Summary: God makes it possible for us to know and do His will.
Title: In Christ, You Aren’t Who You Were…
Text: Colossians 1:9-14 (19-22)
Thesis: God makes it possible for us to know and do the will of God.
On Monday evening, November 19th at about 8 p.m., a grain bin measuring 100 feet in diameter and standing 90 feet high collapsed in Hillsboro, Iowa. Over 500,000 bushels of shelled corn spewed out like a tidal wave, shoving a nearby home off its foundation, caving in the walls causing the roof to fall in, and trapping the family inside the wreckage. (Golden Triangle Media.com, The Fairfield Ledger, 11/21/07)
The media reported that the family had complained to town leaders about the plans to build the new grain bin so close to their house but the town only required a set back from the property line, which the company met. Unfortunately, 30 feet was not far enough to save the Kellett family from the tsunami of corn that destroyed their home and nearly took their lives. (Dave Franzman, KCRG – TV9 News, Cedar Rapids, IA, 11/21/2007)
One lesson we can learn for future reference is: Do not build a humongous grain bin next to a family residence… or don’t build your house near a grain bin filled with over half a million bushels of shelled corn.
Jesus told a story about two men, both of whom built houses. One man built his house on sandy soil and the other built his on a solid rock. One house had a strong foundation and the other, not so much. When the storms of life came crashing down on the home with no foundation, it collapsed. But, when the storms of life came crashing down on the house built on the solid rock, it withstood the storm.
Jesus said, “Anyone who listens to my teaching and obeys me is wise, like a person who builds his house on a solid rock.” Matthew 7:24
This message was important to the people of Colosse and it is important to us because we, need to be reminded that despite the deluge of ideas, philosophies, beliefs, theories, and influences, Christ remains the absolutely supreme and solely sufficient in our lives.
Colosse was a small town on the south bank of the Lycus River in what we now know as Turkey… The Introduction to Colossians in the Expositor’s Bible Commentary describes Colosse as an “insignificant market town.”
Paul describes the Christians living in Colosse as faithful brothers and sisters in Christ (1:2). He tells them that he has heard that they continue to trust in Christ Jesus and to love all of God’s people, and that they are looking forward to the joys of heaven (1:4-5). He then tells them that the same Gospel that came to them is changing lives everywhere just as it changed their lives from the first day they heard it (1:6).
The reason the Apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in Colosse is his concern that they are being influenced to live by “high-sounding nonsense that comes from human-thinking,” rather than simply living in obedience to Christ (2:6-8).
The fact that Paul referred to the danger of them being led astray by “empty philosophy and high-sounding nonsense” suggests that they were in danger of practicing a syncretistic faith, which implies that they were mixing and matching beliefs from Christianity, Judaism, and elements of paganism. Paul wants them to know that the Christian faith is about being under the guidance of Christ and Christ alone. It would seem that at the heart of their error was that their faith, as they were practicing it, “wore
the mask of Christianity. It did not deny Christ, but it did dethrone him. It gave Christ a place, but not the supreme place.” (The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Zondervan, pp. 167-168)
So Paul writes to encourage his Christian friends at Colosse, to let them know that he was praying for them… that God will help them have a complete understanding of what God Himself, wants them to know and do.
The first thing he desires for them and for us, is that we have discernment to know God’s will.
1. Discernment to Know God’s Will, 1:9-10
We ask God to give you a complete understanding of what he wants to do in your lives, and we ask him to make you wise with spiritual wisdom. Colossians 1:9-10 (Fill you with the knowledge of his will – NIV)
This text puts an unusual spin on the nature of prayer in that it is not so much about our getting God to listen to us but getting ourselves to listen to God. William Barclay said, “In prayer we are not trying to persuade God to do what we want Him to do, we are trying to find out what He wants us to do.” (William Barclay, Letters to the Philippians, Colossians and Thessalonians, p. 129-130)