Study Notes

Colossians 1:9-14


Last week, we began our study of the book of Colossians. Paul, dictating to Timothy, was writing this letter to encourage the Christians in the town of Colossae to keep doing what they were doing correctly, as well as correct some things that they had understood incorrectly.

As we saw in the first eight verses, Paul had heard of their faith in Christ, their love for the saints, and their hope in heaven. He was giving thanks to God for them. He was happy to see the gospel constantly bearing fruit and increasing in them because they'd understood the grace of God in truth.

He also let them know that he and Timothy were constantly praying for them. Most of the verses we'll cover today explain exactly what was in these prayers.

1:9-12 We Have Not Ceased To Pray

First, we see that Paul and Timothy had not ceased to pray. There are times when we think that we may as well give up. After ten years of praying, your son hasn't turned back to the Lord. After eight months of praying, your daughter hasn't been healed. After a decade of prayer, your boss is still an atheist.

After awhile, we think that God isn't listening, or that He is just refusing to answer. But He has told us,

Isa. 55:8 "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Neither are your ways My ways"...

His timing is also not our timing, and His plans are also not our plans. We haven't been called to figure out what God is doing - we've been called to pray. This commandment is in the Scripture:

1Ths. 5:17 pray without ceasing

It may have been six days, six years, or six decades since you started praying for someone, but don't stop praying.

Filled With The Knowledge Of His Will

They were praying that the Colossians would be filled with the knowledge of God's will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.

God's will is a hot topic among Christians. We're always trying to find out what His will is. "Should I keep this job, or take the other one that's been offered to me? Should I move across the country or stay here? Should I start up this ministry, or wait?" I am constantly innundated with people asking me, "How can I find God's will for my life? How can I know which path to take?"

I'd like to share something with you that may revolutionize the way you live your Christian life. The Greek word translated "will" here is "THEL-ay-mah." It is used frequently in the Bible to encourage us to do God's will, and to know God's will.

Many say, "I want to do the will of God, but I need to know what it is first." But the Bible tells us that...

Eph. 1:9 He made known to us the mystery of His will...

He has already made His will known! Sure enough, the Scriptures say,

1Ths. 5:18 in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

1Pet. 2:15 For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men.

1Ths. 4:3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification; {that is,} that you abstain from sexual immorality;

Very simply, the will of God is to give thanks, to do right, and not to do wrong. That is God's will for your life! It's as simple as that!

You might protest, saying, "But how do I know what to do about my job, my house, or my ministry?" I say if you are doing God's will in your life, then your decisions are in the will of God. The Bible says that the person who is walking in God's ways and studying God's Word is blessed...

Ps. 1:3 ...and in whatever he does, he prospers.

My exhortation to you is to stop worrying about the decisions and start focusing on the discipleship. Stop fretting about whether to go left or right, and start walking right.

Walk In A Manner Worthy Of The Lord

When we know the will of God, we are able to walk in a manner worthy of God. What does it mean to walk worthy? There is a list of five things given here:

1) Pleasing Him in every way; 2) Bearing fruit in every good work; 3) Increasing in your knowledge of God; 4) Being strengthened; 5) Giving thanks

To Please Him

First on the list of walking in a manner worthy of God is to please Him in every way. Romans eight says,

Rom. 8:8 ...those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

The key to pleasing God is not to follow after the desires of your flesh, but to walk in the Spirit.

Bearing Fruit in Every Good Work

Next is bearing fruit in every good work. Jesus said,

John 15:4-5 "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither {can} you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing."

Fruit cannot be produced in your life on your own. It's a basic horticultural fact that branches which have been cut off of the peach tree won't be producing peaches.

The same is true for fruit in our lives. We've got to abide in Jesus - be tied in, connected, to Him. If we aren't, we produce no fruit, and when we are, we produce much fruit.

Increasing In The Knowledge Of God

Third on the list of walking in a manner worthy of God is to always be increasing in the knowledge of God.

One thing I was taught from the beginning of my Christianity was this: the Bible tells me everything that God wants me to know about Himself. As I study the Scriptures, God reveals Himself.

Increasing in the knowledge of God by learning what the Bible teaches is far more important than you may be giving it credit for. You see, Peter tells us that...

2Pet. 1:3 ...His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him...

Everything we need that pertains to life and godliness is right in these pages!

Strengthened With All Power

Next on the list is being strengthened with all power.

The word "power" here is used throughout the gospels to describe the mighty works and wonders - the miracles and healings - that Jesus performed during His earthly ministry.

That same power is available today to strengthen you. Just as the blind received sight, just as the lame were given the ability to walk, so you too can get patience! You can receive steadfastness - the ability to be consistent in spite of the lows and highs of life.

"Surely that couldn't happen to me! I have no patience at all! I am up and down all the time with either joy or discouragement!" But notice that little adjective: "all." All of the power with which Jesus healed and transformed people is available to heal and transform you. To strengthen you. And not only is it available, but it is in fact necessary to walk in a manner worthy of God - He's practically insisting that you partake of that power!

Giving Thanks

Last on the list is the giving of thanks. I talk to you about this a lot, because it comes up in the Scripture a lot. Giving thanks isn't just God's will for you (1Thes. 5:18), but it is also the forgotten key to receiving the peace that passes understanding (Phil. 4:6-7). We are to be...

Eph. 5:20 always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God...

Our final two verses this morning tell us a really good reason to give thanks...

1:13-14 Two Kingdoms

Every person on this earth belongs to one of two kingdoms: the domain of darkness or the kingdom of Jesus. They belong to one of two fathers: the devil or the Lord. The Bible says,

1John 3:10 By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.

That's why Jesus told those who were rejecting Him,

John 8:44 "You are of {your} father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father..."

So there is no middle ground - you must be the child of one or the other. You must be a citizen of one kingdom or another.

Jesus really wants you to be a child of God. He really wants you in His kingdom. By giving His life to save yours, He has paved the way for you to get into His kingdom.

Now, what is being asked of you is to simply receive Him, to sign your name to the transfer papers. Many people refuse, they won't receive Him. The Bible says that Jesus...

John 1:11-13 ...came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, {even} to those who believe in His name, who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

Today is the day to receive Him. Today is the day to have your citizenship transferred. Today is the day to have all of your sins forgiven.

Go to next study

Go to previous study