Changed Lives

Colossians 1:1-6

“This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from our brother Timothy. We are writing to God’s holy people in the city of Colosse, who are faithful brothers and sisters in Christ.  May God our Father give you grace and peace. We always pray for you, and we give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. For we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and your love for all of God’s people, which come from your confident hope of what God has reserved for you in heaven. You have had this expectation ever since you first heard the truth of the Good News. This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is bearing fruit everywhere by changing lives, just as it changed your lives from the day you first heard and understood the truth about God’s wonderful grace.”

Background:

  • Paul gives a standard greeting but then lists his apostleship as his authority for writing.  “The literal meaning of apostolos is “one sent”; but at its deepest level it denotes an authorized spokesman for God, one commissioned and empowered to act as his representative.”
  • Paul called the people at Colosse faithful and referred to them as brothers and sisters in Christ. “Despite their differences of culture, social status, and racial background, the Colossian believers were bound together by a common bond of love and thus constituted one spiritual family.”  They also have the same parent – God!  When we have disagreements, like the church at Colosse faced, its good to remember that we are brothers and sisters through the gospel of Christ even when we are struggling to agree.
  • “Appeals for thanksgiving run through Colossians like the refrain of a song.”  Even though there is false teaching and struggles in the church, Paul calls the believers to gratitude and first points out the good things going on in the church:
  1. Faith in Christ
  2. Love for God’s people 
  3. Hope of Heaven
  4. Changed Lives
  • Paul reminded them that God’s gospel truth of Christ dying for our sins never comes back void. It bears fruit all over the world and changes people’s lives, just as it has changed ours.  Sometimes its hard to see the fruit through the disagreements, difficulties, and discouragement.  We can start to wonder if things really are changing.  Paul had Gnostics threatening the truth in Colosse and was greatly concerned about ways they were getting off track spiritually.  Yet, he had faith that God was doing His work, in His way, in His time.  We need to remember that the fruit of a changed life or a evidence of a “good church” is not outward.  The fruit of God’s Spirit working is “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23)   We want to measure numbers, programs, circumstances, and lack of conflict as the “fruit” – but that is not how God defines it.

Application questions

  • Paul is about the confront the Colossians for some disturbing things he has heard that are going on in the church.  However, he doesn’t start out with admonitions right away.  He looks for the good and encourages them first.  As you have to speak truth to your children, your spouse, or others in your church, do you first take time to look for and point out the good things?
  • “God loveth adverbs.”  (Puritan saying)  Adverbs often end in “ly.”  (kindly, gently, patiently, lovingly, peacefully, etc.)  Where do you see the fruit of God’s gospel changing your approach today?
  • Two quick things about hope from this passage since we are in the process of Daring2Hope in the midst of our circumstances:
  1. Hope is stored up for us in heaven. (vs. 5)
  2. Knowledge of Hope comes from hearing the word of truth (which is the gospel) (vs. 6)
  • As you Dare2Hope in Christ, are you looking forward to the hope of heaven and reflecting on the truth of the gospel?  These two things are like a shot in the arm of hope according to Colossians.
  • If someone asked you how the good news about Christ has changed your life, how would you answer?
Prayer:
Adoration: Praise God that He is the source of our hope – now and in eternity.
Confession: Admit that the lack of hope in your life might be connected to your focus on the wrong things.  (our hope focus should be on heaven and God’s truth.. not self-pity and what ifs)
Thanksgiving: Thank Jesus for the changes in your life that have come through Him.
Supplication:  Ask God to continue to change your life as you grow in faith and hope.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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