This section of Scripture gives us a glimpse into the prayer life of Paul and Timothy. These Spirit filled passages provide us some wonderful things that we can be praying for one another. Whenever we pray for one another, we are making a divine deposit into their lives.
- Col 1:9 For this cause we also, since the day we heard it,
Heard what? Of their faith in Christ Jesus and love for all the saints because of their hope that is laid up for them in heaven.
- do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;11 Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; 12 ¶ Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: 13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: 14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
We left off in the last post with the Apostle saying, ‘when I heard the report from Epaphras, about what was happening in your midst, about how the Holy Spirit was working in your lives, about the graces that He had implanted, your faith, your love, your hope. We immediately started praying. We immediately engaged in a continuous round of prayer for you.”
So often our prayer is in response to disaster, or affliction, or difficulty, and, of course, that’s entirely appropriate. There’s no better place to go than to God when things are going wrong. But, Paul’s logic also drove him to prayer when he saw the Spirit of God doing a good work. Paul and Timothy’s example for us reminds us that we must attend to prayer, not only in the hard times, but especially in the times where spiritual work is going on, that the work of the spirit might continue and increase.
I draw your attention to the fact that Paul began this prayer back in verse 3 by the giving of thanks to God.
To ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will:
What a wonderful thing to pray for other saints. That the might be filled with the knowledge of His will. God’s word is God’s will. Thus one of the ways that we know the will of God is by spending time reading renewing his or her mind with God’s truth the Word every believe and renewing our minds with the Word of God. This is the revealed will of God.
But then there is that concealed will of God that is not written in Scripture. God’s will concerning my vocation, or concerning His direction for how to handle a particular financial issue or issues with my children, or marital issues. To know what God’s will is in matters like this is discovered as we spend time praying and listening for His still small voice.
Paul prays for a knowledge of God which is consistent with the gospel that’s already been preached. He wants a knowledge of God which is biblical. He wants a knowledge of God which is not merely abstract or speculative, but which has practical content to it. He prays for a knowledge of God which bears fruit. The true knowledge of which Paul and Timothy are praying for is biblical truth which is in accord with the Scriptures and it flows from the revelation of God in the Scripture.
The kind of knowledge that we are talking about beloved is character transforming knowledge. The knowledge of God is a transforming knowledge that is far more than a change of information in the head (which it is), as much as it is a transformation of the heart. When a persons heart changes, the way they think changes and the way the way they pray and make decisions changes. The heart will always make a convert of the mind.
Please know this: God’s will never contradict God’s Word. You do not need to pray if it is God’s will that you date or marry someone that is not a born again believer. You do not have to pray about whether or not you should “work under the table”. You should not need to pray about whether or not I should sell drugs on the side to provide for my family or be living together with my boyfriend or girlfriend. God’s will on these issues is not even close to being a gray matter.
Let me tell you straightforwardly beloved that something’s wrong in us if we have no desire for the knowledge of God or knowledge about Him, because the Apostle Paul says, ‘I’m praying that you Christians will have that.’
Pastor Ligon Duncan said to his congregation, “in a place where teaching is stressed, we must be on guard that we never let our knowledge about God hang in the air, but that it is rooted in practical Christ living.”
- Filled-Note the word “filled” in v9. What does it mean to be filled w/something?
Examples of the filling Paul is praying for are found in Ephesians 5:18, where Paul commands Christians to be filled with the Spirit; John 12:3, where the room is filled with the perfume when Mary anoints Jesus with the perfume; and Acts 2:2, when the house is filled with the noise of the Spirit’s coming.
In all cases, when the objects above are said to be filled they are totally dominated by the thing doing the filling. When we are filled with something, we are totally dominated by it.
That is Paul’s prayer, that we be totally dominated by “the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.
My prayer for each and every one of you beloved is that God would grant unto you a knowledge which is in accordance with the Word of God, which is a practical knowledge, which impacts your daily living, and which bears fruit. That’s the kind of knowledge that I want you to grow in.
- That you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him:
When the Apostle Paul speaks of walking in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing unto Him, he is speaking of the standard of our behavior. He is speaking of the normal Christian life.
Those who are born again possess the true knowledge of God and are going to desire to please God in all respects. Our motivation for choosing to live the way that we do is rooted in the love for God and stems from a sincere and appropriate desire to please God. We are not motivated by guilt or fear, but by the love of God and a love for God and His glory.
To walk in a way that is worthy and pleasing to The Lord essentially means that we are to emulate our Savior. The apostle John said, He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked (1 John 2.6).
To walk as Jesus walked means that we should seek to walk as Jesus did in the world. Jesus always sought to do the things that were pleasing to His Father (John 8.29). Jesus quietly honored God His Father in all His works and ways. A person who is walking worthy of The Lord, will be walking in the footsteps of The Lord Jesus. Remember that it was Paul, who said to the Corinthians, follow me as I follow Christ (1 Cor 11.1).
He prayed that they would be fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. This is an echo of Jesus’ thought in John 15:7-8: If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples
Good words are empty apart from good works. God’s will for each and every one of you who are in Christ is that you would be fruitful in every good work and increase in the knowledge of God. And the more we increase in the knowledge of God, the more that we will be fruitful we are in good works.
The emphasis of the Christian life is always on the vertical, not the horizontal.
- 2Pe 3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
- Jer 9:23 ¶ Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: 24 But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.
It is as if Paul is saying I want you to have a knowledge of The Lord Jesus that leads you to desire to please God, not slavishly, but enthusiastically.
What is another thing that pleases God? Faith, for without faith it is impossible to please God. Faith believes that God’s Word is true and that God’s will is best. Thus, when I walk by faith in His Word, trusting in the power of His grace to enable me to do so, I am walking in a way that pleases Him.
- Strengthened with all might according to His glorious power:
In order to walk worthy of The Lord, we need to be strengthened by His glorious power. It’s so important to note again that Paul is pointing to a power that is outside of the Colossians. It’s not a power within the Colossians that he’s praying to be increased, it’s a power which comes from God and which God implants in us and strengthens us with.
The God Who gives us strength is a God of glorious power. The blessed Spirit is the author of this strength; for we are strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inward man, Eph. 3:16.
The kind of power that Paul is praying for is a prayer that grants divine patience and longsuffering with joyfulness. Praise God beloved that we are in a covenant relationship with The Living God Who promises us that His strength is there to help us meet all of life’s challenges. That He provides the strength to endure and overcome problems with patience and longsuffering with joyfulness.
Being patient relates to dealing with circumstances in our lives and timing, while longsuffering relates to dealing with people in our lives. Paul prays that God would fill these saints with His glorious power in order that they would be able to deal with difficult circumstances and difficult people with joyfulness. If today you are dealing with difficult circumstances or difficult people or both, then pray this prayer!!
It is important for us to understand this morning that Paul is not saying that God expects us to go through difficult circumstances or problems without any feeling or emotion. He is not saying that when we are dealing with difficult circumstance or people, we should do cartwheels around the house singing zip a dee do dah!!!! He is reminding us that we no longer need to go through life in our own power or strength.
Because Jesus has finished the work of atoning for our sins on the cross, The Comforter has been poured out to live inside of us, to come along side of us.
Beloved, God’s strength is perfected in our weakness. The old Puritan John Owen said many, many years ago, “We have no power from God unless we live in the persuasion that we have none of our own.” Beloved, this power to live, this power to endure, this power to be joyous, this power to be patient comes from outside of us. It’s not a power which is naturally within us, or a power which is merely untapped, or unrealized, or needing to being awakened or unlocked. It’s a power which comes from God.
- Giving thanks to the Father who has made us meet (qualified) us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.
When Paul says that The Father has made us meet, or qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light, he is saying that through the finished work of Jesus Christ, all the conditions have been met which entitle us to a full standing as the children of God.
In the divine administration, the Father is mentioned in connection with His plan of redemption because He is the Person of the Trinity Who initiated the plan to redeem fallen man before the foundation of the world. It is spoken of as the work of the Father, because the Spirit of grace is the Spirit of the Father, and the Father works in us by his Spirit.
Because our salvation is the work of God, Paul once again gives thanks unto God for His glorious grace and power that has enabled us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints:
It is the Father who qualifies us, not our own works. We gain this as an inheritance, instead of earning it as a wage.
- He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.
Beloved, we overcome the devil by the blood of The Lamb and the word of our testimony. Christians have been delivered from Satan’s domain. Notice, what tense is the verb in v13? Past tense, it is an already accomplished fact, if you have confessed Jesus as your Lord.
Jesus has delivered us from the power of darkness. Another place where this same phrase for power of darkness is used is in Luke 22:53, where Jesus spoke of the darkness surrounding His arrest and passion in the same terms.
The entire fallen world system, with all its pretended wisdom and righteousness, is regarded as nothing but darkness in the sight of God, because, apart from the kingdom of Christ, there is no light.
We need to keep in mind that when the Bible says that someone is “lost” we mean lost! When the Bible says that someone is dead in their sins, it means dead! It is no small thing to be without Christ. And every person in God’s creation is either under Christ or under Satan
“There is no neutral ground in the universe: every square inch, every split second, is claimed by God and counterclaimed by Satan.” (C.S. Lewis)
The very word delivered has the idea of a rescue by a sovereign power. We could not and did not deliver ourselves from the power of darkness.
- The Father has rescued us from the state of heathenish darkness and wickedness.
- He hath saved us from the dominion of sin, which is darkness (1 Jn. 1:6).
- He has saved us from the dominion of Satan, who is the prince of darkness (Eph. 6:12).
- He has delivered us from the damnation of hell, which is utter darkness,’’ Mt. 25:30.
Paul will tell the saints in Ephesus that you were once darkness, but now are you light in the Lord, Eph. 5:8. Peter tells us that it is God Who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light, 1 Pt. 2:9.
The regeneration and conversion of a sinner is the miraculous translation of a soul out of the kingdom of the devil and into the kingdom of Christ. The debt of sin is paid; the power of sin is shaken off, and the power of Christ submitted to. By the grace of God, we have been marvelously and graciously translated into the kingdom of His dear Son.
At the time that Paul wrote this letter, when one empire conquered another empire, the custom was to take the population of the defeated empire and transfer it lock, stock and barrel to the conqueror’s land. It is in this sense that Paul says we have been translated into God’s kingdom. Everything we have, everything we are now belongs to Him.
- In whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sin.
There are many people who teach that Jesus Christ came to show us the Father’s love. That is true, but that is not all of the truth. Jesus Christ came to do more than to reveal to us what God is like. Jesus Christ came to redeem us from sin.
This redemption was procured through the blood of Christ, for it by the sacrifice of his death that all the sins of the world have been expiated. Let us, therefore, bear in mind, that this is the sole price of reconciliation with God, and that apart from Christ, there is no reconciliation with God.
The word redemption has the idea of release by a legal ransom. In Paul’s’ day, if you wanted to set a slave free, you paid a purchase price for that slave and you redeemed, you literally bought that slave, and set him to freedom. This is precisely what the Apostle says Christ has done for us at the cross. The price for our release was paid by the blood of Jesus. The shed blood of Jesus Christ on the cross is the “receipt” of our lawful purchase as redeemed people.
Forgiveness is the ancient Greek word aphesis, most literally translated “a sending away.” “It thus speaks of the removal of our sins from us, so that they are no longer barriers that separate us from God.” (Vaughan)
Jesus has paid a costly price for us and set us free. The redemption that we have in Jesus Christ is both a pardon of sin and deliverance from sin. Every single one of us struggles with two aspects in sin. We are guilty of sin and therefore we are due its penalty. We are enslaved to sin and therefore we are under its power. Christ, in His redemption, redeems us from both. Forgiveness of sins entails both pardon for sin’s guilt and deliverance from sin’s power.
Being forgiven does not mean you are sinless. It does not mean you are perfect, but you are no longer under the dominion of sin. Your life is no longer as a whole characterized by a bent toward wickedness. When you sin, you are frustrated by it. You are not only remorseful of it, you are repentant of it.
It is vital for us to hold as a settled point, that we are not acceptable to God apart from Jesus Christ. Have you trusted Christ this morning for the salvation of your soul?
As far as other people goes, let me ask you this: Having read this prayer, is this how you’re praying for one another? Are you praying that your brothers and sisters in Christ here at Koinonia Fellowship would be filled with the knowledge of God’s will for their lives? Are you praying that God would grant them the power to live in His will with patience and longsuffering and joy?
I believe that this prayer is God’s heart for each and very one of you this morning. This is what God desires for us.
On a personal level, do you desire the kind of knowledge that Paul is speaking about today? If you don’t, my friend, something’s wrong; something needs to be checked, something needs to be changed. Perhaps you need to avail yourself the first time to Christ.
In Christ we have redemption… Jesus said on the cross, it is finished. There is nothing for you to do that can add to the perfect atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. If you or I could save ourselves, then there was no reason for Jesus to die on the cross.
May the grace of God open your heart and open your understanding to the truth of the gospel and the reality of Who Jesus Christ is. As many as received Him, to them give He the power to become the sons of God. Will you confess Jesus as Son of God, and receive Him as Lord today? We would love to pray with you. Call us at (585) 385-0450.