Monday, September 9, 2013

Colossians 1:1-8

1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, 2 To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are in Colosse: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 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.

Vs. 1-2 The Apostle Paul begins his epistle by cordially introducing himself to the Colossians by his Christian name Paul, immediately linking this with his Christ given calling and purpose. Something that he frequently does in his epistles, i.e. letters to the churches (see Romans; 1-2 Corinthians; Galatians; Ephesians; 1-2 Timothy; Titus). And so in one sentence the Apostle Paul will introduce himself (as well as Timothy) to the Colossians, but he will do so in the apostolic authority that God has bestowed upon him. It is both tactful on his part; having not yet met the believers there. Yet it is needful. For Paul's writing to them is not merely to introduce himself to them, rather it is to refute and correct some dangerous and erroneous teachings that had entered into the church fellowship there, some of which were seeking to undermine both the Supremacy of Jesus Christ, as well as the Sufficiency of Jesus Christ, for all who believe in Him.
And so the Apostle Paul having introduced himself (and Timothy) to them now greets them as they are in the sight of God; calling them both saints and faithful brethren in Christ (vs. 2). That the Apostle Paul calls them faithful brethren in Christ is indicating that their current misunderstandings about the Gospel are not from an apostate stance. Rather the brethren there had unwittingly been led astray by certain false teachers who having crept in and taken root amongst them (consider 2 Cor 11:12-15) had brought with them all kinds of various and strange doctrines (consider Heb 13:9). Some of which were spinoffs of ancient Greek thought and "spirituality", and some of which were legalisms carried over from ceremonial Judaism. And so the Apostle Paul knowing this, that they were sincere and genuine brethren in Colosse, extends his greetings to all the faithful brethren in Christ, saying: "Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." Now God's grace and peace comes not only to them, but to us all who believe in and hold fast to the Lord Jesus Christ as the only means of our salvation.

Vs 3-8 The Apostle Paul now moves from greetings to thanksgiving. Thanking God the Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for them all, saying he prays always for them (vs 3). And so even though Paul did not know them all personally, still he had a great love and care for them all, and so Paul says he prayed always for them (see vs. 9). Which is not unique to them, since Paul did this regularly in his ministering the gospel to all the churches (consider 2 Cor 13:7, 9; Phil. 1:9; 2 Thess 1:11). And so though Paul could not be there with them, to get to know them personally, still he could be there with them in spirit. And so Paul having declared his love for them, acknowledges both their own faith in Christ Jesus, as well as their own love for all the saints; that is all of God's people everywhere (vs 4). Now the Apostle Paul says in verse four that he prays always for them because of their faith in Christ Jesus and their love for all the saints (i.e. brethren). Thus the connection between receiving the love of God by faith in Jesus Christ and having God's love for all of His people is unmistakable. For if you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ then you will love all those begotten by Him (1 John 5:1).

And so starting in verse five the Apostle Paul (again linking his prayers for them to this) touches on the hope which is laid up for them (and us all who believe in Jesus) in heaven. A hope which is inseparably linked to the Word of truth in the Gospel; for it is only by the Word of truth in the Gospel that we come into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. And so our hope is in, and found only through, the Living Word of God, the Lord Jesus Christ of the Gospel. Now this hope which we have received will only be fully realized by us all when we receive our eternal inheritances in heaven with Christ. And so though we are now children of God, born again by the Spirit of God, and thus we have the Spirit of God as the guarantee of our inheritance with Christ (John 1:12; 2 Cor 1:22; 5:5; Eph 1:13-14) we do not yet have our heavenly bodies, nor do we have our eternal inheritances with Christ. And so not until we are finally home with Jesus Christ will we fully realize the hope that is laid up in heaven for us all who believe (consider 1 Peter 1:3-5). As the Scripture says:
"Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him." 1 Cor 2:9
And so we have continual hope in this life, for though our outward man is perishing, yet our inward man is being renewed day by day (see 2 Cor 4:16-18). For truly death has no more sting over us who now live and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. For death is just a means of our passing from this earthly and corrupted sphere into God's heavenly and eternal sphere, where God's Perfect Person, Love and Peace will be enjoyed by us all who believe in Jesus forever (consider Isaiah 32:18; John 14:1-3; Rev 21:4).  And so Paul makes mention of the hope that we all who believe in Jesus have through the Gospel, which he says has come to you (and me), as it has also in all the world, and is bringing forth fruit, amongst the believers in Colosse from the day they heard and knew the grace of God in truth. For truly wherever the Gospel of grace and truth through Jesus Christ (John 1:14) is preached and believed it brings forth much fruit to everlasting life. And that is why the declaring of Gospel to all people, everywhere, at any opportune time, is absolutely critical (consider John 4:34-38). Now in regards to this the Apostle Paul mentions just one man by name Epaphras, whom Paul calls his dear fellow servant, and faithful minister of Christ on their behalf. And so Epaphras was the man who taking courage first preached the Gospel to the people at Colosse. And so through one mans faithfulness to the Gospel the Lord Jesus brought forth a whole church! And so it is down through the ages as faithful men and women likewise believing the promises of God stepped out in faith and saw God work mightily through them. And so it was Epaphras having a church established through him, now returns to tell the Apostle Paul of their love in the Spirit. Now Epaphras was not an apostle; nor was he a "supercharged" Spirit filled man of God. Epaphras was just like you and me, and every other believer, who again stepped out in faith and saw God work mightily through him. And that is what qualifies you and I for Jesus Christ's witness and service, a believing and willing heart to serve Him.

I don't know where you are at today, but if you have already received the love of the truth I hope and pray that you will be looking for your own opportunities to bear witness to the Lord Jesus Christ and or serve His purposes hear on earth. Now if you have not yet received the Lord Jesus Christ please do so, by a simple prayer of faith, of believing in the Lord Jesus Christ as testified too in the Gospel you can have remission of all your sins and everlasting life! Therefore if you believe simply pray something like this: Dear Lord Jesus Christ I believe You were crucified unto death for all my sins and that You rose again from the dead on the third day, fulfilling the Scripture and vanquishing death forever for us all who believe in You (John 11:25). I also believe Lord Jesus that after You rose from the dead, You ascended back to God the Father in heaven, so that You might give new and everlasting life by Your Holy Spirit to everyone who believes in You, the moment they believe in You, calling upon Your name. So here I am a sinner with nothing to offer You except a believing heart and willing life asking that this great and precious gift of Your Person and Life also come into me by God's grace, that I might know God as my Father and have You as my Lord and Savior, that I might have remission of all my sins and everlasting life with You. I pray this in Your Name Lord Jesus Christ, amen.

Scripture Quotations
The New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982


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