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Colossians 1:3-14

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Intro:

The prayers in Paul’s prison letters are certainly unique.
To begin with, he prays for others and not for himself.
The requests in his prayers center on spiritual blessings, not on material or physical matters.
Of course, it is not wrong to pray about physical or material needs. But spiritual needs are vastly more important.
The Apostle Paul was a great encourager, and this epistle is a good example of the grace of thanksgiving.
In this section (which is one long sentence in the original Greek), he gives thanks for what Christ has done in the lives of the Colossian Christians.
When you recall that Paul wrote this letter in prison, his attitude of thanksgiving is even more wonderful.
Like Paul, we should be grateful for what God is doing in the lives of others.
As Christians, we are all members of one body (1 Cor. 12:12–13).
If one member of the body is strengthened, this helps to strengthen the entire body.
If one church experiences a revival touch from God, it will help all the churches.

Read Colossians 1:3-14

I. vs. 3-5a Thank God for You

Paul starts most of his epistles with a prayer for the people he is writing to
This one is unique because he is writing to a group of people he has never met while he is in prison
Paul is thanking God for them while he is chained up
That takes a lot joy
Paul has prayed for them since he heard of their faith
This was a church started by one of his students from his school in Ephesus
Epaphras learned under Paul while Paul was there for 18 months
He went back home and started this church
Now they are known through the region for their faith and love
That kind of multiplication blesses Paul
Their faith and love was possible because they hope they had in Jesus
Three things need to be evident to the world
Our Faith in Jesus Christ
Our Love for one another
Our hope in the resurrection

II. vs. 5b-8 Hearing Word Bears Fruit

vs. 3-8 is one long sentence in the Greek
The english breaks it into two
Paul continues in his thanks, but shifts what he is thankful for
He is thankful that the Colossians have heard the Word of God
There is a marked difference between Christians who go to church and are taught the word and those who are filled with self-help motivational speeches
The self-help appeals to people’s issues but it doesn’t give them a foundation
Teaching the Word may not be as flashy or entertaining, but the word of God is living and powerful
It speaks to something much deeper
Because Epaphras has taught them the Word of God the church is bearing fruit
The truth and Gospel transforms lives
It’s not just knowledge or information
The Holy Spirit convicts hearts
vs. 6b you understand the Grace of God

III. vs. 9 Filled with Wisdom & Understanding

False teaching was attempting to penetrate the church
Paul prays that they will battle it, not with arguing, but by being filled with wisdom and understanding
When you were saved, you were equipped with everything you need to live for Jesus
You don’t need another experience that these false teachers were claiming
Paul tells them they need to grow deeper in their wisdom and understanding
You battle false doctrines, not by studying those doctrines, but by becoming more knowledgeable in the truth
Paul prayed that they would be filled
It’s taking something that was empty and filling it to the brim
Believers fall for false doctrine because they aren’t getting the Word of God in them
It’s rare when you see a Believer who is sitting under strong teaching, involved in a Bible study getting discipled, falling for false doctrines
Their bad theology radar goes off
The Spirit speaks to them

IV. vs. 10 Walk Worthy

Next Paul tells them to walk worthy of the Lord
In the Christian life, knowledge and obedience go together. There is no separation between learning and living
True spiritual wisdom must affect the daily life.
There are tons of College professors who are celebrated for their academic knowledge who don’t know how to function in normal life
Most can’t even operate their Key fob on their car
To walk in a manner worthy of the Lord you need to increasing in knowledge AND bear fruit from implementing it
Bearing Fruit
We please God when we bear fruit
The fruit is evident in the good work that we do
Don’t be confused
We don’t bear fruit by doing good works
You can earn the favor of God by doing good things
As the Spirit works things out in your heart you respond and fruit is born of that
Increasing in Knowledge
You also please God by increasing in knowledge
Once again this going deeper in your knowledge
John 15:7–8 ESV
If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.
Don’t settle
You can never plumb the depths of God’s Word
Challenge yourself to grow

V. vs. 11 Strengthened w/ Power

Next Paul prays that they will be strengthened with power
Notice that it’s not your power but His glorious might
His strength gives you endurance and patience
Anybody need those right now?
With his strength comes an attitude of joy
As you grow in your knowledge thru wisdom and understanding you will tap into a glorious strength
We usually think of God’s glorious power being revealed in great feats of daring—the Israelites crossing the Red Sea, David leading a victorious army, or Paul raising the dead.
But the emphasis here is on Christian character: patience, long-suffering, joyfulness, and thanksgiving.
The inner victories of the soul are just as great, if not greater, than the public victories recorded in the annals of history

VI. vs. 12 Share in Inheritance

In the Old Testament, God’s people had an earthly inheritance, the land of Canaan.
Christians today have a spiritual inheritance in Christ.
We must claim our inheritance by faith as we step out on the promises of God
Day by day, we claim our blessings; and this makes us even more thankful to the Lord.
Notice that we are to give thanks to the Father
What specifically for?
He has qualified us to share in the inheritance
We don’t earn it like a wage

VII. vs. 13 Delivered from Darkness

VIII. vs. 14 Redeemed & Forgiven

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