Pastor Steve Ellison
The Year of Our Lord 2020 has been a stressful one, filled with challenges, tests, trials, and temptations. My countrymen have largely lived sheltered lives. For whatever reasons, compared to almost everyone else around the world in every age, we have lived in ease, comfort, and safety. Perhaps, God will use Thanksgiving to bring us to our senses. We have not been grateful for the manifold blessings of God. We have not been thankful for the magnificent health, wealth, and peace we have enjoyed for many decades. These material temporal gifts are a part of the bountiful blessings of God.
The best blessings of God benefit us in this life and the next. God created us and did not immediately destroy us when we rebelled. God has partially purged the earth of the awful consequences of our sin repeatedly throughout history. God gave us natural revelation of Himself in the created order around us. Furthermore, in the special revelation of the Bible, God gave us picture after picture and prophecy after prophecy so that we would be able to recognize the Promised Messiah. This Christ made a way for sinful man to be reconciled to Holy God. This Jesus is now mediating the New Covenant for us, interceding for us, and preparing a place for us in heaven. The Holy Spirit brought about the new birth in us, indwells us, and fills us.
Please do not overlook the fact that God adopted you into His family, transferred you from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light, added you to the Church. The Church is one of the greatest privileges bestowed on Christians. The benefits are for this life and the next. Colossians 1:1-2 states, Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are at Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father. (NASU) Christians are not saints because of their behavior but because of their cleansing by Christ and the declaration of God. Christians have been placed into the Church with other members who are brothers and sisters. We rightly wish grace and peace on each other.
Verses 3-6 record Paul’s thankfulness the Church. We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love which you have for all the saints; because of the hope laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel which has come to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth. (NASU) Faith in Christ will always lead to love for the other members of the Church. The hope laid up for us in heaven will cause us to increasing levels of making disciples and exhibiting the fruit of the Spirit.
Verses 7-8 point out the love and aid of one member of the Church to the rest of the Body of Christ. Just as you learned it from Epaphras, our beloved fellow bond-servant, who is a faithful servant of Christ on our behalf, and he also informed us of your love in the Spirit. (NASU) Epaphras taught the grace of God in truth to the Church at Colossae. Also, Epaphras told Paul about the godly love of the members of the Colossian Church. The Church is one of the great blessings of God ever given to man. Please do not let other things crowd it to the fringes of your life or out of it altogether.