And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking… Colossians 1:9
Paul’s prayer is rich, but I don’t want to write about its content. What I find compelling is he tells the Colossians in detail how he is praying for them. I think Paul sets a good example for us. We often tell a friend or acquaintance, “I’m praying for you.” That’s a good thing to do, of course, if we actually pray for them, but we don’t often tell them how we are praying; we don’t tell them the content of our prayer. For Paul, and us, telling others how we pray serves a variety of purposes, but mostly it reminds the recipient of the truths and promises of God. When we vocalize our prayers, or tell our neighbor how we are praying, it moves past just providing information and becomes a spoken or written blessing. That is invaluable.
Try it sometime; I will. If you have committed to praying for someone, tell them how you have prayed. It will do both of you good.
Re:Verse passage – Colossians 1:9-14 (day five) “For He rescued us from the domain of darkness”. I had a professor in college who used to say, “You’ll never know how saved you are until you know how lost you were”. According to Paul’s description in Colossians 1, it was a bleak and hopeless circumstance- a domain of darkness.
As teenagers, we used to play a joke on one member of our group every time we would sing Amazing Grace (Not one of my better moments). When we would sing the first verse, we would all pick one person and sing “that saved a wretch like YOU” (all of us pointing at them). It was really funny to me, until one Sunday I was the one who was singled out as “the wretch”. It was a defining moment. Not because I felt picked on or targeted, but because I knew (maybe with greater clarity and conviction) it was true about me. I was a wretch. I needed rescue from the domain of darkness. Even as a nine year old. That’s the good news and power of the Gospel. A reminder of how lost we were will help us be thankful for how saved we are.
Paul offers a beautiful prayer for the Colossians in our passage this week. He prays for their spiritual needs rather than their material or physical needs. It is not that these other prayers are bad, the spiritual needs are just so much more important and eternal. He prays for the Colossians that their increased wisdom and understanding will lead to obedience. Walk in a manner worthy of the Lord…please Him in all respects…bear fruit in every good work…increase in the knowledge of God…be strengthened with all power…be steadfast and patient…be thankful…is there anyone you know that you can pray this prayer for?
There is no better way to pray for someone than to use the words of Scripture to pray back to God. God’s own words returned back to Him! There is no better prayer than Paul’s here in Colossians to pray for someone you love. Comprehensive and thorough…growing in the incomparable Christ!
Knowing is for science, believing is for religion. Is that how you think about reality? We say “faith-based” when we talk about an initiative that springs from a spiritual motivation. We say “evidence-based” when we speak of a practice or program that proceeds from a scientific paradigm. We hold in high regard the stories of “persons of faith” who seemingly are proven right despite what all the “persons of knowledge” have said to the contrary. But does faith trump knowledge? Surely that’s not faith’s trajectory. When, for example, you have received God’s provision for a need, that is one instance in which having faith that God could do something has become knowledge that God is actually capable of doing it. It is possible, then, to grow in spiritual knowledge. This is Paul’s prayer for us.
Re:Verse passage – Colossians 1:9-14 (day two) …giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light. vs. 12
The language of these few verses is rich. Paul describes a lived-out faith that is evident in so many ways. Growing in knowledge is mentioned twice. Being filled, bearing fruit, being strengthened with all power; these are just a few of the phrases that Paul uses to characterize the incredible evident faith of the Colossians. There is a caveat. Without God the Father, none of this would be possible. It was God that qualified us for this work and for the inheritance that we will all take part in.
This is an excellent reminder that when the evidences of God are all around us, and every plan and program are producing great results, remember who it was that gave us this purpose. Remember who it was that set us on our mission, gave us the gifts to accomplish the task, and is the reason for any success we may achieve. Don’t get to the mountain and forget how you got there.
Join us as Senior Pastor Chris Johnson, Associate Pastor Aaron Hufty and Associate Pastor Bryan Richardson walk us through Colossians 1:9-14 in our New Fall Sermon Series: “Fullness of Christ” a study of Colossians.
Our Christian faith is built on relationships. First, it is built on a relationship with Jesus Christ, then it is encouraged through relationships with brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ like Epaphras: just as you learned it from Epaphras, our beloved fellow bond-servant, who is a faithful servant of Christ on our behalf, and he also informed us of your love in the Spirit. (Col. 1:7-8)
All of us have had people like Epaphras in our lives who either shared the Gospel with us or strengthened our faith. Who are those people in your life? When did they show up? How did they edify you?
Remember those faithful saints who cared for you thanking God for them, and if possible, write them a thank you note telling them you thank God for them. It may be just the encouragement they need.
Here’s the truth: the Gospel always travels, because Jesus said so.
Jesus wasn’t joking or using hyperbole. He meant it when he said, “All authority in heaven and earth have been given to me. So, go…” Jesus has the authority to both command and fulfill the great commission. Paul’s letter to the church in Colossae is evidence of that truth.
Colossae is 1000 miles from Jerusalem. By the time the Gospel had made its way there, almost all of Asia Minor had heard the good news about Jesus (Acts 19:10). What’s even more incredible is, it wasn’t Paul who delivered the news, but Epaphras. Epaphras heard the Gospel through Paul, believed, and then he took it home to Colossae, and a church sprung out of fertile ground.
That’s the great commission at work; that’s how the great commission works.
Paul writes “Grace” and “Peace” in his greeting to the Colossians. A mixture of both Greek and Hebrew words and thoughts. Worth noting- different Greek word for grace is used, that points to the work of God. The Hebrew concept of peace was not the absence of trouble, but rather peace is a sense resulting from having been in the presence of God. Notice the order (important in Greek writing). Grace then Peace. Paul is pointing out that as we understand and recognize the work of God through Christ in our lives, we then experience the peace His work and presence brings. The temptation is to try to find peace in other places- material, social, intellectual, and spiritual. Paul is teaching that peace- real peace, is found only thru God’s grace in Christ- a wonderful greeting, important reminder, and a joyful celebration.
We begin a new study this week…Paul’s letter to the church at Colossae. Paul was an excellent letter writer and true to his form, he begins his letter with an introduction. Colossians was possibly Paul’s first prison letter. It was especially important for Paul to introduce himself to these believers in Colossae. Paul did not found this church and had likely never visited it. Since he was writing to both encourage the believers and offer warnings against false theology, Paul felt the need to establish his call and authority, so the church would give heed to his words. His reputation likely preceded him since Philemon and Onesimus were from Colossae.
Paul’s reputation spoke of the integrity of his message. His lifestyle matched the words of his preaching. If you were to share Christ with someone, would your life give testimony to the truth of your words? The Gospel must be lived out as well as spoken.