Colossians 1:24-29 "It's All About Christ!" - Part Four
Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ's afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness--the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints. 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.
We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me. - Colossians 1:24-29
In our last time together, we considered Paul's teaching that the message of the Church is that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and He reconciled us to God the Father. Now, Paul teaches us that the ministry of the Church is to present the "word of God in its fullness" to all people (1:25) so that "we may present everyone perfect in Christ" (1:28). "It's All About Christ" is the theme for the ministry of the church.
When you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord you were adopted into the family of God. Fellow believers are now your brothers and sisters in Christ. So, your salvation that took you away from sin and brought you to God was not given to you so that you can go on your merry way in solitude. You belong to Jesus. He is your Master; the One you serve and the One you seek to give honor and glory. As His servants we pray daily, "not my will but your will be done."
We are commissioned by Jesus to go into all the world and make disciples, as stated in Matthew 28. The apostle Paul emphasized this in his letter to the Colossians as stated in today's text. We who comprise the church, individually and collectively, are to present the Word of God in its fullness to all people so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. Let's take a closer look at this passage.
We learn in Colossians 1:24-27 that Paul was a servant of God whose role was to present the hope of glory. There are three important aspects of Paul's ministry that are noted here. The first important aspect of Paul's ministry is that it involved suffering for the sake of the Gospel. The Gospel message of Jesus Christ was so controversial in New Testament times that it offended everyone everywhere. The message was not offensive because it was false or heresy but in fact because it is Truth. People who live in darkness and people who live by a false light are taken back when confronted by genuine light. It is human nature to persecute that which people do not understand, especially when the message brings to light their sins, pride, and self-centeredness.
The ultimate example of One who suffered for the sake of Truth is our Lord Jesus. Paul writes that he rejoices that he was able to suffer for the sake of Christ and that his suffering is nothing in comparison to the suffering of the Son of God.
The second important aspect of Paul's ministry is that the ministry of the Church is to present the Word of God in its entirety; the Word of God in its fullness. Paul did not present the Gospel of Jesus Christ is ways so as not to offend nor did he purpose to win favor with others. He presented the Truth in love so that the listeners would turn to Christ. The church must follow Paul's example by proclaiming and living the entirety of the Word of God and not just the portions of the Word that make them feel good about themselves. A good standard by which to evaluate our presentations of the Gospel is if our teachings and examples glorify Christ. If it seeks to bring glory to anyone other than God then it is not of God and is not truth.
The third important aspect of Paul's ministry as seen in this passage is that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is for everyone. Society in New Testament times was very class conscience. But, as we discussed earlier in our study of Colossians, each person in the Church is of equal value and importance to Christ and thus, we must honor each other as brothers and sisters in the Lord. The Gospel was a mystery to the Jews but became a revelation in the person of Christ. The Gospel revelation was offered to everyone which includes the Gentiles; those who are not Jewish. So, we are to present the Gospel to everyone and welcome everyone who accepts Jesus as Lord into the family of God.
Paul taught us that the ministry of the Church involves suffering, that the Church must present the Word of God in its fullness, and that the Church must present the Gospel to everyone. He then goes into some detail as to how this is done.
Colossians 1:28-29 tells us that the ministry of the church must focus on Jesus Christ. "It's All About Christ!" There are secondary aspects of church life such as religion, rules, regulations, traditions, dogma, doctrine, and worship styles. Each of these aspects has a proper place in the life of the Church. But, the centerpiece of the Church, the heart of the Church, the One who matters most is Jesus Christ. We must proclaim Jesus Christ, the crucified and risen Lord.
We then admonish and teach others in wisdom to follow Christ. The starting point of our influencing others to Jesus is our testimony of what Christ did for us and how He changed our lives. We then counsel and teach from the Word of God, the Bible. We are not to teach our thoughts or proclaim current philosophies. We turn consistently to the Bible, to learn from God's Word, and to be obedient to what it teaches us.
We are to admonish and teach in wisdom. Wisdom comes from the Lord. The Bible says that we can ask for wisdom and the Lord will give it to us. Wisdom is needed to apply God's Word to our lives daily. Wisdom is needed when we need to use the best method to communicate God's Word. Wisdom is needed when we need the appropriate Bible verse in the situations of life.
The point of the ministry of the Church is to present everyone perfect in Christ. The word perfect does not mean that we are without mistakes or faults. The word means that we are mature in the Lord. It means that we put aside childish things and the things of this world and instead focus our lives on bringing glory and honor to Jesus Christ.
The ministry of the Church is to present the "word of God in its fullness" to all people (1:25) so that "we may present everyone perfect in Christ" (1:28). This was Paul's focus of ministry and the reason that he labored. This then is our focus of ministry; "It's All About Christ!" We must work diligently to be an example in word and deed to others and to help them grow in spiritual maturity. May the Lord find us faithful. Let's pray.
Dear Jesus, I ask for your help that I might understand and live the truth of your Word. I pray that you will use me as your servant to lead others to grow in spiritual maturity. Lead us as we seek to be all that you want us to be. Amen.
For You to Consider
- How should we respond to suffering when it is for the sake of the Gospel?
- What must you do to live the Word of God in its fullness this week?
- How would your life be different if you truly believed that the Gospel of Jesus Christ was for everyone; even people who have different values, politics, and motivations?
- List three actions you can take to improve your ability to teach others the Word of God in wisdom.
- What are your goals that you want to accomplish this month that will present others "perfect" in Christ?
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