Here are some ‘gleanings’ from these opening verses:
- It is good to ‘’always’’ (3) combine prayer and thanks;
- In encouraging others, it is important to glorify God, and say ‘thank you’ for His work in them;
- Genuine faith in Jesus (vertically) will show itself (horizontally) in love ‘’for all the saints’’. This love is the Holy Spirit’s ‘’fruit’’ (Galatians 5:22). For Paul, the triad of graces, ‘’faith’’ (4), ‘’love’’ (4, 5 and 8), and ‘’hope’’ (5), are the hallmarks of genuine Christian experience. Someone said that faith reaches back into the past, to embrace everything Jesus did for us at the cross; love reaches out into the present to touch all God’s children with love; and hope reaches forward into the future to grasp the plans God has for us there. Hope is not a flimsy characteristic. It is something solid and certain. (Note too that it is this ‘eschatological’ presentation of what God has planned for tomorrow, that brings people into faith today, and causes them to overflow with love: verse 5); ‘’The lines of purpose in your lives never grow slack, tightly tied as they are to your future in heaven, kept taut by hope.’’ The Message.
- People will not come to faith without someone preaching to them (Romans 10:14, 15). In the case of the Colossians, it was ‘’Epaphras’’ (7), who faithfully shared the good news of Jesus with them. Trying to piece things together, scholars think that Epaphras may have been converted during Paul’s two yearlong ministry in Ephesus (see Acts 19). Epaphras then went back up the Lycus valley to his home territory, and may have been responsible for the planting of churches in Laodicea, Hierapolis and Colossae (4:12, 13 and 16.)It’s encouraging to think what can come from just one convert. ‘’He is one reliable worker for Christ! The Message;
- The gospel message has a life all of its own. It’s like seed which has life in it (5b, 6). It’s a ‘living thing’ because it is true. Sow it into a place and you just don’t know what might happen. Not only are people brought to faith through the gospel, but it is also the means by which they grow. ‘’It doesn’t diminish or weaken over time…The Message bears fruit and gets larger and stronger, just as it has in you…It’s as vigorous in you now as when you learned it from our friend and close associate Epaphras.’’ The Message.
Prayer: Thank you Lord for the powerful work your gospel has done in me, and continues to do.
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