Ministry of Love

The intention of this blog is to share Biblical messages at least on a weekly basis. Any response is appreciated. I do not expect everyone to agree with my interpretation of Biblical passages. I will try to respond with love and thoughtfulness.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Paul's Life Set Us a Pattern for Living by John.

Paul's Life Set Us a Pattern for Living.
Colossians 1:1-14
1. We frequently give advice like, "Let Christ rule in your life;" "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus...," "When you have a problem ask, WWJD?" (What would Jesus do?)
2. Those things are easy to say, and they are catchy phrases, but we seem to have a lot of trouble making them work.
3. We do believe we should pattern our lives after Christ, don't we?
4. Maybe we should do what Paul suggests in I Corinthians 11:1. (I do not think the NIV translates this as well as it could. It doesn't carry the present imperative sense, so I'm using a literal translation.) He said, "Always be imitators of me as I also of Christ (am). Maybe we can see the pattern Jesus wants us to follow in this Colossian letter.
5. Almost any illustration helps us understand a problem.
7. Paul gives himself as an example. It may seem like Paul is being presumptuous, but what he told the Colossians is exactly what we should be able to tell any other Christian! Follow me as I follow Christ!

I. Apparently this Letter Was Written to Help The Colossians Remain True to Christ.

1. Epaphras probably was active in starting the Colossian church and a couple of others including Laodicea.
2. Epaphras met Paul during the 3 years he spent in Ephesus during his 3rd missionary trip.
3. Now, 6 or 7 years after the Colossian Church was founded, he visits Paul in Rome to tell him that the Colossian Christians are straying from the faith, and probably Laodicea, too. This letter is actually to both churches.
4. Paul responded to the news about Colosse immediately with prayer, v 3.
(1) He gave thanks for them even though he had never met any of the members there.
(2) V 4; He gave thanks because of the faith and love they had for all the saints. (That shows that Paul recognized them as a part of the family of God. He paid them a complement)!
(3) V 5, He noted that faith and love spring up from the hope already stored up in heaven for them.
(1) I know I've told you this a number of times, but it is important to remember.
(2) The Bible does not use hope like we do.
(3) It is an absolute surety that just has not happened yet.
(4) It is not dependent on any event or events on earth.
(5) It is sure because it is a promise of God Almighty! And it is laid up in heaven for us!
5. Paul knew that they had received "the word of truth, the gospel."
(1) V 6, he pointed out that they were in line with the known world! (The Gospel was bearing fruit everywhere in the world)!
(2) V 6b, It was, and is, the same Gospel that they heard, received, and that has borne fruit among them, and us, from the beginning!
6. V 7,8 tell us they received the Gospel from Epaphras, and that Epaphras reported their Christian love in the Spirit to Paul.

II. Intercessory Prayer Plays an Important Part in the Life of Christians.

1. V 9, Paul and his companions were thrilled when they heard about the Colossians!
(1) Doesn't it thrill you when someone you know and love brings a healthy baby into their family?
(2) Well, I'm always thrilled when I hear someone has been born into the family of God, too, aren't you?
(3) Paul and his companions were so thrilled they began to pray for the Colossians.
(Sometimes we need to pray like fans root for their favorite team! And it sounds like this was one of those occasions!
a. We do that, too, don't we? When someone becomes a Christian?
b. Usually we stop praying after a while, don't we? I guess we stop because we think they don't need our prayers any more. That raises the question...
c. When should we quit praying for anyone?
d. Paul and his companions said they never quit! And that's when we should quit! Never!
2. Our intercessory prayer is always vital to the lives of those around us! We must not fail to pray!
(1) You don't like the way the President does something? Don't curse him, pray for him!
(2) Are your taxes to high? Don't curse the assessor! Pray for him, or her, as the case may be.
(3) You are afraid of your enemies? Don't curse them. Pray for them! (In Matthew 5:43-45a, Jesus said, "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you," (When we quote this, we usually stop right there, but we certainly should not!) "that you may be sons of your Father in heaven." That's vital, folks!
(4) Our salvation depends on God's forgiveness, and His forgiveness depends on our forgiving others!
(5) In the Lord's Prayer, Jesus told us to pray, "Forgive our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors."
a. Did you notice that last part was in the past tense?
b. We are to forgive first! Before we ask God to forgive us!
c. That's how important it is to forgive!
3. So often, we stop praying for people, and it is at that moment the devil drags them down into sin!
(1) That sin breaks their fellowship with the Father.
(2) That sin causes the joy-bells to stop ringing in their hearts.
(3) It's the time of their greatest need! We never know when Satan is going to attack, but we can be sure he will pick the moment when we stop praying for someone!
(4) That means that every one of us should be praying for every one of us! All the time! (That's one of the best reasons for our having a daily devotion!)

III. What Should We Pray for Our Brethren?

1. We can think of many things, but here, Paul asked God to fill the Colossians with the knowledge of his will. Don't we all need that?
(1) He asked for it to happen through "all spirituality and wisdom".
(2) I can almost hear someone say, "Well, I don't have much spirituality, and I'm sure not very wise!"
a. Paul prayed for the Colossians to receive their spirituality and wisdom through God's Holy Spirit!
b. Of course, James said, in James 1:5, "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him."
c. We should expect to pray for ourselves, too, shouldn't we? That's just reasonable, isn't it?
2. Is spirituality and wisdom important? Paul and James certainly thought so!
3. Paul gave his reason in v 10. We need spirituality and wisdom to live lives that are worthy of the Lord, that we might "please him in every way.
4. Let me just list these things from the next verses:
(1) To make it possible to bear fruit in every good work!
(2) That we might grow in the knowledge of God.
(3) That they might be strengthened with all power according God's glorious power.
(4) So that they may have "endurance, patience and be joyfully giving thanks to the Father, (vv 11,12).
5. v 12, The Father has already qualified them to share in the inheritance belonging to saints in the kingdom of light! (People, in case someone has confused you, we all become saints when we trust Jesus!)
6. v 13, God rescued us, folks! We were not just "lost!" We were under the rulership of Satan! Now in Jesus, we are in His kingdom!
7. V 14, We are saved! We have the forgiveness of sins! That's past and present tenses, people! And that means we will never be lost again!


1. This book was written to encourage people who were wandering away from the very basic truths delivered to them when they trusted Jesus.
2. Their religion was growing stale! They were looking for something new. It reminds me of Moses at the burning bush. He had an old, worn stick he used to herd the sheep of his father-in-law, Jethro. I'm sure he never gave that trusty old stick any thought, until God said, "What is that you have in your hand?" Moses said, "A staff." The Lord told him, "Throw it on the ground." He did, and it became a snake! Moses ran from it! He ran from that old common stick he had held in his hand for years! God said, "Reach out your hand and take it by the tail." Moses did, and it became his trusty old staff again!
3. People, we think we have nothing! But in the hands of God, our nothing becomes God's tools for salvation, growth, joy!
4. We can rejoice with all who trust Jesus, and we can help each other with our prayers.
5. Oh! That we will be filled with the knowledge of His will!
6. That's my prayer for myself, that's my prayer for you, and that's the prayer I want you to pray for me!
7. The invitation I want to give you today is: Pray for each other the prayer in verse 9!

Emmanuel Community Church 7/30/2006


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