Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 2 * BOOK 40
Seven-Fold Prayer of Paul for Us – Part 2
We appreciate it so much when you write and tell us you’re studying the Word and are enjoying it and sharing it with others. That’s what we’re here for. This is what I want to show from the Book of Colossians – how these early Christians didn’t just sit on what they had gained, they shared it, they spread the Word and that of course, is our responsibility even today. So let’s go back to where we left off in our last program. Colossians chapter 1 and we’ll pick up again in verse 9 where Paul is introducing a prayer that he offers continuously, I’m sure of, on behalf of these Colosse believers, but it is also appropriate for us today. This same prayer is for us and I think it behooves us in turn to pray for fellow believers.And it’s also practical and don’t forget, what were these people a few years ago? Pagans, with no understanding of the Old Testament.
They don’t have any of the Old Testament. They don’t even have any of the New Testament. And so the more you think about that the more amazing it is that here we have a group of people that the Apostle Paul can deal with on this level and know that they knew what he was talking about. And then bring it on up to our present situation. My, it should be so much easier to teach these things today. Where people have at least, a cursory knowledge of the Old Testament and they have an understanding of how Christ was born at Bethlehem and so forth. These people didn’t have any of that. And so it really should be easier now but it isn’t. Human nature hasn’t changed one iota. These people steeped in paganism were just as human as lost people are today and it took the same power of God to bring them out of that as it does to bring a lost person to the light even today. And so Paul goes on.
“For this cause we also, (because of their love and testimony) since the day we heard it, we do not cease to pray for you, (and now here comes the Apostle’s desire on behalf of these new believers) and to desire that you might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;”
How many professing Christians today can claim to have any of that? Not very many! And this is deep. This isn’t just the stuff on the top. This is down in the deep things, to be knowledgeable of His will, in wisdom and spiritual understanding. You know, how many times have you heard people say, “Well you know, it’s just blind faith.” No, it’s not just blind faith. You’re supposed to know what you believe. You’re supposed to have an understanding of the Word that when Paul says if someone asks, “What’s the hope that you have?” You should be able to show them from the Word. And that’s what he means by being skilled at it and be able to turn to portions of Scripture and let the people read it. This is what God’s Word says. He also says “that you might be filled”, that it will just control their lives, the knowledge of his will and wisdom and spiritual understanding. Now verse 10. This comes down into the nitty gritty of their everyday lives, Monday through Saturday.
“That ye might walk worthy of the Lord (a person that the Lord would not have to be ashamed of and be what kind of a person?) unto all pleasing,”…
I do not buy this stuff that a believer has to constantly be like sandpaper to the world around them. I don’t think that’s necessary. I don’t think we have to constantly rub people the wrong way. Now, we don’t compromise. We’re not going to just go with the flow. But we don’t have to be irritating those people around us. Paul never teaches that. But as we stand for the truth, we do it in a way that is pleasing to those around us. And that is what he’s praying for. Now I said in the last program that we’d stop at the word “fruitful”
“…being fruitful in every good work,…”
Now that’s not to merit salvation, remember. Salvation isn’t of works. We don’t work for salvation. But we work for rewards. And if we’re going to have rewards, we’re going to have to have fruit. Now that’s a term that’s used quite a bit in the New Testament. I’m going to take you back and we’re going to chase a few of them down. Let’s go all the way back to John’s gospel and a portion of Scripture that most people are fairly acquainted with and that’s the vine in chapter 15. Let’s start at verse 4. These are the words of the Lord Himself during His earthly ministry.
“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 5. I am the vine, ye are the branches; He that abideth in me, and I in him, (there’s that position that Paul enlarges on in the chapters that we’ve been studying in Ephesians especially) the same bringeth forth much (what?)fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”
You can’t help bringing forth fruit. If you have that relationship with Christ as a result of believing the Gospel then you are positioned in Christ and consequently you’re going to be a fruit bearer. But the last part of the verse is the key: “For without me ye can do nothing.” So whatever we do, we do it with His power, and His help and the result is that we’re going to bear fruit. Now let’s turn on over to Romans chapter 7, where again we have the word fruit used in a different connotation instead of a vine and branch, we’re talking about a marriage relationship. Now this of course is Paul’s basic doctrine of being separated from the Law, and all of it’s demands. By Grace then we come into a totally different relationship.
“Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law (that is the Ten Commandments basically) by the body of Christ; (that is His death on the cross. When Christ died on the cross He fulfilled all the demands of the Law.) that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, (and what’s the purpose?) that we should bring forth fruit unto God.”
Now there’s nothing sexual or reproductive here, but rather this is Spiritual, this is just an analogy. Now in a marriage relationship between a husband and wife, the fruit of that relationship is children, .and that’s the fruit of marriage. But here we’re not talking about physical marriage, but the analogy is when we became dead to the Law because of the death of Christ, now we are free to be married to another. Instead of the Law and all of it’s demands, we’re now married to Grace, the Saviour, the Lord Himself. And it’s all of Grace, because He has satisfied the Law, and we have become dead to the Law, then we are free to be united with Him in a union that again is going to produce fruit. Now I feel the fruit here then is “The fruit of a soul winner!” We should be able to win lost people to Christ, whether it’s your children, your grandchildren, your Sunday school kids, or whatever the case may be. We should be able to show fruit as a result of our being married to Christ. Remember this all just a Spiritual fulfillment of an earthly circumstance. Now we have another idea of fruit in Galatians chapter 5. This teaching on fruit is a Biblical concept that we’re to be fruitful. How many times haven’t I said on this program, that we’re not saved just for a fire escape. But we’re saved to be fruitful and to serve.
“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, (in your daily life) and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 17. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. (in other words you can’t just drift, because it’s a battle. 18. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.”
You don’t have to worry about not stealing or doing all these sins listed in the next verses because the Spirit will not lead you in that direction. But most people just take these for granted today. Everybody’s doing it, there’s nothing wrong with these is the attitude of the world, and what are they?
“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness. 20. Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21. Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”
Now those are the things of the flesh, but now coming down to verse 22, and now what do we see? Fruit. Now in this particular verse, it’s the fruit of the Spirit, but goodness sake, who is the Spirit working in? The believer. The fruit of the Sprit is that which comes from the believer who is under the control of the Sprit. And as the last part of verse 23 says, “against such there is no law,” Do you know what that means? There’s nothing bad about any of these. None of the fruits will ever cause an up evil in a community. They all enhance good living, and look at them.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, (see the Colossians had that love that only true Christians know about.) joy,…”
We’re in a world that is frantically chasing after happiness. They never talk about joy, they’re always wanting to be happy. But remember there’s a vast difference between joy and happiness. Happiness is simply the results of your circumstance. Everything is going great, you have money in the bank, and a new car in the garage, a new home to live in, the kids are all doing ok. Boy who couldn’t be happy with that, but it’s still an empty happiness. But joy is a Spiritual thing. Joy comes as a result then with our peace with God! And that’s why Paul says in Philippians over and over, “Rejoice.” Not because they had all these material things, they didn’t. But because they had that salvation, because they were right with God, then consequently they could be joyful. So it’s the fruit of the Spirit. Now continuing on with verse 22.
“…peace, (an absent of conflict) longsuffering, (patience is another word for longsuffering) gentleness, (you will never see a gentle person commit murder or constantly aggravating everyone.) goodness, faith. 23. Meekness, temperance; (maintaining a balance) against such there is no law.”
Not a one of these is an attribute that somebody would say, “I wouldn’t won’t that to happen to me. They are good attributes for anybody’s Christian life. Well it’s fruit, and the results then of God’s working in the life of the believer. Now back to Colossians again chapter 1. So all of these put together is what Paul had in mind, I’m sure, when he says that you might be fruitful in all aspects of life.
“…being fruitful in every good work, and increasing (day by day) in the knowledge of God:”
Now listen, every believer starts at the same level in his Christian life. Whether we’re 8 or 80. Every believer starts at that same level and what is it? A babe in Christ! We all begin as babes in Christ. But, just like in the physical realm, is there anything more pitiful than someone who is 40 years old and still has the mentality or the physical attributes of a 5 year old? And our hearts go out to them. I can’t think of anything worse, and yet that’s most Christians. They’ve never gotten away from their infancy spiritually. And the Corinthians were that way. Let’s go back. It’s been a long time since we’ve been in Corinthians too and we’ve got a lot of new listeners coming in every day, and so for those of you who have heard all this before, bear with me because I’m doing this for the sake of new folks. Go back to I Corinthians 3, starting at verse 1.
I Corinthians 3:1
“And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.”
Now they were believers. He’s not using the word “carnal” here as denoting the lost person. These were Christians who were believers but they were still infants spiritually. They were still on milk. Now verse 2.
I Corinthians 3:2
“I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.”
That’s not the only sad part, they still weren’t able to handle meat, however long Paul had been dealing with them. So you see, if Paul could look at our situation today, he’d probably smile and say, “I know. I went through it. It’s no different.” It is so hard to get people off of the milk of the Word and into the meat. But listen, once you get a taste of T-bone steak you don’t ever want to go back to the baby bottle. And it’s the same way here. My, once you get a taste of how thrilling this, and how it all fits from Genesis through Revelation, you can’t get enough of it. That’s the way it’s supposed to be. But you see, that’s not most Christians. Most professing Christians are just satisfied that they’re saved, and I hope they are, and they never intend to go any further. But that’s the sorry part that they’re content to remain as babes and on the spiritual milk. Now let’s go back to Colossians chapter 1.
“…being fruitful in every good work, and increasing (day by day) in the knowledge of God:’
Now when we get down to verses 15-17 we’re going to hit some of those areas that very few people have delved into, with regard to the knowledge of God. But for now, let’s just move on in Paul’s prayer.
“Strengthened (spiritually) with all might, according to his glorious (what’s the word?) power,…”
Now you see none of these things that I teach can be accomplished without the power of God. It’s utterly impossible. You cannot become a student of the Word without the power of God. You cannot become a child of God without the power of God. And so it’s an intrinsic word that means exactly what it says. That it has to have the power of God that will bring us to where God wants us to be. Now let’s go a couple more statements here as we only have a couple of minutes left. In other words, I guess I should have pointed out that this is another one of those instances where Paul has seven things. You can pick them out yourself. I’m always commenting on that. Paul didn’t sit there and rack his brain and think, now how can I get seven statements in here. But over and over, throughout his epistles he comes out with 7 full statements. Now that’s inspiration because that’s God’s perfect number. So here again, he has 7 statements and now he goes on to verse 12 that he’s giving thanks to the Father.
“Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us (all believers) meet (has prepared us) to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.”
Now I’m afraid I haven’t got enough time left to really bring everything out that this is doing. That he is giving thanks to God the Father who was instrumental in bringing us out of darkness and transplanting us into the kingdom of His dear Son, which is life. We’ll look at it a little further in our next program because we’ve only got a few seconds left. But all this was in Paul’s prayer on behalf of these ex-pagan believers who knew nothing of the past Scriptures. They knew nothing of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. They knew nothing of Israel’s God. They knew nothing of Christ’s earthly ministry. But when Paul came and presented the fact that One died for their sins and rose from the dead and they believed it, God moved in and opened their understanding. And we’ll look at that in our next program.
But here again he is praying all of this. And this is just as appropriate for us as it was for them. We too are to be growing in the knowledge of God, day by day. This week you should know more of the Scriptures than you did last week. By this time next week, you should know more than you do today. Now, we’re living in a time of exploding technology. It’s just mind-boggling. But listen, there’s just about as much to learned in here if we’ll just put our hand to the plow, as it were, and start digging for it and the Lord will bless you for it.