Excerpts from the message preached at our church on Sunday, July 8.
Col. 1:9-14 – 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.  May you be 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.
God’s Desire for His Children – Strengthened with all power
a. This obviously cannot mean that God gives us all His power (although, listening to some TV preachers you might get that impression). No, it simply means all the power that is required for accomplishing what God wants for us. He who calls and commands also equips and enables
b. Remember that verse 11 is giving us the results in our lives when we have the prayer of verses 9&10 answered. You want to know why you are not as you should be? You do not know God as well as you should. You are not growing as you should in spiritual wisdom and understanding … . Verses 9&10 are a prayer. Power comes from asking God for what He wants for us. The prayer is not “Give me power”. The prayer is “Help me to know you better” etc. And the power is what God gives us as part of the answer.
God’s Provision for His People – According to His glorious Might
a. God wants us to be strengthened and He gives us what we need in order to achieve that. He is the power enabling us to be strengthened.
b. Then what in the world is wrong with us? God desires it for us. God provides it for us. Why don’t we seem to have it? Well, that would take a long time to answer. Go through this room and get a great many different answers. “Where is the power?”
c. But allow this as an answer to the question. If God’s desire for us is to be strengthened with all power and God has provided this power in accordance with His glorious might, then the reason we do not have what He wants for us and has enabled us to have is:
i. We do not know what it is
ii. We do not want it, when we find out what it is
God’s goal for His people
a. God wants us to be strengthened with all power according to His glorious might. What great plans God must have for us. What earth shattering exploits has He planned for us if only we would get our act together? What are we about to see in this text that we can accomplish for God, by His power, for His glory, as we get filled with the Holy Spirit and let go and let God?
b. Well, what does the text say? “For all endurance, and patience with joy”.
Well that is not what we thought it would be is it? That is not even what some people believe it to be, even as they read it and hear right now. It can’t be that. We are not strengthened with all power according to His glorious might just so that we can endure and be patient and be joyful. Yes, dear ones we are. This is where the real power of God is needed. And this is where the real power of God is demonstrated. Not in the great accomplishments as we think of great accomplishments. Not in performing great miracles (although who will deny that these qualities lived out in the power of God is not a great miracle?) Not in the exhibition of great gifts. Not in the great numbers that are converted from our preaching and witnessing. Not in all the things we normally think of when we say that we want God to give us power.
Endurance – “endurance is the grace to bear up under, the bravery of perseverance in the performance of one’s God given task in spite of every hardship and trial”.
a. Why can’t we be like those churches that come up with a vision and “presto” there it is doing great things in the community, in the lives of others, in the conversion of sinners … ? Why do things happen so slowly, after so much opposition, after so many questions, after failure and abandonment and difficulty? Why can’t we just come up with something, just once, that works the first time round? Because that would be bad for us. It would make us spiritual infants. It is not the way that God works. If some churches are in that mold, then let’s pray that it doesn’t ruin them.
b. So then the power of God at work in us is when He gives us the ability to not give up.
i. when we are tempted – Hebrews 12:1
ii. when we are opposed – Luke 21:10-19
iii. when we suffer in various ways – I Peter 1:6
iv. when it would be easier to do what is not God pleasing
Patience – “It refers to the self-restraint which does not hastily retaliate a wrong.” To be long tempered (Vine).
a. You want to show the power of God at work? Be long tempered.
b. See I Thessalonians 5:14 – This patience is to be lavished on the idle, the fainthearted, the weak.
a. Ah, we can show patience and most of the time we do not have a choice about the things that we have to endure. But Paul is not content to say just to show patience and endurance. We are to show them with joy.
b. This is what the Holy Spirit produces – Galatians 5:22
c. Joy in difficulty comes from
i. Identity with Christ – Acts 5:41
ii. Knowing our hope – Hebrews 12:1-2, I Peter 1:6
iii. The Word of God – I John 1:4
iv. Obedience – John 15:11
v. Christian fellowship – I Thessalonians 2:19
But is this all the Christian life is? Is all we do is go around enduring and being patient with others? Is that the message we are supposed to take away from this text? Of course not. But we should take this away – the Christian attitude, traits, behaviour, we see here in this text are the ones that must be in full working order as we go about doing what God has called us to do. Talent is trumped by character. We get so impressed with ability do we not? So what is the greatest thing you will ever do? What great thing above all other things has God told us to do? Love Him. Love Him how? With all our hearts. Love one another? How? As we love ourselves. This does not mean that talent is of no use. God gives us the gifts we have for His glory to be used in the world for the world’s betterment, the church’s betterment and the salvation of the lost. But if all we can do is repair things, teach, clean, … and not also show patience, and endurance and do so with joy – then we are nothing but a hindrance in the work of the kingdom.