Grow In The Knowledge Of God
Grow In The Knowledge of God – The Will, the Knowledge, and the Kingdom of God
From Colossians 1:9-14
Many churches teach the word of God with the goal in mind that you recognize false doctrine, can share your faith enough to bring somebody to church, and teach several do’s and don’ts.
These are all good, but are they enough? Are they the main purpose.
Many churches exist for the sole purpose of gathering more and more people and building bigger and bigger buildings. The church programs are the major focus.
In some cases and some circumstances this may be OK, but is it the exception or the norm. This blog will challenge our concepts and paradigms when it comes to how we do church, and how we look at the Will, the Knowledge, and the Kingdom of God. The purpose of God will be discovered.
Colossians 1:9-14, “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,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, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 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. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
Paul was writing to the Colossians whom he had never met. He was commending them for their faith and their fruit. He was also teaching directly against a pre-Gnostic teaching that was circulating. The pre-Gnostics believed that Creation was evil and that only the spiritual was good. Pre-Gnostic teaching led into the belief that Jesus didn’t really come in the flesh. It taught that “knowledge” was the key to salvation, and that this knowledge came by way of special revelation only available to the super-spiritual.
Eventually this weed grew into full-blown Gnosticism, which is a doctrine of demons and still tries to deceive people today. One modern Gnostic lie is that the real atonement did not take place on the cross but in hell while Jesus was dead. That a spiritual debt that was owed to Satan because God was buying mankind back from his dominion and this debt was satisfied in Hell. I’m here to tell you that the atonement took place once for all, as Jesus’ Physical body was offered up as a sacrifice for the redemption of sins. This took care of our sin debt and at the same time rescued us from Satan’s grip. A lot of new-age teaching is derived from this old lie.
There is a little bit of background portraying what Paul was battling and a real life battle that still takes place today.
Now to our text we should really work backwards here at first by acknowledging the truths of Colossians 1:12-14.
That because of God has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the Kingdom.
That because he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into his Son’s Kingdom.
And that because we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins… we are vessels ready to enter the process that Paul describes here which begins with being filled with the knowledge of his will.
This process starts with knowing and surrendering to God’s will.
Why does it start here? Shouldn’t this whole process start with the knowledge of God then his will? It starts here because the will of God is meant to be enacted!
When we enact the will of God the dynamic presence of God’s rule & reign is released. The Kingdom of God is released.
Jesus taught us to pray in Matthew 6:10, Your Kingdom Come, Your Will be Done!
He taught us through this that where the will of God is being done is where the Kingdom of God is. It is where the rule and reign of God is. We can also say that where the Kingdom of God is the will of God is being done.
You See Jesus said in Matthew 12:28, “But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you.”
In other words God’s will is that the demonized be set free, when a demonized person is set free the Kingdom of God is present. The very rule and reign of God is present where his will is being done.
According to the New Testaments teaching on the Kingdom of God there are four dimensions to the Kingdom. The Kingdom Here, the Kingdom Near, The Kingdom Coming, the Kingdom Delayed.
In realizing that the kingdom is always here and near, we realize that the breakthrough of God’s Kingdom is always close. We should regularly expect breakthrough of the will of God and learn how to recognize when it is happening.
When we surrender to God’s will, obey it, we enact his Kingdom reign and we grow! We bear fruit! Just as Colossians 1:10 says. This process leads us to grow in the knowledge of God.
Grow in the Knowledge of God
How to grow in the knowledge of God. This is not just Biblical knowledge in the sense of knowing Biblical facts and doctrine. Some people know the Bible backwards and forwards but don’t bear fruit, and are more or less proud of their knowledge of the Bible, and use the truths in it to bash people over the head!
It is not special extra Biblical knowledge either… like the special revelation that Gnostics claim to have. It is also not selective knowledge… which is another Gnostic tendency. Emphasizing certain scriptures with certain themes, while ignoring other large parts of scripture.
This text is speaking of an Interactive Knowledge!
This knowledge causes us to grow in our recognition of how God operates!
This is a participatory knowledge!
The Greek word for knowledge here is “epignosis”. Epignosis is a more intense word than “gnosis” This is why some translations translate this scripture to say “Growing in the Full-Knowledge of God.” This Full knowledge is a knowledge that indicates personal involvement. In other words, if you don’t recognize how God operates and for how you should participate in it you really don’t know anything! It is knowledge that transcends intellectual and rational knowledge, It is a relational and experiential knowledge. The knowledge of God compels action.
Ongoing Growth in the Knowledge of God: This process of growth is an ongoing, cyclical process in our lives.
It operates in every area of our lives so that we are filled with the knowledge of his will for every area of our lives…. So that we bear fruit in every area of our lives.
Three main and obvious areas in our lives are our Character, our relationships, our ministry. As we live in this process we are constantly strengthened. That is, we are empowered with “ALL POWER”. Empowered with great endurance and patience. It is interesting that some people are more developed in certain areas and less developed in others.
Evangelicals love soul winning, covenantal denominations love family relationships, charismatic’s love the Holy Spirit’s gifts. In these days God is strengthening his body in all of these areas.
Remember this process is just as much a corporate/community process as it is an individual one. Paul is writing to “us” here, God has rescued “us” from the dominion of darkness. In Jesus “we” have redemption of sins.
Through this process, as Christ’s church we increase our capacity to grow in the knowledge of God and increase our capacity to be empowered. Now imagine this kind of process being carried out in your ministry or in your church!
Everybody is growing in the ability to recognize how God operates and participating in it, so everybody is bearing more and more fruit. There is no better expression of Christ’s life in his body. It is in this place where a body moves from just being a gathering place to becoming a serious force to be reckoned with!
This process is enacted by faith, by stepping out in faith, and continuing in faith.
As we step out in faith we will learn to recognize God’s will, and how he operates, and how we can participate!
If we want to grow in a certain area, we step out in it. If it’s nations – WE GO!
If it’s in soul winning – WE PREACH! If it’s healing – WE PRAY FOR THE SICK!
As far as the Gifts of the Spirit are concerned – We give what God gives us no matter how small it seems, even if it’s just one word.
We find practical ways to demonstrate God’s love.
Now the greatest blessing of this process isn’t just fruit, or recognizing God’s will and how he operates, or even how we can participate in it. The greatest blessing is knowing God. Knowing him deeper and communing with him. In any relationship you get to know each other by doing things together.
This is how we should approach the Scriptures… not just for information about someone, but for how we can put ourselves in a position to grow in our relationship with God and our effectiveness for his Kingdom.
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