3 We always pray for you, and we give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 4 For we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and your love for all of God’s people, 5 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.
6 This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is bearing fruit everywhere by changing lives, just as it changed your lives from the day you first heard and understood the truth about God’s wonderful grace.
7 You learned about the Good News from Epaphras, our beloved co-worker. He is Christ’s faithful servant, and he is helping us on your behalf. 8 He has told us about the love for others that the Holy Spirit has given you.
Col. 1:3-8 (NLT)
I’m going to the first part of the prayer today and the second part of it tomorrow. Notice that Paul begins by letting his readers know that he and his companions are continually praying for them. This isn’t a one time thing. It is Paul’s habit to pray for other believers. Also notice that he gives thanks for the faithfulness. He compliments them and lets them know of all the good things that he had heard. I imagine this helped them digest the correction which comes later. He also reminds them of the hope they share in Christ.
Before dealing with the bad news he brings up the Good News that they have heard and accepted. Paul points out that those in Colosse are part of the Church throughout the world and that the same Good News they hold on to gives hope to all who hear it. Paul them tells them that Epaphras is with him. They know Epaphras because he was the one who first shared the Gospel (Good News) with them. He is aware of the problems Paul is about to address. Perhaps that further softened the blow that was imminent.
I think it is important (and interesting) to see that even when he is addressing false teachings Paul is encouraging them and reminding them of who they are in Christ. He reminds them of all the things they have seen, heard, and done in the hope that they will turn aside from whatever false teachings have infiltrated their group. He reminds them of where they were to help bring them back.
Grace and peace.