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Colossians Study: The Will of God

[Colossians 1:9-14]

Prayed for:

  • “Wise minds and spirits attuned to His will” [MSG]
  • “All the wisdom & understanding that His Spirit gives” [CEV]
  • “God to give you complete knowledge of His will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding” [NLT]

Prayed for:

  • Practical Obedience (1:10) – Knowledge & obedience go together

True spiritual wisdom must affect daily life

Wisdom / Walk / Work – Cannot work for God unless we walk with Him, cannot walk with Him if ignorant to His will

General will = clearly in Bible                Specific will = always agrees with Bible

Knowing general will makes it easier to know specific will for daily life

God wants us to:

  • Know His Will (Acts 22:14)
  • Understand His Will (Ephesians 5:17)

Paul prayed for ALL wisdom & understanding, COMPLETE knowledge…

Complete = Filled full                    Filled = Controlled by

  • Filled with _______ (ex: anger, jealously)
  • Filled with Spirit (Ephesians 5:18)

Controlled by full knowledge of God’s will

How? By all wisdom & spiritual insights. Understand will of God through Word of God. Holy Spirit teaches us to submit to Him (John 14:26, John 16:31)

THEN…

  • You will live a life that honors the Lord
  • You will always please Him by doing good deeds
  • You will come to know God even better
  • You will be patient & strong to endure everything because of His power
  • You will be truly happy

Bible Study Questions:

1) Paul prayed for the Colossians to have ALL wisdom and understanding. He grasped that God wants us to know and understand His will – and to do this would bring us closer to Him. With our reading, the words patient and strong and happy appear. What does this mean for us?

2) What is the hardest thing about following God’s will?

 

3) When we have this completeness (fullness), we will be controlled by it. We will then be able to determine what God wants. How do we determine God’s Will—how do we determine what He wants?

 

4) Let us dig deeper into God’s Word.

Read each of these verses and decide what each verse says about God’s will for us.

  • Read 2 Peter 3:9
  • Read Ephesians 5:18
  • Read 1 Thessalonians 4:3
  • Read 1 Peter 2:15
  • Read 1 Peter 5:10
  • Read Psalm 37:4

This is one part of a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on Colossians. The 12 weeks include:

Gospel Truth
Will of God
Lord of All
Ministry to Maturity
Foolish Philosophies
Men of Rules
Realities of Heaven
Taking Responsibility
Godly Living
Worship Work
Good Words
True Forgiveness

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Full Ransom

The word “full” means complete. Being full means you lack nothing. The Psalmist wrote that the “full ransom” was paid. The complete ransom. There is nothing that could be added because it lacks nothing. It is finished. That’s what Jesus said at the cross. It is finished.

Not everyone can wrap their minds (and hearts) around this statement. Some people feel that their sins are so bad that they need to do more to “fix” the situation. They still are dirty. They still aren’t fully paid up. The ransom has been paid—the full price. Jesus paid the penalty for each one of us, each one of our sins, no matter how bad or how big you think they are compared to others. He paid for all.

Embrace this completeness. Accept that it is finished. Move forward with a different attitude. You are forgiven. You are loved. You are free. The price has been paid. Now move forward. Don’t let the devil keep you down when Jesus has already provided the victory.

“He has paid a full ransom for his people. He has guaranteed his covenant with them forever. What a holy, awe-inspiring name he has!” – Psalm 111:9 [NLT]

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Refined and Reformed

486800_10151916399013776_1385828364_nDuring the hot summer months, chocolate, gum, and lip balm do no fair too well. The heat does a good job to melt the items. Being a Hershey girl, I love chocolate. When you purchase chocolate at a store, by the time you carry it from the store to your car, the chocolate is already melting from the high temperatures. I always advise my kids to not open it, but instead to put it in the refrigerator so it can harden again. When the chocolate is eventually opened, it is interesting to see the new form of the chocolate.

Heat is often affiliated with changing the shapes of items so it’s no surprise to read about heat in the Bible. We read and the refiner’s fire and the furnace of affliction. We also read about taking a new form. When we accept Christ, we start to become a new creation.

There are times when we can feel the heat of the furnace of affliction. We are being pruned and built up. We are being challenged. We are being tested like gold. We find ourselves in these situations because we are called to be a holy people and little by little God gets us to where He created us to be as His child with a purpose. Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4 NIV)

“I will bring that group through the fire and make them pure. I will refine them like silver and purify them like gold. They will call on my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘These are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The LORD is our God.'” – Zechariah 13:9 [NLT]

Keep Running

Not long ago, a professor and I were having a discussion about having confidence in the Lord rather than in ourselves. We then moved our thoughts to competitions. Within the discussion, the professor challenged me with 1 Corinthians 9:24, where Paul wrote, “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win (NASB). This passage is telling us that running is not the same as winning. We need to win the race. We need to finish the race to win. However, it is not a race where there is only one winner. We each can receive our crowns if we finish the race. It is all about running the race to the finish line. As 2 Timothy 4:7 states, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith(ESV). At the end of the race, it’s all about keeping the faith; it’s all about trusting in God to the finish.

The big problem that we have with running our own race is that which deters us and moves us away from our walk with Christ. The writer of Hebrews wrote, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (Hebrews 12:1 NIV). This passage warns us that there are things that will hinder us in this race. In John Bunyan’s book, “The Pilgrim’s Progress,” this man name Christian is on his journey to salvation and the Celestial City, only to meet up with a wide array of people who tell him to turn around or try to give him another way to travel. Each person tries to hinder his race, some more purposeful than others. Paul says this in Galatians, “You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth?” (5:7 NIV).

You see, this race to the finish is not a race where we are competing against others. We are competing against ourselves and our own sin nature. We are to be running forward, trusting God, running in the way of Christ, obeying the Truth. There are many runners on the course with us, some running right alongside us, others trying to get us to turn around, others falling asleep on the course, and others trying to get us to attempt taking a “short cut” which really isn’t a short cut to the finish line, but a derailment. Then there are those runners who make it a competition in hopes of getting a better position in heaven or to draw attention to themselves here on earth, and these runners have somewhat derailed themselves too.

Philippians 2:6 of the NLT says, Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless.” Paul encourages us to follow the Word of God, to run the race that is set before us as Christ ran the race, following the Word of God. So keep running. Keep following the course set before us. Many will try to hinder us whether purposely or not, but if we cling to the Word of God and trust in Him who is faithful, we will have victory.

The Tablet

As I prepared for the next lesson I would be teaching, I peered onto my bookshelf in search of other resources to help me study more in depth. I noticed a “tablet” that I was given months ago, almost five months to be exact. My best friend’s mother handed me this “tablet” that said “Holy Bible” on the front, suggesting that I could possibly make good use of it by filling it with notes. When I received the tablet, I paged through it and noted that it was unused. When I was packing my suitcase to leave, I slipped a photograph inside of my son that was taken weeks ago at a tourist attraction so that it would not get bent. Months later, I saw that I had carefully placed this “tablet” on my bookshelf beside the book “The Story of Jesus.”

I pulled this “tablet” off the shelf and contemplated what I would put inside. Maybe I could fill it with some notes. For some reason I paged through the “tablet” this time, and I realized something was different about this “tablet.” It wasn’t a tablet at all. It was a book—a special book that is used by pastors, teachers and speakers. This “tablet” I wanted to fill with notes was already filled with a useful teaching tool. It was not empty, though I had intended to fill it. The way it works is simple. Flip through the booklet holding the bottom, and the pages are blank. Flip through holding the top of the booklet, and the pages look like a brand-new coloring book. Flip through holding the middle and the eyes will meet fully colored pages.

This booklet shows the different stages we can be located at in life. If we see the Bible as meaningless, the pages as good as blank, we haven’t accepted Jesus and may even declare that God does not exist. Our life, as such, is very empty because the void that only God can fill is vacant and we try our hardest to fill it with things that can never work. Then there are the pages without color, but showing us a nice outline. We can choose to color in as we wish. We understand that there is a God. We go to church. We accepted Jesus, but yet there is part of our lives that we are holding back. We truly haven’t given Him our heart. We are on the borderline, wanting to walk forward but not wanting to give up control. Finally, there is the beautifully, colored pages that are full of life and symbolize what God brings to our lives when we accept Jesus into our lives and we walk with Christ.

Here I wanted to fill this “tablet” with notes. Here my friend’s mother did not realize what she was giving me. Sometimes we try to fill the Bible with what we think it says. We use it as a tool for our own good. Sometimes we try to fill the void in our lives with something other than God. And sometimes, we have something right in front of us and we do not realize what it is because we do not take the time.

Today I encourage you to spend time with God and His Word. It is never too late to open your Bible and to pray for the Holy Spirit to help you glean what you personally need to hear at this moment. Whether you know it or not, there is this amazing, sovereign God of the universe who loves you. The thought of that alone colors every one of the pages of my life.

“This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”
– 1 John 4:9-12