Summary: In these first 14 verses we receive Paul’s standard greeting of "Grace and peace to you from God our Father," we see Paul’s thankfulness to God or what He is doing in and through the Colossians and we see how Paul prays for the Colossians.
Jesus Christ: Our Source of Hope
659 “Him, Him, Him”
Dr. S. D. Gordon tells of an old Christian woman whose age began to tell on her memory. She had once known much of the Bible by heart. Eventually only one precious bit stayed with her. “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I committed unto him against that day.”
By and by part of that slipped its hold, and she would quietly repeat, “That which I have committed unto him.” At last, as she hovered on the borderline between this and the spirit world, her loved ones noticed her lips moving. They bent down to see if she needed anything. She was repeating over and over again to herself the one word of the text, “Him, Him, Him.”
She had lost the whole Bible, but one word. But she had the whole Bible in that one word.
That is the theme of Colossians, that Jesus Christ is supreme and that he is all we need. He is our all in all. Jesus is all we need for salvation, forgiveness of sin, peace, comfort. It does not matter what the question is or what the need is, Jesus Christ is the answer.
We will begin going through the book of Colossians by looking at Chapter 1 vs 1-14 and in these verses we will see that Jesus Christ is our Source of Hope.
These first fourteen verses can be outlined in the following manner: Paul’s introductory greeting, Paul’s thankfulness, and what Paul prays for on behalf of the Colossians and us. One of the powerful aspects of prayer is that prayer is not bound by time or space. This prayer that Paul prayed for the Christians in Colosse 2000 years ago also applies to you and me today. Let’s read the text.
1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,
2 To the holy and faithful brothers in Christ at Colosse:
Grace and peace to you from God our Father.
3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints- 5 the faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven and that you have already heard about in the word of truth, the gospel 6 that has come to you. All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God’s grace in all its truth. 7 You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf, 8 and who also told us of your love in the Spirit.
9For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. 10 And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11
being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. NIV
The Apostle Paul writes this letter to Colosse from a prison in Rome. This is Paul’s first imprisonment. During this 3 year prison term he wrote Ephesians, Colossians, Philemon and Philippians under divine inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Unlike his letter to the Philippians and Ephesians, Paul does not personally know the people he is writing to. He had never been to Colosse but his ministry to Epaphras, Philemon, and Onesimus played a significant role in the formation of the Colossian Church. Colosse was declining in stature and was surpassed by the neighboring towns of Hierapolis and Laodecia. It is likely that Epaphras was in Ephesus and Laodecia when Paul ministered and preached the Gospel in those cities and then took the message of salvation and hope back to Colosse and established the church there.
Paul heard of the success of the gospel in Colosse from Epaphras and also over time heard about some of the heresies that were beginning to creep in. Paul’s purpose for writing this letter was to refute the rise of Gnosticism which taught that everything that is Spirit is good and anything that is of physical matter was evil. It taught that salvation was attained by “special knowledge” not through Jesus. Another heresy taking root at this time was that Jesus Christ was not enough for salvation. You had to have Jesus plus obey the Jewish laws and rituals of circumcision and festivals. They were missing out on the point that salvation come from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and that His sacrifice for you and me on the cross was sufficient and that there is nothing we can ever do in and of ourselves to earn salvation. Paul refutes both of these heresies by declaring the total sufficiency of Jesus Christ.