Older Now Than When I Was Young

Bible Book: Colossians  1 : 9-14
Subject: Senior Adults

Older Now Than When I Was Young

Dr. J. Mike Minnix, Editor, www.pastorlife.com
Introduction

Colossians 1:9-14:

"For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; 12 giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. 13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, 14 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins."

I am speaking today about getting older and I am addressing our senior adults - though everyone here needs to understand that you too will be a senior adult, if you live long enough. It is a good idea to pay attention and commit your future and life fully to Lord who controls our years on this earth. For the principles found here apply to everyone in every age bracket.

A wise older man said:

"I like my new bifocals

My dentures fit just fine

I have my hearing aid turned up

But Lord, how I miss my mind"

How do you know when your getting old?

  • You know you’re getting old when the phone rings on Saturday night and you hope it is not for you. 
  • You know you’re getting old when you are told to slow down by a doctor instead of a policeman
  • You know you’re getting old when you turn out the lights for economic rather than romantic reasons
  • You know you’re getting old when you knees buckle and your belt won't buckle
  • You know you’re getting old when you have too much room in our house and not enough room in your medicine cabinet

As Christians we live in the awareness of the eternal, for there is in us a sense of our ageless nature as believers. We are eternal creatures, since we will live with Christ forever. There is a sense in which all people are eternal, since those who are lost are also forever people, they will live forever apart from God.

Christians should not just be interested in the eternal but should also be interested in the supernatural - that is, we should be interested not just in the length of our lives, but more so in the quality of our lives.

In our text today we note that Paul offers up a prayer to God, and his prayer is an excellent one for us to consider today. As we think about aging, let us also consider our advancement in Christ. As we consider our progress in days let us consider the progress in our dedication to Christ.

Paul wrote the words in our passage today while he was in prison. People who write from prison, often write very important and serious words - certainly Paul did.

First, note ...

I. As We Age, We Can Know Better

Paul was saying that there is always room for improvement in our spiritual understanding. There is always room for advancement in our knowledge of God. There is always, to some degree, a mental vacuum in the life of every child of God. Paul says we can grow in two ways in our knowledge.

A. Grow in your Knowledge of the Purpose of God

"...asking God to fill you with the knowledge of His will..."

The word Paul used here is a Greek word - "Sunesis". A sunesis knowledge is an awareness of the facts. God would have us to experience "sunesis" knowledge.

Then he uses "sophia" knowledge. This means the ability to apply the facts.

There are some Christians who do not grow in the basic knowledge of the Bible and the Christian life; however, more often it is the case that we know better but we simple refuse to be better - to do better with the knowlege we have.

There was a preacher who had great "sunesis" knowledge, but he lacked "sophia" knowledge. He was a great man, wrote several books that were popular. However, this well informed preacher left his wife, his church and went to work in a jewelry store in a mall. He lacked "sophia" knowledge - the ability to apply that which he knew.

Listen, my friends, you need more than head knowledge. We need "feet" knowledge - we must get our learning applied to our living. Knowing must be wed to doing!

Then Paul used another word to express knowledge. He used the Greek word "epignosis". This word means to know something through and through - a kind of Super knowledge, if you will. The word 'gnosis' (pronounced know-sis) means "to know" in Greek. The prefix "epi" means "through." Thus, Paul spoke of epignosis - which means to know something, to live it and to be able to help others know it. To grasp God's will through-and-through is a wonderful thing. It leads to victory in Christian living. That is exactly what Paul was requesting for the Colossian Christians in the prayer found in our text today.

Also, Paul's words meant for you to ...

B. Grow in your Knowledge of the Person of God

Is is possible for me to know the Lord better and better? Sure it is! People told me about Jayne (my wife) before I met her, but nothing equaled meeting her. The problem with some people is that they think they know Christ when actually they have only heard about Him. They have never actually come to meet Him in salvation. Yet, even being saved is not all there is tos the Christian life. We are to grow in the knowledge and experience of walking with the Lord day-by-day. In other words, we are to become intimate with Him.

So, first, know that as we age as a Christian, we can know Him better. I expect all of us have heard the words, "You should have known better." When it comes to knowing our Lord, we should know Him better as the years pass by.

But, Paul addresses another issue in his prayer. He states that ...

II. As We Age, We Can Do Better

Knowledge always precedes action, but it is possible to have knowledge and not use it. Once we know better, we must begin to do better - to be better.

A. As We Age, Let Us Be More Pleasing to God

In the prayer we read from Colossians, we see that Paul was interested in the Colossian Christians actually walking "worthy" of the lord. The word "worthy" speaks of weight. It means to be weighed in the balances of Jesus. Some of us "weigh" ourselves as compared to a preacher, a deacon or perhaps the worst people in our generation. We can always find someone who is worse than we are, and then we can try to hide behind that person. Listen - God is not "weighing" us in comparison to those around us - He weighs us in the light of His Son. In that light, how are we doing? Is God pleased with us? That is the question.

Just think seriously about whether you are walking worthy of the One who died and rose for your redemption. Surely those of us who have who have known Him longer ought to be serving Him better.

Again, note that ...

B. As We Age, Let Us Be More Productive For God

Paul prays that Christians might be "Fruitful" in every good work. To be fruitful means that we are producing something from that which God has given us in Christ. D.L. Moody perhaps spoke of this is the best and most simple way ever. He said that every Bible should be bound in shoe leather! That is, the Bible should be lived out in the life of every believer.

Think of a child that sits at home while his or her mom is gone. The child does not destroy anything, in the house. So, we might say, that is a good thing. But, the child doesn't do anything worth while either. No dishes are washed, the clothes are not washed, the floor is not vaccumed, the bed is not made, in fact nothing good is done. The Christian life is not just the absence of wrong things, it is the presence of right things. So, what kind of fruit are we producing as we grown in age and grow in Christ?

Then Paul mentions one more thing ...

III. As We Age, We Can Be Better

As Paul continued his prayer in Colossians, he mentioned three ways in which believers can be better.

A. As We Age, We Can Be More Persistent

Paul used the Greek word "makrothumai," pronounced as "mack-ro-thu-my." The word means endurance - the ability to be consistent. The consistency spoken of in this text requires being consistent even when people are not treating you teh way you feel you ought to be treated. It means to stay the course even when someone or some people are letting you down. It means to standfast in your place and love for Christ even when people oppose you or fail to beliefe in you.

I have known a number of Christians through the years who became disenchanted with service for Christ because they got their feelings hurt or were unappreciated by those around them. You better get over that - Jesus went to the cross even though one disciple sold him out, another denied he even knew him on the night He was arrested, another was a doubter, and the people of the city of Jerusalem screamed out, "Crucify Him, Crucify Him!"

B. As We Age, We Can Be More Patient

"Hupomune" a used by Paul in this passage, means to be "patient." It means to keep going forward even when circumstances are working against you.

My daughter, Sherry, is married to Vince, a Baptist preacher. When Sherry and Vince left for Southeastern Seminary, everything they had was in a moving van. The van stopped at a state weigh station, and while sitting in line to be weighed the moving van caught on fire. Almost everything in that van was lost. Sherry and Vince were not deterred, they went on the seminary and he continued his education. Then, to make matters worse, Vince was hit from the rear by a cement mixing truck while driving his car. Patiently, they moved forward in serving and studying. Then, Sherry and Vince were struck head in a head-on collision while driving one foggy morning. None of these incidents were their fault and any one of them could have caused the turn back from their commitment to serve God in the ministry. But, all these later, Vince and Sherry continue to serve. He is pastor of the First Baptist Church, Cherryville, North Carolina and has remained steady through the years to complete his doctoratel degree at Southeastern Baptist Seminary. I have not been required to endure such patience in my ministry, but I do know that everyone is required to be patience in order to serve God faithfully.

If you are easily discouraged, you will never be effective. For senior adults, this means that you must keep on keeping on in the service of Christ all the way to the end.

C. We Can Give More Praise

"Joy - thankfulness"

Paul spoke of keeping our joy. We cannot and must not become old and cranky. We cannot help getting old - but, we can keep our joy. We can do this by remembering how good God has been to us.

1. He removed us from something

A sentence of death!

2. He removed something from us

The sinful nature and sinful acts of ouir lives.

Conclusion

Let me conclude with a story.

I served in Vietnam and I knew how difficult it would be for my wife's brother, Kenny. He was sent to Vietnam after I had already returned home from a tour of duty. While there, Kenny was hit by shrapnel and injured in several places. They flew him by helicopter to a hospital ship, and once he was stable they flew him to Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C. It took a long time but he was restored to health and lived for many years afterward. They took him out of the battle, but more importantly they had to take the battle out of him. They flew him out of danger, but he was not out of full danger until they go do surgery and remove sharpnel from his body.

Listen! Jesus took me out of danger when He saved me, but He also took the thing out of me that was worst of all. He removed the sin from me.

Let us grow old being thankful, faithful, and fruitful!

We need to Know Better, Do Better, and Be Better! It starts with a commitment!