Colossians 1:1-14                                                           Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Key Verse: 1:13                                                               Kevin Jesmer NIU UBF

“For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,”

Dear Lord heavenly Father, thank you for your great love for sinners such as I. I would be truly lost if it were not for you. My favorite activity would be sleeping and facebooking if it were not for Jesus. Thank you for saving me from despair and stress and joylessness and filling my heart with your love and grace. Thank you also for granting me eternal life. No matter what happens in this world or in this life, I have you and I have eternal life. I pray that I may be able to share your life giving gospel to the young people of DeKalb. Please open the way to a vibrant high school ministry. I pray that you may help to revive our hearts and help us to create a spiritual environment in which young people may be excited about coming to know and love and obey Jesus Christ, where Christians may love coming together, spending time together, and growing together as a body of believers. Thank you Lord. Please grant your word in my heart today through your word in Colossians. I pray in Jesus’ name . Amen!

1. Faith, love, and hope (1-8).

Verses 1-8 read, “ 1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, 2 To God’s holy people in Colossae, the faithful brothers and sisters[a] in Christ: Grace and peace to you from God our Father. 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,[c] who is a faithful minister of Christ on our[d] behalf, 8 and who also told us of your love in the Spirit.”

Three characteristics of Christian life are faith, love, and hope. This faith is in Christ Jesus as Savior and Lord. This love is for all God’s people. And this hope is in the inheritance in heaven. These come from hearing and believing the message of the gospel. The gospel message is the unchanging truth from God. The gospel is not stagnant, but has life, and this life bears fruit and grows wherever it is preached and believed.

By God’s grace I have been given faith and hope and love. I have faith in eternal life, in my relationship with Jesus, that God will lead me all the way to heaven. I have faith that God will work through my life and my family and my ministry, through I do not know how or in what form it will take in the future. I have hope that even if I loose my job or my health or my mind, Jesus will be there with me and lead me along the best possible pathway. I have secure future in Christ. God will lead my kids. God will lead my Bible students.

Verse 6 reads, “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.” Is the gospel growing and bearing fruit among me and my housechurch? It is, but not in ways that I expected or anticipated. I am definitely growing in my dependence in Jesus. I am humbled by God, recognizing my brokenness before God and how much I need him and his gospel in my life. My kids seem to be holding their own, spiritually. But I am a little disappointed that I am not building up a church among campus students. My disappointment lies in my expectations and my God given reality. I need to have eyes to see the growing work of God in me and around me in my house church.

2. Live a life worthy of the Lord (9-14).

Verses 9-14 read, “ 9 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives,[e] 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you[f] to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

Paul had two prayer topics for them: they may be filled with the knowledge of God’s will through the wisdom the Spirit gives, and they may live a life worthy of the Lord. A life worthy of the Lord that pleases him is a life bearing fruit, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened to have endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to God. How are we qualified for such a life? Through Jesus’ sacrifice, we are redeemed and forgiven. God has rescued us from the dominion of darkness. Not only that, he has brought us to Jesus’ glorious kingdom of light. Now we live with Jesus and his holy people. Only in Jesus can we receive the Spirit and live a pleasing life to God as his precious sons and daughters.

Thank you Lord for giving me your spirit. Thank you for giving me your knowledge and planting your joy in my heart. This is all a gift from God. It is the grace of God to me. I need to grow in the grace of Jesus and the knowledge of God. I must grow in my faith. Lord, keep me growing. Help me to create an environment here where we may grow in faith with lots of college students. Help me to promote spiritual growth among the healthcare workers at Kishwaukee Hospital.

It is so hard to measure spiritual growth. Nowadays it is frowned upon to make some judgment about someone elses’ spiritual growth. But the Bible tells us to show our faith by our deeds. The good fruit of faith must be evident. How can we say that a person is not growing spiritually? God gives us the spirit of discernment. We should know and be able to see. But why should we know? It is so that we can pray for that person. It is so that we can nurture the work of God, that is beginning to sprout. It is so that we may be able to choose and raise up leaders. I pray that I my grow and nurture others to grow spiritually as disciples of Jesus.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for helping to have faith hope and love. Help me and my housechurch to grow and bear the fruit of the Spirit.

One Word: Rescued and growing in faith.

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