Here is Week 1, Day 3 of the study. The PDF of the study will be available in August.
Day 3: Love, Hope, and the Gospel
“Because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the word of the truth of the gospel which has come to you just as it has in the 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,” Colossians 1:5-6, NASB.
(If you are completing the writing challenge, today would be a good day to write verses 5 and 6.)
Although I placed verses 5 and 6 above, we are going to begin in the last portion of verse 4 which reads as follows (ESV): “the love that you have for all the saints.” In Day 2, we discussed Paul’s commendation of the faith of these people. Today, we will talk about their love for each other.
Look up the following verses and write them in your own words.
1 Corinthians 13:13 _______________________________________
Romans 5:5 ______________________________________________
John 13:35 ______________________________________________
Although I did not ask you to look up the following verses, I am referring to them here because they complement our lessons. Matthew 7:20 states that one can know if a person belongs to God by the fruit he or she displays. Galatians 5:22 states that the fruit of the Spirit (Holy Spirit) is love.
In light of Paul’s commendation to the Colossian church, it should serve as an exhortation to us as well. How believers treat each other speaks volumes to unbelievers. If we slander and gossip about each other and mistreat each other, the world will take notice.
Of course, that is not to say that times will not come in which we must call out false teaching or error, but even that will be done in love according to Ephesians 4:15. If the matter is private, it needs to be addressed privately, but statements that biblical teachers make in public sometimes have to be addressed in a more open setting depending upon the capacity of the audience that particular person reaches.
Please note that I avoid calling out names when possible, and I will not call out names during the course of this study. I want to uplift my readers, but I do need to tell you that many saved people can teach erroneously. Depending upon the teaching, it might need to be corrected. More importantly, seeking the leadership and guidance of the Lord and His word will keep everything in order.
In verse 5, Paul begins to address the hope these people have. Their hope is laid up in heaven due to having heard and received the gospel. What is the gospel? It is the good news of Jesus Christ.
We are all born with a sin nature due to the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. When we reach a certain age which some refer to as the age of accountability, we become aware of right and wrong. The sad part of this truth is that we can do nothing to overcome the sin nature on our own. Jesus came to this earth to live as a man and die for us becoming the atoning sacrifice for our sins so we can have peace and reconciliation with God, the Father. We must accept His atoning work on the cross and believe in His resurrection. If you are reading this and you are not saved, please take this portion to heart. Once you accept Jesus and confess Him with your mouth, you are saved according to the Word of God (Romans 10:9-10).
Even if you are saved, we still need the gospel. The cross of Christ is needed everyday of our lives for the sanctification process. We cannot overcome our sin nature without it. Not only do you need to hear the gospel, Christian reader, you need to share the gospel with others. Our hope is in the cross of Christ.
Look up the following scriptures and write what they say about hope.
Romans 5:5 ____________________________________________
Romans 8:24-25 ________________________________________
1 Corinthians 15:19 ______________________________________
Psalm 130:5 ___________________________________________
Our hope is in God alone. He is the one who has saved us. He is the one who brings deliverance and help in our daily situations. What a loving and awesome God we serve who gives all we need for this life, then, when this life ends, we have a better one coming.
When I think of the gospel, I cannot help of thinking about when I first received Christ. I was fourteen, and I will never forget how light I felt. Before, I felt heavy-hearted. The weight of my sin and my need for Christ was weighing down on me. The weight lifted when I surrendered my heart and life to Him.
My dad began facing some major health issues during my late teens and early twenties. Not too long after I was married, dad had been hospitalized, which was frequent at that time. On this particular day, I was going to pick him up because he had been released. I remember that I kept getting delayed as I was traveling. I would either get every red light possible, or I would get behind what seemed like every slow driver in southern West Virginia.
It pays us to remember that our God is sovereign. He has a plan. Dad’s roommate at the hospital was not a Christian. Dad shared his faith with the man and led him to saving faith in Christ. What if I had been earlier? Sometimes, the most irritating of circumstances could actually be working something wonderful.
How about you? Can you think of a similar experience? Share a time when you witnessed the salvation of someone, or a delay ended up being the hand of God at work.
As I said before, we need the gospel. Sometimes we need to prompt ourselves so that we are reminded of what God has done. The Colossian church had experienced the saving power of the gospel. How do we know? Paul spoke of their faith and love. Fruit always comes as a result of salvation. It might not come as quickly as we would like, but it will come.
What do the following verses say about the gospel of Jesus Christ?
Isaiah 52:7 __________________________________________
Romans 10:15 _______________________________________
The gospel began spreading quickly after Jesus ascended into heaven. The Apostles got busy immediately. Paul was soon called to be an Apostle. He started many churches throughout Asia minor. Although Paul had never met the Colossians, he was friends with Epaprus who founded the church in Colossae. Epaprus kept Paul informed.
So, what are we waiting for? Let’s follow the example of Paul and others and share the good news of Jesus Christ.
(If you are memorizing the book of Colossians, today might be a good day to work on verses 4 and 5, then adding verse 6 if you become comfortable with 4 and 5.)