Sunday, Aug 20, 2017AM Service
Yearning for Christlikeness in Others (Part 2)
Speaker: Jerry Wragg
Passage: Colossians 1:10
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We are continuing our study of “Praying Like Christ” in Luke 11:1-13.  However, over the next few weeks, we will set a foundation by studying a passage in Colossians that is so rich in implications for this study that it cannot be missed.

We will examine the “guardian ministry” that each person in the body of believers has.  If you are a professing believer of Christ and a member of His church, you should be burdened for others in the church.  Do you understand that you have a guardian ministry on behalf of others?  In our prayers, we yearn for those around us to be more Christlike and the goal of their Christlikeness is to produce fruit that will remain.

In Colossians 1:9-10, the Apostle Paul expresses his guardian ministry.  Last week we examined Paul’s first concern:

  1. That they have a Word saturated life.
  • Paul prays that believers would be filled to the brim with God’s Word.
  • And, that the knowledge of God’s Word would be transcendent.  Paul desired to see the believers become rooted in the knowledge experientially as they saw the promises of God’s word fulfilled while living out their faith.
  • And, that the knowledge of truth would be penetrating insightful for discriminating life’s choices to develop guiding values.

Paul’s second concern is:

  1. That they have a worthy pattern of life (v.10).
  • Walking in a manner worthy of the Lord. 
  • This is our life target or goal.  It is our spiritual agenda.
  • A body of believers walking in a manner worthy is the one overriding core mark of a healthy church.
  • Paul often uses this phrase, “walk in a manner worthy” (Ephesians 4:1, Philippians 1:27, 1 Thessalonians 2:12).
  • And it was common to use this same target language with the missionaries of the early church (3 John 6).

Practically speaking, a worthy walk refers to our conduct.  A worthy walk is the disciplined pattern of daily living.  Practically, how is the walk accomplished?

  1. It is learning dignified patterns that last as they become habits.
  2. And, through the pressures of life, there is long obedience in the same direction as consistency grows.

Don’t miss the key qualifier of this kind of walk – it is a “worthy” walk.  Not just worthy to a human standard, but the standard is Christ.  He is the highest standard.  It is a manner proper to Christ.

  • Romans 8:18 describes a concept of the weighing one thing vs. another.  In that example, there is an out of balance as the weight of this present time is not worthy of the glory to be revealed.
  • Here in Colossians, a worthy manner of the Lord would be two sides of a scale matching each other.
  • By comparison, our walk on one side of the scale is to be equal to Christ’s walk on the other side.
  • Of course, when we are saved, we are not intrinsically worthy of Christ.  As we conduct ourselves in our saved life, we get on a trajectory of progressively growing closer and closer to the standard bearer, Christ.
  • The standard is not each other.  Christlikeness is the target. 
  • We must not as a regular pattern set aside our faith to cope.  Our faith in Christ drives our desire to be like Him.
  • Three examples of faithfully living what we believe:
    1. When we come to Christ, we believe the humility of Christ by faith.
      • Phil. 2:5 tells us that Christ humbled Himself by setting aside His own perfections and submitted Himself.
      • In our trajectory of walking in a manner worthy of the Lord, we emulate Christ’s humility by submitting ourselves to God’s will.
    2. When we come to Christ, we believe in His sacrifice by faith.
      • Eph. 5:2 tells us that Christ gave Himself up as a sacrifice.
      • In our trajectory of walking in a manner worthy of the Lord, we practice loving in sacrificial ways.
    3. When we come to Christ, we believe by faith in Christ’s trusting relationship with the Father.
      • In John 15:10, Christ tells us that He keeps the Father’s commandments and abides in His love.
      • In our trajectory of walking in a manner worthy of the Lord, we practice faithfully trusting God, especially when what we see or feel tempts us to stray.  In those moments, we submit to the Father’s will.

Let’s examine the specifics of Paul’s prayer in Colossians 1:10

  1. The worthy manner requires, “to please Him in all respects
    1. This is a daily drive to please God as He commanded.  We live to please Him and have His approval on our lives.
    2. Eph. 5:10 tells us to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.  We do this by investigation and comparing our lives to God’s Word.
    3. The opposite is pursuing a life for what I want.
    4. Instead, we are driven to fully please Christ without compromise and without days or moments that would displease Him.
    5. Is the disposition of your heart to be pleasing to Christ; to be more aligned every day with His will?
    6. We have as our life’s ambition to be pleasing to Him (2 Cor. 5:9).
  2. The worthy manner requires, “bearing fruit in every good work
    1. There is a fruitfulness in obeying the commands of Christ.
    2. If we are to be fruitful, we must:
      1. Know what Christ wants.
      2. Reject everything my heart and flesh wants that are at odds with what Christ wants.
      3. Humbly believe that what Christ says in His word IS the best plan for my life.
      4. Give my whole heart over to His will in each command.
        • It only comes by the Spirit of God.
        • It is a process.
        • It is hard to do.
        • We are to be grateful for the Spirit’s power to obey.
        • We are to be grateful for spiritual lessons in both successes and failures.
    3. Real repentance will be evidence of the fruit of walking in a manner worthy.  We will be confessing and forsaking sin, regularly.  Shallow repentance will be jettisoned and Biblical repentance will result in real turning and obeying.
    4. In Matthew 28:20, Christ tells us that true disciple-making requires teaching others to obey Christ. 
    5. As disciples who walk in a manner worthy, we bear fruit by loving and obeying Christ’s commands.  We love His will for our lives.
  3. The worthy manner requires, “increasing in the knowledge of God
    1. Knowing, submitting, and trusting God always results in growth.
    2. Our godly walk in sanctification grows the more we submit to truth.
    3. In that submission, we mature and develop convictions.
    4. As pressure and trials come, our strength against temptation increases.

These three points present a cycle of sanctification.  We can weaken in our sanctification, if we are not steadfast in all three areas.  The process is difficult, but next week, we will learn in verse 11 how we are strengthened by the very power of the Godhead – the same power that raised Christ from the dead. 

By God’s grace in the Christian life, we learn what pleases Christ and we practice it.  We bear fruit in our obedience as we follow His commands.  And this cycle results in an increasing knowledge of God.  In it all, we have access to the Holy Spirit’s empowerment as we yield our will and entrust ourselves to God’s commands.  Our prayer is for regular victory in the Christian life.  Beloved, don’t settle for living in a manner of life that is not worthy of the Lord.  We have the might of His glory at our disposal; we cannot fail when we entrust ourselves to Christ, completely.