Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.
The Scriptorium

Reason for Thanksgiving

It's the Gospel bundle. Colossians 1.3-5

Introduction and Purpose: Colossians 1.1-18 (2)

Opening Prayer: Psalm 87.1, 2
His foundation is in the holy mountains.
The LORD loves the gates of Zion
More than all the dwellings of Jacob.
Glorious things are spoken of you,
O city of God!

Sing Psalm 87.1, 2
(St. Anne: Our God, Our Help in Ages Past)
Upon the holy mountains rest the footings of the Lord,
Who loves of Israel’s flock the best the keepers of His Word.Read Colossians 1.3-5

Preparation
1. When did Paul pray for the Colossians?

2. Why did he pray for them?

Meditation
Paul prayed for the believers in Colossae. He said he prayed “always” for them, meaning, I think, that he prayed for them as often as they came to mind (cf. Phil. 1. He was grateful for them (v. 3), that they were faithful saints (v. 2), and that they demonstrated that faithfulness by their love for one another (v. 4). The love they bore toward one another stemmed from the hope they shared, a hope laid up for them in heaven (v. 4). Elsewhere Paul described the Christian’s hope as “the hope of the glory of God” (Rom. 5.2). The Christian takes his stand in this hope; that is, we engage the world and all our daily tasks from the vantage point of living for and unto the glory of God in all we do (1 Cor. 10.31).

The glory of God is the Presence of God, as He makes Himself known to us in His infinite being and might, together with all His many virtues. God manifests His glory to us, both in the Word of Scripture (2 Cor. 3.12-18) and in the works of creation (Ps. 19.1-4). The more we know of God, and the more we seek His Presence, the more we will realize His glory in this life, and the more our hope of glory in the life to come will motivate and sustain us to be faithful saints of the Lord Jesus.

The promise of the Gospel is not merely that we will go to heaven when we die. It is that we will see and know and worship God in His glory, unimpeded by any sinful obstructions or lack of spiritual power (v. 5). The Gospel we proclaim is about God and His glory, about being united with Him Who is all beauty, splendor, majesty, righteousness, peace, joy, goodness, and truth, and participating in His pleasure forever. Such a hope, fully grasped and firmly experienced, fills us with love for God, our fellow believers, and our lost and needy neighbors.

Such love should lead us all to give thanks and praise and to long for even more of the glory of God each day.

Treasure Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
Paul and Timothy were giving thanks for God and all His precious gifts to the saints, both those of the here and now and the there and then.

And they were also thankful for the Colossian believers who were living their lives in such a way that caused others to say, “We never saw anything like this!” (Mk. 2.12) They said this because of the news that they had heard about them, “of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints” (v. 4). And they had this love for God and for others “because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven” (v. 5). And this hope had been shared with them by other believers “which you heard in the word of the truth of the gospel…” (v. 5).

It all comes in a bundle. Others share. We hear. We believe. We share. Others believe. They share. And this all comes from the gracious hand of God. Our Reason for Thanksgiving.

“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Eph.2.4-7).

Reflection
1. What would it look like if you were “always” in prayer, like Paul?

2. What is the hope of glory? How can believers have that hope? What does that hope mean to you?

3. What do we mean by saying that the Gospel comes to us “all in a bundle”? How do you experience that?

We must always take notice that he makes use of thanksgiving in place of congratulation, by which he teaches us, that in all our joys we must readily call to remembrance the goodness of God, inasmuch as everything that is pleasant and agreeable to us is a kindness conferred by him. John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on Colossians 1.3

Thank You for the Gospel, Father; help me live it in love today as I…

Closing Prayer: Psalm 87.3-7
Praise and thank God for His Church. Pray for your own church, for churches which are experiencing persecution, and for the Church in every land, that God may fill His people with joy and empower them for bold witness to Jesus Christ.

Sing Psalm 87.3-7
(St. Anne: Our God, Our Help in Ages Past)
For glorious things are spoken of the City of our God;
the nations know His matchless love wher’er His feet have trod.

From south and north, from east and west they come, called by His grace;
thus Zion stands, full strong and blessed, before the Savior’s face.

The Lord will count and tally all in Jesus born again;
then let them sing, who on Him call, “We joy in God, Amen!”

T. M. and Susie Moore

You can listen to last week’s summary of the book Ruth by clicking here.

Colossians in God’s Covenant
Where does the book of Colossians fit in God’s covenant with His people? Our workbook, God’s Covenant, can help you to answer that question and to gain a better understanding of how the grace of God reaches and transforms us in Jesus Christ. Order your free copy by clicking here.

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Except as indicated, all Scripture are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.

 

 

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
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