The “Power” Gospel

We often use the word “power” to describe something and give it increased importance. Examples include the “power nap” and the “power lunch”.  In his opening remarks to the Thessalonians Paul equates the word “power” and the gospel. Here is what he writes in verse 5: “5 For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake.”  The good news of Jesus, His death, burial and resurrection is not simply words.  It’s not a story that is meant […]

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Elected?

Verse 4 of chapter 1 is very short:  “knowing, beloved brethren, your election by God”. Though the verse is short it is very significant.  There are a few doctrines in the Bible that generate a lot of “heat” in theological circles and one of those is the doctrine of divine election.  The word “election” here clearly means a “choice”, a divine choice.  If you are a follower of Jesus God has chosen you to follow Him.  This idea is repeated again and again from the Old Testament to the New Testament.  But what exactly does this mean?  Are some chosen and […]

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A Trifecta

This morning we continue with our look at Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians.  I mentioned yesterday that Paul spent a brief amount of time there before he was run out of town; but being run out of town didn’t diminish Paul’s love and concern for the Thessalonian believers. In verse 3 we read this:  “remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father.”   Three things are mentioned, “work of faith, labor of love and patience of hope”.  I’d like to ask each […]

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You Can Run Him Out of Town But…

Today we begin to think about Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians.  In Acts chapter 17 we are told that Paul came to Thessalonica and he preached Jesus as the Messiah.  The Bible says that some of the Jews in Thessalonica believed and a great number of the Greeks believed.  But the Jews who did not believe gathered a mob and Paul and his companion, Silas, were run out of town.  The Thessalonian Jews were so upset that they even pursued Paul to the next town and stirred up trouble there.  It doesn’t appear that Paul ever made it back […]

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Some Stay and Some Don’t

This is the last post from Colossians.  Tomorrow we are going to just continue with the order that we have and begin 1 Thessalonians.  Here are the last few verses of Paul’s letter:  ”14 Luke the beloved physician and Demas greet you. 15 Greet the brethren who are in Laodicea, and Nymphas and the church that is in his house.  16 Now when this epistle is read among you, see that it is read also in the church of the Laodiceans, and that you likewise read the epistle from Laodicea. 17 And say to Archippus, “Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it.”  18 This salutation by my own […]

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Zealous and Fervent

One more thought from these closing words of Paul at the end of his letter to the Colossians. Here is what Paul writes about a man named Epaphras in verses 12-13: “12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a bondservant of Christ, greets you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. 13 For I bear him witness that he has a great zeal for you, and those who are in Laodicea, and those in Hierapolis.”  May I ask you a personal question?  Do words like “zealous” and “fervent” describe how you feel about others who share a […]

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Going It (Almost) Alone

As Paul’s letter to the Colossians winds down, I admit that I might be “reaching” from time to time in Paul’s words of greeting and goodbye to find a devotional thought. But there was something that stuck out to me in verses 10-11.  Here they are: ”10 Aristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you, with Mark the cousin of Barnabas (about whom you received instructions: if he comes to you, welcome him), 11 and Jesus who is called Justus. These are my only fellow workers for the kingdom of God who are of the circumcision; they have proved to be a comfort to me.”  Paul wrote this letter […]

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How Do People Describe You?

When people talk to others about you…and you know that they do…how do they describe you? What words and phrases do others use when they talk about you?  I don’t know that we ever really know this unless we accidentally are made part of a conversation that we were not intended to hear.  I don’t think that most people would answer the question, “How would you describe me?” the same way if they were actually talking to us. Note how Paul describes men named Tychicus and Onesimus here in verses 7-9:  “7 Tychicus, a beloved brother, faithful minister, and fellow servant in the […]

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Walk in Wisdom

Right after Paul has requested that the Colossians pray for his ability to share the gospel, Paul’s focus continues to be on those who are “outside”; those who are not in Christ.  Here is what he writes in the next two verses:  “5 Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. 6 Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.”  I find it so interesting that Paul was so interested in those who did not know Christ.  I think that Paul was interested also in those who did know Christ, but he never lost sight of […]

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What Abilities Do You Pray For?

When you pray for the ability to do something, what is that ability?  Students may pray for supernatural ability to remember information for a test.  Athletes may pray for ability to run fast or swing hard.  New parents may pray for the ability to function well on 4 hours of sleep. What abilities to you want God to give you?  Note what ability Paul is asking the Colossians to petition God on his behalf: “2 Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; 3 meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which […]

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