October 8th, 2020

Dear Friends,

Today and continuing through Friday, we've selected three archived study sessions to share with the EDiBS family. Pastor Stark has been doing well and getting stronger, but has relapsed some this week. It has been determined that he needs a few additional days of rest before he returns to a normal schedule. We appreciate your prayers and well wishes for him, and he said to be sure and send warm greetings to you in the name of Christ.

Pastor hopes to return to on Monday. In the meantime, we hope you will find these sessions to be helpful and timely in your lives.

God's blessings!
The EDiBS Team

Colossians 1:9-14


Note: this is archived material.

Greetings everyone! Welcome to Wednesday’s edition of E-DiBS! Grace to you and peace in our Lord Jesus as you prepare to open His Word and learn from Him today. As we move into the middle of the week together, we’re continuing on in the first chapter of Colossians, so let’s pray and ask God’s blessing on our time:

Father, you have told us in your Word that we are fearfully and wonderfully made, and we are mindful today that in your Son we have been wonderfully remade - reborn, made new, the old being gone and the new having come. Thank you for such an incredible demonstration of your love, that you would send Jesus to die for us. Bless us now as we give ourselves to the study of the Scriptures. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Getting Started
As we get started today, based on the great strengths of the Colossian church which he mentioned in the first section of verses, Paul now shares with his readers the nature of His prayers for them and the reason he prays as he does. Our focus: the preeminence of Christ.

Colossians 1:9-14
9For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. 10And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully 12giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. 13For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

If you have children, the most natural thing in the world is to want great things for them. Not necessarily material things, but things which will bless them and strengthen them on their journey through life. If you’re a Christian parent, then your desires for your children take on a decidedly spiritual tone. When I think of Taylor and Jacob, my two kids, my greatest hope and prayer for them is that they grow up to be a woman and a man after God’s own heart, that they know the joy of an ever growing personal relationship with Jesus, and that they will always have the courage to say yes to the Lord, even when the world beckons them to say no. I want those things for my daughter and my son because I know that those are the things that will truly bring them joy. It may also bring them hardship and persecution - but as I raise them in the nurture and knowledge of the Lord and teach them that as Christians they are strangers here, that their true citizenship is in heaven, they are learning that in the final analysis nothing the world throws at them is of any consequence. If God is for them, who can stand against them?

Verse 9: Now, lest you think that this kind of teaching is a radical concept, look with me at today’s section of verses here in Colossians 1. What you will find is that what I am endeavoring to teach my children…what I pray for them…what I hope for them with all of my heart…is the same thing that Paul prays for in the lives of the Christians at Colosse - and in actuality these things are God’s will for every one of His children, including you and me! Remember how we talked yesterday about how the Lord is in the business of changing us? Making us more like Him? Conforming us to His image and transforming us by the renewing of our minds? Here in verses 9-14 we gain powerful and practical insight as to how that happens.

First of all, in verse 9 Paul says he never ceases to pray for the Colossians. Don’t underestimate the potency of that statement! Prayer is a continual activity on his part, borne not out of ritual but out of a relationship with the God who has redeemed him. Paul prays because he knows that prayer is powerful and effective, that it availeth much, as the old King James Version says. What is it that he prays for? Well first, that the Colossians will be filled with the knowledge of God’s will. In the Greek this is actually an intensified statement; it shows Paul’s deep, deep desire that their knowledge of God’s will for them will keep on increasing. Have you ever wanted that for your own life but wondered how it happens? Is it some kind of a rare, mystical process that only the super spiritual are privy to? No! Let me put it very simply: knowing the will of God always begins with knowing the Word of God. In fact, that’s why Paul elaborates further in the text: he asks that God fill the Colossians with the knowledge of His will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. John MacArthur explains that phrase this way: Wisdom is the ability to accumulate and organize the principles of Scripture, while understanding is the application of those principles to everyday life. In essence, then, God fills us with the knowledge of His will through the teaching and application of His Word.

Verse 10: The fruit of that blessing manifests itself in verse 10: Paul asks that we grow in our knowledge of the will of God so that transformation will begin to do its work. We not only learn what it means to walk worthy of the Lord; we act accordingly. We not only learn what is pleasing to Him, but we seek to please Him and bear good fruit in all that we do. And there it is again: Paul also wants these things for us in order that we keep on growing in the knowledge of God. Do you see the cyclical process here? All of these things fold into one another and build us up over and over and over again.

Verses 11-12: Verses 11-12 continue to explain the aim of Paul’s prayers. Again, going back to the primary petition in verse 9 - that we be filled with the knowledge of God’s will - Paul knows that as that happens, we will be strengthened with all might according to God’s glorious power (boy what a tremendous statement!), which in turn enables us to have great patience and endurance in every circumstance, all with an attitude of joy. That reminds me of another passage in Ephesians 3, which has become my life verse over the years: “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever amen!” For that we give thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the kingdom of light.

Verses 13-14: How has he qualified us to share in that inheritance? Verses 13-14 explain that it all goes back to the Son. It is through Jesus Himself that the Father has rescued us from the power of darkness, for it is in Jesus and Jesus alone that we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Paul is doing two things here: not only is he closing off his explanation of why and specifically what he prays for in the lives of the Colossians, summing it up in a fantastic expression of the gospel message; he is also introducing his next major section of the letter, which will deal extensively with the divine nature and attributes of Christ. We’ll get into the why of that when we come together again tomorrow.

Wrapping Up
As we wrap up for the day, let me encourage you to go back through this passage in your Bible and do some highlighting or underlining regarding the blessings of knowing God’s will. It comes to you through the wisdom and understanding of the Scriptures; it has an ongoing, transformative, faith-maturing impact on your life; through it God strengthens you according to His mighty power so that you can navigate your way through this life with confidence, knowing that He is with you no matter what; and finally, it provides a constant reminder to you not of your own prowess or brilliance or success, but of the redemption you have received in Christ and the inheritance you share in solely because of His great love for you. There’s actually much more we could say about each one of today’s verses…but that’s for another study at another time! God’s peace, take care, and we'll see you back here next time. 
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