Colossians #2 Col 1:5-14 (MSG)

 

Colossians #2 Col 1:5-14 (MSG)

 Last time in our study of the letter written to the congregation in Colossae by Paul:

 1. We’ve learned to be a participant in God’s master plan we must surrender self-rule.  We must bend the knee by acknowledging, believing, committing and asking.  One doesn’t earn God’s salvation, God gives salvation to those who ask. 

 Is it wise or is it foolish to call your own shots or follow God’s lead?  God’s way is the only way to living your life to the full and then on to life eternal.

 2. We’ve learned that we need a faithful companion. The spiritual journey is not a solo journey.  You need spiritual friends, who help, who encourage, who labor with you. Be that spiritual friend.  Find that spiritual friend.

 Is it wise or is it foolish to embark on an epic journey alone or with companions? The spiritual life is an epic journey and it’s best traveled with good friends.

 3. We’ve learned that love is the foundation of God’s master plan and love is to be the distinguishing characteristic of every participant in God’s plan. 

 Is wise or is it foolish to live a life of self-less love?  Self-less love is making the concern of another’s yours.  Jesus revealed that this is God’s way with us, and self-less love is the way we follow Jesus.

 4. We’ve learned that hope in the glorious ending of God’s master plan keeps us keeping on. 

 Is it wise or foolish to have hope in that which is can neither be proven or disproved?  When there is hope in the future, there is power in the present.

 Do your actions reveal that you are a wise or foolish person?

 In our exploration today, after further greetings, Paul is going to expound on God’s Master Plan, the good news of the gospel, he is also going to pray a prayer for that congregation, its going to be a blessing for us also.

 Colossians 1:5-8 (MSG)

 The Message is as true among you today as when you first heard it. It doesn't diminish or weaken over time. It's the same all over the world. The Message bears fruit and gets larger and stronger, just as it has in you. From the very first day you heard and recognized the truth of what God is doing, you've been hungry for more. It's as vigorous in you now as when you learned it from our friend and close associate Epaphras. He is one reliable worker for Christ! I could always depend on him. He's the one who told us how thoroughly love had been worked into your lives by the Spirit.

--The Message, that’s the proclamation of God’s master plan. The Message is that you can establish a right relation with God.  The Message is not religious guesses but God’s assurances.  The Message is not just for a certain group of people, it is universal, no one is excluded.  The Message is changing lives for the better, removing the selfishness and cruelty out of culture so that people can have peace with God, peace within themselves and peace with others. The Message is that participation in God’s master plan is an invitation given to all freely, a grace gift from God.

 The good news is

1 Peter 3:18 & Romans 10:13 (NLT)

Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit.  “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Is it wise or foolish to ask God to accept your faith in His Master Plan?

If you have not called, asking God to accept your faith in His Master Plan, right now is a good time to do so. 

This is how the Message is passed from one person to the next, word of mouth. The Message is to be passed on to others. Passing the Message on is exactly what Epaphras did.  History suspects that Epaphras came to faith under Paul’s leadership while in Ephesus and stuck around to be mentored by Paul.  When opportunity came, Epaphras traveled back to his home town of Colossae (~200 mi) with the Message.  His efforts were fruitful, changing lives, and planting a church.  Epaphras obviously traveled from Colossae to Rome, about a 1300 mile trip, to keep Paul updated and I am sure to be encouraged by his mentor himself.  Do you realize that you have a Message that can totally change a person’s life?  There is power in the Message, but it is powerless if you don’t tell someone what God has done for them.

Epaphras’ report motivated Paul to pray for the congregation.  

 Colossians 1:9 (MSG)

Be assured that from the first day we heard of you, we haven't stopped praying for you, asking God to give you wise minds and spirits attuned to his will, and so acquire a thorough understanding of the ways in which God works.

Let me pray over you the same prayer Paul prayed for the church family in Colossae.

 Colossians 1:10-12

10 We pray that you'll live well for the Master, making him proud of you as you work hard in his orchard. As you learn more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work. We pray that you'll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us.

Let’s contemplate this request for God’s blessings upon our lives.

There is a task for each one of us, we are to “work hard in His orchard” (1 Corinthians 12:7, 1 Peter 4:10).  As sons and daughters of righteousness we are to work hard at creating righteousness for all.  We do so by proclaiming the Message.  His orchard, is this life, this life belongs to Him, your life belongs to Him (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).  Our task, and it is hard work, is to live righteously, rightly related to God and be a light for others to do the same (Ephesians 5:8).  We accomplish this by sharing the Message.

You are living well for the Master, as you learn and do Kingdom work.  The Message is backed up by your deeds.  The foundation of all kingdom work is love (Matthew 22:36-40).  Love is an action, this kind of love is observable in the things you do, the things that you say, the hands that help and the words of encouragement (1 Corinthians `13:4-8). The way God works is loving to all (Psalm 145:8).  We learn to do the work God has given us as we do it lovingly to all.

 This learning and working is not a “one and done,” some mini course that’s over in two weeks.  It is a lifelong adventure in learning how to love, and friends it is a hard course (1 Corinthians 9:23-27).  Loving like God loves will be the hardest thing you will ever do (John 15:13).  You will need supernatural strength to grow deep, grow up and grow fruit (Ephesians 3:16).  You will need Holy Spirit strength within to unlock the doors, solve the mysteries, overcome the enemies both within and without.  Living your life to the full requires a consuming desire to overcome and Divine assistance to accomplish.

 There is a warning here also—Paul’s request that we “stick it out:”  stick it out and not drop out.  This journey is difficult, troubles abound, not all who start the journey finish the journey (Matthew 22:14). We drop out through neglect, we drop out through self-centeredness, we drop out because we lose sight of the prize (Philippians 3:14).  We drop out because of discouragement; we drop out because we think we know what God should do but God doesn’t. 

 Coupled with the warning of falling out, is guidance in how we are stick it out, to continue to work well.  We are to work well by utilizing God’s glory strength (Ephesians 3:16).  Glory strength involves looking beyond the present, beyond the storm, beyond the catastrophe, beyond the obstacles and see the bright and beautiful things that God has instore for you as continue to work well in the Kingdom (Hebrews 11:10).  Glory strength empowers you to reach out and obtain the bright and beautiful.  Glory strength focuses on the reward of a job well done.  Glory strength gives you confidence that regardless of the challenges “You can do it” (Philippians 4:13).  Glory strength gives you confidence that everything is going to be all right in Christ (2 Corinthians 4:8-12).  

 1 Corinthians 2:9-10 (MSG)

No one's ever seen or heard anything like this, Never so much as imagined anything quite like it—What God has arranged for those who love him. But you've seen and heard it because God by his Spirit has brought it all out into the open before you.

 Thank God that He has revealed these truths to you.  Thank God that He does all this in partnership with you as you learn to do the work of the kingdom (Joshua 1:9).  Thank God that the bright and beautiful is within your grasp, that even in the darkest ugliest times of life, glory strength will foster joy in the suffering, in the trouble and you will endure entering into that bright and beautiful day.  Thank God remembering what He has already done for you:

 Colossians 1:13-14 (MSG)

God rescued us from dead-end alleys and dark dungeons. He's set us up in the kingdom of the Son he loves so much, the Son who got us out of the pit we were in, got rid of the sins we were doomed to keep repeating.

 God has got a sweet heart deal set up for you.  I suggest you don’t pass on it.  Place yourself in the position that you can actualize the pray that has been prayed for you.

We have learned that the Message, the gospel, is the door, the path, the way to God’s sweet heart deal master plan.  The gospel message has power to rescue from the dead end alleys and the dark dungeons of life.

 We have learned that the hard work we are called to do is telling proclaiming the Message.  The Message is transmitted by you to others.

We have learned that the best way to proclaim the message is through loving actions in support of the words we speak.  

We have learned that God strengthens us to do the work.  As we partner with God we have glory strength, which empowers us to look beyond the immediate, see through the fog of spiritual war, to the bright and beautiful God has for all who stick it out.  

 Do you want to get into this sweet heart deal?  Choose to be wise.  Do you want others to get in on this sweet heart deal? You have the words of power.  Let the actions of your life prove that you are among the wise.  


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