Summary: Fourth sermon in expository series on Colossians.
The Colossian Christ followers were facing challenges to their faith. Since that still happens today we’ve been learning from Paul’s letter to them about how you can reach your full potential for God – reach it even though your faith is being tested.
As you begin to grow in Christ Satan will see to it that your progress is challenged. The good news is that God has given you the information to go forward even as you face confrontation with the forces of darkness. We’ve been studying the Colossian letter for this reason.
In chapter one of the letter to the Colossian church we talked about the pre-requisites for reaching your full potential for God: (1) Wanting more than just a ticket to heaven; (2) Worshipping more than just a good man and great teacher (the heresy some were trying to slip into the church at Colossae is still being peddled by the devil today – that Jesus was just a good man); and (3) Withstanding faulty philosophies.
In chapter two we covered making your faith foolproof. (Gnosticism and The DaVinci Code) (1) Maintain constant communion with Christ; (2) Watch out for smoke and mirrors; and (3) Live in the light, not in the shadows.
Last week in chapter 3, Potential Building Principles for Every Day: (1) Set your heart on what is in heaven; (2) Don’t be controlled by your body; (3) Let love be the most important thing in your life; and (4) Let the peace that comes from Christ control your thoughts.
Now we come to chapter four.
Reaching your full potential is not just something God wants you to be interested in for your sake alone. He wants you to help others reach their full potential. Especially, we’ll see in this fourth chapter of Colossians – God wants those of us who know Him to help those who don’t to find Him so they can reach their full potential.
How do you do that? What practical steps can you take to help others reach their full potential for God? We all know people; we all have people on our hearts and minds who are missing out on the great joy of knowing Jesus. What can we do to help them accept the Good News about Jesus?
1. Never give up praying for the message about Jesus to be spread.
Colossians 4:2 (CEV) Never give up praying. And when you pray, keep alert and be thankful.
3 Be sure to pray that God will make a way for us to spread his message and explain the mystery about Christ, even though I am in jail for doing this.
4 Please pray that I will make the message as clear as possible.
"Never give up" is a great admonition in itself. It can apply to many different areas. But here the Word of God applies it to prayer.
You need to be encouraged to not give up praying for the message of Jesus to be spread. Have you given up on your prayer life in this area? The Word of God and the Spirit of God are challenging you to rekindle your prayer life for others.
And the Bible not only tells you to not give up praying – it specifically tells us three ways to pray. If you do these three things it will help you not to give up on your praying for the message of Jesus to be spread.
a. When you pray, keep alert and be thankful. (Verse 2)
Watchfulness and thankfulness go hand in hand. Be watchful because as you pray Satan is going to attack your faith. I think this is one reason you can be thankful. You say, "Brian have you lost your mind? Be thankful that Satan is attacking my prayers and my faith?" Yes and I’ll tell you why.
If Satan is attacking your prayers that means your prayers are having an impact in the unseen spiritual world where he operates.
Your prayers are scaring the devil out of the devil!
If Satan hates anything he hates prayer! He hates the Word and he hates prayer.
Ephesians 6:11(CEV) Put on all the armor that God gives, so you can defend yourself against the devil’s tricks. 12We are not fighting against humans. We are fighting against forces and authorities and against rulers of darkness and powers in the spiritual world.
For spiritual warfare you need spiritual equipment and after Paul describes the believer’s armor in Ephesians chapter six he says this:
Ephesians 6:18 (CEV) Never stop praying, especially for others. Always pray by the power of the Spirit. Stay alert and keep praying for God’s people.
Prayer is the oil that keeps the Christian’s armor from rusting.
a. When you pray, keep alert and be thankful. And then the Bible says,