Who Are You People?
2/5 – We Give Thanks to God (Colossians 1:1-12)
Introduction — In the beginning portion of this letter to the church in Colossae, Paul makes clear his thanks to God for them. Paul writes to the holy, faithful people in Christ. Paul gives thanks to God for them. Paul constantly prays for them. Paul is aware of their faith and love and hope. This church heard the gospel. This church believed the gospel. This church is growing in the gospel. They learned this word of grace and truth from fellow bondservant, Epaphras, a faithful servant of Christ on their behalf. Paul (and Timothy) cannot stop praying for this church. Paul asks the Lord to fill the saints there with the knowledge of His will, so that they will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord. Paul, in essence, prays with gratitude for God’s past, present, and future work of grace among these Christ followers. He gives thanks as he prays. He prays as he gives thanks. Paul’s prayer is a good model of holy living. From a heart made right by God flows a prayer of insight and might. In other words, holy people offer holy prayers. How about us? Do we offer holy prayers to God? Do we see that in Christ we are holy? Do we see the past, present, and future work of God’s grace among us? Do we pray for one another? Do we thank God for one another? Do we express gratitude to God?
We have not ceased to pray for you . . .
We are grateful for your faith in Christ. (1-5)
Comments: Paul overflows with thanks to God for this church. He sees God’s work of grace among them. He hears of their faith in Christ Jesus. And what Paul notices about this church leads to constant prayers to God on their behalf. He thrills at their faith in action: they love one another. This church enjoys an unwavering hope. This church knows the grace and peace of God the Father. Why? These faithful saints heard the gospel, and they believed the gospel. Their faith in Christ is real. Their faith in Christ is obvious. And Paul cannot stop praying for this church. Questions: How about us? Do we overflow with thanks to God for this church? Do we see the work of God’s grace among us? Do we offer constant prayers for one another? Do we thrill to hear about our faith in action? Do we show a sincere love for one another? Do we know the grace and peace of God our Father? Do we see one another as holy people? Do we believe the good news, the word of truth? Are we grateful to God for our faith in Christ? Application: Let’s give thanks to God for this church? Let’s give thanks to God for our faith in Christ. Let’s keep praying for one another. Let’s cherish the hope we have through Christ. Let’s keep hearing the gospel. Let’s keep speaking the gospel. Let’s keep believing the gospel. Let’s pay attention to God’s work of grace among us. Let’s be grateful to God for one another. Let’s extend grace and peace to one another. Let’s put our faith in action: love one another.
We are grateful for your growth through Christ. (6-9)
Comments: Indeed, Paul cannot stop praying for this church. He is grateful for their growth through Christ. They heard the gospel. They really came to know the grace of God in truth. They learned this good news from Epaphras. This church is growing, in faith and love and hope. Their growth is obvious. For this reason, Paul states, he (and Timothy) do not stop praying for them. He asks God to fill this church with the true knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understand. In other words, he earnestly asks God to help this church know God’s will in order to obey God’s will. Questions: How about us? Do we express gratitude for the growth through Christ we see in one another? Do we have a non-stop praying attitude for one another? Do we ache to see God fill us with the knowledge of His will? Do we anticipate seeing godly growth among us? Do we plan for growth? Do we pray for growth? Do we see the work of God’s grace among us? Do we acknowledge faithful teachers who point us to Jesus? Do we listen to those who disciple us? Do we want to learn from them? Application: Let’s listen to those who shepherd us. Let’s learn from them. Let’s grow along with them. Let’s grow in our knowledge of God’s will. Let’s grow in our attention to God’s will and our obedience to God’s will. Let’s grow through Christ. Let’s be grateful for our growth through Christ. Let’s teach others to grow through Christ. Let’s teach others to follow Him. Let’s teach others to obey Him.
We are grateful for your portion with Christ. (10-12)
Comments: Paul cannot stop praying for this church. He gives thanks for their faith in Christ. He gives thanks for their growth through Christ. He now asks God to enlarge their faith, to grow their faith. He wants them to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord. He wants them to bear fruit in every good work. He wants them to increase in their true knowledge of God. He wants them to have godly strength and patience. Finally, Paul wants them to grow to that place where they also express gratitude to God. He wants them to give God joyous thanks for their share in the inheritance of the saints in light. Paul’s vivid awareness of God’s grace informs and shapes his grateful prayers to the Father, who rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Paul clearly sees and joyously thanks the Father for being part of the Son’s kingdom. To share a portion of His kingdom is amazing. Questions: How about us? Does our awareness of God’s grace shape our prayers? Do we give thanks for God’s rescue? Do we give thanks for God’s forgiveness? Do we pray that others will grow in their joyous thanks to God? Do we see the scope of our inheritance? Do we give thanks to God for placing us into the kingdom of His beloved Son? Application: Let’s thank God for making it possible for us to share in the inheritance of the saints. Let’s thank God for His rescue. Let’s thank God for the growth He gives us. Let’s ask God to give us His strength and patience. Let’s ask God to help us be fervent in our prayers for one another. Let’s not cease to pray for one another. Let’s be grateful for one another. Let’s give thanks to God for one another. Let’s give thanks to God.
Word Study for Colossians 1:1-12
1 apostle (apostolos—messenger; one sent on a mission; envoy; delegate; ambassador)
1 will (thelema—desire; purpose; decree; desire; pleasure)
2 saints (hagios—holy; dedicated; pure; sacred; blameless; sanctuary; holy place; temple)
3 give thanks (eucharisteo—be thankful; give thanks; return thanks; express thanks; gratitude)
5 laid up (apokeimai—put away for safe keeping; to be reserved for; laid away; await)
5 word (logos—statement; speech; message; account; answer)
5 truth (aletheia—facts; speak truth; certain; genuine; authentic; truthfulness)
5 gospel (euangelion—the good news; announce good news; good tidings; messenger of good news)
7 learned (manthano—be taught; understand; comprehend; receive instruction; come to realize)
8 informed (deloo—make visible; make clear; manifest; show)
11 power (kratos—strength; might; sovereignty; mighty deed)
12 qualified (hikanoo—make sufficient; enable; make competent; qualify)
12 portion (meris—district; part; chapter; piece; share)
12 inheritance (portion; responsibility; possession; ministry; allotted)
Application for Colossians 1:1-12
Let’s see that our call to serve is rooted in the will of God.
Let’s view the church as family of holy, faithful people in Christ.
Let’s cherish the gift of God’s grace and peace.
Let’s give thanks to God for one another in the church.
Let’s constantly pray for one another.
Let’s see the work of God’s grace among us.
Let’s pray that we will be filled with the knowledge of God’s will.
Let’s walk in a manner worthy of the Lord.
Gospel Connections for Colossians 1:1-12
Christ is the message and the messenger sent by Father. Christ lived a perfect life. He is holy. By His grace, He makes holy all those He calls. Jesus gives us the faith to believe. Jesus gives us love. Jesus gives us hope. Jesus became a servant, proclaiming the grace of God in truth. Jesus prays for us. Jesus knows us. Jesus calls us to know Him and to grow in Him. Jesus strengthens us. Jesus empowers us. Jesus is the light of the world.
Thoughts and Quotes for Colossians 1:1-12
I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else. ~ C.S. Lewis
Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God. ~ Corrie ten Boom
At this stage in your experience, lay hold of the truth that God loves you, and don't let anybody steal it away from you. Circumstances may assail you; Satan may accuse you; your Christian friends may even abandon you, but God loves you just as much as He did when He gave Jesus to die for you on the cross. Your circumstances have changed, and your feelings have changed, but God's love has not changed. When you experience the love of God in your heart, then your faith will grow stronger, and you will be able to give thanks. ~ Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bumps Are What You Climb On
If there is no scent of Christ’s love on someone, then they bear no evidence of true devotion to Christ. ~ Eric Ludy, When God Writes Your Love Story
We don't earn God's love; we receive it. We don't work for His approval; He approves us. ~ Dillon Burroughs, Hunger No More
Faith goes up the stairs that love has built and looks out the windows which hope has opened. ~ Charles H. Spurgeon
The gospel is this: we are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope. ~ Timothy J. Keller, The Meaning of Marriage
In the world of the Bible, one’s identity and one’s vocation are all bound up in who one’s father is. Men are called “son of” all of their lives (for instance, “the sons of Zebedee” or “Joshua, the son of Nun”). There are no guidance counselors in ancient Canaan or first-century Capernaum, helping “teenagers” decide what they want “to be” when they “grow up.” A young man watches his father, learns from him, and follows in his vocational steps. This is why “the sons of Zebedee” are right there with their father when Jesus finds them, “in their boat mending the nets” (Mark 1:19-20).
The inheritance was the engine of survival, passed from father to son, an economic pact between generations. To lose one’s inheritance was to pilfer for survival, to become someone’s slave. ~ Russell D. Moore, Adopted for Life