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 diakonoV / 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 (qliyiV
/ 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 (oikonomia
/ 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 / must rion) 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 (fanerow
/ 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 (kataggellw
/ 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 (nouqetew
/ 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 (didaskw
/ 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 (teleioV
/ 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 (kopiaw/
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 (agwnizomai
/ 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.

 

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?

 


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 – diakonoV / 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 ____________(oikonomia
/ 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 (kataggellw /
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 (nouqetew
/ nouthete̫) is the negative side Рproclaiming 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 (didaskw
/ didask̫) is the positive side Рproclaiming Chris what to seek and
________

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

Maturity (teleioV  / 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 _________(kopiaw
/ kopia̫) РLuke 5:5; 2 Tim. 2:6; John 4:6

______________, striving, contending – (agwnizomai
/ ag̫nizomai) Р1 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


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