Ten: Its Windy
Nine: You never get used to the poop smell
Eight: It rains a lot.
Seven: Everyone is related.
Six: It is the end of the world.
Five: The Sunsets off of the Mountains are beautiful
Four: Super-duper has everything you need
Three: Edaleen Ice Cream is the best
Two: We have a great Elementary School
One: Our church is healthy
The church at Colossae, to whom our text was also a healthy church. So healthy in fact that its reputation had reached Paul. In Paul’s greeting to the church, he says “For we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints.” I think that could be said about our church. We are a church of strong faith in Christ and a deep love for each other. We are healthy.
1. Galatians: struggling with Judaizers
2. Corinthians: struggling with immorality
3. Philippians: struggling with having joy in tough circumstances
In Colossians, Paul does address a few problems but none of them seem to be major. Instead much of the book is written to encourage and empower the church to bear more fruit and grow in their knowledge of God. Like the church at Colossae we are a healthy church that God wants to bear more fruit.
It’s easy to be content with where we are at. It is easy to say we are healthy, what more could God want from us. We have a good community. We take care of each other. We care for our neighbors. We study the bible. We are a good church. But God wants us to keep growing, he wants us to bear fruit. God is never content with where we are. He always wants us to be bearing more and more fruit both in our lives and in our church. God doesn’t want us to settle.
Does anyone know who invented the lightbulb? No it wasn’t Thomas Edison although he gets credit for it. It was actually a man named Humphry Davy, 80 years before Edison. What Edison did was improve upon his invention by changing the filament so it would be less bright and burn longer. He didn’t settle for what he had, but was driven for something better.
When we think of the first car, we think of Henry Ford. Henry Ford didn’t invent cars. There were cars around before him. The first car powered by a combustion engine was made by Karl Benz, 20 years before Henry Ford’s Model T. What Ford did is take what had already been invented and improved on how they were manufactured. He invented the assembly line, a way to mass produce cars, making them cheaper and therefore available to many more people. He didn’t settle for the way things were, however good they might have been. He strove for the better.
Steve Jobs: There is a famous story about Steve Jobs, the CEO of apple. A month before the scheduled release of the very first iphone, (a technology that many of us have with us today) jobs called an emergency meeting. He had been given a protoype Iphone for a few weeks. At the meeting, the story goes, he pulled the prototype iphone he had been using out of his pocket and pointed at all the scratches all over the plastic screen that had come from the phone being in his pocket with his keys. He demanded that the plastic screen be replaced with a scratch resistant glass one. In a month a million glass screens were made. Jobs didn’t settle for a very good thing. He strove for the better.
Just like the church at Colossae, just like every church in the world, God wants our church to bare more fruit. He doesn’t want us to settle. In our text today, Paul relates to the church at Colossae the prayer he often prayed for them. A prayer rooted in Paul’s desire for the church to not settle for good enough but instead to bare more fruit.
Lets look at our text together. I’m going to just read 2 verses, Colossians 1:9-10. .In these two verses Paul tells the church that he has been praying that God would give them spiritual wisdom, which in turn he believed would lead to them bearing fruit and growing in the knowledge of God.
Spiritual Wisdom is one of the most important things for a healthy church to have if it is going to bare more fruit.
What is spiritual wisdom? I was told a long time ago that very simply, wisdom is the correct application of knowledge. It is taking what we know by way of experience or revelation or common sense and correctly applying it to situations we find ourselves in.
Wisdom is kind of like MacGyver. Do you ever remember the show MacGyver? Every episode of MacGyver contains a scene where MacGyver is trapped in a room facing certain death. To survive, he uses the resources available to him in whatever room he is trapped in and the knowledge he has in his head about chemicals and physics and motors and whatever else, to build something that will provide a way out.
Wisdom is being able to take the knowledge we have and the resources we have and creating the best possible outcome. Wisdom is needed because there is a large space between the revelation of scripture and the actions we have to take in daily life.
Over here is God’s revelation… Over there is concrete action in our world.
Wisdom builds a bridge between the two.
For instance, Scripture reveals that God has called the church to love its neighbors. The is the knowledge part of the equation. We know what we are to do. We are to love our community. We also know that we have some resources. We have a building. We have a parking lot. We have some paid staff. We have the
clothesline. We have some money. We have each other. The question is then how do we combine the 2 together. How do we take the knowledge, that we should love our neighbor, and actually live it out in the real world. How do we put flesh and bones on that? Scripture doesn’t tell us that. That is why we need wisdom.
Most of the decisions we make ones of wisdom and not morality. Something might be morally acceptable and still be foolish.
Wisdom then is one of the most important things we can have.
How then do we as a church grow wise?
The reason Paul prays for wisdom is because he knows that wisdom can’t be produced, or bought, or gained through work alone. Wisdom is gift from God which must be fostered by us.
So how do we foster wisdom?
1. We must ask God to make us wise. James 1 tells us that if anyone lacks wisdom they should ask God who gives generously. King Solomon famously asked God for wisdom instead of riches, which God gave him in abundance. One way then that we can foster wisdom within our church is to ask God for it, to pray.
2. We must fear the Lord. In multiple places in scripture we are told that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. What does that mean? Does it mean our Church should live in a constant state of fear that if we screw up God will punish us? Is God like Giant omnipotent Principle in the sky, waiting to catch us acting out so he can punish us? Or perhaps to fear God means we should fear disappointing God? God then is something closer to a parent that we love and would hate to disappoint, who uses their love as a way to control his children. Don’t cross me or I will punish you with my big puppy dog eyes of disappointment. I don’t think fearing God is either of those things.
Instead, I think fearing God means to fear being separated from the one being in all the universe who truly loves us and cares for us and wants what’s best for us. It is a fear of being pulled out of the arms of a loving grandfather and being forced out into a lonely and dangerous world absent his protection.
If, our church starts to chase after the things of the world like recognition, or numbers, or money, or acceptance we will naturally be pulled away from God and out into the world where God’s wrath is present. That is truly terrifying. That alone should motivate us to stay close to him.
We shouldn’t fear God’s punishment or disappointing him, instead we fear that we are going to lose our special relationship with him it if we decide to pursue the things of the world.
Fearing God, or as I would call it staying close to God, out of a healthy fear of what life would be like outside of his arms, leads to wisdom because it keeps us in touch with the Spirit. We need the Spirit to guide us in the gaps. We need the Spirit to show us what God wants us to do.
3. Finally, to gain wisdom, we as a church must be humble, willing to look for help from others. Provers 11:2 says, “when pride comes then comes shame, but with the humble is wisdom.”
Just this week I was reading about Nick Saban the football coach of Alabama, who won the college national championship this week. He has now won 5 national championships in 9 years and is probably
inarguably the greatest college football coach in history. He is the best at what he does. In this article I was reading he talked about how everything he knows he learned from someone else. Nothing he does is original.
Many times we want to be creative, we want to be unique, we want to figure it all out for ourselves. As individuals we think, I know how to parent I don’t need to ask for help. Or with money we think I know how to manage my money I don’t need to ask anyone.
If your kids are running around crazy all the time you might want to talk to someone whose kids are.
If you never have any money you might want to talk to someone who has it.
Many times our pride keeps us from being wise. It keeps us from taking good advice.
Many churches do the same thing. We think we need to be original. We need to do it our way. We need to be different. We don’t. We need to be wise and sometimes as a church we have to look around and say what can we learn from others.
As a church we should be seeking out other churches who are in similar situations to our own. Churches that are in small town and poor communities.. What have they done that has been helpful. How have they handled certain situations? How have they invested their resources? We should also be talking with social workers and people who work with at risk families. We should ask them how to help someone who is in our community and in poverty? What resources are already available in our community? What resources aren’t available that a church might be able to provide? Humility leads to wisdom because it opens the door to hear from people who know what we don’t know.
We can do at least 3 things to foster wisdom, ask God for it, Develop a healthy fear of being separated from God which causes us to stay close to him, and be a humble church, seeking out others to learn from.
God wants our church to bear more fruit. He wants us to not settle. If we are going to do that we need wisdom. Paul knew that above all else, wisdom was a gift from God. It needed to come from him. We can foster it but we can’t produce it. God does that. That is why Paul prayed that the church at Colossae would have wisdom.
To close here today I want to do something different. Right now I want you to get into small groups with the people around you. And I want to ask you to pray together for a few minutes that God would give our church wisdom.