Rooted in Christ Week 2
"You have the Power!"
Pastor Terry Inman
Last week we introduced Paul’s letter to the followers of Christ in Colossae. As I mentioned our new series is based on Paul’s theme verse.
“Just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” (Col. 2.6-7 NIV)
After the opening address and greeting Paul broke into a prayer of thanksgiving and supplication. You know how we sometimes preach or teach a little in our prayers? Well Paul sets the tone for the rest of the letter in this opening prayer. He wants his readers to get deeply embedded and established in who Jesus really is and what He does.
Last week’s message was “You have a Prayer” today we will study part two of this prayer. We will call it, “You have the Power”.
Paul’s prayer moves from thanksgiving to supplication.
“Supplication” is an appeal made to a higher authority. In this case the highest authority is God the Father and His son the Lord Jesus Christ. So after expressing gratitude for their faith in Christ and their love for each other, Paul makes some powerful requests on their behalf.
As an Apostle appointed by God, Paul acted as an ambassador. He represented Christ to the people and he represented the people to Christ.
As believers we are aware of our responsibility to share Christ with people but it is also our assignment to appeal to God on behalf of people.
You have heard me quote Ed Silvoso on this before. “We need to talk to God about our friends before we talk to our friends about God.”
There is noting casual about prayer with Paul. From the moment he received word form his friend Epaphras about these believers and their challenges in Colossae he began interceding on their behalf.
“For 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.” (Col. 1.9 NIV)
Epaphras reported to Paul some good news from Colossae. Hearing something about our friends is a good reminder to pray. If it’s good news bless them. If it’s bad news intercede! The bible says, “After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before.” (Job 42.10 NIV)
Paul explains why he is grateful and prayerful on behalf of these believers. Let me just read the rest of this prayer, then we will break it down.
And 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, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might…so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Col. 1.10-14 NIV)
Wow this is quite a prayer list. Besides being one of Paul’s typical run on sentences he is asking for a boatload of spiritual favors. This reminds me of the movie WAR ROOM where Miss Clara, a passionate and persistent widow,pinned her battle plan for prayer to the closet wall.
For simplicity let’s condense this checklist to three things. Paul is asking God to enrich these believers who are ROOTED in CHRIST with…
- Spiritual knowledge and wisdom
- Spiritual progress and productivity
- Spiritual power and perseverance
Then he shifts right into some more expressions of thanksgiving for their promising future. So today lets look closer at what Paul is actually asking God for and what we should also be expecting to receive.
Let’s begin with his request for spiritual knowledge and wisdom: For 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. (Col. 1.9 NIV)
One of the serious threats to the early church especially in this region was a mix between Jewish legalism and Greek mysticism called “Gnosticism”.
“Gnosticism” comes from the Greek word (gnosis) for “knowledge”.
I know its sounds like a planet in the Galactic Republic but it is actually a religious cult that was focused on mystical knowledge and enlightenment.
Gnosticism is a convoluted belief system with many nuances. Among other things they taught that Jesus was one of many Spirits that only appeared to be human. They believed one could escape the corrupt material world though extreme ascetic practices and esoteric revelations of knowledge and secret wisdom.
As Paul prays he has this counterfeit religion in mind. His term for “knowledge” goes deeper than intellect or experience. He had already thanked God for their faith in Jesus Christ and their love for each other, now he asks God to completely “fill” them with the knowledge of Himself, His ways and His purposes.
He writes, “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.” (Col. 1.9 NIV)
His prayer for knowledge is rooted much deeper than gnostic ideology.
It is a comprehensive knowledge that fully grasps and penetrates into its subject. It is more than intellectual or experiential knowledge it is relational. Knowing God is much different than knowing about God!
This is knowledge that is deeply ROOTED in CHRIST! He says this knowledge is gained through “all spiritual wisdom and understanding”.
Spiritual wisdom is not just good sense it is God sense! It is a gift from God. It is the ability to discern and decide God’s mind in a matter. Godly knowledge is deep but not secret. It’s not hidden its revealed in Christ!
The original word translated “spiritual understanding” could also be spiritual intellect. You have heard of a high IQ “mental intelligence” and high EQ, emotional intelligence—well this is SQ “spiritual intelligence”
To be “filled” with the knowledge of God’s will, suggests that such knowledge pervades all of our being—our thoughts, purposes, and plans. This is the result of being deeply ROOTED in CHRIST.
Secondly Paul is praying for spiritual progress and productivity. “And 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… (Col.1.10 NIV)
Spiritual Intelligence that is deeply “ROOTED in CHRIST” bears fruit. It is productive and progressive. These Gnostics had their head in the clouds. They were seeking mysterious religious experiences. The more exotic their revelations the more spiritual they thought they were.
Paul is practical he prays that we will live up to our knowledge of Christ. “live a life” translates a single word that literally means “to walk.” Walk the talk! Paul prays that our “walk” will live up to our profession of Christ.
God is a grower. He is looking for produce! Paul prays that we will be pleasing, fruit bearing and growing in our knowledge of God. The Greek word for “please” suggests an attitude of mind that anticipates every wish. As we learn who God is, and how he works we will be more pleasing and productive in our work.
Last week I said, “We have to be rooted to be fruited” This passage gives us a good idea of what worthy or valuable fruit looks like to God. Paul talks about “bearing fruit in every good work”.
If you want “knowledge of His will” just look at what Jesus did.
The bible says “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.” (Acts 10.38 NIV)
Paul says we are created to do good works. “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Eph. 2.10 NIV)
It has always been God’s plan for our faith in Christ to be productive.
What good is it, my brothers; if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? (James 2.14 NIV)
Authentic spiritual knowledge is productive. It accomplishes something good for the kingdom of God. When our knowledge of God is useful and helpful we experience even more spiritual growth.
Paul prays that we, “bear fruit in every good work and grow in the knowledge of God”. Some people think spiritual growth is the result of acquiring more information.Classes and bible studies are great but it’s the application of truth that results in spiritual maturity. “Growing” here in is a verb tense in the Greek that suggests continuing or habitual action.
If we are ROOTED in CHRIST we will have an effective knowledge of God that is continually producing and maturing. What rain and sunshine are to the nurture of plants, the knowledge of God is to our spiritual growth.
Finally Paul prays for Spiritual power and perseverance. Again still in the context of real spiritual knowledge of God he mentions, “being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience” (Col. 1.11NIV)
Stephen Curry has Phil. 4.13 on in his signature shoes.
“I can do all things through him who gives me strength.” I understand Nike wouldn’t agree to it so Under Armor is making all the money.
No problem-Nike was the mythical winged Greek goddess of victory.
We need Under Armor. We are in a spiritual battle for truth.
Paul says “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground. (Eph.6.12-13 NIV)
We are engaged in moral conflict with the cosmic powers of a dark world. Nothing short of God’s empowerment can enable us to take a stand.
“Strengthened,” also suggest continuous empowerment. This power flows from His “glorious might” or the “might of His glory”. Glory is more than brilliance or radiance glory is the manifest power of God. He is not just a super hero He is the supreme supernatural hero.
Talk about “strength” the bible says, Jesus Christ was “raised from the dead through the glory of the Father.” (Rom. 6:4 NIV)
We are empowered for perseverance by His glorious might.
Paul uses two words translated, “endurance and patience”. Endurance is the capacity to see things through. Patience, is the opposite of wrath or revenge, it is being even-tempered in spite of injury or insult.
Paul began and ends this section with thanksgiving. “and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Col. 1.12-14 NIV
Paul is praying about persevering powerfully, joyfully and thankfully. We are co-heirs of His kingdom of love and light. We have been liberated from a dark dictator. We are freed and forgiven. We are ROOTED in CHRIST!