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But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

 

Colossians 1:3-12
November 6, 2016
St Paul's Anglican Church

"The Will of God"

 

It is special to hear the prayer of any man, any woman, any young person, or any child... for a friend.  But it is most valuable, indeed, this morning to consider the inspired prayer from the large heart of the weathered and worn Apostle for his friends in Colossae!  
Let us consider the heart of the Apostle’s prayer for the Colossians, and in a sense his prayer for you and me:
…that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will…
We should note this single petition has to do with one thing and only one thing: God’s Will – His intention, His purpose, His design, His ordination, His wish, His desire, His command – His Will… what He wants us to do!
…that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will…
The first observation we should note is this…
To Know the Will of God is Mankind’s Greatest Treasure.
St. Paul wrote that from the first day he heard of their faith in Christ, he prayed for them.  And what was the first petition of their prayer? 
…that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will…
The Bible is the Great, Infallible Book which declares to mankind God’s Will in propositional truth – to which the study of words, syntax and grammar may be applied.  
It tells us of the men of the Tribe of Issachar who understood God’s Will and who followed it wholeheartedly.  I Chronicles 12:32 tells us.  
[They]… had understanding… to know what Israel ought to do…
It tells us of Israel’s first King, Saul who – along with so many men and women in our world today appointing themselves prophets of a new direction for Christ’s people – abandoned the old and proven ways... leaving ruinous destruction behind.  God took the Kingdom from Saul and gave it to David, who committed himself wholly to the doing of God’s will.
It tells us of those who followed God’s Will to the letter and were blessed.
And it tells us of those who supplanted God’s Will, replacing it with their own substitute will, and infamously discredited themselves… 
The Book of Psalms declares to us that God’s Will is perfect, converting the soul.  It tells us that God’s Will is sure, making wise the simple.  It tells us that God’s Will is right, rejoicing the heart.  It declares God’s Will to be more desirable than gold… more delightful to taste than sweetest honey!
The fact that so many Christians in our day never open the pages of the Bible to read and consider and to learn God’s Will speaks of the great disfunctionality and spiritual compromise which mark our day!
Speaking of treasures... next year will mark the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s 95 Theses.  We do well to recall the most famous of them all!   #62...  The true treasure of the church is the most holy gospel of the glory and grace of God.
A second observation is this…
To Find the Will of God is Mankind’s Greatest Discovery.
One of the world’s largest gold nuggets was found by an Australian treasure hunter in 1980 using a simple metal detector.  “How deep was it in the soil?” we ask.  It was under only six inches of dirt.  How big was it?  It weighed 62 pounds and sold for one million dollars!  That was 36-years ago!   Who knows what it would be worth today?
The world’s largest pearl was found in 1934 off the shore of Pa-law’an, an island of the Philippines – a staggering 9-1/2 inches in diameter and weighing 14.1 pounds and valued at $60-million!  
The lesson here is obvious.  People – including Christians, and perhaps especially Christians – often overlook the greatest treasure of life which is so close because they mindlessly follow things so superficial.  They thus miss true joy and fulfillment in knowing and doing the Will of God!  As the famous saying goes... The best things in life are not things!
What did the apostle pray for his friends?
…that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will…
A third, and final, observation is this…
To Do the Will of God is Mankind’s Greatest Accomplishment.
Over the years, through the various graveside services I have attended and in which I have participated, I have enjoyed reading the many summary statements etched in grave markers.  
But not one has been as captivating as the four faded, weather-beaten and barely readable words I still picture upon the old windswept face of granite lovingly inscribed by family and friends in South Carolina:
DOER OF GOD’S WILL  
Nothing in life is as important as doing God’s Will!  Nothing!  It is worth living for.  It is worth dying for.  To do God’s Will is the proper goal of life.  It is the pathway to success in every venture!
To do God’s Will has been called the summum bonum of life – that is to say, it is the supreme good to which the children of Adam and Eve are called.  
We remember the choice words of the Lord’s Prayer: 
Thy kingdom come.  Thy will be done…
It was Jesus Christ Who furnished weak and fallible dwellers of earth the perfect Example we are to emulate.  Remember His words: 
I come to do thy will, O God.
We see Him with face to the ground, agonizing and sweating great drops of Blood in the Garden of Gethsemane, pleading:
…O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. 
Jesus stated in His Manifesto (the Sermon on the Mount) something that does not set well with many both inside and outside of Christ’s Church!
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 
My dear friends, we only have one journey through life... and we need to get it right!  Where are we today?  Let us all make the doing of God’s Will our great focus and our privileged objective.
To Know the Will of God is our Greatest Treasure.
To Find the Will of God is our Greatest Discovery
To Do the Will of God is our Greatest Accomplishment.
that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will…
This is the Word of the Lord… and may it stand firm in our lives forever!
A-men.



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