"Who We Are: Heirs"
When Paul writes the church in Colossae, he tells them that they “share in the inheritance of the saints” and they have been “delivered from the domain of darkness.” What does it mean to be heirs of God’s kingdom?
Who We Are: Heirs
A. We have been walking through words that describe who we are as Christians. We have talked about us being a slave of Christ and also as conquerors through Christ who loved us. But the term we most often use to describe us is “Christian.” By simple definition it is a follower, or disciple, of Jesus Christ.
B. When you really think about what that means from God’s point of view, it makes us more than just a student, God brings us into His family and when he does, he makes us His children. Paul reminds the church in Rome (Rom. 8:15-16).
C. Paul says to us, “Welcome to the family of God.” We are family because God is our father and Jesus is our brother. So according to God, he has made us heirs – heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ. Heirs of what? That’s the question.
D. The answer is that we are heirs of the kingdom of God. When God adopted us into the family he changed our identity and our domain. Being a child of God changes my life in this age as well as the glory of what comes later.
I. What Paul Prays For
A. The idea that we area are a part of God’s kingdom is exciting, but what does it mean for us to live this life a part of that eternal kingdom? For that we turn to Paul’s writing and take part in his prayer for the church in Colossae.
B. READ Col. 1:9-10. Paul begins his prayer by asking God to help these people know God’s will for their lives. When Jesus prayed that night of his betrayal, he prayed to God, “let this cup pass from me, yet…???” (Lk. 22:42)
C. It begs the question, “How do you know GOD’S will instead of YOUR will?” Understanding spiritual wisdom versus human understanding is not easy. Spiritual wisdom comes from God, is based in the Word of God and produces the will of God. Human understand comes from man, is based in circumstances or emotions, and produces our will.
D. This fullness of spiritual wisdom and understanding is so that “you may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him.” Paul tells us what “pleasing God” means. “Bearing fruit in every good work & increasing in knowledge of God.” As children of God, as heirs of the kingdom, we are called to bear fruit in every good work. That is action. That is us doing service in the name of Jesus. That is us being the hands and feet of God in a society that doesn’t see God, but knows Him through you and me.
E. But the prayer doesn’t end with our call to action, Paul continues to pray for them that they would grow strong. Listen to his words from our text (READ Col. 1:11-12).
F. Paul prays that these Christians have the power that comes from God’s glorious might. That is a lot of power. But we need God’s power to be at work in us. We are heirs, or as Paul says in this passage, “qualified to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.”
II. A Change of Domain
A. Here what Paul does, Paul shares with these Christians who they are – heirs of the inheritance, but then Paul changes the pronouns. (READ Col. 1:13-14)
B. Paul has been praying for them, he has given them a blessing “May you be strengthen with all power,” and now Paul says that God has “delivered us from the domain of darkness.” You see there is a change in our identity and our domain (where we live) and Paul reminds us that only God could do that.
C. I believe that you all are wonderful people, good people, and kind in many ways. But the idea that our own goodness is enough for us to be heirs of the kingdom is simply not true. Paul places himself, along with these Christians, in a reality that says, “I have been delivered from the domain of darkness.”
D. “Delivered” is a strong word in the Bible and for Paul it would conjure up the Exodus. There his people were delivered from slavery, delivered from an evil domain, and they have been delivered from that, and so have we.
E. For us the word “domain” is connected to authority and identity. You are a US citizen, but if you travel to another country, you live under that domain – that authority. When we are in the domain of God, sin is not a permissible action. But if you live in the domain of darkness you can sin all you want. In this life we encounter the domain of darkness all around us, and it is a place we are familiar with. That was domain was once our home, and falling back into its influence is something we have to keep guard over. But Paul says we have been delivered from it.
F. What does that mean for us? Our deliverance from the domain of darkness, has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saint in light. Did you catch that? Our inheritance, that which make us heirs, is a totally different domain/kingdom.
G. Paul’s statement, “in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” I love the fact that grace is available in this knew domain in which I live. If it was simply about how well I kept the rules, God would have kicked me out years ago, but instead, God delivered me, “the power of God at work in me,” so that I could live a different life. Giving me an inheritance changed my identity. I am now a child of God, adopted into His family and I live a life striving to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him.
A. What about you? The greatest invitation ever made was by Jesus himself. “Come unto me all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Are you ready to live the life God created for you? A life in a new domain as heirs of the kingdom? Then come to the one who gives you rest.