Living God’s Will (Colossians 1:9-14)


2018-01-28

9 For this reason, since the day we heard it, we have not ceased praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so that you may lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, as you bear fruit in every good work and as you grow in the knowledge of God. 11 May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. 13 He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

EXAMPLE: Identifying counterfeit notes = MUST know everything about the genuine note!!

Purpose of Colossians

Written by Paul ~60-62 A.D., to the faithful believers who are at Colosse”, to counter and respond to heretical teachings rejecting the deity of Jesus Christ, probably teaching that He was just a “unique man”. 

In Chapters 1-2, Paul warns not to allow anyone to lead them astray with Philosophy, trickery, or by traditions of men. 

Paul then teaches one of the most powerful passages attributing the divinity of Jesus Christ who is God in flesh, “in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form” (2:9). 

IN this passage, Paul starts “For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you”; which refers to the reports from Epaphras about how well the Colossian Church was doing and evidences of their faith, hope, and love.

[NB: Paul wrote this letter while in prison in Rome]

And so Paul is praying that the Colossians would fervently continue in the faith and that they [we] would:

  • walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, 
  • to please Him in all respects, 
  • bearing fruit in every good work and 
  • increasing in the knowledge of God; 
  • [and be] strengthened with all power . . . 
  • for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience, 
  • joyously giving thanks to the Father” (Col. 1:10-12).

Those are marvelous Christian characteristics, but how are they achieved? Verse 9 gives us the answer: 

By being “filled with the knowledge of [God’s] will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding” (Col. 1:9-10).

“Being filled” is a passive term. It is God that fills us with His Knowledge. 

(cf. NIV version)“We continually ask God to fill you…..

BUT….. by human nature, we are vessels.

If we are not filled with His knowledege, we are filled with something other than God!

Perhaps you’ve heard computer buffs use the term G.I.G.O.: “garbage in, garbage out.” Input determines output. What you feed into a computer is what you’ll get out.

Similarly, what you program into your mind will eventually influence your behavior. That’s why in Phillipians, Paul pleads for you to expose your mind to things that are “true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Phil. 4:8). 

In essence, to be filled with the knowledge of God’s will…. Requires the very Word of God ‘going-in’ to our minds and lives!

As one preacher put it, “You should be so saturated with God’s Word that your blood is ‘bibline.’ If you cut yourself, you should bleed Bible verses!” His exaggeration reveals his passion for God’s truth—a passion every believer should share.

Now heres the dilemma: – we are in a period where Biblical Illiteracy has become not only tolerated, but almost encouraged i.e. accused of being too legalistic vs acceptance of any doctrine (PC). What do I mean?

  • ~45% of church goers read the Bible < once/week
  • ~40% read their Bible < once/month
  • ~15% never read their Bible!!!

If you don’t read, you don’t know!! In the UK…..

  • 27% of adults think superman may be a biblical figure
  • 33% think Harry Potter may be biblical
  • >50% think the “Hunger Games” is from the Bible!!

These sort of heresies are exactly what Paul is cautioning us avoid!! Not to compromise our faith in Jesus for the heretical teachings that the Colossians were all too familiar with!!

BUT, to avoid following false doctrine, we must submit ourselves to being “filled with the knowledge of [God’s] will”. And God has given us one of His key resources for knowing His will = His Word!!

The importance of immersing ourselves in the word ‘DAILY’ is a recurring theme throughout the whole Bible:

Joshua 1:8-9 saysKeep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. 

i.e. read the Word TWICE / day

Matt 4:4 says “Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” i.e. read the Word THREE TIMES per day

2 Timothy 2:16-17 saysAll Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” i.e. read the Word CONTINUALLY throughout the day

Psalm 119:9 says “How can a young person stay on the path of purity?
    By
living according to your word”. LIVE the Word 

By immersing ourselves in Gods word, we begin to see God’s ultimate truth about Jesus, which Paul wanted to convey to the Colossians (vs 16):

For by him [Jesus] were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him. (Colossians 1:16)

(v9)…. The phrase “spiritual wisdom and understanding” indicates more than merely knowing God’s Word. It speaks of a revelation of God’s word by the Spirit that can directly impact your life under the Spirit’s power and direction.

As we are filled with the knowledge of Gods will “in all spiritual wisdom and understanding”, we begin to discern between that which is from God and that which is from our own desires. 

Desiring God’s will for our lives is more than just desiring God’s approval of our own desires!! EXAMPLES.

Perfect example is Jesus at Gethsemane: “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42)

As you prayerfully saturate your mind with God’s Word, it begins more and more to control your thinking and behavior. And you begin to see the ultimate plan God has for our lives….

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do”. (Ephesians 2:10)

CONCLUSION

Do you desire to:

  • walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, 
  • to please Him in all respects, 
  • bear fruit in every good work and 
  • increase in the knowledge of God; 
  • be strengthened with all power . . . 
  • experience inexpressible joy in the Father 

then pray, and ask to be filled with the knowledge of God’s will.

Although it is ultimately the Spirit that fills you “in all spiritual wisdom and understanding”, the knowledge of God’s will comes through His living Word through which we can access his power and truth, and experience the overflowing joy of communing with God the Father, through Christ the Son, by the Holy Spirit. 

This is not something that you have to do alone! The ‘church’ is one body for the common goal of encouraging one another daily!! (Hebrews 10) 

Let’s pray….