Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Faithful Community Sunday School Lesson

International Sunday School Lesson
For Week Ending May 2, 2010

Purpose: To celebrate the wonder of Christian community expressed through worship and good works.

Scripture Text: Colossians 1:1-14 (NRSV)

Colossians 1:1-14
(1)Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,
(2) To the saints and faithful brothers and sisters in Christ in Colossae:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father.

(3) In our prayers for you we always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, (4)for we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, (5)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 (6)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. (7)This you learned from Epaphras, our beloved fellow-servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf, (8)and he has made known to us your love in the Spirit.

(9) For this reason, since the day we heard it, we have not ceased praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, (10)so that you may lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, as you bear fruit in every good work and as you grow in the knowledge of God. (11)May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully (12)giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. (13)He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, (14)in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

My Thoughts by Burgess Walter

Since I have spent most of my life selling everything from insurance to fire extinguishers allow me to paint you a word picture about Paul's letter to Colossae.

It's Sunday morning in Colossae, a small market community, though once a much larger city before the roads bypassed it, and there seems to be a unusual amount of excitement in the air as the church starts to gather in the home of Philemon. The talk, as they gather is about some special visitors that have come from Rome, Tychius, and one of Philemon's former slaves, Onesimus, will be there, and the gossip is they have brought a letter from the founding pastor, Epaphras, and from the Apostle Paul, who is imprisoned in Rome, and his companion Timothy. As they noisily move about trying to get a good seat so they can hear the letter being read, there is an excitement and anticipation that this little church has not experienced before. Suddenly silence comes over the entire house, as pastor Archippus introduces Tychius to read the letter.

As this letter is being read you can imagine both “Amen's” and perhaps even “groans” of disgust, because this little household church is divided. An unsavory teaching is making headway, a teaching that incorporated several different ideas, from the Greeks, Jews and the Orientals. A teaching that spirits, and thought, as well as the law are more important than the Incarnation of God and the teaching of Jesus Christ, what was accomplished by His death and resurrection and the message that was delivered on the day of Pentecost.

Paul's message is, (verse 9-10) “that you may be filled with the knowledge of God's will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you may lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing him, as you bear fruit in every good work and as you grow in knowledge of God.” As children we often have heard that what we do brings either honor or disgrace to our family name. Our actions reflect on the entire family, from grandpa and grandma to our brothers and sisters. Our lives and deeds should be worthy of the Lord, and pleasing to him. As we gain knowledge of God's will in our lives, we should discipline ourselves to live in accordance to that will, if we do that, we can expect and hope for God's blessing on our lives and we should see fruit and good works grow out of that obedience to his will.

Paul further states there is another issue you should face; things may not go your way. You may be called on to exercise patience with joy and thanksgiving, knowing that you have been transferred from a life of darkness into a new world of light and have a new residency in God's kingdom, and that our sins have been forgiven. That knowledge and assurance should be enough to sustain us through the trying times. I am reminded of the old hymn “The Light of the World is Jesus” “Once I was lost but now I am found, the light of the world is Jesus. Once I was blind, but now I can see, the light of the world is Jesus.” Are you prepared to come to the light? How can you gain knowledge of God's will in your life?

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