Paul begins his letter to Colossae by encouraging the saints where they had stood strong. Paul addresses his readers as saints and faithful brethren. Though they faced spiritual struggles, he did not doubt their salvation.
The believers at Colossians had formed a local fellowship of followers of Christ. Paul calls them saints. They were holy, sacred, consecrated to God. This title speaks of their union with Christ. Due to the prevalence of the idea that saints are just a select number of special believers, we need to always remember that every child of God is a saint, separated to God.
Everything in life may change, but once consecrated to God we remain set apart to Him. Our role as parents, spouse, vocation, and our place in society may change. Yet our position as a consecrated child of God remains the same.
Paul also describes the Colossian believers as faithful brethren. This speaks of their union with other believers.
Followers of Jesus Christ have a unique bond, we have fellowship, and not just friendship. God has bound us together not by common interests, but by adoption into His family, a shared purpose, and the same destination. Fellowship may include friendship, but fellowship exceeds friendship.
When Satan can no longer hinder someone from being a part of a fellowship, he will seek to tear the fellowship down and make it ineffectual.
It is vital that we remain thankful for one another, just as Paul expresses thankfulness for his brothers and sisters in Christ. Not only is Paul thankful for them, but he prays for them.
When a body of believers gives thanks for one another and prayers for one another, it makes it almost impossible for the enemy to effectively attack them.
We can pray for one another in a variety of ways, as Paul did:
- Sanctification – II Corinthians 13:7 & I Thess. 5:23
- For Love, Knowledge, and Judgement – Philippians 1:9-10
- For Knowledge, Wisdom, and Understanding – Col 1:9
- The Word to Have Free Course – II Thess. 3:1
- To support in times of Affliction and Sickness- James 5:13-14
- For Boldness in Sharing God’s Word – Ephesians 6:18-19
An important strength of the church at Colossae is brought out in verse 4. We read of their faith in Christ, and their love to all the brethren. Surely any fellowship will have hope and potential so long as they have faith in Christ and love for one another.
The Great Commission
The church at Colossae had a hope laid up, or reserved for them, in Heaven. The word for hope here is translated as appointed in Hebrews 9:27. The hope of the Colossian believers was secure. As it is for each believer.
This hope stemmed from the Word of Truth of the Gospel. One Truth, one Saviour, led to a sure and certain hope secure in Heaven. False teachings and false teachers only brought uncertainty and discouragement.
The Colossians had heard the Gospel preached by Epaphras, the Word of Truth of the Gospel. Epaphras receives high praise as a fellow servant and a faithful minister of Christ.
The Colossians received high praise from Paul when we read that Epaphras declared to him their love in the Spirit.
As noted in the previous article, this opening passage in Colossians reveals the Great Commission at work. Paul preached the Gospel at Ephesus and a church was planted. Epaphras evidently heard the Gospel there, or nearby, and was saved. He, in turn, took the Gospel to Colossae and a church was started. Now those Colossian believers were demonstrating faithfulness to Christ and one another, and they loved God and one another. So, the march of the Gospel continued.
The believers at Colossae were faithful to God, to praise, obey, serve, and submit.
The believers at Colossae were faithful to each other, they treated one another as Christ had treated them, prayed for one another, and met with one another.
The believers at Colossae were known for their love, they were spirit filled, growing in Christ, and sharing the Gospel.
We should endeavor to have fellowships of this sort. If we do, then even if challenges come, we will be well placed to confront them, deal with them, and move on to serve the Lord.