Prayer Priorities (Colossians 1:1-14)January 8, 2023 | Brandon Cooper
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Good morning. Go ahead, grab your Bibles open up to Colossians chapter one new series this morning in Colossians. So this is good new series, New year, new resolutions, takes until about February to realize the same old you, right.
And maybe one of those areas where you’ve noticed this and perhaps even an area where you set some resolutions is in prayer, same old prayer life, it’s so often feels like maybe many of you would count yourself in that camp. I know I often would, where I feel like I’m just not progressing as I would like to in the area of prayer, you find yourself praying the same thing over and over again, feels like your prayers lack power, or quickly your prayer times lack consistency, they get shorter kind of ends up box checking all that kind of stuff. Why? Why is it that that happens? So many of us, it should be the easiest thing in the world for us to run to our father and speak to him openly and boldly. I think it was Tim Keller who’s quipped before that there’s only one person who dares wake the king at three in the morning for a glass of water. And that’s his kid. And that’s where we are with God. So we can go to him at three in the morning and ask for a glass of water as it were should be the easiest thing in the world then for us when we have that privilege. And yet it isn’t. Again, if you’re at all like me, you might feel like sometimes you just don’t know how to pray. You’re crying out with the disciples Teach us to pray, Lord, because we just don’t feel like we know was Carl Laverton, who said, If we know God is our maker, our ruler and our Father, we will want to pray prayers that please Him that reflect his desires that line up with his priorities for our lives. And for the world. I want that. I just don’t always feel like I have it. And maybe you’re the same way. So how do we figure that out? How do we learn to pray prayers that please God? Well, God has not left us wanting. He never does. The Lord is our shepherd, we lack nothing, especially not knowledge about how to please Him. So He shows us how to pray prayers that delight him, where where do we go to find that will into his word, of course. And so that’s what we’re going to do today as we look at Paul’s prayer for the Christians in Colossae. This is a new series though. So we’re going to start with a bit of background first so that you know like what the word Colossi means we’ll start there. So draw out some background information from the intro. And then we’re going to dig deep into his prayer and verses nine to 14. So we start by reading chapter one, verses one to eight. And we’ll do some background here. Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus, by the will of God and Timothy, our brother, to God’s holy people in Colossae, the faithful brothers and sisters in Christ, Grace and peace to you from God our Father,
we always thank God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and have the love you have for all God’s people, the faith and love that sprang from the hope stored up for you in Heaven, and about what you have already heard, and the true message of the gospel that has come to you. In the same way the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world, just as it has been doing among us since the day you heard it, and truly understood God’s grace. You learned it from a papyrus, our dear fellow servant, who was a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf, and who also told us of your love in the spirit.
Right, so pause there. So we have this letter from Paul the Apostle, and Timothy quite possibly his scribe in this case, and it’s to the church in Colossae, which is in the Lycus River Valley in modern Turkey, about 80 miles inland from the coast of the Mediterranean there. Now, what’s interesting about Colossi is that it’s the least impressive of all the cities that Paul writes to most of them Rome, for example, pretty big, famous cities. Colossians, just a shadow of its former self, and it’s gotten much bigger, more important towns right by it like Ephesus, and allow to see you might have heard of those. Also interesting is that it’s not a church that he founded, not the only letter like that he did not found the church in Rome, and yet he writes a letter there. But we know from verse seven that it was a pathless, who founded the church planted the church there in Colossae. It was founded during Paul’s evangelism of what was then Asia Minor again, we would think of it as being Turkey today. So Paul was based in Ephesus for a good couple of years, training up workers and sending them out into the field. You can read about this in Acts chapter 19 Verse
10 on the screen. This that is Paul’s teaching in Ephesus and the Hall of Tyrannis went on for two years so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord, their remarkable statement. But it’s especially remarkable because Paul is staying in one place. And it is not as though everyone in Asia mine a flock flock to hear him in Ephesus. No, again, what is he doing in the Hall of Tyrannis? He’s training up workers to send them out. This, by the way, is why our one explore our track is called Tyrannis. That’s the one where we train people for ministry specifically. So Paul is equipping servants of God to carry the message of the Gospel across Asia Minor.
But then why does Paul write this letter to Colossi? That’s the next question. Well, most of Paul’s letters come, not all of them, but most of them come, because there’s an issue. There’s something happening in that church that requires some teaching or correction. And so here in Colossae, we see that there’s heresy creeping in new teachers have either come in or come out of the church and are preaching a perverted a distorted gospel. Now, what exactly is that collusion? heresy? It’s tough to say, Why? Because we only get one side of the phone conversation you ever listened in when somebody’s talking on the phone? And you can tell it’s good stuff? Like, this is dramatic. And you get to like, she said, What? Well, I mean, we knew she thought that and you’re like, Okay, Who’s he talking to? And what’s it about? You’re trying to figure it out, and you get little clues here and there, and you start to reconstruct the scene in your head. That’s kind of what we’ve got here. Although at least we know who he’s talking to. And some of that stuff. What we know about the clash and heresy for sure. Is that a diminished Christ? It made Jesus less than all sufficient and when that’s why the book of Colossians focuses on Christ supremacy. Jesus’s first Jesus is bass. That’s why our subtitle is Christ our life because that really is the focus of this book. We’ll get into this much more next week even. But again, the the heresy is that Jesus is not enough. He’s not sufficient. So you better add to the salvation he won for us by your works. And you’re also going to need some help from some other beings that we’ll talk more about as we go, you’re gonna have to pass through some other intermediaries to really get to God. You can see that serious stuff. Like this is a big deal. This is a dangerous heresy. And so you would almost expect Paul to come in guns blazing kind of like he doesn’t Galatians like we were just gonna skip the Thanksgiving in the prayer. What were you people thinking? That’s not what Paul does here. Paul doesn’t start off strong. He focuses instead on the positive that he sees in the church, not the negative, most likely winning a hearing in the process, especially with a church that he does not know as well, personally. But he’s also just truly thankful to God, because he’s heard of the faith of these people from a path for us. And it’s a faith that manifests itself in love, which faith always should. Did you actually notice by the way, if you’re looking at Verse five, you get the faith and love that sprang from the hope stored up for you in Heaven. What’s interesting, even if this is your very first time in church, you probably have heard faith, hope and love together before, haven’t you? These three remain usually at weddings, faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. This is the distinctly Pauline triad, faith, hope and love. But there are the greatest of these is love. Here the focus is on hope. Hope the fact that hope is the soil out of which springs faith and love what is hope. In Paul’s mind, it is the certainty of our salvation. We know that there is an inheritance laid up for us in heaven already already one for us in Christ, it is guaranteed that certainty of salvation is why we then trust in Jesus wholeheartedly. There’s our faith. And the more you trust, the more you love, because that’s what we’re called to do in Christ. That’s just how the gospel works. Once we know what God has done for us in Christ, we are transformed. In fact, that’s how you know the gospel is working. If you’re not growing in faith and love, you’re going to have to ask some questions of yourself. The Gospel always bears fruit increases these words that Paul is using in verse six wherever it is truly heard, truly received. Here’s the way John says it for John chapter three. Now we are children of God. And what we will be has not yet been made known but we know that when Christ appears we shall be like Him for we
shall see Him as He is all who have this hope in Him, purify themselves just as He is pure, we are transformed by the hope we have in Christ, the certainty of our salvation in Jesus. Alright, so it’s in light of this, then that Paul prays for the church, and his prayer is so instructive for us is going to show us God’s priorities for our prayers. I’m going to walk very slowly through these next few verses. In fact, we’re going to look at some questions of our prayers, the What the Why the how, and the who, and I’m gonna take them almost a verse at a time here. So let’s start with the what of our prayers, just verse nine. Let me read it for us. For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will, through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives.
So the news that Epaphras brings, drives Paul to prayer. For this reason, he says what I just talked about a moment ago, because of this, he engages in fervent and continual prayer, I have not stopped praying for you.
And just right there, I already feel the sting of conviction in this passage. I have stopped praying for things before in my life. And that’s a little concerning. I often go slack in prayer, and yet what we’re praying for, I mean, you look at, look at your kids, for example, until Christ is fully formed in your kids. Could you ever stop praying for them? No. And by the way, Christ will be fully formed in your kids in glory. So you don’t ever stop praying for them? Has Christ’s kingdom come in? Its fullness in its power? No, not yet. Okay, so we should always be praying.
But praying what? So here we get the big ask then what is it exactly that Paul prays continually?
It’s worth pausing there. By the way, before we answer that question to ask for what do you pray always? What are the big asks that you come back to time and time again, because what we pray reveals a great deal about who we are. Because it reveals our truest priorities, like you want to know what you really care about. Look at how you spend your time, and look at how you spend your money. But also look at how you pray, especially in your cloud, not in front of other people in front of other people, you get all pious, I know. But when you’re by yourself in your prayer closet, for what are you praying
was Robert Murray machine is famous for his Bible reading plan, great Scottish preacher of a bygone century said what a man is on his knees before God that he is and nothing more. That’s how you know who you are. Because that’s when you are expressing your deepest desires.
I bring this up, because I would guess that for most of us, the prayer priority that we would see if we were to look at all our prayers, the prayer priority is me, myself and I three really good priorities right there. Maybe the people we love by extension, of course, like I would be happy if my kids are happy. So yes, of course, include them in that also. But so much of our prayer is driven by circumstances and this very narrow sense of what it means to be happy. I mean, perhaps you’re here today, you’re not even really a prayer. If somebody dragged you to churches and like that this is just not really who you are what you believe you still probably pray. I don’t I know very few people who never pray. But when do you pray when circumstances get bad? We saw that this past Sunday, didn’t we? Sunday, Monday, somewhere around there. Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field, and 200 million prayers went up. Again, nothing wrong with that there’s a whole lot of people who weren’t otherwise going to pray that day. And they were praying for circumstances not that a man’s life does not mean anything certainly means a whole lot more than a football game playoff picture, things like that. Sure. But it was just interesting to see that even skeptical people, people who do not actually believe in God, pray when circumstances get hard. And so our prayer priority often if we were to summarize it as God, would you give me the sort of life I’d like to lead.
That’s what a lot of us pray.
Again, maybe that includes some like self improvement stuff. I would like to be a more patient father or something like that. You’re more likely it’s a praying improvement for your spouse and your kids. Sure that one shows up a lot, too. That’s how I’d really like to live my life, you know, but that’s not how Paul prays. Paul does not pray self centered prayers, Paul, praise God centered prayers. So he’s not praying for a change of circumstances but that God would change us in our
or circumstances. And that’s why he asks for what the knowledge of his will, the knowledge of his will that we would know what God would have us do in any given moment. any given situation or circumstance. Not here, hear that word knowledge, I can’t help but think of Proverbs one, verse seven, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, we’re gonna have any knowledge like this, it’s going to begin with a right understanding of who I am, which is not God, and then who he is, which is God. But even then, the knowledge of his will, what he would have me do in any given moment is not always intuitive.
It’s not always easy to discern. In fact, I suspect we deceive ourselves regularly about how God would have us go.
I can’t tell you how many times as a pastor, I’ve had people in my office saying, I feel at peace, in what is a truly terrible decision. Some that are just like blatantly sinful, where I can go, no, and then you’re it’s says right here, don’t do that. And yet, you’re gonna go on your way. But I feel at peace. That’s what I mean. It’s not intuitive for us, our flesh will often push us in a different direction, in the spirit of God. That’s why we need to pray this. Grace, read it for us earlier. Teach me to do your will, for you, or my God teach me because I don’t necessarily know. And then he even goes on David. He says, May your good spirit lead me on level ground, David knows we need help. Paul knows it to fact, it’s interesting. They both talk about the spirit. He’s Old Testament doesn’t talk about the spirit a lot. And yet here, David is Paul says the same thing. I need a knowledge of his will through the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives the counselor who dwells within us, and he’s the one who will go, nope, nope. That way, that way, man that way. Okay. So we need more than just knowledge. We need to discern God’s will, we need to know how to apply that knowledge. What I mean by that is you could memorize every word of this book. And by the way, you would have a much better knowledge of his will, if you were to do that. But we could memorize every word of this book and not know what to do in any given circumstance, necessarily. I’ll give you a really obvious example. There’s a section in Proverbs two verses back to back, the first one says, Do not Answer a fool according to his folly. The very next verse says, Answer a fool according to his folly. It’s not because the Bible contradicts itself. It’s because there’s a time and a place not to Answer a fool according to his folly. That, by the way, is the online comment section. That’s where that happens, right? And then there’s a time and a place to Answer a fool so that you can correct him in that moment.
What do you need, not just knowledge of what the Word says wisdom as to how to apply that knowledge to these specific circumstances. Like I had this this week, I had a text come in, it was the kind of text that when the text came in, like a huge rush of emotions, not all positive ones, by any means, and a whole lot of good ideas for how I’d like to respond right here a
lot of selfishness, right, a lot of stuff. And you know, what kind of situation or maybe there was even some correction that was necessary there. And so I had to stop and think thank goodness, I was in this passage all week long, longer than I did this. And so I prayed, Lord, give me wisdom and understanding spirit, that I might know God’s will for me here. And now before I start typing a reply. So that’s the what? That’s the Ask the request, I need to know what you would have me do in this moment. But what’s the reason for the request? Why does this matter? Let’s keep reading just the first half of verse 10. I told you, we’re going slow today. So that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way. So that is the key phrase here. That’s the purpose is Paul saying, here’s why I asked God to give you the knowledge of his will. The wisdom and understanding of the Spirit gives knowledge, wisdom, understanding those are are by the way all very heady words, aren’t they? knowledge, wisdom and understanding are not the goal. They are the means to a much grander and, and what is that end? It’s this that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way.
That’s a reason right? Like this is big stuff for sure. Now, live a life worthy of someone else is not how we think as Westerners.
So if you’ve been raised in
In this culture, you’ve been raised with a highly individualistic, you do you sort of mentality. So the idea of living a life worthy of say, your parents or the legacy that you’ve received is for the most part foreign to us would not have been foreign to Paul, or to the people of Colossi were being raised in a shame and honor culture similar to say the East today. So what does this look like Don Carson in his book called spiritual reformation, which is based on the prayers of Paul shares a story of a time he’s a he’s a professor, when a student came to him and it was a Korean student, not a Korean American, but a Korean student.
Who was well on his way to flunking his doctoral work, it had become clear he did not have what it takes to make the grade, he was not going to survive in this program.
But this was a problem, because his parents had sacrificed to get him from Korea to the UK to get him enrolled in this program.
His siblings were telling him you, you cannot come home without a degree. Like that will bring shame to the family.
Again, this is not how most of us think like in our culture, we celebrate people who Buck what society asks of them. This is like a big deal for us. But that’s not Paul’s world. Paul’s world is very much the No, no, you got to live a life worthy of the sacrifice your parents made to send you to this school. Except with this one difference. It’s not that the Westerners have it wrong, and the Easterners have it right, or something like that. Paul, saying it’s something else entirely. We live a life not worthy of our parents, or our culture, our tribe, our clan, we live a life worthy of God.
Which at times means you don’t get to do what you want to do as an individual and at times means you may displease your parents, even. But our purpose is to glorify God. That’s it. That’s our purpose. Taken from the Westminster shorter catechism, our chief end to glorify Him, we were made to magnify the language we use here at Cityview. But you can’t do that if you live a life unworthy of the Lord. And so dishonor him. And I’m talking about that, of course, you just had like 50 Church scandals come to your mind. Most of them pretty recent, even times where people Dishonored Christ, they brought dishonor on the name of Jesus because of how they lived their lives. And that’s not what we want. So instead, we seek to please Him.
The question is, what would delight Jesus here? And now?
If that’s a question that would reorient your life, wouldn’t it?
Any moment you’re about to do something, what would what would delight Jesus?
You’re gonna make different decisions, I can promise you that. Now, here’s the good news. Our relationship to Jesus is not under threat. Because we will often fall short of living that sort of life. And if that meant we fell out of a relationship with Jesus, that would be awful. This is the good news of the gospel, our acceptance does not depend on our performance, thank God.
But still, that doesn’t mean we don’t care what we do. That would be cheap grace, nothing that we’re engaged in here. No, no, we want to please. And it’s much more like a marriage relationship and analogy that God uses for our relationship with him throughout the Bible. I don’t seek to please my wife in the hopes that she’ll stay in the marriage. Because she’s covenanted with me. And I’ve covenanted with her. I seek to please her because will because she complimented with me, right? And so I just want to please her the response of love and gratitude, and that is what drives our relationship with Jesus why we want to please him and bring him glory, but raises the next question, then what would that look like? Exactly? How do we please him in every way, living worthy of him. We’re gonna get four descriptions of the how here, see if you can spot them as I read, I’m gonna finish verse 10. And keep reading through verse 12, bearing fruit and every good work growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious mites that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. And sure you got them for participial phrases. The first one is what bearing fruit and every work.
We are saved by grace alone, not by works, but as the reformers were fond of saying.
Real faith does not remain alone. It is accompanied by work
Oops. They fall is what Paul says in Ephesians. Two by grace, you’ve been saved through faith, this is not from yourselves, it’s a gift of God, not by works so that no one can boast. And yet we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works. They follow from our experience of grace. So were to do the good work that God prepared for us bearing the fruit of the Spirit love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control, bearing that fruit as we do what God gives us to do. That’s going to look different for different people. Because we have different gifts, different callings, different circumstances, what it looks like for me to bear fruit as a pastor is very different from what it looks like for you to bear fruit as someone who’s heading into a secular job from you know, nine to five or whatever, it so it’s gonna look different from person to person. But the point is, Paul can’t imagine a life that pleases Jesus, without any good works completely foreign to his mind.
So what does this look like to bear fruit? And we’re talking about maturity? Aren’t we? Just simple maturation? So when we take an example that will make sense to us, when we think about somebody maturing, we think about teenagers a lot. What do you want to see in your teenager who is striving to follow Jesus? Well, you know, at a certain point in your life in their life, you’re going to ask them to do the dishes. And they’re gonna roll your eyes.
They’re gonna SAS you. And you have to remind them like six more times, you have to take the phone away, and then the TV away, and then they’re locked in their room for a week or two. And, but what happens by the end, if they’re growing in Jesus, they’re bearing fruit in every way, you’re gonna look up and realize, oh, the dishes are done. I didn’t ask anyone. I didn’t demand any there were no threats laid down. That’s what God wants to see in our lives as well. We just, we’ve changed. It just happens now because we are more like Jesus than when we started. And then what Kyle said last week, and then our prayer for the year. So we started on January 1, we said, okay, by December 31 2023, I just want to look more like Jesus. That’s it. That’s the goal. And that’s what it means to bear fruit in every work. Whatever area that might be probably several areas. I want to speak words of affirmation more often than I do, I want to complain less than I otherwise, do. I want to find a way to serve in the church, that the body of Christ may be built up whatever it is, I want to mature, I want to grow up this year. Second thing.
Second, how have we please come anyways, growing in the knowledge of God. Interestingly, this is what Paul had asked for initially, right? I mean, it was the knowledge of his will. But certainly, there’s some overlap. So we got kind of a chicken and the egg thing here, I think, because one leads to the other builds on the other, the more you know, God, the more you obey Him,
but in the process of obeying Him, you know him more, you know, the goodness of his commands, the wisdom of what he asks of us, you know, his faithfulness, and so you obey him even more. And so it just keeps growing and growing. Let me just give you an example. This is from my Bible reading this week just happen to be in Matthew chapter five, and reading about how a Christians word should be their bond. Yes, should be yes and no should be no, should never have to say I swear I’m telling the truth. Because how could you ever do otherwise? So as you choose to live, truthfully, I now I know the command. And so I’m obeying. I’m choosing to live truthfully, what happens you begin to know Jesus as himself the truth, the embodiment of truth. You know, his faithfulness, because God’s promises are always yes and amen. In Christ, God’s word never changes until you delight in Him, you love and worship him even more, which makes you want to do what? Obey even more. Do you see how that just keeps growing? The more you know him, the more you want to obey Him. The more you obey Him, the more you learn of him, growing in the knowledge of God’s third, being strengthened with all his might, so that you can endure. It’s interesting, Paul, in a number of places, prays that we would experience resurrection power, the power that raised Jesus from the dead, and yet it’s almost always not that we would know this power so that we could do spectacular miracles and split the Red Sea and things like that, but just so that we would live well live as Christians, live as those who please and honor Christ. They praise us a lot. We can see this in Ephesians especially
Why does he keep praying or we would need resurrection power just to live the Christian life is because the Christian life is hard.
And the journey is long.
And you will not make it without the endurance, and stamina that he gives that he produces in you. Now, again, I am so grateful for the promises we have, that Jesus will keep us that our perfect perseverance is not up to us. Thank God John chapter six, Jesus says, Of all those the Father has given Me I will not lose even one. Hebrews chapter seven, he will save us to the uttermost, this is good news.
But there’s a flip side to all these promises. The flip side is okay, but yeah, that’s only true if you if you’re somebody who actually makes it to the end, the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints, kind of assumes that the saints will persevere doesn’t it feels like that’s part of what’s being taught there.
So what does this look like, though God is teaching us to persevere, he’s teaching us to be stronger to have more stamina, I have little kids in the house. So right now we’re in that stage where it was some of them, you know, going down the stairs, holding the hand, I’m pretty much just pulling them down the stairs, you know, like, there’s no weight on those feet, because they got no balance, and they got no strength and the stairs are like 18 feet high for them.
That will change. Eventually, they will go down the stairs on their own without my help. That’s what we’re hoping and maturity. Well, that’s what God is doing for us, the spirit will never let go of our hand. That’s the one difference. Of course, I think that’s glory is when we start walking the stairs by ourselves. But we should be getting better and better and better at this. Okay. But if that’s the goal, then think how this changes our prayers, when circumstances are difficult.
Because is the prayer at that point? Get me out, or grow me up? Would you use this to strengthen me? And we take the analogy of a personal trainer. So you paid the money to hire a personal trainer? Can you imagine sitting there you’re doing your benchpress or something like that and be like,
you know, Bob,
when I’m doing the bench press, I feel like it hurts. Like my pecs and my triceps like they’re sore afterwards. And like, I feel like I’m straining here, I get sweaty, just gross. Can we do something else? Can you just lift this off of me? And let’s do the massage and the steam and call it a day?
Tell me that’s not how we pray though? Isn’t that exactly how we pray?
God, what do you really want from personal trainer is that somebody who gives you just enough help that you can keep going, you reach that point where like, you know, blood vessels popping in your eyes and stuff. And they’re like, Okay, I’ll give you the one finger on the bar so that you can get all right, one more up. So the next week, you can actually do it. That’s what God should be doing in our lives so that we grow stronger. I had a difficult moments this week. You know, tough stuff came in kind of thing. And my first response was, Lord, would you lift the burden?
Bob, my pecs hurt kind of thing, right? That was my first response. But I was literally writing the sermon at the time. And so I was like, oh, man, all right. We should probably do this differently. So the prayer became No, no, Lord, would you keep the burden? Would you give me as much help as I need so that I can actually finish this exercise and grow stronger in the process. And all that would lead to the fourth howl, which is giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has made and is making us ready for His coming Kingdom.
Again, let’s ask a question before we dig into the text, though, for what do you think God?
Most often, there is nothing wrong with thanking God for it all. I am all for thanking God that the rain held off and you could have sunshine for your picnic. Why? Because
every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights. James 117. So if every good and perfect gift is from Him, then of course we should thank him for all of them like I am for promiscuous gratitude towards people and especially towards the Lord. But like prayer, because it is a type of prayer. Of course, gratitude reveals our hearts.
When are you most likely to pause and thank God? Is it when you get the raise? Or is it when you remember that you’ve been raised to new life when you’re healthy
When your holy
so often we give thanks for easy circumstances instead of the eternal glory, that God is storing up for us. But we know what to be thankful for. Because Paul’s already shown us in verses four to six, we should be thankful when we see that we, the people around us are growing in faith in love, when their hope is certain when the gospel is bearing fruit in our lives and across the world. Those are the times when we stop and give thanks. By the way, growing in faith and love and the gospel bearing fruit. Those are the exact same words that Paul uses in verse 10, to have the other house like this is another heavenly spiral that we’ve got going here. We ask Him for what matters most. And then we thank him when he gives it.
But this is another one, it’s it’s worth stopping and checking. When do I think I’d like parents? For what are you most thankful in your kids lives? Is it that they got that D up to the sea? They’re going to move on to the next grade? That’s a good thing. Thank God for that.
Or is it that God is producing the character of Christ in them? Well, that seems more important, doesn’t it?
But that last phrase is so interesting, giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the entire inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light, who was qualified. I mean, this points us to what matters most indeed. Here’s the way Don Carson says it same book that I mentioned earlier, if God had perceived our greatest need was entertainment, he would have sent us a comedian, or an artist. If God had perceived that our greatest need was political stability, he would have sent us a politician, if he perceived our greatest need was healthy would have sent us a doctor. But he perceived that our greatest need involved our sin, our alienation from him our profound rebellion, our death, and he sent us a savior. That takes us to the last section, The Who, verses 13 and 14, let me read them for us now. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom, the sun he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
As Paul remembers what the father has done for us in Christ, he bursts forth in praise. So much praise in fact that it actually continues. It’s our whole passage next week is just this hymn of praise to Christ.
So in these verses, Paul lays the only foundation on which we can build this sort of prayer life, Christ, and Him crucified, the gospel that was proclaimed.
by our nature, we belong to the kingdom of darkness. We come into this world as subjects of the kingdom of darkness, we are born in sin, and rebellion. Everyone knows this. You can be a hardened atheist. And you still know this is true. Why? Because no one has ever had to teach their kids to be selfish.
You have to teach them to say thank you. You have to teach them not to take the toy that they want, or the other kid’s hand, yes, you’ll never have to teach them to take the toy out of the kid’s hand. They come in with that innate Lee. That’s all that’s being talked about here. We don’t need to learn to sin because we are born into the kingdom of darkness, which is the kingdom of selfishness.
But that’s not the end of the story. Because we just celebrated Christmas, didn’t we? And that’s a new chapter in the story. When God Himself the second member of the Trinity, enters the kingdom of darkness, to plunder it to rescue and transfer us to the kingdom of light. Like when God plucked Israel out of Egypt,
to the Promised Land, that’s what God does for us in Christ so that we now live in the kingdom of light, the Kingdom where the king is Jesus in whom we have redemption, and the forgiveness of sins. Now, this is important. Paul is not just tacking the Jesus bit onto the end of his sermon here. helpful is that is so that I can tack the Jesus bit onto the end of my sermon here. What he is saying, in 13, and 14 is absolutely essential to prayer.
Partly because we cannot pray apart from the work of Christ, the only reason we can enter into God’s throne room, speak to our father at three in the morning when we need a glass of water is because we come in Christ, and Christ is the beloved son. And so when we come in Him, God looks on us and sees us as His beloved child.
So it’s absolutely essential prayer generally, especially
In light of what the Colossians are struggling with, because they’re being tempted to abandon Jesus to just see him as one among many emanations of God. So being tempted to abandon him for hip, new solutions to their problems, as we’re going to see in the coming weeks won’t get into it all. Now, the question has been tempted to turn to other figures like angels for that wisdom and understanding of the Spirit gives, ironically trying to please God by doing the very things that displease him, which is why Paul’s writing the letter. So Paul redirects attention
to Christ, our life, the only one in whom life is found Christ, the hope of glory, this is redirection that we need
now to, because we are always tempted to turn from Jesus, to trust ourselves, to find hip new solutions to our problems, why try prayer, to some invisible sky fairy when you can try mindfulness? Or check out the latest self help book from the library? Why? Because Jesus is the wisdom of God. That’s why the wisdom of God who secured our salvation, conquered our enemies and gives us all we need. And if he is as important, as we say he is, and as we’ll keep seeing in the rest of this series, that should change our prayers markedly. So. That’s the idea I want to leave you with this morning. It is something we’re getting from the text today. Absolutely. And it’s something that we’re going to see the truthfulness of in increasing measures. We continue throughout this series. Here’s the main idea. Pray, like you believe what you say about Jesus.
Pray like you believe what you say about Jesus. Like if he really is our life, if he is enough, if he is our salvation, the wisdom and power of God, that should change how we pray, and becoming like him, knowing how to please Him is the main priority that should change how we pray, pray, like you believe what you say about Jesus pray, God’s priorities, pray, like Paul,
like you got the What the Why, and the how, right.
Because you know, and love, and are seeking to please, the who
we pray to our Father, not a distant desperate, not a cosmic killjoy. We pray to our Father, a father who loved us in his son and at the cost of his son, he is for us and not against us. He who did not spare His own Son gave him up for us all, how will we not also along with him, graciously give us all things? Well, that’ll change how we pray. And if he won’t, how will he not graciously give us all things within how were we not seek to please Him, then? In our prayers, it’s the only possible response.
There’ll be no more self centered prayers.
No more me myself and I prayers, no more tentative prayers is that we were twisting his arm trying to convince him of something he didn’t want to do no more tit for tat prayers. Lord, if you do this, I promise out, no more excuses.
Not too busy to pray, because I know at what cost. The possibility of prayer was one for me not to ashamed to pray, because in Him we have redemption and the forgiveness of sins, and no more self reliant prayers, because Christ is our life. And we are not our own life. No, let’s pray, like we believe what we say about Jesus to pray God’s priorities. Let’s pray like Paul, let’s pray now.
Father, our prayer is exactly what we just studied.
That today, even in this moment, you would give us a knowledge of your will, through the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives,
in order that we may live a life worthy of you worthy of the gospel worthy of the sacrifice that Christ made on our behalf, that we might please you in every way.
As we bear fruit, as we grow,
as we are strengthened, to persevere, to do your will. And as we give you thanks for all the many blessings that you have showered upon us in Christ, every spiritual blessing in him, the riches of heaven, open to us.
Lord, would you make that true of us as we continue in this series as we grow in our knowledge of who you are, who Christ is and what he’s done for us, when you grow up?
and how we respond to that knowledge as well to your glory Amen