Paul’s Gratitude to God
Col. 1: 3 – 8
As we continue this very important letter, we now study on why Paul was so grateful to the Church he did not start, did not see, but only heard of. We have talked about grace, and peace last week and today we will talking some more Biblical terms commonly used in this wonderful Epistle, and see what we can learn from them as the Holy Spirit opens our understanding and gives us light.
I. Prayer and Thanksgiving (v. 3)
A. Paul is always praying to the Colossian Christians. One qualification for prayer to be effective is, it has to be continuous.
B. The word “always” indicates persistency and consistency that is why we are commanded to pray without ceasing (1 Thess. 5:17). Regular praying or scheduled praying must be our routine non-stop meeting with God. Prayer is not only during emergency cases and the last resort.
C. Paul not only prays alone. He prays with somebody else. Paul’s prayerfulness is shown in his letters. His total dependence on God always drives him on his knees to prayer. How often do you pray? Do you pray for others?
D. Thanks giving are always a part of prayer and we should always do it no matter how difficult the situation is. Good thing are happening in Colosse and Paul instead of giving thanks to Epaphras and company for the job well done. He thanks God for it was God who is really at work here. (1 Cor. 3:5- 9).
E. Paul was thankful because God commands us to be thankful (2 Thess. 5:18). He was thankful because he knew that God was in control. Do you give thanks to the Lord or you complain more because you are not satisfied or contented to what is going on in your life? Do you just thank God before meals only?
F. When you give thanks to God you acknowledge that He is the source of whatever happened or whatever you received and it shows your appreciation to Him who makes all things work together for good.
When you pray remember these three things: 1. The love of God that wants the best for us. 2. The wisdom of God that knows what is best for us. 3. The power of God that can accomplish it.
Matthew Henry the famous scholar was once stopped by thieves and robbed of his wallet. He wrote this words in his diary. “Let me be thankful first, because I was never robbed before, second because although they took my purse, they did not take my life; third because although they took my all, it was not much; and fourth because it was I who was robbed, not I who robbed.
II. The Spirituality of the Colossians (v. 4) described by their faith, love, and hope.
1. The main reason Paul is giving thanks to God is because of their faith, love and hope. Faith, hope, and love appears often in Paul’s writings as a basis for thanksgiving or exhortation (Rom. 5:2-5; 1 Cor. 13:13; Eph. 1:15; 1 Thess. 1:3; 5:8; 2 Thess. 1:3).
2. Of the three, faith always comes first. The emphasis here is their belief and trust in the person and work of Christ not on false heresies and philosophies.
3. Faith is nothing in itself. The object of faith is the most important. Here, the object of faith is Jesus Christ as it is written, “your faith in Christ Jesus”.
4. Biblical faith involves obedience (Jas. 2:17) and results in changed lives.
5. Biblical faith is a gift from God (Rom. 12:3; Eph. 2:8; 6:23; Ph. 1:29, 1 Cor. 12:9). We live by faith (Gal. 2:20), stand by faith (Rom. 11:20; 2 Cor. 1:24) and we walk by faith (Rom. 4:12; 2 Cor. 5:7), overcome the world (1 Jn. 5:4-5).
There is so many kind of faith. Faith in the Church, in Mary, faith in Baptism, faith in good works, faith in sacraments, faith in religious leaders, faith in ancestors, faith in governments, even faith in Satan. They are all useless and in vain for they cannot save you. Only faith in Christ is the real faith and it’s the only one which can save. We will never be right with God until we put our faith in Jesus Christ. The Church in Colosse has a reputation of having a strong and immovable faith.
1. Aside from faith, Paul commends the Colossian Church for their love. The Greek word is agape which can be described as sacrificial love. The best example for this is the love of Jesus to all of us sinners that He died for us.
2. True faith produces love and enables us to love. The agape love which Paul speaks here is the love that is fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22). The Holy Spirit that is within us enables us to love even the most unlovable person. True saving faith transforms the heart to love people in the way expected by our Lord for us to do.
3. Love proves the quality of our faith. Paul knew their faith was real, because their love was genuine. In other words, their love proved the reality of their faith. 1 John 4:20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? The Colossian church showed a real love for “all the saints.” They loved all the saints, not just the loveable.
Sad to say the word Love is now commonly misused by ecumenical movement. For ecumenists to carefully test things by the Bible is unloving. To warn of false gospels is unloving. To mark and avoid false teachers is mean-spirited and unloving. To preach high and holy standards of Christian living is unloving legalism. To discipline heretics is unloving. This is false and dangerous.
C. Hope (v. 5)
1. We have a hope set before us, a wonderful hope, a future place and reward with the people of God, called heaven. Heaven is our hope. And because of our future hope, we live in such a way to prove we are really heavenly citizen. We don’t work to achieve the hope of heaven; it’s a gift.
2. The hope laid before us has motivated the people of God throughout the centuries. Jim Elliot a missionary who was martyred for his faith wrote, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”
3. The Bible says “our citizenship is in heaven” (Phil. 3:20). The Bible says, “We have already been seated in the heavenly places” (Eph. 2:6). Or as this verse says, “we have a hope laid up (stored, put away, reserved) for us in heaven.” What further assurance and guarantee we still need? God’s promises are all true and He will fulfil it in due time.
Three virtues, Faith, hope and love it comprises the spirituality of the Colossian Church. People have said that faith is in the past, love is in the present and hope is in the future. I would say saving faith in on-going in our Christian life. Love will never fail and shall never cease (1 Cor. 13:13). And hope is a present reality.
III. The fruit of the Gospel
A. The source of our faith, love and hope is the gospel; the source of the gospel is God. Gospel means good news.
B. The gospel of Jesus Christ has a worldwide effect. “Which has come unto you (local), as it is in all the world (worldwide)…” (Col. 1:6)
C. The gospel is also bearing fruits. The fruits here are converts, people whose transformed lives serves as a testimony of a new life found only in Jesus Christ.
D. The gospel must be understood and preached by faithful messengers. Here we see the name of Epaphras whom Paul calls as a fellow servant, and a faithful minister of Christ. We cannot be all ministers but we can all be fellow servant. There are many ways to serve the Lord Jesus Christ.
E. Salvation is totally by God’s grace, but He uses human beings as channels of that grace. As a Christian, you are called to share that grace. Are you sharing the gospel? You don’t need to be a minister or a Pastor to share the gospel of salvation to people around you.
We should always pray and give thanks to God. Three virtues faith, hope and love comprise spirituality. The source of these three is the gospel, and the source of the gospel is God. As Christians it is our responsibility to share the good news of salvation. Now is the time to share Jesus to people around you.
Preached: 3 Feb. 2013