Prayer: Lord God Almighty we lift up this study time to you and ask that you remove all distractions and obstacles so that we will hear and see your truths clearly. Guide us to understand your Word that we will live it out in honor of you and reveal Christ to the world by how we live it out. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Read: Colossians 1:1-14
Memorize: Colossians 1:10
Welcome back! Last week we got an introduction and overview on Paul’s letter to the Colossians, this week lets jump into the first 14 verses.
Paul had not yet visited the Colossians. Epaphras (ep’uh-fras), one of Paul’s converts who founded the church, had shared with him a report about the believers in Colossea and how strong their faith, love, and hope was; yet, false teachings about Christ were slipping in and bringing confusion to the body. As he addresses the church, Paul makes it clear that he is writing with authority from God Himself as Christ’s apostle, appointed and chosen by God to share and spread the “the word of truth” (Gospel of Christ-Good News). Christ had appeared to Paul and empowered him to proclaim the Good News (See Acts 9:1-22; 1 Corinthians 15:7-10; Galatians 1:11-24; and Ephesians 3:1-6 for the history on his conversion and how he received the Gospel directly from Christ Himself).
Paul begins his letter with thanksgiving and prayers. Colossians is a great example of how we can use Scripture to pray. Have you ever wondered what to pray or even how to get started? My challenge to you this week is to pray verses 3-14 over your family, friends, co-workers, life group, and neighbors. Write out the prayers of chapter one in your own words and regularly lift them up to God. God promises us that His Word will not return to Him void (Isaiah 55:11). Praying God’s Word is powerful! Here are a few Scriptures on prayer if you want to dig deeper: Matthew 6:5-13; Romans 8:26-27; Ephesians 1:15-22; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.
Colossians 1:5 says that our hope is stored up in heaven. This hope is our salvation that is revealed in God’s Word and received when we believe it. This is why we have no reason to doubt our salvation. Peter says it well:
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.” 1 Peter 1:3-5 (emphasis added)
Have you trusted Christ as your Savior? Paul tells us in his letter to the Romans:
“That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10
If you are not sure what this means and you desire to know more about this Gospel message of salvation contact us, we’ll be happy to meet with you.
Paul was happy to share with the Colossians that the Gospel message was spreading all over the world and bearing fruit just like it was among them. It was growing because they understood God’s grace in all its truth (v.6). Paul talks about this “grace” many times in his letters:
“This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:22-24
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9
So you see, there is nothing we can do to earn God’s grace. We cannot be good enough nor do enough good things. God’s grace is His unmerited favor to those who do not deserve it. His grace gives us what we don’t deserve. I love how David Jeremiah, in his book, Captured by Grace, describes the difference between God’s grace and his mercy:
“Mercy withholds from us what we deserve and grace gives us what we do not deserve.”
So where are you in your walk with Christ? Have you started? Are you in the middle or have you been walking with God a long time? Paul’s letter met the people where they were just as God meets us where we are. Instead of staying as infants in Christ we must move forward into maturity. And we can’t achieve maturity if we aren’t spending time with God in prayer and studying His Word. It’s all about having an intimate personal relationship with the one and only God, Creator and Savior, who sacrificed all so that we might have life in and with Him!
Let us continue on the passage. Paul sees every reason to be pleased with the Colossians’ faith, but even with great faith there is always a chance that they will take their eyes off of Jesus and be led astray by false teaching. He makes it clear that gaining God’s knowledge leads to a changed life. If it does not lead to a changed life then it puffs us up and is useless. He prays that God will fill them with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding. We need to be praying not only for ourselves but for each other if we are going to grow in the knowledge of God’s will and live a life that is worthy of the Lord and pleasing to Him. That’s why it is so important that we know what God’s Word says for ourselves so we will not be deceived.
Are you living a life worthy of the Lord, bearing fruit in every good work, and growing in the knowledge of God? I know that I fall short, but praise God that He gives us His Holy Spirit to help us along the way. He is the one who gives us the power, endurance, and patience in Christ to succeed in pleasing Him. Jesus says in
John 15:5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” (NLT)
When was the last time you joyfully gave thanks to God? Do you see the positive in a situation or negative? Do you believe that God can work in a difficult situation; even in your situation? How we look at things makes all the difference in how we will respond. Paul tells us as believers that we should joyfully give thanks to the Father who has qualified us to share in His inheritance. Notice He doesn’t say to joyfully thank Him only when things are going our way (See James 1:2-8). He also tells us that we don’t have to fear darkness because God has rescued us and brought us into the kingdom of the Son who has redeemed us and forgiven us of all our sins, past, present, and future! Praise the Lord for all He has done for you!
My prayer for you this week is Paul’s prayer in verses 3-14. Will you join me and lift up every woman who is joining us on this summer adventure into His glorious Word? May God be glorified and honored through this study and each of us edified in and through our discussions. I’m looking forward to seeing how God will speak to each and every one of us.
- What does it mean to be holy and how does one achieve this? (See John 17:17; 1 Peter 1:13-16; Romans 12:2)
- What did you learn about prayer in this first chapter of Colossians?
- What five benefits did Paul list that God gives all believers in Christ? (v. 12-14)
- How has chapter one changed your thinking or encouraged you to change something in your life? Share with us in the comments.