Today I am preparing a sermon to preach at the jail on Sunday afternoon. I am going to be preaching from Colossians 1:1-8 and wanted to share a few thoughts about this passage. First, we see that God has a purpose and will for our lives. Paul says that he is an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God. Here is a man who persecuted the church, imprisoned many Christians, and killed many others. This man can now say with boldness I am an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God. God had a plan and purpose for Paul’s life. He used Paul’s past to influence his future, and gave him a mighty ministry. God can and will do the same for us. He can use our past no matter what is back there to influence our present and future ministry.
Not only do we see in this passage that God has a plan and purpose for our lives, but we are also challenged by Paul to be thankful for the faith and love of other believers (vv. 3-6). He says that they continually give thanks to God for the faith and love of the Colossian Christians. This is something that all to often we miss in the church today. We are to focused on how we differ from each other, and are envious of others ministries and lives, that we cannot be thankful for how God is blessing the ministry of others. Paul is extremely thankful for what the Lord is doing in the lives of other believers.
Finally, we see that we are to encourage people around us by talking about the ministry of others. Epaphras was ministering on behalf of the church in Colossa and he was sharing about the faith of those believers. Paul and his companions were encouraged by hearing what God was doing elsewhere. We need to speak in support of amazing ministries that we are aware of around the globe. We need to encourage each other by speaking of how God is moving in the lives of believers we encounter on a daily basis. We fight negativity by focusing on how the Spirit of God is moving in the world.
I would ask you to please pray for me as I continue to prepare this sermon. Pray that the Word of God would be made real in my own life, and that I would be able to apply it to the lives of these inmates on Sunday. Pray that God would soften their hearts, and that the gospel might take root in their lives.