Last week we saw
that Paul’s heart was spilling over with thanksgiving at the work of God in the believers at Colossae, as he unites
them and encourages them to keep God above all else in their hearts and thus their lives. They were being exposed to other
philosophies and traditions of men that were removing Jesus from his place of preeminence. To do this would be to destroy
the gospel. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life.
There was a facet
of people in the Colossae church that were promising believers that they would be “in the know”
if they accepted these new teachings. They would be among the “enlightened ones” with special knowledge which
ordinary Christians could not gain. The supremacy of knowledge was one of the
primary focuses of this false teaching called Gnosticism. They did not seek intellectual knowledge, but extraordinary spiritual
knowledge. Many of the early church were seeking to learn – seeking enlightenment so were becoming confused. As Paul
addresses people he has never met in this letter, he continues to encourage them to grow in the knowledge of God and literally
prays that they may grow deeply in the truths of God’s will for them.
Read Colossians 1:9-12
The reason to keep on praying: Paul begins this prayer by
saying there is a reason he does not stop praying for them. He knows they heard, believed, and were discipled in the Lord
Jesus Christ. They were set apart by God for his work in the world. It is most helpful to look into God’s word when
trying to understand a definition of a word. When Paul says “to the saints and faithful” in verse 2, we can look
at many verses, but one in particular that helps us understand this is:
–“on the day he comes to
be glorified in his holy people (saints) and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.”
has established that these people he is writing to are believers in Christ. That truth is foundational.
Praying: Tobe filled with the knowledge of God’s will
Paul prays for these believers who are being confused by other teachings, he uses the language of the false teachers (like
knowledge, wisdom and understanding), but his dictionary is different!
starts praying that they be filled with the knowledge of God’s will with all spiritual wisdom and understanding.”
The word filled indicates a ship that is already to set sail. It is fully equipped, filled to the full. This idea is throughout
Colossians. As you read this week, look for the words complete, full or filled. Paul wants to see each believer equipped with
all they need in Christ for the voyage of life. The word knowledge implies a full knowledge -
not just an acquiring of information, but an understanding of this information. We live in an information age – we have
so much at our fingertips through media and internets. Look at the facts we know about the war in Iraq – in WWII people went to the movies to watch the news accounts on before
the movie to learn about what is happening. There is so much to learn – look at our bookstores, our libraries. But Paul
is zeroing in on learning about the will of God above all else – continually – we can always grow in the knowledge
of the Lord Jesus Christ. All of us need to continue to gaining a fuller understanding about what God desires for our lives
– his gracious design for each of us. By what means do we grow in this knowledge?We grow in this knowledge in all spiritual wisdom and understanding. Proverbs 1:7 states, “The fear of the Lord
is the beginning of wisdom” – how does it grow? Romans 12:1-2 gives us a clue.
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of
God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.
2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your
mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
says as you surrender yourself to Jesus, don’t be molded into the form of this world, but be changed by a renovation
of your mind. That renovation of your mind comes through going deeper into God’s Word. And we understand the will of
God through His Word. Don’t get hung up on what you can’t do so you won’t
be like the world, but get in the word of God and study it. And be in fellowship with others around the word of God –
encouraging your heart with you stories of God working in yours and others’ lives. We will
find what is necessary for making decisions and living to please God. We will understand it by the power of the Holy Spirit
who is our teacher.
through His word and prayer, desires us to know Him and His will – not just about Him, but understanding spiritual truths
that would change our lives as these truths renovate our minds. Think about the topics of our small groups…Whether we
need to learn about our minds, our mouths, how to love Jesus and others, how to hear God, or how to live a life pleasing to
God, it has to be centered in the Word of God. Are you increasing in the knowledge of God’s will for you as you dig
deeper into His Word?
Why should we seek understanding God’s will? Vs 10 goes onto explain this – “so that you walk
in a manner worthy of the Lord, pleasing Him in all respects.” If you want to find fulfillment, purpose in your life,
live a life that pleases God. The Westminster Catechism says “the chief end (or purpose) of man is to glorify God and
enjoy him forever.”A life that truly represents Him here on earth will
be found satisfying. That’s what we were originally created for – to bring God honor! What a wonder that is!!
There is a commercial that describes finding out what “wonder” really is, by purchasing and using a specific mattress.
I would challenge you that there is a more magnificent wonder- it is the wonder
of an almighty God that intends to use us messed up, mixed up, sinful people for His glory.
we worship God – surrendering our lives to him because of our love for him, we will walk in obedience to his will…
What is pleasing to God?
Bearing fruit in every good work: not just the spiritual
fruit of the spirit -love, joy peace and so on - listed in Galatians, but actual
good deeds. Ephesians 2:10 shows us that we are created to do these good works and these works were prepared for us to do
by God. “For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us
to do.” (NIV) Philippians 2:13 reminds of us the source of these good works. “…for it is God who works in
you to will and to act according to his good purpose.” (NIV) And the natural out flowing of doing good work, bearing
fruit, is an increase in the knowledge of God. You see, we are always able to learn more about God!!!
Being strengthened pleases God: By whom and for what? Whose
strength works in us? Look at vs. 11 “being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you
may have great endurance and patience,…” (NIV). We are made strong, equipped to do good works, by the very presence
of God’s presence and love in our lives. We are strengthened with His power – Ephesians 5 says he desires us to
know the surpassing greatness of this power, which is like the power that raised Jesus from the dead! It refers to God’s
miracle working power, not just the miracle working power that raises people from the dead or divides the Red
Sea, but the power that changes our character, giving us great endurance and patience. What do we mean:the endurance to live through and even above the circumstances in our lives that really drain us, the patience
of self-restraint toward those relationships that seem to be those which will break us. Those character changes manifest no
less power than the visible miracles that God can perform. One of the Proverbs ()
echoes this truth…“Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than one who
takes a city.” We see this truth in David’s life when he controlled his temper when being maligned in II Sam 16.
This was a greater victory than even the defeat of Goliath!
Have you ever been in a place where you are just “spent”, you feel as if you have no strength left, emotionally, physically or spiritually? At this time it is so easy to be
filled with the old nature with your self and meeting you needs. God has us just where he wants us – ready to rely on
God and his power not our own abilities or strengths or even disciplines of devotion to Christ. Causing patience and endurance
to grow in our lives - causing us to rely on the one who lives within us with power and might!
The next time you are at your wit’s end emotionally or just plain beat physically or feeling far from God, ask yourself – “whose strength
will empower me?”
Whose power are
you relying on to affect change in your life?
Giving Thanks pleases God:
God through bearing fruit and being strengthened by the power of God, we please him by giving him thanks! Paul seems to have
come full circle in this opening prayer for the Colossians - “…joyously giving thanks” to the one who gave
us an inheritance! To be qualified relates to the truth of a being made fit or complete, like an athlete for a competition.
How has God qualified us – made us complete? He has washed us and sanctified us and justified us in the name of Jesus
and the Spirit of God. (I Corinthians 6:11)We give thanks to the Father because
he has enabled us “to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light.” (The Message)
Now remember this passage of scripture which we
studied is not just for our edification – to know that God desires us to have hearts growing in the knowledge of Him,
but to pray for ourselves and others. Have you been praying like this lately? As you pray for others, are you focusing on
the spiritual blessings, not just the physical matters or material needs that are wanting? Let me challenge you to take this
scripture and pray it for someone or a group of people. If you pray God’s Word, you know you are praying according to
Will you pray like this for you situations and
relationships – for not only your spiritual growth and but for the spiritual growth of others?
God encourage and unite your heart with others, as he fills your heart with the knowledge of His will.