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2. A Life Worthy (Colossians 1:9-14)

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Day One Study

Read Colossians 1:1-14.

  1. Now look specifically at verses 9-14.
  • What is Paul writing about?
  • What jumps out at you in this passage?
  1. Focus on verse 9. Using any dictionary (regular or Bible dictionary), define the words “knowledge”, “wisdom” and “understanding.”
  • Knowledge —
  • Wisdom —
  • Understanding —

Summary: What is Paul asking God to do?

Focus on the Meaning: Paul used two key words, “fill” and “knowledge.” The first suggest a filling out to completeness, and the latter suggests a full, deep understanding. Such knowledge of God’s will does not come from a fleshly mind (which “puffs up,” 1 Cor. 8:1), but from the Holy Spirit who enlightens a believer’s inner person (1 Cor. 2:5-6, 13), and from the Word of God. God’s will, revealed in the Bible, is made known to believers by the Holy Spirit’s teaching ministry. (The Bible Knowledge Commentary New Testament, p. 670)

  1. Paul mentions the knowledge of God’s will and includes 4 specific areas included in His will for us as believers.
  • Does God want us to know His will?
  • How can you find out what is God’s will, not only for you but also for all believers? Elaborate using Scripture to support your answer.

Focus on the Meaning: The “will” (thelematos) of God is what God has revealed in His Word to be correct, regarding both belief (faith) and behavior (works, morality; cf.

4:12; Acts 22:14; Rom. 12:2). (Constables Notes on Colossians, p. 14)

  1. Staying Healthy: Pray for specific people you know to gain knowledge of His will for their lives. Pray for them according to Paul’s prayer in Colossians 1:9-12. Look for evidence of God working in their lives according to His Word in this passage.

Day Two Study

Read Colossians 1:9-14.

  1. According to Paul’s prayer for these believers in verses 9-14, see the evidence of a life worthy and pleasing to God (and His will for us, at least 4 areas!). Fill in the chart below.

Evidence of a life worthy and pleasing to God

How that would look in someones life

1. bearing…

2. growing…

3. being…

4. giving…

Focus on the Meaning: The aim of believers in all their worthy conduct should be to please Him in every way, to anticipate and do His wishes in every aspect of life (cf. Eph. 5:10). (The Bible Knowledge Commentary New Testament, p. 671)

  1. According to verse 11, who gives you the ability to live a life worthy of the Lord and pleasing to Him?

Can you do this through your own efforts? Why not?

Think About It: Human parents raise their children to become more independent of them over time. God raises His children to become more dependent on Him over time. Dependent living is recognizing you can do nothing worthy of pleasing God on your own efforts. Dependent living is learning to say to Jesus, “Lord, I can’t do this on my own. But, you can in and through me. I will trust you.” Then, watch what He does.

  1. Staying Healthy:
  • Is it your desire to live a life worthy and pleasing to God? Why?
  • Which of these 4 evidences of a life worthy and pleasing to God will you trust God’s power to do in your life today?
  1. In verse 12, Paul says, “who has qualified you (made you competent) to share in the inheritance of the saints.” How did God qualify us? Dig into all of Chapter 1 for this answer!! Add any other verses you already know as well.

Focus on the Meaning: Here Paul centered thanksgiving on the fact that God has qualified you (lit. “made you competent;” cf. 2 Cor. 3:6) to share in the inheritance of the saints…though believers are unfit in themselves, God has fitted them. (The Bible Knowledge Commentary New Testament, p. 671-672)

  1. Deeper Discoveries (optional): Read these other prayers of Paul—Ephesians 1:17-19; Ephesians 3:16-19 and Philippians 1:9-11. Use these words to pray for your loved ones today. (If they aren’t believers yet, pray for their salvation first.) Why is it beneficial to pray this way, using these verses?
  2. “Dominion” in v. 13 means “tyranny/ rule.” Read Psalm 51:5; Ephesians 2:1-3; and 2 Corinthians 4:4. Before trusting in Christ, what was our experience in the dominion of darkness (in which we are born as sinners)?

Scriptural Insights: Satan is not the direct cause of sin in man. However, he rules the fallen world; the unsaved are part of his domain. He is now doing all in his power to keep the unsaved from being delivered from his dominion of darkness and transferred into Christ’s kingdom of light. He energizes the children of disobedience (Ephesians 2:2) and blinds the minds of the unsaved so the light of the gospel can’t reach them (2 Corinthians 4:4).

  1. How do we get into Christ’s kingdom?

Historical Insight: The verb translated “transferred” (metestesen) described the relocation of large groups of people such as captured armies or colonists from one country to another. This kingdom is probably a reference to Christ’s domain as opposed to Satan’s domain of darkness…”Darkness” is also a prominent figure in biblical symbolism where it represents ignorance, falsehood, and sin. (Constables Notes on Colossians, pp. 16-17)

  1. What do we receive there?
  2. What is redemption, and how is it related to forgiveness? Use a dictionary or Bible dictionary to derive your answer.
  3. Staying Healthy: Meditate on and then respond to what it means to be transferred from the dominion of darkness to the kingdom of the Son of God. Feel free to use any creative means (poem, prose, song, drawing, art) as you respond.

Day Three Study: TRUTH—the Prescription for Healthy Living

Dwell in Truth You Can Know

  1. Review the Colossians passage we studied in this lesson. List the truths about God and His relationship to us that we can KNOW.

Humbly Accept the “I Don’t Know or Understand”

  1. Make note of anything in the Colossians passage we studied in this lesson that you do not understand at this time.

Discern Teaching through the Complete Revelation of God’s Word

  1. To evaluate something you read or hear in light of the TRUTH you are learning—books, social media, billboards—things that sound nice and comfy but may actually lead to or be based upon error in biblical thinking, use the following process.
  • Step #1: Define the terms and issues involved.
  • Step #2: Ask questions and support your answers with Scripture, looking for truth you can know and what you can’t know.
  • Step #3: Think of a graceful response to someone holding to that type of thinking.

Here’s an example: After her beloved Christian mother died, a grieving woman needed comfort. To help with her grief, she drew from something she had heard in the culture—that her mother had now become an angel and was present with her, communicating with her. So, let’s work through the process of discerning truth from error and responding graciously.

Step #1: Define the issues/terms.

There are really three issues involved: 1. Do Christians become angels when they die? 2. Can our loved ones in heaven see what is happening in our lives on earth and communicate with us? 3. When grieving, how do we turn to Jesus for our comfort rather than traditions that make us feel good but draw us away from Him?

Step #2: Ask questions and support your answers with Scripture, looking for truth you can know and what you can’t know.

Continuing with the example given:

1. Do Christians become angels when they die? The biblical truth is that angels and people are clearly distinct in their creation, purpose and destiny (Colossians 1:15-17; Hebrews 1:13-14). People do not become angels when they die. Our greatest confirmation of this is Jesus Himself. After His resurrection, He appeared in a human body, the same kind we will receive after we die. We will be like Him (Philippians 3:20-21; 1 John 3:2). Here's the truth we can know: people become like Christ when they die, not like angels.

2. Can our loved ones in heaven see what is happening in our lives on earth and communicate with us? The Bible doesn't clearly tell us if people in heaven are able to observe what happens on earth. The witnesses of Hebrews 12:1 are those Old Testament believers who can testify that it is possible to live a life of faith because they did it. The text doesn't say they are watching us. And, that would not include anyone who died since the Old Testament ended anyway. Can people in heaven communicate with us? The Bible teaches that people on earth are not to communicate with the dead (Deuteronomy 18:10-12). Loved ones in heaven are without sin and will not disobey God so they will not try to communicate with us. Feathers, pennies, etc. are normal events and can serve as reminders for us of our loved ones but are not communications from them. Here's the "I don't know" we must humbly accept: we cannot know if our dead loved ones see anything happening on earth. That is a secret thing belonging to the Lord (Deuteronomy 29:29). Anything else is speculation.

3. When grieving, how do we turn to Jesus for our comfort rather than traditions that make us feel good but draw us away from Him? Our God promises to be a God of comfort and fulfills that promise (2 Corinthians 1:3-5). We should turn to Jesus first for our comfort and let Him choose how He does that for us. He uses people who give us hugs, listen to us talk about our loved one, cry with us and help us when we are weak. Memories of our loved ones are stimulated by sounds, places, sights, smells, and many other reminders associated with that person in our lives. We can take comfort from those stimulated memories and thank God for them. The Holy Spirit pours out Jesus' love in our hearts (Romans 5:5) so we can inwardly feel loved by Him during those times of grief. Jesus can also use His angels who are servants of God as ministering spirits to us (Hebrews 1:14). God's angels (not people angels) are present around us and can influence things happening so as to minister to us. If you feel your loved one close to you, it is likely an angel Jesus has sent to be near you at that time. Here's the truth: Jesus uses people, memories, His Spirit, His love and His angels to comfort us in a time of grief.

Step #3: Think of a graceful response to someone holding to that type of thinking.

Continuing with the example given:

I feel how much you are hurting since your mother’s death and how much you miss her. While you loved your mom so much that thinking of her as an angel gives you comfort, the Bible teaches this truth that God is giving her a wonderful resurrected human body like Jesus has, not an angel’s body. You have wonderful memories of your mom that will crop up through places, smells, sights, and other reminders of your life with her. And, Jesus will comfort you in your grief through those memories, through people He sends to cry with you and help you, through His Spirit pouring love into your heart, and through true angles who will be near you to minister to you in amazing ways during this sad time. Stay focused on the comfort you will receive from Jesus and let your heart just be completely hugged by Him.

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