Complete Series Devotional – Week 1
Week 1 – Day One: 1:1-2
READ- Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To God’s holy people in Colossae, the faithful brothers and sisters in Christ: Grace and peace to you from God our Father.
REFLECT- Paul was an apostle sent by Jesus Christ. He didn’t send a resume or fill out a job application for an apostle. No, Paul met Jesus personally, while he was on the way to persecute those who followed Jesus. He was knocked off his donkey, blinded by a light, and Jesus spoke to him these words.
“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen and will see of me. I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’” Acts 26:15-18
“His ministry as an apostle did not come by human nomination nor did he look for human confirmation. It was by divine initiation, preparation, and authentication, which is to say, “by the will of God.” (Sam Storm)
Every word of this letter is to be read by the Colossians and by us as God’s Word delivered by His apostle.
Grace and Peace is essential to this whole letter.
Here is what Martin Lloyd Jones says;
“Grace is the fountain, the spring, the source. It is that particular place in the mountain from which the mighty river you see rolling into the sea starts its race; without it there would be nothing. Grace is the origin and source and fount of everything in the Christian life. But what does the Christian life mean, what is it meant to produce? The answer is “peace.” So there we have the source and there the estuary leading to the sea, the beginning and the end, the initiation, and the purpose for which it is all meant and designed.”
MEDITATE- Meditate on this grace and peace. At the beginning of our study we are being offered grace like a fountain and a source. Grace can flow to us from each of these verses. The result as we read and pray these verses is that grace flows from the page into our lives resulting in peace that can be felt in our life circumstances.
PRAY- Paul addresses this letter to the holy people or saints in Colossae and in Christ. Each of our identities have undergone a radical change. We, like Paul, are now holy people because of the will of God. The result is that we now are both in New York and we are in Christ.
“They moved about Colossae ‘in Christ.’ They worked, served, kept the house, followed the business, met the neighbors, entered into their sorrows and joys, . . . suffered their abuse and insults when such things came – all ‘in Christ.’ They carried about with them a private atmosphere, which was not of Asia but of heaven. To them Christ was the inner home, the dear invisible but real resting place. . . . And what a rich gain for poor Colossae, that they, being in Him, were in it” (Bishop Handley Moule)
Pray that where you live spiritually will impact the place you live physically. Pray you will deeply understand that you are in Christ and that you live in Rockland County NY.
Week 1 – Day Two: 1:3-5
READ- 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 God’s people— 5 the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel.
REFLECT- Paul consistently and regularly gives thanks. In this specific case Paul is thanking God for the faith and love of the Colossians.
“Now, with all this, he shows that faith and love are the very gifts of God and do not come from ourselves, as men always imagine through a devilish pride. I told you before that St. Paul did not play the hypocrite in giving thanks to God for the faith and love of the Colossians. If every man was able to believe and have faith of his own accord, or could get it by some power of his own, the praise for it ought not to be given to God. For it would be but mockery to acknowledge ourselves indebted to him for what we have obtained, not from him, but from elsewhere. But here St. Paul blesses God’s name for enlightening the Colossians in the faith and for framing their hearts to make them loving. It is to be concluded, therefore, that everything comes from God.” (John Calvin)
Paul gives thanks for their faith and love. He says it springs from, or is catapulted from, hope.
FAITH-The faith that is being spoken of is in Christ Jesus. Faith in and of itself does not hold so much value. Paul gives thanks because the object of their faith is of invaluable worth. Their faith was not fixed inward on self but upward on Jesus.
LOVE- The Colossians display a love for all God’s people. The love spoken of here is outward focused.
“First, love without faith is sloppy and insipid. It yields to compromise when truth is at stake. It lacks courage and is complicit in the sinner’s slide toward a Christless eternity. Of what good is it, in the ultimate sense, to shower someone with affection in the absence of a robust confidence in Jesus and the courage to proclaim him as the sinner’s only hope?
Likewise, faith without love is arid and pompous and eventually mean-spirited and unkind. How dare we say we believe in Jesus and turn a cold shoulder to the very people for whom He died.” (Sam Storm)
Hope- Heaven based hope erupts with love and faith. Our worldly hope can disappoint , but our godly hope doesn’t just come from heaven, it is stored in heaven with a quantity and quality that endures.
MEDITATE- Meditate on hope. Ask God to show you what your hope stored up in heaven looks like, and how it functions in your life. Heaven-based hope catapults faith and love into situations. Where do you need to see more love and faith operating in your life? Ask God to give you heaven based hope for those places.
PRAY- Take time to pray and give thanks for the love and faith of your brothers and sisters in Christ. Pray for them to have a heaven-based hope that will allow their love and faith to spring forth even more.
Week 1 – Day Three: 1:6-9a
READ- 6 In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world—just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace. 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. 9 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you.
REFLECT- The gospel bears fruit. The gospel bears fruit and grows extensively through out the whole world. The gospel also bears fruit intensively in the life of a person. The gospel’s power is such that it has wide ranging results as well as deep and profound results. Truly, as Paul tells us in Romans, the Gospel is the power of God to change and save us.
“This shows us that the gospel is not only the first step in our relationship with God. The gospel is certainly that, but it is also so much more. The gospel is the indispensable key to bearing fruit and growing in spiritual maturity. The gospel must not only come to us, it must grow in us. And that reality shapes everything else Paul says in these verses as he thanks God for the gospel’s intensive work in the lives of his Colossian friends.” (Brian Hedges)
Epaphra, then is a powerful example of the gospel’s work. Epahpras is part of the extensive work of the gospel because he is the faithful minister who shared the gospel with the Colossians believers. Epaphras also faithfully exhibits the profound inner work of the gospel. He prays and wrestles for them in prayer (1: 9 & 4:12), gives reports to Paul of their love in the Spirit, and is a faithful minister, not for his behalf, but on behalf of the Colossians.
“Epaphras… told us of your love in the Spirit.” This is the only specific reference to the Holy Spirit in the book of Colossians. There is a three way relationship going on between, Paul, Epaphras and the Colossians. The love of the Spirit binds them all. This is the reason that since the day that Paul heard of these believers he has not stopped praying for them. He prays because of their love in the Spirit.
MEDITATE- Love is the thing that binds God’s people in these verses. But the center and the thing that transforms them is the gospel. Meditate on the extensive powerful work of the gospel that is growing throughout the world and its intensive personal work that is at work in your own life.
PRAY- Pray for the believers here at RKAC and the Christians who live around us. Paul prays for these Colossians believers though he had never even met them. Paul paints the gospel as this personal agent that is bearing fruit across the world and makes personal grace to the individual. Pray for these believers to bear the fruit of the gospel extensively and throughout the region and pray for them to know the fruit of the gospel intensively in a deep maturity.
Week 1 – Day Four: 1:9-11
READ- We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives,
10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience,
REFLECT- Paul’s prayers often contain the same themes that he explores, teaches, and admonishes in the body of his letters. Paul prays his sermon before he expounds his sermon. It is a prayer for filling that comes from God and produces wisdom and understanding. The understanding and wisdom Paul says they need is spiritual, and it originates with the Holy spirit.
This full knowledge of Christ that comes from the Holy Spirit is what these believers need to meet their challenges.
The aim of Paul’s prayer is that we will live a life worthy of God while fully pleasing Him.
The worthy walk that Paul is speaking about consists of several things.
“It pleases God in every way.”- Paul has prayed for wisdom and understanding from the Spirit. Because of the wisdom that flows from the Spirit, we can walk worthy and please Him.
“It bears fruit in every good work.”- That means that the filling that Paul prayed for results in knowledge of God’s will that produces fruit.
“Growing in the knowledge of God.”- When we live worthy lives, it comes from knowledge of His will, but it also means that our knowledge of God grows.
“Strengthened with all power.”- We are called to live a life worthy of the Lord, but that is impossible to do in our own strength. This worthy walk only can happen when we have all the empowerment available from His glorious strength.
“You may have great endurance and patience.” The worthy walk has the patience to deal with every relational challenge and the endurance to overcome every circumstantial challenge. Nothing overcomes the one who lives a life worthy of the Lord.
“Paul’s prayer in Colossians 1 actually frightens some people. It is intimidating to them for one of two reasons (or both): some are afraid they won’t have the power to live worthy of the Lord and to bear fruit in every good work, while others fear that once they start out in their efforts to do so they’ll end up quitting, they simply won’t have the endurance to persevere in what they began. So either the sense of personal weakness and spiritual impotence, on the one hand, or the lack of steadfastness, on the other, often paralyzes people from even trying to live as they know the Lord wants them to. Thank God for Colossians 1:11! Here Paul continues his prayer by asking God to strengthen them with power and to sustain them in their endeavors.” (Sam Storm)
MEDITATE- Meditate on what it means to live a worthy life strengthened with all power from God. The sure sign of that strength in your life is that you are able to have great endurance and patience. God’s all powerful strength overcomes sin, circumstances, and even our own frailties and weaknesses.
“In sum, there is no addiction God’s power cannot break, no sin God’s power cannot defeat, no task to which we are called that God’s power cannot fulfill, no fruit we are called to bear that God’s power cannot produce, no rebellious child God’s power cannot restore, no broken marriage God’s power cannot reconcile, no physical disease God’s power cannot heal. That’s why Paul calls it “majestic power”!” (Sam Storm)
PRAY- These verses are Paul’s actual prayer. Pray them over your life. Pray them over RKAC. Pray them over those you know and love.
Week 1 – Day Five: 1:12-14
READ- 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified
you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
REFLECT- Colossians is a book filled with thanksgiving. (Col. 1:3, 1:12, 2:7, 3:15-17. 4:2) Joy and thanksgiving are good spiritual companions. Thanksgiving that is not joyful tends to be empty and perfunctory. When we lose our joy we tend to criticize and complain. Paul instructs that thanksgiving is to be with joy because of all that God has done on their behalf. Joyful thanksgiving is a response to God’s saving grace.
“The only answer to charis [grace] is eucharistia [gratitude]…. Grace and gratitude belong together like heaven and earth. Grace evokes gratitude like the voice an echo. Gratitude follows grace like thunder lightning.” (Karl Barth)
Paul uses these four words to explain what God has done on our behalf.
Qualified- The verb for qualified here means sufficient or empowered. You and I are very unqualified to share in God’s inheritance because there is nothing in us that is sufficient or empowers us to warrant God’s kingdom. Not only are we unqualified but we have disqualified ourselves by our choices and our behavior. Both our nature and our choices make us unfit for God’s inheritance. It is an amazing feat of God’s grace that has qualified us to share in His kingdom and inheritance.
Rescued-The word in greek means to rescue, save, and deliver from danger. God has rescued us from enemy occupied territory.
Transferred- The rescue operation of God has removed us from the kingdom or domain of darkness into the kingdom of light. The deliverance was so thorough it contained an official transfer. Our transfer makes the old authority null and void and allows us enter into the new authority of the Kingdom of God’s beloved Son.
Redeemed- This word at its root means to rescue someone from slavery by paying a ransom. Redemption and forgiveness go together. Forgiveness means the debt has been paid.
“Christ has not only set us free and transferred us to a new kingdom, but He has canceled every debt so that we cannot be enslaved again. Satan cannot find anything in the files that will indict us!” (Warren Wiersbe)
MEDITATE God did not just transfer people out of the the kingdom of the darkness just the way they are. NO, HE makes us fit and qualified us for heaven. God did not just transfer all the inhabitants of one kingdom and and bring them into His own kingdom. NO, HIS Son had to pay a high cost or ransom for that transfer to take place. We were trapped in that old domain of darkness because of our sins. Jesus paid our ransom. Because of Jesus we have forgiveness of the sins that we have committed and we have forgiveness for the sins that we will commit. Oh what a Savior! Isn’t HE wonderful!
PRAY- Spend time in prayer giving God joyful thanks for your being qualified, rescued, transferred, redeemed and forgiven.