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Date: 6 July, 2018
Text: Colossians 1:9-11
Not too long ago, I preached a message from a prayer of the Apostle Paul to the church at Ephesus. (Ephesians 3)
Paul was then imprisoned (house arrest) in Rome. During the same imprisonment he wrote a letter to the church at Colossae (Colossians). He includes a prayer for this church as well.
exp. Paul had been in Colossae on his third missionary journey. He didn't establish this church, Epaphras was the minister at this church. Paul had heard good things about what God was doing there.
Pro 25:25 As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.
exp. Paul loved to hear of the grace of God at work in the churches. He begins his letter rejoicing in what he has heard ABOUT THEM (emphasis).
3 We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,
4 Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints,
5 For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel;
6 Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth:
7 As ye also learned of Epaphras our dear fellowservant, who is for you a faithful minister of Christ;
8 Who also declared unto us your love in the Spirit.
EXP. THERE WAS IN THE HEART OF PAUL A BURDEN TO SEE THIS CHURCH SUCCEED.
9 For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire...
exp. Paul was not just praying - he was praying with passion (desire).
ill. Rom 10:1 Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.
exp. They go together "earnest, fervent prayer of a righteous man" (James 5)
note: Paul is arguably the best church planting evangelist missionary ever. He didn't just pray for the physical - BUT THE SPIRITUAL. What he prayed for would make this church stand for the Lord Jesus. What he wanted them to get - we need to get.
The message this morning - You Must Get Spiritual Help from God. Are you getting what you can get from God this morning? Since Paul prayed for it - God must be able to help us with it. It must be what we also need to have a strong church.
GET SPIRITUAL HELP FROM GOD!
I. (Be discerning) God, I pray for them to be discerning.
ill. Have you ever met anyone really lacking in discernment? On a physical level we sometimes we call this common sense.
Someone who doesn't know you shouldn't pick up snakes that have a fun rattle on their tail. (Man who picked up a coral snake thinking it was a milk snake.)
Someone who wants to pet the big kitties at the zoo. (Rhino poachers killed in South Africa by pride of lions - they shouldn't have been poaching and they should have thought more about the danger of what they were doing.)
exp. It can be humorous on a physical level if nobody got hurt (but dangerous) but on a spiritual level it is never humorous and is incredibly dangerous.
1Pe 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
app. We need spiritual discernment!
A. Full of the knowledge of God's will.
that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will
exp. God's will is to walk in His way which is perfect - it is the narrow way - it is the way of the righteous - it is the safe way. If I know what he wants me to do, I can safely navigate everything in life.
Psa 18:30 As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler (shiel) to all those that trust in him.
ill. Speaking to an older couple about GPS technology soon after it first came out. They told me that they use a M.A.P. (map)
exp. The Bible is our map of the will of God.
Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
note: If you are serious about staying on the path - you check your position all the time in regard to the map.
app. How serious are you about the map? How often do you cry out to God for direction and HIS WILL FOR YOUR LIFE? *YOU NEED SPIRITUAL DISCERMENT TO STAY ON GOD'S PATH - HIS WILL.
B. Full of wisdom.
in all wisdom
exp. Wisdom isn't just knowledge. IT IS THE APPLICATION OF KNOWLEDGE.
quote: Knowledge is the accumulation of facts and data that you have learned about or experienced. ... Wisdom is the ability to discern and judge which aspects of that knowledge are true, right, lasting, and applicable to your life. It's the ability to apply that knowledge to the greater scheme of life."
ill. We've all met some people who had great head knowledge but no "street smarts." There was a disconnect between their retention of facts and their application of the same.
They can ace a test but struggle to cross a road.
They may know every city in the United Kingdom but they don't know how to get there.
exp. You may know your Bible very well academically - but God wants you to apply His Word Biblically. What do you do with what you know?
ill. The church needs men with wisdom to help guide her business. (The first deacons)
Act 6:3 Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.
app. Are you a wise man (woman?) True wisdom is from God - Jas 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. Paul is asking God for it - the wisest man Solomon - got wisdom from God.
C. Full of spiritual understanding.
and spiritual understanding;
exp. Real Biblical understanding IS SPIRITUAL. Without the spiritual guidance we could not understand truth.
ill. When we get saved - God has to open our eyes through spiritual guidance.
1Co 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
ill. The ethiopean Eunuch - The Spirit of God - brought him a teacher.
Acts 8:29 Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.
30 And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest?
31 And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.
32 The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth:
33 In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth.
34 And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?
35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.
note: When the Eunuch got saved - he got a spiritual teacher.
Joh 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
question: Do you have spiritual understanding? (You ought to if you have received God's Spirit.)
Heb 5:14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. (We need to get spiritual help from God - TO BE DISCERNING.)
II. (Be demonstrating) God, I pray for them to be demonstrating.
note: If they knew God's will, had wisdom and spiritual discernment - THEN THERE WOULD BE AN OUTWARD DEMONSTRATION OF THE SAME.
A. A walk worthy of a child of God.
10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord...
ill. We have expectations for people who hold certain positions.
If you are the police - we expect you to walk worthy of that position. (No criminality)
If you are a medical doctor - we expect certain cleanliness and professionalisms.
If you are an msp/ mp - we want you to dignify that office and walk worthy.
It used to be - even athletes were to be role models walk worthy of their fame.
question: Are you walking worthy of God and doing that which exhalts/honors His name?
ill. Jesus Joh 8:29 And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.
Joh 4:34 Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.
app. You can do His will and have spiritual discernment. When you do - you are walking in a way that is pleasing to God (walking worthy of God.)
B. A walk pleasing to all.
unto all pleasing,
exp. It isn't that - everyone approves of Christianity - is that Christianity applied is a blessing to everyone because it fulfils the law of God.
ill. Peter - upset that his friend (girl) got saved. She used to drink with him and tell dirty jokes. I said, "So your upset, that she isn't doing something that put her out of her right mind and that her speech is good."
ill. Witnessing to some young people at the Gala Day - The Bible applied deeply benefits those who apply it - no divorce hurting families, marriage securing families - no wicked cursing, abuse from alcohol, no lies - strong trust, no stealing from one another, (prices of goods would come way down) false claims would cease (insurance would come down.)
exp. when men are doing what it right - it is pleasing to those who know them and certainly to the church.
app. Have you succeeded in spiritual discernment - so that you are demontrating a walk worthy of God which pleases others? Mat 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. WE NEED GOD'S HELP TO BE DISCERNING AND DEMONSTRATING.
III. (Be delivering) God, I pray for them to be delivering. (deliver the goods)
ill. Working on the receiving dock at Bob Jones. The purchase department would order things that we would receive and then we would deliver the goods all over campus. They got the fruit of their purchases brought to them. Paul wanted the church to deliver the good that Jesus purchased. He wanted them to be fruitful.
note: I used to hear it said, "God wants you to be faithful - not fruitful." Truth be told - God wants you to be faithful and fruitful.
Joh 15:8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
A. In every area.
in every good work,
exp. This you could say is generic praying - and yet it is not. Paul didn't want them suceeding in some areas and deficient in others. He wanted them to be strong on all fronts.
organization and development
separation from the world.
app. You may be great at devotion - but if you never evangelize, you are defecient. If you aren't part of organization and development you are deficient.....
B. In good areas.
in every good work,
exp. These are good works. You may argue - but I'm saved by faith - I don't have to do good. REAL FAITH IS DEMONSTRATABLE.
Jas 2:18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
note: We've already quoted the verse - Mat 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
question: Are you delivering the goods as a believer? What good works show themselves in your life?
C. In difficult areas.
in every good work,
exp. If you aren't working on delivering the goods - they won't be delivered.
ill. At the receiving dock - we had to take the packing slip, invoice - record the item as received and find to which department it was going. We put it into the back of a pick up or box truck and got the goods out.
ill. Another job - delivering the storage barrels - few guys delivered all the barrells one year - we were running with the hand trucks. (Mr. Vincent still remembers that crew and has a picture of us in his office.)
app. How hard are you working to deliver the goods. Are you working? 1Th 1:3 Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;
Heb 6:10 For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.
IV. (Be developing) God, I pray for them to be developing.
and increasing in the knowledge of God;
exp. The apostle did not want them to be stagnant but developing their knowledge of God.
ill. Do you know what stagnant water is? Stale - lifeless because it isn't cycling properly.
Seeing how they built Palm Jumeirah - artificial island shaped like palm with crescent around it. The problem was it was a luxury resort and the water was lifeless until the put in bridges to let the water flow. (You wouldn't want to pay a ton of money to have stale waterfront.)
exp. Jesus paid too much for our spiritual life to stagnate. Paul prayed for them to be developing.
ill. Peter echoed this prayer - 2Pe 3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
question: Are you stagnating? Have you arrived in your Christian life and forgotten the need for the knowledge of God and the need to pass on the knowledge of God?
2Ti 2:2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.
App. We need churches full of believers who are hungry for the knowledge of God. Paul knew they needed God's help with that - so he prayed for them to be developing.
V. (Be determined) God, I pray for them to be determined. (not to quit)
exp. If they suceeded in discerning, demonstrating, delivering, developing and then quit - what was the point. THEY NEEDED TO CONTINUE IF THEY WOULD BE WHAT GOD WANTED THEM TO BE.
A. Determined to depend upon God.
11 Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power,
exp. Do you think you can go it alone in the Christian life - you will fail.
Joh 15:4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
ill. I cut my hedge this past week. The boys helped me to collect the cut branches and put them in the brown bin. I know without looking that the branches in that bin are lifeless and withering - because they are not attached to the source of life.
note: But if they were secured to the source of life - there would be no stopping their growth.
2Co 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:
app. Are you determined to depend upon God? To succeed in all other areas for which Paul prayed and to fail here is to fail entirely. "without me you can do nothing."
B. Deterimined to develop Christian graces.
unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;
exp. The Christian life is tough - it takes patience and longsuffering.
SAYING - LORD, give me patience and give it to me now. We don't like to wait.
exp. We don't like to suffer - expecially if the suffering is long.
note: But, when God comes along we can be patient and suffer long WITH JOYFULNESS.
James 1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
ill. Paul wrote Philippians which has a theme of joy running through it while in Prison.
ill. Peter and John after being whipped - Act 5:41 And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.
ill. The church in Macedonia suffered joyfully - 2Co 8:1 Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia;2 How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.
app. Is it tough - Is it because you have become detached from the vine? Are you ready to quit? You need to go to God for what Paul knew you needed - determine to depend upon God and determine to grow in Christian grace - patience, longsuffering WITH JOYFULNESS.
CONCLUSION: The great missionary church planter the Apostle Paul saw dangers for the church in Colossae. He was determined to go to God with desire to pray for this church.
We need the same spiritual help from God! Let's join our voice with Paul's in dependece upon God that our church would....
1.) Be discerning. (God's will, wisdom, spiritual understanding)
2.) Be demonstrating. (walk worthy of God - pleasing others)
3.) Be delivering. (fruitful - in every good work)
4.) Be developing. (in the knowledge of God)
5.) Be determined. ( to not quit - but depending upon God and developing Chrisitan graces.)
Paul introduced this book by saying - Praise God for your salvation Colossians - now go on and build a strong church for God! May God help us to do the same.