This is the sermon for Sunday, May 30th, 2010.
What God has done for us.
Colossians 1:9-14 HCSB – 9 For this reason also, since the day we heard this, we haven’t stopped praying for you. We are asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, 10 so that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing [to Him], bearing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God. 11 May you be strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience, with joy 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the saints’ inheritance in the light. 13 He has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, 14 We have redemption, the forgiveness of sins, in Him.
In this letter to the Colossian Christians, Paul has prayed what is perhaps my personal favorite prayer recorded in the entire Bible.
Before we look into this, let’s cover a little background information. The church in Colossae had the heretical false doctrine of Gnosticism enter in and it was dividing the church. Gnosticism is actually older than Christianity. Its primary teaching is that the wisdom and revealed knowledge of God is a means to find special favor with God. It is a very works oriented religion that had crept into the Colossian church by being mixed with true Christianity.
On a side note, I personally believe that many legalistic doctrines and traditions as well as a number of Word of Faith beliefs are actually Gnostic in origin.
Now many will interpret what Paul says here as some Word of Faith type doctrine…they couldn’t be further from the truth. Let’s look a few moments before we begin unpacking our main text of verses 12-14.
Colossians 12:9b HCSB – We are asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.
What a wonderful prayer Paul is praying here, is it not? It is not just a “bless them Lord” type of prayer, but a specific prayer for the Colossian Christians.
Then Paul begins to unpack what “the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding” looks like in verse 10.
Colossians 1:10 HCSB – so that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing [to Him], bearing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God.
Here we have what I believe is often called the “Third use of the Law”. The Third use of the Law shows us what good works should look like after Salvation by faith. Let’s look.
- Walk worthy of the Lord (verse 10).
- Fully pleasing God (verse 10).
- Bearing fruit in every good work (verse 10).
- Growing in the knowledge of God (verse 10).
The problem is none of us can walk perfectly worthy of the Lord 100 percent of the time. We will never fully please God 100 percent of the time. We don’t always bear good fruit. Some times as Christians, we can become stale in our growth in the knowledge of the Lord.
Sounds to me like we are a mess! Does it not? Well, our hope lies in verses 11-12a.
Colossians 1:11-12a HCSB – 11 May you be strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience, with joy 12 giving thanks to the Father…
God is the one who will strengthen us with all His power. Our position is to joyfully give thanks for what He has done for us.
What has He done for us? Well, four things which are the four main points of the sermon this morning. Let’s look.
He has enabled us.
Colossians 1:12b HCSB – who has enabled you to share in the saints’ inheritance in the light.
- Greek word, hikanoo (hik-an-o`-o).
- To enable, to qualify, to meet, to make able.
What do I mean by “enable”? Well, we need to look at what we were before Christ, and what we are in Christ.
- Dead in our sins (Ephesians 2:1).
- Separated from God (Isaiah 59:2).
- Doomed to eternal punishment (2 Thessalonians 1:8-9).
Ephesians 2:1 HCSB – And you were dead in your trespasses and sins…
Isaiah 59:2 HCSB – But your iniquities have built barriers between you and your God, and your sins have made Him hide [His] face from you so that He does not listen.
2 Thessalonians 1:8-9 HCSB – 8 taking vengeance with flaming fire on those who don’t know God and on those who don’t obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 These will pay the penalty of everlasting destruction, away from the Lord’s presence and from His glorious strength…
Now let’s look at what we have in Christ.
- We have eternal life (John 10:28).
- We have eternal adoption (John 1:12-13).
John 10:28 HCSB – I give them eternal life, and they will never perish —ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand.
John 1:12-13 HCSB – 12 But to all who did receive Him, He gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in His name, 13 who were born, not of blood, or of the will of the flesh, or of the will of man, but of God.
God enables us by first calling us or drawing us to Jesus Christ.
John 6:44 HCSB – No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him, and I will raise him up on the last day.
Let’s now look at two things God has “enabled” or “qualified” us to be.
Two things God enables us to be:
- Heirs of eternal life (Titus 3:7).
- Heirs of an eternal inheritance (Hebrews 9:15).
Titus 3:7 HCSB – so that having been justified by His grace, we may become heirs with the hope of eternal life.
Hebrews 9:15 HCSB – Therefore He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called might receive the promise of the eternal inheritance, because a death has taken place for redemption from the transgressions [committed] under the first covenant.
Let’s now look at the second thing that God has done for us.
He has rescued us.
Colossians 1:13a HCSB – He has rescued us from the domain of darkness…
- Greek word rhoumai (rhoo`-om-ahee).
- To rush or draw to oneself; to rescue; to deliver.
Most commentators feel that Paul is referring to the Exodus story as an analogy. In that story, the children of Israel were enslaved by the “domain” or “authority” of Darkness – Egypt. God raised up a deliverer – Moses. We, like Israel, were enslaved under the domain of Darkness. We were controlled and ruled ruthlessly by Darkness. And like Israel, we needed a deliverer. God Himself became our deliverer by sending Jesus.
Paul describes this enslavement well in Ephesians.
Ephesians 4:17-19 HCSB – 17 Therefore, I say this and testify in the Lord: You should no longer walk as the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their thoughts. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them and because of the hardness of their hearts. 19 They became callous and gave themselves over to promiscuity for the practice of every kind of impurity with a desire for more and more.
Paul goes on to describe in that chapter what deliverance looks like.
Ephesians 4:20-24 HCSB – 20 But that is not how you learned about the Messiah, 21 assuming you heard Him and were taught by Him, because the truth is in Jesus: 22 you took off your former way of life, the old man that is corrupted by deceitful desires; 23 you are being renewed in the spirit of your minds; 24 you put on the new man, the one created according to God’s [likeness] in righteousness and purity of the truth.
Let’s look at the third thing that God has done for us.
He has transferred us.
Colossians 1:13b HCSB – … and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son He loves…
- Greek word methistemi (meth-is`-tay-mee).
- To transfer, to carry away, to exchange, to remove, to translate, to resettle, to relocate.
Another way this can be translated is, “He carried us away into the kingdom of the Son He loves…”
We are now part of a new kingdom; Christ’s eternal kingdom. Why? Because God has “carried us away” from the domain of darkness!
Let’s look at the fourth and final thing God does for us based on this passage.
God paid the slave price to free us and forgive us.
Colossians 1:14 HCSB – We have redemption, the forgiveness of sins, in Him.
- Greek word apolutrosis (ap-ol-oo-`tro-sis).
- To ransom in full, as if from slavery.
- The illusion is from the Old Testament principle of a relative paying the financial price to free the slave.
That is what God has done for us, through the blood of His Son – Jesus Christ. Not only has He freed us from enslavement to sin; He has forgiven, and continues to forgive us when we do sin.
God has done great things for us. He did not leave it to us to save ourselves, but sent Christ so that He can enable, rescue, transfer, redeem, and forgive us. Let’s honor Him for what He has done for us.