September 8, 2019
Ken Currie (Downtown Campus) | Colossians 1:9-14
And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.—Colossians 1:9–14
How do you know that a church is really a church? When you look beyond the building, the programs, the day-to-day business, conducting services, singing songs, and celebrating religious holidays—what is it that determines and what is the evidence one can see that what is called a church is, in fact, a church? Very simply: That the lives of the people in that church reflect what they say they believe. In other words, the people walk in a manner worthy of the calling they have embraced. Of course this leads to two possible ditches. 1) Hyper attention to self that leads to doubt and fear, and constantly second- guessing actions and motives. The Bible is clear that we are to examine ourselves:
Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!—2 Corinthians 13:5
We are not to live in paranoia and fear. 2) The other ditch is the belief that how we live our lives do not matter. That we can do whatever we want because we are saved by grace. Both of these ditches are doctrinal diseases that we must avoid.
“And so” begins the chapter … So what?
This is a positive letter. Paul is encouraged by the Colossians and wants them to know this. He wants them to know that the encouragement is expressed in praise to God in their prayers for them. Very specifically, Paul is encouraged that they have faith in Jesus Christ and love for God’s people.
We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints.—Colossians 1:3–4
The “and so” in verse 9 sets up what follows based on the encouragement of their embrace of the gospel expressed in faith in Christ and love for God’s people.
Summary of Paul’s intent: “I have heard the report of genuine faith in Christ and love for each other. I want your faith and love to grow and not succumb to the threats of false beliefs. Remember these key truths and keep growing in grace!”
This is captured in the phrase, “walk in a manner worthy of your calling” (v. 10).This is Paul’s prayer for them. This is a prayer. This is the prayer of …
And a prayer every time …
So our concern this morning is to understand what is means to “walk in a manner worthy.” This is the hub of this passage of Scripture to which all of these glorious truths are connected.
In order to walk in a manner worthy of our calling we must be filled with the knowledge of his will …
This could be taken as knowing facts, but the testimony of the Bible is that the knowledge of God’s will is to know God—to know God as Father, saving, loving, redeeming.
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.—1 Corinthians 13:12
This knowledge is heart-transforming and life-renewing.
I want to know my kids and I want them to know me—not just facts about me and not just facts about them. Since they were little, I’ve rehearsed a little mantra with each one. “I love you, I’m proud of you, you’re my (special NAME), and that means you’re special.”
The result of walking in a manner worthy is that we please the Lord, fully (v. 10). The evidence of pleasing the Lord, (the things that please the Lord) are …
Note: “Pleasing God” is not a zero sum game, as if we sell or compromise our pleasure in order that God may be pleased. “Pleasing God” is the place where our joy is maximized. I want my wife to be happy. It is my joy to think through this “lens” in our marriage. Walking in a manner worthy of our calling is walking toward joy.
You could call it the secret, and yet it’s plain as day that we do this together.
Notice who this is written to:
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the saints and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father.—Colossians 1:1–2
You received an insert in your bulletin this week (thanks to the hands that put a these inserts in the bulletins). This graphic that summarizes your elders’ attempt to help you walk in a manner worthy of your calling. We have organized our ministries into the categories of “home, hospital and gym.” The “home” is a small group. The “gym” are ministries that help us grow in specific areas. The “hospital” are ministries that focus on helping our members who are suffering in trials.
Here’s a summary of our vision from Jared Wass, Pastor for Small Groups, Downtown Campus.
The Bible does not just give us direction on what we are to believe, but also on how we are to live. And it does not just give us direction on how we are to live but how we are to live together. Christianity is a calling to belief but also a calling to community. And this community is not forged simply from the "top down" by the elders, but from the "bottom up" by the members. The Bible calls not just the elders but every member of the church body to mutual upbuilding (Romans 14:19), confessing sin to each other (James 5:16), exhorting each other (Hebrews 3:12–13), hosting one another (Romans 12:13), etc. What small groups are about is providing a context for our elder council to personally equip, support and organize our people for this organic and relational work of discipling each other.
Now there is a pitfall: You might think of church activity as some form of good works that is what ultimately pleases God. As if “walking in a manner worthy” were fundamentally about the “walking” and not the “manner.” Everybody “walks” Everybody lives. Not everyone walks in a manner worthy. What is our confidence that we are walking in a manner worthy?
Giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.—Colossians 1:12
We give thanks because he has qualified us!
This passage should not cause us to feel weighed down by the heavy burden of walking in a manner worthy of our calling so as to please God as if he were far off, skeptical, fickle, and cold.
The solid confidence that we can walk in a manner worthy—that we can indeed please God—is his sovereign had of grace on us. “Qualifying” us to share in the inheritance. It is the ones in whom God is pleased who receive the inheritance.
Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God.— 2 Corinthians 3:5
And how can this be?
This is what makes the Christian message of hope (the gospel) stand apart from any other message, world view, religion, ethical system:
He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.—Colossians 1:13–14
He has done this! Through the work of his Son. The debt is paid, and our sins are forgiven.
We who were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ (Ephesians 2:13).
Because the Father has done this through the life, death, and resurrection of his Son by the power of the Spirit, we know that we are qualified and loved.