"Studies of the Spirit in the New Testament - Colossians, Philemon, Philippians"
March 1, 2021

C. R. Oliver

March 1, 2021

"Studies of the Spirit in the New Testament
Colossians, Philemon, Philippians"

You may watch this Newsletter in a video HERE.



The epistle to Colosse follows the book of Ephesians in time by one year (61AD). Interestingly enough, mention of the Spirit is minimal - basically one verse. But through this one verse the whole book of Colossians flows. In other words, what Paul knows about Colosse is through revelation of the Spirit (Paul had not visited this territory). So, it is safe to say the whole book is encompassed by the Spirit. This first mention is found in the opening paragraph.

Colossians 1:3-8:
3 We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, 4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints; 5 because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel, 6 which has come to you, as it has also in all the world, and is bringing forth fruit, as it is also among you since the day you heard and knew the grace of God in truth; 7 as you also learned from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf, 8 who also declared to us your love in the Spirit.

"Love in the Spirit" is a different quantity and quality than camaraderie or what passes as "fellowship." "Love in the Spirit" incorporates the traits found in Ephesians five.

Ephesians 5:1-2:
Therefore, be imitators of God as dear children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.

Citing their love factor, Paul begins this next passage with "for this reason." Their love force was so strong that it precipitated what followed (the entire book). Their love was the "God Kind" of love (agape love - the highest form).

Colossians 1:9-14:
9 For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; 12 giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. 13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, 14 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.

Gospel love is the reflection of Christ's love for us. It is the 1 Corinthians 13 kind.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8:
4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

8 Love never fails.

Paul declared "love" was the primary factor in their spiritual walk. A community of "love."

Colossians 2:1-3:
2 For I want you to know what a great conflict I have for you and those in Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh, 2 that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

From this point, Paul exalts the work of Christ and enters into one of the most concise teaching of Jesus' redemptive plan to be found in Scripture.

Colossians 3:12-17:
12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. 14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. 15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

This passage contains a formula for worship services beginning with verse 16. When these elements exist as primary avenues for congregational worship, something marvelous takes place, love for one another freely reigns, the presence of the Lord manifested through the Spirit is felt. and a sovereign move of God encompasses everyone. Why then are these ingredients lacking in the modern church? Could it be this ministry to one another requires congregational participation?

What prevents the person across from you or down the aisle or at the door from hearing from God and yielding to the Spirit in ministry for one another.

I asked a congregation once to stand and begin to pray in the Spirit for the person in front of them and ascertain through tongues and the voice of the Spirit to reveal to them that persons need. (Several people walked out of the service shaking their heads and saying, "That's too much to ask.")


Perhaps, the type of ministry we discussed in the closing lines of Colossians is focused upon in Philemon. Paul is requesting the brethren meeting in a home church to receive a runaway slave into their midst and treat him as equal to them in grace and mercy. Paul sends this letter of recommendation based on Onesimus' service to him and evidence of his salvation.

He is asking them to break away from cultural rules and accept him without encumbrances, and to love him even as Paul does. Notice Paul bases his request on love (the God Kind).

Philemon 8-12:
8 Therefore, though I might be very bold in Christ to command you what is fitting, 9 yet for love's sake I rather appeal to you - being such a one as Paul, the aged, and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ - 10 I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten while in my chains, 11 who once was unprofitable to you, but now is profitable to you and to me.

12 I am sending him back. You therefore receive him, that is, my own heart,

Paul conjectures that the reason for his running away was to bring him to redemption through Jesus' blood even as they.

Philemon 15-16:
For perhaps he departed for a while for this purpose, that you might receive him forever, 16 no longer as a slave but more than a slave - a beloved brother, especially to me but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.



In keeping with our patterns of chronology, showing the sequence of the epistles, we see that Philippians (62AD) follows Colossians (61AD) and Philemon (61AD). Evidently, Paul wanted to build on the knowledge they received in the other epistles.

Unlike Colossians, Paul had visited Philippi, for it was there the jail rocked and the doors opened and the jailer and his family came to Christ. Supernatural events have a tendency to linger in one's mind.

However, there are only three occasions when a capitalized Spirit is referenced. The first occurs early in opening lines (v.19).

Philippians 1:15-21:
15 Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from goodwill: 16 The former preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains; 17 but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel. 18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice.
19 For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, 20 according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

Paul asserts there are two avenues for his deliverance: prayer and the supply of the Spirit. How significant it is for believers to be "prayers." It is through this catalyst that the Spirit has freedom to work both in the life of the "prayers" and Paul. In-depth prayer opens the door in the "prayers" life to be led by the Spirit. Thereby, the needs of the one being prayed for can be transmitted. How wonderful it is to have this supernatural adornment. Many times, I have been amazed at the revelation attained through prayer. (An event occurs and someone comments, "That happened at the same time you were praying.")

In the second chapter once again, Paul regales the Spirit.

Philippians 2:1-5:
Therefore, if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, 2 fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.

The Amplified Bible gives a broader meaning to this passage.

Philippians 2:1:
SO BY whatever [appeal to you there is in our mutual dwelling in Christ, by whatever] strengthening and consoling and encouraging [our relationship] in Him [affords], by whatever persuasive incentive there is in love, by whatever participation in the [Holy] Spirit [we share], and by whatever depth of affection and compassionate sympathy,

Participation in the Holy Spirit encompasses the fruit of the Spirit, the gifts of the Spirit, the guidance of the Spirit - it is in this realm in which they fellowship. The Spirit is the bonding factor between them and along with the other aspects of this verse a completeness of their cohesiveness is known. Their mutual dwelling in Christ included the other traits mentioned.

Paul says he is strengthened, consoled, encouraged and loved by them. Their response was, "That is the same way we feel about you."

Any association we have with one another involves a "fellowship of the Spirit.:" Church gatherings should be a "fellowship in the Spirit." The admonitions which follow these verses are causes that break "fellowship with the Spirit."

It is in Chapter Three we see the final passage referencing the Spirit.

Philippians 3:1-7:
Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. For me to write the same things to you is not tedious, but for you it is safe.

2 Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation! 3 For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh, 4 though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: 5 circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; 6 concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.

7 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ

The Philippian believers displayed their true circumcision of the heart, not fleshly circumcision. Dogs, evil workers and mutilators caused strife and factions and a break in the "fellowship in the Spirit." Dependance on flesh will not prevail either. Paul illustrates the point by a personal testimony. He insists that zeal, education and experience are nothing but loss compared to knowing Jesus.

Paul rendered those "bragging points" to the refuse pile. Certification often leads to the dumper. Such is a non-entity compared to the Spirit.

Summatively, Paul seeks a people, who like himself, are willing to worship on an exalted spiritual platform - in Spirit and in truth. Worship required the laying down of fleshly tasks in order to pursue holiness. Worshiping God in the Spirit is different. Fleshly worship may have the bright lights, the rapid music and the smoked mirrors, but Spirit directed worship gets its direction from a heavenly conductor. It may take the form of inspirational dancing, a word of revelation, a testimony or instant healing. Music may be sung with tongues or accompanied by shofars. Heavenly participants join earthly counter parts in praise to God when the Spirit directs. Those who worship God in the Spirit are satisfied with nothing less. Rejoicing in Christ Jesus has a different sound, a different attitude and a different transport. It enters a different terrain (a higher plane).

God inhabits the praise of His people.

Until Next Month,

Dr. Cosby R. Oliver, PhD.


Kevin and Joy Stoltenburg (Oliver Evangelistic Association Board Members)

Chad and Judith Daugherty
Missionaries to Cóte d'lvoire, West Africa

Contact Information:
     10030 Pineville Rd. Unit #13
     Raleigh, NC, 27617, US
     Email: cloudsurfer63@outlook.com
     Web: http://www.chadnjudi.com/

We are Chad and Judith from North Texas. Our called to missions started in Botswana, Africa, teaching in the Bible schools, building tabernacles and working in children's ministry. In 2017, we worked with a Live Dead team in Moscow, Russia, evangelizing the Muslim unreached people groups from Central Asia. We also served in Tallinn, Estonia, on a church planning team and conducted training on evangelism and discipleship to youth leaders. We have a heart to serve and to reach the lost with the love of Christ. It is our prayer that the Lord would use us in great measure for His glory as we abide in His will.

In January 2019, the lord gave us clear direction to return to Africa and work with the Bible schools. We are serving in Cóte d'lvoire, West Africa. The national church is planting approximately 2,000 churches annually, but the Bible school is only producing approximately 133 pastors annually. Obviously they are in desperate need of more Bible School teachers to train pastors and leaders for our ministry. Our primary interest will be training and developing pastors/leaders for ministry, building tabernacles, evangelism and discipleship. We want to bring glory to Jesus Christ for the advancement of his kingdom as we serve in West Africa.

If you feel the Lord is calling you to the mission field, we would love to talk with you about Africa.

Called ro SERVE Committed to GO Commissioned to REACH

Kevin & Wendy Berry
Serving In Belgium
Leadership Team At Continental Theological Seminary

Contact Information:
     Kevin & Wendy Berry
     1485 Valley Forge Road
     Phoenixville, Pa. 19460
     Email: kevin.berry@agmd.org
     Newsletter: http://s1.ag.org/enews

Kevin will serve as part of the leadership team at Continental Theological Seminary (CTS). Both Kevin and Wendy received their master's degrees from CTS while ministering in Bulgaria. CTS has been Europe's regional school since 1959 and has prepared Christian leaders serving as pastors, teachers, missionaries and even government officials. Presently more than 150 students from more than 30 nations are preparing for Ministry at CTS. Wendy will be involved in Ministry with the students and missionary families.
Kevin and Wendy served as AGWM missionaries in Bulgaria from 1992 to 2007, at which point Kevin became Area Director for Southeastern Europe for 4 years.

After a year coaching missionaries in Personal and Member care, both Kevin and Wendy served at the University of Valley Forge. Kevin served as Vice President of Academic Affairs and Wendy as Campus Director in Student Life.


Location: St Peters, Belgium (just outside Brussels)
History: Established in 1959
Impact: Continental Theological Seminary (CTS) has graduated more than 2,500 students, the majority of whom are currently serving as pastors, evangelist, missionaries and chaplains in over 60 countries throughout the world.
Student body: 170 students from 35 countries around the world are currently attending CTS. They come from every continent except Antarctica.
Purpose: Kevin will be serving an integral part of the leadership team at the Seminary. Both Kevin and Wendy will also teach.

Ephesians 2:10 Created in Christ Jesus to do good works.


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