I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face (Colossians 2:1, ESV).
Paul had not visited Colossae when he wrote the Epistle to the Colossians. What would Paul say to you, if he had never met or sent you a text message?
When you read the book of Colossians think, “I know Paul. He is an apostle of the Lord and a witness to the resurrection of Jesus. But I have not met him. However, he has sent me this letter; I wonder what he wants to say to me?”
Learn to read Colossians as Paul’s Epistle to You.
When you end a conversation with someone you might say, “I will pray for you.”
Paul begins his letter by saying that he is praying for you…
We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven (Colossians 1:3-5).
After promising to pray for others, we don’t, and we forget.
But Paul doubles down by stating twice in chapter 1 that he is praying for you…
And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord (Colossians 1:9-10).
If you want to learn to pray for others, memorize the entire prayer by the Apostle Paul for you in chapter 1, verses 9-14.
After praying for you, the rest of Colossians is further explanation of Paul’s prayer, as he teaches and encourages you.
First: Paul lifts-up Jesus. If you want to know about Jesus read chapter 1, verses 15 to 23.
One of the most important verses in the Bible is verse 17…
He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
Second: Paul explains to you his passion of serving Jesus and others (Verses 24-29 is a great passage for those of us who are leaders.).
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh, I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church (1:24).
…great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory (1:27).
…that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me (1:28-29).
Third: Paul writes two chapters – chapters 2 and 3 about your identity in Christ. Wow!
Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him (2:6).
For in Jesus the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority (2:9-10).
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth (3:1-2).
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful (3:15).
Paul ends Colossians like he begins. He is praying for you; now you should pray for others.
Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving (4:2).
Having taught us about prayer, what to pray about, and our identity, Paul gives us a commission which is similar to the Great Commission given by Jesus.
Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person (4:5-6).
Paul concludes his Epistle to the Colossians (You)…
I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you (4:18).