Faithlife
Faithlife

Outline Colossians 1.9-14

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The Life You’ve Always Wanted

Colossians 1:9-14

 

Introduction:

Secular:  Three days ago I began pondering what it means to “live the good life.”  There is so much written about how to live the life I’ve always wanted – the one I’m striving for.  There are even visual images all around us trying to tell us how we should live.  All we have to do is to think about our everyday encounters with people and the normal places we travel to everyday.  If you shop at Kroger, walking down the magazine aisle or waiting in line might lead someone to believe that your doing well in life if you’re physically fit, fashionable and beautiful.  Border’s is a great place to grab some coffee and to browse some of the new releases like… that tell us that the good life is staying young in appearance and energy level – delaying the inevitable.  The internet is full of great resources on how to truly live.  In fact I stumbled across a website called Magical Living to help me discover if I’m truly living.  Overwhelmed with curiosity I took the magical living quiz to discover the quality of life that I’m living.  Well, I scored a 37 on a 16 question quiz and was informed that I’m staying afloat in the sea of life but I’m no expert at riding the waves.  If I want to be an expert I can begin taking an e-course on the 9 Steps of Magical Living.  I’m just staying afloat!  Yikes!       

Personal:  Are you all just staying afloat like I am?  Have we seized the day and grabbed hold of the good life like modern culture tells us to do.  Are you who you want to be?  The truth is, what we are told to grab onto in order to live well is so elusive and in many ways, impossible to attain.  We can’t control our age or the aging process.  While there are many things we can do to stay healthy, our overall health is out of our hands?  Physical beauty is temporary, fashion changes and money doesn’t grow on trees.  The good life according to our everyday experience is a moving target and when you think you’ve nailed it, your arrow goes right through it.  So what is the good life then?  What should we shoot for?

Biblical:  My prayer this morning is that we will be encouraged by the Word of God that the good life, the one we’ve always wanted, the one we were made for is within grasp.  I want to motivate us this morning to strive for the best life which is a life that pleases God, a life that is worthy of the name of Christ.  And I want us to be encouraged because it is attainable.  We are going to read one of Paul’s prayers this morning and learn what it takes to get on the path to living a life pleasing to God and we are going to get a glimpse of what our lives could look like.

Textual:  Please turn to Paul’s prayer for the Colossian church in Colossians chapter 1.  We are going to study verses 9 though 14 together.

Big Idea:  God’s word and power is the recipe to living worthy Jesus’ name.  Through the Word of Truth and God’s supernatural filling, we can live lives that please God – we can know and live according to God’s will.


Big Idea:  God’s word and power is the recipe to living worthy Jesus’ name.  Through the Word of Truth and God’s supernatural filling, we can live lives that please God – we can know and live according to God’s will.

 

Outline:

1.      A worthy source:  God empowers his Word in our lives enabling us to please God.  The Word is the fuel and the God is the spark.  (1:9-10a)

a.       Explanation

                                                  i.            For this reason… Paul’s prayer flows from his excitement about how the word of truth – the hope of eternal life – is producing faith and love in their lives.

                                                ii.            asking God to fill you with the knowledge… God is the one doing the filling.  In a sense we can read this as though he is completing or enabling the word of truth in our lives.  The fuel and the spark!

                                              iii.            of his will… God revealing not head knowledge, facts or lofty theological findings but who God wants us to be – our character and our hearts that demonstrate themselves in the way we live our lives.  God’s will is not what we should do but who He wants us to be!  One cannot be truly interested in God’s will if they’re not seeking Him in His word (Carson says… folly).

                                              iv.            in all spiritual wisdom and understanding… Who God wants us to be stands in high contrast to worldly wisdom and understanding.  God’s will is to fill us with a competency and complete understanding of his word so powerfully that every mental faculty and decision making tool that we have is transformed.

                                                v.            that you may live a life worthy of the Lord… The effect of the God empowered word brings us to a place where our lives

                                              vi.            and… please him in every way… In the end, we cannot please the Lord unless he fills us with a knowledge of his will and that can’t happen without a certain book.  The right desire is not to be the best Christian but to please the Lord.

b.      Illustration:  Recently Hollywood has produced several movies depicting God appearing and talking to people in order to tell them what to do – Bruce Almighty and Evan Almighty would be two examples.  I think people today want God to appear in a more tangible form so that they can dialogue with him.  Many atheists substantiate their claims by saying that a real God wouldn’t be silent.  I’ve even heard one or two arrogantly demand, as though God answers to their beck and call, that if God is real that he strike them down on the spot.  Have we forgotten that God does communicate with us?  His word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path.  And God empowers us with inward urgings to do his will through the Holy Spirit.  God shows us how to live by filling us with wisdom and understanding through His word!

c.       Application

                                                  i.            What sort of speech or conduct will shame Jesus’ name?  How do we work… spend our leisure time… talk to our spouses… treat or children?

                                                ii.            Flirting with worldly understanding in our daily decisions and interactions…

                                              iii.            Pray unceasingly for a deepening knowledge of God’s will through the word…

                                              iv.            To get all of these things started, how about picking up Father’s book…

2.      A worthy life:  The result of this powerful combination is a life worthy of bearing the name of Christ – Christian.  In Paul’s prayer he describes the effects of God’s powerful Word of Truth.

a.       Explanation:  Paul gives us four traits of a life that pleases God.  This is not an exhaustive list but it is typical of the explosion that happens when God ignites His word in our lives.

                                                  i.            The word of truth produces all kinds of good deeds in our lives.  We are saved by grace alone but God has prepared us to do great things through His grace.  There is a way for all of us to bear fruit in good works.  There is ministry for all believers.  It is God’s will for all believers to by transformed by the word and to live a life worthy of Christ.  We must all bear fruit!

                                                ii.            Pleasing God means growing, growing, and growing in your relationship with God, your understanding of who He is and what He does.  This is a never ending process while we live on earth.  Christians grow!  Let me correct myself, Christians are made to grow.  The verb is passive meaning God is the cause – being made to grow.

                                              iii.            God’s power enables you to endure and remain steadfast.  The description of this power (all power according to his glorious might) is similar to resurrection power described elsewhere in Paul’s writing.  We need this because this trait is far beyond our human capacity.  God empowers us to persevere under painful, discouraging and threatening circumstances.  This is strength for the long haul!

                                              iv.            A life worthy of Jesus’ name is full of praise to the Father.  Giving thanks means we have not suffered a catastrophic loss of perspective.  We look back to the moment when we were rescued.  We never forget that we were transferred…

b.      Illustration:  After having gone through this list, please allow me to illustrate a concern that I have.  I have an ongoing to-do-list on my computer that I’m always trying to keep up to date.  It feels so good to check the done box when I complete a task.  My guess is that many of us have to-do-lists.  We write them before we go on vacation, when life get’s hectic, when we’re forgetful or just to stay productive.  You can buy to do list calendars, books and computer programs.  My fear is that we are so to-do-list oriented that we are going to see Paul’s list in the same way.  Things in life that we need to start and then check off the list.  Or things we are already doing so we can check them off the list.  Paul gives us this list to get a glimpse at what it means to live a life that is pleasing to God.  A life that can only begin through meeting with God and seeking his face with the bible open.  This is God’s work that he does in us through the word of God.

c.       Application:  Please let me make a few comments of application on each aspect of the worthy life…

                                                  i.            So, when we get tired of serving in the church, when bearing fruit through good works becomes burdensome.  When we get sick of working with other people or don’t feel appreciated, do not quit.  Go back to the source of the good life, the word of truth.

                                                ii.            Remember that continuous growing has its ups and downs.  Don’t compare yourself with others; just go back to the source, the word of truth.

                                              iii.            Did you know that the most powerful evidence for the reality of your faith and the power of Jesus our savior is how you react when you suffer or when the going gets tough?  If you need a fresh reminder of your imperishable hope and inheritance in heaven to help you persevere, go back to the source, the word.

                                              iv.            Finally, regularly think about how your life has changed since your were transferred from the dominion of darkness into the kingdom of Jesus.  For example, I was paranoid that nobody loved or cared for me.  I was constantly afraid of failure and never amounting to anything.  I was beginning to do anything to find love.  That’s not who I am anymore because I am now a child of God, saved by grace, unconditionally loved and created to do amazing things for Christ Jesus.  These kind of thoughts can help you regain your perspective and give thanks to the Father.

Conclusion

In the martial art of Tae Kwon Do it is customary for martial artists to bow upon entering the room or dojo, to bow to the instructor several times throughout the course of a workout, and to bow to the South Korean flag at the conclusion of the workout.  There is one Tae Kwon Do instructor, a follower of Jesus Christ, who was reading the word of truth, the fuel.  He came to passages like Leviticus 26:1 - Do not make idols or set up an image… to bow down before it. I am the Lord your God. – and Deuteronomy 5:8 - You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything… You shall not bow down to them or worship them… - and was moved by God through the Holy Spirit, the flame that ignites the fuel, to make a change.  This may be the only Tae Kwon Do instructor around that slaps his students in the hands and says, “How ya doin” and “Good job tonight” at the beginning and end of workouts.  God filled this instructor with the knowledge of his will so that he would please God.

So let’s end this message by praying for each other that we would be filled with the knowledge of God’s will through the word of truth so that we live the good life.  The life worthy of the name of Jesus.

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