolatry.
Colossians 3:5

In the paragraph from which these words are taken, we have a dark list of evil things against which Paul warned the saints. Perhaps the one which would by the ordinary standards of life be considered least harmful, or at least, less repugnant than the rest, is covetousness. Admittedly it is not a pleasant word, and describes something which we all dislike in other people; but the ordinary man would hardly bracket it, for instance, with fornication as equally reprehensible. And yet it is the one evil thing which Paul stops to characterize, and he does so by declaring it to be idolatry, the most heinous of spiritual sins. It is evident that the Apostle looked upon it as a most deadly form of sin. In his Roman letter he declared that it was the commandment, "Thou shalt not covet," which awoke in him the consciousness of sin. What is there in this sin which is so deadly? First, it is idolatry, in that it only obtains when man thinks of life as consisting in things possessed, rather than in righteous relationship to God. No man covets until he has lost the true outlook on life, and imagines that it can be conditioned by the things around. Therefore, it is a sin also against others, for to satisfy the desire, others are wronged. Thus, finally, it is self-destructive, for these wrong conceptions and activities always react upon the soul to its own undoing. And yet what ecclesiastical court ever yet arraigned a church-member for covetousness? Perhaps, the principle that qualification for throwing stones is freedom from the sin we would punish, is the reason of the reticence. At any rate, it may be well for us to allow our Lord to deal with us on the matter.

Chapter 4

Remember my bonds.
Colossians 4:18

That is the last word but one, in one of the most wonderful letters Paul wrote; certainly the letter which in conjunction with that to the Ephesians constitutes the crowning height of all his teaching. It is not quite the last word. That follows, and in consonance with all his life and teaching turns back to God, and out towards others, in the parting wish "Grace be with you." Yet it is very suggestive that there should come the cry which reveals his consciousness of limitation and suffering. The whole letter had been written in prison, and surely during the writing the place had flamed with light. Paul had been seated in the heavenlies. The most wonderful visions of the glories of his Lord had passed before him, and he had seen himself and all Christian souls filled to the full, complete in the fullness the completeness, of this Lord of surpassing glory. Having finished, he took the pen in his own hand to write the salutation; and as he did so, the weight of the chain which bound him was felt, and perhaps its pain also. Then his heart went out toward his comrades, and he craved their sympathy and help: "Remember my bonds." How close that human touch brings him to all of us, and how much more powerful becomes all his high spiritual teaching because of it! It is always so. The great things of spiritual interpretation are ever made more powerful to others when they are reinforced by the touch that reveals our fellowship with those whom we serve in the sense of need. And yet in spite of the chain, he wrote his salutation: "Grace be with you!"