Colossians 1:1-5 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timotheus our brother,  To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,  Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints,  For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel;
A little boy who lived out in the country had never seen a circus. You can imagined how excited he was when one day his school teacher told the class that the circus was coming to town. He ran home with the good news. “Daddy, can I go to the circus?” Although the family was poor, his daddy sensed how much his child wanted this. “If you’ll get your chores done early this Saturday I’ll see to it you have the money to go”. That Saturday the child finished his chores early. He put on his good clothes and went to his daddy. Daddy gave him the fifty cents needed for admission, and the little boy ran all the way to town. As he entered town he noticed people lined up and down the street. He worked his way through the crowd and saw the approaching Circus Parade. It was the grandest thing he had ever seen. Caged animals snarled as they passed, bands beat their rhythms and sounded shining horns, midgets performed acrobatics while flags and ribbons swirled overhead. Finally, after everything had passed where he was standing, here came the clowns! With floppy shoes, baggy pants, and a brightly painted face, they rolled and roared and brought up the rear. As the last clown passed by the little boy reached into his pocket and took out his fifty cents. Handing the money to the clown, the boy turned around and went home. What had happened? The boy thought he had seen the circus when he had only seen the parade! He missed the best part. There are many people today who are exactly like this little boy. They are missing the best part.
The Christian Life is to be lived, enjoyed day by day.
We are starting a series of studies through the Book of Colossians. When the Apostle Paul wrote this letter (around 60-62 A.D.) he had never been to the Church at Colosse. Paul could not visit this Church as he was imprisoned at the time. However the Apostle heard of this Church through his son in the faith Timothy. This was a Church that had heard ….
vs 5 … the word of the TRUTH of the GOSPEL
They heard the Gospel, the Good News sent from a Great God. The Church at Colosse believed in our Colossal Savior and became a lamp of Christ, a light unto the world. What does it mean to “HEAR the word of the TRUTH of the Gospel”? There are three key words found in our focal text:
Colossians 1:3-5 We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,  Since we heard of your FAITH in Christ Jesus, and of the LOVE which ye have to all the saints,  For the HOPE which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel;
The three words we need to focus on are FAITH, LOVE, and HOPE. These are the three things that the Scripture says abide forever.
1 Corinthians 13:13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity (love) …
These three things always go together. What you have FAITH in you will LOVE. What you LOVE will fuel your tomorrow’s HOPE. Let’s look at each of these three words – they are very important.
1 We All Have Faith In Something Or Someone. The Bible defines “FAITH” as …
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
It is not FAITH to have something in hand, as in “I have faith that I now have a pen in my hand”. The reality is I do have a pen in my hand. It is not FAITH to say I have a wallet in my back pocket. I feel that lump there – I KNOW it is there. It is not FAITH to say there are people in the Church building right now, nor is it FAITH to say I see _____ in the audience. This is truth. This is what is. But that’s not FAITH.
Faith is the SUBSTANCE of things HOPED FOR.
Faith is the EVIDENCE of things NOT SEEN.
Faith is to believe something that isn’t right there in front of you.
- The Evolutionist has faith. Evolutionary Scientists – relying on carbon dating – believe that the earth is billions of years old. They were not here when the earth was made, but they use methods to check fossils then declare truth based on what they find. They have FAITH in their carbon dating methods. They have FAITH in what they call the fossil records. They believe that things started with a big bang, then man was created by time and chance. First we were goo, then globs, then fish, then something else, then apes, then man. They place FAITH in HUMAN TOOLS and HUMAN REASONING. But they are operating on faith.
- The Abortionist has faith. The Abortionist believes that life does not actually begin until the baby leaves the womb. The Abortionist places FAITH in HUMAN REASONING and HUMAN FEELINGS. Though the baby in the womb reacts to pain and to other stimulation the Abortionist denies all but the FAITH of their position.
- The Socialist had faith. The Socialist – along with the Humanist – believes that all people are at heart just good. The Humanist says along with Santa Claus …
“just be good for goodness sake”
I could go on and on.
The Atheist has faith that there is no Creator, though all of creation shows a design in it.
The Prosperous have faith in wealth, though the Scripture says:
1 Timothy 6:10 (KJV) For the LOVE of money is the root of all evil…
- Beautiful people have faith in their own beauty yet the Bible warns …
Proverbs 31:30 (NET) Charm is deceitful and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord will be praised.
- Others place their faith in power or human sexuality.
Where you place your faith matters. If you place your faith in a broken thing, then you will not in the end be blessed. The broken thing not only cannot save you – it can actually hurt you more!
One day Jesus and the disciples saw a fig tree, and Jesus went up to it to get figs from it. Finding it totally barren Jesus said “no one will eat fruit from you from this day forward” (Mark 11:14). The next day Jesus and His disciples pass by this fig tree once more and it was rotted from the ground up. Peter said “Master, the fig tree You cursed is withered away” (Mark 11:21). What did Jesus say to Peter?
Have FAITH IN GOD.
Don’t invest your faith in broken things. Don’t invest your faith in the things that are rooted in this world. Put your faith IN GOD. If you put your faith in anything OUTSIDE of God you will eventually go hungry.
God is available.
God’s Word is available.
God’s Gospel is available.
God’s Power is available.
God’s Christ is available.
Have Faith in God.
There was once a man who was very well educated. He studied at the finest schools of his time. He was well pedigreed. He came from the finest family. He was super conservative, and well to do. The man worked for the highest office in his nation, and was a type of detective with wide reaching powers. When he was told that a terrorist organization had arisen that was committing acts of treason against his beloved people he went out, broke up many of these groups, and was responsible for “neutralizing” many. As he was heading down an interstate road on day something happened.
Saul met Jesus.
Saul had his faith in the Statutes, the Sanhedrin, the Sacrifices, the Studies.
He had his faith in everything BUT the right thing. On the Damascus Road a Loving Jesus knocked down Saul, breaking him. It was on the Damascus Road that this allegedly good man realized that he had his faith in the wrong thing. It was only when Saul asked …
Acts 22:10 …. What shall I do, Lord?
that he went from Saul the Detective to Paul the Apostle. It was only after Paul said:
Philippians 3:7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
and went all in for Christ that he could be saved.
God will not save those who put their faith in the wrong thing. God will not bless those who invest their faith in anyone outside of Christ. For faith to be valid and valuable it needs to be solely vested in Christ!
We are all broken things. The Bible declares:
Romans 3:23 For ALL have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
That is the BAD NEWS. But the GOOD NEWS is this:
Romans 5:6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
Think on this, dear ones, and let it sink deep within your soul. “When we were yet without strength”. None have the power to save themselves. Have faith in yourself to be saved, and be ye damned! But like the leper come to Jesus seeking cleansing. Like the blind man come to Jesus seeking sight. Like the cripple come to Jesus seeking legs. Like the deaf come to Jesus seeking sound. When we were without strength – unable to help ourselves – unable to get in the healing waters on our own – Jesus passed by. He said take up your bed and walk. And being saved, we did!
2 Faith Is The Foundation, Love Is The Wall. Genuine Faith always leads to Godly Love.
Colossians 1:2, 4 To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. …  Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints,
The Apostle Paul had never met the members of the Church at Colosse – and yet he loved them enough to write a letter to them. Having never met them, the Apostle prayed always for them. Why? Because they are saints (set apart by faith) and faithful brethren (family members by faith in Christ).
When a person places faith in Christ, faith is the foundation but LOVE is the walls that God builds on that life. A born again on the inside believer has an outward love toward God, toward fellow believers, and toward other humans in general.
There are many who say “I have faith in Christ” and yet their lives show no evidence of this. The Scripture declares:
1 John 4:7-13 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.  He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.  In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.  Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.  Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.  No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.  Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.
Outward love is the proof of an inward faith. Periodically I have people call me up and say “I’m just not satisfied at the Church I’m at”. May I ask you this: what does SATISFACTION have to do with it? If you are born of God, you are marked by love. If you DO LOVE then you will be satisfied. What was it Jesus taught?
John 13:34-35 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
John 15:12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
1 Thessalonians 4:9 But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.
I heard a preacher remark about me one day that “You teach too much about love”. But Beloved, Love is the mark! If God is in you, then you love God. If God is in you, then you love others. You love sacrificially as Christ loved. Now you may not always hit this target (and I sympathize, because some people are hard to love) but love is nonetheless the target. We are told in another place:
1 John 2:9-11 He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now.  He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.  But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.
You have no saving faith if there is no sovereign love. One follows the other, just as one link in a chain is attached to another. We who are His love as He did. Sacrificially. For the undeserving. Wholeheartedly. Rejecting the flesh, but reveling in the Spirit. C.H. Spurgeon once preached:
“We have a common hope, let us have a common affection: we are on our way to God, let us march in loving company; we are to be one in heaven, let us be one on earth. One is our Master and one is our service; one is our way and one is our end; let us be knit together as one man. We all of us expect to see our Well-beloved face to face, and to be like him; why should we not even now love all those in whom there is anything of Christ? Brethren, we are to live together for ever in heaven: it is a pity we should quarrel. We are for ever to be with Jesus Christ, partakers of the same joy, of the same glory, and of the same love; why should we be scant in our love to each other? On the way to Canaan we have to fight the same enemy, to publish the same testimony, to bear the same trials, and to fly to the same helper: therefore let us love one another.”
Oh what wonderful words! Let us dwell on them.
3 Faith And Love Leads To HOPE.
Colossians 1:5 .. For the HOPE which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel;
We misunderstand the word HOPE. In our world today HOPE means “a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen”. Let me illustrate this.
When I was a young boy I came home from school one day and I could smell momma cooking in the kitchen. Oh it smelled so good! It was fried – and it smell like steak. As I walked toward the house I could imagine a big hunk of country fried steak, a large baked potato with a huge glob of butter on it, and some home made biscuits. I come through the back door screened porch and the smell just overwhelmed me! I was drooling like a dog with rabies! I walked in the kitchen, looked in the big old cast iron frying pan …. and saw several of the nastiest looking pieces of fried liver I had ever seen. On top of that there were no baked potatoes, but spinach. And old white bread! Oh how my little heart (and stomach) crashed!
That’s the way that the human world defines hope. That is not the way that God defines hope. God’s Hope is “laid up for you in Heaven”. It is a tangible thing based on the promises of our Jesus. Heavenly hope has substance because it is based on the promise of God in Christ.
Jesus told us:
John 14:1-3 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.  In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
You see, there is a place beyond this place that our Jesus has gone to. He died on that Cross of Calvary, rose again the third day, and ascended unto the Father in Heaven. Jesus died for us. And this same Jesus that we place ALL our faith in has promised us that there is a blessed hope LAID UP FOR US IN HEAVEN. Jesus does not nor cannot lie.
Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people. It is a place where those who have surrendered to the Lordship of Christ will go. Those who are in Heaven love God and love one another. Hope is not a make believe, should have been steak but is only liver place. Hope is the certain promise of God. We don’t have it yet. We must walk and live through this veil of tears first. But one day we who are His will receive that Blessed Hope.
Titus 2:11-14 (NLT) For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. 12 And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, 13 while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. 14 He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds.
Faith, love and hope. Faith saves. Love proves. Hope is our promised Destination, a Heaven where love, peace and joy rule. Praise the name of the Lord!
I’ll hope you’ll stay with us as we go through this series. May God touch your hearts with His Word.