Colossians 1:9-14

Steve Viars September 3, 1994 Colossians 1:9-14

- we're studying the book of Colossians.
- we said that one of our goals for this study should be to gain a
    working knowledge of this book so we can think through Paul's
    argument/main points -- in an effort to "make this book our own."

    - of course the purpose of doing that is to be better prepared to use
      these truths in every-day life situations---but you can't use truth
      until you know truth.

- so let's quickly review the argument from last week of verses 1-8.

    (on white board)

    1-2 - Salutation
           - note that Paul included Timothy
           - called all believers saints
           - equated saints (saved ones) with faithful brethren

    - verses 1-8 tell some of the things about this church for which Paul
       regularly thanks the Lord.

    - the key verse in the section is 1:5 - "the word of the truth of the
        gospel"
          - so the most important thing to Paul about them (or anyone) is
             whether they've accepted the gospel, and whether the gospel
             is having the intended effect in their lives.

    - Paul thanks the Lord for four things:
       1) their faith - v. 4a
       2) their love - v. 4b
       3) their hope - v. 5a
       4) their fruitfulness - v. 6

    - Verses 7-8 tell that Paul received this report from Epaphras, their
       pastor.

- last week we reminded ourselves of the importance of being "gospel
    centered" in the sense that, as the Lord brings others across our
    paths -- one of our primary concerns to us is whether they've
    accepted the gospel
     ...and whether or not we're working at presenting the gospel in a
         way that stresses "biblical faith" as opposed to "easy
         believism."

    - develop - pray for us in counseling ministry
        (possible to fall into a "accept Christ so He can make your life
          better" mode)

- now, in verses 9-14, Paul turns his attention to a different facet of
   his prayer concerning the Colossians.
    - verses 3-8 explained what he thanked God for regarding this church.
    - verse 9-14 explain what he asked God for regarding this church.

      - so we're talking about "Paul's prayer requests for a local
         church."

- before we look at the specific requests--Brian is going to come and
help us focus on the big picture:
INPUT - How is it beneficial to study Paul's prayer requests for another
         church?

      1) to challenge us about how much we pray for other churches and
           ministries.
             - why was it so natural for Paul to do this?
             - How was he able to be so specific and thorough?

      2) To help us identify areas that we ought to give particular
          attention to in our own spiritual lives.
          - What Paul was concerned about in the Colossians--we should be
             concerned about in ourselves.

          - this list also helps us to not "major on the minors," or get
            "tunnel visioned" and be satisfied with far less than the
             Lord would be satisfied with.
              - we're talking about a list of "divine evaluators."
              - here's things that were important to Paul (therefore we
                can assume they were things that were important to the
                Lord)
                  - we then need to ask -- are they important to us?
                  - how would our lives stack up in each category?

- read verses 9-14.

- let's divide these verses into four areas of request:

I. Be Filled With The Knowledge of His Will

    A. the importance of biblical knowledge

        - it's not surprising that Paul would pray that this church would
           be filled with spiritual knowledge when you factor other
           statements God's Word makes about the importance of knowledge.

        - cf. Prov. 19:2 - It is not good for a person to be without
               knowledge.

        - cf. Hosea 4:6 - My people perish for want of knowledge.

        - cf. I Cor. 14:2 - Brethren, be not children in understanding.

        - please look over at Eph. 4 for a couple of other critical
           ideas on this matter of biblical knowledge:

            - verse 18 - (our condition as unbelievers) - READ
                - thats the condition we bring into the process.

            - verse 13-14 - READ - this will happen if we don't grow in
                knowledge.

- a good question to ask would be - How does a person grow in knowledge?
   1) He must desire it - John 7:17 - "If any man will do his will, he
        shall know of the doctrine."

   2) He must have the Holy Spirit - I Cor. 2:10-12

   3) He must study the Scripture - II Tim. 3:16-17 - All Scripture...

- so the point is that Paul prayed that the people of this church would
   be filled with spiritual knowledge.
- now that's not the end of the process--"cf. "knowledge alone puffs up"
- but it is the beginning of the maturing process.

- so that means that it would be wise you and me to ask, "How important
   have I made the matter of "gaining spiritual knowledge?"
    - do I really desire it - and what is the evidence of that desire?
    - do I have the Holy Spirit - have I genuinely trusted Christ?
    - am I making a place in my life/schedule for study of the Scripture?

B. God wants us to know His will.

    - the way Paul specifically worded his prayer request was - "I want
       you to be filled with the knowledge of God's will."

    - we need to "camp" on that one for a minute because there's so much
       confusion on this matter of God's will.

    - normally, when someone speaks about "wanting to know God's will,"
       what are they speaking of?
         - knowing something about the future.

         - the problem with that is, that’s not the way this subject is
            normally addressed in the Scripture.
         - God's will can be divided into two parts...
              - His directive will and His decreed will
                  - Directive will -- what He wants us to do,
                       - what He's already revealed in His Word
                  - Decreed will -- what will ultimately come to pass in
                        the future.

- the important difference between the two is that only one can be known
   in advance.
     - I can only know in advance what God wants me to do now, based on
        the principles of His Word.

     - I can't know the future, and God doesn't want me to know the
         future.

- I know that God wants me to be faithful to my wife today - thats His
     will for me today.  -- His directive will.
- I don't know what my health is going to be like tomorrow - God's will
     for my health tomorrow is something He doesn't want me to know.  --
      that’s His decreed will.

- let's try a test: I give some statements -- and you tell me if we're
    talking about God's directive will, or His decreed will.

- Will my car still be running next year? (decreed)
- Does God want me to be a good steward of my car my keeping it well
   maintained (directive).

- Back to Colossians 1 - which part of God's will is Paul talking about
    here?

    - God's directive will.
    - this statement has nothing to do with knowing the future.

    - it has everything to do with learning God's revealed will for our
      daily lives today.
        - that's why Paul describes the "knowledge of his will" with the
            phrases:
              - "all wisdom and spiritual understanding"

- both of those terms have to do with knowing truth and being able to
    apply it.
     - developing the ability to see life from God's point of view.
     - "the ability to collect and concisely organize principles from
          Scripture."

- by the way--when it comes to this matter of decision making and the
    will of God -- people who struggle the most with "knowing God's will
    for them concerning a pending decision" are usually those who have
    had very little practice at knowing God's will on a daily basis and
    obediently acting on it.

- now let's add one more concept to this and then wrap us this verse:

C. This is something we should be filled (controlled) by.

    - Paul says - I am praying that you will be filled with this.

    - the word "filled" in the Bible shouldn't call up the picture of a
       "glass."
         - we're not talking about volume--i.e. - I've "half-filled with
             the knowledge of God's will."

    - the word "fill" in the Bible often means "controlled."

        - when Jesus healed a person on the Sabbath, the Bible says that
          the scribes and the Pharisees were "filled with rage." (Luke
          6:11)
            - the point wasn't that they were full "like a glass is
                full."
            - the point was - they were controlled by it.

- so the overall idea here is that Paul's prayer request for the members
   of this church was that they would be controlled by the knowledge of
   God's will.

- let's think for a minute about that matter of being controlled?

    - INPUT - what are some things that a person (even a believer) might
        allow themselves to be controlled by other than the knowledge of
        God's will?

- INPUT - some good questions for us to ask based on this verse?
   1) to what degree is this true of me?
   2) have I made this issue as important as God would want it to be?
   3) what would have to change for this to have a higher priority?

II. Walk Worthy of the Lord In A Way That Pleases Him

    - this is a favorite phrase of the apostle Paul's.
       - cf. I Thes. 2;12, Eph. 4:1, Phil. 1:27

    A. Why the picture of walking?

        INPUT - ???

          - walk is gradual (as opposed to running, etc)

          - walk is something we do daily. (How many days in your entire
               life have you gone without walking? -- esp. in bible days-
               transportation)

- how we walk is something others observe

   - cf. "your walk talks and your talk talks, but your walk talks louder
           than your talk talks."

- the point is - there's clearly a way to tell whether a person is
    being filled with the knowledge of God's will" -- just look at the
    way they walk.
      - now by giving a theology exam
      - not by examining their perfect attendance pins

      - it's a matter of examining the way they walk.

    B. What characterizes a worthy walk?

        - INPUT - what does verse 10 say?

            - fruitfulness.

            - the Scripture makes it clear that those who are truly
                believers will be fruitful people.

            - John 15:16 - You have not chosen me...

            - John 15:8 - "In this is my Father glorified, that ye bear
                  much fruit, so shall ye be my disciples."

            - INPUT - what kind of fruit do you think Paul had in mind?
                 Other kinds of fruit mentioned in the Scripture?

                 - fruit of the Spirit - Gal. 5
                 - making disciples - I Cor. 16:15
                 - praise - "fruit of the lips" - Heb. 13:15
                 - financial giving - Rom. 15:26-28


- I realize it may be a little difficult to evaluate ourselves on the
    first point (being filled with the knowledge of His will)
     - but it's a lot easier to evaluate ourselves on this one.
     - if we're filled with the knowledge of his will--it's going to be
         producing fruit.

     - cf. buying a show factory, hauling in the raw materials, etc.
         - at some point - you have to check the other end to see if any
            shoes are being made and shipped out
         - activity doesn't equal productivity!!

- are we walking worthy of the Lord in a way that pleases Him and that
    produces fruit?

III. Be Strengthened With His Might

    - verse 11

    - another result of being filled with the knowledge of God's will is
       spiritual strength.

    - INPUT - how does strength come from the knowledge of God's will,
        wisdom, and spiritual understanding?
          - knowing what God wants me to do in a given situation produces
             courage.

- having a "history" of walking worthy produces strength - cf. David

- knowing God produces strength - I Cor. 10:13

    - INPUT - according to this verse, what is the extent of the strength
        we can expect as we seek to walk worthy?
          - "according to His glorious power"


- INPUT - what are some specific ways according to the verse that that
   spiritual strength can and should manifest itself?  (patience,
   long-suffering, and joyfulness)

     - INPUT - why do you suppose those are the areas Paul specifically
         mentions?  (so easy to "feel powerless" in situations requiring
         those characteristics.)

     - cf. - INPUT - how do these areas fit into the context (the fact
               that Paul was in prison?)

- How would you evaluate yourself in this critical area?
   - is there a relationship in your life between points one and two and
       point three?

IV. Give Thanks Unto The Father

    - the fact that any of these things are even possible are a reason to
        give thanks and praise to God.
         - making this possible required redemption through Christ's
             blood.
         - it required the forgiveness of sins.
         - it required being translated from the kingdom of darkness to
             the kingdom of His dear Son.
         - and it required being made fit to be partakers of the
             inheritance of the saints.

    - Men and women who are practiced at thanksgiving are going to find
        everything else we're studying much easier to apply.

Steve Viars

B.S. - Bible, Baptist Bible College
M.Div. - Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min. - Westminster Theological Seminary

Pastor Steve Viars has served at Faith Church since 1987. He and his wife Kris were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and two grandchildren. Pastor Viars’ gifted teaching ministry, enthusiasm for the Word of God, and organizational skills are instrumental in equipping Faith Church. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith ministries and serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

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