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2007.10.14 God's People Pray - To Know His Will Col 1 9-10

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God’s People Pray: To Know His Will

Colossians 1:9-10

October 14, 2007

Intro: 

  • Privilege to have Missionary John Chitumbo with us he shared just a brief bit with us this morning and we will hear more from him today at the potluck, we didn’t know him or meet him before now, yet we have prayed for him, and no doubt he has prayed for us yet he did not know us.  We were able to share in the Lord’s work that is being completed through the Chitumbo’s – by prayer.
  • We can communicate to God about the ministry the Lord is doing in Zambia through the Chitumbos – thru prayer.
  • Letter from Harvest…..there is no distance to prayer!
  • Just like the Apostle Paul with the Colossians, he had never met the people at Colossae, but he prayed for them.  And today we are going to look at what he prayed for them – it is wonderful and a beautiful example to us of how we should be praying for others
  • The most important point from today is that God’s People Pray! Repeat with me, “God’s People Pray!” again, “God’s People Pray”.

Prayer

Background

  • Colossians church mainly made up of Gentile converts, one of which we learn was Epaphras.  Now I mentioned earlier that Paul had never been to Colossae, but he did spend three years in Ephesus on his third missionary journey and Luke tells us in Acts 19 “that all the residents of Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks” (Acts 19:10).
  • Colossae was part of Asia – so they would have heard the word of the Lord.  We know this happened through Epaphras v.7
  • What a title to have from Paul – beloved fellow servant, a faithful minister of Christ
  • Epaphras was from Colossae and likely came to Ephesus and heard the gospel that was preached by Paul, was converted and then went back and shared the message with his people and they too were saved – accepted Christ as Saviour and saved from their sin and the punishment for their sin. v.4
  • I see all of us here as having the potential to be like Epaphras – you come to church and you are taught in the Word, then you go and share the good news (the gospel) where God has placed you.

1. Paul prays….that they may be full

  • v.9 …from the day we heard – Paul heard from Epaphras – he reported back to Paul what was going on in the lives of the people at Colossae all the good and the not so good – this likely happened while Paul was imprisoned in Rome, since Paul writes this letter from prison.  Talk about possible heresy. 
  • What is great is that Paul was faithful to share with those in Ephesus (of which Epaphras heard) Epaphras is converted and he is faithful to share with those in Colossae and more are saved – it is this beautiful mulitiplication of saints.  So Epaphras shares this with Paul and so Paul prays.  If you have ever been involved in reaping – having someone come to Christ it is amazing and you do pray for them afterwards with passion.
  • It was not uncommon for God’s people to pray for each other –
    • Job prayed for his friends (Job 42);
    • Moses prayed for Aaron (Deut 9)
    • Samuel prayed for Israel (1Sam7);
    • David prayed for Israel (2Sam24)
    • Daniel prayed for Israel (Dan 9)
    • Jesus prayed for His Disciples (our Sc reading today in John 17);
    • The Jerusalem church prayed for Peter’s release from prison (Acts 12:5)…I have to go there for a second….this example just shows that you don’t have to be perfect in your prayers for God to work…..Act 12 …They had great expectations for their prayers (you are out of your mind) …God works despite our limited expectation….we’ve all been there.
    • Paul prayed for the Colossians (our text today)
  • Not ceased….double negative…Paul knows that new believers (and all of us) need prayer, but what does he pray….
  • V.9b – that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.
  • Point #1 Paul prays…that they may be full
  • Let’s take a look at being filled with knowledge of His will
  • The word filled in the Greek is Pleroo (play-row-o) it is a verb that means to be completely filled or to be totally controlled.  A few examples of usage of this word in Sc….
    • The disciples’ hearts were filled with sorrow when Christ told them of his departure (John 16)
    • The crowd was filled with fear after Jesus healed (Luke 5)
    • The Scribes and Pharisees were filled with fury after Jesus healed on the Sabbath (Luke 6)
    • The disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 4) (One baptism of the Spirit, but many fillings)

In each case they were controlled by what filled them, sorrow, fear, fury, the H.S.,

  • So Paul wants the Colossians to be filled with knowledge of God’s will – a deep and thorough knowledge
  • Did you notice that Paul didn’t say to be filled with experience, but rather he said to be filled with knowledge. 
    • Today we face many Evangelical churches that are saying that truth we can not know, so they focus on experience.  This is very dangerous.  This is precisely why Paul desires for the Colossians to be filled with knowledge of God’s will through wisdom and understanding of the Word!
    • The denial of absolutes (or absolute truth of Scripture) is wreaking havoc on our society in relation to morals and character.
    • Recent study re: teenage purity – no difference.  What made the difference was doctrine, when youth admitted that they had a biblical worldview which included the statement that the Bible is absolutely true in all it teaches – and when they live by that belief…they lived significantly different than the rest of teenagers in regard to sex before marriage.  Knowing the Word makes a difference.  We need to know the Word.
  • Would you agree with me that there are different levels of filling?  Different levels in which people know God’s will for their lives.  I would say so, b/c sin affects that filling. 
  • Some believers are content to be filled:
    •  with a few drops – they are happy they are in, they have been saved and really are not growing that much.  Satisfied with a few drops, they still are enticed by the things of this world
    • half full – they are following God’s will and plan most of the time,
    • other’s are really full – right at the centre of where God desires them to be, although not perfect – they are growing in knowledge and understanding and being filled continuously
    • then there was one – who followed God’s will absolutely and was completely filled in the knowledge of God’s will and that was Christ.  He is our example.  He was completely obedient, even to the point of death on a cross.  Interesting about Jesus is that he says in John 5:30 – “I can do nothing on my own…I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.”  In his humanity he was totally dependent on the Father.  Similarly, all the miracles that Christ performed, where not done by his deity (the fact that he was God), but were done by the Father through Christ as a human.  Acts 2:22 – Christ was perfectly filled.
    • How full are you?  Do you need a filling – dig into the Word.
  • Let’s look at God’s will?  I have often heard people say, I wonder what God’s will for me is – have you heard that.  Well, we will find the answer in the Word!
  • The word for will is thelema (thel'-ay-mah) which means what one wishes or has determined shall be done.  God’s will, God’s purpose, God’s inclination, God’s plan or his pleasure for us.  The Will of God.
  • Paul prays that the knowledge the Colossians would have would be of God’s will.  God’s will is not a secret, it is in the Word.  Here are just a few Scripture
    • Once a person is saved, God’s will is that they be filled with the Spirit (Eph 5:17,18)
    • 1 Thes 4:3, “For this is the will of God, your sanctification” so sanctification (growing in Christlikeness) is also the will of God
    • it is the will of God to be submissive to the gov’t – (1Pet 2:13,15)
    • suffering is the will of God – “Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.” (1 Peter 4:19)  - this flies in the face of the health and wealth gospel – that none of us should ever be sick or suffer – if we do we lack faith…Jesus prayed for his disciples in John 17, he said that the world would hate them b/c of Christ and the Word and Jesus says in v.15, “I do not ask that you take them from the world, but that you keep them from the evil one…and that you sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.”  Christ is basically saying immerse them in the Word, so they can stand against a world that hates them.  Amazing.
    • Giving thanks is also God’s will (1 Thes 5:17)
    • So it is God’s will to be filled with the Spirit, to be sanctified, to be submissive, to suffering, to give thanks….those are just a few.  We need to grow in knowledge in all these areas…..how does that happen?
  • Through Spiritual Wisdom and Understanding.  Basically wisdom addresses our ability to collect and organize principles of Scripture – the truth and understanding refers to the application of these principles in our everyday lives. 
  • So we need to be filled with knowledge – this comes by collecting and organizing Scripture (not just having that head knowledge) but also realizing how Scripture relates to our everyday situations (therefore applying that knowledge), thus striving toward fulfilling the will of God in our lives.  
  • To know God’s will we need to know God and this comes through the Word.  Just like Jesus said in John 15 – about the vine and the branches, we need to remain in Him, we need to receive our nourishment and sustenance from God, we need to remain true to the Scripture, remember apart from Him we can do nothing.  We need to be dependent upon Christ and as we do that, he will revealed himself to us.  John 14:21, “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me, he who loves me will be loved by my Father and I too will love him and show myself to him.”  Through obedience to the Word – Christ will reveal himself to us.  So you want to know God’s will then, obey the Word and he will manifest himself to you.

So what is the purpose of being filled with this knowledge, what difference will it make?  Well Paul suggests three ways in which we will be different.

1(a) – Full…to walk worthy

  • v.10 – so as to walk….
  • Point 1(a) we need to be Full….to walk worthy…of the Lord.
  • Not only do we need this knowledge, but we also need to know who to walk, who to live out this knowledge. 
  • When you think of living like Christ, living in a manner that would be worthy of Christ, that seems impossible right, b/c we sin and he never sinned – so how could my life be worthy enough for Christ.  Well, if we attempt this on our own, it would be impossible.  Let’s look at Gal 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.  And the life I live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
  • We have not been left on our own, abandoned by God to try and walk worthy of Him, rather he gives us the Holy Spirit who dwells in us.  Try and think of it this way.  Have you ever ridden a two person bike….
  • We walk worthy of the Lord to please Him.  We desire as his children to honour Him.
  • When we are full of the knowledge of God’s will, we not only walk worthy, we will bear fruit!

1(b) – Full…to bear fruit

  • So we are Full… to bear fruit.
  • V.10 – bearing fruit in every good work.
  • Fruit reflects the seed doesn’t it – so apples come from apples (seeds), pears come from pears, and Christians produce Christlikeness.  If we claim to be in Christ then the product of our behavior should be Christlikeness.
  • Let me ask you something; is it possible to do good works without bearing fruit?
  • Let me share with you a true story, that I have shared before but totally nails this point…
  • Stranded motorist just down from the church a few years back….
  • To bear fruit, we must remain in Him
  • We also need to work hard to give glory to God in all our good works
  • The Apostle Peter gives us a number of ways to remain fruitful 2 Peter 1:5-8
  • When we are full of the knowledge of God’s will, we not only walk worthy, we not only bear fruit, but we also continue to grow

1(c) – Full…to continue to grow

  • We are Full…to continue to grow
  • V.10 – increasing in the knowledge of God.
  • We need to continue to grow…Peter said in 1 Peter 2:2, “Like newborn infants, long for pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up to salvation”  We need to continue to grow from milk then to solid food and so on.
  • To increase in the knowledge of God – we need to have a love for His Word – Psalm 119:97 – “Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day.”
  • I don’t think there is any one here who is in a position to say that they don’t need to grow in Christ anymore.  We need to grow until the day the Lord takes us home. 
  • Some of the older folk can say, “I’ve done my time….” Remember we are ambassadors of Christ until we die, representing him until our last breath – honor Him.
  • Physically we may be shrinking as we get older, but Spiritually we need to be growing.

Conclusion

·        God’s People Pray for one another.  Distance is not an obstacle for us to pray for someone across the world; our prayers make a difference wherever they are voiced.  God’s People Pray.

·        More specifically God’s people pray, that others may be filled….that they may be full, not of themselves, not of what I want them to do, but filled with the knowledge of God’s will.  We desire that other believers serve the Lord and move in the direction that He is going to accomplish His Will for His Glory!

·        The result of following God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding is that we would walk worthy of the Lord, that we would be great ambassadors for Christ – fully representing him accurately, that we would bear fruit, that our conduct would yield Christlikeness, giving Him the praise and glory, and that we would continue to grow – none of us has reached a point where growth is no longer required.

·        Do you have a Paul in your life – someone who is praying for you like this?  If you don’t then ask someone – Paul asked for prayer from the Colossians see Ch 4:3-4, he didn’t ask to be let out of jail – just to preach the Word clearly – Amazing!

·        Are you a Paul in someone else’s life – praying like this for them? 

·        We need to be praying, let us take from Paul’s example to us.

·        I conclude with this quote from William Barclay, “The great object of prayer is to know the will of God.  In prayer we are not so much trying to make God listen to us, as we are trying to make ourselves listen to God; in prayer we are not trying to persuade God to do what we want Him to do, we are trying to find out what He wants us to do.  It so often happens that in prayer we are really saying, “Thy will be changed, “ when we ought to be saying, “Thy will be done.”

Prayer

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