“<read verse 9 again to follow>That you may walk (live and conduct yourselves) in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him and desiring to please Him in all things, bearing fruit in every good work and steadily growing and increasing in and by the knowledge of God [with fuller, deeper, and clearer insight, acquaintance, and recognition].” Colossians 1:10 ->me: Being ‘filled with knowledge’ means that it is something that done by God. He gives/fills me with this knowledge. Through reading His word, that knowledge He gives me can then be equipped by viewing that knowledge through spiritual insight and wisdom. I believe that all of this combined together leads to understanding and discernment of things going on in the spiritual realm. When I do this it will enable me to live out my earthly life in a way that is worthy of God; where He is pleased with my conduct, the way I live, and the way I treat others. Because I understand the gravity of spiritual things I will desire to please God in all that I do. With my new found knowledge and wisdom, I will also know how to make the most out of every good work. This results in growing and increasing IN AND BY the knowledge of God. In and By -> The more knowledge I am filled with, the more information I will have to grow in my relationship with God and have reverential fear of Him.
“For this reason we also, from the day we heard of it, have not ceased to pray and make [special] request for you, [asking] that you may be filled with the full (deep and clear) knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom [in comprehensive insight into the ways and purposes of God] and in understanding and discernment of spiritual things—” Colossians 1:9 ->me: This passage of Colossians 1:9-14 is one of my favorites and have been working to memorize it. It is because of what God has already done that Paul can pray with confidence for what God will do. Having begun a work of grace, God will continue and complete it (Phil 1:6). The ‘knowledge of God’s will’ is more than simply an insight into how God wants His people to behave: it is an understanding of God’s whole saving purpose in Christ, and hence, a knowledge of God Himself. Knowledge, wisdom, and understanding are best understood by looking at how these words were used in the Old Testament and Jewish background; in which they regularly denote aspects of character which God seeks to instill in His people through persistent instruction. Now take what I know about these three words and focus them on comprehending spiritual things. This is why this verse is so powerful to memorize in conjunction with the following 4. Lord help me to pray for the right knowledge, wisdom, and understanding; the ability to discern your thoughts and intentions.
“[The truth of the Gospel] has come to you. Indeed, in the whole world [that Gospel] is bearing fruit and still is growing[by its own inherent power], even as it has done among yourselves ever since the day you first heard and came to know and understand the grace of God in truth.” Colossians 1:6 ->me: God is doing, through the gospel, what He always intended to do. He is sowing good seed in the world, and preparing to reap a harvest of human lives recreated to reflect His glory. In this self-centered age I will do well to remind myself how often Paul’s ‘you’ is plural – and that he is not merely referring to a collection of individuals, but indicating a corporate unity, the Body of Christ. During my study of this verse today there was one thing that stuck out to me – The response to the gospel will involve not only intellect but also emotions; it should also be stated that intellect and emotions, head and heart, are not simply two separate compartments without an adjoining door. Clear recognition and understanding of the genuine Christian Gospel – that God so loved the world that He gave His Son to die for it – is a most powerful igniter to full-hearted Christian love for God in return. More clearly -> Such an emotional response can in its turn fuel the desire for a deeper intellectual understanding of God’s nature and purposes….&….a deeper intellectual understanding of God’s nature and purposes can fuel desire for a stronger relationship and love for Him.
“For we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus [the leaning of your entire human personality on Him in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness] and of the love which you [have and show] for all the saints (God’s consecrated ones), because of the hope [of experiencing what is] laid up (reserved and waiting) for you in heaven. Of this [hope] you heard in the past in the message of the truth of the Gospel,” Colossians 1:4-5 ->me: FAITH, LOVE, and HOPE – These are the things in the Colossian church that Paul thanks God for (from verse 3). These three things are the signs that new life is springing forth. The FAITH spoken here by Paul is not just any religious belief…It is defined as ‘faith in Christ Jesus’. I also find it awesome that the Colossians acts of LOVE are stories that have made it all the way through travels of people from there – they must have been on fire. Here HOPE is not so much referring to the state or activity of hoping as to the thing ‘hoped for’ -> ‘it is the hope stored up for you in heaven’ (1 Peter 1:4 & 2 Timothy 4:8). The ‘hope’ is that which I have already heard about in the word of truth, the gospel. “The Gospel” for Paul, is an announcement, a proclamation, whose importance lies in the truth of its content. It is not, primarily, either an invitation, or a technique for changing people’s lives. It is a command to be obeyed and a power to let loose in the world.
“PAUL, AN apostle (special messenger) of Christ Jesus (the Messiah), by the will of God, and Timothy [our] brother, to the saints (the consecrated people of God) and believing and faithful brethren in Christ who are at Colossae: Grace (spiritual favor and blessing) to you and [heart] peace from God our Father. We continually give thanks to God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah), as we are praying for you,” Colossians 1:1-3 ->me: I think it is interesting how Paul starts out with a blessing delivered in written form – “Grace and peace to you from God our Father”; this not only is indicative of the closeness of Paul’s relationship with the Lord but also the heartfelt love he has for the people of Colossae. I try to imagine Paul and Timothy praying for the churches they send these letters to, according to verse 3 they are ‘continually’ giving thanks for the Colossian’s as they are praying for them. Tonight when I pray for those in my earthly garden, I will thank God for the blessing they bring into my life along with the prayers I raise up for them.
“And they shall go forth and gaze upon the dead bodies of the [rebellious] men who have stepped over against Me; for their worm shall not die, their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be an abhorrence to all mankind.” Isaiah 66:24 ->me: This is a very interesting point that Isaiah is making. Spiritually, when everyone comes to worship they should make it a point to go out and look at the cemetery outside the temple and gaze upon the fate from which they have been rescued. We should enjoy our Salvation but we should not allow ourselves to forget the day of vengeance. These bodies are dead because the judgement of God is real; those bodies slain by the Lord should be a reminder. The accusation leveled against those in the ground, as the reason they are there is that they ‘rebelled’. They knew the word of the Lord but deliberately and willingly went their own way. The purpose of visiting the cemetery is not to gloat or even pity bit to be repelled and revolted; to see again the wages of sin and the fruit of rebellion. They should then be newly motivated to obedience and love of the word of God. —– Today completes my study of Isaiah. I started this journey on May 24th of last year and what an amazing set of revelations and learnings the Lord has taught me. Onto Colossians!
“And I will set up a [miraculous] sign among them, and from them I will send survivors to the nations—to Tarshish, Pul (Put), and Lud, who draw the bow, to Tubal and Javan, to the isles and coastlands afar off that have not heard of My fame nor seen My glory. And they will declare and proclaim My glory among the nations.” Isaiah 66:19 ->me: The miraculous sign here is the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. The survivors are those who turn and follow the Word of the One True God and have been save from destruction. This verse make it clear that missionaries will go to the ends of the earth to spread God’s glory; to those who have not heard of God’s fame. I am a survivor and that is the group that God is sending – I must participate in reaching the lost and those who have not heard of the fame and glory of the Lord. Today this only reinforces the importance of going out to witness and win those how are lost to the Kingdom of God. I feel that this is the Lord telling me to get into gear about the trip to Baja this fall to build a house for needy in Mexico.
“I APPEAL to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship.” Romans 12:1 “Through Him, therefore, let us constantly and at all times offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, which is the fruit of lips that thankfully acknowledge and confess and glorify His name. Do not forget or neglect to do kindness and good, to be generous and distribute and contribute to the needy [of the church as embodiment and proof of fellowship], for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” Hebrews 13:15-16 ->me: Take a read through these verses several times and consume them. They really helped me today focus on the important aspects of my life as a broken man redeemed by my Savior. When I look at what He has done for me it is reasonable and rational that I present my entire being as a living sacrifice to Him. THROUGH HIM I am to offer a sacrifice of praise…what is a sacrifice of praise? It is acknowledging, confessing, and glorifying His name with audible words from my lips with a grateful heart. Then…I cannot forget or turn away from opportunities to serve others. I am to do this CONSTANTLY and AT ALL TIMES…even when I don’t FEEL like my walk is the strongest at the moment. These simple acts will bring me back in line with Him.
“When you see this, your heart shall rejoice; your bones shall flourish like green and tender grass. And the [powerful] hand of the Lord shall be revealed and known to be with His servants, but His indignation [shown] to be against His enemies.” Isaiah 66:14 ->me: Tonight at Life Group all of us men have felt under attack by the evil one. We believe the Lord is on the cusp of doing something supernatural through us; and satan, seeing what is happening, is doing everything he can to distract us with the signals of this world. We are not going to stand by and be swayed by the enemy; we are not going to stand by in the trenches being gassed by the devil and his minions. We are going to grab our swords (the word), put up our shields (faith), don our breastplates of armor (righteousness), tighten our belts (of truth), secure our helmets (of salvation), and walk forward (with steps of the peace of the gospel) toward the enemy line. When we see God’s comfort our hearts will rejoice and our inner frames strengthened; we will see the powerful hand of God revealed and be acquainted with its effectiveness (seeing its successes). Our Lord’s anger toward the unfair treatment of His saints by His enemies will be made known. CHARGE!!!!!!
“As one whom his mother comforts, so will I comfort you; you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.” Isaiah 66:13 ->me: The preceding 2 verses give a very enduring image of a mother caring for and providing for her child and the comfort, warmth, and safety the child feels because of her love and protection. This will be my life in Zion for eternity after Jesus comes….wait…actually I can tap into this right now. I already live this protection and care if I just embrace it. I need to learn to let go and let God lead EVERY aspect of my life. When I have done this the absolute carefree and peaceful nature of my mind is not found in any earthly vice, fix, or comfort. God has been teaching me that I can live a little bit of the heaven He promises right here on earth if I will only let Him be my all and all.