Prayer: Part 2 Colossians 1:9-12a The Community of Believers
Colossians 1:9 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father…
I. Christians are a Spiritually Organic Community
A. Christ is the head from whom all else flows, the church is the body of Christ (Colossians 1:24; 2:19; Ephesians 4:16).
B. Christians are in Christ, and he is in them (Colossians 1:4, 1:28, John 17:23; Romans 8:9-11; 2 Corinthians 5:17).
C. It is therefore impossible for a Christian to be disconnected from the fellowship of believers (out of touch, out of fellowship–perhaps; spiritually disconnected–never!)
II. The Community of Believers as Exemplified in Colossians
A. How does faith come?
Romans 10:17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.
Colossians 1:5 the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel
Colossians 1:7 You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf,
B. Epaphras most likely learned from Paul; Paul from Christ and then from Ananias and the other believers in Damascus.
1. Epaphras reported to Paul and Paul to his “team.”
2. This entire group prays regularly and frequently for the Colossian believers.
3. Christ himself and the Holy Spirit pray for all believers (Romans 8:26-27, 34).
C. This is the New Testament pattern and it remains so today:
1. As believers, we are never cut off nor alone, no matter how we may perceive our situation.
2. We are always connected both to Christ and to his body.
Paraphrase #1 verses 9-10:
Paul and Timothy continue to pray for the Colossians, asking God…
- to fill them with________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- through all (or, in all) ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- in order that _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Paraphrase # 2 verses 9-12a:
“Basically, his [Paul’s] petition is that his readers might know God’s will and have the power to do it.” (O’Brien, 86)
III. The Petition portion of Paul’s prayer flows naturally out of the Thanksgiving portion (Thanksgiving–Colossians Week 6).
c. Application: Are we remembering to incorporate thanksgiving into each intercessory prayer we make?
IV. Paul’s prayer of Petition summarizes the saint’s (believer’s) LIFE IN CHRIST
A. CHRIST IS THE MODEL of how we are to live in him.
“The student is not above the teacher, nor a servant above his master. 25 It is enough for students to be like their teachers, and servants like their masters…” –Matthew 10:24-25a
B. A life in Christ produces FRUIT, just as the gospel does:
the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel 6 that has come to you. In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world–just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace. –Colossians 1:5-6
so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, –Colossians 1:10
1. fruit carries two meanings
a. reproduction–sharing the gospel with others so that they may come to faith
a) the gospel bears fruit and grows throughout the whole world (v. 6)
b. Christ-like character within the life of every believer (v. 10)
i. walk in a manner pleasing to the Lord in every way
ii. engage in good works
iii. increasing in the knowledge of God
C. A life in Christ leads the believer to the CROSS, just as Christ’s path led him to the cross.
being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, –Colossians 1:11
Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. —Luke 9:23
1. endurance (ὑπομονὴ, hu-po-mon-ee) is bearing up for a long while under a weight of difficult circumstances without giving up or losing faith in Christ
2. patience (μακροθυμία, ma-cro-thee-me-a) is having mercy, patience, tolerance, and love towards people in our lives who are difficult to deal with, just as God has great patience with us
D. Paul prays for TWO ITEMS that are essential to the Colossians’ successful walk of faith in Christ
a. clear knowledge, understanding, and wisdom concerning the ways and will of God in Christ
i. Christ based his walk on exact knowledge and agreement with the will of God. Can you think of biblical examples that demonstrate this?
b. God’s mighty power acting in grace on behalf of and within each believer
V. All of the above is to be accomplished with JOY and THANKSGIVING to the Father, who qualifies believers to partake in his kingdom of light.
A. Grammatically the joy and thanksgiving can apply to everything involved in the situations that call forth endurance and patience. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; James 1:2)
B. Grammatically the joy and thanksgiving can apply to the overall walk of faith–to the entire package of blessing and responsibility that is the inheritance of every believer in Christ.
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. –the Apostle Paul in Romans 8:18