This week we focus on the study of Colossians Chapter one. Paul wrote this letter to the people of Colosse to combat errors in the church and to show that believers have everything they need in Christ.
SCRIPTURE TEXT: “For we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and your love for all God’s people, which come from your confident hope of what God has reserved for you in Heaven. You have had this expectation ever since you first heard the truth of the Good news.” –Colossians 1:4-5(NLT)
We can have “confident hope” of what God has for us in Heaven because we know that our future destination and salvation are sure (1 Peter 1:3, 4). We are free to live for Christ and love others. When you find yourself doubting or wavering in your faith or love, remember your destination—Heaven.
PRAYER: Thank you, dear Lord, for giving the assurance that Christ is all I need in all my endeavours. Amen
SCRIPTURE TEXT: “It is God Himself, in His mercy, Who has given us this wonderful work of telling His Good News to others, and so we never give up.” –2 Corinthians 4:1 (TLB)
Do you know that God loves you? Maybe you’ve heard that truth all your life! But if you know God loves you, do you sense and recognize God’s love? When you stop believing you are loved by God, you can start to get discouraged. Why? Because if you don’t believe God loves you, then you can’t experience His grace and mercy. The best way to defeat discouragement is to remember how much God loves you and to stay focused on that truth.“It is God Himself, in His mercy, Who has given us this wonderful work of telling His Good News to others, and so we never give up” (2 Corinthians 4:1 TLB). What is mercy? Mercy is when God gives you what you need, not what you deserve. Mercy is when God knows every mistake you’ve made and will ever make, and He still gives you every good thing in your life. God’s mercy is what keeps you going when you feel hopeless or worn down or discouraged. A lot of people who have been Christians for a long time don’t sense God’s love because they only think God speaks to them in a critical voice. But if the voice you’re listening to is always negative, it’s not God. God made you love you. The number one purpose of your life is not for you to do good. The number one purpose of your life is not even for you to love God back. The number one purpose of your life is to let God love you. When you do that and experience his mercy and grace, you’ll be free to pursue all that he has planned for your life. Talk It Over
What circumstances most often affect how you think God views you? Do you feel like God more often speaks to you in a negative voice or in love? Why? How do you let God love you? What do you want to change the way you think in that area?
SCRIPTURE TEXT: “Make no mistake about this: You can never make a fool out of God. Whatever you plant is what you’ll harvest.” –Galatians 6:7 (GW)
You don’t plant apple seeds and get tomatoes. In the same way, you don’t plant bitterness and get love. You don’t plant criticism and then get encouragement from other people. Galatians 6:7 says, “Make no mistake about this: You can never make a fool out of God. Whatever you plant is what you’ll harvest” (GW).
Whatever you plant is what you’ll harvest. If you plant in the soil of your sinful nature, you’ll harvest destruction. But if you plant in the soil of your spiritual nature, you’ll harvest everlasting life. God has said for thousands of years that our sins can affect future generations. For instance, when you’re angry and you lose your temper with your kids, you’re setting them up to lose their temper with their kids. Sins get perpetuated in families, possibly for multiple generations. Not only does it work relationally and environmentally but it also works physically. We now know your brain can actually be changed by repetitive behaviour, for good or for bad. Everyone used to think the brain was pretty much set in stone by the time you were an adolescent. Now we know about brain plasticity and how your brain can continue to be moulded for the rest of your life.
That’s good to know! It means if your brain has been naturally moulded toward depression or a quick temper or anxiety, it can change. But you’ve got to change the way you think. The Bible refers to this as repentance or changing your mind. You can change your mind, and when you do, it changes the way you feel. And when you change the way you feel, it changes the way you act. Then, you plant in your spiritual nature and watch what amazing fruit God will reap in your life. Talk It Over
In what specific ways have you noticed your behaviour change because of how you chose to think about something? What are some negative choices you’ve seen perpetuated in your family? What can you do to break those cycles?How do your feelings determine your actions?
SCRIPTURE TEXT: “The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” –Romans 6:23 (NLT)
The Bible says in Romans 6:23, “The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord” (NLT). You might say that grace is the gift that keeps on giving. When you get to know Jesus Christ and His grace and love, it gets better and better and better. It is available and extended throughout eternity. The best is yet to come!What’s Heaven going to be like? You’re going to be reunited with loved ones who know the Lord. You’re going to be rewarded for your faith. You’re going to be reassigned a position of work that you love to do. You’re going to be released from pain, depression, despair, shame, and guilt, and you’re going to rejoice and party for eternity. What a deal!But there’s a catch: You have to accept it.Imagine going home today and finding a gift on your table, but leaving it there for the next year, unopened. That would be ridiculous! A gift is worthless unless you accept it. You must accept God’s grace through His Son, Jesus Christ.Maybe you have held off because you’re afraid of being rejected. Maybe you were rejected by your parents. Maybe you were rejected by a boyfriend or a girlfriend, and that hurt deeply. Or maybe you were rejected by a brother or sister or by classmates. Maybe you have been rejected by a former spouse who walked out on you and said hurtful things that you still think of today.But there is one Person Who will never reject you, and His name is Jesus Christ. He’s saying to you, “Come home.” Have you been secretly overwhelmed by that shame in your life? You can get rid of it today. The more you understand the grace of God, the more you fall in love with God and the more you want to draw closer to Jesus—because it’s almost impossible to not love Somebody Who loves you that much. Talk It Over
How should you respond to God’s grace when you consider that it is a gift?What guilt or shame or bitterness in your past kept or is keeping you from accepting God’s grace? Have you fully released it to God?What does it mean to “come home” to God?
SCRIPTURE TEXT: “The power of the life-giving Spirit—and this power is mine through Christ Jesus—has freed me from the vicious circle of sin and death.” –Romans 8:2 (TLB)
None of us is immune to persistent sins. Some people struggle with anger, while others wrestle with worry or gossip or lust. How do you break free from persistent sin? You understand what Jesus has done for you. On the cross, Jesus paid for the penalty of your sins so you don’t have to pay for it. All of your sins—even the ones you haven’t committed yet—have been paid for on the cross.
But Jesus not only paid for your sin. He also paid to break the power of sin in your life. Now you have a power you didn’t have before—the power to say no to sin. It’s more than willpower. It’s Holy Spirit power! The Bible says in Romans 8:2, “The power of the life-giving Spirit—and this power is mine through Christ Jesus—has freed me from the vicious circle of sin and death” (TLB).
If you’re a Christian, you know Jesus died to pay for your sin. That’s the Good News. And if that’s all there was, that would still be the best news in the world. But when He died on the cross, Jesus also took our old sin nature and gave us a new nature, one that no longer has to live in persistent sin. “We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin” (Romans 6:6 NLT). Sin no longer has any power in your life.
A dead person can’t be tempted! That old nature can’t be tempted, and since it died with Christ, you can be confident that you also share in his new life. Willpower will never be enough to break the power of sin in your life. But thanks to Jesus, you have more than enough power in the Holy Spirit to resist temptation and break the vicious circle of sin and death.
Talk It Over
What sin has remained persistent in your life even after you became a Christian? How do you access the power of the Holy Spirit when you face temptation? In what ways do we still live like “slaves to sin” even though our old natures have been crucified with Christ?
SCRIPTURE TEXT: “But God is so rich in mercy, and He loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, He gave us life when He raised Christ from the dead. (it is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!)” –Ephesians 2:4-5 (NLT)
In all our attempts to know God, we must face the fact that ultimately He is beyond our understanding. From our perspective, His attributes may seem at odds with each other. For instance, He is a God of vengeance (Psalm 94:1) who will judge the earth (Psalm 98:9), but He is also described as compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth (Ex. 34:6).
God in His utter perfection is all of these things—without any contradiction at all. The Lord will judge unrepentant sinners, yet He is gracious to all who trust in His Son for forgiveness and salvation. Grace is His goodness and kindness lavished upon everyone who receives it. It’s totally undeserved because there is nothing we can do to make ourselves acceptable to Him. And on the other hand, we can do nothing to separate ourselves from His grace. This is God’s gift to believers in Christ, and it can never be taken away from us. We were saved by grace, are sustained by it every day of our Christian life, and will be recipients of the surpassing riches of divine grace for all eternity. What an amazing gift from our Father!