I started a new sermon series on May 6th on Paul’s letter to the Colossians. Grab a Bible and read along…
Where is Colossae? It was 100 miles east of Ephesus, near Laodicea. Where was Paul when he wrote the letter? He was probably in prison in Rome around 60 AD.
What topics or heresies was Paul likely speaking to in the letter? That observing Jewish customs would help earn your salvation, and the belief that Jesus was a higher being but not the Son of God.
B. Verse by Verse
Verse 1 –
An Apostle – a word that means to be ‘sent with orders’. It was first used to describe a cargo ship or the commander of a fleet. You and I may not be apostles, but God’s favor is on all of us and we have all been sent to do God’s work on the earth.
By Will of God – I’m a follower of Jesus, a husband, father, pastor, grandfather by the will of God. What are you doing by the Will of God?
Verse 2 –
To the Saints (holy people – set apart), Faithful brethren in Christ. That is talking about you and me. You and I have embraced that? We too are walking in that?
Grace & peace to you – The Lord freely gives it to us. It is not a static thing. It is active, continual, dynamic and overflowing.
Verse 3 – We give thanks, praying always for you – Each time Paul prayed for the Colossians he also thanked God for them. What a great example Paul gave us – to thank God for them in prayer, and not just grovel and complain in prayer to God about them.
Verse 4 – Your faith in Christ Jesus and the love which you have for the saints – This motivated Paul to give thanks to the Lord. How was this faith and love measured, seen? How were others and Paul aware of it? Probably because this love consisted of actions and attitudes, not only in words. Notice that Paul says the faith was not in them or in what they could do, it was in Christ (this was a phrase used 80x by Paul in his letters)
Verse 5 –
Hope laid up (reserved, waiting for you) in heaven
Word of truth
Verse 6 –
Constantly bearing fruit & increasing – The Gospel is the healthiest, most life producing thing that there ever was. The Good News of Jesus impacts every part of our lives (for the good).
The grace of God in truth – You understood what it was in its most easily understood form.
Verse 7 –
Epaphras our beloved fellow bond-servant – A brother in Christ that Paul trusted, and one that the fruit of the Spirit was very visible in. Who were these bondservants serving? They were serving Jesus and not themselves. They were at the beck and call of Jesus, to do what He wanted and what pleased Him.
Verse 9 –
We have not ceased to pray for you:
- To be filled (to the brim and overflowing) with the knowledge of His will
- Verse 10 – that you would walk (making the most of the opportunities before you) in a manner worthy of the Lord
- That you would Please Him – Isn’t this what bondservants do? They want to please their masters. Jesus is our master. We are His servants. Sometimes we get it backwards and think we are the master and He is our genie. We just ask Him to help us feel better and provide our whims.
- That you would Bear fruit
- That you would Increase in the knowledge of God
Verse 11 –
Strengthened with all power (His dynamite)
The attaining of Steadfastness (endurance, not turning aside from your purpose), patience (steadfastness, perseverance), joy
As we pray for the people in our sphere, try including these kinds of things. Modeling our prayers after Paul’s prayers is a good thing!
Verse 12 –
Giving thanks to the Father
He has Qualified us (made us fit and equipped us with the power we need to do our job) – In and of ourselves we are very un-qualified. Under His grace however it is a completely different story!
The Inheritance of the saints of Light – We did not earn or deserve this inheritance. It is God’s free gift to us. Do you realize what an incredible inheritance it is?? It is beyond comparison. It is wonderful. It is eternal. It is vast. It will be pleasant. It will cause you to give God even more praise than you think you could ever render to Him. You and I get to start enjoying and walking in it now and when we finish running the race set before us, He will lavish the fullness of our inheritance on us.
- Paul expressed warmth and appreciation in his letter to the saints in Colossae. We can share the warmth when we have contact with other Christians.
- He talked about the good things that were happening in their lives, based on the report from Epaphras. We also can talk about the good things that God is doing.
- He prayed ‘heart felt’ prayers of love and hope that the saints would grow and flourish, both in their personal lives and in fruitfulness as a church. The Lord also wants us to grow and flourish in the Holy Spirit.
- He has equipped us, His favor is on us, and He has sent us out clothed with His power. We will succeed!