Summary: This church had itself rooted in these strong leaders, but also, most importantly, in Jesus Christ Our Lord. How do I know that the Colossian church had strong roots in Christ? I can tell because of their fruit.
ROOTS AND FROOTS
READ COLOSSIANS 1:1-8
I. THE ROOTS OF THE COLOSSIAN CHURCH
The roots of the Colossian church are ones that run deep. The letter to them is written by the Apostle Paul who was the founding force of all the Gentile churches. Paul had a ministry in Ephesus for many years and would have influenced people even in Colossae. He traveled around and planted many churches in the area as did those who ministered with him. Verse 7 tells us that a man named Epaphras was the one who began the work in the Colossian church. Epaphras was a faithful servant of Jesus that started the church in Colossae, but was also a companion of Paul (Philemon 23). There are other roots of the church mentioned like Archippus who held some official position in the church and Paul calls him a ’fellow soldier’ in the Book of Philemon. He was doing some work that God wanted him to do and Paul encourages him to continue his work in the Lord at the end of Colossians (4:17). I mentioned the Book of Philemon a few times because both Onesimus and Philemon were also part of the Colossian church. We know from the Book of Philemon that Philemon was a fellow worker of Christ and that a church even met in his home (verse 2). All of these people provided a good faithful foundation for the church in Colossae.
This church was full of people that were strong Christians. This church had itself rooted in these strong leaders, but also, most importantly, in Jesus Christ Our Lord. How do I know that the Colossian church had strong roots in Christ? I can tell because of their fruit.
II. THE FRUIT OF THE COLOSSIAN CHURCH
The Apostle Paul commends this Colossian Christians for their fruit. Bearing fruit is a command from God Himself. Jesus says in John 15, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (verse 5). He also says, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit– fruit that will last” (verse 16). The Apostle Paul says elsewhere (Romans 7:4), “So my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God.” Bearing fruit is a natural part of abiding with Christ and living the Christian life. What was the fruit of the Colossians?
The first area where Paul commends the Colossians is in their faith in Christ Jesus. Paul tells them that he has ’heard’ about their faith. What does that mean? How could he have heard about their faith? I think Paul could have heard about their faith because they were communicating it with other people. They were not keeping it to themselves. Had the Colossian Christians kept their faith and the message of Jesus to themselves, Paul would not have heard much about them. As it was, they were a group that communicated all about this faith in Jesus. Paul is thankful that these Christians share their faith with those around them.
The second area where Paul commends the Colossians is in their love for all the saints. Acts 20:28 says, “Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.” The care of those around us should be on eof the distinct things about Christians. It was in Colossae. People should know that the church is the place to go when you are hurting, in need, suffering, or in pain. The church in Colossae was a loving group of people. They loved one another and they showed it.
The third area where Paul commends the Colossians is in their hope in Heaven. There is a certain way that Christians should live because they have a hope in Heaven. People who have no hope live their lives with money, success, pleasure, entertainment, material things, and the newest feel-good trends. They hold on to their lives because it is the only thing that they have. They look for meaning in themselves, others, drugs, their job, sports, or anything else that they think will give them a sense of self-worth. Christians ought not live that way. Christians do not need to live that way.
We know that we have a sure hope after this life.
We know that Jesus has gone to prepare a place for us.
We know that this world is not our home and we are just pilgrims passing through.