Grace

This is it. We have made it! Well done everyone. I love what John MacArthur says about these verses. “What you have here at the close of Colossians is a group photograph, frankly. Paul signs his letter and it includes a group photograph. He has grouped together in one portrait at the end of this epistle, all of the people who helped him in his ministry while he was a prisoner in Rome.”

13 For I testify for him that he has a deep concern for you and for those who are in Laodicea and Hierapolis. 14 Luke, the beloved physician, sends you his greetings, and also Demas. 15 Greet the brethren who are in Laodicea and also Nympha and the church that is in her house. 16 When this letter is read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and you, for your part read my letter that is coming from Laodicea. 17 Say to Archippus, “Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it.”

 Can you see the photo? How sweet!

And now to end the study….

18 I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. Remember my imprisonment. Grace be with you.

Colossians has been a fabulous study. A book of the bible that I am so glad to have studied. I love Paul’s passion about Christ and his ministry to others.

The whole book of Colossians has been on Christ, not on Paul. How easy it would be to become so self focused on his own problems.

“Grace be with you.” This is beautiful. Grace is undeserved favor. It is something we need immeasurable amounts of and yet something we do not deserve and cannot earn. We need grace for everything! Jesus is the source of our grace! Stay close to him.

You have SOAPed a book of the bible!  Continue it! Study God’s Word! Love it! Live it!

People

Our time is drawing to a close, this letter is as well. As you read and write it out, think about the people who are listed.

10 Aristarchus, my fellow prisoner, sends you his greetings; and also Barnabas’s cousin Mark (about whom you received instructions; if he comes to you, welcome him); 11 and also Jesus who is called Justus; these are the only fellow workers for the kingdom of God who are from the circumcision, and they have proved to be an encouragement to me. 12 Epaphras, who is one of your number, a bondslave of Jesus Christ, sends you his greetings, always laboring earnestly for you in his prayers, that you may stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God.

  •  Can you imagine their lives?
  • Can you imagine the condition of their situations?
  • Do you know enough about Paul’s life and times to see his heart for people?

Now,

If your were writing a letter to encourage a group of people, who would you include?  Would you be included in a letter?  How is God using you?

Heading towards the end

Hump day! Praying for a beautiful day!  

Can you tell it is time for Paul to wrap up his letter to the people in Colossae?  

As to all my affairs, Tychicus, our beloved brother and faithful servant and fellow bond-servant in the Lord, will bring you information. For I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know about our circumstances and that he may encourage your hearts; and with him Onesimus, our faithful and beloved brother, who is one of your number. They will inform you about the whole situation here.

My SOAP thoughts:

  •  People are important, and their names in scripture are important?  Learn about the people mentioned here!
  • Can I even remember what the world was like when you had to wait on letters or word of mouth for information and encouragement.   Our hearts wilt so quickly based on “likes”,  “follows”, etc – I was struck back the length of time it took to receive info.
  • Don’t forget about Paul, the house arrest!  Don’t forget his heart!

 

Gracious

My focus today was on verses 5-6. Are you the type of person that expects non-believers to act like believers? Do you like them? Hate them? Tolerate them? How do you conduct yourself around unbelievers? Do you act like them? Can they tell a difference in you? Do they feel you contempt or your love? Do you share your faith with them at all?

Paul tell us…..Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person

Our wisdom comes through our redemption that is found through Christ. We have been forgiven and through the Holy Spirit, we are enabled to be gracious and kind! To the believer, every non-believer is an outsider….Outside of a relationship with the Jesus.

A couple of questions for thought:

  • Why it is important to have wisdom towards outsiders?
  • The world judges Christianity by what it sees in me. Am I representing it well with kindness, holiness, consistent reverence to the Lord?

In reality, God wants us to make the most of the opportunity with unbelievers.

The phrase making the most of an opportunity  in Greek literally means “redeeming the time,” or “buying up the opportunity.” The sense then would be “Do not just sit there and wait for opportunity to fall into your lap, but go after it. Yes, buy it.” There is definitely a time to be aggressive in your relationship with an unbeliever. Do not become complacent about sharing your faith.

And that was all in verse 5.  Verse 6 also has much “meat!”  We need to be careful with our speech. Our speech in public. Our speech in private. No gossip, no slander, no favoritism.

How do you speak about the gospel? Family? The weather?Politics? The economy Authority? You work?

Our speech is to be filled with Grace.  Grace is getting what you do not deserve. God wants us to be gracious is our speech. What does this mean? We are to show kindness and love and compassion and patience to others – Always.

And then this phrase….. Speak the right word and the right time to the right person….it meant the world to me.  God gives those of us who are believers the wisdom to say the right thing at the right time.  I need to be a good friend! A good listener! I need to share my faith and trust the Lord to tell me what to say.  HOWEVER, I need to be proactive in a few areas, especially when dealing with unbelievers.

  • I need to know Scripture!
  • I need to understand the Trinity!
  • I need to know the Gospel message to tell it – the death, burial, resurrection and return of Christ!
  • I need to study some difficult issues (just be familiar with them) like evolution, cults, other religions.

What will tomorrow bring?  What did you learn today?

 

Being alert

Hello everyone! Can you believe it is the last week? I know I am behind on writing this post.  I woke up with an excruciating headache that will not go away.  My concentration has not been the best.

I have to admit that I was overwhelmed with a part of today’s verses.

Masters, grant to your slaves justice and fairness, knowing that you too have a Master in heaven. Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; praying at the same time for us as well, that God will open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned

Verse 2 just got to me!

Paul is urging the people of Colossae to devote themselves to prayer.  I know he would urge all of us to do the same thing.  I have loved NRC’s study of the great prayers of scripture this summer.  Through these prayers you can see a real relationship with the Lord.  In reality, these prayers were prayed by great men and women but I wonder if they ever had moments where they had trouble “keeping alert.”  Verse 2  shows the reality of prayer sometimes. Sometimes it is hard to “keep alert.” Paul must have experienced this, I experience it, others experience….The reality is, sometimes it is hard to stay focused and alert in our prayers. Paul knew that and was offering encouragement and a way to stay alert…..

He reminds us to have an attitude of thanksgiving. Again,  I wonder if he knew or even he struggled with the “gimmes”.  Our prayers are so often a want list that we forget to Praise and offer thanksgiving.

We are nearing the end of this book and Paul is reminding the people of Colossae to pray for him. That God will open doors. I love Paul’s heart.

What did you see?