We live in a time when Jesus is considered insufficient. In the minds of many the message about Jesus is simply not enough. This is why we see so many things added to the message of Jesus. We see new age techniques added to the gospel. We see teachings like “coexist” that declare that every spiritual path is a way to God. We see worship services turned into financial seminars or healthy and wealthy pep rallies. The point that the world is hearing is that the gospel is not enough. The message of Jesus is insufficient. Therefore, churches add all of these other elements of entertainment, activities, and teachings so that you can be complete. This is not a new problem. In the first century the apostle Paul was facing the same challenges in the Colossian church. People were coming in and they were distorting the message of Jesus by adding popular activities and teachings. Paul has to write to these Christians to teach them what is so great about Jesus. Paul must show them that Jesus is supreme and sufficient for life. Therefore, the focal point of our series to finish out this year will be to see what makes Jesus great and how this knowledge can change our lives today.
The first two verses of Colossians 1 reveal that this is a letter from Paul who was an apostle directly commissioned by Christ Jesus. The letter is also sent from Timothy who is Paul’s traveling companion and preacher of the gospel. Paul writes to the holy and faithful people of God in the city of Colossae. Saints are not dead people voted to sainthood by a religious organization. A saint is any person who is holy and faithful to God.
Paul begins his letter by praising these Christians because he has heard of their faith and their love. Paul thanks God that these Christians truly trust in the Lord. They put the whole weight of their lives on Jesus. They are exhibiting saving faith. This is the faith that James spoke about in his letter that demands changed lives. They are showing love for all the other holy people of God. Their active love is a sign of the genuine faith they possess. Our faith in Christ is shown in how we treat one another. Our faith in Christ is revealed in doing good for others and seeking out the best interests of others.
Hope Is The Reason For Their Faith And Love
Paul declares that they have this faith and love “because of the hope reserved for you in heaven.” We might think that Paul has the order mixed up. I think we would have the tendency to believe that faith is the basis of the hope that we have in heaven. Notice that Paul says that our hope in heaven is the basis for our faith and the basis for our loving others. Hope is what holds up our faith and our love. Our hope gives us our faith. We must consider that if we are struggling with our faith that the reason could be that we have lost our hope in heaven that is reserved for us. It is easy for us to focus on life right now and forget that each of us is going to die. Then what is going to become of us? What is going to happen to you next once you pass away? We lose our faith because we lose our eternal perspective. We forget that we are living the way we are living and serving the Lord for the hope reserved for us in heaven. Your calling in Christ is not empty. There is an eternal reality that we are looking toward. We love one another and sacrifice for others because we are looking forward to the hope reserved for us in heaven. We put the interests of others ahead of ourselves because we are looking at the hope reserved for us in heaven. We devote ourselves to God because of the hope reserved for us in heaven. I like that when the scriptures speak about heaven we are told that there is a reservation with our name on it. Your place in heaven is reserved for you. That is the hope you have waiting for you.
Do we see how foolish it is to put our hope in the things of this world? This world is temporary and, more obvious, we are temporary. All of us know that we are going to die at some point. We hope our death is a long time away, but we know it will come. If your hope is in this world then what is going to happen when you die? Then what? If I have hope reserved for me in heaven, then I have a reason for faith and a reason for loving others. I have a reason for living. I have a reason for pressing on in this world of suffering and pain. Faith and love are the fruits of this hope reserved for us in heaven.
What if we do not have that hope reserved for us in heaven? How can we receive that hope? Paul tells us that we have heard about this hope in the message of truth, the gospel, that has come to you. This hope comes from the message of the gospel that we have received. If we are losing grasp of that hope then we need to put the word of the gospel in our tanks. We need to fill up on the word of God. The message of the gospel is about the hope that we currently have that we previously did not have. I know this is an answer that not many people like to hear. Faith and hope are strengthened by reading God’s word. We want a different answer. We want to have faith and hope through easier means. We do not want to put in the effort required to build our hope and faith through reading God’s word. So we look for all of these other avenues and ploys to try to generate the joy we are looking for. It sounds cliché so we do not believe it, but we must read the word of God. You will not have hope and your faith will be weak if only access the word of God during the Sunday morning sermon.
The Gospel Is The Power For Fruit Bearing
The message of truth, the gospel, is bearing fruit and growing all over the world just as it has bore fruit and caused growth in these Christians in Colossae. The message of Jesus is powerful and bears fruit wherever it is preached. God’s word has the power to change lives. Too often will we not let the word change our lives, we will not let it change the lives of others because we will not proclaim the gospel. We tell everyone everything in our lives that is life changing. We tell them about our new television and how high definition is so much better than our old television. We tell people about great restaurants that we have enjoyed. We tell people about sales that stores are having. We tell people about all the great things that happen to us. Except we will not tell people about Jesus. For some reason we refuse to allow the gospel to bear fruit in the hearts of those that we know and love. The gospel has power if we will open our mouths and unleash its truths. The gospel changes lives. The gospel had changed the lives of the Colossians and it was changing lives of people all over the world. It will change your life if you will give your attention to its message.
Build up your hope to strengthen your faith.Hope is not wishful thinking. We often talk about hope in a way that we actually mean that we are wishing for something. We speak of hope as something that is a shot in the dark and is unlikely to happen. For example, I could say that I hope the San Diego Chargers win the Super Bowl. This “hope” is not based on any reality but is just wishful thinking. However, in the scriptures hope is the confident expectation that God will fulfill his promises. We have hope that is a reality. We have the hope that is reserved for us in heaven.
Love is the fruit of hope.If the message of God’s truth, the gospel, has had its way with us, then we will show that hope in how we treat others. Why are we so hard on each other and so unloving toward each other? We must be kinder, gentler, more loving people toward others, especially toward our brothers and sisters in Christ.
The gospel is the message of truth.What it says is true and right. We live in a pluralistic world that wants to accept everyone’s opinions and everyone’s method to find God. The gospel is the only way to God. The gospel is the objective standard called truth.
What is so great about Jesus?Jesus brought us this hope reserved for us in heaven. Jesus is the reason we have this hope. Jesus died for the world so that those who have faith in him will have hope for what happens next when we pass away.