Text: Colossians 1:1-8
When I worked at the YMCA, there was a time where I was helping kids play basketball and grow as individual athletes. Not knowing how much of an impact I was making in the kids lives, the parents would be so thankful that I was a good role model and coach to towards their children. they were very thankful for what I did even though they never knew me personally. In our first study through the book of Colossians, the Apostle Paul is thankful to God for the ministry and faith in the individuals at Colosse as they labor for the gospel together. Paul was thankful for the good faith, love, and hope. These three things are Christianity 101. They are the basic and essential characteristics of a geniune saved believer.
Also, in these first eight verses, we get to see the heart of Paul expressing gratitude and joy while in a Roman prison, chained as a prisoner. He was thankful and joyful because the Colossians were walking in the truth. The Apostle John had the same heart, "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth." 3 John 1:4
We will see that the Colossians were the real deal. They were a WELL church.
I. Greetings from Paul
1. (v.1:1) Paul declares his authorship. Paul starts out every epistle with a greeting. It was how they addressed who the letter was written to in those days. He writes that it was by the "will of God" that he is an apostle of Jesus Christ. This was his confirmation of apostleship. He was called by God to do His will and preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world. This is something to think about. God's will was for Paul to preach the gospel and save people as an apostle. Apostle in the Greek is apostolos, meaning "one sent forth." That brings us the question "What is God's will?" Simply to preach, teach, and reach the world with the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ! God's will is that man would be saved. John 6:40 declares, "And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him nay have everlasting life." 1 John 2:17 says, "He who does the will of God abides forever." What is God's will for you? For you to be saved! Those who are saved can abide in the will of God.
2. (v.1:2) Paul now address his audience. We see that Paul calls the Colossians "saints" and "faithful brethren" in Christ. He is acknowledging that they Colossians are saved, sanctified, and spirit filled.
II. Gratitude from Paul
After Paul introduces himself as the author, and he address his audience, he gives thanks to God for the faith, love, and hope the Colossians have towards their city and church. These believers were complete Christians.
1. (v.1:3) Paul gives God the glory right away. He thanks God in a affirmation statement to the Godhead in Christ. I think this is important because everything God needs to be the first person we thank on a daily basis. He needs to get the credit for working in our lives and in others. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, "In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." Our duty as believers is to send all praise and goodness to the throne of God for His glory.
2. (v.1:4-5) Paul lists three essential characteristics of genuine saved believers. Faith, Love, and Hope.
"Heard of your faith" - They had evangelistic character, they were living out the gospel in their lives and others could see their faith was real and true! We need to be does so others will see us as Jesus' disciples (John 8:31)
"Heard of your love" - They had edifying character, they were loving others in Christ and others could see their good works to each other. We need to love others so others will see us as Jesus' disciples!(John 13:34-35)
"Because of your hope" - They had eternal character, they were motivated to live with faith and love because of the glorious word of truth of the gospel that heaven was just around the bend. The Colossians hope in the Lord and looking towards the Kingdom of Heaven generated in them a fruitfulness and faithful to God. We need to be hoping in the Lord so we can be motivated to live a fruit bearing life as Jesus' disciples! (John 15:8)
Faith, love, and hope illustrate for us a checklist for believers if we are living fruitfully for our Lord. Walking by faith; walking in love; walking with hope.
3. (v.1:6) The word of truth of the gospel had come to Colosse and has been doing a miraculous work. Paul informs and identifies that the gospel is not just working fruitfully in the Colossians who it was preached to, but also the whole known world at the point in history. Paul points out that the gospel is two things:
The gospel is fruit producing message. It gives life! (v.1:6a)
The gospel is faith grounding message. It is truth! (v.1:6b)
This exalts and gives evidence to Christianity that the gospel of Jesus Christ is the most powerful and productive message to ever be on the planet. It is because it changes lives and is inspired by God Himself! (2 Timothy 3:16)
4. (v.1:7) The Colossians were living in the truth because someone was teaching them the truth of Scripture. His name was Epaphras. He was preaching, teaching, and discipling the believers in Colossians and the evidence of his faithfulness to scripture is evident in the words of Paul that the Colossians were full of faith, love, and hope. You can only have that character through the learning of Scripture. Paul was thankful for this.
5. (v.1:8) Paul lastly affirms his account about the Colossians being complete Christians that they have love in the Spirit. They Holy Spirit was moving in their lives and was shedding love on all who were around them. This is the fruitful condition that displays the love of God is a bright and colorful way to others. Paul was stoked and gave God the glory that they were living this way and that Epaphras was declaring to him these things were so.
The Apostle Paul was truly the Thankful Theologian. He will explain theological truth later in the book, but in the beginning he was thankful for the believers in Colosse. He was extremely thankful for the on fire and fulfilling Scripture. Paul writes gratitude to them because they were a WELL church.
A. They were a Worshiping church (their faith was true and worship drives faith, v.1:4-5)
B. They were a Evangelizing church (their faith and love was seen by others 1:4a, 6)
C. They were a Learning church (they were taught the word by their pastor Epaphras, v.1:7)
D. The were a Loving church (they loved each other and other people, v.1:4b, 1:8)
Does this describe you? Are you living this way? Make a stand and change your ways to live for the Lord Jesus today as a worshiping, evangelizing, learning, and loving brother or sister in Christ!