It is so important in our day and age to say thank you. We are so blessed by what we have and who we are in Christ. It is a known fact that people who are more grateful and thankful are less burdened and live more peaceful lives.
We need to understand that the church in Colossae was encouraged by Paul as a group of people filled with love but confronted by heretical teachings. The book of Colossians is a Prison Epistle (letter written while in prison). Paul wrote it between 60-62 A.D. The key personalities include Paul, Timothy, Tychicus, Onesimus, Aristarchus, Mark, and Epaphras. It was written to counter and respond to heretical teachings and encourage believers to serve with fervour and passion and love.
- Paul is in prison in Rome with Timothy and so the letter is addressed from both of them to God’s holy people, faithful brothers and sisters in Christ. I am so encouraged by those that are faithful here at GMC and I want to thank you for your love and support. You are a holy people as were the church people of Colossae.
Verse 1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,
Verse 2 To God’s holy people in Colossae, the faithful brothers and sisters[a] in Christ:
- Paul’s greeting
Paul greets them with grace and peace enabling them to understand the love he has for them from God our father. This is a wonderful way to greet people with thanksgiving with our hearts.
Grace and peace to you from God our Father.[b]
- Saying thank you.
We need to say thank you more for the people that are close to us and for the people that surround us and not only that but to pray for them on a daily basis. Illus – The practise of the Benedictines when a stranger came they saw it as God’s blessing, rang a bell and gave thanks and cared for them. I am not sure that I am always as good with the people who constantly knock on the dominee’s door.
- Pray for the three pillars of faith love and the gospel.
Gratitude comes out of a heart that is solid with three strong pillars of faith in Jesus Christ love for others and the good news of the Gospel. I have been challenged to not just share faith and love but also my story of salvation. Are we telling our stories with thanksgiving in our hearts to God enough?
Paul goes on to challenge the brothers and sisters that the gospel needs to bear fruit and to grow.
Verse 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.
- Are you an Epaphras and who is your Epaphras?
I am sure that most of you would not know the name Epaphras well? His name means “Lovely” and he was the founder of the Colossae church. He was an intercessor and a warrior for the kingdom not a “worrier”. He had Paul’s back so to speak and he cared for the church and Paul and Timothy to the point of even being imprisoned with Paul in Rome. We have people like this in our lives and we need to give thanks for them. Who are your Epaphrases? I have many in this church and those that are dear to me one of them is sitting in the front row of this church – Debbie Veysie.
We need to note that home groups often become your Epaphrases.
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.
- You also need to be an Epaphras to others – How ?
- Don’t stop praying for them. Giving thanks for them every day.
- That they will have a knowledge of the will of God.
- That they will live a life worthy of the Lord
- That they will have great endurance and patience. I learned this from running 11 Comrades but more so patience from my mother who turns 81 this week.
- That they have an inheritance in the Kingdom of light – there is a prize and it’s not just waiting in heaven for you but it is here on earth as well.
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, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
My prayer is that we will be more thankful each day for ourselves and others. That we will choose to be Epaphrases to others “Lovely”. That you will acknowledge the Epraphases in your own lives and that you will choose to pray for them and for those that God has called you to care for with thanksgiving in your hearts.