A SHORT TRIP THROUGH COLOSSIANS - AN OPEN BIBLE STUDY
The following is an attempt to refine the focus on defining the objective of men's meetings, what I perceive to be central in personal and community Christian growth. We know that the inner life is the key.
The Colossian believers were known for  their faith in Christ Jesus and  their love for all the saints (Col.1:4). The reason for this is "the word of the truth of the gospel" (v.5) brought them to "the grace of God in truth" (v.6). Their understanding was opened when they heard the story of redemption and it changed their whole world, reformed their total reality. What characterized them afterward was faith and love and hope (v.5) in the promises of God. This merits some thinking about because such fruit bearing (v.6) is the culmination of the spiritual growth process, the mark of maturity.
As Christians, we realize that all of history can roughly be summarized by the three words - creation, fall, and redemption. Paul emphasizes the contrast between our lost estate under the fall and our redeemed estate as the Lord "has qualified us to become partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the dominion [domination] of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of ‘the son of His love’ [same phrase used at Christ's baptism and the mount of transfiguration] in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins" (1:12-14). Here is the core of our new life and it requires maintenance. It must be continually pondered and wondered at to keep it fresh. It generates joy and thanksgiving in those who give themselves to such meditations.
Paul then brings in creation and the headship of Christ (1:15-18), and ties it all together with the reconciliation of "all things" "through the blood of His cross" (19-22). [Redemption includes restoration, and restoration is a function of reconciliation which begins by making "peace through the blood of His cross" (1:20).] Paul was functioning as steward "to fulfill the word of God, the mystery which has been hidden from ages and generations, but now has been revealed to His saints" (25-26). Paul is attending to the writing of the word of God upon the hearts of His chosen people.
Throughout Colossians, Paul intertwines knowing Christ in His fullness with deep understanding of scripture, "As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith [the doctrine or content of scripture]...abounding in it with thanksgiving [also a pervasive theme in Col.]" (2:6-7). Paul again returns to the subject of redemption and its implications (11-15). Col.3 calls us to become really Christian in our thinking, wanting, and living: "set your mind on things above" (3:2); "Put to death your members which are on earth" (v.5); "Put off all these: anger, etc" (v.8); "Do not lie to one another" (v.9). Col.3 is calling believers to actively and aggressively work at changing their character in view of their new reality, "Therefore, as the holy and beloved elect of God, put on tender mercies, kindness, etc" (v.12). This list of corrections for individuals is the manor in which the church as a whole is beautified.
As Paul continues, he becomes more descriptive of what the changes mean: "bearing with one another and forgiving one another" (3:13); above all these [new attitudes and ways] put on love" (v.14). In other words, let the love of God as displayed in the gospel transform you and energize these changes in you so that you may become like Christ yourselves, "Let the peace of God rule in your hearts...and become thankful" (v.15). The obvious question is How? Is there a means or a way given to help us pull this off? > "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom" (v.16). What does that mean if not filling ourselves with the wonders of redemption, drinking at the well of salvation? What flows from this? > hearts full of grace and songs to the Lord (v.16). The New Living Bible puts it like this, "Let the words of Christ, in all their richness, live in your hearts and make you wise. Use His words to teach and counsel each other. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts" (v.16).