As I go through each of these letters in their chronological order, ask yourself if the attitude and spirit you see in Paul is being demonstrated in your life. Do you have the same degree of passion for maturity in your church and those you associate with as Paul did?
Ephesians was written to establish and unify believers in the person of Christ and to reveal God’s eternal plan (the mystery) for the church. In this plan was revealed how the gospel of grace would impact individuals, marriages and families so that God would be glorified and make known God’s wisdom “to rulers and authorities in the heavenly places” (3:10).
Philippians also stressed being of one mind in the church and reflecting Christ by becoming humble servants. There was no greater pursuit for Paul than gaining Christ, having His righteousness and knowing the power of His resurrection. Through this attitude the gospel would progress rapidly.
Colossians, like all the middle letters, is written to establish and unify believers in the person and eternal work of Christ as the Head of His church. Paul shows the superiority of Christ over philosophies, traditions and legalism. The preeminence of Christ focuses our attention on Him where He is, seated at the right hand of God.
Philemon is intended to restore and unify relationships for the purpose of exalting Christ and spreading the gospel through obedience to it.
Tomorrow we will look at Paul’s last three and final letters before his life is “poured out as a drink offering” (2 Timothy 4:6).