Summary: The 2nd message of 13 in an expository series on the book of Colossians.
A Prayer for True Spirituality
9For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. 10And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully 12giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. 13For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
I The Reason for Paul’s Prayer
Verse: 9For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you…
Idea: Paul was encouraged by the Colossians authentic faith that they had received the complete and sufficient Gospel and that it was evidenced by their genuine love for others. He prays to encourage them and to outline for them an authentic spirituality that they might honor God in every way.
II The Substance of Paul’s Prayer
Verse: asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.
Idea: Paul’s prayer flies in the face of pagan philosophical culture as he takes their words and elevates them to a higher plane of meaning in Christ.
Note: filled (pleroo) – to be completely under the influence and controlled. Like a man under the influence of alcohol – he is not able to control himself because he is controlled by the intoxicating drink.
A Knowledge (epiginosko)
Idea: Deep, thorough, final, true knowledge that can only come from God through special revelation in accordance with God’s Word and under the guiding hand of the Holy Spirit. This is not just a mental knowledge, but a participatory knowledge controlled by God’s will (thelema) – that is the life that God intends for your life.
B Wisdom (sophia)
Idea: This is not wisdom derived from man’s human ingenuity, but wisdom that is only revealed by the Holy Spirit in accordance with God’s Word (1 Cor. 1:18-25). Thus, spiritual wisdom is the God-enabled ability to collect and organize principles and insights from Scripture and life (see Proverbs).
C Understanding (suneis)
Idea: The God-given ability to appropriate and apply wise principles and knowledge under the Spirit’s leading.
Trans: Paul prayed that they would receive absolute insight and knowledge so that they might know whom they have believed so that they might be persuaded and apprehended by God b/c they have been enabled to comprehend the depth of this revealed knowledge so that they might appropriate and apply its principles and precepts in their daily lives so that they would experience an extraordinary life.
III The Intended Result of Paul’s Prayer
Verse: 10And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might…
A A Worthy Walk
Note: walk (parapateo) the every day pitter-patter of life. Paul used a word understood by the Greeks – Plato sponsored a school known as the Parapateo where wanting philosophy students would go on walks of enlightenment but never acted upon their human insights and philosophies.
Worthy (axios) to balance out or balance the scales – you will practice what you preach.
Note: axis – that which pierces the center to bring balance and rotation.
Idea: Paul calls the Colossians to live an every day life that would bring honor and glory to God because it possessed a balance between what they professed and what they lived. A worthy walk always lives what it professes. Paul gave the same challenge to the Thessalonians (1 Th. 2:12), to the Philippians (Ph. 1:27), and to the Ephesians (Eph. 4:1).
Truth: God desires that each of us live an extraordinary life to His glory. The problem is that we cannot live such a life in our humanity – the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. This extraordinary life can only be experienced through surrender (Eph. 3:16-17), obedience (2 Pt. 1:3-11), and death (Gal. 2:20). He has given us everything we need, but we must die to ourselves and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. The problem is that in order to live an extraordinary life a person must give up the ordinary life.
B A Pleasing Life
Idea: The objective is to please God and not ourselves or anyone else – our single-minded ambition is to think and act only upon those things that satisfy the heart of God. This can only be done by setting my focus solely upon Him alone (Hb. 12:2) and not on the goals and desires of this world (Col. 3:1-2). But I must please Him in every way and in everything (Col. 3:17).