Dr. E. Dale Locke and Rev. Trevor Johnston
Sermon Series: Colossians
Week 1: Grow Up!
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- Begin to memorize our theme verse for this sermon series – Colossians 1:28: “He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ.”
- How do Christ-followers become “fully mature in Christ”? What helps us grow more mature?
- In this sermon series, we’ll explore the New Testament book of Colossians over a period of 8 weeks. What are some benefits of reading through an entire book of the Bible, rather than jumping around the Bible and reading various passages?
- What are some things you can do when approaching a book of the New Testament that might help you better understand it?
- Get an overview of Colossians by watching the video about Colossians from thebibleproject.com, and then talk about what you learned from it.
- Read Colossians 1:1-14:
“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,
To God’s holy people in Colossae, the faithful brothers and sisters in Christ:
Grace and peace to you from God our Father.
3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people— 5 the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel 6 that has come to you. In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world—just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace. 7 You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf, 8 and who also told us of your love in the Spirit.
9 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
- What do you notice in this passage? What questions or comments come to your mind?
- The theme of this portion of Colossians is prayer. What do you find challenging about prayer? What questions do you have about prayer?
- What do you generally pray about? How would you describe your prayers?
- Notice in verses 3-8 that Paul begins his prayer with thanks. What does he thank God for, and what does that tell you about what’s important to Paul?
- Read Psalm 100:4: “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.” What difference does it make when we start our prayer with thanks?
- Note the words, “For this reason…” in Colossians 1:9. What was the reason that Paul was praying for the Colossian Christians? How does this compare to the reasons that most people tend to pray?
- In Colossians 1:9, Paul asks God to fill them with “knowledge”, “wisdom” and “understanding” of God. What do each of these words mean, and how are they different from each other?
- Read Jeremiah 9:23-24: “This is what the Lord says: “Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the Lord.”
Describe how a person can come to really “know” God, the way that Jeremiah is describing here.
- What’s the purpose of growing in knowledge according to Paul (note the words “so that” in v.10)?
- What do you notice about Paul’s prayer requests here compared to how most of us tend to pray?
- Read Ephesians 3:14-19 which records another prayer of Paul’s: “For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
What do Paul’s prayer requests for the Ephesian Christians add to your understanding of how to pray?
- In Colossians 1:11, Paul asks for the Colossian Christians to be “strengthened” and to have “endurance”. Share about a time when your faith was challenged and needed strengthening.
- What’s one take-away for you personally from this sermon or from this passage?
- Take some time to pray together as a group for your families, your group members, or for other loved ones using the model of Paul’s prayer as a guide.