PAUL’S PRAYER FOR THE COLOSSIANS
A. Paul assured the Christians in Colossae that he offered thankful prayers for the blessing they had received (1:3-8).
1. In 1:9-14 he prays for their spiritual insights and productivity through good works
2. His purpose for such a prayer was that they, by being strengthened, might patiently and joyously serve God, who had qualified them to share in the inheritance with all the saints in the Light (vs. 11-12).
3. They had been delivered from the domain of darkness and brought into the kingdom of Jesus, in whom they were redeemed and forgiven of their sins
B. Paul prays for…
A. THEIR KNOWLEDGE AND SPIRITUAL WISDOM (1:9)
1. “For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray and make request for you,”
a. Since the day Paul heard of their conversion to Christ, he prayed in their behalf.
b. His prayers included the petition that they might be…
2. “filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,”
a. He did not pray that they have a knowledge of human reasoning or philosophy, or even that they should obtain knowledge of secular subjects.
b. It was his earnest prayer that these brethren should obtain a full knowledge of God’s will, which implies that they could learn God’s will.
1) Ephesians 5:17
2) 2 Timothy 2:15
3) Hebrews 5:12-14
4) 2 Peter 3:18
c. Their knowledge of God’s will was to produce wisdom and spiritual understanding.
d. One could be filled with knowledge but still be foolish; wisdom is that capability to use knowledge properly.
1) Knowledge for the sake of knowledge is worse than useless; it is dangerous (1 Cor. 8:1).
2) Spiritual understanding is the possession of a practical knowledge of God’s will. Gaining knowledge of the principles of God’s truth gives us wisdom.
3) Hebrews 5:14
4) Knowledge of the Bible is profitable to our souls if it produces wisdom and spiritual understanding.
a) Spiritual understanding is a comprehension of spiritual truths.
b) Wisdom is the ability to put our spiritual understanding into practical use.
e. This is a key to a proper spiritual map – knowledge of His will
3. Paul prays that they…
B. THEIR CHRISTIAN WALK AND FRUIT BEARING (1:10)
1. “walk worthily of the Lord unto all pleasing,”
a. Walking worthy of the Lord was not contingent on miraculous gifts, but on knowledge of God’s will.
1) Without knowing (possessing and comprehending the truth) God’s word, we cannot live so as to be worthy of God.
2) To be worthy of the Lord is to live in harmony with His will.
3) Ephesians 4:1
4) 1 Thessalonians 2:12
b. “Unto all pleasing” does not mean that we are to please everyone, but that we are to please God in all things.
1) Pleasing God is the primary aim of every right-thinking person. It may be impossible to please our fellowman, but any faithful Christian is pleasing to God.
2) 2 Corinthians 5:9
3) 2 Timothy 2:4
c. Paul also prayed that they might be…
2. “bearing fruit in every good work,”
a. By gaining greater knowledge of God’s word, we enhance our capacity for good works
b. 2 Timothy 3:16-17
c. Good works are essential to our being well-pleasing to God.
d. Ephesians 2:10
e. Titus 2:11-14
f. John 15:1-6
g. Paul also prayed that they might be…
3. “increasing in the knowledge of God;”
a. To increase in the knowledge of God is to so increase in the knowledge of His will that we may understand better what good works are, and how they are to be performed.
b. Everything that seems good to a man’s own eyes is not good in the eyes of the Lord. Hence what God orders is the only standard of good
1) Isaiah 55:8-9
2) Proverbs 16:25
3) Jeremiah 10:23
4) 2 Timothy 2:15
4. Paul prays that they be…
C. THEIR SPIRITUAL STRENGTH (1:11-12a)
1. “strengthened with all power, according to the might of his glory,”
a. Somehow his prayers for them could encourage or promote spiritual strength in them.
b. The statement itself does not show how that strength was to be obtained by them.
c. Physical strength is obtained and maintained by proper food, rest, exercise, and care. Spiritual strength has the same requirements.
1) The proper food for spiritual strength is the word of God (1 Pet. 2:2).
2) The proper care includes forgiveness of sins: for the alien (John 8:24; Luke 13:3; Acts 8:37; 22:16) and for the erring Christian (Acts 8:22; 1 John 1:9; James 5:16). Care also includes words of comfort, encouragement, and rebuke (2 Cor. 1:4; 1 Thess. 5:14).
3) Proper exercise for the soul includes serving and worshiping God, studying his word, developing all the Christian graces, and following God’s word (Heb. 5:12-14; 2 Pet. 1:5-11; Jas. 1:21-25).
4) Proper rest is to be found in developing a strong, comforting trust in the promises of God. We can find rest in his promises (2 Tim. 1:12).
d. The glorious power of God operates through His inspired word and in his providential assistance. That power is able to do things we are unable to fully comprehend.
1) Hebrews 4:12
2) Ephesians 3:20
3) Philippians 4:19
e. God is able to provide…
2. “all patience and longsuffering with joy;”
a. These qualities are part of the strength which His power is able to provide.
b. Paul prayed that these traits might be enhanced in the saints at Colossae.
1) “Patience” is the ability to endure, to remain steadfast.
a) Hebrews 12:1
b) Knowing God’s word is essential to enduring temptations, persecutions, and the ordinary struggles of life.
2) “Longsuffering” is the ability to put up with discouragements, distresses, or aggravations.
a) Ephesians 4:1-3
b) God was long- suffering with Noah’s generation (1 Pet. 3:20-21); He suffers long with men today (Rom. 2:4; 2 Pet.3:8-15).
3) “Joy” is that trait of happiness which permeates our whole attitude and conduct. We gladly suffer troubles and heartaches for the cause of Christ.
a) We are not to have a depressed or complaining nature, but find great pleasure in worshiping God, serving Christ, and helping others.
b) Hardships will naturally come, but we look past the present and rely on the promises of God
c) John 16:33
c. Because God provides patience and longsuffering we are to be “Giving thanks unto the Father”
4. Paul prays for…
D. THEIR ENTRANCE INTO THE KINGDOM OF LIGHT (12b-13)
1. “who made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light”
a. One who obeys the gospel is fitted (made meet) to obtain the inheritance of saints.
b. If one refuses to follow the instructions of the gospel, he remains disqualified (unsuited) for the inheritance!
Obedience does not earn for us the inheritance; it simply qualifies us to receive it.
1) John 1:11-12
2) In this passage, we are told that faith in Christ gives us the power – the right, the authority – to go on to become children of God.
3) In John 1:12, the word translated power [exousia] is used in the following verses, which illustrates the meaning of the term:
a) Acts 5:4
b) Romans 9:21
4) At the point of our obedience to the gospel, we are forgiven of all past sins; we thus have the Lord’s continuing forgiveness of subsequent sins as we walk in the light of his word (1 John 1:7- 10).
5) As we continue to follow the will of God, fulfilling our duties, living as we are taught, worshiping God in spirit and in truth, and growing in his grace and knowledge, the ultimate inheritance is waiting for us in heaven (1 Pet. 1:3-9).
6) Acts 20:32
2. “Who delivered us out of the power of darkness,”
a. The subject of this part of Paul’s sentence is God. The Father has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated us into his Son’s kingdom. Those who are thus translated are the saints of God.
b. Prior to the translation, the individuals identified were under the control of Satan (“the power of darkness”) – they were citizens of Satan’s kingdom. Now they have been delivered from Satan’s domination, and have become servants of Christ.
3. “and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of his love:”
a. The kingdom of Christ is identical to the church of Christ.
1) When the Lord gave the promise to build his church, he also spoke of the church as the kingdom, using the two terms interchangeably.
2) Matthew 16:18-19
3) The church is also identified as the body of Christ (Col. 1:18; Eph. 1:22-23).
b. The fact that Paul and the Colossians had been translated into the kingdom, proves that the kingdom was in existence! The establishment of the kingdom was not future; it was present in fact.
4. Paul prays for…
E. THEIR FORGIVENESS AND OURS IN CHRIST (1:14)
1. “In whom we have our redemption [through his blood - KJV]“
a. To redeem is to buy back; to pay the purchase price; to pay a ransom. Christ paid the redemption price for sin; the price He paid was His blood (His life).
1) Titus 2:14
2) Hebrews 9:12
3) 1 Peter 1:18-19
b. Redemption is identified in the text as…
2. “the forgiveness of our sins:”
a. There are several New Testament words which are parallel, even though their specific definitions are different.
1) Remission of sins … Acts 2:38
2) Salvation … Mark 16:16
3) Redemption … Colossians 1:14
4) Forgiveness … Acts 13:38
5) Justification … Acts 13:39
b. Redemption is in Christ, a reference to the spiritual location in which all spiritual blessings are given.
1) Ephesians 1:3
2) We enter Christ by baptism.
a) Romans 6:3-4
b) Galatians 3:27