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Who Gets the Thanks?

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Colossians 1:11–14 (ESV)
being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
This morning’s passage is one that is full … like a deep well … we can pull up some buckets but there will be plenty left for later in it
I can’t help but spend a few moments at the front end addressing the trinity.
It’s one of those topics that is complex enough to warrant explanation and complex enough that no matter how many times I try we will all still have some questions.
The theologic truth that God is both one and three … that there is One God, expressed in 3 persons … Father, Son, HS … that parts of the character of God get expressed in one of the particular persons … for instance the Son, Jesus was crucified on the cross paying the debt for our sins … and yet, the idea of the cross was before time the plan on God … this means that we at times can be prone to emphasize the individuality, or the singleness of God and leave out the other side of the coin, as it were
So this morning I am going to because the passage does … talk about the Father … but I believe that like we sing occasionally in the doxology … we should remember “Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost” …
Our passage gives us this morning 2 Big Blessgings:
Future Blessings: the saints inheritance in the light
Past Blessings: the saints deliverance from the power of darkness
Close with
3. The relation between the two.
Future Blessings: the Saints inheritance in the light
Col 1:12 “giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.”
This is a present blessing … lots of spiritual blessings are for the future … eternity
we are in full possession of this one … we are qualified … if you are born again, a follower of Jesus, you are in line for inheritance
doesn’t mean we are perfected or even perfect … or even that we deserve eternity or the inheritance
Like an engaged bride … able to purchase the dress, make the plans, book the caterer … but not wearing the dress … chosen but not yet married
this word is translated as qualified … suitable, sufficient … has all that is needed … even if those things aren’t yet fully developed or worn
baby is born … two hands, two feet, ten fingers and toes, one nose … they will grow and develop and strengthen and get skill … but the baby doesn’t get a third hand
We’ve got everything we need to be qualified, God put it there at the moment of our new birth, regeneration … even if they need nurished, grown, matured …
This might ask us some questions:
What is heaven: an inheritance
Who is qualified: Sons
Who makes us Sons: 1 John 3:1 “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God...
The moment a Son is born he is qualified … it is the sonship that qualifies …
And so that through the Love of the Father … He chooses … he adopts … this is what qualifies
And if heaven is an inheritance … it is the inheritance of the saints, heaven isn’t the inheritance of sinners … saints are holy ones
this should make us pause … we know ourselves, we know our tendencies, our brokenness, and our penchant for sin
There is a word for the making of sinners into Saints … sanctification, being sanctified … And God is sanctifying
Jude 1:1 “Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James, To those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ:”
At the moment of our becoming a Son, beloved in God the Father … we find a setting apart, a consecrating, a sanctifying, a cleansing … we are made a new creature in Jesus … we have been separated from the world
We are qualified to enjoy the inheritance of saints in light by becoming sons of God … all believers in Jesus, all the born again are then those who will receive an inheritance
I want you to pause here … do you see how qualified the Father is for our praise … for our thanksgiving … for our adoration and our love … this is our focus this morning … we are going to be thinking about what we have and will receive … but our point this morning is to gaze at the one who is giving and gifting and bestowing
Not merely is heaven the inheritance of saints … but in the light
Saints dwell in light
light of knowledge and wisdom
light of purity and righteousness
light of joy and peace and rest
light of love, mercy, grace
light of glory and praise and worth
what gifts, what amazing transformative gifts … and where do they come from
James 1:17 “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”
the prep to enter into the inheritance … saints in the light … is the light of the Father … if I have any light it is the work of the Father ...
Catch the 3-fold qualification:
We are adopted and made sons
God sanctified us, set us apart
Put light in our hearts
Answer you unasked but very real question:
I don’t feel like a Son, I don’t feel clean, set apart, sanctified … I know my own darkness … how can you say Jerry … that I am at this very moment, not just some time down the road in eternity … qualified
Let’s consider a story … about a thief … we don’t know what or why he stole … we don’t know how he got caught … we don’t know his age, nationality … we do know that he got hung on a cross, one of three on that day … two thieves and blasphemer, revolutionary … and that the thieves were mocking,& reviling
Matt 27:44 “And the robbers who were crucified with him also reviled him in the same way.” … saved others, can’t save himself, can’t get down, if you are who you say you are, save yourself
And something happens … the light of the Father shines, the face of Jesus transforms him … one of these men he sees, he believes …
Luke 23:42-43 “And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.””
No long preparation, no purifying fires or trials or tests … he didn’t memorize the books of the bible, know the 10 commandments … he didn’t get any Sunday School gold stars, drop any big checks in the offering … he didn’t go on a mission trip to a far off land … none of it … do you see how our qualification for heaven isn’t about us … our qualification isn’t progressive, it is complete when the Father says it is … when he declares us sons … we are qualified to enter into the joy of our Lord
lots more we could talk about here …lots of knots untied … spend some moments today, tonight, tomorrow untie these ones on your knees … ask the Father to reveal the mysteries of His kingdom
Past Blessings: Looking backwards
It is generally more enjoyable to look forward, to see where we are going, especially when the past is gloomy, a danger we have escaped but let’s spend a few moments:
Colossians 1:13 “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,”
what does this tell us about our former selves … we were under the domain of darkness
this should make us quake … domain, the dominion, the power of darkness
moral darkness of mind - where God is unacknowledged, we the ability to judge correctly is absent
where God is unworshipped the heart of man is a ruin … fears, superstitions, false ideas and hopes … faith in foolish
the dark lusts and passions … like the bugs and spiders and vermin of dark corners
think of just plain old absence of light darkness … how long would your sanity survive … buried in a hole, trapped under ground, what tricks would your mind play …
prisons … dark, solitary confinement … old report from the 1800’s
cause captive to reflect on himself … his position in regards to violating the law
question himself, choices, decisions … how did I even get here … how will I ever get out … time … space … relationships … all in doubt, all in question …
the power of darkness … see nothing, know nothing … the line between right/wrong … the madness of hell
All of us were under this darkness at one time … some of us in the room may still be … days, weeks, months … you might be still in a spot of curiousity, sleepiness of it, apathy of it, terror of it
And the light of the father shines in … transfers you from the power of darkness, in the kingdom of the Son
Transferred can be a beautiful word … if were you are is terrible … and were you are going is glorious
The people of israel, the jewish nation … entered the land of Egypt at the end of Genesis saved from a famine … and when we open Exodus, a new Pharoah has risen to power, one who didn’t know Joseph and saw the people as a threat, so he enslaved them, bondage, hard labor, brick making, and monument building … two million slaves … and when God delivers … he doesn’t do it by tempering the wrath of the tyrant … not just a softening of the rules, return of provided straw, no more whips … instead he transfers them … moves them … with the outstretched arm of Moses and the power of the plagues … they get to Canaan … flocks, herds, wealth, old, young, middle aged … out of Egypt, through the sea, across the jordan … what a picture … foreshadow of his deliverance of us, from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light
He has taken us in our blind, ignorance, bondage and slavery to sin … and washed us white as snow, cleansed from our sins, into the light and is still doing so every moment of every day
And where were we brought … what place is this kingdom, what is nature and character of it … it isn’t a republic or a democracy … it’s a kingdom
We have a monarch … He is worthy of Glory and honor and allegiance … we give up our liberty to Him
We do not have a free will … we have a Lord and Sovereign … evidence is our obedience, loyalty of heart, submission to his desires and glory, we run towards his commandments and presence
How are these connected?
Good bible study follows a pattern ...
examine a passages very parts, down to the smallest of parts, parts of speech, verb tenses and such … separate clauses and their purposes … and then their interrelation … what do these ideas have to do with one another
Colossians 1:12–13 ESV
giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,
what is the connection … the work of the Father to qualify us for our inheritance, saints in heaven
the 13th verse says that we were delivered from the domain, the power of darkness
I/We are being brought out of darkness into light, I am walking in the light … and further brought out as a saint, sanctified, qualified, into the kingdom of the Son
Let me see if i can make this plainer, more helpful
Heaven is a place of light, when we are brought out of darkness, this is part of our qualification for light. Heaven is a place for sons, for heirs, so when we are brought into the kingdom of the son, it follows that we must be made sons. It is an inheritance, so when we are brought into the place of inheritance it follows that we must have inherited, and thus qualified to partake of it forever.
Closing Observations, Practical Help
First, let’s give thanks to God the Father … not just in some general, “thanks for all my blessings” sort of way … but with specificity … Our Father in heaven has called us, qualified us, given us light … brought us out of darkness, called us His Sons … praise Him for it
Second, may we realize and live as those who are not what we once were … you have been given victory over the darkness, you are called to walk in the light … may righteousness and right thinking be our character
Third, as it regards of eternal home … may we live w/o fear, untroubled by thoughts of death … tomorrow, in an instant, 75 years from now … our faith is fixed on Jesus blood and righteousness … we will stand in the throne room of God the Father, partakers of the Kingdom of the Son, adopted as children of full inheritance, saints in the light …
One last thought:
If you haven’t yet … if this isn’t true for you … if you still dwell in the kingdom of darkness …
Jesus said it plainly … John 14:6 “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Admit your need, Believe that Jesus is the way, Confess it
Romans 10:9–10 ESV
because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.
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