Guest preacher, Rev Stuart Withers (Rochester Presbyterian), preached from three main texts in his message on the importance of prayer (Philippians 1:9-11, Romans 15:30-33 and Colossians 4:2-6.). Just as Paul exhorted us to make ‘all kinds of prayers for all the saints’ (Ephesians 6:18), so also in these texts we are reminded that prayer is the key for the encouragement of God’s people, the strengthening of His gospel workers and the means by which unbelievers are brought into the Kingdom of God. Great things happen when God’s people pray!
In a world where people are happy enough to enterain thoughts and listen to songs about Jesus in the manger, Colossians 1:15-18 brings another perspective. The Apostle Paul tells us that Jesus is no longer in the manger as a harmless child, but is fully God, to whom all things belong and for whom all things exist, who demands the absolutely first place in our lives. He can demand this because He is Lord and because He proved His love for mankind by paying the price of our sins by His own blood.
Have you ever had someone tell you that you’re not quite there as a Christian, that you need to do something else, fulfil some extra requirement, maybe have some sort of extra experience? if you do that then you’ll be a real Christian! In preaching on Colossians 2:6-23, Steve Blyth points out how the Apostle Paul says very clearly that authentic Christianity is all about Jesus. If you have Him – you have everything you need. It’s through keeping Jesus at the very centre of our focus that we grow in the way God wants us to and become the type of people He’s created us to be. Beware of people who tell you otherwise.
Jesus may be marginalised from parts of the public sphere but Colossians 1:15-20 reminds us that we always need to move towards Jesus! He is God himself, creator and sustainer of all. He came to reconcile to God those who rejected him. Our purpose is to have Jesus as Lord of our lives since he has saved us from death.
Both Christians and non-Christians alike seem to drastically underestimate the significance of the Christian faith in our world today. In Colossians 1:1-14, Paul seeks to rectify such false conclusions by showing us not only the eternal significance of God’s saving purposes through His Son Jesus, but also how such salvation significantly transforms Christians in the here and now, setting them apart to fulfil God’s purposes in God’s world.