Thanksgiving and its Connection to our Path

Bible Book: Colossians  2 : 1-7
Subject: Thanksgiving
Series: The Thanksgiving Connection

What did the mother turkey say to her disobedient children?

If your father could see you now, he’d turn over in his gravy!

What is the Turkey’s favorite black tie celebration?

The Butter Ball

Which side of the turkey has the most feathers?

The outside

Why do turkeys eat so little?

Because they are always stuffed

Why did the turkey cross the road?

It was the chicken’s day off.

How do you keep a turkey in suspense?

I’ll tell you at Christmas.

You know, too often we think only of turkey and the special meal when we think of Thanksgiving.

And too often throughout the year, we are too ready to speak words of complaint, but we keep our mouths shut when we should be expressing our gratitude.

I read that…

There once was a poor, rural family who were greatly concerned because their little boy had not started talking. The family didn’t have many resources to call upon, so the problem went on for a long time. One day, while the mother was making supper, she became overwhelmed and lost her concentration. She burned the meal. After she served the meal, the little boy tasted it and hollered, “I can’t eat this. It’s all burned.” Shocked but happy, the mother hugged the child and asked, “Why haven’t you been talking?” He said, “Up to now, everything has been OK.” (J. Michael Shannon from November 2008 –

In our text for today, Paul expressed a desire that the Christians at Colossae would be “abounding … with thanksgiving” (Colossians 2:7)

In fact, I noticed that some form of the word “thanks” is used in each chapter of the book of Colossians.

In chapter 1, verse 12, Paul said that Thanksgiving is Connected to us being Partakers of God’s inheritance for us.
In chapter 2, verses 6 and 7, Paul said that Thanksgiving is Connected to the Path of believers.
In chapter 3, verse 15, he said that Thanksgiving is Connected to our Peace as believers.
And in chapter 4, verse 2, Paul said that Thanksgiving is Connected to our Praying.

At the beginning of chapter 2, Paul said that he wanted the churches reading his letter to know what conflict and struggle he had for them…

(Colossians 2:1) For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh;

Albert Barnes explained of this word “conflict” that…

‎It properly refers to the combats, contests, struggles, efforts at the public games; the toil and conflict to obtain a victory. It refers here to the anxious care, the mental conflict, the earnest solicitude which he had in their behalf, in view of the dangers to which they were exposed from Judaizing Christians and Pagan philosophy. This mental struggle resembled that which the combatants had at the public games;

Similarly, Kenneth Wuest said…

“Conflict” is ‎agœn‎, continuing the metaphor of 1:29 in the word “striving,” ‎agœnizomai‎. The noun refers to the arena of the contest to which ‎agœnizomai ‎in the preceding verse has reference. The conflict could be either outward or inward, fightings without or fears within. Here it is the inward struggle, the wrestling in prayer for the Colossian saints.

John MacArthur said…

Paul’s love for the church caused him to write this letter to the churches of the Lycus Valley (cf. 4:15-16). He wanted them to know of the great struggle he had on their behalf and their sister church in Laodicea, even though they had not all personally seen his face. Paul’s love was not selective; he loved the whole church, not just those personally known by or close to him. That kind of unselfish love should characterize every spiritual leader. Struggle (conflict) translates agōn, from which we get our English word agony. It is a different form of the same word he used in 1:29 to speak of his striving in the ministry. Paul’s deep love even for those he had never met reflects his love for Christ, the Head of the church.
Just as loving parents have goals for their children, so Paul had goals for the church. He lists five of them for which he had struggled. He desired the Colossians to be strong in heart, united in love, settled in understanding, walking in Christ, and overflowing with gratitude.

These five things should be landmarks on every Christian’s path. And this morning, I want to consider these five factors. Let’s notice first that…

I. Paul Desired For These Colossians A Path Of Bold Tenacity

(Colossians 2:2a)

(Colossians 2:2) That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgment of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;

A. Notice The Meaning Of This Statement

That their hearts might be comforted

Other versions render it, “I want your hearts to be encouraged.”

John MacArthur noted that…

The basic meaning of parakaleō (encouraged) is “to call alongside.” Because a person can be called alongside for many purposes, the word has a wide range of meanings. They include to entreat, appeal to, summon, comfort, exhort, or encourage. In the present context, however, it could be translated “strengthen” because the Colossians were beset by false teachers and needed strengthening rather than comfort. Commentator William Barclay cites an example of parakaleō from classical Greek that parallels its usage here…

There was a Greek regiment which had lost heart and was utterly dejected. The general sent a leader to talk to it to such purpose that courage was reborn and a body of dispirited men became fit again for heroic action. That is what [parakaleō] means here. It is Paul’s prayer that the Church may be filled with that courage which can cope with any situation.

When Paul expressed his desire that their hearts be strengthened, he was not referring just to their emotions. … The abstract concept of emotions was viewed in terms of the concrete physical effects they produced.
When used figuratively in the Bible, the word heart is usually more general and refers broadly to the inner person, the center of life. It often equates specifically to the mind.

B. Notice The Means Of This Strength

MacArthur further said…

What is the means of a strong mind? Ephesians 3:16 says, “That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man.” The Spirit strengthens the hearts of those who yield their lives to His control.

II. Paul Desired For These Colossians A Path Of Binding Ties

(Colossians 2:2b)

(Colossians 2:2) That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgment of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;

A. There Is A Coming Together In Association Wrapped Up In Paul’s Words

knit together – Greek 4822. sumbibazo, soom-bib-ad'-zo; from G4862 and bibazo (to force; caus. [by redupl.] of the base of G939); to drive together, i.e. unite (in association or affection), (mentally) to infer, show, teach:--compact, assuredly, gather, instruct, knit together, prove.

Barnes said…

[Being knit together in love] The same word which is used here ‎sumbibazoo ‎occurs in Ephesians 4:16, and is rendered compacted; see the notes at that place. In Acts 9:22, it is rendered proving; Acts 16:10, assuredly gathering; 1 Corinthians 2:16, instruct; and here, and in Colossians 2:19, knit together. It means, properly, to make to come together, and hence, refers to a firm union, as where the heart of Christians are one. Here it means that the way of comforting each other was by solid Christian friendship, and that the means of cementing that was love. It was not by a mere outward profession, or by mere speculative faith; it was by a union of affection.

B. There Is A Compassionate Attitude Wrapped Up In Paul’s Words

in love

‎The Thayer’s Greek Lexicon says of this word “love” (NT 26: agape) that…

It denotes affection, good-will, love, benevolence. (It is used) of the love of men to men; especially of that love of Christians toward Christians which is enjoined and prompted by their religion, whether the love be viewed as in the soul or as expressed.

Listen to what Paul says later in this epistle…

(Colossians 3:12-14) Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; {13} Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. {14} And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.

bond – Greek 4886. sundesmos, soon'-des-mos; from G4862 and G1199; a joint tie, i.e. ligament, (fig.) uniting principle, control:--band, bond.

perfectness – Greek 5047. teleiotes, tel-i-ot'-ace; from G5046; (the state) completeness (ment. or mor.):--perfection (-ness).

MacArthur observed that…

Loving someone is not defined by having warm feelings toward them, but by meeting their needs. The last time you made a sacrifice for someone was the last time you loved him or her. Love is first action, then the emotions follow. So the strengthened heart is a heart that has learned to love.

III. Paul Desired For These Colossians A Path Of Beneficial Teaching

(Colossians 2:2c–5)

A. The Substance Of Such Teaching Is Pictured As Riches

(Colossians 2:2-4) That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgment of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; {3} In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. {4} And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words.

riches – Greek 4149. ploutos, ploo'-tos; from the base of G4130; wealth (as fulness), i.e. (lit.) money, possessions, or (fig.) abundance, richness, (spec.) valuable bestowment:--riches.

treasures – Greek 2344. thesauros, thay-sow-ros'; from G5087; a deposit, i.e. wealth (lit. or fig.):--treasure.

Knowing Christ in a greater and deeper way is like opening up a vault full of great wealth and valuable possessions. Knowing Christ in a greater and deeper way is like opening up a thesaurus full of descriptive word variations that enhance and express. We discover that the Word made flesh, the Lord Jesus Christ, is just the right Word everytime.

A. T. Robertson said…

Of the full assurance of understanding ‎tees ‎‎pleeroforias ‎‎tees ‎‎suneseoos‎. … Paul desires the full use of the intellect in grasping the great mystery of Christ and it calls for the full and balanced exercise of all one’s mental powers.

That they may know ‎eis ‎‎epignoosin‎. (to the acknowledgment) “Unto full knowledge.” This use of ‎epignoosis ‎ (full, additional knowledge) is Paul’s reply to the Gnostics with the limited and perverted ‎gnoosis ‎ (knowledge).

B. The Steadfastness In Such Teaching Is Producing A Rejoicing

(Colossians 2:5) For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ.

joying – Greek 5463. chairo, khah’ee-ro; a prim. verb; to be “cheer”ful, i.e. calmly happy or well-off; impers. espec. as salutation (on meeting or parting), be well:--farewell, be glad, God speed, greeting, hail, joy (-fully), rejoice.

The thought of them standing steadfast like a battalion of soldiers flooded Paul’s heart with a great sense of joy and gladness.

MacArthur said…

Having warned the Colossians to continue to stand firm, Paul rejoices that they are doing so. Although absent in body due to his imprisonment, Paul was present with them in spirit. Their good discipline and the stability of their faith in Christ caused him to rejoice. Taxis (good discipline – order) and stereōma (stability – steadfastness) are both military terms, perhaps suggested by Paul’s close contact with Roman soldiers during his imprisonment (cf. Acts 28:16; Phil. 1:13). Taxis refers to a line of soldiers drawn up for battle, whereas stereōma refers to the solidity of a formation of soldiers. Taken together, they express Paul’s joy that individually and collectively the Colossians were standing firm against the attacks of false teaching. His goal for them is that they remain settled in their present true understanding, and not yield to doubt from those attacks.

Listen to what the apostle John said and how the saints walking in truth affected him…

(2 John 1:4) I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father.

(3 John 1:4) I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.

IV. Paul Desired For These Colossians A Path Of A Believer’s Testimony

(Colossians 2:6–7a)

A. It Is The Testimony Of A Godly Traveler

(Colossians 2:6) As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:

walk – Greek 4043. peripateo, per-ee-pat-eh'-o; from G4012 and G3961; to tread all around, i.e. walk at large (espec. as proof of ability); fig. to live, deport oneself, follow (as a companion or votary):--go, be occupied with, walk (about).

MacArthur said…

The familiar term walk refers to daily conduct. In this context it means primarily to continue believing the truth about Christ, not allowing their Christology to waver. In broader terms, however, walking in Christ means living in union with Him. It means to maintain a lifestyle patterned after His.

A. T. Robertson explained the meaning saying…

Walk in him ‎en ‎‎autoo ‎‎peripateite‎. “Go on walking in Him” (present active indicative of ‎peripateoo‎).

Barnes said…

[So walk in him] Continue in those views of Christ; live in the maintenance of them; let them regulate your whole conduct. The word walk, in the Scriptures, is used to denote the manner of life; and the sense here is, that they should live and act wholly under the influence of the conceptions which they had of the Saviour when they first embraced him. … The meaning is, simply, “Since you have received Christ as your Lord, as he was preached to you, hold fast the doctrine which you have received, and do not permit yourselves to be turned aside by any Jewish teachers, or teachers of philosophy.”

B. It Is The Testimony Of A Growing Tree And A Grand Temple

(Colossians 2:7) Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.

There is a double picture used here; one from agriculture and the other from architecture.

And as Adam Clarke said…

[Rooted and built up in him] It is not usual with the apostle to employ this double metaphor, taken partly from the growth of a tree and the increase of a building. They are to be rooted; as the good seed had been already sown, it is to take root, and the roots are to spread far, wide, and deep. They are to be grounded; as the foundation has already been laid, they are to build thereon. In the one case, they are to bear much fruit; in the other, they are to grow up to be a habitation of God through the Spirit.

Kenneth Wuest said…

“Rooted” is a perfect participle in the Greek text expressing an abiding result, “having been rooted with the present result that you are firmly anchored.” “Built up” is a present participle, speaking of continuous action. “being constantly built up.” Vincent says; “Note the changing metaphor from the solidity of military array to walking, rooting of a tree, and then to building.” “

V. Paul Desired For These Colossians A Path Of Bountiful Thanksgiving

(Colossians 2:7b)

(Colossians 2:7) Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.

A. Let’s Think About The Abounding Analogy

abounding – Greek 4052. perisseuo, per-is-syoo'-o; from G4053; to superabound (in quantity or quality), be in excess, be superfluous; also (trans.) to cause to superabound or excel:--(make, more) abound, (have, have more) abundance, (be more) abundant, be the better, enough and to spare, exceed, excel, increase, be left, redound, remain (over and above).

Warren Wiersbe said…

The word abounding is often used by Paul. It suggests the picture of a river overflowing its banks. Our first experience in the Lord is that of drinking the water of life by faith, and He puts within us an artesian well of living water (John 4:10-14). But that artesian well should become a “river of living water” (John 7:37-39) that grows deeper and deeper. The image of the river flowing from the sanctuary (Ezekiel 47) getting deeper as it flows, probably is what Paul had in mind. Sad to say, many of us are making no progress - our lives are shallow trickles instead of mighty rivers.

B. Let’s Think About The Appreciation Aspect

thanksgiving – Greek 2169. eucharistia, yoo-khar-is-tee'-ah; from G2170; gratitude; act. grateful language (to God, as an act of worship):--thankfulness, (giving of) thanks (-giving).

Kenneth Wuest said, “‎Thanksgiving is the sphere in which the abundance is manifested.”

Barnes said…

[Abounding therein with thanksgiving] Expressing overflowing thanks to God that you have been made acquainted with truths so precious and glorious. If there is any thing for which we ought to be thankful, it is for the knowledge of the great truths respecting our Lord and Saviour.

The Pulpit Commentary says…

This summons to thanksgiving is a sort of refrain throughout the Epistle (Colossians 1:10; 3:15, 17; 4:2). Faber inquires whether there can be true worship without joy. Because he asserts, “Worship is not fear of God or love of God, but delight in God.” This is Paul’s exposition and doctrine, for there must be joy in thanksgiving. And perpetual thanksgiving is the true spirit of those who are (1) objects of perpetual providence; (2) subjects of perpetual grace. Therefore abound with thanksgiving.

Conclusion: In Google maps, you can plot your course between two points and the application will show you the best course to take. But the user can drag the plotted line to another route that avoids certain points on the map. That’s what we tend to do with our Christian journey sometimes. God shows us the best course to take, but we drag the plotted line to another route avoiding these places on the path.