Introduction and Purpose: Colossians 1.1-18 (3)
Opening Prayer: Psalm 80.4-7
O LORD God of hosts,
How long will You be angry
Against the prayer of Your people?
You have fed them with the bread of tears,
And given them tears to drink in great measure.
You have made us a strife to our neighbors,
And our enemies laugh among themselves.
Restore us, O God of hosts;
Cause Your face to shine,
And we shall be saved!
Sing Psalm 80.4-7
(St. Theodulph: All Glory, Laud, and Honor)
vv. 4, 5
How long will You ignore all Your people’s fervent prayer?
Shall bitter tears fall ever? O Lord, renew Your care!
vv. 6, 7
Our neighbors mock and scorn us, they laugh at our distress;
renew, O Lord, and turn us, look down on us and bless!
Read Colossians 1.6-8
1. What happened as the Gospel took root among the Colossians?
2. What is the primary fruit Paul mentions here?
The Gospel comes to us by the grace of God, with the grace of God, and unto the grace of God.
In its outworking, grace is divine working power, the effect of which in those who receive it is to bring forth fruit and to increase (v. 6). This is what the Colossians were experiencing. The fruit of the Gospel is eternal life, that is, to know God and Jesus Christ, which seed is brought to and planted in us by the Spirit of God (Gal. 4.4-6). He begins to work in us (Phil. 2.13), by the Word of God, to bring forth the fruit of Jesus in us, transforming us increasingly to His likeness (2 Cor. 3.10-18).
Where the Gospel has been truly heard and received, grace bears fruit and increases. Paul learned of how the grace of God was working among the Colossians by Epaphras, his “dear fellow servant” (v. 7). In this letter, as in many of his other letters, he wants to celebrate what God has done and urge the believers on to greater increase in His grace. This increase is what all seek who have truly come to know the Lord. We want more of Jesus, more of the Father, and more of the Spirit, and less of everything else.
The “grace of God in truth” must be learned (v. 7). We must apply ourselves to hearing the Word of God, submitting to the Holy Spirit, and living as Jesus did. As we do, God meets us with His grace, so that “love in the Spirit” rises in us and spreads to all the people around us.
Treasure Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
What if people were talking about you?
What would they say?
Would they be accusing you of good?
Why would they be talking about you?
Daniel was talked about. His enemies were trying to do him in but “they could find no charge or fault, because he was faithful; nor was there any error or fault found in him.” Then his enemies said, “We shall not find any charge against this Daniel unless we find it against him concerning the law of his God.”
And because they knew that Daniel faithfully prayed in his room three times a day, they “found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God.” Caught. Obeying God. (Dan. 6.4, 5, 11)
And here in the book to the Colossians these believers had been “caught” in the same act.
People were talking about them and declared to Paul about their “love in the Spirit”.
Caught. Believing in Jesus and showing love to others!
By grace, and with grace, let us be caught in the same act of love that has been among us since the day we heard and knew the grace of God in truth (v. 6).
1. What do we mean by saying that grace is “divine working power”? What does it work for?
2. How was it evident that the grace of God had reached the Colossians? How about Daniel?
3. How should we expect the grace of God to empower us?
Faith, hope and love are the nerves and sinews—they are the principal heads of the Christian religion. While Paul congratulates the Colossians on their success, he also prays that God will increase their inheritance steadily and uphold them from that day forward. By rightly dividing these concepts, Paul connects them to their powers and duties: Faith stretches toward Christ Jesus and leans on his merits, love busies itself with everything holy and excellent, and hope perseveres on account of the eternal treasure set aside for us in heaven. Heinrich Bullinger (1504-1575), Commentary on Colossians 1.3-5
Father, help me to stretch toward Jesus and lean on Him today, so that I will bear fruit as I…
Closing Prayer: Psalm 80.8-19
Pray for the Church throughout the world, the “vine” God has planted, and which has often borne much fruit. Pray for revival, and for the grace and favor of God to shine on His people, that His salvation may increase and bear fruit everywhere.
Sing Psalm 80.8-19
(St. Theodulph: All Glory, Laud, and Honor)
vv. 8, 9
You set us free from sin, Lord, and planted us in grace;
we rooted in Your strong Word have spread from place to place.
vv. 10, 11
Our shadow covered mountains, our branches reached the sea;
Your grace flowed like a fountain of life, abundantly.
vv. 12, 13
Now You in wrath have spoken and bruised Your chosen vine.
We languish, Lord, are broken by wrath, deserved, divine.
vv. 14, 15
Once more, Lord, hear our pleading: return and heal this vine!
Look down on us, so needy, and show Your love divine!
vv. 16, 17
Though we be burned and perish because of Your command,
revive us, Lord, and cherish this son of Your right hand.
vv. 18, 19
Then let us not return to our sinful, selfish ways,
but call on You and learn to surround You with our praise.
T. M. and Susie Moore
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All quotations from Church Fathers from Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1-2 Samuel: Ancient Christian Commentary Series IV, John R. Franke, ed, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2005). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).