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Learning to Contend in the Spiritual Realm
June 17, 2018      |     By: Jonathan Brickley      |      Category: Sermons

Jonathan shares a Father's Day message about contention against the knowledge of Christ in us.

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1 Thessalonians 2:11-13 (NIV)
11 For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children,
12 encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.
13 And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe.

1 Corinthians 4:14-17 (NIV)
14 I am writing this not to shame you but to warn you as my dear children.
15 Even if you had ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel.
16 Therefore I urge you to imitate me.
17 For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.

Matthew 23:8-9 (NIV)
8 “But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers.
9 And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven.

Not “Mimic the Actions” of a father - but rather “Adopt the Way of Life” of a father

Abiding In Him - Led by God’s Presence - Listening & Responding to His Word

“Imitate me as I imitate Christ”
1 Corinthians 11:1 (NIV)
1 Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.

“Timothy, my true son in the faith”
1 Timothy 1:2a (NIV)
2 To Timothy my true son in the faith:…

“Titus, my true son in the common faith"
Titus 1:4a (NIV)
4 To Titus, my true son in our common faith:…

“Onesimus, who became my son while I was in chains”
Philemon 10 (NIV)
10 that I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, who became my son while I was in chains.

Fathers & Leaders - Encourage, Comfort, and Urge us on

Colossians 1:25-29 (NIV)
25 I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness—
26 the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people.
27 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
28 He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ.
29 To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.

Colossians 2:1-3 (NIV)
1 I want you to know how hard I am contending for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not met me personally.
2 My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ,
3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

“CONTEND” - To strive or vie in Contest or Rivalry against difficulties / to struggle

Contending for an “END" - A Spiritual Outcome
1) What End?
    - Presenting everyone fully mature in Christ
2) How is this done?
    A) Proclaiming Jesus, not methods, “Him We Proclaim"
    B) Warning/Admonishing/Teaching Everyone with All Wisdom

Contending for a “PEOPLE" - Known or Unknown
1) What Goal?
    - That they (the church) may be:
       A) Encouraged in Heart (braced, comforted, cheered)
       B) United (knit together) in Love
2) Why?
      So that they may come to have (to reach) the FULL Riches (abounding wealth & blessing) of (the full assurance) complete understanding
3) Why?
     In order that they may KNOW THE MYSTERY OF GOD (becoming progressively more intimately acquainted with)

True Understanding comes through knowledge of God’s mystery
- "Mystery” - A Truth only known by revelation that cannot be understood

Summary - Knowledge of the mystery of God comes through our coming to have/possess Understanding - which we get from being encouraged in heart and united in love

Christ is God’s Mystery
Paul’s Goal in Contending:  That you may KNOW the mystery of God - Christ In you

Because In Him (In Us) are Hidden ALL the treasures of Wisdom and Knowledge

There is CONTENTION (fighting / warfare / struggle / rivalry) against the knowledge of Christ in Us.

How Do We Contend? - In the Place of Prayer

“Epaphras is always wrestling in prayer for you”
Colossians 4:12 (NIV)
12 Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.

“He is working hard for you and for those in Laodicea"
Colossians 4:13 (NIV)
13 I vouch for him that he is working hard for you and for those at Laodicea and Hierapolis.

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