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Encouraged in Heart; United in Love

Encouraged in Heart; United in Love

Words of Faith 10-21-19

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2019

Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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Colossians 2

    [1] I want you to know how much I am struggling for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not met me personally.   [2] My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ,   [3] in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. [4] I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments.   [5] For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how orderly you are and how firm your faith in Christ is.  

 

         Sometimes it is hard to realize just how a pastor agonizes over those entrusted to him. That is the word Paul used here.  He was struggling for those in the region.  Paul was the overseer of the church in this whole part of the world.  He felt a deep connection and personal responsibility for their spiritual welfare, even though he had not personally planted most of these churches.  He was deeply concerned about the heresy that had apparently spread to the church at Laodicea but was centered in Colosse.

         But Paul's goal in writing was not a sharp rebuke or harsh argument.  He had no desire to tear at those who had earnestly trusted in Christ even though they had later drifted.  He wrote purposefully so that they would be encouraged in heart and united in love. 

         Paul's greatest desire was that the believers of the region would have the full riches that come in complete understanding of the mystery of God in us, that is, Christ.  Paul would deal clearly with the heresy that was presenting itself, but his doorway into the hearts of these people was not to come "loaded for bear.”  He was building a bridge of encouragement and unity.

          The reality is that it is easy to be deceived and pulled away from the truth by fine-sounding arguments.  It seems that there is always some new deception floating around in the Christian culture.  Colosse was no different.  The latest fad can sound very persuasive, but truth and persuasion do not always correlate. Error may sound good, but truth will be compelling even when it is not the easy path.

          This was the big worry on Paul's heart, the drift into deception.  Even so, Paul saw fit to encourage the believers at Colosse.  Though he was absent from them physically, his heart was there in spirit.  He was delighted to see that they were orderly and that their faith was firm in Christ. 

          What we learn here from Paul is a manner of both gentle exhortation and gentle example.  We may hear of those who have drifted from the sound faith.  We may even hear of some who are caught in a deception, lured away or drifting into the convenience of non-commitment.  The goal is not accusation or prosecution.  The goal when there is error is to correct that error, but all that starts with encouragement in heart and unity in love. 

         Is there someone you know who has drifted away?  The signs can be subtle.  It may be that they have become enthralled by a faddish teaching or an easy-sounding "gospel.”  It is easy to be pulled away from the Lord by "fine-sounding arguments" and debate is not always the best answer.  Paul's example was to encourage in heart and unite in love. 

 

       Heavenly Father, give me a heart like the Apostle Paul.  Help me to know the words and manner of heart that will lead to encouragement and unity.  Give me discernment so as to know the difference between fine-sounding arguments and the truth of the Gospel.  Guide me this day in Your path.  In Jesus' Name.

 

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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail, and our website, and our church app, excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.  

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