Is Jesus Influencing, Making, Any Measure of Difference in our Life? Colossians 1:1 – 8

Colossians 1:1-8Amplified Bible

Thankfulness for Spiritual Attainments

Paul, an apostle (special messenger, personally chosen representative) of Christ Jesus (the Messiah, the Anointed) by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,

To the [a]saints and faithful [b]believers in Christ [who are] at Colossae: Grace to you and peace [inner calm and spiritual well-being] from God our Father.

We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, as we pray always for you, for we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus [how you lean on Him with absolute confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness], and of the [unselfish] [c]love which you have for all the saints (God’s people); because of the [confident] hope [of experiencing that] which is reserved and waiting for you in heaven. You previously heard of this hope in the message of truth, the gospel [regarding salvation] which has come to you. Indeed, just as in the whole world the gospel is constantly bearing fruit and spreading [by God’s power], just as it has been doing among you ever since the day you first heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth [becoming thoroughly and deeply acquainted with it]. You learned it from [our representative] Epaphras, our beloved fellow bond-servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf and he also has told us of your love [well-grounded and nurtured] in the [Holy] Spirit.

The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.

Today we are going to examine some important questions.

Is Jesus making a difference in your life?

Does Jesus have any degree or meaningful measure of influence over your life

The answer to this question is important because the answer to this question will tell us where we are at with Jesus and just how important He really is to us.

This devotional message is not intended to beat anyone down; it is meant to “stop our world from spinning off into the depths of “who knows where and why and when,” to challenge us to soar to greater heights with our great God.

How many times have we seen a person in athletics not reach their potential?

The NFL is getting ready to kick off its 2022 season.

Each of the teams started training camp with 90 players on their roster.

Now, before the season starts next Sunday, teams must get down to a roster of 53 players who “made the team by their efforts to meet “what it takes to win.”

That means that a whole lot of players of all experience levels will not be on the playing field – they “did not reach their potential, did not make the teams cut.”

How many times have we seen students of all ages go through their schooling and never reaching their potential?

It is a sad experience to read of the scandals of students just being “passed.”

Parents, Educators and Teachers and Coaches losing influence over that child’s life and witnessing then the growing and maturing influence of the “streets.”

Belonging to “families” becomes belonging to “drugs, guns and street gangs.”

It is a sad sight to see isn’t it.

People around them whisper about the waste of talent and potential they see.

• I believe the 21st century church is at a critical crossroads; this church is at a crossroads.

Individually, we must all decide how much we are going to let Jesus be our Lord, we all have to determine if we are going to totally give ourselves over to Him or are we just going to barely influence, scratch the surface, to be happy with that.

Corporately, we must all decide how much and IF and HOW and WHEN and WHY we are going to let Jesus be our only INFLUENCER our ONLY SAVIOR.

• Where we are at with Jesus is where the church will be at with Jesus.

Are we going to be “Christian?

Are we going to be a church that is absolutely sold-out on Jesus or are we going to be a church that is happy with scratching the surface of what GOD can do?

• I hope that as we delve into, through the book of Colossians, we will all learn something, some things that will help to challenge us to go deeper with Jesus.

Apostle Paul is writing this letter to a church that is struggling with some false teachings that were prevalent at the time.

This letter is written with three major purposes in mind;

these purposes are still absolutely valid today.

o To encourage the readers not to go back to their former way of life.

o To direct the people’s attention to Jesus and to get them to fully trust and worship Him and to fully recognize who He is.

o To emphasize the influence and virtue of Christ’s forgiveness and kindness.

Today we are going to look at four indicators that prayerfully will tell us if we are letting Jesus be our primary influencer, the primary difference in our lives.

Colossians 1:1-8New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition

Salutation

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,

To the saints and faithful brothers and sisters in Christ in Colossae:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father.[a]

Paul Thanks God for the Colossians

In our prayers for you we always thank God, the[b] Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. You have heard of this hope before in the word of the truth, the gospel that has come to you. Just as it is bearing fruit and growing in the whole world, so it has been bearing fruit among yourselves from the day you heard it and truly comprehended the grace of God. This you learned from Epaphras, our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on our[c] behalf, and he has made known to us your love in the Spirit.

I. IS JESUS THE CENTER OF YOUR FAITH?

I love the way this letter starts out.

It starts with the Apostle Paul in verse 2 saying that he is writing to the FAITHFUL brethren at Colossae.

Then he moves to telling the readers he is thankful for them and that he is praying for them always.

• Then he moves to what he is thankful for.

• He is thankful that he has heard of their faith in Jesus.

• When you think about it, this is an impressive statement.

The faith of the Church at Colossae is so great that it is known all around.

• Notice too that their faith is in Jesus; it is centered and based on Him.

• Their faith in Jesus made such an impact on the lives of those in the church that they gained a reputation for their faith.

• I wonder what people would say about the church as they walked around Colossae.

• I wonder what people say about the 21st century Christian Church when the subject comes up?

What are we known for?

If culture is the primary influencer, making the difference in our lives ….

• If Jesus is the primary influencer, making the difference in our lives,

will we then be known for our faith in our Master Rabbi, and Savior Jesus?

• The only way that our Master Rabbi Jesus, our Lord and Savior Jesus will be our influencer, the difference in our lives is if we have an undying faith in Him.

• I have seen too many people over the years play the church game.

We can get so caught up in things to the point that Jesus is not really the center of our faith.

For many the center of their faith is the status quo, it is their jobs, family or entertainment.

• Paul was not thankful for the church at Colossae because they had a really nice and diverse, inclusive, influential, politically correct and welcoming building.

He was not faithful because they sang a certain type of music or had a certain order of service, he was thankful for them in part because of their faith in Jesus!

• Faith means in part to trust.

Who do you trust?

Into whose hands do we really put your salvation?

Who do you turn to in times of trouble?

Who do you give the glory to when things go well?

• If Jesus is the center of your faith, your life will be different.

I hope that our church is known for our faith.

That will not ever happen unless two things happen.

First, our faith has to be evident in our lives and secondly, we need to be involved in the lives of other people so they can see our faith in action.

II. IS YOUR LOVE FOR THE BRETHREN EVIDENT?

The second thing Paul is thankful for is the love the church had for the brethren and for all the Saints (Christians)!

• Is Jesus making a difference in your life?

If He is, He will be the center of your faith.

The fact will manifest itself in how much love you have for your brothers and sisters in Christ.

• We have talked a lot about love in the past and we will continue to do it in the future.

This is an important issue.

IF you cannot love the most unlovely of us, then Jesus in not exerting any meaningful influence or making any measurable difference in your life.

• Jesus loved Judas?

He had plenty of reasons not to, but He did.

What is your excuse for NOT loving Judas?

• We cannot ask lost people to come in and love those we will not love.

If Jesus is influencing you, making a difference in your life, it will show by how you are able to love ALL of the brethren – WITHOUT EVEN ONE EXCEPTION!

1 John 2:9-11New American Standard Bible

The one who says that he is in the Light and yet hates his brother or sister is in the darkness until now. 10 The one who loves his brother and sister remains in the Light, and there is nothing in him to cause stumbling. 11 But the one who hates his brother or sister is in the darkness and walks in the darkness and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

We can say how much we love Jesus all we want, tell Him how sold out we are to Him all we want, but if we do not love one another, they are empty statements.

• If Jesus is making a difference on our life, we will love the brethren!

III DOES YOUR FAITH REST IN YOUR HOPE IN HEAVEN?

• In verse 5 we find out why and how the Christians at Colossae had such a great faith.

because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. You have heard of this hope before in the word of the truth, the gospel

• Their hope was focused on what was laid out for them in heaven.

• If Jesus is making a difference in your life, you will be able to realize there is a big picture.

You will not want to get even or take vengeance on every injustice done to you.

• Paul is thankful for their hope; faith and hope are always tied together.

Faith is based in hope.

• There has to be a pot of gold if you will at the end of the rainbow.

1 Peter 1:4-5GOD’S WORD Translation

We have been born into a new life which has an inheritance that cannot be destroyed or corrupted and can’t fade away. That inheritance is kept in heaven for you, since you are guarded by God’s power through faith for a salvation that is ready to be revealed at the end of time.

If we have no hope of heaven, then we will not be able to persevere when we need to.

The things of the world will look too attractive to pass up if our faith does not rest in hope.

One of the blessings of hope is it allows us to sacrifice the present on the altar of the future (Reverend Dr. John MacArthur Jr.)

• That runs contrary to human nature.

Young children, for example, have a difficult time waiting for something they want.

The world wants it and wants it now.

• The Christian has a different perspective.

He is willing to forsake the present glory, comfort, and satisfaction of this present world for the future glory that is his in Christ.

In contrast to the “buy now—pay later” attitude prevalent in the world, the Christian is willing to pay now and receive it later.

What makes Christians willing to make such sacrifices?

Hope, based on faith the future holds something far better than the present.

Romans 8:18-21GOD’S WORD Translation

God’s Spirit Helps Us

18 I consider our present sufferings insignificant compared to the glory that will soon be revealed to us. 19 All creation is eagerly waiting for God to reveal who his children are. 20 Creation was subjected to frustration but not by its own choice. The one who subjected it to frustration did so in the hope 21 that it would also be set free from slavery to decay in order to share the glorious freedom that the children of God will have.

If Jesus is influencing, is making a difference in our life, our hope in the future will truly allow us to sacrifice the present things for the future gain of heaven!

IV. IS GOD’S WORD PENETRATING YOUR LIFE?

because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. You have heard of this hope before in the word of the truth, the gospel

• Where did they get this hope, faith, and love?

Look at verse 5, they heard the word of truth, the gospel.

• They did not get their faith, hope, and love from the bottom of a cereal or Cracker Jack box; they believed it because they heard the word of God!

Romans 10:15-17New American Standard Bible

15 But how are they to preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who [a]bring good news of good things!”

16 However, they did not all heed the [b]good news; for Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word [c]of Christ.

CONSTANTLY BEARING FRUIT

• Wherever the gospel seed is sown, fruit grows. If the gospel has penetrated your life, your life will be fruitful for God. The fruit production will never stop.

• I absolutely love strawberries!

Every summer, a farmer plants acres and acres of strawberry plants and every year I can remember from my youth I can remember the farmer said they would get so many strawberries off them throughout the season we would get sick.

• With the strawberry plant, there would come a season when it would quit producing fruit.

For the one who has had the gospel penetrate their life, they will produce fruit in every season of life!

• Paul says for those at Colossae, that the Word has been bearing fruit from the day they heard and understood the word!

• Maybe some are not producing fruit because they are do not understand the Gospel Word.

The more you read it, eat it, the more understandable it becomes!  

Psalm 34:8-10New American Standard Bible

Taste and see that the Lord is good;
How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!
Fear the Lord, you His saints;
For to those who fear Him there is no lack of anything.
10 The young lions do without and suffer hunger;
But they who seek the Lord will not lack any good thing.

CONSTANTLY INCREASING

• Not only will our lives produce fruit, but it will be in the increase all the time! As you grow and mature, you WILL produce more and more fruit for God!

• The spiritual growth of individuals will lead to new converts being won to Christ.

That was the easily observable pattern of the early church. (Acts 2:43-47)

Acts 9:31New American Standard Bible

31 So the church throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria [a]enjoyed peace, as it was being built up; and as it [b]continued in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it kept increasing.

You do not need some fancy program in order to grow; you need Jesus to make a difference in the lives of each one of us in the church!

• Part of the reason a church stops’ growing is because individuals within that church stop growing!

• If Jesus is making a difference in your life, the word of God will be penetrating your life and you will produce fruit for Him.

• Are you withering in the vine or are you feeding yourself with the Word daily?

V. ARE YOU AN EPAPHRAS?

because of the [confident] hope [of experiencing that] which is reserved and waiting for you in heaven. You previously heard of this hope in the message of truth, the gospel [regarding salvation] which has come to you. Indeed, just as in the whole world the gospel is constantly bearing fruit and spreading [by God’s power], just as it has been doing among you ever since the day you first heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth [becoming thoroughly and deeply acquainted with it]. You learned it from [our representative] Epaphras, our beloved fellow bond-servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf

We do not know a lot about Epaphras except for the couple of times Paul mentions him in the letter and once in Philemon.

• He is called a fellow bondservant who is a faithful bondservant.

He was most likely an evangelist.

• Notice in verse 7 we are told they learned the gospel from Epaphras! He was producing fruit. He was not going to leave it to someone else to teach people.

• You cannot teach what you do not know, and you cannot know what you do not study!

We are told in Colossians 4:12 that he was one who labored hard for Jesus.

• If you were mentioned in the Bible, what would Paul say about you?

• I hope we could all strive to be like Epaphras.

He was most likely nothing special; he was just willing to let God use Him!

• If Jesus is making a difference in your life, you will be a changed person!

Colossians 1:4-6Amplified Bible

for we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus [how you lean on Him with absolute confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness], and of the [unselfish] [a]love which you have for all the saints (God’s people); because of the [confident] hope [of experiencing that] which is reserved and waiting for you in heaven. You previously heard of this hope in the message of truth, the gospel [regarding salvation] which has come to you. Indeed, just as in the whole world the gospel is constantly bearing fruit and spreading [by God’s power], just as it has been doing among you ever since the day you first heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth [becoming thoroughly and deeply acquainted with it].

It’s wonderful when someone comes into the kingdom of God.

That person receives God’s gift of grace through faith in Jesus, and they begin a new life of walking with the Holy Spirit.

The new believer realizes that their old life of selfish pursuits offers nothing that will ever satisfy.

They have turned their back on the darkness and are enjoying the light of the world, Jesus.

Praise God for his love!

Paul is filled with thanks to hear that the people of Colossae have come to faith in Christ Jesus and are showing their love for all God’s people.

He even says, “We always thank God . . . when we pray for you . . .”

They have become wonderful examples of living by faith in Jesus.

They believe and trust, they love, and they hope in what God has already stored up in heaven for them.

Drawing all this together, we can say with Paul that the faith of the Colossian believers is rooted in Jesus Christ.

Friends, my prayer is you will have faith in Christ Jesus; my hope for you is that in Jesus’ name you are loving others, giving yourself up for them, and growing in hope in all that God has promised and is storing up for you in heaven.

Stay rooted in Christ,

Anticipating the immeasurable reality of God’s kingdom on earth as it most definitely and decisively is in heaven.

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

Faithful Father, thank you that you have plans for your church that are for our good and your glory. The Bible says the church is your house, you dwell in the midst of your people. Let us be built on the firm foundation of Jesus Christ. Let us be built together in a way that honors you. May Christ dwell in our hearts through faith so that we, being rooted and grounded in love, may have the strength to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord, Savior. Amen.

https://translate.google.com/

Author: Thomas E Meyer Jr

Formerly Homeless Sinner Now, Child of God, Saved by Grace.

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