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Col 1.12-14 Priority Prayer Requests - True Thankfulness

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Priority Prayer Requests – True Thankfulness (Col 1:12-14)

-          It is interesting for me to notice the reactions that people have when they find out what I do

-          I’m looking for other ways to tell people what I do…..I am a teacher, a Bible Teacher

-          Or perhaps I could tell people that I am a chef…..that’s what I am…..a spiritual chef preparing spiritual meals for God’s people

-          Most Americans have a balanced diet of protein, carbohydrates, fat, bread, vegetables, meats, dairy and I try to give God’s people a balanced spiritual diet

-          Some Bible Studies are like drinking warm milk…..foundational principles of Christianity

-          Some Bible Studies are meat and potatoes

-          Other Bible studies are like broccoli or spinach, perhaps a little harder to go down

-          Then other Bible studies are like desert, and that is the kind of Bible study that we have before us this morning

-          A wonderful reminder of the certain blessings and hopes that we have right now as Christians…..the material this morning is sweet, it is irresistible, it should delight every single one of us as Christians and should goad those who are not Christians into sitting at the table with Jesus Christ as one of His followers

-          These principles come as Paul finishes the prayer that we have been studying over the last several weeks and the verses that follow……let’s read verses 9-14 together….please read with me

I.                     Praying for Thankfulness

A.        True Thankfulness (12a)

·         Motivation for Godly Living

Ø          We have been noticing the progression in this prayer

Ø          In verse 9: Paul prays that the Christians in Colosse would become experts on God’s will for their life

Ø          In verse 10: Paul prays that the Christians in Colosse would walk worthy of the Lord, living out God’s will as they become informed

Ø          In verse 11: Paul prays that the Christians in Colosse would be strengthened with the power of God to live a Godly life

Ø          In verse 12 now, Paul prays that the Christians in Colosse would live a godly life with the proper motivation, being thankful for what God has done for them in Jesus Christ

Ø          The proper motivation for serving God is just being thankful for all that He has done in our lives

Ø          We should not serve the Lord in order to get blessed, we should serve the Lord being thankful that we are blessed

Ø          We should not serve the Lord to sort of manipulate the Lord in to making things go our way…….Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life and we ought to just be thankful to Him

Ø          We should not serve the Lord to impress other people around us, we should not even serve the Lord to try to impress the Lord with our great acts of service, just out of sheer thankfulness for what the Lord has done for us….that is proper motivation

Ø          And please understand that God is primarily concerned with our motivations, He is more concerned with our motivations that our service, and He is able to read our motivations like an open book…….He knows precisely why we do the things that we do for Him

Many a solo is sung to show off; many a sermon is preached as an exhibition of talent; many a church is founded as a slap to some other church. Even missionary activity may become competitive, and soul-winning may degenerate into a sort of brush-salesman project to satisfy the flesh.

A. W. Tozer (1897–1963)

It is not what a man does that determines whether his work is sacred or secular, it is why he does it.

A. W. Tozer (1897–1963)

Man sees your actions, but God your motives.

Thomas à Kempis (c. 1380–1471)

God does not care

What good you did

But why you did it.

He does not grade the fruit

But probes the core and tests the root.

Angelus Silesius (1624–1677)

1 Samuel 16:7 (NKJV)
7But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For£ the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

·         Giving thanks – what it means Biblically

Ø          Eucharisteo….the eucharist… of thanks

Ø          To really be thankful, to really feel thankful and to continually express thankfulness

Ø          Christians are to be people overflowing with thankfulness unto the Lord, thankfulness should permeate our prayers, our speech, our acts of service, our worship

Ø          | Psalm 107:21 through Psalm 107:22 (NASB)
21             Let them give thanks to the LORD for His lovingkindness,                And for His wonders to the sons of men!22    Let them also offer sacrifices of thanksgiving,      And tell of His works with joyful singing.
Psalm 92:1 (NKJV)
1               It is good to give thanks to the LORD,      And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High;  |

Interesting that throughout the Bible, thankfulness is many times linked to praise and worship and singing

Ø          Our time of worship here on Sunday mornings is a time when we are to be pouring our hearts out to God with deep, genuine thankfulness, praise and worship

Ø          Throughout the Bible we see examples of men and women who are filled with thanksgiving unto the Lord

Ø          | John 11:41 (NKJV)
41Then they took away the stone £from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me.  |

Paul was very thankful….verse 3, Look at 3:17, 43 times in all of his NT letters he uses the word thanks or thanksgiving….filled with thankfulness and it showed in the way he lived his life and served the Lord

Ø          Jesus gave thanks

Ø          David gave thanks, the Levites and the Priests gave thanks, Asaph gave thanks, Daniel gave thanks and the list goes on and on and on

Ø          Unthankfulness is a characteristic of the wicked that do not believe in the Lord

Romans 1:21 (NKJV)
21because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

Ø          Paul is praying that the Christians in Colosse would be truly thankful people

B.         What we have to be thankful for (12b-14)

·         What could we be truly thankful for?

Ø          At Thanksgiving time we take the time to be thankful for certain things in our lives, which we should

Ø          But many of the things that we are thankful for can be quite temporary or they can change

Ø          We are thankful for our families…….but things can change in families, marital breakdowns, deaths in the family

Ø          We are thankful for our jobs and our food and material belongings……but things can change, pink slips come our way, the economy breaks down

Ø          We are thankful for our health……but things can change, accidents, diseases

Ø          | Ray Stedman tells of an experience H.A. Ironside had in a crowded restaurant. Just as Ironside was about to begin his meal, a man approached and asked if he could join him. Ironside invited his to have a seat. Then, as was his custom, Ironside bowed his head in prayer. When he opened his eyes, the other man asked, “Do you have a headache?” Ironside replied, “No, I don’t.” The other man asked, Well, is there something wrong with your food?” Ironside replied, “No, I was simply thanking God as I always do before I eat.” The man said, “Oh, you’re one of those, are you? Well, I want you to know I never give thanks. I earn my money by the sweat of my brow and I don’t have to give thanks to anybody when I eat. I just start right in!” Ironside said, “Yes, you’re just like my dog. That’s what he does too!”  |

Now we should be thankful for those things and enjoy those things every day because they can change

Ø          But there are some things that we can be thankful for as Christians that do not change, they can be counted on, they are in place for you for all of eternity, no worry of losing them, rock solid blessings from God for all of eternity

Ø          And so we should be even more thankful for these things and can be so in the midst of troubling times in our lives

·         Qualified as God’s people (12b)

Ø          If you are a Christian then you have been qualified as one of God’s people, belonging to Him and to His family

Ø          Qualified: hikanoo, It means “to make sufficient, to empower, to authorize, to make fit.”

Ø          God has made us fit for His inheritance, He has made us sufficient to be partakers of His inheritance, He has authorized us for His inheritance

Ø          Every now and then you hear about someone receiving an honorary degree from a university, they get a degree though they did not actually go through the process of passing all of the classes to earn that degree

Ø          The powers that be qualify that person to get a degree though they were unqualified in the sense that they did not go through their program

Ø          And so God has qualified His people for the bounties and blessings of His inheritance

Ø          What does it mean here when it speaks of inheritance, what is in that for us?

John 5:24 (NKJV)
24“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.

1 Peter 1:4 (NKJV)
4to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,
Hebrews 6:12 (NKJV)
12that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

Ø          Eternal life is not just never ending life, it is a quality of life that the believer in Christ has right now……..the presence and power of Christ in your life right now

Ø          The hope of heaven, a place of paradise with Christ when you die

Ø          The promises of God in the Bible apply to you right now

Ø          This is truly like being adopted into the family of the richest person in the universe, a share of all that accompanies Him

Ø          Qualified is present tense: you are right now fit for heaven, you are right now a partaker of His inheritance, heaven we will fully realize later but right now you are a citizen of heaven…..phil 3:21

Ø          This does not change, this is permanent, God has done it not you……that’s why it grieves me to hear many people say that they are trying to get to heaven by themselves

Ø          That’s like trying to jump to the moon…….we need a rocket ship

Some people have just enough religion to make themselves miserable. - Harry Emerson Fosdick.

·         Transformed people (13)

Ø          In order for a person to be qualified for the inheritance of God, that person must undergo a transformation

Ø          | A man from the back mountains of Tennessee found himself one day in a large city, for the first time standing outside an elevator. He watched as an old, haggard woman hobbled on, and the doors closed. A few minutes later the doors opened and a young, attractive woman marched smartly off. The father hollered to his youngest son, “Billy, go get mother.”  |

If you are a Christian this morning then you have been transformed

Ø          A Christian has been delivered from the power of darkness

Ø          Delivered: eurostao, “drawn to oneself, rushed out of, rescued”, God went on a rescue mission for you

Ø          Many of our special forces are trained in getting people out of prison camps or in hostage situations, we have SWAT teams trained for things like that

Ø          Heaven went on a SWAT team like rescue mission for you

Ø          You have been rescued from the power of Satan and his demonic forces, been snatched from his dark side, no longer under the dominion or authority or control

Ø          Delivered is in the past tense and it speaks of something that happens immediately upon giving your life to Jesus Christ….You put your trust in Jesus Christ and you are immediately delivered

Ø          I emphasize this because there are groups of Christians that like to emphasize deliverance services for Christians who are supposedly demon possessed and need deliverance

Ø          Demon of bad breath, baldness, lying, drug addiction…….

Ø          Baptizing the Chinese woman at our last baptism

Ø          A Christian has been conveyed into the kingdom of the Son of His love

Ø          Conveyed: methistame: to transpose, to translate, to remove from one place to another, a change of situation, to stand in a completely different place

Ø          Translation: speaking a different language, you were in a kingdom where the language of Satan rule, now you live in a Kingdom where the language of God is used

Ø          This is way to think of death by the way, moving to your real home

Ø          A radical move has taken place for every single born again Christian, you are completely out of the kingdom of darkness and a permanent member of Christ’s kingdom of light

Ø          Something that we can and should always be eternally thankful for

Hebrews 12:28 (NASB)
28Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe;

·         Method of this

Ø          We are qualified for the inheritance because we have been transformed and transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of God

Ø          How was God able to do this?  What was involved in God’s great rescue mission for us?  What qualified us? The redemptive work of Jesus Christ

Ø          The sending of Jesus Christ was God’s operation rescue man.  Mankind is filled with sin, sin keeps us from a Holy God, unless sin is paid for than man cannot have a relationship with God

Ø          Jesus Christ paid for sin by dying for the sins of the world, shedding His blood on the cross of Calvary

Ø          Anybody who puts their trust in Jesus Christ has redemption through His blood

Ø          Redemption: to deliver by payment of a ransom, it is like emancipation of slaves, a price is paid so that slaves go free, liberation procured by the payment of a ransom

Ø          We were slaves of sin, Jesus paid for our release from sins by offering Himself as payment for our freedom

Ø          Forgiveness: release from punishment, a full blown pardon, remission from judgment

Ø          Greek word is a connection of two words: “From” and “To Send”, to send away from you your sins

Ø          You accept Jesus Christ, put your trust in Jesus Christ, at that instant, the gavel of the judge slams down in God’s courtroom, and “Not Guilty” is shouted in heaven on your behalf

Ø          Clean slate, sins wiped clean, punishment already paid in full

Ø          | When the pioneers were making their way across one of the central states to a distant place that had been opened up for homesteading, they traveled in covered wagons drawn by oxen, and progress was necessarily slow. One day they were horrified to note a long line of smoke in the west, stretching for miles across the prairie, and soon it was evident that the dried grass was burning fiercely and coming toward them rapidly. They had crossed a river the day before but it would be impossible to go back to that before the flames would be upon them. One man only seemed to have understanding as to what could be done. He gave the command to set fire to the grass behind them. Then when a space was burned over, the whole company moved back upon it.As the flames roared on toward them from the west, a little girl cried out in terror, "Are you sure we shall not all be burned up?" The leader replied, "My child, the flames cannot reach us here, for we are standing where the fire has been!"   |

Christian, you stand where the fire has already been, that is permanent


-          Qualified, inheritance recipient transformation, rescued, translated, redeemed, forgiven……blessings that do not change for the believer

-          Blessings that always apply to you no matter how beat up you may get in this life by circumstances of life

-          All of this provided to you by God Himself, with His very promise that He has made it so is making it so and will make it so

-          This is what we should continually be thankful for, this is what should drive us to learn His will, walk worthy of Him in the power that He provides

It's an interesting fact related to me by Bible translators that the Masai tribe in West Africa have an unusual way of saying, "I thank you." They say literally, "My head is in the dirt." When the Masai express thanks, they literally put their forehead down on the ground. They want to acknowledge gratitude with humility.

   It's interesting that members of another African tribe express gratitude by saying, "I sit on the ground before you." When one of them wants to express gratitude to another, he sits in front of the hut of the person to whom he wishes to express gratitude and just sits there in humility for an extended length of time.

   -- Joel Gregory, "The Unlikely Thanker," Preaching Today, Tape No. 110.

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