Title: A Pastor’s Prayer: The Fullness of a Christian Life
Text: Colossians 1.9-14
Introduction: Last week we spoke of Paul’s gratitude for God’s Gospel: the word of Truth, The grace of God in Truth at work in the body. Today we turn our focus from Gratitude to specific prayer requests Paul has for the Colossians.
As I mentioned last week, this is Paul’s typical opening to a letter: Who he is and who is with him; to whom he is writing; Grace and Peace; then Thanksgiving (which we covered last week) and prayer;
There are two parts to this prayer: he prays that they would be fill and then, that they would walk – that is live the Christian life.
Transition: More on that when we get there. So, let’s get into this. First, Paul prays for his church to be:
exp.: with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and spiritual understanding; rd v 9; Phil 1.7-8; Eph 1.16-23; πληρόω; filled is sometimes translated “accomplished”; that this would be accomplished in you;
ill.: a pianist who has mastered the instrument is called: an accomplished pianist.
app.: Paul is saying “I want you to master this Christian faith” – fully aware of God’s will for your life. You know what that is don’t you? Your sole purpose in life in fulfilling God’s will is this: to glorify God and enjoy him forever.
t.s.: he prays 1st, that they would be filled with this knowledge in all spiritual wisdom and understanding! 2nd, he prays that they would
exp.: read v10; περιπατέω – walk circumspectly; living your life with a view around you; let that sink in; Jabari’s Graph:
|How we see ourselves and others see us||How we see ourselves, but others can’t see|
|How we can’t see ourselves, but others can||How we can’t see ourselves & others can’t see either|
I think of this part – the part where other’s see us, but we can’t see – I think of that part when I read this. People are watching us and they see us. Even in areas we can’t see that they do.
When I was a 7th Grader at Spangdalem Air Force base, I used to walk to the base chapel. I wanted to go to church. I knew I needed to go to church. So, I walked from my house in the housing area to the main base. Probably a couple of miles. I know, strange, right? I remember the chaplain telling the story about going to the store to buy some clothes. He went in and tried on some new clothes and then stepped up to look in the mirror. He said there were three mirrors to the front and one in the back – all situated so that he could see himself from every direction. But as he looked, it wasn’t the clothes that got his attention – it was the bald spot on the back of his head. He always saw himself in the mirror with perfect hair. But, from the back, an area he never saw, there was something blind to him – his bald spot.
And he thought to himself that others saw that bald spot and thought of him as a man who was balding. He never thought of himself as balding. But those mirrors, they revealed something to him – brought something to light. Others saw him differently than he had been seeing himself.
Paul says ‘walk’ – live circumspectly – live with the knowledge that others see you, even when you don’t know. But Paul gets more specific… how?
- “In a manner worthy of the Lord.” Here’s what that means: at the end of the day present your life as a gift to him. In Philippians he says, “Live your life worthy of the calling you’ve received.” 2ndly, he says;
- “Fully pleasing to the Lord”; Think about it this way, finding his pleasure in your life;
ill.: Lee Evans, a pastor friend of mine, texts me each Sunday morning and tells me he is praying for me. Robert Wheat, our DOM, does the same thing. That blesses me. This is one of my prayers for me: God’s pleasure – that he would be pleased with me. That’s what Paul prays for his congregation – that they would be fully pleasing to the Lord.
So, this leads us to a very important question: Well, what pleases God? Our text outlines 4 separate areas: rd v 10b;
- Bearing fruit (in every good work) Pres. Act. Ptc;
- Increasing (in the knowledge of God) Pres. Act. ptc
exp.: we see in v 6 these same words, except, those words are passive tense, meaning, God brings the growth and the fruit to our lives. Here, the tense is active – that you would actively work at bearing fruit and increasing in the knowledge of God.
That’s a good word for us – God brings the growth and increase, but we have a responsibility to be active in that process.
app.: Whereas God’s Word is sufficient in itself (Heb 4.12) to bring about it’s own growth as we share –– But, at the same time, our growth comes through our being active in good works, active in expanding our knowledge; studying, reading, memorizing; we do good works, and God will bless with fruit; we become active in learning, gaining a knowledge of God and he brings the increase and growth in our maturity;
So, in their walk, he prays for them…
- Bearing fruit
- Bringing growth and,
- Being strengthened
exp.: rd v 11; w/ strength; empowered with all power; according to his might; For a specific purpose – endurance and patience; I think about little David: “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.”
ill.: As we hear about religious persecution around the world – like what I mentioned last week – that is why new converts, with very little knowledge of God’s Word, can become powerful witnesses during their suffering and persecution in Muslim countries and restricted countries. They have very little of God’s Word, in some cases only a page. In other cases, only what they remember from a meeting.
Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. 29 He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. 30 Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; 31 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
t.s.:in your walk
- Bearing fruit
- Bringing growth
- Being strengthened and 4th,
- Giving Thanks
exp.: rd v 12; because he has:
- qualified us – to share in the inheritance!
- delivered us from the dominion of darkness!
- transferred us into his kingdom!
exp.: all by the redemption that comes by his blood, the forgiveness of our sins.
Paul is praying for The Full Life: πᾶν – all. 5x’s;
Wow… what a beautiful prayer for those people… I want to pray this prayer for you that you would experience this fullness in your life! But before I do, let me share a story with you…
Illustration: Os Guinness – The Call – From Suicide to Purpose;
The Title this morning is A Pastor’s Prayer: The Fullness of a Christian Life
Conclusion: a Pastor’s prayer:
- Fill them Lord, with the knowledge of your will in all spiritual wisdom and spiritual understanding.
- May they walk circumspectly, in a manner worthy of this calling and title as Christians – knowing that others are watching, but most concerned that You’re watching. May their walk bring you pleasure, bear good fruit, and bring about the spiritual growth in knowing you more.
- Strengthen them Father, with the power that comes from you. May they know the immeasurable greatness of your power toward us who believe. May they be strengthened to endure with all patience.
Give them thankful hearts. Cause them to truly comprehend their qualification through Christ – their deliverance from sin and their redemption through the blood of Christ.