February 3, 2008
INTRODUCTION: GRATITUDE – a feeling of thankful appreciation for favors received. Vance Havner said, "We grow up taking things for granted and saving our flowers for the dead. All along the way, countless hands minister to our good, but rarely do we acknowledge them." The apostle Paul was a grateful man. All of us have lots to be grateful and thankful for.
When Paul penned this letter, it was to a people he was deeply appreciative of, even though he had never met them, and never would this side of heaven.
It is believed that while Paul was ministering in Ephesus, Epaphras came under conviction of sin, repented, believed the gospel, and was gloriously saved. Later on, God called him to preach in his hometown of Colosse. Paul is writing to the church to help them with error of doctrine.
God had done a deep work of grace in Paul's heart. As a result, he is writing this letter from prison with such a tender spirit and a consuming graciousness. He is a man with an "attitude of gratitude."
The gospel of grace is the reason for Paul's thanksgiving expressed in these verses. Paul was rejoicing over the report of their faith brought to him by Epaphras.
I. THE EXPRESSING OF GRATITUDE. 3
A. TO GOD. 3a
"to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ"
"To God be the glory,
Great things He has done."
Malachi 2:2, " 'If you will not hear,
and if you will not take it to heart,
to give glory to My name,'
says the LORD of hosts,
'I will send a curse upon you,
and I will curse your blessings.
Yes, I have cursed them already,
because you do not take it to heart.' "
B. TO THE COLOSSIANS. 3b
"praying always for you" – heartfelt gratitude and deep appreciation for them. We could find it very challenging to compile a list of the folks Paul said he was praying for, and add the Colossian believers to the list. They were on his prayer list.
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