A Vision for our Christian Lives

June 18, 2023 ()

Bible Text: Colossians 1:9-14 |


A Vision for Our Christian Lives | Colossians 1:9-14
Brad O’Dell | June 18, 2023

[Starts at 1:52]

Go ahead and turn in your Bibles to Colossians 1. That’s where we’re going to be. We are in our second week of our series in Colossians that we are running through the summer here.

As I studied this passage this week, it brought to mind this type of scene or this type of image, and I think it represents a little of what’s going on in the section of Scripture we’re looking at today. Think of a graduation day or maybe a marriage day, when a father or a mother—this happens often—write a letter to their son or to their daughter, and it’s something to commemorate this day and to encourage them, but also often when they’re doing that they’ll write in a prayer for their son or for their daughter. “This is what I’m praying for you on this, your wedding day.” Or, “As you graduate, I’m so happy for what God’s done in your life, but here’s what I’m praying for you as you step into the next season of life.” Maybe some of you have written letters like that or you’ve received them. They’re very meaningful.

Those things are meaningful because not only is it nice that your parents or someone who loves you has you in mind and is keeping you in prayer, but there is content to that prayer that is stirring, and it gives you something of a vision for what you might be pursuing. “This is what I’m praying for you in this next season of life.” Not only is someone writing that they are keeping someone in prayer, but they’re actually calling them to something. They’re presenting a vision of the life that they would love to see. Right? You see the affection of someone who says, “I see everything you could be, and I’m just praying that God brings that out fully in you.” There’s something of that.

We see that in our passage today. We talked about this last week. Paul’s writing to this young Colossian church, young believers, and he’s writing with the affection of a grandfather in the faith or a father in the faith. He first of all started by saying, “I thank God for everything I’m seeing him do in your life, and I’m seeing all the wonderful things that are happening as you pursue the Lord and follow him in faith, and I’m proud of you as a father and you’re constantly on my mind and my heart, and I’m constantly praying for you.”

Here he’s going to turn to this petition. He’s going to say, “Here’s what I’m asking God to do in your life.” But not only is he saying, “I’m praying for you,” he loops in a vision for the Christian life, and I think that’s what I want us to study here this morning.
Let’s read the text, and then we’ll outline it and we’ll kick into it. We’re going to read Colossians 1:9-14. The apostle Paul says this:

“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, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and 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, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. 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.”

This morning we’re going to look at this passage, and the passage really works successively in how Paul is opening up his argument, so our outline will get to follow that successive layout from Paul. It doesn’t always work that way; sometimes we need to restructure some of the thought for a clean presentation here. But this morning the outline really tracks right along with that flow. So the outline’s going to be:

1. What We Need
2. Why We Need It
3. What It Looks Like
4. Why We Can Trust God to Give It

That’s really important—why we can trust God to give it, if it’s so important in our lives.

Before we kick into it, I’m going to put up a little table on the screen. I want to see how this connects to what we covered last week, just very briefly. I’m not going to go through all these line items.

Last week we saw Paul giving thanks. He was thanking God for the work that God had done in these believers’ lives, and he’s seeing all the manifestations of it, and he’s excited. He’s thanking God and reminding them of how this work was transacted in their life. Today he’s going to move into a petition.

But in the petition, all these things that Paul will ask God to do in these believers’ lives are based on the things that he has already thanked God for doing in their lives. It’s just a really important thing to remember at the outset, that when Paul is asking God to do these things and he’s calling them to this high calling in Christ, it already comes from the foundation that he’s thanked God for God’s work of giving all the provision needed for these Colossian believers to walk in the fullness of what Paul presents to them in this prayer. It’s just something for us to remember, that that is the foundation that launches Paul’s prayer for the Colossian believers.

1. What We Need

Let’s look at the first point: What we need for this Christian walk, this vision of the Christian walk that Paul is presenting here. What do we need? We see that in verse 9. He says, “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.”

“May you be filled with the knowledge of God’s will.” That’s something we need if we’re going to walk in the fullness of what God’s called us to. To be filled with the knowledge of God’s will.

I want to focus on that word “filled.” You see, I think it brings a different concept to us than just having a knowledge of God’s will. You see what the difference is there? To have a knowledge of God’s will is to in some way ascertain what God wants, either generally or maybe for a specific situation. Then it’s kind of at our disposal to say, “Okay, I know what God wants; now, will I do what God wants for me in this situation or will I not?”

But to be filled with the knowledge of God’s will is something a lot more holistic, a lot more replete. It is to embody what God’s will is. It’s to have God’s desires, his intentions, his ways kind of worked into our hearts and souls so that our intuitions, our default responses, some of our leanings in life, some of our habits and in-the-moment reactions—all of those things are naturally going to be consistent with God’s will, God’s character, God’s ways, God’s plans. That’s to be filled up with these things. It’s something that is wrought in our hearts and in our souls, such that it naturally manifests.

It’s not something out here that we see if we will or will not align with. That reality happens in life, of course, but that is what is in view with being filled with this, right? It is to have our wills be so shaped from a close and intimate walk with the Lord that our wills, our desires, our reactions are essentially commensurate with or are the same as what God’s will would be.

You know, this isn’t usually how this comes to mind. A lot of times in our Christian walk when we’re thinking about God’s will we’re thinking about these specific situations, right? Am I supposed to take this job? Am I supposed to send my kids to this school? That sort of thing. Should my wife and I make this decision financially or not? What’s God’s will for my life?

I think there’s a good Scriptural testament to seeking God in those moments, seeking wise counsel, all this stuff; but being filled with God’s will is a much more holistic embodying idea. It’s to be like Jesus was; like Jesus, who walked so closely with the Father and was so in tune with the Father and whose heart loved the Father so that Jesus could say, “My actions, my words are essentially just the Father’s.” That’s the vision, and that’s a high, high calling; I get it.

That’s why the content of this filling is all spiritual wisdom and understanding. He’s going to qualify things with this word “all” in a lot of places in this passage. It just means “to the highest degree possible,” that you would be filled with all spiritual wisdom and understanding.

What’s in view here?

You see, if normal wisdom and understanding—we’re just talking on a worldly perspective—if wisdom and understanding in a secular sense is someone having an ability to see the world in truth, to see reality accurately, and then shape their lives to be consistent with reality to the most beneficial ends—if that’s general wisdom and understanding, I think that’s a good classic idea of what’s in view there. I think that’s consistent with what we see in the literature of the Old Testament, the wisdom literature. If that’s what normal wisdom and understanding is, then spiritual wisdom and understanding is to see reality through an understanding of who God is, what he’s doing, his ways, his character, etc., and then to live rightly and consistently before him. It’s spiritual wisdom and understanding that God has to work into our lives.

N.T. Wright says it like this—I think it’s a good, simple quote: “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.”

What’s wrapped up in this is a knowledge of God himself. That just seems so expansive! We know that we can’t wrap our minds and our hearts around that; that’s what’s in view, that’s what we need to grab hold of, and that’s actually why this isn’t an active tense of the verb here, where Paul prays for them, “I pray that they would figure out how to fill themselves up with this knowledge.” That’s not what he prays. He prays, “I ask that they would be filled with this.”

Why does he put it like that? Because he knows that this can only happen because God will grant it as a gift. This is the knowledge of God; it’s a revelation of God himself to the soul, such that it shapes our wills to be consistent with God’s, and therefore he asks that the Colossian believers would be filled by this revelation of God. Of course, God is always willing to give that.

Here’s where I want to bring this home for us today. I think it’s just a key understanding of our Christian walks, that living this life of holiness doesn’t so much look like this: at every moment in the day when we have a decision to make or we have an option to decide how we will respond to any circumstance, that we pause and we step back and we pray and we say, “God, here are the options in front of me of how I can respond or how I can act. God, what is the best option?” We sit there and we analyze and we discern and we go and check that with Scripture to make sure that that’s consistent. We maybe seek some wise counsel for this decision. Then, after doing all of this, we end up acting in the way that seems best, wherever we have a peace for these things or a conviction one way or the other, trusting that that’s the Lord’s guidance in our life.

That is a wonderful thing to do. I think you should do that as often as you possibly can. But such is the pace of life that you’ll find that for 95 percent of the incidents that come across your day it’s not so much that you have the ability to step back and do that whole process, but it’s things that you find yourself in the midst of these scenarios. You find yourself in the midst of someone coming into your office and being rude, and there’s something that’s going to come out in you in that moment. It comes in the midst of you being on the road and someone does something, right? It’s going to be in the midst of you working by yourself and something happens. It’s going to be in a conversation that you find yourself in with your spouse, and here you are, in a scenario, and what comes out is going to be what is natural, it’s going to be where your intuitions are, what your habits have been, some of your dispositions of heart. That’s how you’re going to be responding in this situation.

This is why this idea of being filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding is so important, because we can’t live a holy life if we are to be dependent on going through that entire cycle every single time we do anything in life. Life doesn’t happen at that pace. In fact, we need ourselves to be shaped from the inside to be the type of people who respond in accordance with God’s will in the moment.

This is where this comes down in importance to us. It just puts a very high, high priority on what we would call the “ordinary means of grace,” or these avenues through which God does this work in our hearts and souls and in our wills, where he shapes us into the image of Christ and brings our wills into alignment with his. What do I have in mind here? It’s that time of studying on the word, meditating on Scripture. It’s that time in prayer to God, praying in lots of different ways. It’s that time committing yourself to the gathering of the body of Christ and letting the people of Jesus be Jesus’ instruments to speak into your life and shape you. It’s a high priority. It’s not simple things that we can kind of take as we want when we have the time for it, it’s of highest priority, because that’s what shapes us and pours into us. This is how God fills us with these things that we’re talking about this morning.

2. Why We Need It

We don’t just see what we need in Scripture, we see why we need it in this passage. We see that in verse 10, right at the beginning of that verse. It says, “So as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him.”

You see the purpose clause there. All of this that he’s talked about in verse 9, he’s saying, “There’s a reason for this. I want them to be able to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him.” Now these are complimentary ideas, but they’re different, so I just want to make sure we have a good understanding of what we have in view here.

To walk in a manner worthy of the Lord is to walk in this manner that is fit. It is consistent with the faith that we proclaim, the Lord that we follow, the kingdom that we are a part of and proclaim. It is to walk in a way that is fitting to those things that we do. It’s fitting to the Lord that we serve. That’s what it is to walk in a manner worthy, to have our lifestyles be fitting to this name that we carry, the name of Jesus Christ.

But it’s also to be fully pleasing to him. To be fully pleasing is wrapped up right there in the phrase; it’s to bring pleasure, it’s to bring delight, it’s to bring happiness to the heart of God, something of this fatherly pride for a son or a daughter where looks and says, “I see how you’re living, and I’m just so proud of you.”

This isn’t in my notes, but I feel like it’s worth saying. Do you know that if you’re in Christ today, if you’re a Christian, that the Father’s proud of you? He’s proud of you! He loves you with an infinite love. He loves you with the very love that he has for his Son.

I don’t know how you’ve been living, I don’t know what your heart is before the Father, I don’t know how you approach him; but do you know that God looks on you with the eyes of a proud Father? He sees everything good in your life, he sees where you’re going, he has a hope for you and a promise for you that he knows surely will manifest in Christ; he loves you with the very love he has for his Son. That’s a promise we see in Scripture, and I hope you are encouraged by it.

Also, I want you to be encouraged by these ideas: walking in a manner worthy of the Lord and pleasing to him. It’s an astounding reality, is it not? Me? In my life, I can live in such a way that it is worthy of the name of Christ and that it actually brings delight and joy to the Father’s heart? What an amazing thing, right?

I want us to never lose sight of some of the simple, childlike responses to Scripture of being in awe and astounded at these realities. We know it’s not going to be perfect, we know it’s not until glory that these things will truly be manifest. This is the presentation that we see in Scripture: that this is something that God has enabled for us in Christ. I think it’s just amazing, and I want you to be wowed by it.

Here’s what I want us to see in this purpose clause: how God-centric it is. Do you see that it’s all about what God gets out of this? “So as to walk in a manner worthy,” glorifying to the Lord, and to bring him pleasure. It’s fully pleasing to him.

It’s a good reminder for us that our lives are supposed to be God-centered. We were designed to be God-centered, not self-centered. We were designed to find our identity, to find our purpose before the face of God, under the shining face of God, and to find our fullness and our completeness there, not standing before ourselves trying to represent ourselves or come into the fullness of who we see ourselves to be in and of ourselves. Right? We find our identity living before the face of God, and we fill out this role of who we are by making ourselves about God and about his purposes and about his glory and about his joy. In that, that’s actually where we find our fullness of joy in this life.

We see that Paul didn’t say, “Man, I want people to have spiritual wisdom and understanding because I want them to be more peaceful, more comfortable in life, I want them to have more happiness, I want them to be able to have the wisdom to raise their kids rightly, I want them to figure out how to have a good work-life balance and how to maintain health into their older years.” He doesn’t pray for all of that, though of course I do think spiritual wisdom and understanding leads to that. But as good as those things are, he’s saying, “The highest thing, the highest goal, is that God would be honored and glorified and that he would find pleasure and delight in the way we’re living before him.”

I’m not saying these things are bad, I’m just saying you need to put them in the right order.

This week you’re going to be pursuing those things I just listed. Those are good things. My heart for you is that all of those things would be manifest in your life. But as you’re pursuing these things this week, as you’re having conversations trying to figure out how we flesh that out a little bit better in our family, et cetera, in my individual life, make sure to always be asking, “What is it that honors and glorifies God the most, and what is it that would bring the most pleasure and delight to the Father’s heart? I want to rejoice in that, and then I want to pursue these things in light of that primary consideration.”

When you put those things in their right order, these things won’t enslave you and feel stressful and trapping, but they’ll actually fill you with a joy and fulfillment that you won’t have otherwise.

That’s why we need it: because we are called to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him.

3. What It Looks Like

What does this look like? That’s a high calling! If you go out and you’re like, “Alright, I’ve got it. I have to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him,” what do you do for the first step? What does this look like?

I think Paul helps us out. What he does is he brings attention to it with these participles of Scripture. I don’t want to give you an entire grammar lesson, but it is fun to do, so I’m going to do it.

The participles—what do I have in view here? They’re all of the “-ing” words of this passage. These “-ing” words, what they are is they are building out, they are explaining more fully the clause that they come after. They’re explaining more fully what we just talked about.

What is it to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him? We see it in these phrases: it’s bearing fruit in every good work, increasing in the knowledge of God, it’s being strengthened with all power, and it’s giving thanks with joy. Let’s take these in order.

(1) Bearing fruit in every good work. I want to draw your attention here: God cares about the good works in your life. He cares about the good works in your life, right? I know we’re not saved by our works; it’s not that our good works save us, that we do these things, God sees, “Yes, you’re nailing it, so I’m going to respond with grace and blessing, maybe even salvation.” It’s not that, but it is that God gives us grace and blessings so that we can be a people who live out these good works that he’s called us to.

Ephesians 2:10 says this: “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

Titus 2:14: Jesus, “who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.”

Jesus says in Matthew 5 in the Sermon on the Mount, “Let your light so shine before men, so that they might see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”

Good works; we are called to live out these good works from the grace and the favor that’s been shown us in Jesus.

What do I have in mind with good works? It’s simply this: it’s a life of obedience to the commands of Scripture, understood in the light of Christ and the gospel. It’s a very important caveat, but it’s a life of obedience to the commands of Scripture. That’s what we have.

I get it. When we hear the word “obedience” there’s something in us that maybe can respond negatively to that, and that probably comes from a history in the United States of fundamentalism being very strong. I don’t want to throw all that out. But as good as all of our correctives against the errors of fundamentalism might be, it does not mean that we aren’t still called to have a lifestyle of obedience to God. That’s how the Bible speaks, and it calls us to these things, these commands of Scripture. We are to understand them rightly in the light of Christ. A lifestyle of obedience.

(2) We also see that a lifestyle that is worthy of the Lord and that pleases him is one that is increasing in the knowledge of God. You see, I think a lot of us here have never actually had any type of disciplined or regimented approach to grow in the knowledge of God. There might be some of us here who didn’t really see it as that important, or you thought, That’s something I can do down the road if I have the time, but you’ve never had any type of disciplined approach to growing in the knowledge of God, studying, learning, pouring yourself into doctrine and theology, which is the truths of Scripture presented in a systematic way for our instruction, right?

Or maybe there are some of you here who have done this, but you did it one season of your life, and if you’re really honest about it, it’s been years, maybe decades since you’ve really had an ongoing discipline of growing in the knowledge of God and his revelation in the word and the theology that comes out of that word. Right? You went to Bible college. Maybe when you were in your early twenties you were killing it, you read so much; but life caught up to you.

I wonder if the application here is just that we need to find ways to be regularly working this into our lives. I get it; it’s hard. It’s hard to figure out, “What does this even mean? How do I practically do this? It seems like it’s a high, high bar to reach.”

Here are a couple practical things that I think will help. In your devotion time, supplement some theological reading into that. If you want some suggestions on that, email me, email Brian, email the elders; we can start to direct you to some helpful resources for that. But in your devotion time—first of all, set aside a devotion time, and then supplement some theological reading into that.

Here’s what my suggestion would be. Try beginning with that theological reading before you get to your Scripture reading and prayer. Is that because it’s more important? No, I don’t think it’s because it’s more important than that. But as you read about the truths of God and as you read about God through the eyes of people who see him clearly and who have meditated on these things long, oftentimes it can help kind of warm your heart and soul up, it can knock some of the dust off, sometimes it can take some of these blinders off your own eyes or some of the distractions and help get you in the flow of seeing these things and hearing from God. Now your heart is primed to go into Scripture and hear from the Lord, to see truly, and then to go to the Lord in prayer and to spend some time with the Lord. It’s something that I think has been helpful for me; I know it’s helpful for a lot of other people. It doesn’t have to be that way; it’s just a suggestion.

Another one: we live in the podcast era. It’s a good era to live in. This means that there are some really good theological—historical theological, systematic theological, biblical theological—all these things are in these podcast forms that are really clean, they’re neatly presented, you can get them in bits of ten minutes, fifteen minutes, thirty minutes, an hour. What could you do if you spent some of your drive time just learning?

You might say, “Man, I don’t see how this is really making me feel closer to Jesus, and I don’t know that my heart is really warmed by a lot of these things the way it might be if I’m just listening to music.” I get that. I really get that. It’s not something that is the whole idea of the Christian life, but the promise of Scripture is that it’s as you commit yourself to increasing in the knowledge of God that God is doing the work, slowly but surely, of pouring into you these things that we’ve talked about this morning, and shaping you a little more into the image of Christ as he reveals himself to you more and more.

(3) The next one: being strengthened with power. I want to note something that’s peculiar, and that’s that if you have an ESV Bible that is before the 2016 printing, this verse in verse 11 read differently. Instead of “being strengthened with all power” it says, “May you be strengthened with all power.” They put a period and started a new sentence. From 2016 on the ESV changed that to the participial construction that we’ve been talking about, but before that they actually had translated it differently. I think their updated edition is good and it’s right because it recognizes that this is a participle off that clause and that this is a further explanation of this “walking worthy of the Lord and being pleasing to him.”

Being strengthened with all power. What does this look like? A life that’s worthy of and pleasing to God is a life that is dependent on God’s strength and power.

You know, when I say that, probably some of you are like, “That sounds good! Strength, power; that’s what I’m all about. I drink seven cups of coffee a day! Give me some more power, preacher!”

That’s all well and good until you have actually come to the places in your life where you truly are dependent on God and God alone and you’re at the end of yourself. These are the times when God’s power really becomes manifest.

Paul says, “God’s power is made perfect in weakness.” I just want to put before us that we need to learn to embrace the goodness of the desperation moments in our Christian walk. Those are difficult, they’re hard. I’m not going to say they’re going to be easy. But we need to remember this: that it’s in those moments that God’s power is at work.

It talks about the working of God’s glorious might—that phrase is used in Ephesians 1 when it’s talking about “the working of God’s great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead,” and that’s awesome! Resurrection power; that’s what I’m looking for in my life! But let us remember that resurrection power comes through the prior experience of death and defeat.

Something to remember in our lives is that the working of God’s power often looks like weakness and foolishness and defeat from a worldly perspective. As we seek the Lord and as we pray for these things and as we give ourselves to the disciplines of being filled with the knowledge of God’s will with spiritual wisdom and understanding, we’ll begin to see these situations differently. The pain is still the pain, but there is glory and power in the midst of it.

It says, “We are strengthened for endurance and patience.” I’ll just say this in a simple statement, because I thought it was great, from N.T. Wright. He said, “We need endurance for seemingly impossible situations and we need patience for seemingly impossible people.” I think that’s a good construction for it, right? We’ve met both of those. But it’s something to remember, that as we’re talking about these things, the Christian life can be an uphill battle and it can demand a lot. So impossible situations and impossible people; these are the instances we need God’s power.

(4) The last fleshing out of what this looks like is, “Giving thanks with joy.” I put “with joy” on “giving thanks,” and I know that’s how it is in the ESV. I did that for a reason. All of the participles here are qualified by an explanatory clause there, and I actually think to be consistent with it this is where joy was intended to be.

Now, this is all one big run-on sentence in the Greek, so interpreters are making different decisions on what different words modify different words and where the breaks should be. We’ve talked about that a little bit already. But here’s the pattern. We see bearing fruit in every good work, increasing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with power, and then I think we’re supposed to read, “giving thanks with joy” to make that consistent.

Giving thanks with joy. (I think it could be read just as well the other way and it’s still encouraging and good.) A life that is worthy of and pleasing to God is a life that overflows with thankfulness to God.

I would just ask you, is that what your life looks like in your Christian walk? Are you just overflowing with thankfulness to God day after day, moment by moment? Think about your prayer times and how they’re constructed. Do you spend about 75 percent of that just rehearsing and meditating on and remembering all the ways that God’s blessed you and all the ways you’re not worthy (which incidentally, by the way, that’s all of them)? Are you just pouring out thankfulness to God and then you move into petition? Or is it something like it’s petition, petition, petition, and then at the end you remember, “And God, thanks for this day. Amen.” Right?

I get it. I’m not trying to condemn you for your prayer life. God delights to hear his children coming to him with their needs and their wants and the desires of their hearts. Don’t feel a pressure there.

But I am asking us to maybe look at it in balance a little bit more. What would it look like to spend your prayer time trying to overflow in thankfulness to God, because you know that it delights his heart and you know that this is something that is fit, something that is consistent with the way Jesus lived before the Lord. Then from that place of thankfulness you start to see what God puts on your heart as some of the petitions and needs of your life. This is a life that gets presented to us of walking worthy of the Lord in all wisdom and in the knowledge of God’s will, in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.

4. Why We Can Trust God to Give It

Why can we trust God to give this? I’ll just say it like this: it’s because of what he’s already done. We see that at the end of the section of Scripture that we’re studying. From verse 12 on it says,

“. . . giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. 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.”

What do I have in view here? I talked about all the “-ing’s” of Scripture before; these are the “-ed’s” of Scripture. Everything that ends in “-ed.” I know “redeemed” and “forgiven” aren’t there, but they are connected with what came before, so that’s why I put those in the past tense.

We see all the things that God has done for us. Most of the language here is talking about this idea of transferring us out from under one authority and power in our lives and under another, a new authority and power in our lives. It says, “He has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.” He has made us fit for this kingdom or he has made us fit for this inheritance, when we were not fit for it in and of ourselves.

This is something to remember about the good news of the gospel. It’s not that we had to find our way to God and somehow shape ourselves into someone who could receive these blessings from God, it’s that God did the work, he’s the one who accomplished making us fit to receive that which we were unfit to receive and walk in prior to that. He’s qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.

What is the inheritance? It’s simply all of the blessings and glory that are associated with Jesus’ sonship and Jesus’ lordship over this earth and over the new creation as well. We get to come alongside and enjoy Jesus’ inheritance, all the blessings and glory therein.

He has delivered us from the domain of darkness, he has transferred us to the kingdom of Jesus. Right? We’re no longer under the rule of this prince of darkness and shaped in such a way that we must live consistent with that rule, as we were before Christ, but we have been transferred into a new kingdom, under a new authority, and what this means is it actually frees us. It frees us to live in these ways that we’ve talked about. It frees us to be a people who can live a life that is worthy of the name of Jesus and that brings delight and joy to the Father’s heart, the way Jesus did. We are free to serve in the kingdom of King Jesus. He has redeemed us and he has forgiven us.

This means God purchased us out of our sin and he paid the ransom price, and then also, he has already set us free from all the consequences of our transgressions against him. He has already accomplished it, he’s already done it, and I’m ending the message with where we began. All of these things that Paul prays for, this vision of the Christian life that he’s presented and that he’s praying for and he’s petitioning the Lord to work out in these believer’s lives and that he’s calling us to, we know that we surely can walk in this, because God has already done everything needed for us to do this. He’s done everything needed for us to be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, and to walk in a way that is worthy of him and that is pleasing to him.

You see, walking worthy is a high calling. That’s a high calling. It’s an impossible calling in and of our own strength. But God has already made all provision for it in Christ; praise be to God!

Like we said at the opening of the message last week, I want us to be captured again by the joy of this reality that as we pursue the Lord Jesus Christ, as we stay dependent on the power of the Spirit, as we seek to prioritize giving ourselves to the means of grace, trusting that God will pour these things into our lives, as we do these things and as we look forward into life—I don’t care what your past has been. I don’t care if it was yesterday for you! As you do that and as you look forward, you can always look with excitement and with joy for what can truly be manifested in your life, because of who God is, because of what Christ has done, and because of these promises that we have in Scripture. Your best days can always be ahead of you in the Lord, and you can go more and more and more into these realities until you see the Lord Jesus face to face. That is the promise of Scripture, because God has already accomplished everything needful related to all of this. Amen? Let’s pray.

Lord God, what a joy to study your Scriptures Sunday after Sunday! What a joy to come back again and again and to get fresh reminders of truth, fresh conviction, fresh drive, fresh vision for our walks. God, may we be like the apostle Paul this morning, that no matter what our weeks have been like, what our months have been like, that today, by your grace and according to the truth that you have given us in Christ, we can leave the past in the past, we can stop thinking about that, we can look forward to the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. This week, no matter what our past weeks have been, I pray that this week will be a week that we walk in a way that is worthy of the name of Jesus a little bit more, and that our joy would come from knowing that the Father, the God of all glory, looks down on us and delights and rejoices over us. What a wonderful, wonderful truth! Lord, let our hearts know it well.

I ask that you would give us the gift of understanding and faith to truly believe these things and to live in the light of them. We ask you this in the name of Jesus, amen.