Year 3 Day 86
Read - Colossians 1
Message - Scott Woodburn
Colossians starts in a similar fashion to Philippians. Paul is in an incredibly thankful mood and as a result he brings the Colossians before the Lord in prayer. Why is he thankful? Because the fellowship in Colossae had received the Gospel by faith and their love was abounding for God's people (v4). Their hope was a heavenly one (v5). By faith in Christ they had been saved and would certainly share in a glorious inheritance with the rest of the saints.
As the Gospel is proclaimed by men like Epaphras (v7) it grows and bears fruit in communities all across the globe (v6). I'm sure you see evidence of this reality where you are. If the Bible is opened and read in your fellowship and its message is faithfully proclaimed then you should expect to see the results. The Gospel is not a dead letter but a living, breathing proclamation of abundant good news.
Paul's thankfulness moved him to prayer. What did he pray? For the growth of the Colossians. Paul asks that they would be filled with the knowledge of God's will coupled with spiritual wisdom and understanding (v9). He wants them to be men and women of the Word. God speaks in an extraordinary ordinary means. He has given us His Book, it is to be read aloud and it is to be preached. By the Word we grow in our knowledge of God's will and we grow in spiritual wisdom and understanding.
He prays too that the Colossians would walk in a manner worthy of the Lord (v10). This is another common exhortation from Paul. We are not saved to be stuck. Instead we attend to the ordinary means and the Spirit works powerfully producing good fruit in us and increasing the knowledge of God in our souls (v10). Paul continues by asking that the Lord would strengthen his church, giving them both endurance and patience (v11). The Christian is in a spiritual battle constantly. The Lord has brought us out of darkness into light (v13). We are redeemed and forgiven and therefore Satan rages against us (v14). No wonder Paul prays for a group of people he clearly adores.
The Gospel brings people like Paul and the Colossians together with an unbreakable bond in Christ. We call Jesus many things...He is our Saviour, our Lord, our friend...but what follows in Colossians is one of the most extraordinary descriptions of Christ you will ever come across. Paul says "Jesus is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Jesus all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through Jesus and for Jesus. And Jesus is before all things, and in Jesus all things hold together. And Jesus is the head of the body, the church. Jesus is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be pre-eminent. For in Jesus all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross." (v15-20)
I could write for the rest of my life and never come close to matching Paul's Spirit inspired words about Christ. I have lost count of how many times I've read those verses and how many times I've preached them. They are wonderful and declare simply that Christ is all!
This same Jesus has redeemed us thoroughly. We were once dead in sin (v21) but have been reconciled to God by the finished work of Christ (v22). We can stand before Almighty God holy and blameless and above reproach because we are in Christ (v22b). Therefore we must continue in the faith, not departing or shifting from the glorious Gospel which declares Christ crucified for sin and raised for our justification (v23).
Paul's ministry was often hard and filled with suffering (v24 & 29) but he kept on keeping on. A mystery had been revealed that declared salvation was by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone (26). The Gospel is for Jew and Gentile alike, there is no distinction (v27). All who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved. Christ we proclaim (v28) for Christ is all!
Q82 Is any man able perfectly to keep the commandments of God? No mere man since the fall is able in this life perfectly to keep the commandments of God, but doth daily break them in thought, word, and deed.