Transcript from MacWhisper
[ Pause ] Behold, the can of Wild Cherry Pepsi.
Oh no, Wild Cherry Pepsi is nothing to laugh at.
[ Laughter ] Behold, the power strip.
Our banana tree. [LAUGHTER] This one's a minor miracle. I was walking around thinking, what on earth am I going to use? Aha, it was in a closet somewhere.
The pitcher, the kneeler.
We have a prayer room. I don't know if you knew that. We have a prayer room that's just right over there.
that if you ever need a place just that's silent and quiet and you need a place to pray, you can kneel and pray.
I'd like to invite you to turn to the book of Colossians.
If you have a Bible, turn to the book of Colossians chapter 1. We'll be taking a look at verses 9 through 14.
Now last week, Pastor John finished up his series on Haggai, a four-week series on Haggai, which is all about making choices, making the right choices. Next week, Pastor John is going to begin our next series, which is called The Long Walk of Pilgrims.
If you take a look at our bulletin, it says, "Join us on the journey," and that's what that's talking about, which is all about the book of 1 Peter.
For this one Sunday, however, we'll be taking a look at what is called one of the prison letters of the Apostle Paul. They were called the prison letters because he wrote them, get this, from prison. Yeah.
Now the Apostle Paul lived about 2,000 years ago in an incredibly different time and in absolutely different circumstances than we live in today.
He was in prison because instead of declaring Caesar as Lord, Paul made the anti-empire claim that Jesus is Lord. And that was enough to put the author of 13 books of our New Testament into prison. But Paul knew nothing of the idea of giving up.
Instead, he wrote letters to churches that he had helped found, that he had visited, or that he had heard reports from, such as the Church of Colossae.
From this time in Paul's life, we get the letters to the churches of Ephesus, Philippi, Colossae, and to a slave owner named Philemon.
So put your finger in Colossians chapter 1 and allow me to give you a glimpse into my personality by letting me tell you the story of a storm.
On a Saturday in July, we here at the Lakes area experienced quite the tempest.
Reports of a hundred-mile-per-hour wind, tornado-like activity, and other miscellaneous nature-caused pandemonium ensued that night.
I'm sure you remember it well.
Emily and I live approximately a hundred feet away from a tornadoes labyrinth, and so we were warned in a deafening fashion of the off-again, on-again, tornado warning watch thing.
We lived, still, in a second-story condo, and after some him-hauling around, we decided that being 30 or 40 feet up in the air was probably not the wisest place to be during a storm.
So we ran into the rain, we dove into our car and rushed to this very building, at 1030 at night and hid out in that room right over there, where am I pointing, right there, which used to be the Children's Sunday School Room.
Having left in such a rush, panicked, Emily and I neglected to grab anything to do or occupy ourselves with as the storm blew over.
We did have the radio on, but listening to Steve Schwaller repeat the same devastating wind speeds over and over again can be exhilarating only for so long.
So Emily and I rummaged around the Children's Church room she found a deck of children's Bible trivia cards.
The questions were really, really hard.
Things like, "What was the name of Jesus's mother?
" or "What man built an ark for all the animals?
" But then we came across a card that asked, "How many loaves of bread did Jesus have on the Sermon on the Mount?
" which then gave the reference of Matthew 12.
This card was wrong, incorrect, erroneous, and so many different levels.
First of all, the Sermon on the Mount is in Matthew 5.
Second of all, the feeding of the 5,000, in which Jesus has five loaves, is in Matthew 14.
This card was nowhere close, nowhere near to presenting any sort of correct information to our children's church kids.
So I promptly ripped up the card and threw it away.
(Laughter) This, I believe, in part, is my life's calling.
(Laughter) In part.
It's why I went to college, it's why I work at a church.
There are things that are right to believe, and there are things that are wrong to believe.
There are some gray areas, too, but when we know what's right, when we know that the Sermon on the Mount is actually seven chapters before what a Bible trivia card suggests, Can we not say, "Oh yes, that is important!
Knowing Scripture is important.
Knowing the character of God is crucial.
" This, I believe, also summarizes our passage for today.
Turn back to [[Colossians 1]], verses 9 through 14.
Paul writes and says, "Therefore, from the day that we heard of your spiritual love, we also have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God's will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding, in order that you may walk in a way worthy of the Lord, pleasing in every way, bearing fruit in every good work, and growing in the knowledge of God, being empowered with all the power of the might of the glory of God, so that you may have endurance and patience, giving thanks joyfully to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints and the light, who rescued us from the tyranny of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have the redemption and the forgiveness of sins.
[[Colossians 1]] 9 through 14 is one sentence.
Now there's a lot to absorb in these five verses, as is usually the case with Paul.
So in order to help myself out, I created a physical outline, which I figured I might as well share with you.
Now this outline is the skeleton of what Paul says, the bones on which the flesh of this passage hang.
This skeleton happens to be made out of seven, seven verbs, seven actions, or seven deeds that either Paul is doing, God is doing, or we are doing.
So you You ready for this?
Paul is praying that you may be filled so that you may walk (Ah yeah, makes sense now) bearing fruit by growing, by being empowered, by giving thanks.
We'll get to this later.
All right, did you get that?
See, Bible memorization isn't that hard if you have a whole stage and a lot of objects.
Paul is praying that you may be filled so that you may walk by bearing fruit, by growing, by being empowered, by giving thanks.
All right, so that's the skeleton.
Now let's back up to flesh this out.
Okay, verb number one.
This part's pretty self-explanatory.
Paul prays for the church.
Paul doesn't stop praying for the church.
Colossae is actually a church that gets a good report.
Verse 8, the verse before, tells us about their pastor named Epaphras.
He is called "beloved," he's called "faithful," a "fellow servant," a "fellow minister," and Epaphras, their pastor, is able to report that the Colossians have spiritual love.
This is good.
Jesus himself says, "If you have love for one another, everyone will know that you are my disciples.
" John 13.
And yet, and yet, Paul still bothers to write to a church that he, as far as we know, never visited, and he bothers to pray for them constantly, unceasingly.
And not just fluffy prayers, not just prayers that say, "May good things happen to you.
" No, no, no, no.
Paul's prayer for the church is deep and thought out and deliberate.
May we as leaders, we are all leaders of our homes, of our friends, of our children, of our work, may we as leaders learn to pray the same deep, thought out, deliberate way.
So Paul is praying.
What is he praying for?
Verb number two.
that you may be filled.
" Now, Paul did the praying.
He is asking that you may be filled.
But who's actually doing the filling?
In the case of this glass, which is actually what I'm filling, there's a glass inside the bowl.
In the case of this glass and pitcher, is the glass doing the filling?
The pitcher is, of course.
Then in the same way, Paul is asking that God would fill us up.
The verb is, for all you grammar people out there, passive.
Just like the sentence, "The ball is being thrown.
" Is the ball causing itself to be thrown?
No, my arm is causing the throwing.
Probably, you know, a couple feet.
I've never learned how to throw a ball.
We aren't doing the filling, But if we are willing to be filled, if we are in a place of obedience, if a place of trust, a place of reliance, then God can say, "Ah, you're finally here.
Now let me pour myself into you.
" Now before we can move on past verb number two and on to verb number three, we have to ask ourselves, "What are we being filled with?
" Fortunately, Paul gives us the answer to this question in the very next phrase, "with the knowledge of God's will.
" Notice Paul doesn't say "the knowledge of God," but rather "the knowledge of God's will.
" I think Paul realizes that we really don't know a person until we know, first of all, what they want, and secondly, how they act, behave, conduct themselves.
A couple of mornings ago, Emily and I I was getting ready for work.
I had gone out to the kitchen while Emily was still in the bedroom.
For some reason, when I had come back to the bedroom, the door had shut itself.
So before opening the door, I knocked, and then I answered.
Emily, who was standing there, gave me a funny look and asked, "Why did you knock?
You know we're married, right?
" And I told her, "I knew if I just barged in, I would startle you.
So I knocked, first to let you know I was there.
I know my wife's dreams, desires, favorite movies, favorite books, eye color, weight, height, and social security code.
But if I don't know her behavior, if I don't know what she does and how she acts, do I really know her?
If I didn't understand that a person's sudden appearance in a room would cause Emily to jump, then could I really say I know her will?
The way she acts, behaves, conducts herself.
Paul, in the same way, understands that to know God we must know His will.
We must comprehend God's actions because in God's actions we begin to see His character.
Let me repeat that.
We must comprehend God's actions, what God does, because in God's actions we begin to see God's character.
We must grasp God's plan for all of creation, that it would be renewed and restored and recreated and resurrected.
We must grasp God's plan for all of creation in order to grasp God's plan for me and for you and for us.
And so Paul is praying that we may be filled with what?
With the knowledge of his will.
Now one final question before we move on to verb number three.
We asked what God is filling us with.
Now we must ask how God is filling us.
And again Paul gives us the very next answer in the very next phrase.
Through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.
Now notice on the screen that I have hyphens between wisdom and understanding.
That's on purpose.
This is a phrase that should be taken almost as a single word, a single thought.
This phrase is used constantly in the Old Testament.
For example, Exodus 31 verse 3, God is telling Moses about a man named Bazalel, and God says, "I have filled Bazalel with the Spirit of God," and here's the phrase, "wisdom and understanding, in knowledge, and in all kinds of craftsmanship to make artistic designs.
" This same phrase, "wisdom and understanding happens again and again in the Old Testament.
God fills someone with wisdom and understanding.
Sometimes in order to be a maker of artistic designs, sometimes to be the king of Israel.
Now Paul is doing something very interesting here.
In the same breath that Paul has mentioned knowledge, knowledge of God's will, wisdom and understanding, for you guys, yeah, wisdom and understanding, He is writing about things that we typically consider to be cerebral.
Things about the brain, the mind, the intellect.
But Paul is talking about them spiritually.
Paul is talking about the intellectual acuity coming from the Lord.
Remember the passage starts out by saying, "Because of your spiritual love.
" So Paul is saying, "Because of your love for one another, for people, I am praying that you God would fill you with intimate knowledge practical wisdom and considerable understanding Now go back to the example of Basil well the artistic design guy Have you ever met a successful artist musician athlete scholar business person anyone?
Who did not at some point have to study practice or rehearse what they did?
We know certain people who just have a knack for certain things Certain gifts, talents, we know these people.
But do we really think that Basilel, the artistic design guy, was just sitting around, sitting on his couch, watching Crossing Jordan, and then BAM!
All of a sudden, he had the ability to fashion out of gold the art needed for God's tabernacle?
Yes, God gave him the abilities, but Basilel had to take responsibility for them.
God gave him the abilities.
Basil had to take responsibility for them.
Which finally leads us to verb number three.
Paul is praying that God would fill us.
Fill us with what?
The knowledge of God's will.
With all spiritual wisdom and understanding that the Holy Spirit can give.
Now we ask the question, why is God filling us?
Verb number three, "So that you may walk.
" Now if you remember, kindly remember, five months ago, I gave you a sermon about being a wandering Aramean.
God is constantly calling us to walk in his ways, in his paths, in his footsteps, in his will.
Jesus does not call himself the destination, the truth, and the life.
No, rather Jesus is the way.
Jesus walks up to two fishermen and does not say, "Say this magic prayer and I'll save you from hell.
" No, he walks up to two fishermen and says, "Follow me.
" So Paul is doing the praying, God is doing the filling, and we are doing the walking.
, the artistic design guy, did not sit around being filled with God's spirit of wisdom and understanding, then go to a big gathering of a bunch of other people who had been filled with God's Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding, and then pat each other on the back about how they'd been filled with God's Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding.
In the same way, God's prayer for the Colossians is that they would be filled and therefore walk, therefore live a life worthy of the Lord, therefore be the kind of people who are pleasing to God in every way.
Throughout the Old Testament, God says, "Listen, obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than the offering of fat rams.
" So Paul is doing the praying.
God is doing the walking, or the filling, and we are doing the walking.
Walking in a way, next phrase, worthy of the Lord.
In other words, walking like he walked, following Jesus.
This is what is meant by the phrase, "What would Jesus do?
" And remember, what Jesus did was let those people he disagreed with, those people who were wrong.
He let them crucify him.
He let them murder him.
May we never say, "What would Jesus do?
" lightly again.
So we are to walk.
Now this is a bad analogy because hopefully you're walking steadily without assistance from some plastic and metal.
But it gives you the idea.
Now, we're supposed to walk.
Paul tells us how.
The next four ways, or the last four verbs that we're talking about, Paul shows us how to walk.
Firstly, we are to walk by bearing fruit.
We should go to Fairway and buy lots of bananas.
Anyway, again, we find these words on the lips of Jesus.
" In John 15, Jesus says, "I am the vine and you are the branches.
If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit.
Apart from me you can do nothing.
" This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
And now, what is this fruit that we are to bear?
Look at the next phrase in the passage.
every good work.
Now sometimes, especially us Reformed folk, cringe upon hearing these words, "good works.
" But Paul is not, is not, is not saying, giving instructions on how to get saved.
He is not explaining, he is not explaining redemption, justification or forgiveness.
He is saying you should be filled by God with the knowledge of his will so that you may walk by bearing the fruit of good works.
For Paul, to know God is to do his will.
Right knowledge leads to right behavior.
If you are truly, honestly, utterly filled with the knowledge of God's will, if you actually know God's behavior, God's story in the past, God's plan for all creation in the future, God's plan for you, God's plan for me, if you know what God is like, if you have right knowledge of God's character, then you will bear the fruit of righteousness.
Paul says this in many different ways.
Paul tells the Ephesians, "For by grace you have been saved through faith, not the result of works.
This we know, this we're comfortable with.
"For we are created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.
" Paul is not saying by doing good things you are saved.
He is saying you are saved in order to fulfill the good things God meant for you all all along.
We cannot, cannot put the cart before the horse about this.
Too often we find ourselves trying to prove to God or to people or to ourselves how saved we are by the how many good things we do.
There is no measure of how saved you are.
You are already qualified.
You are already rescued and you are already redeemed.
All that's left is for someone to pray for you, to ask that you may continue to be filled with the knowledge of who God is in order that you may walk by bearing the fruit of good works.
God is doing the filling, but you must choose to walk.
" Now, the wonderful thing about fruit is that it's external.
It's really not for me.
It's for you.
A tree grows fruit in order to give up that fruit, in order for that fruit to go somewhere else, in order to plant a seed, make a new plant, to feed someone who's hungry.
This attitude must define our actions.
If you are doing good things to please yourself, then you aren't really doing good things.
But if you are bearing fruit so that someone won't starve, so that someone isn't cold, isn't alone, isn't naked, isn't depressed, oppressed, repressed, if you are bearing fruit to, as Jesus said, "proclaim the good news to poor, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners," then you are walking in a way worthy of Jesus, then you are following Him.
So Paul is praying that God would fill us up with the knowledge of his will so that we may walk firstly by bearing or chucking fruit.
Secondly, and here we come to verb number five, by growing.
Again a a bad analogy since this tree is fake.
Now if bearing fruit is external, the throw it out into the crowd kind of action, then growing is internal.
Giving, throwing out, growing, taking in.
But do not think that this is selfish growth, that this is a manicure on the beach with a smoothie in one hand and a credit card and the other kind of growth.
We are to be growing.
That's quite the image.
We are to be growing.
What do I used to do on the beach with a credit card?
I don't get it.
We are to be growing in the knowledge of God.
Now if this sounds suspiciously like what we are being filled with in the first place, then to you I say, "Exactly.
" Paul has laid out for us a cycle for living, sequence for Christian life.
This is the way of the wandering Aramean.
This is the pilgrim's progress.
This is what it is to follow Jesus, and this is what it is to do God's story.
That we may be filled with the knowledge of God, so that we may walk, so that we may bear fruit, so that we may grow.
By being filled by the knowledge of God, so that we may walk, so that we may bear fruit, so that we may grow in the knowledge of God by being filled with the knowledge of God, and so on and so on.
So, Paul is praying that God would fill us up so that we may walk firstly by bearing fruit, secondly by growing, thirdly, verb number six, by being empowered with all the power of the might of the glory of God.
" Listen, listen to Paul.
He's like stuttering over himself.
"By being empowered with all the power of the might of the glory of God.
" That's a lot of power, might, and glory.
That's like four prepositional phrases in a row.
Grammarians everywhere turning over in their graves.
But Paul is telling us this to get us to understand that because we are in Christ, because we are rescued, redeemed and saved.
Our resources are unlimited.
Now I thought about using like a, like a, I don't even know what they call since I don't use them, a dumbbell, you know.
I don't even know, where do you find those?
But that's really not the right picture.
This is our action, you know.
This is us.
And then if we stop, you know, the cartoon muscle goes like this.
This is being empowered.
This is, to use the analogy, plugging into the source of all power.
When we are rescued, redeemed, and saved, our resources are unlimited.
Go back to Jesus in John 15.
He says, "I am the vine, you are the branches.
If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
Now Paul, by using the phrase "the might of the glory of God," reminds us of what he wrote in Romans 6.
Paul writes, "Christ was raised from the dead through, excuse me, through the glory of the Father.
" Orpheusians 1, "May you know the hope you have been called to, his incomparably great power, the same power as the mighty strength he showed when he raised Christ from the dead.
When Paul prays that we may be empowered by the power of the might of the glory of God, Paul is talking about resurrection.
And not just the resurrection of Jesus, 2nd Corinthians tells us Christ was just the beginning of the renewal, the remaking, the recreating, the resurrection of all creation.
As Jesus says in Revelation 21, "Behold, I am making all things new.
" And And now Paul is saying, "You have that same power.
" Why do we have this power?
Remember verb number three, "So that you may walk.
By bearing fruit, by growing, by being empowered.
Empowered for what?
Next phrase, endurance and patience.
Now these words, endurance or patience, are the same words used all throughout the Old Testament the qualities of God.
Literally you could translate patience as long-suffering-ness, a God who is merciful and kind.
And Paul says by God's power you can have the same attributes that God has, these qualities that are to be said of God himself.
So Paul is praying that we may be filled in order to walk.
By bearing fruit, by growing, by being empowered.
And finally, to verb number seven, by giving joyful thanks.
Now, I represent thanks by this can of wild cherry Pepsi, because if you ever want to thank me for anything, Just give me a can of Wild Cherry Pepsi, and I will be utterly content.
On the flip side, tell me I can't have a Wild Cherry Pepsi, as my wife or my overly tight jeans do occasionally, and I will think you to be cruel and unusual.
Anyway, this can of Pepsi woefully misses the mark in terms of the type of thanksgiving God deserves.
Verses 13 and 14 could be a whole other sermon about salvation, For it is in these two verses that Paul explains what we are to be thankful for.
But quickly, Paul explains that we are to be joyfully giving thanks to the Father because, number one, he has enabled us to share in the inheritance of the saints.
To the Israelites, God promised them an inheritance, which was the land of Canaan.
In Christ, though, that inheritance has blown up to include the entire renewed world.
So be thankful that God has enabled you to be a part of that.
Number two, God has rescued us from the tyranny of darkness.
He delivered us.
The word "deliver" was crucially important to the Israelites because it is the same word that God uses when talking about delivering them from Egypt, from bondage, or from enemies.
It's the prayer of the Psalms, "Deliver me, O God.
" It's in the mouth of Jesus, "Deliver us from evil.
" It's in the prayers of the early church, "We wait for the one who deliver us from the wrath to come.
And here Paul reminds us that the Father has enabled us to share in the inheritance, and that God has delivered us from the tyranny, the reign, the utter despot control of darkness.
And finally, number three, God transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption and the forgiveness of sins.
And so for all of this, for being enabled, for being rescued, and for being transferred, and redeemed, and forgiven, Paul says, "Be joyfully giving thanks.
" So, do we have this memorized yet?
Paul is praying that you may be filled with what?
The knowledge of his will through all wisdom and understanding.
In order that we may walk.
By bearing fruit, by growing, by being empowered by resurrection, and by giving joyful thanks for redemption.
So now what?
We made it through our seven verbs.
How do we respond?
What do we take from these verses?
The key, the crucial element which I've held from you this whole time, in understanding this passage is that every single time Paul uses the word "you," it is actually "you all.
" "You," plural.
" It's written for everyone in the Church of Colossae.
Not just the pastor, not just the elders, not just the Sunday school teachers, the small group leaders, the staff, the deacons, everyone that Chad prayed for this morning.
It's written to the congregation at large.
You all can be filled with the knowledge of God's will.
You all can be doing this through the spiritual wisdom and understanding.
You all should be bearing and throwing fruit, growing in knowledge, being empowered by resurrection, and living a life of complete thanksgiving for redemption.
This wasn't an option for Paul at the Church of Colossae.
These things weren't electives.
It was expected, honestly expected, that every Christian in the Colossae faith community would be living out this prayer more and more each and every day.
They were being filled by God himself.
What excuse did they have not to live this out?
Yes, it is God that does the filling.
And it is only by the grace of God, through faith, we are already saved.
But we must do the walking.
We must do the thanksgiving.
We must choose to know God's will.
And like Basilel, the artistic design guy, we must choose to take what God has given us and use it.
Also, because this letter is written to you all, you plural, everyone, it is also to be understand that these seven verbs are not meant to be done alone.
The wandering Aramean, the pilgrim, the follower of Jesus is meant for community.
May you all together walk in a way worthy of the Lord.
May you all together be filled with the knowledge of God's will.
Today begins our Sunday School program for children, youth, and adults, as well as small groups for the entire church.
When we offer small groups and classes here at Good News, don't think for a moment we're doing it to make your already busy lives more busy.
Don't think for a moment that we here as staff members and volunteers and elders are just figuring out how should we fill up our 50-hour work week.
These classes and small groups are here to equip you, to help you to grow, to help you to bear fruit, to help you to walk.
That's why we have a women's small group called Following Jesus.
The Christian life doesn't get more basic than this.
That's why we have a women's class called "Celebration of Discipline.
" How can we walk lives that are on purpose and intentional?
That's why we have a class called "Doing God's Story.
" To know God is to do his will.
Right knowledge leads to right behavior.
And if we know God's story, then we will do God's story.
That's why we have a class called Love One Another.
When we bear fruit, they will know we are disciples by our love.
And that's why our small groups this fall are all about Pilgrim's Progress.
We must walk together as one body, as one organism, as a single pilgrim questing forward to the Celestial City.
So, today's response time is not a song, not a prayer, not a time to bow our heads or close our eyes, but simply an opportunity.
Join a class, a small group, a Bible study, a mental relationship, an accountability, do accountability group, do anything so that when you walk you are not walking alone.
Jesus had five loaves in Matthew 14.
He preached a sermon on a mount in Matthew 5.
God is pleased with you and desires to fill you up abundantly.
So let us walk, bear fruit, grow, be strong, and give thanks together.
Let me pray for you as Paul prayed for his church.
Father, may you fill us, this church, with the knowledge of your will and grant us all spiritual wisdom and understanding so that we may walk in a way worthy of you, Lord, pleasing you in every way.
May we bear fruit for every good work.
May we grow in knowledge of you.
And may we be empowered with all the power of all the might of all your glory, so that we may have endurance in your long-sufferingness.
Father, we give you jubilant thanks, not just with cans of Pepsi, but with our lives.
For you have qualified us to share in the inheritance of your saints.
You have rescued us from the tyrants of darkness.
and you have transferred us into the kingdom of your beloved Son Jesus, in whom we have redemption and forgiveness.
Thank you, Father.
Would you please stand?