Our new studies in Colossians focus on the theme of "Finding Fulfilment in Christ."
This is a timely message for us as we face continual challenges to remain committed to the truth - both in our personal belief and in our public witness (these are main expressions of our discipleship).
The Colossian church was exposed to a variety of teaching, much of which sought to displace Christ with human wisdom and empty ritual. To counter this wrong teaching, Paul focuses on Jesus – who He is, what He came to do and the fact that we need no one or nothing more than Him in our search for a Saviour. In our first study, we look at the power of prayer as a means of encouragement for one another.
To think about
- How does it make you feel when a friend tells you something he or she notices and appreciates about you?
- In what ways might this response affect the way we deal with others?
The power of personal witness
- Please read Colossians 1: 1 - 8. Why is Paul so ready to thank God for his friends in Colossae? (see esp. vv. 3 - 6)
- For a few moments imagine that you are an outsider, looking in at GHBC. What is it that demonstrates our belief and commitment to Jesus?
- For a few moments imagine that you are an outsider, looking in at (your name). What is it that demonstrates your belief and commitment to Jesus?
- How do we maintain and live out our hope (verse 5), at a time when the church is increasingly marginalised and ignored?
Pause for thought
What about the shadow of influence we cast on others by our example? Wrong attitudes and actions can engrave an impression on their minds that is impossible to erase. But just as we can leave a permanent mark for evil, so we can also leave a lasting effect for good. We should therefore strive to live so that our loving spirit, vibrant faith, and purity of life are never diluted by inconsistency.
The power of the gospel
- How can we achieve a correct balance between our belief and working out our faith?
- How would you describe “the gospel?”
- What impresses you about how the gospel was spreading (verses 5 to 8)?
- How might the vision of GHBC incorporate this kind of action?
- We read here of the ways in which Paul worked in partnership with Timothy (verse 1) and Epaphras (verse7). How have others helped you to hear and understand the reality of God's grace?
- How might you work in partnership with others, through this church and in the places God sends you, to proclaim the Good News?
Please read Colossians 1 verses 9 to 14. The prevailing impression here is that our faith and our ministry must not be static. It is a moving, growing, living thing. All the thoughts in verses 10 - 12 are present: active and/or future: active - i.e. to start and keep going!
Pause for thought: defining hope
Optimism is a wish without warrant; Christian hope is a certainty, guaranteed by God himself. Optimism reflects ignorance as to whether good things will ever actually come. Christian hope expresses knowledge that every day of his life, and every moment beyond it, the believer can say with truth, on the basis of God's own commitment, that the best is yet to come. (J I Packer)
The power of praying with a purpose
- Where might be the wrong kind of place to look for an understanding of God?
- What does Paul ask for the Christians at Colossae?
- In what ways might spiritual wisdom and understanding help us to better understand God's will (verse 9)?
- Verses 10 - 12 remind us that we are to "live a life worthy of the Lord." What does this involve and how are we to attain it?
- How does this relate to our motto text for 2018? (Philippians 3:12)
- reflect on how verses 13 and 14 might help you help you both in your prayer life and to show and explain what being a believer in Jesus is all about
- using verses. 9 to 14 as your model, pray for the church fellowship and for one another