2008.06.15 God's People Pray - Giving Thanks Col 1 12-14
God’s People Pray: Giving Thanks
June 15, 2008
· We are inundated by marketing these days. Every holiday requires gifts and spending money. Right after Christmas the Valentines Day stuff is out and on sale, Feb.15 the Easter Stuff is on sale and marketed. Stores want us to buy gifts for everything – Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are no different, we can’t just celebrate them we have to attach a gift…now I’m not totally against gifts, don’t get me wrong…
· I researched the most extravagant Father’s Day gifts this year, what I might receive this year….
o Flexjet 25 Card – good for those who do not like commercial airfare. This card entitles you to 25 hours of flight time aboard a Learjet – just 120,000 – that’s not flying the plane or buying the plane that’s just riding in it.
o Or I like this one – the gift that gives back…have you ever done that…given a gift to someone but you get a gift too (I have…) like tickets to a performance or a hockey game – you give one ticket to them and you purchase one ticket for yourself – well this Father’s Day a son can buy his Father a very nice watch and receive one himself – it is the Father/Son watch combo, made of platinum and gold with diamonds just 49,000.
· Some of you may buy your father’s tools or something for around the house…maybe a flashlight. Let me tell you about a very special flashlight that I rec’d recently… special not b/c of monetary value, but b/c of the rel’ship involved in the gift.
· If you were to think back on the most special gifts that you have rec’d, I’m sure that they would involve special rel’ships. Maybe somebody made you something, or took the time to be thoughtful and plan something special for you, …
· On this Father’s Day – God our Father gifted us with the greatest gift that we could ever receive, it was not a monetary gift – but it did cost Him dearly – it was the gift of His Son Jesus to us, b/c of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection we too can have eternal life with God, when we put our faith and trust in Jesus. The gift is special b/c our rel’ship with God is reconciled!
· This morning Paul prays that the Colossians would give thanks to God the Father for the inheritance of eternal life, deliverance from death and the transference to true life. We who know Christ have much to be thankful for.
· God’s People Pray: To Know His Will
· God’s People Pray: For Strength
· (Read Col 1:12-14) Today we will see the third thing Paul prays for the Colossians – that they would be thankful.
Paul prays that they would give thanks!
· Paul is actually specific in who we are to give thanks to…the Father….God is deserving of our thanks
· Thankfulness is an important ingredient in our prayer times…often we can be quick to ask, ask, ask and not return thanks for who God is, what He has accomplished for us, for His Word that he gives us, for the protection He provides to us, and how He has answered our prayers...we can get so consumed in our own selfishness, that we forget to thank Him. We need to look beyond ourselves and give thanks.
· There are many Scriptures that convey the notion of thankfulness
o Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! And let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving, and tell of his deeds in songs of joy! (Psalm 107:21-22, ESV)
o It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to your name, O Most High (Psalm 92:1, ESV)
o Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving (Colossians 4:2, ESV) But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:57, ESV) Paul sums it all up…Give thanks in all circumstances…(1 Thessalonians 5:18, ESV) Paul is saying there is no time or circumstance when you don’t have to be thankful. You are always to be thankful.
· As believers we need to be known as those who are thankful – since we have so much to be thankful for, yet many of us would suggest that day in and day out we do not display the gratitude for the salvation that has been provided, we let the mundane things of day to day living bring us down. Lord please develop in us a desire to a thankful people.
· Thankfulness is a big topic, but Paul narrows down for us in today’s passage the area of thankfulness that we are going to study
1. Paul prays…giving thanks for our Inheritance (verse 12)
· Some of you will be thinking of inheritance as the financial windfall that comes once or twice in your life from your parents/relatives. (Ask me sometime about my thoughts on leaving an inheritance)
· No this is the eternal windfall of living and serving Jesus Christ - forever with Him – the inheritance of eternal life.
· Giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you…
· You are probably like me in that I qualify almost once a week in the mail to receive some new credit card or maybe you’ve gone to the bank looking for a mortgage, they will tell you how much money you qualify for (usually a lot more that you can actually afford – and it makes you feel good though doesn’t it), however based on your credit and current income you qualify.
· People qualify in sports, to reach the next level of the playoffs you have to win the games before or in track & field at the Olympics runners have to qualify in the preliminary heats to get to the big race. The athletes’ skills and abilities allow them to qualify in their sport.
· In the big picture our actions, behaviors and beliefs as sinners – outside of Christ or apart from Christ, qualify us for wrath from God, death and ultimately separation from God eternally in Hell.
· What’s interesting about our text in Colossians is that Paul prays giving thanks to God the Father who has qualified us to share in this inheritance. Paul is writing to believers. God accomplishes all the work for us to be qualified. We can nothing to earn or to qualify ourselves in this inheritance of the saints, He is talking about salvation which is eternal life with God in heaven, we can do nothing to qualify, to reach the standard needed to inherit eternal life on our own – it is only through Christ and His shed blood on the cross that covers our sin, that qualifies us. Grace is bestowed and our sin is covered through faith in Jesus Christ as Lord & Savior.
· God does it all for us, unlike the previous examples of where our abilities in sports or income qualified us…here regarding the inheritance it is by God’s grace that we are qualified.
· The Greek word for being qualified is hikanoo (hick-an-ou-o) – to make sufficient, to authorize, to make fit – to qualify
· Paul describes in Ephesians our prior standing
o "And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind." (Ephesians 2:1-3, ESV) also…
o "Remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ." (Ephesians 2:12-13, ESV)
· That’s where you and I (who believe) once were and those who do not believe in Christ as Lord & Savior right now – are still there dead in transgressions, separated from Christ and alienated from the inheritance.
· Those who believe have been made sufficient, qualified by Christ to gain this inheritance.
· The word “inheritance” is a genitive noun which denotes that this inheritance in an individual one, in that all believers will receive their lot or their portion…an individual portion of the total inheritance. Now there is no indication that all allotments are the same, but that we all have a portion who are in Christ. Just like the Israelites received their portion of the Promised Land, we too will receive our portion of the divine inheritance.
· Furthermore Paul says that this inheritance is that of the saints in light – this inheritance is for those who have been set apart for God, those separated from the world…believers!
· John MacArthur says that the light refers to two things biblical. 1. Intellectually it represents truth 2. Morally it represents purity. In contrast to Israel’s earthly inheritance of the Promised Land, the saint’s inheritance is in the light – the spiritual realm of truth and purity where God himself dwells. There is no greater inheritance than to be with God.
· Paul prays that we need to give thanks for this inheritance, for being qualified.
2. Paul prays…giving thanks for our Deliverance (verse 13)
· The Word says that He has delivered us from the domain of darkness
· Notice the contrast between light and dark – our inheritance with the saints in light and being rescued from the darkness!!!
· The idea of being delivered is that of being rescued. Each one of us who have believed in Christ as Lord & Savior have recognized that we needed to be delivered from something, we needed to be rescued from sin in our lives and the penalty of that sin, rescued from Satan’s kingdom to God’s Kingdom.
· You may have seen or heard in charismatic circles that people need to be delivered from the bondage or dominion of sin in their lives. In fact, I was at a charismatic church not too long ago and they shared their vision – to see people saved, healed, delivered from all bondage, discipled, equipped, and released to ministry service. Sounds good. They see the process of being saved, healed, and delivered as three separate occurrences – whereas the Scripture this morning indicates otherwise – that at Salvation – when Christ is confessed as Lord & Savior you are rescued from and delivered from the domain of darkness and transferred into the Kingdom of His Son
· If you want to use that language – we are saved, healed and delivered – it is all at once.
· The charismatic viewpoint relies on the church leadership to pray over you, maybe call you to the front and knock you over as they call the H.S. to release you from the bondage and allow you to ‘rest in the Spirit’ as you lay on the floor, but the text says here that in Christ you have been delivered already. Paul says in 2 Corinthians – “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old is gone and the new has come.” As a new creation you are indwelt with the H.S. you have been instantly delivered – you have crossed over from death to life! Paul continues in Romans 6:1,2,6,7,11
· This viewpoint puts the responsibility not on the church leadership, but on the individual to claim the truth of Scripture that they are already delivered, that they must consider themselves dead to sin and alive to God.
· Ephesians 4 – put off your old self and put on the new self – actively the individual has to utilize the strength of the H.S. indwelt in us to be strengthened. The power that raised Christ from the dead in the same power that is available to us to live for Him, each day, each hour, each minutes surrender ourselves to Him, denying ourselves – taking up our cross and following Him – be strengthened by the H.S. to put off and to put on.
· Sure the sanctification process takes time, even though we are delivered we still sin – but we are not enslaved to sin, we are not in bondage to it. We were slaves who have now been set free.
· So you need to go forth not as one who is defeated or deflated, but as one who has been delivered!!!
· Paul desires and prays that we would give thanks for the deliverance and live victorious in the power and dependence on the H.S.
3. Paul prays…giving thanks for our Transference (verse 13,14)
· We have been transferred, which means to be moved.
· It was customary in ancient times for an army to moved a whole people who had been conquered back to their land. This happened to the Jews…the people of the Northern Kingdom were taken to Assyria and the Southern Kingdom was taken to Babylon – similarly God has transferred us who believe into His own Kingdom
o We were transferred from darkness to light
o We were transferred from the power of Satan to the power of God
o We were transferred from slavery to freedom – that is redemption. The last part of verse 14 says that we have redemption b/c of Christ. Redemption literally means ‘to release on payment of ransom’ – Christ paid the penalty of our sin, by his death and we are released b/c of that payment. We have been transferred from slavery to freedom.
o We were transferred from condemnation to forgiveness – Condemned to die in our sin as unbelievers and now in Christ we are forgiven – we have been pardoned. The Psalmist says, "as far as the east is from the west, so far does he (God) remove our transgressions from us." (Psalm 103:12, ESV). Transferred from condemnation to forgiveness.
· Paul prays that we would give thanks for being transferred.
· Just like the keychain flashlight gift that I received – it was important and valuable not b/c of it’s monetary value, but b/c of the relationship involved in the gift. That father/son relationship.
· I know that there are some of you on Father’s Day that have a hard time being thankful for your earthly fathers…some of your fathers abused you, mistreated you, and hurt you growing up – that relationship is strained.
· Some of you have wonderful earthly fathers who are easy to be thankful for – they shared Christ with you, they encouraged you, and they loved you.
· For those who believe, we have a heavenly Father who is perfect and holy!! He loved us so much that he gave us His Son Jesus so that our rel’ship with Him could be restored. B/c of the death of Jesus he paid the price to redeemed us, which we were then forgiven our debt and granted an inheritance. We have a great deal to be thankful to God for – an inheritance, our deliverance, and our transference which leads to a restored rel’ship with our Creator!!!
· Not so for the unbelievers who have no hope! Their relationship with Almighty God is severed b/c of their sin. If that is you, maybe the Lord is convicting you today or has been working in your life over the last few months, weeks, or days – you can submit your life to Christ this morning, you can deny yourself and ask God to forgive you for your sins. You can cross over from death to life and be reconciled unto God. Admit your sin, recognize that you can do nothing to fix it your sin problem – you need to be rescued, only by the blood of Christ do you qualify and are delivered and transferred in God’s Kingdom.
God’s People Pray…giving thanks!