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Summary: First expository sermon in four-part series on the book of Colossians.

We’re beginning a new series today on "Reaching Your Full Potential For God." This is not just a series on advancing your personal goals. There’s nothing wrong with that, I just want you to know that this is not going to be a Tony Robbins seminar.

It’s good to want to be a better student, a better worker, a better spouse, or a better parent. It’s good to want to live up to your vocational potential, your educational potential, or your financial potential. But we’re going to be talking about what you can do to live up to your spiritual potential.

We’re going to be talking about what you can do to be more for God, what you can do to become more like the person God wants you to become, because, as you become more of the person God wants you to become you will not only have more peace and joy because you will be fulfilling the purpose for which you were created, but you will also be able to give God the glory He deserves.

When you live up to your spiritual potential it will impact every other area of your life in a positive way. When you get the core spiritual part of your life straight you are able to focus more effectively on the spokes of the wheel that radiate from the center. Your spiritual life is the center. Everything else flows out from there. So you can see this is a very important topic.

To satisfy the thirst for reaching your spiritual potential we’re going to be drinking from the Apostle Paul’s letter to the church at Colossae in this series.

The Colossian letter was written from a Roman prison. Paul was incarcerated because he was spreading the Good News about Jesus and anti-Christians had him put in jail on trumped up charges.

He didn’t start the church in Colossae, as he had so many others, but the pastor of the church, Epaphras, had come to visit him in the Roman prison to tell him about this church. After their meeting Paul wrote a letter to the people of this church to give them further instructions and encouragement. What he says to the Colossian Christians is amazingly relevant to the 21st Century!

Our world today is wrapped up in a myriad of conflicting religions and philosophies about how to live and what’s really important - just as it was in the 1st Century.

Many people believe that you can pick whatever ideas you want to live by and that will be fine with God. But the truth is – if you want to live up to your spiritual potential it must be done God’s way. The truth must be that which is revealed in God’s written Word, the Bible, and in His Living Word, His Son, and the Lord Jesus Christ. You have to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

The information from the Word of God in Colossians helps you to see that God has a definitive and distinctive plan for you to reach your full spiritual potential.

We’re going to begin today with the pre-requisites.

What kind of preparation is necessary for you to reach your full potential for God? What kind of groundwork needs to be laid? Paul gives us several ideas on how to get started here in Colossians chapter one.

1. The first pre-requisite for reaching your spiritual potential is wanting more from your Christian experience than just a ticket to heaven.

When Paul opened his letter to the church at Colossae, after his introduction, he said this:

Colossians 1:9 (CEV) We have not stopped praying for you since the first day we heard about you. In fact, we always pray that God will show you everything he wants you to do and that you may have all the wisdom and understanding that his Spirit gives.

Circle the words "everything" and "all." Paul had heard of the people coming to Christ in the city of Colossae, but he knew that coming to Christ is only the beginning of reaching your full potential for God. He prayed that God would show them "everything" he wanted them to do and that they may have "all" the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives.

There’s more to being a Christ follower than being able to say, "I’m on my way to heaven." Becoming a Christ follower is not only about having eternal life in heaven forever - it’s also about realizing your full potential for God here on earth. It’s about enjoying the trip while investing for eternity!

Skit #1: Ticket to Heaven

Setting: two people sitting side by side in an airport or train station.

#1: Got your ticket?

#2: Oh yeah! (Holds ticket up and reads from it.) Says here, "This ticket to heaven purchased by the blood of Jesus." I got it years ago when I asked Jesus into my heart.

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