Welcome to Thursday’s Foundations podcast. I hope you are doing well! We love that you’ve found time to make space to listen to the Bible today and hear a worship track! Our big hope is that God uses this simple package to increase our awareness of His love for us and spurs us on to live more like Jesus – the better life. You’ll find the reading for today on our website and in the podcast description. it is well worth finding some time to read these 6 verses. They are fantastic.
In a moment we will focus on two of the verses but I want to take some time to explain who some of the people are who get mentioned in the Bible passage. Paul name drops two people in this short reading and there is a fascinating backstory that I know that we’re going to find this really interesting.
As part of his outro to the letter, Paul writes that Tychicus will be the one reading out this letter and explaining what is going on across with Paul and this move of God they are caught up in. He is coming with Onesimus, our faithful and dear brother, who is one of you. They will tell you everything that is happening here.
Now get this… Tychicus is actually carrying two letters right now… One is to the Colossians and the other is addressed directly to Philemon who is a bloke in this church. This letter is in the New Testament if you wanted to give it a read. It is well worth 5 minutes to give it a read… it is really short.
Here is what makes our reading today in Colossians a big finish. Onesimus is a former slave of Philemon. We learn from the other letter that Tychicus is carrying that Onesimus was once a slave of Philemon and he had escaped. Now as was the rules of the day, upon his return or capture he could be imprisoned or killed. However, Paul writes to the church in Colossae that they are to receive Onesimus as a brother. He also writes to Philemon saying he should no longer view Onesimus as a slave but as a brother.
One commentary I read in preparing this podcast said… it is a remarkable real life application of the Christian truths outlined in the previous chapters.
“No part of the human life remains untouched by the loving and liberating rule of Jesus. Our suffering. Our temptation to compromise. Moral character. The power dynamics in the homes of everyday followers of Jesus. All of these things can be transformed by Jesus if we let him.”
Now that is good news for you and I as we explore the Better Life together this year. The principles are the same today as they were back then. Jesus’ loving and liberating power to transform lives is still happening today.
One of the ways we are seeing it is on Alpha each week on Mondays at STC. It is remarkable how many people are gathering to hear the gospel. There have been some prophetic words shared around a fire from heaven starting in those that gather. I’m interpreting that as a the power of God transforming hearts and the passion of God increasing as we look to live our lives for Him each and every day of the week. Some of the stories coming back to us of people who don’t yet know God personally, saying they hope to get to know him more over these coming weeks. People being moved to tears and not having a framework to know why but think it has everything to do with God and Jesus. It is remarkable.
Verses 3 & 5-6 in today’s reading say this:
And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ…
Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
This is one of the final requests Paul asks the church in Colosse to pray for one thing specifically… the opportunity to share the gospel. It is what we will also pray for in a moment.
We firmly believe that many people will become Christians and grow in their faith in the next few weeks. That the tool of Alpha has a significant role to play in what God is doing through our local church. We are going to pray that the message people hear and the story that we live out together will be “full of grace and seasoned with salt”, to use Paul’s words. That is to say, it is full of life and flavour.
This is the challenge for us now. To think how can this fire multiply out. This message of grace and flavour is for the whole word.
Jesus would we meet with you in these next few weeks and catch fire with anticipation of what you are going to do next. We’ve heard there is power in the name of Jesus to transform lives. Start with us and spread it around. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
BIBLE READING: Colossians 4:2-9
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Be wise in the way you act towards outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
Tychicus will tell you all the news about me. He is a dear brother, a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord. I am sending him to you for the express purpose that you may know about our circumstances and that he may encourage your hearts. He is coming with Onesimus, our faithful and dear brother, who is one of you. They will tell you everything that is happening here.