A Will for Wisdom to Walk Worthy

The Gospel  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented
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Was there ever a time in your life when you were going in one direction and had a complete change?
What is the most significant change that has happened in your life?
The gospel of Jesus Christ is a reorientation of life. The gospel is a proclamation that the Lord Jesus Christ is King and for those who reorient from self-rule to the reign of Christ, God rescues and redeems us and restores us to fruitfulness. Everything changes.
You can see the gospel message at the end of our passage.
Colossians 1:13–14 (ESV)
He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
We are reading through a letter the Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Colossae so that we can understand the gospel and its implications more clearly. The Colossian church was made up of relatively new believers. Paul is helping them understand the implications of the gospel they have recently believed through the ministry of Epaphras, and the new life they have in Jesus Christ.
Paul prays that the lives of believers in the Lord Jesus Christ would be oriented around knowledge of God’s will that results in walking the four-fold path worthy of the Lord. When our lives are reoriented from the self-rule to the will of God, we will walk worthy of the Lord.

Reorient to God’s Will

Paul prays for the Colossians, in fact, he says he and Timothy have not ceased praying for them,
Colossians 1:9 (ESV)
And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,
The first lesson we need to learn in reorienting our lives is that your will must decrease, and God’s will must increase if you will experience the fruit of new life in Christ. In fact, the goal is to be filled with the knowledge of God’s will.
If you could know all of God’s plans and purposes, how would that change your life?
If we are going to be filled with knowledge of God’s will, there is another reorientation that must happen. Paul says this knowledge comes “in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.” We need to relearn what true wisdom is.
Okay, what does that mean? The Bible distinguishes true spiritual wisdom from the wisdom of this world. The wisdom of this world comes from looking inside ourselves for our answers. That’s one symptom of self-rule - the belief that your wisdom is best. But that’s worse than you think.
James 3:13–15 (ESV)
Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom.
But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth.
This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.
Self-centered wisdom is earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. Contrasted,
James 3:17–18 (ESV)
But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.
And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
I think we need more wisdom from above right now.
Why does James repeat the connection between wisdom from above with peace (3x)? Why is peace such an important element?
This is all about who rules in your life. It’s a conflict between kingdoms.
So, connecting this passage with Colossians 1, we see that spiritual wisdom and understanding comes from above, from outside this earth. We could say they come from another realm or kingdom. If I can’t find spiritual wisdom within myself, how do I get it? You would need a new spirit. Paul says in a letter to another church,
1 Corinthians 2:12–13 (ESV)
Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.
And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.
The Holy Spirit gives it to us. He speaks words of wisdom to us, so that “we might understand the things freely given us by God.” That means the revelation of God’s word, the Bible. The Holy Spirit will help you understand God’s will as you hear, read and apply His word. When we reorient our thinking according to God’s word, we gain wisdom and understanding.
It might be helpful to know that it doesn’t happen all at once. It’s like being born again, and there is a lot to learn. It’s like being a baby, but with baggage. There are still habits and thought patterns that our natural mind tries to retain. But when you become a believer in Jesus, one gift of the gospel is that God rescues you from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of His beloved Son, and with your new citizenship, He gives you the mind of Christ,
1 Corinthians 2:16 (ESV)
But we have the mind of Christ.
The recreation of your mind begins. We are learning to think differently. Your life is now reoriented to the will of God. You are still on the earth. But as you walk through life, you have a new purpose. You will also learn to walk differently.

Walk Worthy of the Lord

Paul says, when we walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, He is fully pleased.
Colossians 1:10 (ESV)
so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him:
What are some ways of walking that would be fully pleasing to the Lord Jesus?
Jesus’ pleasure doesn’t come from a bunch of students who know His words and can quote them. It comes from disciples who live according to His will. They put His words into practice. Our lives should reflect the life of Jesus.
How do we know when this is happening? Paul says this worthy walking is four-fold:
bearing fruit in every good work
increasing in the knowledge of God
being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might for all endurance and patience with joy
giving thanks to the Father
Four observations:
1. This is a dynamic, growing experience, walking with Christ. Bearing fruit, increasing, endurance, all imply a process that is ongoing. There is nothing here about the destination of our walking. We are all in process. Working, learning, enduring, and giving thanks as we go.
2. This four-fold walk includes our whole being. Surrendered, obedient will, renewed mind, resilient spirit and emotions, and true worship, giving thanks. Our good works are connected with our growing relationship with God, who is strengthening us with supernatural power to endure with joy, and giving thanks in all things. As a new creation in Christ, your whole life has been transformed.
3. This way of walking in the world is upside down from the way those still in the domain of darkness walk. They aren’t bearing fruit in every good work. They might pick one way they can serve their community. Christians live a fruitful lifestyle of service. Those who haven’t been made new in Christ measure knowledge by academic degrees or vocational achievement. We are increasing in knowing the God who created science and math and psychology and language. Those living in darkness walk through seasons of perseverance and happiness. But we have a deep, abiding joy, and an eternal perspective that comes from experiencing the power of God within us. We are becoming more patient the more we experience the power of God’s patience with us. And those who walk in darkness have no one to thank, and they miss out on the satisfaction we have in our souls when we worship the God who has provided all we need for life and godliness.
4. All of this, the way we walk worthy of the Lord, is a response that flows from something God has done that we could never do. We walk along giving thanks because,
Colossians 1:12 (ESV)
giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.
Everyone in this world is seeking an inheritance. We try to make this world safe and comfortable. But God qualifies us, makes us able to receive a much more substantial inheritance. He forgives our sins and gives us a share in His holiness (saint). He makes us co-heirs with Christ of His glory. He gives us a place in His household, a seat at the table. We belong.
People in our world seek enlightenment. But God qualifies us to walk in the light, as He is in the light. The kind of light that can’t be clouded or shaded. With Him there is no shifting shadow. If we can’t see clearly on our path, it is not His failing. We might have closed our eyes.
What are present tense applications for sharing in this inheritance (of the saints in light)?
We could summarize this whole passage by saying that knowing God’s will is a reorientation of our minds and our lifestyle to Jesus Christ. He is now our King. His will rules my life. That should result in fruitful walking. As we look back at the fourfold walk,
bearing fruit in every good work
increasing in the knowledge of God
being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might for all endurance and patience with joy
giving thanks to the Father
we can ask ourselves, what is my next step of obedience to Jesus? In which of these four areas could I take one step closer to Jesus? Is it some good work He is asking me to do, is it increasing in knowing God by spending time with Him or watching Him work, is it relying more on His power to give me patience and joy, or maybe it is being more active in giving thanks and worship.
But we want to clarify the gospel, and this is it, not that you were worthy of your place on the path walking with the Lord. But that in Christ, God makes you a new creation that meets all His qualifications. He did this when
Colossians 1:13–14 (ESV)
He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,
in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Apart from Christ, we all walk in darkness. Apart from God redeeming us in His Son, we are enslaved in a dominion of sin and selfishness. But this is what God does, He rescues, He delivers, He redeems. He has done all this through Jesus.
Questions for Discussion
What are some changes happening in your life right now? What is the most significant change that has happened in your life?
How is God filling you with knowledge of His will right now? Is there any area you would like more knowledge of His will?
How does this passage help us understand God’s will for our lives?
What is one way of thinking that has changed for you as you have learned to walk with Jesus?
What is one lifestyle change in your life since starting to walk with Jesus?
When you look at the four-fold walk in verses 10-12, what is one area in which Jesus is asking you to take a next step? (or, As you read this passage, what is your next step of obedience to Jesus?)
What do we learn about God in this passage that helps us walk in a manner worthy of the Lord?
How would you summarize the gospel from this passage?
What is one benefit of being in the kingdom of God’s beloved Son that you are thankful for right now?
Who is someone you can share this passage with this week?
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