Small Group Questions
Give some examples of good fruit that you have because of your faith?
Do you have a Christian mentor? Are you mentoring another Christian?
Give an example of when you yielded to someone else that was to your benefit.
What are you praying for and why? Does that need to change after listening to this sermon?
Describe a time where you used God’s strength to get through a trial.
Now that’s a prayer! (Colossians 1:9-14) *Verses in New Living Translation (NLT)*
– Recently we finished the Book of Acts, and it ended with Paul imprisoned in Rome.
– We are now going through Colossians. A “prison letter” written by Paul during that time.
– This letter is written to the Church in Colosse, a young and faithful church of mostly Gentiles.
– Paul is really trying to encourage them to stay rooted in the true gospel, and he begins this letter with a powerful prayer:
– Colossians 1:9-10, So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. 10 Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better.
– This is the “good fruit” your life in Christ should produce:
– Galatians 5:22-23, But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
– I think for the new-ish believer, one of the biggest challenges is transitioning to living a life that pleases God, because you know it on paper, but what does it look like to put it in to action?
– Example: I was a new firefighter with no experience, started copying the bad example around me, until a guy from another shift/station corrected me. I was so thankful!
– There are rules, and guidelines, and procedures on paper, but putting that into practice takes and example to follow. (What does “being patient” look like? What is “long suffering”?)
– Like in the movie A Few Good Men, “If it’s not in the book, how did you know where the chow hall was?” “I just followed the crowd at chow time, Sir.”
– You can be easily affected by the Christian culture around you, whether legalistic and judgmental, or compromising and accepting of sin.
– James 3:15-18, For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. 16 For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind. 17 But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. 18 And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.
– This is an excellent example of what it should look like and what it shouldn’t look like. When you see the believer’s around you setting THIS example, you will know you are in the right place.
– John 15:4, (Jesus said), Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.
– This is the knowledge that Paul is talking about! To be the Christian you need to be, stay connected to Jesus himself, “…the author and perfecter of our faith.”
– Paul’s prayer also shows a perspective shift from the materialistic prayers that our American culture models for us. Our prayers should be focused on spiritual things, not material things.
– Our culture creates a negative influence focused on “having things” instead of “being things”.
– Having a bigger house, better job, and good looks; instead of being loving, courageous, steadfast, and patient. At the end of the day, what is God’s will for you?
– Luke 12:15, Then he (Jesus) said, “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.”
– 1 Tim. 6:10, 10 For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.
– Money isn’t evil… loving money is. Money = attaining anything in this physical world.
– James 4:2-3, You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. 3 And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.
– This is a prayer perspective shift! What are you praying for, and why?
– Spiritual growth yields a deeper comprehension of Christian truth and conduct that pleases the Lord, through which the believer will have endurance and patience to stand firm against evil.
– May YOU have spiritual wisdom, so that you can live a life pleasing to God.
– Colossians 1:11, We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy,
– The NKJV says, “…all patience and longsuffering WITH joy.”
– Phil. 2:14, Do everything without complaining and arguing,
– My first reaction is typically frustration and complaining. The exact opposite of what I should do! I know that about me, so I try to remind myself to “choose joy”. (…or Shelly reminds me!)
– It would be disingenuous of me to imply that you don’t know what it means to go through hard things or suffer. Even during the last 2 months, many of you have suffered great loss, and I would never try to minimize that experience.
– Just because it is “easy for me to say”, doesn’t make it less of the truth that you should follow.
– The 1st century Christians may be the perfect example of longsuffering with joy, strengthened by the Holy Spirit.
– 2 Cor. 6:4-6, 4 In everything we do, we show that we are true ministers of God. We patiently endure troubles and hardships and calamities of every kind. 5 We have been beaten, been put in prison, faced angry mobs, worked to exhaustion, endured sleepless nights, and gone without food. 6 We prove ourselves by our purity, our understanding, our patience, our kindness, by the Holy Spirit within us, and by our sincere love.
– Phil 4:12-13, I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. 13 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.
– 1 peter 5:9, Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believersall over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are.
– When I’m too focused on my own problems, I try to remember to look up, recognize that so many of my Christian brothers and sisters are dealing with far worse, and I should pray for THEM!
– This is a prayer perspective shift!
– Instead of praying to be delivered from hardship, pray for strength and endurance to go through it. Let it refine you, instead of avoiding the pain of purification.
– 1 Peter 1:6-7, So be truly glad.[b] There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. 7 These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.
– James 1:2-4, Dear brothers and sisters,[a] when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
– Through Jesus Christ you can patiently endure all things with joy!
– Colossians 1:12-14, always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light. 13 For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, 14 who purchased our freedomand forgave our sins.
– Our culture places no value on things that are free, because we would selfishly never give away something that still has value to us. If it doesn’t cost us something, it must not be worth anything. (Like a lawn mower on the curb… or garage sale before donating to charity…)
– The extreme blessings of simply being born in this country is something that we mostly take for granted. Clean water, indoor plumbing, vaccines and cures for deadly diseases…
– Sometimes we are like Veruca Salt… not just any squirrel… or house, car, job, etc…
– Contrasting example: First Home of Hope, Arceilla, build church first, while living in very poor structure, still serving the Lord and waiting for her blessing. She was thankful, not entitled.
– We’re over here in America hoarding guns and toilet paper.
– Eph. 2:8-9, God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.
– In our American mindset, this can sound misleading. If it is free, to us it has no value, so we don’t take it seriously, or understand the significance. (Taking grace for a “joy ride”)
– Eph 1:6-8, So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son.[b]7 He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. 8 He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.
– The gift of salvation is free to us, but Jesus paid for it with His blood! So it wasn’t free!
– Humble gratitude to God for salvation is a powerful defense against false teaching.
– What does it mean to be saved, to have the inheritance, to have your sins forgiven?
(I want to highlight some verses. They will all be in my notes attached to the sermon online.)
– Romans 3:23-24, For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. 24 Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.
– Romans 6:23, For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.
– Romans 10:9-11,If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved. 11 As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.”
– John 14:21, Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them.”
– Acts 2:38, Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
– Are you ready for Paul’s prayer to be for YOU today? Give your life to Jesus Christ today!
– Alter call and prayer –
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