Colossae, the unimportant city. Not notable for any particular reason. It had been prominent, but then wasn’t, and at the time of Paul’s writing, it was “the most unimportant town to which Paul ever wrote a letter.” He never visited there. It could have easily just sunken down into oblivion, impacted by heresy and unimportant by worldly standards.
But of course today we know the name Colossae; it is prominent and important.
Because Paul, from afar, invested in it.
Week 1 of Colossians: Fully Pleasing God
Scripture: Colossians 1:1-14
Teacher: Kari Patterson
Listen or download:
- Download Walk It Out for week 1 (PDF)
“A Christian always moves in two spheres. He is in the town, the place, the society where he happens to stay in this world, but he is also in Christ. The Christian lives in two dimensions. He lives in this world, and he does not take the duties and relationships of this world lightly; he fulfills his every obligation to the world in which he lives. But above and beyond that he lives in Christ. In this world he may move from place to place, so that now he is in one place and now in another; but wherever he is, He is in Christ. That is why outward circumstances will make very little difference to the Christian; His happiness and his peace and his joy are not dependent on them, these things can chance, but the fact that he is in Christ can never change. That is why the Christian will do any job and any task with all his heart. It may be menial, it may be unpleasant, it may be painful, it may be far less distinguished than he might expect to have; its rewards may be small, and its praise may be non-existent; nevertheless the Christian does it diligently, uncomplainingly and cheerfully, for he is in Christ and does all things to the Lord.” 1
6 brief observations about the gospel in Colossians 1:6-8
- The gospel is the gospel. (“Good news.” The gospel is GOOD news.) We are the ones who mess it all up and make it a heavy burden. First and foremost, is the good declaration of what God has done to reconcile us to Himself, and invitation for us to receive this offer and enter an eternal relationship with Him.
- The gospel is truth. The “word of truth.” This is not a guess about God. Or one way to get to God. Is it THE word of truth. The way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but by Jesus Christ and His gospel.
- The gospel is universal. The true gospel is not an American gospel. This is why we must preach the pure and true and beautiful gospel of grace, and not some health wealth garbage that gives gives a low and earthly hope. A hope of temporal blessing and temporal happiness. And gospel that promises what it was never meant to deliver. The true gospel is cross-cultural, universal. It is true in every age, for every socioeconomic class, every race and gender and age. The true gospel is absolutely universal.
- The gospel is productive. (It bears fruit and increases.) “It is a plain fact of history and experience that the gospel has power to change the individual lives of men and the society in which men live. The power of the gospel can change the sinner into a good man, and the power of the gospel can slowly take the selfishness and the cruelty out of society.”2 Our only hope is not in political reform, education, our true hope is in the power and effectiveness of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
- The gospel is grace. (“Grace of God in truth.”) It is not just another list of things to do. Another religion. It does not just tell of God’s demands from men, but also of God’s gift to men. God offers what He demands.
- The gospel is humanly transmitted. Sometimes, God intervenes supernaturally and reveals the gospel to people (like Paul), but the normative mode of transferring the gospel, is by people. Romans 10:14 says, “How are they to call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in Him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? ANd how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, how beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news.” … Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.
Verse to memorize:
“May you be strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy.” —Colossians 1:11
“ May you be strong with His strength, for all endurance with joy!” —Colossians 1:11
Scriptures: Colossians 1:1-14
1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,
2 To the saints and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father.
3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, 5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, 6 which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it isbearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth, 7 just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf8 and has made known to us your love in the Spirit.
9 And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him,bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. 11 May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. 13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Audio for this teaching is included in the RENEW Church podcast: subscribe in iTunes here, listen to all Women’s Bible Study messages at Godrenews.us/women, or access the church podcast feed directly here.