Foundations Colossians 1:1-2
“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the holy and faithful brothers in Christ at Colosse: Grace and peace to you from God our Father.” (Colossians 1:1–2 NIV-GK)
So, how can this letter be relevant for us today?
I believe that this letter reassures us of our prophetic voice and calls us back to the Foundation of our Faith. Notice I did not say Foundations, but I left it in the singular.
We need to learn how to love, accept the Rule of Christ, the Supremacy of Jesus as the First Born of creation and King of the Church. Many verses in this letter will bring you comfort, conviction, and teach about this King Jesus. The foundation is Jesus.
I believe there is one verse that is at the heart of this letter:
“For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.” (Colossians 2:9–10 NIV)
Just imagine how powerful this is; if we grasp the meaning of these Scriptures, our mindsets will change.
You got mail!
Do you remember the film “You Got Mail” by Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks? There are few romantic films that I like, and this is one of them. I love the characters, I like it because it is Manhattan, NY. I reminded when I worked there during my teens. I even downloaded the script. That is weird!! – I know – Sad!
After the characters exchanging several email and establishing a relationship, they decided to meet up. They do that at the end of the movie, and I still remember the last lines of Meg Ryan saying something like, “I wanted it so much to be you” – and they hug and kiss.
Well, something similar happens here in this letter to the Colossians, with the only difference is that the Colossians never meet Paul, yet Paul writes to them with divine authority and much love.
It is love that moves Paul to write this letter to a Church that is known for her love, a love that evident:
“He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf and has made known to us your love in the Spirit.” (Colossians 1:7–8 ESV)
This is the only place where the Holy Spirit is mentioned.
Yet, there is plenty of evidence of the Spirit working in the lives of this fellowship. Wouldn’t it be great if we are known as people who love well?
Now, Paul does what was costumed to him and, as it was the formal way of writing a letter.
“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the saints and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father.” (Colossians 1:1–2 ESV)
The calling Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God.
Paul’s authority as an apostle comes from the very will of God. God appointed him as an apostle to his people and us.
Unlike other letters, like Galatians and Corinthians, where his calling is challenged, here it isn’t.
As we will see later, Paul’s teaching in Colossians is more about the Supremacy of Christ than he is defending his ministry. Also, the enemies of this Church are not mainly religious people, but they come from other places.
Paul writes to a church he had not planted with the same authority as his other churches during his missionary travels.
It is possible that during his two years of teaching in Asia, some of Paul’s disciples sat at his teaching and were moved by the Holy Spirit to plant this Church.
It seems that Acts 19:8-10 gives that impression.
“And he entered the synagogue and for three months spoke boldly, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God. But when some became stubborn and continued in unbelief, speaking evil of the Way before the congregation, he withdrew from them and took the disciples with him, reasoning daily in the hall of Tyrannus. This continued for two years, so that all the residents of Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks.” (Acts 19:8–10 ESV)
Paul was not different from any one of us. I am not saying that we are all apostles or degrading his status as such.
I am saying that his Encounter with Jesus, his calling to ministry and his baptism in the Spirit should be the norm for all of us.
In the book of Acts, chapter 9, we read that Paul had an encounter with Jesus. He was blind for three days, then a prophet Ananias came to lay hands on him, but he called out Paul’s destiny and mission before he did that. Ananias received a word from the Lord, a specific word and calling, and then he placed his hand upon Paul, and the Holy Spirit powerfully came upon him. Encounter, Calling and Power.
The Brothers: To the saints and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae
This is so beautiful and powerful of Paul, as he addresses this church family. Paul calls them Saints and Faithful Brothers!
Saints mean being set apart, that is the basic meaning of this word, and it is here where Paul wants to see how he saw these believers through the lenses of God’s Holy Spirit. We are set apart for God, and we have been consecrated unto him.
He also calls them Brothers in Christ.
You and I are set apart for God but placed within a family, the Church. We are placed in this family because of Christ. The one who unites this family is Christ. We are brothers and sisters, thanks to Him. The Scriptures calls Jesus our brother.
“Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers. He says, “I will declare your name to my brothers; in the presence of the congregation, I will sing your praises.” (Hebrews 2:11–12 NIV-GK)
This is very important. Some people love God, but they don’t love the Church! Not to fellowship is not being in a relationship with our elder brother Jesus. Not only that, He holds all things together, even the Church, his family, and if you are not congregating, then you need to think again.
Let’ us be clear; live streaming will never replace our physical gathering.
At the very heart of this letter, we find this extraordinary verse:
“And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” (Colossians 3:14 ESV)
That is the bond of love that keeps the family together.
There is something more, Paul calls them not just brothers, but Faithful Brothers, just as Epaphras, “the faithful servant”. Faithfulness also means believing the Gospel, being brought into the family fellowship of brothers and sisters in Christ.
The Father’s Gift: “Grace to you and peace from God our Father.”
Now it is the Father’s turn, as Paul greets this Church with words from the Father’s very heart and reveals to us who the Father is and what he does.
The Father is the giver of Grace and Peace!
Sam Storm says that this grace is not something in which we merely believe; it is something we experience as well; it also the very power by which we are sustained and nourished in and proceeds through that life.
This letter reveals the grace of God as it is a means of grace for the churches in Asia and us.
Paul will expand more about the peace of God in this letter as he exhorts his readers, “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.” (Colossians 3:15 ESV)
Warren Wiersbe, in his devotional commentary on Colossians says:
“We live in a day when religious toleration is interpreted to mean “one religion is just as good as another”. Where our message is being challenged, and our lifestyle is under scrutiny. We live in a world where Jesus may be prominent, but he is definitely not preeminent”. We need to hear and apply the teaching of Colossians.
While living studying theology at Belfast Bible College, I received a letter that I have kept. It was posted on the 17th of Nov. 1997.
It was from my uncle, who was my dad’s cousin. He was a dentist and a Minister, someone who loved the Lord, his Church, and was passionate about World Mission. He was a great preacher, and he encouraged me to serve the Lord in Mission. Unfortunately, my uncle is no longer with us, he is with Jesus. Yet the words of his letter to me are a source of inspiration, love, and urging me to serve the Lord. My family has served the Lord now the 4th generation.
Let me share with you some of what he wrote to me: “Ministers are the doctors of the soul and spirit”. I know that this is true. Therefore, how much more than significant and crucial it is to learn from this letter was delivered and read in Colossae around the year 60-62, and for thousands of years still speaks to our sick souls, words that can revive our spirits.
We got mail!