Colossians 1:9, “9 For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding”
- In verse 9 the Apostle Paul writes these ambiguous phrases, “For this reason” and “Since the day we heard of it” so as a reader you are thinking to yourself, “What reason? Heard of what?”
- In verse 9, the phrase, “for (this) reason” and “since the day we heard of (it)” is a throw back to the “gospel” in verse 5, so that the Apostle Paul is writing to the Colossians to say, “You got the gospel!”
In verse 9, the men, women, and children of this local church in Colossae are in Christ (1-8), but there is some insecurity in their faith in Christ, because there are false teachers in their community who are teaching that their faith in Jesus is just step 1 on their road to spiritual transformation.
It’s like when someone says to you, “You don’t know about Dave’s Ramsey’s book on personal finances?” It can come across like, “Jesus is a good start, but Dave Ramsey changed my life.”
Or people might say, “You don’t know about that pastor’s explanation? You don’t know God until you hear from that pastor, that bible study, that podcast?”
Throughout the whole letter to the Colossians the primary message from the Apostle Paul is a letter of affirmation so as to say, “You’re good. You have Jesus. You have the gospel, and the gospel is bearing fruit since the day you heard it” back in verse 6.
So that the prayer in verse 9 is to grow in their knowledge, wisdom, and understanding of Jesus.”
Colossians 1:10-12, “10 so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.”
- If you have ever wondered, “What does it look like when we are growing in knowledge, wisdom, and understanding in the gospel you just need to look at that list?”
- But, here’s the challenge, how does that happen practically? How do you go from Paul’s prayer (vs. 9) to practically seeing these characteristics in our life? Does that make sense? How does that happen?
In my life, I am one of those “make it happen” kind of personalities, and I didn’t grow up around Jesus, so when I come to faith in Jesus, and I start seeing these characteristics of spiritual maturity in my life I thought it was my responsibility to “make it happen.”
I saw what my life looked like, I saw what Scripture was describing, so I would literally make a list of all the areas where I fell short, and I would attack those flaws fearlessly, and the ones that wouldn’t change I would fake or hide, or put a dollar in a jar every time there was an offense, because I thought , “This is what I am supposed to look like now in Christ.”
But, here’s the problem, after about 6-7 years, I was exhausted from trying to make myself look like these characteristics, and it is possible that you are here this morning and you have found yourself discouraged, fatigued, wanting to quit, wanting to give, because nothing seems to change, and I want all of us to see in God’s Word how we practically see these characteristics show up in our life.
Colossians 1:13-14, “13 For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
What? The focus is all on Jesus. You would think if it is our responsibility to manufacture these characteristics of spiritual maturity on our own then verses 13-14 would be a step-by-step process, a syllabus of what to do, a top 10 ways to discover the new you! But, instead the Apostle Paul points us back to Jesus!
In verse 13 the Apostle Paul writes, “For He rescued us from the domain of darkness.” Who is “He?” Jesus! The Apostle Paul is praying for the Colossians to grow in their knowledge, wisdom and understanding of Jesus! That’s how it happens! That’s the answer!
But, what about this trick, this bible study, podcast, pastor, this technique? Nope! The answer is Jesus! When you show up to a worship service, grow in Jesus. When you read the Scriptures, grow in Jesus. When you serve others, grow in Jesus. When you are with God’s people, captivated and growing in Jesus.
These false teachers were telling the Colossian church, “Jesus isn’t enough.” Jesus is a good start, but you need to read this book, attend this meeting, practice these religious disciplines, and in 30 days or less, you too can become a better you. That’s exhausting. That’s called self-righteousness. The answer is Jesus!
Colossians 1:15-16, “15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him.”
- Look, it’s more about Jesus. There’s no top 10 steps. Just Jesus, and these verses are packed with such goodness about Jesus I didn’t know what to highlight.
- Jesus is the image of the invisible God, meaning if you want to see God, look to Jesus. Jesus is the firstborn of all creation, meaning that Jesus is supreme in all things.
- Even when you see the phrase in verse 15 “firstborn of all creation” it doesn’t mean Jesus was created, listen up, Jehovah’s Witness will argue that Jesus is just a created being like everyone else, and they will turn to this verse, but this language is used as a “title of importance.”
- It speaks to Jesus supremacy over all of creation, and places Jesus at Genesis 1 when all of creation is spoken into existence. That’s the One who has rescued you from the domain of darkness and transferred you to His beloved kingdom.
Do you know Jesus? Are you growing in your knowledge, wisdom, and understanding of Jesus? It’s possible that when I say the name Jesus that we are all thinking of a different image in our heads of Jesus, and some of them are biblical, and some of them are unbiblical, and we need to know the Jesus made known in the Scripture.
Colossians 1:17-18, “17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. 18 He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.”
- In verses 17-18 we see that Jesus is not only our rescuer, supreme over all things, and more powerful than we could imagine, but Jesus is also head of the church.
- It means Jesus is not only powerful, but personally involved in our lives. Jesus is our head. Jesus is our leader. Jesus is our shepherd. Jesus sympathizes with our every weakness. Jesus knows our every temptation. Jesus is with in us our darkest hours. Jesus understands the longings of our soul. I won’t be able to do that, but Jesus does, and it is because Jesus is our lead pastor.
Colossians 1:19-20, “19 For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, 20 and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.”
- In verses 19 and 20 the Apostle Paul continues to exalt the glory and awe of Jesus and reminds us that Jesus has come to “reconcile all things to Himself having made peace through the blood of His cross.”
- The word “reconcile” means to “make right.” Jesus has come to make all things right, so that we might have peace. Now, this might not land on us in a powerful way, because all of us have experienced conflict, but we don’t always see a lot of examples of “biblical reconciliation.”
- We all have experienced people ignoring conflict. We experience people cutting off relationships because of conflict.
- Perhaps we have experienced people resolving conflict over a text, “I am sorry” but that isn’t the same. Or, we have experienced people saying things face to face like, “I am sorry you think that was hurtful” which is closer, but still not the same.
Jesus has come to bring peace to all of creation. All of humanity is created in peace, but our sin has lead us into darkness and brokenness, and you need to know when we are in place of darkness and brokenness we are absolutely in conflict with the God of Scripture
But, Jesus has come to bring reconciliation. He doesn’t send a text. Jesus doesn’t give the silent treatment. Jesus doesn’t even wink at our offense and tell us no big deal.
No, Jesus makes it clear that our sin is offensive, and then Jesus steps into our place and takes the consequences for our offense upon Himself at the cross, and then conquers death in the resurrection, so that by grace through faith in Him we are reconciled, we are rescued, we are transferred to His Kingdom of Light.
Don’t you want to know Jesus? That’s why the Apostle Paul writes, “We are praying for you to grow in your knowledge, wisdom and understanding of Jesus,” because what we have been given in Jesus is more than I could capture on a Sunday morning, and we need one another to help us remember, to pray for us, to encourage one another, admonish one another, and exhort one another, “keep growing in Jesus.”