Colossians 1 9-14
Exalt His Name; Live His Purpose
“God-Centered Church-Part 2”
A. A catechism is a summary of doctrines often stated in the form of questions followed by answers to be memorized – probably the most well known catechisms include the Heidelberg Catechism and the Westminster Catechism.
1. The Westminster Catechism was written in the 1640’s.
2. Question #1 of the Westminster Catechism – “What is the chief end of man?”
3. Answer to question #1 – “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”
B. In our discussions as pastors, we have asked the question, “What is the chief end or mission of the church?”
1. One may answer this question this way – “The chief end or mission of the church is to reach the world for Christ.”
a. Surely, an aspect of the church’s mission is to reach out to the lost, sharing with them the message of salvation.
b. However, it was our opinion that evangelism, though a necessary component of our mission, is a byproduct of a greater objective.
c. In our discussions, we did not feel it appropriate to make conversions the ultimate mission of the church, although we do believe that a church in line with God and His will will be concerned with reaching the lost.
2. Another possible answer to the question was that the chief end or mission of the church is to help individuals conform to the image of Christ.
a. Once again, conformity into the image of Christ is important and biblical; however, we also believe that conformity to Christ is a byproduct of yet a greater and more ultimate mission.
b. So how did we answer this question?
3. Not unlike the Westminster Catechism, we felt more comfortable saying that the chief end or mission of the church is to “glorify God and enjoy Him forever”.
C. Glorify God – what does it mean to glorify God?
1. Does NOT mean to make God glorious
a. God is infinitely glorious and is incapable of additional glory.
b. God receives no advantage in His being by our good works.
2. Biblical Insights
a. Psalm 19
1) The heavens declare the glory of God…
2) In nature, God is glorified because His character and power are clearly seen (Romans 1)
b. Exodus 33:18-23 – PD’s teaching
1) Moses said to God, “Now show me your glory.”
2) God’s answer…
a) I will cause my goodness to pass in front of you…
b) I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence…
c) I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
c. God’s glory seems to be connected to proclaiming and manifesting the person and character of God.
3. Therefore, God is glorified when we proclaim the name of God and manifest His character in our lives.
D. This in essence is Paul’s concern and prayer for the Colossian believers
1. Paul began his letter to the Colossians by commending them for their faith, how they have embraced the gospel, and how they are selflessly sharing life together in authentic community.
2. However, Paul is made aware that the church is in danger of heretical teaching that will greatly hinder the work of the gospel of God in their lives.
3. Paul warns them that embracing error will greatly hinder authentic community (the sharing of life together), their example to other believers, and the proclamation of God’s message to the lost.
4. The nature of the error being taught in Colosse, though having to read between the lines, seeks to undermine and contradict the sufficiency of the Person and work of Jesus Christ.
5. So, Paul is calling the Colossian church back to a Christianity that is totally centered on Jesus Christ, because without the foundation of Jesus Christ, the church will be rendered powerless in accomplishing God’s mission in this world.
E. Paul’s prayer for the Colossians church…
II. Be filled with the knowledge of His will (1:9)
A. Paul’s prayer is that the church be characterized by God’s revealed will.
1. Biblical understanding of Paul’s use of the word “FILL”
a. Literally, fill means “to increase the contents within a container”.
b. Consider the following passages to see if this literal definition fits other passages which use the word fill.
1) Romans 1:29 – filled with wickedness
2) Romans 15:14 – filled with goodness
3) Ephesians 5:18 – filled with the Spirit
5) Phil. 1:11 – filled with the fruit of righteousness
6) 2 Timothy 1:4 – filled with joy
c. Paul seems to be using the word fill as a metaphor rather than literally – meaning “characterized by”.
2. Significance of the Metaphor use of “fill”
a. If we use the word fill literally, then we are suggesting that what we need to be filled with is outside of us, needs to be found and then dispensed into us.
b. Is God’s will something that needs to be discovered or found and then poured into our lives?
c. The false teachers in Colosse said “YES”!
1) They were promoting mystery religions that brought people closer to God.
2) Jews were able to access the special, deeper knowledge and understanding of God and His will.
3) How many of us treat the will of God this way – as something we need to find and discover!
4) Many of us today believe that God’s will is hidden and it is our goal in life to gain access to God’s secret will – and we gain access through spiritual disciplines, DaVinci codes, meditation, etc.
d. Paul says that God’s will is not something to be found or discovered.
e. Instead, God’s will has been revealed in word and His Spirit who is in us helps us keep His will.
f. Therefore, Paul seems to be saying that our lives ought to be characterized by the will of God that has already been taught and revealed
1) For the Colossians, they were taught God’s truth by Epaphras, were living out that truth, and now Paul urges them to continue to be characterized by God’s truth.
2) For us, we have been taught God’s truth by our parents, teachers, pastors, camp counselors and have God’s truth in His revealed Word of God.
1. God’s will is not a mystery and it is not something that needs to be discovered through various so-called spiritual means.
2. God’s will has been revealed, and Paul urges the Colossians to be filled or characterized by His revealed will.
3. Our lives ought to be characterized by the revealed will of God – a stark contrast to the behaviors and attitudes of those who reject Jesus Christ.
4. A church characterized by the revealed will of God will stand like a city on a hill, like a lamp on its stand, and will taste like salt in a bland world.
III. To be transformed by the knowledge of God’s will (1:10-12)
A. A church that is characterized by the knowledge of God will evidence a transformation in behavior and attitude.
1. Paul is not advocating knowledge as merely an intellectual exercise.
a. Knowing God’s will will transform our behavior and attitude because God’s will requires us to bring our daily conduct and thinking in line with His will.
b. Biblically, to know something was to center it in one’s being so that it affected every day life.
c. The knowledge of God’s will should cause us to desire to live a life worthy of the Lord and please Him in every way (1:10)
2. Paul lists four traits of the life that is pleasing to the Lord.
a. Bearing fruit in every good work
b. Growing in the knowledge of God
1) First two are not separate statements – go together
2) Better translated – “in every good work, bearing fruit and growing by the knowledge of God”
3) Refers back to Paul’s earlier statement about the nature of the gospel in 1:6.
4) Embracing the gospel is to be characterized by the revealed will of God.
5) Since the nature of the gospel is bearing fruit and increasing, so too will the church as the gospel is embraced.
6) The Gospel then becomes the basis for our Worship and our Witness.
c. Being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience.
1) God promises to provide strength to those who are characterized by the knowledge of God’s will.
2) An evidence of the gospel taking root in one’s life is seen through the traits of endurance and patience.
3) Faithful to God despite circumstances, stand firm on His truth, and wait on God believing that His timing is perfect.
d. Joyfully giving thanks to the Father
1) Once again the reminder that the life of a true disciple is marked by joy and thanksgiving.
2) No room for selfishness, complaining, bitterness, envy, etc in the life of a Christian or in the life of the church.
IV. To remember with joy our great salvation (1:12-14)
A. The basis of our joy and thanksgiving comes from the truth that as God’s people we have been given new life in Christ.
1. Give thanks because the Father has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.
a. The Jews taught that only they had the right to receive the inheritance of God – for they were God’s chosen people.
b. Paul says – NO, even Gentiles have been made full legal heirs in Christ – Gentiles have been grafted into the vine.
2. Give thanks because you have been rescued from the dominion of darkness.
a. In sin, all people are characterized by darkness in their thinking and behavior – sinners by birth, by nature, by choice.
b. But in Christ, we have been rescued from the power of darkness, along with its pattern of thinking and behavior.
3. Give thanks because we have been placed in the kingdom of the Son whom He loves.
a. God wrestled us from the power of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of His Son – a kingdom marked by light and love.
b. Changing kingdoms means changing lordships.
c. In this kingdom, we have received full forgiveness of sin – a truth that is a present reality.
d. We stand before God holy and righteous because we are IN CHRIST!
1. What is the chief end or mission of the church?
a. Answer: To glorify God!
b. We glorify God when we proclaim His name and manifest His character.
2. What kind of ministry do you want HHBC to be?
a. Family Ministry?
b. Seeking Ministry?
c. Intergenerational Ministry?
3. Our prayer is that HHBC would evidence a Transformational Ministry.
4. A ministry that is …
a. When these mark a church, the manifold wisdom of God is on display.
b. Characterized by the knowledge of His will
1) What binds this congregation is our commitment to God and our commitment to one another.
2) Commitment that is evidenced through unity, forgiveness, patience, love, and covenant.
3) No room for selfishness, personal agendas, gossip, division in this church.
4) A transformed ministry is one that truly lives as dead to sin and alive in Jesus Christ.
c. Transformed by the knowledge of God’s will
1) As God’s people, we have a new allegiance – changing kingdoms means changing lordships.
2) God has called out for Himself a people, and He has gathered us under one Head, Jesus Christ, for a purpose.
3) To stand as a covenant community in our corporate worship and in our corporate witness.
d. Remember with joy our great salvation
1) The Lord is good all the time, and all the time the Lord is good.
2) The motivation and passion of our worship and witness is that we have been…
a) God has qualified us to share in inheritance of the saints.
b) God has rescued us from the dominion of darkness.
c) God has placed us in the kingdom of the Son He loves.