We always pray for you, and we give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. For we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and your love for all of 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. 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. 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. He has told us about the love for others that the Holy Spirit has given you.”
Colossians 1:3-8 NLT
Just like other epistles (letters to the churches), Paul expresses his love for the family of God. Love for the church, God's family, is the number one characteristic of the child of God (see John 13:34-35). Paul also shares that the gospel (Good News of God's grace) is going all over the world (the known world of that time). Paul had a mission to literally take the gospel message to the ends of the earth. He was bent on sharing the gospel with every person on earth. He shared with the Colossians that lives were being changed by the power of Christ, just like theirs. Paul also takes a moment to recognize the work and character of Epaphras. This man was a "beloved co-worker" and "Christ's faithful servant". He was a fine example of Christian faith and character. His knowledge of Christ was so thorough and sound that he recognized false teaching when it came. We need Pastors and lay ministers (non-ordained) to stand watch in the church for heretical (anything other than biblically sound) teachings in order to preserve and protect the truth and to prevent men from being led astray. We are certainly living in a time when the truth is being distorted and compromised. May God help us continue to love one another, as believers should, and give us men, like Epaphras, who will stand watch in the body of Christ for biblical truth and keep us from following strange, false doctrines.
Rev. Curtis Norris