How Do We Demonstrate The Gospel Of Hope?
Gerald D. Branch
How do we demonstrate the Gospel of Hope?
Paul wrote this letter to the Christians in Colossae while he was in the Roman jail in about 60-64 AD. Perhaps since we've all been watching the war maps, and have a little better idea of the countries in the region, it might help us visualize where this city was...because Colossae was located in what is now Turkey.
Colossae had once been a very prominent city, back around 481 BC when the Persian king, Xerxes marched through it (remember Ahasuerus in Esther?)...back then it was right on the main trade routes that ran east from Ephesus and north to Pergamos. But during Roman times, a new interstate was built and Colossae was sort of bypassed...sort of like IH 10 dividing Channelview...and Colossae declined, and in Paul's day, the city had become small and overshadowed by her more prosperous neighbors. In the eighth century it was pretty much a ghost town, and in the 12th century, was completely destroyed. Archaeologists though have uncovered the important remains of the acropolis, the theater, and even the Christian church. (Colossae is unoccupied today).
Back in Paul's day, the city was inhabited mostly by Gentiles, along with a fairly strong legalistic Jewish element. The key reason Paul wrote this letter was to counter the influences of false doctrines trying to encroach into the church, particularly those inspired by Greek philosophy and the legalism and ceremonialism of Judaism. It would be about like combining fundamentalists, and secular humanists.
So with that, look what Paul writes as he hits the key of the Christian faith...the very fact that the Gospel of Hope of Jesus Christ is something demonstrated or better said...it is something LIVED in the Lord's people.
Now, as we read these verses, listen to what Paul addresses... Paul PRAYS... and he GIVES THANKS... particularly, Paul gives thanks to God for ...
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