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Col 1.24-2.5 - July 9, 2006

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Col 1:24 Nu'n caivrw ejn toi'" paqhvmasin uJpe;r uJmw'n kai; ajntanaplhrw' ta; uJsterhvmata tw'n qlivyewn tou' Cristou' ejn th'/ sarkiv mou uJpe;r tou' swvmato" aujtou', o{ ejstin hJ ejkklhsiva,

Col 1:25 h|" ejgenovmhn ejgw; diavkono" kata; th;n oijkonomivan tou' qeou' th;n doqei'savn moi eij" uJma'" plhrw'sai to;n lovgon tou' qeou',

Col 1:26 to; musthvrion to; ajpokekrummevnon ajpo; tw'n aijwvnwn kai; ajpo; tw'n genew'n— nu'n de; ejfanerwvqh toi'" aJgivoi" aujtou',

Col 1:27 oi|" hjqevlhsen oJ qeo;" gnwrivsai tiv to; plou'to" th'" dovxh" tou' musthrivou touvtou ejn toi'" e[qnesin, o{ ejstin Cristo;" ejn uJmi'n, hJ ejlpi;" th'" dovxh":

Col 1:28 o}n hJmei'" kataggevllomen nouqetou'nte" pavnta a[nqrwpon kai; didavskonte" pavnta a[nqrwpon ejn pavsh/ sofiva/, i{na parasthvswmen pavnta a[nqrwpon tevleion ejn Cristw'/:

Col 1:29 eij" o} kai; kopiw' ajgwnizovmeno" kata; th;n ejnevrgeian aujtou' th;n ejnergoumevnhn ejn ejmoi; ejn dunavmei.

Col 2:1 Qevlw ga;r uJma'" eijdevnai hJlivkon ajgw'na e[cw uJpe;r uJmw'n kai; tw'n ejn Laodikeiva/ kai; o{soi oujc eJovrakan to; provswpovn mou ejn sarkiv,

Col 2:2 i{na paraklhqw'sin aiJ kardivai aujtw'n sumbibasqevnte" ejn ajgavph/ kai; eij" pa'n plou'to" th'" plhroforiva" th'" sunevsew", eij" ejpivgnwsin tou' musthrivou tou' qeou', Cristou',

Col 2:3 ejn w|/ eijsin pavnte" oiJ qhsauroi; th'" sofiva" kai; gnwvsew" ajpovkrufoi.

Col 2:4 Tou'to levgw, i{na mhdei;" uJma'" paralogivzhtai ejn piqanologiva/.

Col 2:5 eij ga;r kai; th'/ sarki; a[peimi, ajlla; tw'/ pneuvmati su;n uJmi'n eijmi, caivrwn kai; blevpwn uJmw'n th;n tavxin kai; to; sterevwma th'" eij" Cristo;n pivstew" uJmw'n.


24Now I rejoice in the sufferings in behalf of you and I fill up things which are lacking of the sufferings of Christ in my flesh in behalf of his body which is the church, 25for which I have become a servant according to the plan of God given to me unto you to fulfill the word of God, 26the mystery kept hidden for ages and generations – but now has been revealed to his saints.

27 To them God has willed to reveal the riches of this glorious mystery to all the nations, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

28 which we proclaimed, admonishing all men and teaching all men in all wisdom in order to present all men complete/mature in Christ.

29 toward which also I labor tirelessly, struggling in accordance with his power which is working in me in power.

2:1 For I desire you to know how much fight I have for you and for those in Laodicea and for all those who have not seen my face in the flesh.

2:2 in order that their hearts might be encouraged and knit together in love and into all riches of full assurance of understanding, into knowledge of the mystery of God, namely Christ.

2:3 in whom are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge hidden

2:4 These things I say, so that no one might deceive you in persuasive speech

2:5 For if also I am absent in flesh, but I am with you in spirit, I rejoice to see your order and steadfastness of your faith in Christ.

Meeting God…Changes Everything!

Colossians 1:24-2:5

I.          Introduction

            A.        Do you remember when you were in Junior High?  Do you chuckle at                            your JH years, like I chuckle at mine?

                        1.         When I look at my Junior High pictures, I have to admit those were                               hard years physically!

                                    a.         I laugh at my sense of fashion – short shorts and tall socks!

                                    b.         I laugh at the mop I had on my head – huge head of hair!

                                    c.         And boy did I struggle with my complexion!

                        2.         How I made it without getting beat up is beyond me!

            B.         One of my distinct memories from JH was how impressionable I                                                was as a young person.

                        1.         I always had an idol or hero that I looked about and wanted to                                      become

                        2.         Most of my heroes however were short-lived, until the day I went                                              to my first Grand Rapids Baptist Mustang basketball game.

                        3.         At this game, I became enamored with the whole team – they were                                            so big, so good, so cool.

                        4.         I loved watching Nate Mayhew, Jamie Martin, and yes even Mark                                            Bowald!

                        5.         But the athlete that I became my hero was Larry Fieldstra.

            C.        I remember the day that my dad pulled some strings so that I could meet                                    Larry Fieldstra face to face.

                        1.         As my dad pushed me through the crowd, my body became limp,                                              my heart was pounding out of my chest – I was so excited and so                                       nervous at the same time.

                        2.         Then there he was – larger than life!

                                    a.         He reached out his hand and grabbed mine and said – Hi                                                           Chad, I’m Larry.  Thanks for coming out to support me and                                          the Mustangs.  You think you’ll play for the Mustangs                                                      some day?

                                    b.         When I tried to answer, I realized that my lips were numb                                                          and babbled something that I am sure was intelligible.

                        3.         The meeting with Larry was very brief, but it changed my life.

                                    a.         I practiced basketball harder than ever – creating every                                                             scenario in which I played the part of Larry Fieldstra and                                                           everyone else cowered at my amazing strength and agility.

                                    b.         I wanted nothing more than to be Larry Fieldstra.

                                    c.         I even took his number (#32) as my own number in Junior                                                         High.

                                    d.         Meeting Larry – changed my life in JH!

                        4.         I am sure that most everyone here could relate a similar story – that                               having   met with a certain person, you were significantly changed!

            D.        But I suspect that the vast majority of you could testify to the fact that                            THE greatest change agent in your life has been Jesus Christ!

                        1.         According to Scripture, Jesus Christ is in the transforming                                                          business.

                        2.         His mission is to call out for Himself a people, forgiving their sin,                                                and conform them into His image and character.

                        3.         You cannot meet God and remain the same

                        4.         God does love us just the way we are, but he does refuse to leave                                             us that way.

            E.         Today, we will be pursuing the theme “Meeting God…Changes                                                 Everything”!

                        1.         This morning, we will be looking at how God changed a persecutor                               of the church named Paul and transformed him into a servant of the                             church.

                        2.         Tonight, we will be looking at how God changed the heart and a                                                straying disciple, and therefore see how one a disciple caught in sin                                responds to meeting with God.

II.         Background

            A.        Colossians Review

                        1.         Paul is writing to a church he did start and to a people he has not                                               met.

                        2.         The occasion for his letter is that the church is in danger of false                                                 teaching that will greatly hinder the work of the gospel of God in                                                their lives.

3.         Paul warns them that embracing error will greatly hinder authentic community (the sharing of life together), their example to other believers, and the proclamation of God’s message to the lost.

4.         The nature of the error being taught in Colosse, though having to read between the lines, seeks to undermine and contradict the sufficiency of the Person and work of Jesus Christ.

5.         So, Paul is calling the Colossian church back to a Christianity that is totally centered on Jesus Christ, because without the foundation of Jesus Christ, the church will be rendered powerless in accomplishing God’s mission in this world.

            B.         Characteristics of a God-Centered Church

1.         Considers as primary their renewed status (1:2)

2.         Faithfully responds to the Gospel (1:3-6)

3.         Everyone becomes a minister of the Gospel (1:7-8)

4.         Will be filled with or characterized by the knowledge of His will (1:9)

5.         Will be transformed by the knowledge of God’s will (1:10-12)

                        6.         Considers as primary their renewed status in Christ (1:12-14)

                        7.         Recognizes the Supremacy of Christ (1:15-20)

                        8.         Transformed by the Supremacy of Christ (1:21-23)

            C.        Now, we find Paul becoming personal.

                        1.         He shares with this church, people he has never met, how, having                                              met with God, he is now changed forever.

                        2.         God met with Paul on the road to Damascus and from that point                                                on, Paul was no longer Christ’s persecutor; he was know Christ’s                                       disciple.

III.       When we meet God, we become adherents of our Master, Jesus Christ (1:24)

            A.        Paul demonstrates that he is Christ’s true disciple as he imitates Christ in                                    every area of life, even in his suffering.

            B.         Verse 24 is a very difficult verse to understand because it appears that                           Paul is claiming that Christ’s afflictions were deficient in some way, and                                that he, Paul, is making up for the deficiency.

                        1.         The key to its interpretation is to see the relationship between                                        Christ’s afflictions and the phrase “in my flesh”.

                        2.         Original text

                                    Now I rejoice in the sufferings in behalf of you

                                    and I fill up things which are lacking of the sufferings of Christ

                                    in my flesh in behalf of his body which is the church,

                                    a.         In the original Greek, the phrase “in my flesh” immediately                                             follows the phrase “afflictions of Christ”

                                    b.         The relationship between these two phrases seems to                                                    indicate that Paul viewed his own suffering (in the flesh) as                                             following the pattern of his Master.

                                    c.         Paul is NOT saying that he is enduring the same suffering                                                           as Jesus did or is suffering to the same extent as Christ.

                                    d.         Rather, Paul seems to be expressing his intense desire to                                                            pattern his life after Christ – even in suffering!

                                    e.         “Paul has deliberately chosen them [the afflictions of                                                  Christ] as the model for his own sufferings, and it is his                                                         intention or expectation to experience their full scope.”                                                   (Andrew Perriman)

                        3.         If this is interpretation is true, then what is deficient is not anything                                  in Christ’s afflictions, but Paul’s modeling of suffering as Jesus                                            suffered.

                        4.         Yet we see in Paul a desire to “fill up” his own deficiencies and                                      continue to model his life after his Lord, Jesus Christ.

            C.        In other words, in verse 24 Paul is expressing the heart of a true disciple,                                   one who has made it his life pursuit to model his life after his Lord.

                        1.         Often times when we think of “disciple”, we think of a modern                                       teacher-student relationship.

                                    a.         Teacher is the dispenser of knowledge and skill.

                                    b.         Student is required to acquire the knowledge and apply the                                                        skills learned.

                        2.         Biblical discipleship involved more than dispensing and acquiring                                                of knowledge and skills.

                        3.         A Biblical disciple was not only a pupil, they were an adherent,                                      one who modeled their life after their teacher/rabbi – heeding their                                               counsel and conforming to their character.

                        4.         ILL

                                    a.         Possibly our only frame of reference is the concept of “job-                                                       shadowing”.

                                    b.         Discipleship, however, was more than just job-shadowing;                                                        it was life-shadowing 24/7.

                        5.         Paul is expressing how God has changed him – from the persecutor                               to the persecuted as he intensely and fervently imitates Christ, even                              in suffering.

            D.        And notice who gains when you adhere your life to Christ…

                        1.         Paul gains…he rejoices in suffering desiring to use every                                                            circumstance as an opportunity to model Christ.

                        2.         The church gains…because at the very least, they see modeled for                                             them a disciple that has fully devoted his life to Christ in all things.

            E.         Application

                        1.         When we meet God, we become adherents of our Master, Jesus                                               Christ.

                        2.         Pastor Dave says all the time – come to God on his terms!

                        3.         What does this look like?

                                    a.         Insatiable desire to know God’s thoughts and ways by                                                  immersing ourselves in His Word.

                                    b.         Depending on God for His wisdom in daily decisions

                                    c.         Basing your decisions on the advancement of Christ’s                                                    kingdom and the glory of His name, not personal comfort                                                          and happiness.

                                    d.         ILL:  Abraham Kuyper - There is not an inch of any sphere                                          of life of which Jesus Christ the Lord does not say, “Mine.”

                        4.         FACT:  When you truly meet God, you become His disciple; His                                               adherent!

IV.       When we meet God, we become his servants for his church (1:25-2:5)

            A.        God took the fiery persecutor of the church and transformed him into a                          humble servant of the church.

            B.         How did Paul view his commissioning role as servant?  What were his                           duties?  He spells them out…

1.         Make God’s Word known to all (1:25-27)

            a.         Mystery of God had been revealed to all.

            b.         Mystery = Christ in you the hope of glory

            c.         Salvation is extended to all people – Jew and Gentile – and       is found only in Jesus Christ.

            d.         Paul’s first duty was to proclaim Christ as Lord.

2.         Proclaim Christ by admonishing and teaching so believers may be firm in their faith. (1:28-29)

            a.         Admonishing and teaching for the purpose of strengthening        their faith.

            b.         The goal of the preaching, teaching, and admonishing is to          “present everyone perfect in Christ”.  (1:28)

            c.         For us perfection is an ideal that cannot be attained –     something that is flawless.

            d.         However, in Biblical context something was perfect if it fulfilled its purpose.

            e.         Those who are wholehearted, sincere, and in right         relationship with God are described as perfect in Scripture.

            f.          Paul says in verse 29, “To this end I labor struggling with           all MY energy…”

                        1)         NO – not my energy

                        2)         Paul’s labor is not without the enabling power of                                    God.

                        3)         TRUTH:  Whatever God has commissioned us to                                do; He will certainly empower and enable us to                               accomplish the task.

3.         Maturity of the believer – Paul further spells out what he means by presenting people perfect in Christ. (2:1-5)

a.         Encourage their hearts (vv. 2)

            1)         Word means to “call to one’s side”

            2)         To comfort, encourage and exhort one another

            3)         We are fellow pilgrims, and we must walk this   journey together.

b.         Unite them in love (vv. 2)

            1)         Word suggests being welded into a genuine unity,          based on love for God and for each other.

            2)         Love – not talking about the warm fuzzy feelings,           rather, unconditional covenant loyalty to one             another.

            3)         According to Paul, when the uniting is based on             LOVE, a church experiences the …

                        a)         full riches of complete understanding

                        b)         and are not easily deceived by fine sounding                  arguments.

            C.        I suggest that as disciples of Jesus Christ, we have the same                                           purpose – to present everyone perfect in Christ.

                        1.         To make known His Word – that Jesus Christ is LORD – through                                             our verbal message and our life witness.

                        2.         To proclaim Christ by guiding people

                        3.         To strive for the maturity of the believer

                                    a.         To encourage each other’s hearts

                                    b.         To unite together in covenantal love

            D.        Application

                        1.         You might say, “What a minute – Paul was commissioned because                                            he was an apostle”

                        2.         WRONG – Paul was commissioned because he was a Christian                                                and a disciple, and so are you and so am I.

                        3.         Have you met with God…because if you have, you will know,                                       because he is in the process of changing you, making you more of                                        an adherent and more of a servant to His church.

                        4.         If you claim to have met with God, and the only evidence you have                                is a date in your Bible, might I warn you that when you truly meet                                        with God, you will never be the same.

                        5.         WHY?  Because God is in the transforming business!

Benediction: 2 Thessalonians 5:23-24

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