Summary: As your Pastor I pray that you would know God more, and be strengthened in your faith.
A Pastor's Prayer
Text: Col. 1:9-14
1. Illustration: What do we know about the shepherd's life? It's a full time commitment. Sheep are helpless to defend themselves against attack from their natural enemies: lions, bears, wolves, hyenas and foxes which can come in both the day and night so there is never a moment a shepherd can relax. Sheep must be led to green grass and cool water, groomed when they get parasites in their nose and eyes and leeches in their throats from the water. Sheep must always be on the move because if not, they will overgraze the hill. Water is critical for sheep. In Israel's semi arid land, shepherds must dig cisterns in the soft limestone by dry riverbeds called wadis to catch the water from flash floods during the rainy season. These are usually 15 x 10 foot wide and need to be plastered to be able to hold water. A small rock dam must be built to direct some of the floodwaters into the cistern, which will hold water for several months until the summer heat evaporates it. Shepherds will use the water in ponds and lagoons first to save the water in the cisterns for later in the year. And here's the thing about sheep: they have no idea how much work the shepherd does to keep them safe.
2. As your Pastor I'm your spiritual Shepherd. As such I am called to...
A. Feed you
B. Guide you
C. Protect you
D. Care for you
E. But most importantly, to pray for you.
3. When Paul prayed for the Colossian church he prayed for two things...
4. Let's stand together as we read Col. 1:9-14.
Proposition: As your Pastor I pray that you would know God more, and be strengthened in your faith.
Transition: First Paul prayed...
I. A Prayer For Knowledge (9-10).
A. Complete Knowledge
1. PAUL CONTINUES THE thanksgiving section by informing the Colossians how he and Timothy specifically intercede for them in prayer.
A. The initial success of the gospel in Colosse does not lull them into slackening their prayer efforts for the Colossians.
B. Quite the reverse, it leads to even more intense prayer. They have continued to pray for them because of what God has already done for them and because of their faith and love ("for this reason," 1:9).
C. By sharing his petition on their behalf, Paul reacquaints them with their blessings, their obligations, and their potential in Christ.
2. Paul begins with, "So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding."
A. Paul prays that they be filled with complete knowledge.
B. Paul wants the Colossians to be totally controlled by knowledge. Knowledge consists of the normal Greek word for knowledge (gnosis) with an added preposition (epi), which intensifies the meaning.
C. The knowledge Paul wants the Colossians to have is a deep and thorough knowledge (MacArthur, MacArthur New Testament Commentary Colossians and Philemon, 28).
D. The knowledge that Paul has in view has nothing to do with some secret myth reserved only for the elite or some hidden key that unlocks the mysteries of the universe or of the inner person.
E. What Paul wants them to have a knowledge of is God's will.
F. For Paul, understanding God's will involves recognizing how Christ is the fulfillment of God's redemptive purposes, how God's salvation is open to all people, and how God intends for Christians to live in whatever situation they find themselves.
G. For Paul, Christ is the end of the law, and God's will is embodied in the person of Christ.
H. Full knowledge comes only through the Spirit and our complete commitment to Jesus Christ.
I. In addition to knowledge Paul prays that they receive spiritual wisdom and understanding.
J. Though the terms wisdom and understanding may be synonymous, wisdom may be the broader of the two terms.
K. It refers to the ability to collect and concisely organize principles from Scripture. Understanding could be a more specialized term, referring to the application of those principles to everyday life.
L. Both wisdom and understanding are spiritual; they deal in the non-physical realm and have the Holy Spirit as their source (MacArthur, 29).
3. Paul continues in v. 10 with, "Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better."
A. True understanding and wisdom of God's will is inseparable from living in harmony with it.
B. True knowledge leads to obedience; complete obedience cannot occur without the knowledge of God's will given by the Holy Spirit.