Summary: Paul’s prayer of thankfulness for the Colossian church.
An Eruption of Thankfulness
Introduction: When Paul prayed for the church at Colosse, the prayer burst into an overflow of thankfulness and praise. This was because their lives demonstrated that God was at work in the church. When followers of Christ see another who God is using they are thankful, in this sermon we will see what made Paul thankful and how we, by allowing God to use us, can make others thankful.
I. Paul was Thankful for their Salvation; 1:1-6a
A. Refers to this as “your faith in Jesus Christ”
1. This word “in” is very interesting, compared to John 3:16. In John 3:16 we find eiV, a preposition of motion, “whoever places their faith in Jesus”…here it is en, a preposition of rest, “their faith rests in Jesus Christ”
2. Paul is not thankful that these people are moving toward Jesus, but that they are already there
B. It was an assured faith, demonstrated by the words “hope” and “laid up”
1. “Hope”: contrasted to the hope of today where people hope they will win the lottery, or they hope is will not rain…in the NT the word “hope” signifies the assurance of the thing hoped for
2. “Laid up”: in Greek it translates apokeimenhn, a perfect participle
a. In Hebrews 9:27 it is translated “appointed”
b. See 1 Peter 1:3-4
C. He says that they are saved because someone shared with them the gospel
1. The word gospel literally means good news
2. The good news of today is that if you are not resting in Christ, you can
II. Paul was Thankful for their Growth; 6b
A. They were bearing fruit constantly
1. This word karpofooroumenon is in the middle voice, denoting that the fruit is not being bore by anyone, but rather it is the fruit which is causing itself to be born
2. I.e. – Christians who are not growing will not bear fruit, Christians who are growing and healthy will bear fruit
3. Illustration – My grand mother had an apple tree in her back yard, I remember its humble beginnings of a few apples, which grew to bear tons of apples, but eventually it caught a disease and stopped bearing fruit, then died
4. Paul was thankful for the fruit of this church because it was evidence that they were healthy growing Christians
B. They were increasing in fruit
1. Their fruit bearing was constant and continuous
2. This does not mean that the church has bursts of fruit, but rather the possessed a lifestyle of fruit bearing
3. The fruit we should bear – Rom 5:1-4, Eph1:13-15; 1 Thes 1:3; Heb 6:9-12; I Peter 1:3-9
C. They understood the grace and truth
1. This initially refers their acceptance of the gospel, however it is expressed in a way that shows that they have continued in their original understanding, this is important because they did not but into the heresy of the time (Col 2:8)
2. The main philosophy of the time was asceticism, self denial in order to check the desires of the flesh…this church’s understanding of God was not flawed by false philosophy
III. He was Thankful for their Love; 7-8
A. The Colossian church must have been known for its love
1. Paul mentions it here twice
2. It is included with the other teachings of Christian gifts, but singled out and mentioned
B. The kind of love mentioned here is the unconditional agapae love, the same love that Jesus declares will set apart his disciples
1. The world has a flawed view of love…
a. If you love me, I will love you
b. As long as you love me, I will love you
c. As long as you do not act unloving to me, I will love you
d. As long as I do not decide not to love another, I will love you
C. However the agapae love says, I will love you, because God loved me
1. As Max Anders said, “Love is not a feeling, it is an attitude and action.” I.E. we decide to love
2. Agapae love is not reactive, but proactive. It is not based on what others do to you, but what God has done for you.
Application: This passage contains a praise for the lives of the Colossians, however after examined, it exposes teachings concerning how Christians can properly grow in Christ, what are they?
1. First and foremost accept Christ as Savior, accept the gospel
a. Warren Wiersbe – It is not so much the message of what God demands, but what he offers.
b. Even though God requires certain things for redemption and forgiveness, he offers each of the things her requires; e.g. faith
c. Illustration – Lee Strobel tells of an 8 year old girl who got caught stealing form the church bookstore. He told her that her punishment was to pay the church $20, which she of course did not have. However teaching her a lesson on grace he wrote the church a check for the amount and paid her debt for her.