Colossians - Lesson 11
How We Continue
Background Information for the Teacher
- The student can list Paul's formula for continuing to be a faithful Christian.
- The student will recognize actions he/she needs to take to be using this formula.
- Have access to a chalkboard or marker board on which to write key points.
- Each student should have a Bible.
- Have worksheets ready.
Paul gives us a formula for continuing in Christ that we need to follow.
Lesson Plan for Teaching the Class
Introduction: (10 minutes)
- Call the roll, welcome visitors, make announcements.
- Let's share for a moment about people we have decided to reach for Christ. Q: What is something you did last week to reach out to the person you have decided to work with? (Teacher: try to get several responses about this.)
Learning Experiences: (25 minutes)
(Teacher: Plan your time carefully as you discuss each point and let people give examples of each point. It is critical that you leave enough time at the end foreach student to think of something he/she could do to raise his/her level in each of the suggestions Paul makes for us.)
1. Read Col. 1:9-12. Q: How often does Paul pray for the Colossian Christians? A: He has not stopped. Q: So how often would that be? A: Regularly? Daily? Ashe tells them what he is praying for, he is also describing the elements that combine together to help a Christian to continue, to be steadfast. Q: In verse 12, how does Paul describe the outcome he is praying for on behalf of these Christians? A: So they will have great endurance and patience.
2. Read 2 Peter 2:20-22. Q: How does Peter describe our spiritual condition if we do not continue in the Lord? A: Our condition has become worse than if we had not become a Christian. We are like a dog that returns to its vomit and a sow that has been washed but goes back to the mire. Read John 15:5-6. Q: How does Jesus describe the spiritual condition of a branch that does not continue in him? A: It is dead and will be cut off and cast into the fire. Q: What constitutes a branch? A: A person. "If a man remains in me." So as Christians it is very important that we continue to be faithful. This is what Paul is praying about for the Colossians. (Teacher: Tell the class that at the end of the lesson, the worksheet will ask foreach member of the class to write down one specific thing they could do to improve in each of the six categories Paul mentions. They should be thinking of these as the lesson moves forward.)
3. Now let's see what Paul prays for so we will know what we must strive to do if we want to be faithful. Q: What does Paul mention in both verse 9 and verse 10 that we need to be faithful? A: "The knowledge of God's will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding" and "growing in the knowledge of God." Q: How do we grow in the knowledge of God?" A: Bible classes where we read and discuss and apply God's word as we are doing today. Sunday morning and evening worship services where we hear a message and engage in worship that brings us closer to God with more understanding, private study and meditation on the Word, teaching others because teachers often learn more than the students they are teaching, writing letters to people about the word of God, grading correspondence studies, small group studies and home Bible studies, attending Christian schools, reading Christian literature. (Teacher: let people tell about doing things like this in which they have learned as an encouragement for others to do similar things.) This passage teaches that Paul prays that the Colossian Christians will "be filled" with the knowledge of His will. Filled with it.
4. Q: How does Paul describe the life we should live? A: A life that is "worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way." If we know the Word and how it applies to every aspect of life, then we will know how to live the life God wants us to live. Q: What does Paul say will lead to our living this kind of life? A: Knowledge of His will. So we know His will and that that gives us knowledge about how to live His kind of life. Q: What is an example of knowing God's will on some aspect of life and how that knowledge, in turn, leads one to do the right thing? A: We know that we are not to curse and take the Lord's name in vain and so, on the job, our language is different. Other people notice that difference in talking and respect us for that and eventually this can lead to their responding to an invitation to come to church. Q: What are some other aspects of our lives that would be characterized as "walking worthily?" A: Not drinking, pure sexual behavior, honesty in our business dealings, etc.
5. So we should grow in the knowledge of God's word and we should walk worthily, through the help of our knowledge of Him. Q: What is the next thing Paul prays for that could be part of this formula for steadfastness? A: Bearing fruit in every good work. Remember that Jesus spoke of His disciples who bore good fruit (John 15:6-7). Q: What are some things a Christian today can do to"bear good fruit?" A: Help a neighbor who is sick, encourage someone who has suffered a loss, teach a Bible class at church, conduct a home Bible study, go with a youth group on a retreat, and many more. (Teacher: let the class bring up many things we can do to bear good fruit. Remind them that at the end of class they are to write down some specific thing they want to do in each category.)
6. Q: What does Paul pray the Colossians will have according to verse 11? A: That they will be "strengthened with all power according to his glorious might." A: To what might Paul have reference to by this statement? A: The indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Read Acts 2:38. Q: How many who are baptized are promised the indwelling of the Holy Spirit? A: All of them. Read Eph. 3:16-20. Q: Inverse 17, how does Paul say the Spirit dwells in us? A: By faith. God has promised that the Spirit dwells in me and I "believe" it. This means He is dwelling in me by faith. Q: If I believe God is within me all the time, what benefit do I get from this? A: A sense of God's constant presence in my life will affect my decisions, the way I treat others, my way of handling problems and losses. If I truly believe that God is so close to me in every situation that He is within me, then I can face every circumstance in life with the strength He gives. This is one of the keys Paul gives for my continuing to live in Christ: recognizing that God has sent the Holy Spirit into us as a way of showing us He is always present with us. When we recognize this, we are strengthened.
7. Q: In verse 12 Paul says I should be thankful. How does this help me as I try to grow in steadfastness? A: A person who can always give thanks to God for the good things God has done for him/her is likely to have an upbeat spirit and an ability to endure through trials. This means that he/she is more likely to be faithful. Q: What are some things for which we should be thankful that we might tend to overlook? A: Fellowship in Christ, the physical blessings we have which are so much more than many, a job, the good influence of the church on our family, being able to see, and hear, and walk, access to a Bible and good books.
8. The final element of Paul's prayer is saying that the Father has "qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light." Q: In short, what does this mean? A: That we have the hope of going to heaven. We need to think about this much more often, because if we did, we would more likely to be faithful. We have a beautiful hope and should keep that in front of ourselves and our families more often. Read Heb. 12:1-3. Q: What kept Christ going to endure the cross? A: The joy set before him, how the pain would bring salvation to millions. We must keep our eyes on Jesus and imitate Him. As He endured because He kept His eye on the goal, so we can endure if we will keep out eyes on the goal of heaven.
Application: (5 minutes)
- Look back though your worksheets at the six things Paul prayed for so the Colossian Christians would continue. Write down beside each of the categories something you will do to make this particular trait a stronger one in your life. Make you comment very specific. If you want to pray more, tell what you will pray for. If you need to do more bearing of fruit, tell what fruit you hope to bear.We'll take a minute of quiet for you to do this.
- At the next class session, we'll ask you to share something you write down today and which you are doing.
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