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 6 that has come to you. 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. (from the NIV)
Once again God the Father is prominent in Paul's approach to the Colossae people. Paul prays for the Colossian church, thankful for the love they show to each other, thankful for the faith that they have in Christ Jesus. The hope that they have in "stored up in heaven" is the source of the faith and love they have. Because of this hope, they are continuing to grow , sharing the gospel, just as so many in the world are doing. They are indeed bearing fruit, as they have done ever since they first really understood God's grace.
Question I would have for myself
Is my life coloured by the knowledge I have of God, of the hope that I have in his return and my place in heaven?
I hope so. I know within myself how very often I fail. I tend not to see where I am "doing it right", I tend to see just where I am doing it not so right.
Question I have for myself
Can people thank God for the love that I show to others? For the faith that I show in God? I don't know, it's difficult to answer that. I.. tend to be uncomfortable when people pray for me or about me.
Question: what is the hope they have stored up in heaven?
Is it Christ ruling on the throne? Is it the hope of going to heaven at the end of times/end of their life?
Question I have for myself.
Am I continuing to grow and bear fruit as I better understand God's grace in my life?
I think so. :) I am learning more all the time about just how much God loves me. He cares for me so deeply despite all I have done, thought, said. He just loves me dearly. And one does NEED to respond to that love. That love shows me just how selfish I can be, how much sin has pervaded the world, and how much more change needs to be brought about in my life to more and more conform me to who Christ is.
Questions from the book
Why wouldn't Paul begin on a note of thankfulness? When bringing correction to folks it is always kindest to start with the good stuff you see in them. To show folks you notice the good things as an encouragement to work on the things that aren't so good. Paul says.....these are the good things I have learned about you...and this is WHY they are good. What an excellent foundation to begin from.
2. What two things in particular does Paul point to as being the reason for his always thanking God for the church in Colossae and why are they important?
The two things Paul points to?
1. the love they have for each other.
2. the faith they have in Christ.
3. Paul speaks of "the hope said up for you in haven' that lies behind these people's faith in Christ and love for all the saints. How does he go on to explain this hope more fully and show why it lies at the heart of True Christian experience?
The hope that is laid up/stored up in heaven for them. This is a confidence in what is waiting. A confidence in who lives in heaven. A confidence in Jesus Christ himself.
4. What does this teach us about the kind of evidence we ought to see in someone's life which shows that they really a Christian?
If someone truly loves the Lord God, it will be shown in how they live their life. For the Colossians this hope shone forth in how they treated each other...they had a love for all the saints (all the people who also love God) AND they had a faith in Christ that was evident to those around them. So evident that word reached Paul about them. Epaphrus made sure that Paul knew this about the Colossian people.
5. Why does Paul mention Epaphras at the end of this section? If a trusted friend were to bring a report about you or your church to someone else, what do thin think they would say?
Why wouldn't Paul mention the message bearer. It's like me saying, OH.. I heard from thus and such that you did thus lovely thing. It makes people happy (generally) to know that others are commenting on good things that they see in your life. It's like when someone tells me something good that my lad has done. I'm pleased that it's been seen and recognized as a good to comment on. :) Then I can turn around and tell my lad what I was just told. It is encouraging.