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Faith and Love that spring from Hope

It's all about Jesus  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Claim: Hope in our future inheritance with Christ, fuels our faith in him and love towards other Christians.
Focus: Being sure of our inheritance, by the power of God, helps us to please Jesus in good works, obedience, endurance, patience and joy.
Function: To fix our eyes on our hope stored in heaven.
Here is a picture of Gordon, on the screen.
If you went to the doctors
He doesn’t know what he needs - but we do - It’s pretty obvious - he needs sleep!
But he does know why he is struggerling -
The game is, to guess why Gordon needs more sleep?
(Had a baby who doesn’t sleep, stress, ill, run an ultra-marathon, etc)
The answer is - I’ve no idea.
Well welcome to the book of Colossians.
The Colossian Christians, have some sort a problem.
We know that becasue Paul the Apostle, who is writing to them,
refers to a few problems in this letter,
but he doesn’t actually say what the problems are.
Paul knows the prpblem,
becasue a Pastor from Colosse called Epaphras
appears to have gone to Paul for advice about what to do.
And this letter is the solution, the antidote.
Paul who is writing to them, and Epaphras (who went to find Paul to report what was going on in Collosae, all know what they are struggling with.

1 - The Antidote

We’re not sure what city Epaphras found Paul in,
aphras found Paul in, but we do know he found Paul in a place he was all too familiiar with as a result of unswervingly declairing the good news about Jesus in a culture that didn’t want to hear it! Paul is in prison in chains.
but we do know he found Paul in a place he was all too familiar with as a result of unswervingly declairing the good news about Jesus in a culture that didn’t want to hear it! Paul is in prison in chains.
We also learn from the book of Philemon that Epaphrus also ended up in prison with Paul at some point!
Most likely, based on the type of Theology Paul is using in thsi book, and joiing a few dots about who he refers to in this letter, Paul was in his imprisonment in Rome towards the end of his life.
SO were are we going with all this.
Well, Normally, when we want to understand a NT letter,
But we, the ones eves dropping on this letter to them don’t know exactly what the reason for writting the letter was.
we first try to understand the reason for the letter,
so that we can understand how to apply the instructions in the letter to similar issues today.
But with no clear understanding of why Paul was writing,
it might be much harder to know how to apply it.
We know there is some problem going on from XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX?
The comentaries spend chapters and chapters debating what the Collosian herasy,
But we have no specifics.
or false teaching was.
Normally we establish the problem so we can apply it well to us today.
It’s dangerous to decide it must have been this and therefore we apply it to us in this way or that - becasue what if we get tehta wrong? It’s not in the letter or elswhere in the baible! So we can;’t be sure.
But on the whole have to admit they can’t be certain.
So what do we do with this letter?
Well I think this rather unique situation
gives us a rather exciting prospect.
What we need to do is elevate our trust in God’s revelatory word the bible.
We trust that God intended for us to receive the letter in this way,
not knowing the background.
Which means, we trust God that we don’t really need to know exactly what the problem was in Collose to apply it to us today.
Otherwise God, in his wisdom, would have made sure we knew.
Just like Gordon, who we all know what he needed, we just didn’t know his syptoms,
Which means, the antidote Paul prescribes,
to a problem we don’t know about -
has to be useful for us today -
written to Christians, and say,
we know what they need, and therfore we trust God that what they need is beneficial to every Christian who has read the Bible since.
whatever we are experiencing as Christians.
It is, if you like, a one-size fit’s all antidote to help all Christians at all times in all ways.
What is this wonderful, all encompassing antidote?
Well, it’s nothing less than our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Each week as we go though Colossians
we are going to see how Jesus is supreme in all things.
He is sufficient for all of life.
He is our motivation and joy.
He is our Lord.
Our series is called ‘It’s all about Jesus’ and More of Jesus is what we’re going to get week after week.
Whatever our problems are as Christians,
whatever we’re struggling with,
whatever theology we’re being tempted to elevate over another,
whatever distractions are being placed before and around us,
the answer is simple.
The answer is Jesus.
The passage before us today is what we
Each week we will explore a different and glourious aspect of JEsus.
Each week, we will see how more of Jesus, is the perfet antidote for doubts, for worldly living, for false teachings, for half-hearted faith - even for no faith at all.
What we will need is JEsus.
The book of Colossians is like a Doctors prescription who doesn’t know what caused their problem, but knows what they need to fix it!
expect to find at the beginning of each of Paul’s letters in the NT.
He starts by introducing himself in verse 1.
Paul had never been to Colossae, but it seems Epaphras,
who took the Gospel to them origionally,
was converted by Paul,
perhaps in Laodiciea about 20 miles away.
SO, they would have known of Paul and his ministry.
He would have perhaps been like a Spiritual grandfather to them.
He would have perhaps been like a Spiritual grandfather to them.
Paul then addresses his recipeints in v2
Colossians 1:2 NIV - Anglicised
To the holy and faithful brothers in Christ at Colosse: Grace and peace to you from God our Father.
Colossae historically was on 2 main trade routes, so had a large mix of cultures and traditions, both Jewish and Gentile (non-Jewish),
but more recently
the trade routes had bypassed the city,
causing it to be less significant in economically.
Whatever the problem in Colossae,
a city on an old trading route, made up of Jews and Non-Jews
Paul doesn’t seem angry or distressed,
it’s one of the most gracious introductions.
He call them holy and faithful.
This is a church that strives to live holy lives, faithful to the will of God.
I wonder if that is how you would like to be greeted?
And then we move into the body of our text today, v3-14.
Again, it’s typical for Paul to start his letters with a section of thanks to God,
and that is what we get,
But one thing seems to dominatee his prayer of thanks to God, and that thing is Hope.
SO our firt point is:

Live today for the future
I love the model Paul sets before us for prayer.
Straight of the bat
he begins with his wonderful theology of Grace. v3
Colossians 1:3 NIV - Anglicised
We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you,
Whatever faith, love and fruit a Christian church or individual demonstrates,
we must always thank God,
for his grace towards them or us.
And what does he thank God for in their lives? v4
Colossians 1:4 NIV - Anglicised
because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints—
What a simple summary of the christian life.
Did you know this is what your life ought to be marked by?
Not familiy,
not your job title,
not your house,
and not even how good your coffee making skill are:
Faith in Jesus and love for all the saints.
(Saints simply meaning other Christians, saved by Grace through faith in Jesus.)
This is what we ought to pray for each other,
that we grow in faith in Jesus and Love for each other.
Paul unpacks what a life of faith and love looks like in verse 9-14, which we’ll look at in a minuet.
SO simple.
And yet living in faith in Jesus and love for each other is often so hard.
The big question I hope this passage will answer for us today, is:
Why is the Christian life a struggle!?

2 - Why do I struggle?

Perhaps you sometimes doubt that you have been forgiven,
or question your faith becasue you keeps straying into sin.
YOu haven’t prayed all week,
becasue, well, life is busy,
and it’s just better to get on and work,
than stop and put your faith in Jesus.
And love for other saints - not just the ones you like, but ALL the saints!
Can you believe I didn’t thanked by such and such after i did this and that!
Why is thingy bob so weird,
no-one understands me.
Do I really have to cook another meal for another familiy whose had a baby, STop having babies!!
Love for all the saints is no mean feat!
I once went to an elederly gentlmans house after he’d been ill (not from this church) and despite saying no to sugar in my coffee, he still put it in! Worse than that that it was instant coffee! And just when you thought it coudln’t get any worse, I took a sip to find he’d put salt in not sugar!!
It’s hard to love people like that!
I asked to see his bible, knowing it was in another room, just so I could water his plant with my salted, instand coffee!
Now obviously I’m joking around, but we don’t need to look far to find we find faith in Jesus and love for all the saints hard.
And yet,
here is the Colossian church being commended before God for their faith and love.
SO what is it about them that seems to be working.
Well it’s there in our next verse, v5
Colossians 1:5 NIV - Anglicised
the faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven and that you have already heard about in the word of truth, the gospel
Their faith and love are springing from ‘HOPE’ in their future reward.
Look carefully, heaven is not the reward -
heaven is where the reward is kept.
It was a popular turn of phrase to imply that something could never be at risk or taken away.
It’s kept in heaven for you. No one can touch or harm it!
So what is the HOPE?
Well it is the Hope that they have already been told about in the ‘word of truth’ which is the ‘gospel’
Now, most of us know what the gospel is.
That humans, you and me,
have messed up our relationship with God almighty,
becasue we do things wrong.
We sin - by living our own way not God’s.
But God in his great mercy and love,
wants us to have a good and eternal relationship with him that isn’t tainted by sin or evil.
So, he sends his Son, Jesus, to take the punishment we deserve on himself.
Gods justice is satisfied,
and we are made free,
through - that thing we’re talking about - Faith in Jesus.
Paul puts it like this in v13
Colossians 1:13 NIV - Anglicised
For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,
What a beautiful image of God we get here.
It’s so true isn’t it?
Without faith is God,
we are in the darkness.
Nothing to live for,
nothing to look back on with thanks,
nothing to look forward to.
No idea were we are really going, or what we are really doing!
LIfe is meaningless
- and even if we kid ourselves that there is some meaning to life,
it’s all temporary,
a few short years and then eternal darkness.
But through faith in Christ,
God the Father ‘qualifies us’ using the language of v12,
to live in the kingdom of light!
No more stumbling around, scared and alone, we join the saints of Jesus in whom, v14
Colossians 1:14 NIV - Anglicised
in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
So we get back to the question, why do we often struggle with faith and love, if we know the Gospel?
The answer is 2 fold and we’ll spend some time on each answer?

1 a - We live in a ‘Now and not yet’ situation.

We have been freed from darkness,
we do now belong to the Kingdom of the Son (Jesus) v13,
we have been forgiven and redeemed
(made right with God the Father through Jesus).
BUT - we do also have a treasure that has not yet been given to us.
We have future HOPE, that the Colssians are told is the spring board for faith and love
- there is something yet to come that is far sweeter, far brighter,
far more wonderful than this life can ever offer.
SO, yes, for a time we will struggle.
It is normal
- even though Paul commends the Colossians for their faith and love,
he in no way thinks that they always get it right.
That is why he goes on to pray for their faith and love in verse 9-12.
Colossians 1:9–12 NIV - Anglicised
For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.
You see the way we demonstate our faith and love is by living according to God’s will,
revealed to us by the power of God,
which is His spirit living in us,
who speaks to us through His word, the bible,
so that we ‘live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way’.
That was Jesus’ final great commission to his church as he ascended to heaven -
make disciples of all nations, teaching them to obey everything i have commanded.
That all requires a faith in Jesus that v11 - has ‘great endurance and patience
becasue faith and love is often hard!
So, what does the Christian life look like -
it looks like someone who has faith in Jesus,
love for all the saints,
demonstrated by seeking to life a life worthy of Jesus,
obedient to the Holy Spirit by the Word of God,
so that we endure, persevere and have joy in the Father!
So again, why do we often struggle
- becasue at the moment we still live in the world of darkness,
by Pail
even though we don’t belong to it.
So what do we do living in this now an not yet period?
We join Paul on our knees and pray.
We pray for ourselves and each other that:
Colossians 1:9–10 NIV - Anglicised
For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,
col 1 9 by Pail
There is nothing greater to pray for fellow saints than this prayer!
We want each other to be filled with the knowledge of God’s will.
We want the Spirit of God to draw us to His word,
to reveal God’s desire and character,
to guide each step of our lives,
becasue we want to live lives worthy of the Lord Jesus
who has freed us from darkness and placed us,
by the grace of God in the light.
So, the first reason we struggle is becasue we live in a ‘now and not yet situation’,
but we can make it better by praying!
The second reason we struggle, I think,
is becasue we often try to motivate ourselves with the Gospel of the Past,
rather than the ...

Gospel of Hope.

Let me explain.
We often talk about the forgiveness we receive through Jesus,
Paul unpacks what a life of faith and love looks like in verse 9-14, which we’ll look at in a minuet.
and rightly reflect regularly on the cross where he died for us.
And we rightly give thanks for being saved from the darkness we have talked about.
But if we only look back as a motivation for faith and love that pleases Jesus in everyway,
then we run the risk of trying to please Jesus out of duty for what he has done for us.
But - Paul’s perspective here is still one of thankfulness, but thankfulness for what is to come!
This is the hope he is talking about that is stored up securely for us,
from which faith and love spring,
All that Jesus has done was so that we can have a HOPE to look forward to.
- but what Jesus has done was so that we can have a hope to look forward to.
The Hope as we’ve already seen is not heaven itself
- the hope is what we find in the Gospel.
But perhaps we need to broaden our understanding of what the gospel is.
The Gospel is not just that Jesus died to forgive us.
It is that Jesus died and rose again,
so that we may enjoy Him forever.
Now yes, but when he returns,
the kingdom of eternal light will begin.
All evil and sin will be gone.
We will no longer struggle, at all!.
We will be home where we belong,
and we will have our prize which will be an eternal,
a faultless relationship with God the Father,
God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
All knowledge of His will will be clear to us
- all of life will be pleasing to him, and joyful to us.
We need to live with our hearts set on what is stored up for us eternally
- on Jesus - seeing him face to face!
Look what Paul prays that the Colossians will be thankful for in v12
- it is not for their forgiveness of sins -
Colossians 1:12 NIV - Anglicised
giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.
We are to be thankful for our share in the inheritacne of eternal life with Jesus!
Acheived through the forgiveness of sins.
Think of it this way -
I am thankful for people who make donuts
- but only because I get to enjoy eating them.
If I only thought about the process of people making them I would never eat one -
I wouldn’t be living for that great taste
and I’d soon tire of thanking the people who made them,
becasue I’d have lost the focus for why they are making them for me!
Just so with God our loving heavenly Father.
God did not sacrifice his son so that we could thank him for doing that alone.
We would be missing out on the joy of why he did it!
So we look forward to that certain hope we have stored up in heaven for us,
grateful for what has been done -
but living in the light of what is yet to be fully realised!
So, now,
I don’t need to doubt whether I’m too bad to be forgiven - Becasue I am already joyful and thankful for what I know is all mine.
I live in hope for the future, not in trying to live by the past.
I can love another Christian who I find annoying,
not by thinking well, Jesus forgave them so, so should I,
but by knowing I have a wonderful shared inheritance with them,
where they wont be annoying
- or more likely I wont be selfishly judgemental!
I look at the Hope of Jesus in them,
not at the Death of Jesus in them!
Christian friends - Every aspect of our life (I mean every according to v10) is to be pleasing to Jesus - EVERYTHING.
If we are struggling to motivate ourselves to live for Him in Everyway,
then perhaps we are sat in the boot of the estate car of this life.
looking at the cross, through the back window, wondering where the car is going!
We’re in the right car, but boy is it a tough journey!
Trying to get motivated,
but loosing interest
and getting distracted by the world as we look out the side windows.
But Paul wants us to sit in
the front passanger seat of the car
- with the perfect city of eternity with Jesus right ahead of us,
flooding the windscreen with joy and excitement -
the car if fuelled by the power of God’s will,
revealed by his Spirit that steers the car on the narrow
but glorious road that is the Word of God.
We can glance reassuringly in the rear view mirror
at the wonderful grace of the cross behind,
with our old dark lives and sins dealt with at the foot of the cross,
who set us on this road of Joy and hope is no longer back there on the cross.
He is the Risen Christ
- He is the great city before us, beaconing us home.
He is the Great HOPE we are to look towards in Joy!
He is everything to us both now and forever more - and we are ready to live life all for Him and Him alone!
If you’re not in the car at all - well the passenger door is wide open - be humble enough to step in and enjoy the greatest life of all.

1 - The Gospel of Hope

2 - The Life of Hope

How Hope Help
Live today for the future
Word Biblical Commentary, Volume 44: Colossians, Philemon The Threat to Faith and the “Colossian Heresy”

Paul’s statements about the uniqueness and supremacy of Christ’s work in creation and redemption (1:15–20) are a reminder that they need look nowhere else than to Christ for a completion of salvation and his exhortations are to be understood as general warnings.

Basically his petition is for the discernment of God’s will and the power to do it.

namely, a crop of good deeds and growth in understanding. The power that would enable them to live in such a manner exercising patience and long-suffering could only come from above, that is, from God’s glorious might

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