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. (Colossians 1:9-14)
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.
It has been done, brothers and sisters. It’s a fact of life. The Father has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints. He has transferred you into the kingdom of light. This is what he writes to the Colossians. There is no wishy washy “may have”, “will do”, “perhaps might.” Paul doesn’t try to ride the fence as if he might be saying something that isn’t true of everyone who will ever read this letter. He says it forcefully, he says it matter of factly. The Father has qualified you, 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. This is the gospel, folks. This is the gospel truth. This is the message we have, this is the good news we carry with us throughout our daily lives, this is the evangel of our evangelism. This is what gets us up in the morning. This is what carries us through the day. It is by this gospel that we live and breathe as Christians. It’s done.
It’s done, it is the reality. And it is for this reason Paul can pray on behalf of the Colossians that their lives would be fully pleasing to God, it is for this reason that Paul can hope and desire on their behalf that they would bear fruit with every good work that they would increase in knowledge of God. It is because we have been qualified for the inheritance of the saints in light on account of Christ Jesus and his death and resurrection, in whom we have redemption and the forgiveness of sins that we can hope desire and pray the same, brothers and sisters, that we would live lives fully pleasing to God, that we would bear fruit with every good work and increase in the knowledge of God. Because we are redeemed, we have been delivered from the kingdom of darkness where our works were not good and could not bear fruit, where we were blind to the knowledge of God and could not grow in it, and we have been transferred to the kingdom of his beloved Son, the very image of the invisible God in whom we now live lives fully pleasing to God, where our works bear fruit, and we increase in the knowledge of God.
This is the Christian life! This is who we are! This is what the church does! You and me, qualified! And we are! We now share in the inheritance of the saints. Now we bear fruit with every good work! And bearing fruit we increase in the knowledge of God, our faith is strengthened. To this end brothers, this congregation was established. To this end our ancestors in the faith, the forefathers of this congregation established this little outpost of the gospel on this frontier. That you and I would behold the glorious news that we have been redeemed, and qualified to share in the inheritance of the saints, to share even in their inheritance. This is why we are here. And it is not of our own doing. We don’t qualify ourselves. We don’t redeem ourselves. But we have been redeemed, we have been qualified, we have been delivered, we have been transferred to the kingdom of his beloved son. And we have been passive in it all. This has happened to us despite our sin, despite our hear hearts, despite ears that can scarcely believe what they hear. But because of this, we to have a desire for these things to occur do we not?
To this end Paul writes to the Colossians. He writes that they would hear, that they would grow. Paul tells them what he prays for that what he prays for would become a reality. And these are wonderful things to pray for. I pray them myself for this congregation day in and day out. And I have to say, I have been blessed to see the fruit of those prayers. I have been blessed to see the fruit of your prayers, to see the fruit of every good work and see you increase in the knowledge of God.
It is slow work. It always has been. There have been disappointments and frustrations along the way. I can’t imagine that a church should be any different. Any place sinners gather. At times you wait for fruit to show and it is as frustrating as watching a tree you planted grow. It takes patience. You have to let it grow, and staring at it and getting upset as a year goes by with no fruit does not help it grow any more. But grow it does. And I’ve watched it here. I’ve seen it here.
I don’t know we are coming to the end of a chapter in your life and mine. Waiting for a new chapter to begin. And like any good book the chapter ends with a fair share of what? Of chaos, problems that need to be resolved in the next chapter, drama. Until the book is finished, and it is finished with the second coming of Christ is it not, come lord quickly, Maranatha. There has been a little despair, there has been some uneasiness, and there is temptation to lose hope, to wonder what it is all for. I have felt that way a bit myself. But I want to share some things with you. I want to share with you some of the things I have seen happen, some of the fruit of your good works.
I’ve seen whole families come to this font and be baptized. I’ve seen kids be raised in the faith, who make me want to cry in the midst of confirmation class with the answers they give. I’ve seen people who were lapsed in the faith return to church and make it here every Sunday they possibly can, to come to this rail and receive the forgiveness of sins in the body of Christ. I’ve seen people who otherwise would not be Christian come to faith through your efforts. It happens here brothers, sisters. The gospel is alive here, it awakens us to faith. It rejuvenates. And because the gospel lives here, so does this congregation, and you bear fruit with every good work.