SermonNotes January 6, 2013 FBCam

WhatTo Pray For This Year”


Todayis the first Sunday of a New Year! Perhaps you made a New Yearsresolution. Many of us do. Here is some interesting informationabout New Years resolutions from thee University of Scranton. Journalof Clinical Psychology, (Published: 12.13.2012)

TheTop 10 New Years resolutions for 2012

1 Lose Weight

2 Getting Organized

3 Spend Less, Save More

4 Enjoy Life to the Fullest

5 Staying Fit and Healthy

6 Learn Something Exciting

7 Quit Smoking

8 Help Others in Their Dreams

9 Fall in Love

10Spend More Time with Family

Percentof people who are successful in achieving their resolution 8%

Percentwho have infrequent success 49%

Percentwho never succeed and fail on their resolution each year 24%

Ifind the next two statistics interesting, especially because I turned50 last year!

Percentof people in their twenties who achieve their resolution each year 39%

Percentof people over 50 who achieve their resolution each year 14%

Soif you’re my age or older, the chances of keeping yourresolution are much slimmer. Probably because the #1 resolution islosing weight, and that gets pretty tough the older you are.

Thestart of a New Year allowsus to reflectonour goals and to considera “fresh start.” Paul’sdesireforthe believers in Colossae was that they would be “filledwith the knowledge of God’s will.” Todaywe will study Paul’s prayer for the Colossian church as a modelto help us know how to pray for ourselves and others thisyear.

I. Aswe begin this new year, Pray to beFILLED with the KNOWLEDGE of God’s Will.

Thebook of Colossians was written during Paul’s imprisonment inRome. The church at Colossae was established by those who workedwith Paul, possibly Timothy or Epaphras. Yet he writes in a verypersonal way. The entire first chapter is an emotional appeal to thebelievers. Paul affirms his love and concern for them. Much of thechapter is a lengthy prayer that he describes in great detail. Pauldescribes his efforts in prayer in 1:3-8. Following thatdescription, Paul gives them the content of his prayer in a lengthysentence that stretches all the way from verse 9-20. This is one ofthose lengthy Greek sentences filled with clauses, prepositions,participles and phrases that modify phrases. The NIV breaks 1:9-14into 3 sentences and 1:15-20 into 5 sentences, but it’s justone long complex sentence in Greek.

Thekeyrequest ofthis entire prayer is found in v. 9 tofill you with the knowledge of his will.” Everythingelse in this lengthy sentence describes one of the aspects of thisrequest. It’s easy to lose sight of this central request, orto never see it because of the volume or words that Paul uses, butit’s right there for us to observe. Paul’s #1 concernfor these Christians was that they would be filled with the knowledgeof God’s will.

Thisis not a request that they would be given the luxury of knowing theparticulars of what they should do about one thing or another. Paulis not thinking of “God’s will” in the sense thatwe often think of it – “should I buy this car, take this job,write this letter,” etc. Paul is really praying that theywould know God more! This is the theme of this entire prayer, and itis also a theme that we can use to provide focus for our lives at thebeginning of this new year.

Notehow everything in Colossians 1:9-20 relates to the request that Godwould “fillyou with that knowledge of his will.” This is actually a quick outline of the prayer, but it is helpful tosee the scope of the prayer before we dig into the deeper meaning ofthe central request. Note the following parts of this prayer:

– TheFREQUENCY of the prayer. 1:9a “wehave not stopped praying for you.”

– TheFULFILLMENT of the prayer. 1:9b “throughall spitiaul wisdom and understanding”

– ThePURPOSE of the prayer. 1:10a This is an infinitive and emphasizesthe goal of living a life centered on knowing God. By doing so, theywould “Livea life worthy of the Lord”(walk worthy of the Lord, in the KJV)

– TheRESULT of the prayer. This is expressed in 1:10b-12 through FOURPRESENT PARTICIPLES in Greek. These words describe the result thatwill take place in the life of a believer who grows in theirknowledge of God’s will. The present tense indicates thatthese are continually occurring realities. In other words, God willcontinue to provide these things as you continue to grow in him:

        1. Bearing fruit. (1:10)

        2. Growing. (1:10)

        3. Being strengthened (1:11)

        4. Giving Thanks (1:12)

Wewill discuss these again at the end of this message.

Thefinal section of the prayer is

– ThePOWER behind the prayer. This section contains deep theologicaltruths about Jesus. Some of the richest teaching about Christ islocated in these verses! For example, verse 15 teaches us about theeternal nature of Christ (“Heis the firstborn or all creation.) Verse16 teaches us about the creative power of Christ (“allthings were created by him and for him”). Verse18 teaches us about the central authority of Christ over all thing(“heis the head of the body the Church.”) Sometimesin our effort to teach these theological truths, we lose sight thatthis powerful passage about the deity and authority of Christ iscontained within a prayer that Paul prays for a Church he had nevervisited! This should encourage our hearts that the power that wehave in the Christian life – the things that we pray for and hope for- are secured for us through the power of Christ himself! As weconsider all that Jesus has done for us, and all of his power, we arecomforted because we know that he hears our prayers!

  1. As we begin this New Year, Consider What it means “to be filled with the knowledge of His Will”

Simplyput, it means to be CONSUMED with God. The word “filled “in Colossians 1:9 “thatGod would fill you with the knowledge of his will,” isa word that means “filled completely.” It was a commonword. One of the ways that it was used in the first centurydescribed“a ship’s sail filled out by the wind”(BDAG). This word carries strong theological meaning. It relates tothe filling that God provides for his children.

Theother key word in this phrase is “Knowledge.” This heavytheological word means spiritualknowledge imparted by God. It is likely that one of Paul’s concerns for the young churchin Colossae was that they would be drawn away from Christ by thosewho advocated the pursuit of a deep mystical knowledge of therealities of the world. This type of mystical pursuit would takethese Christians (and us) away from the reality of knowing God. Paul’s prayer reflects his desire that they know God for who hereally is, and not a substitute experience falsely called“knowledge.”

Thiskind of knowledge comes only by REVELATION from God. The knowledgeof God is Something that only God can give. How foolish it would befor us to claim that our efforts to figure out the universe couldresult in knowing God! The only way possible for us to know God isif he reveals himself to us, which he did when He sent Christ intothis world (John 1:18)

Sothis prayer is the prayer that they would KNOW GOD.

Thisis something entirely different than knowledge about God.

Thisis INTIMACY with GOD

Illus- In today’s world of Smart Phones, tablets and instantinternet access, there are many things that we can “know.” If someone asks the questions, “how long is the VerrazanoBridge,” a nimble person with a 4 G connection and an Iphonecan ask Siri, “How long is the Verrazano Bridge,” andthey will get an almost instantaneous response. But if we hadsitting here an 85 year old retired construction worker that spent 2years of his life building the Verrazano bridge in his 20’s we wouldget the right information, but we would also get it with greatpassion.


KNOWINGGOD means being SATISFIED with him



HenryBlackaby oncesaid, “Yourlife is the sum of the responses you have made toward God. Once Godmakes himself known to you, what you do next is your decision. Yourreaction reflects what you believe about Him”

II. Animportant question to answer is whether or not this is really thetheme of Paul’s Prayer?

Grammatically,YES. This is the central part of the prayer contained in this longGreek sentence.

Contextually,YES. From the rest of the book, we know that Paul was deeplyconcerned that the Colossian church experience the true knowledge ofGod. For example, Colossians2:2 providesthe the PURPOSE for Paul’s writing of the epistle to theColossians. "Mypurpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love,so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, inorder that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ," Colossians2:2

Andin the same chapter, notice Paul’s use of this world fulness.Colossians2:10 "andyou have been givenfullness inChrist, who is the head over every power and authority." Here, fullness relates to their knowledge of Christ.

Wealso know that Paul’s greatest passion in life was to know Godmore deeply. In another book written at the same time, from the samepoint of imprisonment in Rome, Paul gives a summary of his life’spursuit. Philippians3:10 "Iwant to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and thefellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in hisdeath,"

Soit is clear that knowing God more deeply was the greatest concern inPaul’s life. It is why he preached the gospel, even at greatpersonal cost. He wanted to help people to know God in the only waythat such knowledge is possible, through a relationship with his Son.

  1. What Does God Produce in the Lives of Those who Know Him? (Col 1:10-12) Here, we return back to the four present tense participles that provide us with a very detailed description of the result that will be provided to all those who know God. Notice that each of these four blessings address the great passions of the human heart. These are the things that we all yearn for. These are the things that motivate our lives. These are the attributes that prompt songs to be written, careers to be pursues, wars to be fought, families to be raised, cities to be built. These yearnings of the human heart are completely fulfilled through the knowledge of God! And when God fulfills these desires, they are fulfilled completely, leaving us satisfied and joyful!

    1. FRUITFULNESS. “bearing fruit in every good work”

      1. Our desire for SUCCESS will be satisfied

      2. Our desire for SIGNIFICANCE will be satisfied

    1. GROWTH. “Growing in the knowledge of God.”

      1. Our desire for KNOWLEDGE will be satisfied

      2. Our desire for IMPROVEMENT will be satisfied

    1. STRENGTH “being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience

      1. Our desire for VICTORY will be satisfied

      2. Our desire for POWER will be satisfied

    1. GIVING THANKS “giving thanks to the Father who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.”

      1. Our desire for HAPPINESS will be satisfied

      2. Our desire for SECURITY will be satisfied.

OfALL The things we could ask for this year, the desire to KNOW GOD isthe only request that will truly satisfy the longings in our heart.

KnowingGod means having a relationship with him through his Son. It meansforsaking all other pursuits to pursue him. It means inviting him tobe the center of your life. It means dedicating everything that youhave and all of your aspirations to knowing him and doing his will.

Ipropose to you that this is the most worthy goal that you can havethis year. God invites you to know him. He has provided his Son asthe source of light so that you can know him. All that you have todo is receive that light.