1. After introducing himself and greeting the brethren in verses 1-2, Paul expresses thanksgiving to God concerning some things about the church at Colosse (read 3-8)
2. As we consider what Paul wrote, we learn some encouraging things about the church at Colosse which are worthy of our emulation as a congregation of Christians
A. WHAT A WONDERFUL REPUTATION TO HAVE!
1. Some churches are known for:
a. Being dead on the vine
b. Being lukewarm - Revelation 3:15
2. But here is a church so strong in its faith in Jesus that word had made its way to Paul
B. WHY DID THEY HAVE SUCH A REPUTATION?
1. Because they really trusted in Jesus Christ
2. Because their faith was a steadfast one - Colossians 2:5
a. They were not faithful one day, then unfaithful the next
b. Through thick and thin, they maintained their faith in Jesus and did His will!
C. WHAT KIND OF REPUTATION DO WE HAVE?
1. Every church has one, whether it is good, mediocre, or bad
2. Wouldn't it be wonderful if others could say of us, We have heard of your faith in Jesus Christ?
3. If we remain steadfast in our faith, in time they will!
A. THEIR GOOD REPUTATION INCLUDED LOVE AS WELL AS FAITH!
1. Toward Jesus, they showed faith; toward their brethren, they demonstrated love!
2. Not only love for each other, but love for ALL the saints, including those in other places
B. IF WE DESIRE A SIMILAR REPUTATION, WHAT CAN WE DO?
1. We can be diligent in our love for one another, making efforts to become better acquainted and to serve one another
2. We can demonstrate our love for ALL the brethren, by taking advantage of meetings and singings to be together
3. We can ask the Lord to help us increase in this - 1 Thessalonians 3:12
4. We can urge each other to increase in this virtue - 1 Thessalonians 4:9-10
A. THE GOSPEL, WHICH SPEAKS OF THE HOPE LAID UP IN HEAVEN, HAD PRODUCED FRUIT IN THEIR LIVES
1. Not only in THEIR lives, but throughout the whole world - Colossians 1:23
2. We have seen the kind of fruit being born by the gospel:
a. Faith in Jesus
b. Love for the brethren
3. In bearing such fruit, they proved that they were truly disciples of Jesus! - John 15:8
B. WHAT WAS THE KEY TO BEARING SUCH FRUIT?
1. Notice that they had been bearing fruit since the day you heard and knew the grace of God in truth
2. By knowing the grace of God, they were properly motivated to bear fruit
3. So it is today, those who truly understand the grace of God will more likely respond in grateful service to God!
C. WHAT IS THE GRACE OF GOD WHICH MOTIVATES ONE TO BEAR FRUIT?
1. Simply put, it is the unmerited favor which God has shown us through Jesus Christ!
2. We can summarize this grace of God by defining several key terms:
a. CONDEMNATION - Being guilty of sin, we stand condemned in the sight of God and in danger of everlasting death - Romans 3:23; 6:23
b. ALIENATION - Being guilty of sin, we also find ourselves separated from God - Isaiah 59:1-2
c. PROPITIATION - but in love and mercy, God sent Jesus to be our sacrifice for sins to appease God's just and righteous anger - 1 John 4:9-10
d. JUSTIFICATION - by responding in obedient faith, we can be justified by virtue of Jesus' sacrifice in our stead - Romans 3:21-26
e. RECONCILIATION - Free from the guilt of sin, we can now be reconciled with God through Christ Jesus our Lord - 2 Corinthians 5:17-20
f. SANCTIFICATION - By virtue of Christ's death, we may also be "set apart" in service to the glory of God - Romans 6:17-18, 20-22
3. The more one understands these concepts and their implications, the more likely they will also bear fruit!
1. Through Epaphras, the church at Colosse had heard of this wonderful grace of God - Colossians 1:7
2. And through Epaphras, Paul had heard of their wonderful love which was the fruit of their responding to this grace - Colossians 1:8
3. Indeed, the church at Colosse had admirable qualities, which we do well to emulate
a. Not for any glory for ourselves, but rather that God and His Son might be glorified
b. For it is only by His grace that we would be able to imitate the church at Colosse
a. Do we have faith in Jesus?
b. Do we love the brethren?
5. Let's be sure to allow the grace of God to have its desired effect in our lives!
6. If you have never responded to the grace of God, why not now?
-- Don Treadway, April 2009 --