Paul: A Servant of the Gospel – Colossians 1:24-29

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Pastor Scott L. Harris
Grace Bible Church, NY
August 29, 2010

Paul: A Servant of the Gospel
Colossians 1:24-29

Introduction

In our study of Paul’s letter to the Colossians we have already  learned a few good and bad things about the church there. Paul  was thankful for their reception of the gospel and the fruit that it  bore among them including their faith in Jesus and love for the  saints (See: Paul’s Thankfulness) . From Paul’s prayer for them we not only learned that they still had a lot of room to grow, but also  found a good model of how we should pray for one another so that we will have the knowledge and wisdom necessary to walk in a  manner worthy of the Lord (See:  The Prayer for the Colossians, Part 1). Paul concludes that prayer with four reasons thanks  should be given to the Father for our salvation since He is the one  that qualified us share in the inheritance of the saints; He delivered us from the domain of darkness; He transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son; and through Christ He redeemed us so that we could be forgiven our sins (See: The Prayer for the Colossians, Part 2 ). Salvation is the work of God for our benefit.

Paul then expanded on the nature and position of Jesus Christ as the one who reveals the invisible God and is preeminent over creation as the architect, builder, possessor and sustainer of all creation (See: The Preeminence of Jesus Over Creation). Then last week we looked at Jesus’ preeminence over the church as its head and origin since He is the one that brought about reconciliation between God and man through the sacrifice of His
body in dying on the cross (See: The Preeminence of Jesus Over the Church). The supremacy of Jesus over creation and the church corrected the false teachings promoted by some at Colossae that either attacked His deity or humanity.

Made a Servant – vs. 23 & 25

We concluded our study last week with Colossians 1:23 which says, “if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister.” Last week I emphasized that one of the differences between true believers and those with a false profession is whether they persevere in faith.

Paul uses hyperbole here of the gospel being “proclaimed in all creation under heaven” to express the universal availability of the gospel as opposed to the narrow and exclusive doctrine of the early gnostic thought being promoted in Colossae. How far the gospel had already spread by that time is not clearly known. From the book of Acts alone we are aware that it had already spread throughout a large portion of the Roman world. From traditions concerning the other apostles we know it had spread south into Africa, east to India and north to Russia. How far disciples other than the apostles had spread it would be conjecture, but the gospel had spread rapidly in the decades following Jesus’ resurrection.

This week I want to pick up from Paul’s statement here in verse 23 that he was made a minister or servant of the gospel and examine his further explanation of that in verses 24-29. “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body (which is the church) in filling up that which is lacking in Christ’s afflictions. 25 Of [this church] I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, that I might fully carry out the [preaching of] the word of God, 26 [that is,] the mystery which has been hidden from the [past] ages and generations; but has now been manifested to His saints, 27 to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 And we proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, that we may present every man complete in Christ. 29 And for this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.”

Paul states in verse 23 that he was made a minster of the gospel. In verse 25 he adds, “of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God” (NKJV). The word minister is diavkono” / diakonos from which we get our word deacon. It means minister, servant, attendant and was used specifically in Greek culture for the waiter that would serve food and drink. Our tendency is to elevate the minister to a position of such importance that people seek to gain the position and title as a source of pride. Paul did not see it that way.

The importance of a minister is directly related to whom he is rendering service and the task given to him. We often refer to those who are involved in handling the relationships and affairs between countries as “foreign ministers.” The importance of any individual is directly related to the country they represent and the duty they have been assigned.

In these two verses Paul specifically states that he is a minister of the gospel and a minister of the church. His specific tasks were to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ and to serve the body of Christ, the church. Though Paul also had authority as an apostle of Jesus Christ (apostle = one sent with authority) as he mentions in Colossians 1:1, Paul’s view of himself and his manner among people in the church is one of a servant. Someone whose responsibility is to help others even at a cost to himself rather than someone who commands others to do his will. That is the great contrast between leadership in the world and leadership in the church. Jesus Himself corrected His disciples on this point and told them in Matthew 20:25-28, “But Jesus called them to Himself, and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and [their] great men exercise authority over them. “It is not so among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

Paul also points out in both of these verses that he was made a minister. It is not something he sought for himself. The story of his conversion in Acts 9 is one of God’s direct and dramatic intervention into Paul’s life. Such a direct and dramatic call by God is rare throughout the Scriptures, but that does not mean God does not call us to be ministers. In fact, every Christian is called to serve. Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12 and Ephesians 4 all make it clear that the body of Christ is made of people that God has called to Himself for salvation and then gifted to serve Him in various ways with various gifts. The particular spiritual gift, the ministry and the extent or power of that ministry are all given and determined by God for the purpose of the building up of the entire body. Galatians 5:13 calls on us to serve one another in love, with the word “serve” here being the actions of a slave.

The attitude each Christian should have is that of a slave called and sent by his master to serve others. There is no room for arrogance and pride. We are to be humble with one another in preferring one another and looking out for one another’s interests above our own (Philippians 2:3-4). That was Paul’s attitude because he clearly understood that God had made him a minister.

His Suffering in Service – vs. 24

Rejoicing in Suffering. Paul begins the next verse, “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake. . .” The idea of rejoicing in suffering always seems odd to non-Christians and usually to new Christians as well, yet the scriptures are full of such statements. The reason is that the purpose of life for the Christian is different so they are able to respond to the circumstances of life in a different manner.

If you believe that life is about you and therefore what is most important in life is getting or experiencing what you want, then joy or sorrow are completely dependent upon circumstances. When things go your way, life is good. When things don’t go your way, life is bad, and lets face it, unless you have a serious psychological problem, suffering is not a good circumstance. Non-Christians often use the reality of suffering to attack God claiming that if He exists and is good and all powerful, then there should not be any suffering. Those views are shallow and short sighted.

Suffering occurs solely because of sin. We suffer as the consequence of our own sins, from the sins of others, and the curse of sin upon this world. For God to eliminate all suffering in the present He would have to eliminate all causes of it in the present which would mean that you, me and everyone else would all have to be eliminated. It is only because God is also longsuffering and patient allowing us time and opportunity to repent that we are not eliminated and cast into hell for our sins immediately. No wonder 2 Peter 3:15 tells us to “regard the patience of our Lord to be salvation.”

For Christians, we know that the suffering that comes as part of the tribulations and trials of life will result in increasing maturity in our life (Romans 5:3-8; James 1:2-4). We also know that because there is sin in the world that suffering will be part of it. Jesus told His followers in John 16:33, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation , but take courage; I have overcome the world.” We also know as Christians that we will suffer from the unrighteous. Jesus warned about it in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:10-12 and Paul stated it directly in 2 Timothy 3:12, “And indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted .” In Acts 5:41 we find that after the apostles had been flogged they went on their way “rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name.” The Christian can rejoice even in suffering because we live for the glory of God with the goal of becoming like Jesus; we have a hope beyond the present; and we share in the sufferings of Christ (1 Peter 4:13).

This was particularly true for Paul because Jesus told Ananias in Acts 9:16 that not only was Paul a chosen instrument to bear Christ’s name before the Gentiles, but also that “I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake.” Paul brings out the reality of this occurring in the next part of the verse.

Fulfilling Up in Affliction. “and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church” (NKJV). Roman Catholics have tried to use this verse as support for their doctrine of purgatory where the baptized Catholic must undergo penal suffering to purify them from remaining imperfections. The idea is heretical to begin with since man cannot be justified before God by any means except faith in the finished work of atonement by the Lord Jesus Christ. Trying to use this verse to teach purgatory fails on all counts. First, Paul is referring to suffering in his body of flesh while alive, not after he dies. Second, Paul’s suffering is for the sake of the body of Christ, not for himself. Third, Paul makes no reference to his suffering bringing about expiation of the sins of anyone, so this also cannot support the idea of the grace gained by a saint being transferred to a sinner. Fourth, the term for affliction used here (qli’yi” / thlipsis) is never used in reference to Jesus’ sufferings. Fifth, and most importantly, Jesus’ work of atonement was complete so that when He said, “It is finished,” it was finished. Hebrews 10:12 states, “but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God.”

Paul was not “filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ” in any sense of adding to Jesus’ work of atonement. Paul’s sufferings were strictly in accord with what Jesus said would happen to Paul, and they were in accord with what the rest of the scriptures say about Christian affliction. There is no lack in Jesus Christ, the only lack here is the full measure of affliction the unrighteous will pour out on the righteous followers of Christ. When that happens we share in Jesus’ sufferings because the wrath of evil people is ultimately against Him. We suffer with Him (Romans 8:17) for His sake (Luke 6:22) in the fellowship of suffering (Philippians 3:10). Paul in particular understood that the afflictions He suffered were intended for Christ (Galatians 6:17; 2 Corinthians 11:23-28).

What we suffer is often used by God for the benefit of others, and that is true in the case of Paul here. He was afflicted because he was a minister of the gospel and the proclaiming of the gospel was to their benefit even if he was currently suffering for it. The gospel is the power of God for salvation to all who will believe (Romans 1:16), and

Paul’s current suffering in imprisonment was not from a lack of the power of God. In His letter to the Philippians, which was written at the same time as Colossians, Paul rejoiced in being in prison because it was encouraging others to be more bold in their preaching and it was resulting in Christ become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and even into Caesar’s household (Philippians 1:12-14).

The Stewardship of Service – vs. 25

In verse 25 Paul adds that not only was he made a minster of Christ’s body, the church, but that this was done “according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God.”

Its Nature. A steward (oijkonomiva / oikonomia) is literally a “house manager” and from that came the broader idea of one who is given oversight of something on behalf of the owner. A house manager would take care of running the household which would allow the owner the freedom to do other things. The steward was in a position of great trust and responsibility for which he was accountable directly to the owner. Paul states that his position as a minister of the gospel and to the church was placed upon him by God as a stewardship. Paul would be directly accountable to God for the responsibilities of ministry in the gospel and to the church.

Paul did not work his way into this position or earn it in any fashion. He did not gain it by vote or selection by any local church or a committee of some sort. The responsibilities were placed upon him by God. That is something to keep in mind about any ministry.

Yes, in Acts 13 we find that the church at Antioch set aside Paul and Barnabas and sent them out as missionaries, but they did so at the moving of the Holy Spirit. The church was simply the means by which God sent them out. And yes, they did return periodically to report to the church in Antioch, but that was for the sake of allowing God’s name to be praised by those at Antioch rather than keeping Paul faithful in ministry. We enter into a different realm of ministry when we finally take to heart that whatever spiritual gift, ministry and extent of that ministry we have come from God to whom we will be held accountable. The motivations then change from pleasing people to pleasing God. Only at that point do we move into being faithful stewards of what God has entrusted to us instead of just a cog in the wheel of some religious program.

Its Beneficiaries. Paul also makes it clear in this verse that the Colossians were the ones that benefitted from this even though Paul had not yet met them in person. Because Paul was faithful in his stewardship, they had received the word of God through Epaphras and it was accomplishing its purposes in them. His continued faithfulness was now benefitting them in this letter which was encouraging them to the truth and warning and correcting the errors being taught by some among them. That is a reminder to us as well that we do not know the long term effects of what we do. Faithfulness in one area that may seem small to you can have far reaching effects even in distant places. Once in awhile we get glimpses, but we will not have any real understanding of the many ways God has used us until we meet the fruit of it in heaven.

The Mystery of the Gospel – vs. 26-27

A Manifested Mystery. In verses 26-27 Paul refers to the “mystery.” This is not to be confused with the “mysteries” of the religious rites of Greek paganism. Those mysteries were kept secret and only revealed to the initiates. The word used here (musthvrion / mustêrion) is in the singular and used in connection with “making known” or “speaking” the mystery. It is used to refer to something that was not known to man that has been now revealed by God.

Paul states that “the mystery which has been hidden from the [past] ages and generations; but has now been manifested to His saints.” What had not been known previously has now been disclosed. The word used here (fanerovw / phaneroô) has its root in the word for light. God has brought to light what had been previously hidden in ages past and to earlier generations. History is the record of God’s revelation of Himself and His will with each revelation giving a clearer understanding of both. The particular mystery Paul is speaking about here is one that is disclosed to His saints, those who are made righteous by faith in Jesus Christ. It is not that God is still hiding this mystery from non-Christians, for He is not, for this mystery was being openly proclaimed. The problem is that the minds of the unbelieving are blinded by Satan (2 Corinthians 4:4) so that it is only believers that will recognize it and understand it.

The Riches of the Mystery. Paul continues to explain this mystery manifested to the saints verse 27, “to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” The sinfulness of man is such that he will reject the revelation of God and what God has done for him in favor of his own sin. Jesus expresses this in John 3:19 explaining why men will not believe in the name of the only begotten Son of God, “And this is the judgment, that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their deeds were evil.” God Himself must intervene and that is what we find again in this verse. This is contrary to the heretical ideas being promoted in Colossae that God was distant from His creation. It is contrary to deistic thought which teaches that God is uninvolved in the lives of men. To the contrary, it is only by God’s will that man comes to salvation because God intervenes to make His revelation known to him.

What is this mystery? It is Christ in you, the hope of glory, which Paul makes particular emphasis here that it includes the Gentiles. The Jews were supposed to be a holy nation and kingdom of priests that would proclaim the glory of God to the nations (Exodus 19:6; Isaiah 43:21; 60:1-3). Paul was carrying out these commands by proclaiming the gospel to the Gentiles with the result that those who were not a people were now included as the people of God in this new entity, the church, God’s called out ones from among all people (1 Peter 2:8-9).

Paul’s phrasing in stating that this mystery is Christ in you, the hope of glory, explains why the revelation of God in the proclamation of the gospel can be openly proclaimed to all the world and yet only manifested to the saints. Non-Christians can intellectually understand the historical facts and theological claims of Jesus resulting in the good news that God offers forgiveness of sin to all that will believe in Him as the Son of God who became the sacrificial atonement for sin and then rose from the dead. They just will not believe it and therefore the Messiah cannot be in them with the result that they cannot receive the hope of redemption, reconciliation and forgiveness of sin that gives all true Christians a future place in heaven. Christ dwells in you through faith in Him (Ephesians 3:17), and it is Christ in you by which the Holy Spirit regenerates your spirit and sets you free from the law of sin and death. If you do not have His spirit, you are not His and you remain in your flesh under God’s condemnation (Romans 8:1-11; 2 Corinthians 13:5).

God is glorified by His redemption and reconciliation of a people for Himself to whom He grants forgiveness of sin and the promise of His indwelling in the present and eternity with Him in Heaven in the future. The nature and work of Jesus places Him as preeminent over Creation and the Church and the day will come when every knee will bow and confess Him as Lord to the glory of the Father (Philippians 2:5-11).

The Goal of Service – vs. 28

But God is also glorified in the present by how His people live (Matthew 5:16; 1 Peter 2:12). As Paul pointed out earlier in verse 22, He reconciled us to Himself through Jesus’ bodily death so that we might be holy, blameless and beyond reproach. It is for this reason that Paul continues on in verse 28 to explain the two aspects of his preaching and their goal. ” And we proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, that we may present every man complete in Christ.”

Proclaiming Christ is the general action that Paul is making with admonishing and teaching as specific aspects of the general message. To proclaim (kataggevllw / kataggellô) is to publically announce, to declare. It is what a messenger does in making known his message. Jesus, the promised Messiah, is the focal point of the message of Christianity. Tragically, that is not true among many that proclaim to be Christians. To the degree which the Messiah, the Christ, is not the focus of the message is the degree to which the message is not actually Christian. Keep that in mind as you listen to or read what those proclaiming to be Christians have to say. There may be very little actually Christian about it.

Admonishing (nouqetevw / noutheteô) is the first aspect in proclaiming Christ and it encompasses the negative side of instruction. It is proclaiming what is wrong and issuing a warning of the danger. It is the first part of the message Jesus Himself proclaimed, “Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand(Matthew 4:17). We must warn people that they are sinners under God’s condemnation and that they must turn from their sin to embrace the savior. Tragically, America has been filled with preachers that refuse to do this. Sin is so negative that they do not want to talk about it so they will either redefine it, as Robert Schuller and his ilk have done, or they will just not mention it at all, as Joel Osteen and his imitators are currently doing. But there is no salvation from sin without repentance. If there is no change of mind about your sinful state and about what God has done for you in Christ, then there cannot be any saving belief in Him. You must be poor in spirit to enter the kingdom of heaven. You must mourn to be comforted. You must be pure in heart to see God (Matthew 5:3-8).

Admonishing is also a continuing part of preaching to true Christians for it is the part that warns and corrects wrong ideas, beliefs and practices of those who are disciples of Jesus. It is instruction from the negative side of what to stop doing and what to avoid. Paul will be doing a lot of admonishing even in this letter to the Colossians. Not only must the unruly be admonished (1 Thessalonians 5:14), but it is part of the normal body life of the church as we seek to help one another grow in Christ (Romans 15:14; Colossians 3:16).

Teaching (didavskw / didaskô) is the positive side of proclaiming Christ. It is the instruction of what to seek and do. This is also part of basic life in the body of Christ for it is part of the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20 of making disciples and “teaching them to observe all that I commanded you.” It is one of the functions of the Scriptures themselves so that every man is “adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

Maturity is the goal of admonishing and teaching. Paul’s desire was to “present every man complete in Christ.” Complete comes from a word (tevleio” / teleios) meaning to “reach its end” and hence complete, perfect, mature. That was Paul’s goal, and it ours too.

One of the weakness of American Christianity has been that this goal is easily forgotten. Some groups focus so much on getting people to make a profession of faith in Jesus that they forget such a profession is a starting point, not the end point. Others focus on keeping people happy so they can maintain their budget and prestige as a large church. The emphasis then becomes entertainment and appeasement making sure the people are never offended by an admonishment or challenged to a sacrificial way of life by the teaching. Positive messages of self-esteem, self-improvement, tolerance of sin and worldly success replace messages of humility, submission to the Lord, forsaking sin and heavenly success. It is a focus on the things that are on this earth and the present life and circumstances instead of living life with a mind set on the things above (Colossians 3:2).

However, regardless of what is going on in society or even within American Christianity, you can make sure you are focused correctly on the goal of becoming mature in Christ. You can follow Paul’s example of understanding that your life has been crucified with Christ and you no longer live, but Christ lives in you and the life you now live in the flesh you live by faith in the Son of God who loved you and delivered Himself up for you (Galatians 2:20). It is your purpose in life that will drive your actions in life. Do you know your purpose? God’s purpose in redeeming you is to conform you into the image of His son, holy, blameless and above reproach.

The Strength for Service – vs 29

What does it take for the purpose to be fulfilled? Paul tells us in verse 29. “And for this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.” It takes hard work on our part, but the strength for it is provided by God.

Paul’s Labor. Paul uses two words here to describe his labor. The first one (kopiavw / kopiaô), is a toilsome labor, the kind that makes you grow weary. It is used in Luke 5:5 of working all night, in 2 Timothy 2:6 of the hard working farmer, and in John 4:6 of Jesus being wearied from His travels. The second word (ajgwnivzomai / agônizomai) is to fight, strive, contend. We get our word agonize from it. It is used to describe the labor an athlete puts into competing for a prize (1 Corinthians 9:25) and for fighting the good fight of faith (1 Timothy 6:12).

While there are ministers who are lazy and do a minimal amount of work, that is not what Paul describes for true ministry. He describes his own in 2 Corinthians 11:23-28 which include not just what he has suffered at the hands of the unrighteous, but also “labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights . . . and the daily pressure of concern for all the churches.” In his letters to Timothy, Paul describes the ministry of the gospel as hard work (1 Timothy 4:10; 5:17; 6:12; 2 Timothy 2:1-15; 4:2,5). The godly minister will work hard laboring at times to the point of weariness because we are in a fight against the forces of evil in a war for the souls of men. It would be an overwhelming task if we had to do it in our own strength, but we do not.

God’s Provision. Paul worked hard and agonized in ministry, but all of it was according to the power of God which was working in him. Paul was to do his part and be diligent in his efforts to the point that he would be physically, mentally and even emotionally tired, yet all that was accomplished was due to God energizing him. The same is true for us. It is God that sustains us and accomplishes His will through us. This truth gives us confidence to face tasks that otherwise would overwhelm us. We work, but it is God working in and through us to accomplish the task. What then should we fear? Nothing. We may be weak, but God’s power is perfected in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9) which is why He chooses the weak things to shame the things which are strong (1 Corinthians 1:28).

These truths which were so well demonstrated in Paul’s life are the same ones that are to sustain us in using whatever spiritual gifts in whatever ministry to whatever degree God has called us. Since all power and authority have been given to our Lord, then He is more than able to equip and strengthen us to accomplish His will in serving Him. We simply need to surrender our will to his and then step forward in faith to serve Him to the best of our abilities. We will then see God do things through us far beyond what we thought possible.

Sermon Notes – 8/29/2010

Paul: A Servant of the Gospel – Colossians 1:24-29

Introduction

Paul’s prayer for them is a good _____________ for us in praying for one another – Colossians 1:9-14

God qualified us, delivered us, transferred us and ________________us

Jesus is the image of God and is the architect, builder, possessor and sustainer of all ______________

Jesus is preeminent over the ____________as its head and founder who reconciled man to God

Made a Servant – vs. 23 & 25

True believers will persevere in their ____________

The gospel is universally available – it had spread ________________even in the first few decades

Paul was made a _____________of the gospel.

Minister – diavkono” / diakonos = deacon, minister, ________________, attendant

The importance of a minister is directly related to ____________he serving

There is a great contrast between leadership in the world and in the _____________- Matthew 20:25-28

Jesus ____________ Paul a minister – Acts 9.

_____________Christian is called and equipped to serve the Lord – Rom. 12; 1 Cor. 12; Eph. 4; Gal. 5:13

Rejoicing in Suffering – vs. 24

The Christian can rejoice in the midst of ________________because our purpose is life

Suffering occurs because of our own _______, the _______of others and living in a ______cursed world

To eliminate suffering, God would have to eliminate ________human. He is patient instead – 2 Peter 3:15

Suffering is part of the Christian life and God uses it to ______________us – Rom. 5:3-8; James 1:2-4;

We ________in the sufferings of Christ – John 16:33; Matt. 5:10-12; 2 Tim. 3:12; Acts 5:41; 1 Peter 4:13 Paul was chosen to bear Christ’s name before the Gentiles and would _____________for it – Acts 9:16

Fulfilling Up in Affliction – vs. 24

This is not related to the heretical doctrine of _________________

Paul was not in any sense adding to Jesus’ _____of atonement, but was simply sharing in Jesus’ suffering

God even uses our suffering for the __________of others – Paul’s imprisonment did – Philippians 1:12-14

The Nature of Paul’s Stewardship of Service – vs. 25

A ____________(oijkonomiva / oikonomia) is literally a “house manager”

Paul’s ministry responsibilities were placed upon him by _________to Whom he would give an account

We will have correct motivations for ministry only after we understand it to be a ___________from God

The Beneficiaries of Paul’s Stewardship of Service – vs. 25

Paul’s _________________resulted in Epaphras learning the gospel and proclaiming it to the Colossians

Our faithfulness to ministry God gives us will have effects far ___________what we can know in this life

A Manifested Mystery. In verses 26-27

God has brought to ___________what had been previously hidden in ages past and to earlier generations

God is not hiding the news of justification by faith in Jesus, but the unrighteous will _________believe it

The Riches of the Mystery – vs. 27

Man rejects God’s revelation in favor of his own ________ – John 3:19 – so God intervenes

The mystery is “Christ ___________, the hope of glory”

Messiah cannot ____________the unbelieving, and so they have no hope of redemption or reconciliation

Christ indwells through __________in Him (Eph. 3:17) and regenerates setting you free from sin & death

The Goal of Service – vs. 28

To proclaim (kataggevllw / kataggellô) is to publically announce, to ____________.

To the degree the Messiah is ______the focus of the message is the degree the message is _____Christian

Admonishing (nouqetevw / noutheteôis) is the negative side – proclaiming what is wrong and _________

There is no salvation without ______________because there is no saving faith without a change of mind

Admonishment is part of ___________Christian life – 1 Thessalonians 5:14; Romans 15:14; Colossians 3:16

Teaching (didavskw / didaskô) is the positive side – proclaiming Chris what to seek and ________

Teaching is a part of ____________Christian life in fulfilling the Great Commission – Matthew 28:18-20

Maturity (tevleio” / teleios) is the _____________ of admonishing and teaching

You can follow _______ example (Gal. 2:20) and fulfill God’s purpose for your life regardless of society

The Strength for Service – vs 29

Paul’s Labor – toilsome labor that makes _________(kopiavw / kopiaô) – Luke 5:5; 2 Tim. 2:6; John 4:6

______________, striving, contending – (ajgwnivzomai / agônizomai) – 1 Cor. 9:25; 1 Tim. 6:12

True _________can be toilsome labor & agonizing – 1 Cor. 11:23-28; 1 Tim. 4:10; 5:17; 6:12; 2 Tim. 2:1-15)

God’s Provision – It is God that ____________ us and accomplishes His will through us.

His power is perfected in weakness (2 Cor. 12:9) – He chooses the ______to shame the strong (1 Cor. 1:28)

We simply ___________our will to His, step forward in faith to serve and then see Him work through us

KIDS CORNER

Parents, you are responsible to apply God’s Word to your children’s lives. Here is some help. Young Children – draw a picture about something you hear during the sermon. Explain your picture(s) to your parents at lunch. Older Children – 1) Write down all the verses mentioned. 2) Count how many times ministry or service is mentioned. 3) Talk with your parents about how you can serve God.

THINK ABOUT IT!

Questions to consider in discussing the sermon with others. What does it mean to be a minister? Why did the Apostle Paul view himself as a minister? How did Paul become a minister of the gospel and to the church? What attitude should Christians have about themselves and toward others? Why can Christians rejoice in the midst of suffering? Why do people suffer? What would God have to do to eliminate all suffering? Why then is God’s patience better? What role does suffering play in the Christian’s life? Why did Paul in particular suffer? What is the doctrine of purgatory and why is it heretical? How is it that believers share in the suffering of Christ? How was Paul’s suffering beneficial to the Colossians? What is a steward? How does understanding stewardship affect ministry? What mystery of God was Paul revealing? Why is it manifested only to the saints if the message was universally proclaimed? What is the significance of this mystery going to the Gentiles? What is the result of Christ indwelling someone and how does that happen? What is the difference between admonishing and teaching? What is the goal of both? What is the goal of your life? How does God empower the believer to serve Him? What must the believer do?


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