< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: Colossians 1:2-8

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Colossians 1:2-8

Colossians 1:2-8 To the holy and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae: Grace and peace to you from God our Father. We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints— the faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven and that you have already heard about in the word of truth, the gospel that has come to you. All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God's grace in all its truth. You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf, and who also told us of your love in the Spirit.

Verse 2 is interesting. Paul calls them saints and faithful brethren in Christ. In earlier letters Paul addressed his letters to the church in a region: “To the church of the Thessalonians” “To the church of God which is at Corinth” “To the churches of Galatia.” But, later in his life, he came more and more to see that what matters is individual people. The church is made up of individuals. So starting with Romans he changes his greetings. “To all God’s beloved in Rome, who are called to be saints.” In Ephesians he wrote, “To the saints who are faithful in Christ Jesus.” And here: “To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ at Colossae.”

When he says they are in Christ at Colossai, it’s important to realize, Christians move in 2 different spheres. They are in a place – a town – a society – but also in Christ. So while a Christian lives in the world and takes the duties and relationships of the world seriously, fulfilling any obligations he has, above and beyond that, he is in Christ. So his outward circumstances make little difference to his peace and happiness. Things change, but Christ doesn’t.

2 things Paul says he is thankful for are that he has heard that the Colossians were showing faith in Christ and living for their fellowman. He also mentions their hope and these 3 things are the 3 main emphasis of Christianity: faith, hope and love.

“Because of the hope laid up for you in heaven.” We live a life of faith, loving and serving others, because we are sure of heaven and all that means. We know that in spite of the world’s ways and standards, God’s way of love will have the last word. God’s way is the best way.

One commentator wrote, “The only happiness, the only peace, the only joy, the only true and lasting reward are to be found in the way of God. The Christian hope is the certainty that it is better to stake one’s life on God, than to believe the world.”

Verses 6-8 kind of summarizes what the gospel is and does:

1. The gospel is first – a gospel – which means good news. It is good news that we have a right relationship with God.
2. The gospel is truth
3. The gospel is universal, it is for the world. Nothing in the world equals out men like Christianity.
4. The gospel is productive. It bears fruit and increases. It has been shown over and over that it changes people’s lives.The gospel is humanly transmitted. It was Epaphras who brought it to the Colossians. God uses a human channel. And this is where we come in. This knowledge we have, comes with an obligation to share it. We have often heard and said, “Jesus needs us to be His hands and feet and lips.”

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