A Supernatural Life for Supernatural People – Part 1
Now here in the first chapter of Colossians the Apostle Paul is greeting and commending the Colossian church for their most holy faith which is prospering and growing. As he writes, he tells them that he has been praying earnestly for them, and then goes on to describe the things he has been praying for in verses 1:9-12..
We then have the benefit of knowing, if
May we be ever thankful to our God for giving us this rich passage of text for us to feast upon and be spiritually nourished for our journey to Heavens glory!
Colossians 1:9 – 9 For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,
A. For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask – See here the importance of diligence in the Christian life. Paul’s concern for the church causes him to pray without ceasing, and to be continually offering up a prayer to God for their health and growth in the faith. Are we yet so concerned with our own spiritual life that we, with the Apostle continually beseech God for His power and blessing in our lives? Let us not be slothful in our faith, but diligent in seeking His Kingdom and His righteousness, that we may be filled with all of His goodness!
B. that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding – Here Paul’s first and greatest request. Let us not overlook the importance of this great virtue in Christian life. It is to “be filled with the knowledge of His will.” That is, to know what God wants, what He prefers, what is consistent with His desires, and more, to be informed about His threatenings, commandments, and judgments, His precepts and requirements. This is foremost in the Christian life and from it flows all blessing, happiness, and comfort in time of need. We do not know the mind of God naturally, and we only learn about Him what He chooses to reveal. Now this “knowledge of His will” comes through an understanding of God’s will as he has revealed it in Holy Writ. What we know about God’s desires and precepts, His commandments and judgments, are revealed to us by God an in the manner which He has chosen to deliver it to us in the Scriptures. The Scriptures are filled with such holy and majestic pronouncements that only God could speak; duties are therein prescribed, which none but God can require; sins are therein condemned, which none but God can prohibit; threatenings of punishments are therein denounced, which none but God can inflict; promises of rewards are therein made, which none but God can bestow; and all in such a majestic way, as does evidence God to be the author of this book of the Scriptures, and it is here where we learn the revealed “knowledge of His will.” Moreover, Paul prays that we posses this “in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.” Notice it is “spiritual wisdom,” which means it comes only by the Spirit of God, it is not of the natural unspiritual man. For the natural man cannot grasp them; …. turn with me…
1 Corinthians 2:9-16 – 9 but just as it is written, “Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, And which have not entered the heart of man, All that God has prepared for those who love Him.” 10 For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. 11 For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man, which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things freely given to us by God, 13 which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words. 14 But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. 15 But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no man. 16 For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he should instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ. NASB
Since we have the Spirit of God living in us and performing His ministry of revelation to us, we now have the ability and capacity to believe and to grasp “the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,” and to therefore rightly see our world, our purpose, and the real reasons why things exist in the world and what they are for. The eye of sinful man thy glory may not see…the natural man gropes in the darkness of sin, not even realizing that it is God who holds his very life together and his next breathe in His hand, every moment of everyday. But the Christian has knowledge of the meaning and purpose of all things, knowing that it all exists by God, and for God and that His ends and purposes are chief in everything. God is ruling the circumstances of human history by His mighty
Proverbs 16:4 – 4 The Lord has made everything for its own purpose, Even the wicked for the day of evil. NASB
If this be true of the grand scheme of the world and the nations, how much more for our everyday life, God’s people, whom He bought and redeemed with the precious blood of Christ? This is why Paul prays that we would be filled with his knowledge, “in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.” The word for understanding here in the Greek is sunesis, and means to put together. Calvin calls it, “that discrimination that proceeds from intelligence.” It is to grasp and comprehend God’s “knowledge” and His “spiritual wisdom” with the “understanding.” Not to be foolish or ignorant of God’s will but to understand it.
The Psalmist wrote…
Psalm 143:10 – 10 Teach me to do Thy will, For Thou art my God; Let Thy good Spirit lead me on level ground. NASB
And Paul says in Romans…
Romans 12:2 – 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. NASB
And again he said in Ephesians…
Ephesians 5:15-17 – 15 Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, 16 making the most of your time, because the days are evil. 17 So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. NASB
Hear then this great request of the Apostle, that we would indeed attain to a more distinct, clear, and practical knowledge of the mind of God in Christ, and a greater measure of conformity to what he requires, desires, loves and approves!
Clarke comments – “The Colossians had knowledge, but they must have more; it is their privilege to be filled with it. As the bright shining of the sun in the firmament of heaven fills the whole world with light and heat, so the light of the Sun of righteousness is to illuminate their whole souls, and fill them with Divine splendor, so that they might know the will of God, in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; in a word, that they might have such a knowledge of Divine things as the Spirit of truth can teach to the soul of man.”
Dear Christian, let us be longing for this knowledge and spiritual wisdom! Let us always and ever be mining these jewels as precious treasure and longing for and delighting in our God as we come to know Him better and better!
Proverbs 23:23 – 23 Buy the truth, and do not sell it, Get wisdom and instruction and understanding. NASB
Proverbs 4:5-9 – 5 Acquire wisdom! Acquire understanding! Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth. 6 “Do not forsake her, and she will guard you; Love her, and she will watch over you. 7 “The beginning of wisdom is: Acquire wisdom; And with all your acquiring, get understanding. 8 “Prize her, and she will exalt you; She will honor you if you embrace her. 9 “She will place on your head a garland of grace; She will present you with a crown of beauty.” NASB
Colossians 1:10 – 10 so that you may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;
A. so that you may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects – Here now Paul gives the reason why he wants us to “be filled with the knowledge of God’s will.” It is “so that you may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects.” What good is all our learning and all our knowledge if we do not apply what we have learned? Jesus said…
Luke 11:28 – 28 But He said, “On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God, and observe it.” NASB
And so Christ’s great desire for His church, that we would “walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects.” This is to say that we obey Him, and live in such a way that our thoughts, words and deeds are in accord with His good character and nature. This is to say that we do not disobey Him and live in a manner that is sinful and shameful in the sight of God. Did He save you and wash you and cleanse you from your shame so that you could go back out and swim in the mud hole of sin once again? No instead He wishes that you would “please Him in all respects.” Oh Christian, that you would fear the Lord and obey His commandments, that you would be loving and gracious and kind and forgiving, just as He has been with you. The Psalmist wrote….
Psalm 119:1-6 – 119 How blessed are those whose way is blameless, Who walk in the law of the Lord. 2 How blessed are those who observe His testimonies, Who seek Him with all their heart. 3 They also do no unrighteousness; They walk in His ways. 4 Thou hast ordained Thy precepts, That we should keep them diligently. 5 Oh that my ways may be established To keep Thy statutes! 6 Then I shall not be ashamed When I look upon all Thy commandments. NASB
Obedience to God’s Word is the fruit and evidence that we have been reconciled to God, and that we love Him properly as He has commanded us. Paul goes on…
B. bearing fruit in every good work – If then we are walking “in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects,” surely we will be “bearing fruit in every good work.” As a mature fruit tree bears much fruit, here see the product of a mature Christian life, that we would “bear fruit in every good work.” But what of these good works, what are they? Well surely they fall into several categories. William Burkitt comments; “By good works, he undoubtedly means works of piety towards God, works of righteousness towards our neighbors, works of sobriety towards ourselves, works of charity towards all. By fruitfulness in these good works, he means an unwearied diligence, and persevering constancy in the doing of them, that our fruitfulness be an universal fruitfulness, an humble and self-denying fruitfulness, a proportionate fruitfulness, an abounding and abiding fruitfulness; that is to be fruitful in every good work.” Well to that I say amen, and I would like to add some further description. By these things see the good works of a Christian’s life….
· works of piety towards God – In seeking to Love God with all that is within us, regular fellowship with God’s Holy Church, where we worship God through Word and Sacrament (that is through preaching and through the Lord’s Table), and where we exercise those God given gifts that we have in service to His church, in evangelizing and the making of disciples, in loving and serving the church
· works of righteousness towards our neighbors – This would include helping our neighbors and coworkers and friends and acquaintances in all kinds of work, or of giving when they are in need, serving them through hospitality, supporting the cause of justice in its various forms in our community, serving our neighbors in various means and ways as befits a Christian, with all goodness and integrity
· works of sobriety towards ourselves – This would include daily meditation on the word of God, daily communion with God in prayer, regular fellowship with godly Christians, being a good spouse and a good parent, exercising our God given roles with much patience and kindness
· works of charity towards all – This would include meeting the needs of anyone and everyone when it is within your power to do it, defending the fatherless, helping the widow and the helpless, coming to the aid of the defenseless
Good works are the product of a Christian’s life, and that which we seek to grow in, and delight in carrying out. This Paul has said to us many times….
Ephesians 2:10 – 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. NASB
Titus 3:1-2 – 3 Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, 2 to malign no one, to be uncontentious, gentle, showing every consideration for all men. NASB
Titus 3:7-8 – 8 This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God may be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men. NASB
Titus 3:14 – 14 And let our people also learn to engage in good deeds to meet pressing needs, that they may not be unfruitful. NASB
Therefore let us Christians walk in this manner which is worthy of the Lord, that we “bear fruit in every good work.”
C. and increasing in the knowledge of God; – Here see Christ’s desire for your higher attainment in Christian virtue, that you be “increasing in the knowledge of God.” This is the never ending joy and privilege of the saints, that the knowledge of God and His Christ and His kingdom in inexhaustible and therefore we are to constantly engage in this activity. He says we are to be “increasing,” that growing in and learning more of the knowledge of God. This was the pattern of our Lord, He was always and continually teaching His disciples. And they followed suit as they were daily from house to house and in the temple teaching. This is the nature of the Christian Faith. It is a didactic enterprise, a teaching fellowship, a learning community. Paul wrote in this very book of Colossians…
Colossians 1:28-29 – 28 And we proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, that we may present every man complete in Christ. 29 And for this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me. NASB
Colossians 3:16 – 16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. NASB
This is the ongoing state of a Christian’s supernatural life, that we be always and evermore learning and “increasing in the knowledge of God.”
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