Sermons

Summary: The first in my latest sermon series on Colossians. We look at how the gospel provides hope for all who believe.

Where is your hope? – Colossians 1:1-8

By James Galbraith

First Baptist Church, Port Alberni

September 9, 2007

Text

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,

To the holy and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae: 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.

Colossae - the city, the people- (put map on overhead/PowerPoint)

- inland, built along the river Lycus, part of what is now Turkey

- on a major trading route, but eventually road gets rerouted and Colossae loses out

- significant earthquake centre – city is destroyed shortly after Paul writes epistle

- when it’s destroyed, it’s never really rebuilt like more important nearby cities of Laodicea and Herapolis

- a city which was once great before the Roman empire, but now in decline as other cities became more important

- Lightfoot - “least important church to which any biblical letter is written”

- good mix of Jews, Greeks and locals

- Diversity of peoples makes for a diversity of ideas,

and the struggle that the Colossians face is rooted in both Jewish and Greek ideas (more on that later in the book)

- not a church actually planted by Paul, but probably formed as a result of the gospel spreading from nearby towns of Ephesus and Laodicea

- may have been started by Epaphras,

a little known but faithful helper to Paul

Synopsis - quiet place, small town, out of the way, once important but soon to be forgotten

The Greeting

Since Paul has never visited Colossae, these are the first words they’ve ever heard from Paul

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,

To the holy and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae:

Grace and peace to you from God our Father.

- establishes his credentials, introduces Timothy as a co-worker

- an apostle due to “the will of God”,

- God directly confronted him and made him one of the highest leaders in the early church

- He was not a self-appointed leader who tried to use his own charm to lure people to his own fan club, like others he had to contend with

- views Colossians as holy and faithful brothers

- masculine reference just writing form of the day, not intended to exclude women!

Holy – set apart, in our terms not “better then”

but rather intended for different things

Faithful – true to the message they have received and believed

Grace and peace

Grace - God’s provision and presence with them

Peace – God’s giving of wholeness of life,

being made complete by being restored to God

from God our Father – Paul is reminding us that grace and peace only find their truest form in God himself.

So in this simple greeting he has laid out for them who he is,

the authority he has to communicate with them,

and his desire that they truly know the God is able to give both grace and peace abundantly.

He now starts to build toward the reason he has written this letter to them.

The Gospel

Since he doesn’t know them personally, he begins the meat of his letter by building upon the importance of the gospel message that unites them in Christ.

He touches upon their faith in Christ and their love for all the saints (other Christians) and that these two things are rooted in the hope that they now have as followers of Christ.

And these are all vastly important things,

Faith in Christ is the key to our faith as Christians,

for our relationship with God is based on our faith

– our belief and trust – in Him and his word to us.

Christians can share many different beliefs,

but we are all rooted in a deep faith in the Saviour himself, Jesus Christ.

Love for each other grows out of knowing that God loves us, and is evidence of the true presence of Christ in our lives.

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