Colossians 1:1-14

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Prayer of the Apostle for the Church

Colossians 1:1-14

When Paul writes to one of the churches in Asia Minor, he always has a purpose for this letter.  Either to encourage, correct, or discipline the church so they might be more like the Lord Jesus Christ and grow in their faith.  One must understand, Paul never writes to the church building but to the people in the church.  His love was for the saints in that town who were living for the Lord.  He wanted them to know the victory they can have in the Lord Jesus Christ.

When Paul writes to the Colossians, he is writing to correct the erroneous teachings and to show the preeminence of the Lord Jesus Christ.

He begins his letter with encouragement of their faith and walk with Christ.

Colossians 1:1–8 ESV “1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, 

1:2 ¶ To the saints and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae: ¶ Grace to you and peace from God our Father. 

1:3 ¶ We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 

1:4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, 

1:5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, 

1:6 which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth, 

1:7 just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf

1:8 and has made known to us your love in the Spirit.”

Paul’s thankfulness

Paul was thankful for the church because of their faith and walk with Christ.

Notice verse 4 – we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus – Paul had received a report that ones in Colossae had believed on the Lord Jesus Christ.  He heard of their faith in Christ and he thanked God for those who had been saved.

Notice verse 4b – we heard of your love for the brethren.  Their love for others was evidence of their faith in Christ because they loved the saints.

Notice verse 5 – their hope in heaven – they had heard the Gospel and knew the Lord was coming back one day.  He had gone to prepare a place (John 14) and one day was coming back.  They had a firm expectation of the return of Christ, the Blessed Hope.

Interesting how their faith in Jesus dealt with the past, present, and future.

Faith deals with the past because they looked to what Christ did for them on the cross of Calvary.  Looked back to Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection.

Love deals with the present – you cannot show love in the past or the future.  Love can only be expressed in the present time.  They showed a daily love for each other.

Hope deals with the future – they looked ahead to Christ’s return and the completion of their salvation.

Notice that when you put faith in Christ with a love for others, it produces fruit in your life.  See verse 6.

Gospel produces fruit when it is shared with faith in Christ, love for others, and a hope for the future.

Questions to ponder:

1.  Am I presently showing a love for fellow believers?

2.  Do I have a hope that I am looking forward to?

3.  Am I producing fruit in my life for Christ?

Paul’s prayer

Colossians 1:9–14 ESV “1:9 ¶ And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 

1:10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. 

1:11 May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, 

1:12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. 

1:13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 

1:14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

Verse 9 – Paul shares with the church his daily prayer for them.  When you read how Paul prayed for the church, think about your prayers for the church and how similar or different they are from Paul’s.

Paul’s prayer consisted of:

1.  Christians at Colossae would know the will of God with spiritual wisdom and understanding

Romans 12:2 ESV “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

To know God’s will is essential for the life of the Christian so he can live for Christ.  In order to understand God’s will, you must understand spiritual things.  You must have the spiritual wisdom that comes from the Lord which is available to all those who know Christ.

God provides the Holy Spirit to be our teacher.

John 14:26 ESV “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”

God opens our hearts and minds to understand spiritual things.

1 Corinthians 2:11–16 ESV “2:11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 

2:12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. 

2:13 And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.

2:14 ¶ The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 

2:15 The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. 

2:16 “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.”

God gives us His word to discern between right and wrong.

Hebrews 5:12–14 ESV “5:12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, 

5:13 for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. 

5:14 But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.”

2.  Christians at Colossae would walk worthy of the Lord

Colossians 1:10 ESV “so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.”

Walk in the Greek means how you conduct your life – how you live daily, your daily activities.  Paul is praying for the daily conduct of the Christian to be pleasing to the Lord.  His faith is seen in his actions, words, deeds, attitude, and dealings with others.  Paul wants the Christian to live in a manner which is a testimony of their faith in Christ.

3.  Christians at Colossae to bear fruit for the Lord

Colossians 1:10 ESV “so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.”

One quick note – you will not bear fruit for the Lord if #1 and #2 are not present in your life.  To bear the fruit of the Spirit, fruit of good works, or fruit of souls, you must have an understanding of spiritual wisdom and walking daily with the Lord.  When a person does this, then fruit will be produced in his life.

Galatians 5:22–24 ESV “5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 

5:23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 

5:24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”

4.  Christians at Colossae to increase in their knowledge of the Lord

Colossians 1:10 ESV “so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.”

As a Christian grows, Paul is praying he or she has a greater understanding and closeness with the Lord.  Word translated ‘knowledge’ is the Greek word, epignosis, which means recognition or full discernment.  Paul is praying for the Christian to have a greater understanding and relationship with the Lord.

5.  Christians at Colossae to have strength, endurance, and patience to continue and finish

Colossians 1:11 ESV “May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy,”

Walking with the Lord is difficult at times.  Just as Christ suffered in this world, we who are His will also suffer.  Jesus reminded us of this in John 15.

John 15:17–20 ESV “15:17 These things I command you, so that you will love one another.

15:18 ¶ “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.

15:19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

15:20 Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.”

Romans 8:17 ESV “and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.”

Philippians 1:29 ESV “For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake,”

1 Peter 4:14 ESV “If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.”

Paul knew the Christians at Colossae needed strength, endurance, and patience for the life of faith.  This is why he said in Timothy that he fought a good fight of faith and finished his course.  It takes the strength of God to endure the trials, sufferings, and persecutions ahead.  Only by the grace of God, can the Christian continue because God supplies the strength.

The word power means a staying power, steadfastness even during suffering.

6.  Christians at Colossae to be thankful of what God has done for them

Colossians 1:12 ESV “giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.”

How much we, as Christians, need to learn to be thankful for the blessings of the Lord.  Paul prays that they have a thankful heart before the Lord.

Colossians 1:12–14 ESV “1:12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. 

1:13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 

1:14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

  • Thankful for the inheritance
  • Thankful for the deliverance
  • Thankful for the citizenship in heaven
  • Thank for the redemption found only in Christ 
  • Thankful for the forgiveness of our sins

Note:  Colossians 1:14 has some controversy surrounding it because the some of the newer translations leaves out “through his blood” which is found in the KJV.  The difference between the NIV, NASB, and ESV is they were translated from the Nestle Greek writings (earlier than the TEXTUS RECEPTUS which the KJV is translated from).  The earlier text does not contain the words ‘through his blood.’  Redemption is by the blood of Christ because without the blood there is no redemption which the Bible states in many other places.  Translators were translating the text as written and were adding or leaving our words from the Greek text.

1 Peter 1:2 ESV “according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: ¶ May grace and peace be multiplied to you.”

Romans 5:9 ESV “Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.”

Romans 3:25 ESV “whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.”

Ephesians 1:7 ESV “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,”

Questions to Ponder:

When was the last time you prayed for the church the way Paul prayed for the church at Colossae?

Our prayer for the church should be:

1.  Praying for knowing God’s will with spiritual wisdom

2.  Praying our church walks worthy of the Lord

3.  Praying our church bears fruit

4.  Praying our church has a greater knowledge of the Lord – deeper relationship

5.  Praying our church has the strength and endurance to continue and finish well

6.  Praying our church is thankful of the blessings of the Lord

 

Copyrighted 2020 – Michael K Hudson – all rights reserved

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