How to Find and Live God's Will – Colossians 1:1-14 We understand God's will through the gospel, experience it in prayer

and knowledge of God, and express it in love for others. The Problem What is God's will? How do we discover God's will? What if it so mysterious we never discover it? The Solution God's will is clear. We understand God's will in our hope, the gospel, experience it in our growing faith in Christ, and express it in our acts of love toward each other. God's will is explained in our hope that is the gospel (4-6). ● Paul prays for them—he gives thanks for what he has heard of them, their faith in Christ and love for each other is grounded in the hope of the gospel. ● Hope is a noun, not a verb, and it grounds our faith and action. It is “laid up in heaven,” which means it is secure. ● This is the word of the gospel they have received, but how do they know the gospel they received is not empty? By their own experience and the experience of those they hear of! ● How can we trust and have confidence in the gospel? By our experience and that of the church—is the gospel bearing fruit? Are you growing in faith? Love? ● The gospel is bearing fruit, which means it is creating more and better Christians. God's will is experienced in our growing faith (9-10). ● The gospel is creating more and better Christians as believers grow in their faith through knowledge of God and prayer. Knowledge of God is gained experientially through prayer and through reading God's word. ● Paul prayed for them; do we pray for each other? Our spiritual growth is tied in with others' prayers for us! Our obligation is to pray for the spiritual growth (knowledge of God's will) of others. ● Paul is serious in his concern for them—he hasn't ceased praying for them. ● The content of his prayer is that they would be filled with spiritual wisdom and understanding to know God's will. ● They need to know God's will to lead lives worthy of God that are pleasing to him. Knowing God's will has a definite and practical purpose—action! God's will is expressed in our deeds of love for others (4, 10). ● The worthy life bears fruit in good works (cf. v. 4—love for the saints) and grows in knowledge of God (cf. v. 4—faith in Christ). ● Knowledge of God and his will is experiential and practical; it is not merely “book” knowledge. © 2010 Jeremy Hoover / /

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The result of the worthy life is thanksgiving to God the Father. Our thanksgiving is rooted in his action for us before he ever asked anything of us. God's action for us is letting us share in the inheritance by his rescuing us from darkness and transferring us into the kingdom of his Son. We have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. This is the primary foundation for how we are to understand and grow into God's will—to understand that we are redeemed people who have been rescued from darkness, and to live like it! Living a life worthy of the Lord means we serve others in love (4, 10).

The Application We understand God's will through the gospel, experience it in prayer and knowledge of God, and express it in love for others. To find and live God's will: • Pray for each other. Scripture is crystal-clear that our prayers impact others' spiritual growth and knowledge of God's will. Grab your church directory and begin praying through it, name by name. Just praying for a few people a day will allow you to pray for the whole congregation at least four times each year! If you're not sure what to pray for, just use Paul's prayer (vs. 9-14)! • Grow in faith. Create a daily discipline of listening to God in prayer and scripture, even for just fifteen minutes each day. • Do good works for each other. Look for ways to serve and help, and do all in Christ's name. • To do these things is to discover and know God's will and to live it!

© 2010 Jeremy Hoover / /

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