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Eyes of Faith

Eyes of Faith

Words of Faith 9-18-19

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2019

Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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Colossians 1

[1] Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, [2] To the holy and faithful brothers in Christ at Colosse: Grace and peace to you from God our Father.

 

     It is a town so unknown that most spellcheckers insist it is not a word.  Colosse had at one time been a place of considerable prominence.  The town was named for a rock formation that looked like the mythical figure Colossus.  During the time of the Persian and Greek empires, it was called "a great city of Phrygia" and "a populous city, wealthy and large.”  But after the road system was changed, it had dwindled to an "insignificant market town.”

     Like modern-day towns that wither after a highway bypass or the closing of a primary factory or mill, Colosse was a place struggling to redefine itself and survive changes quite beyond anyone's control. Maybe that is part of why Paul had such a heart for the Colossians.

     We don't know that Paul ever visited or preached in Colosse.  There are no references to personal friendships, but Paul nonetheless felt a personal connection. In fact, Paul sent another letter to Philemon in Colosse along with the team that delivered this letter.  We learn a little bit more about the church from that letter.

      As Paul wrote to the Colossians from the Roman jail, he was in the company of Timothy.  Paul was most likely under "house arrest" and allowed to stay in an apartment he rented, but he was chained to a Roman soldier.  Timothy was Paul's "spiritual son in Christ" to whom he eventually entrusted the pastoral leadership of the church in Ephesus. 

      Paul became aware that there were problems in Colosse from Epaphras, who was very likely the pastor of the church there.  Paul didn't have the close connections that would have allowed him to speak with blunt candor the way that he did in his letter to the Galatians-- "I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and is turning to a different gospel…" (1:6). He had to seek another way. 

       The problem at Colosse would require something more than blunt confrontation.  Instead, we will see Paul lift the magnificence of Christ.  Sometimes the answer to a problem very close to us is found simply in the bigness of God. 

       I recall one of my favorite seminary professors, saying that when we encounter small-minded people with small-minded problems, we need to preach a great big sermon about a great big God.  He said that when people start arguing about the position of the church parking spaces, it is time for an enormous message about the vastness and the wonder and the glory of God.  I think that is what Paul was doing in the letter to the Colossians.

        Paul began with blessing rather than chastising.  To the holy and faithful brothers in Christ at Colosse: Grace and peace to you from God our Father.  Some might have said that this first description was not entirely accurate.  Certainly, Paul did not intend to exclude those who needed this message the most.  But Paul exercised a quality that is truly from God:  He looked for the very best in these people and saw not what they were but what they could be and would be.  That is the eye of faith.

        Instead of addressing the Colossian church as "you foolish people who have drifted away into ridiculous arguments, philosophies, ideas about angels and demons, stupid legalism and dietary rules instead of the grace that saves you!"--  Paul saw the Colossians with the eye of faith and blessed them not only with the grace and peace of God our Father but with a declaration of what he hoped and prayed they would become-- holy and faithful brothers in Christ.

        We can learn a lot from that, can't we?  Sometimes blunt isn't the answer.  Sometimes we need to bless even those who curse us (Lk 6:28).  Sometimes we need to declare a truth that is bigger than the petty problems.  Sometimes we need to see above the fray and lift our eyes to see the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation through whom all things were created whether thrones of powers or rulers or authorities…" (1:15-16).

        Is there a problem you have been struggling with?  A problem that seems big but really is little? A problem person you have not known how to deal with?  The answer is not always a bold confrontation.  Sometimes we need to look with the eyes of faith at what God is doing in that person.  We need to see the outcome of what God is doing.  We need to see the holy and faithful brother or sister that will one day be there, and bless him or her now with the grace and peace of God.

        Is there a way in which you have felt passed by?  Left out?  Missed the blessing? The highway went around you, and now you are left to the side?  The truth is there is no more holy place than the one you are in right now.  You just need to see God there.  That is what Paul was doing.  He could see God at work in this place that otherwise looked like a forgotten village that almost didn’t make it on the map. 

 

        Father God, give me Your grace to be able to express Your grace and peace.  Lift my eyes above the small problems and petty disagreements.  Help me to see You and rejoice in the journey.  Help me to enjoy You and celebrate Your wonder.  Send your blessing on us, holy and faithful brothers and sisters, and give us the blessing of your grace and peace. 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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