Text: Colossians 1:1-14
Other References: I john 3:12
This letter was written after Paul had a visitor from Colossae. Paul was dealing with some heresy present in the Colossian church.
Two heresies addresses: 1) a belief that a Christian must follow the Old Testament ceremonial law, and 2) that salvation is primarily a matter of special knowledge rather than faith in Jesus Christ.
The first was Jewish in origin, the second pagan.
The second heresy also denied the incarnation because of its material nature.
Themes of Colossians are Paul’s attitude towards the Colossians, the superiority of Christ, and three errors, ceremonialism, mysticism, and asceticism.
In the beginning of the chapter, we see Pauls attitude towards the Colossians. He calls them saints and and wishes peace and grace to them; It is a prayer of blessing.
Paul continues to express his positive attitude for them, praying always for them. He commends them for three things: 1) their faith, 2) their love, and 3) their hope.
This is linked to our Sunday School lesson— consider the faith of Abraham.
What does it mean to have faith in God?
It is a decision. A decision of which we do not know all the results.
It is faith that He will save us, keep us, and bring us to a good end.
Paul commends them for their faith.
He also commends them for their love for all the believers.
This is an agape love. The love that Jesus had when he gave Himself to the point of death on the cross.
The test of love is whether or not we can love those that have some fault and may have nothing to give us.
It finds a way to minister.
Then Paul commends them for their hope. The idea of hope is confident expectation. There is a promise.
Hope here is for the final reward for the people of God. This results in faith and love.
This hope is stored for us in Heaven. It comes from hearing the word of truth concerning the future.
One question we could ask… What can we do to maintain faith and trust and hope?
I think we fool ourselves when we think these things should just happen. Life in this world requires more faith and and ability than any of us naturally possess.
This is hard.
It helps if we don’t blame the chaos of life on everyone else. We need to be honest about the ways we contribute.
Faith hope and love are a result of having an open relationship with God.
In verses 6 and 7, Paul says that the gospel has come to them in the same way it came to the rest of the world and that it is bearing fruit. This gospel is the same one that had gone out to the whole world.
The gospel brings forth fruit wherever it is taught. He wants these people to know that the gospel is bearing fruit in THEIR lives. He is also saying that it is universal and for all cultures.
This gospel was hinted at in the Old Testament as well. The Jews were to be a light to the nations. Jesus’ ministry went beyond the bounds of ethnic Jews.
This was a major issue in the early church as well.
Do we believe that the gospel is bearing fruit among the people that we know, the people that we relate to? It is very easy to be somewhat critical and judgemental… even questioning someone’s salvation based on personality differences.
Am I growing in the knowledge for God?
How can we know God and His will?
Paul presents a cycle, the cycle of knowing and doing, and knowing more.
In verse 9, Paul is praying that they have knowledge of God’s will; Knowledge of Who Christ is, and his life; Knowledge of who we are in Him; knowledge of how a person with this knowledge should live.
Paul also speaks about wisdom and understanding. Wisdom, or “Sophia” is to have insight into what the meaning of something really is. Understanding is to have reflective thought that agrees with truth. Knowledge of God’s will will lead to both.
This should lead to us walking uprightly and bear fruit. This will lead to every kind of goodness. The emphasis is here on good works.
Knowing what’s right and good and then doing so has a compounding effect on itself. This is not so that we are well thought of, but to bring glory to God.
Paul sees that they are also being strengthened by God’s glorious power. Scripture tells us that we are empowered by the same power that raised Jesus from the dead.
What does that mean? Have we experienced it?
The idea of patience— “to remain under”, perseverance in trial; Able to remain under difficulty or stress; not give up.
Long suffering— the ability to suffer wrong. It speaks of an attitude that says whatever goes on I love people the way God does.
Paul ends with giving thanks to God. We endure joyfully.
This is a call to faith, hope and love for us all.