- Valuable lessons from Colossians:
- Pluralistic setting.
- Correction of false teaching.
Pray & Read Colossians 1:9–14
- Paul’s prayer is informed by his thanksgiving (cyclical).
- Model of prayer for one another.This section breaks down into three parts: 1. Thankful for Gospel Growth (3–8), 2. Prayer for Gospel Growth (9–12a), and finally 3. Prepared for Gospel Growth (12b–14).
Prayer for Gospel Growth (vv.9–12a)
- v.9 Paul’s prayer for knowledge of God’s will serves the purpose of their walking in a manner worthy of the Lord.
- The relationship between knowledge of God’s will and sin is made clear. Sin is the result of not knowing/believing (more than intellectual) God’s will rightly.
- We should not be content with some knowledge of God’s will.
- Wisdom and spiritual understanding come through prayer and meditation upon God’s Word (cf. James 1:5).
- To walk in a manner worthy of X takes on four characteristics:
- Bearing fruit in every good work (v.10a).
- Unless the gospel has taken root, there can be no fruit. But if the gospel has truly taken root, fruit is inevitable.
- We should not be content with fruit in some good work, but in everygood work.
- Increasing in the knowledge of God (v.10b).
- Many “Christians” are simply content with their current level of knowledge. “More Love To Thee…”
- They are apathetic about progress.
- Being Strengthened with all power (v.11).
- Paul reminds us that God gives what he demands.
- Augustine, “Grant what you command, and command what you will.”
- See Phil. 2:12–13.
- Wright, “[Endurance] is what faith, hope and love bring to an apparently impossible situation, [patience] what they show to an apparently impossible people (3:12).”
- We saw this in Phil. 1:12–18
- Giving thanks with joy (vv.11c–12a)
- Why is Paul so adamant about giving thanks?
- G.K. Chesterton, “When it comes to life, the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.”
- Since the participles which define the walking worthily are all in the present tense and stress the notion of progress, it is probably right to conclude that the Colossian Christians would receive further knowledge as they were obedient.
- F.F. Bruce, “Right knowledge leads to right behavior.”
- This is cyclical. The more we experience obedience the more we understand God’s will. This is partly why we should obey even when we don’t feel like it. Because our the act of obedience can inform our understanding and appreciation for it.
- Bearing fruit in every good work (v.10a).
- Implication: What does this imply about having a right doctrine? Do the best theologians have the best practice? Why or why not? See Prov. 1:7; 2 Tim. 3:7.
- Garland, “Marva J. Dawn draws from Neil Postman’s work Amusing Ourselves to Death and argues ‘that television has habituated its watchers to a low information-action ratio, that people are accustomed to ‘learning’ good ideas (even from sermons) and then doing nothing about them.’” What do you think about that? Are we more likely to be hears of the word only?
Paul goes on to elaborate this fourth characteristic at the close of the passage. We should be thankful because we have been…
Prepared for Gospel Growth (vv.12b–14)
- vv.12–13 Paul elaborates what God has done for every Christian. These are three reasons for “giving thanks”:
- The Father has qualified us…
- How? By accepting the work of Christ on our behalf.
- Exodus from Egypt become paradigmatic for Israel’s rescue from exile.
- There is also extensive parallels with Paul’s conversion (Acts 26:16–18).
- John MacArthur, “Believers do not need deliverance from the dominion of sin and Satan; they need to act as those who have been delivered (Rom.6:2, 7, 11).”
- In what sense have we been transferred/displaced? God has rescued us from the Egypt of sin and set us on a journey toward the PL.
- Implication: If God has done all this for those who have “heard” the gospel and “understood” it, then the implication is that those who have not heard and understood the gospel are disqualified and in need of rescue out of darkness. They remain in bondage to sin and stand guilty.
- When you look out at those in the world, who are living for themselves, w/o regard for God – their Creator, do you look with compassion recognizing yourself in them?
- v.28 – They need to be warned! They are on a clear path headed towards destruction. Who will warn them if not the church? Who will tell them if not you and me?
- So many “Xns” do this so poorly don’t they? Some deliver this warning with hearts full of hatred, and others use language that sounds like anything but “warning”.
- Let’s not make excuses for our lack of involvement by point out all of the flawed attempts of others. Let’s simply seek to “warn everyman…with all wisdom.” Let’s pray that our hearts will be burdened for the things that burden our Lord.
Because we have been Qualified, Delivered, and Transferred we have every reason to give thanks. Which brings us full circle to our main idea in this section…
- Big Idea: When the gospel branches out, thanksgiving and prayer take root. As we look forward to launching a new church in Clovis, we have the opportunity to put this very word into practice. As we see the gospel branching out into new neighborhoods and growing in the hearts of others, our response will be to give thanks to God and to be in continual prayer that we would see increasing growth.