Colossians 1:10 standard for Christian Living

 

Today we talk about the journey that we have started in our Christian journey. We are not yet finished, we are not there yet. We are being transformed, or at least we should be or could be. 

 

Philippians 3:12 Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.  13 Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.

 

Today we are going to focus on a prayer by Paul to the young church at Colossae. They had been planted by Epapharas so they had knowledge of God but there were false teachers coming in telling them that they had to learn new ‘hidden’ truths. These false teachers were the forerunners of the Gnostics.

 

Paul prayed to God for the church:

asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so that you may lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, as you bear fruit in every good work and as you grow in the knowledge of God. 11 May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. (Colossians 1:9-12)

 

Notice that all the words are continuous doing words:

·        Be filled (keep on being filled) with God’s knowledge.

·        To lead lives (keep on leading lives)

·        Bear fruit (keep on bearing fruit)

·        Grow (keep on growing)

·        Become strong (keep becoming stronger)

·        Be prepared to endure (keep being prepared)

·        Constantly giving thanks (keep on giving thanks)

 

All of these are not completed actions, but continuous actions.  We are not there yet, we are in the process of transformation, and we are in the process of growth and knowledge and conforming to Christ. We are straining forward towards the goal.

 

He prayed that they would be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,

 

Such knowledge of God’s will does not come from a fleshly mind which “puffs up,” (according to 1 Cor. 8:1), but from the Holy Spirit who enlightens us and from the Word of God. God’s will, revealed in the Bible, is made known to believers by the Holy Spirit’s teaching ministry.[1]

And the bit I want to focus on comes next – the reason for his prayer that they be filled with God knowledge.

 

10 so that you may lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, as you bear fruit in every good work and as you grow in the knowledge of God.

 

In this verse Paul outlines his expectations for how Christians are to conduct their lives: He prays that our knowledge would help us to:

 

1)      lead lives worthy of the Lord

 

In 1 Thessalonians 2:12 he uses a similar phrase: urging and encouraging you and pleading that you lead a life worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.

 

In Ephesians 4:1-3 he addresses that church:

I beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

 

Notice the character traits that he identifies as worthy of the Lord:  Humility, gentleness, patience, bearing with one another, peacemaking.  Where have we heard that list before?  They are some of the attributes of the fruit of the Spirit.

 

A genuine knowledge of Christ reveals itself in transformed character, in Christlikeness.[2]

 

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will. (Rom. 12:2.)

 

Christian living is that living which is worthy of God. The obedience we practice must be sufficient to give the world an adequate picture of our Lord and his purposes for humanity.[3]

 

The character traits of the fruit of the Spirit show the world that we operate by a different set of rules.  Our  transforming lives, which is a work in progress leads to our second point

 

2)      [lives] fully pleasing to him

 

The aim of our worthy conduct should be to please Him in every way, to anticipate and do His wishes in every aspect of life

 

Ephesians 5:10 tells us that should be our goal:  10 Try to find out what is pleasing to the Lord.

 

Indeed, Paul made it the ambition of his life to please God (2 Cor. 5:9)[4]

 

So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. 10 For all of us must appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may receive recompense for what has been done in the body, whether good or evil.

 

We, as followers of Christ filled with the knowledge of His will, can live in a manner pleasing to God because we know what matters to Him.[5]

 

How do we know, you may ask? We need to study God’s pleasure by searching out his likes and dislikes as he has revealed them,[6] so that means reading our Bibles and sitting under teaching, having a mentor or a spiritual director or a supervisor.

 

Conversely, merely pleasing people is incompatible with being a servant of Christ.  We need to serve God and God only. We cannot have 2 masters.

 

And lastly we come to that evidence that the world is able to see: evidence of the fruit of that transformation apparent to all.

 

I know my apricot tree is an apricot tree because of the apricots it produces. I know my plum tree by the plums it produces; I know my nectarine from my peach because of the fruit it produces; so it is with the inward character that produces outward fruit in our lives.

 

3)      [live] as you bear fruit in every good work and as you grow in the knowledge of God

 

Christian living is that which, through the knowledge of God, is constantly bearing fruit and increasing in good deeds.  The emphasis is on the essential link between right beliefs and righteous living.[7]

 

The evidence God looks for is not so much spiritual as practical. The harvest of wisdom is works. The knowledge of God should lead to love for others rather than for ourselves.[8]

 

The purpose of having knowledge, wisdom, and insight is not to boast or brag, but to love God and others, thereby reflecting His image in the world[9]

 

I recall a challenging taunt asking: if being a Christian was a crime, would there be sufficient evidence for us to get convicted of that crime.

 

What do others see about how we conduct ourselves as followers of Jesus?  Are we doing the same things as the world but with a veneer of Sunday church attending, or cross wearing or Bible carrying or religious words?

 

Are people attracted to Jesus because our actions or are they put off by our lack of difference to the dog eat dog, self-promoting world?

 

19 Now the works of the flesh [the world] are obvious: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, 21 envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these…

 

The fruit that our lives should be producing are totally opposed to those:

 

the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, competing against one another, envying one another.

 

That is why Paul prayed this prayer for the young church at Colossae.  We need it prayed for us too.

 

 

[I pray] that you may be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so that you may lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, as you bear fruit in every good work and as you grow in the knowledge of God. 11 May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light.

 

 



[1] Geisler, N. L.  Colossians. In  The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 670).

[2] Geisler, 671

[3] Dick Lucas The Message of Colossians and Philemon 38

[4] Geisler, 671

[5] Faithlife Study Bible (Col 1:9).

[6] Lucas 38

[7] Lucas 38

[8] Lucas 39

[9]  Faithlife Study Bible (Col 1:10)