Glorifying God by Preaching and Teaching the Whole Counsel of God
Preaching and Teaching the Whole Counsel of God – Col. 1:28
I am really looking forward to being with many of our men at the Shepherd’s Conference next week for a number of reasons. Steve Lawson is one of my living heroes and I love to hear him preach with expository passion, thundering out exegesis and theology and applying it with the double-edged sword of scripture to the heart. In his book on preaching that I list at the bottom of your note sheet, he begins his first page quoting Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones who said:
‘The most urgent need of the Christian Church today is true preaching, and as it is the greatest and most urgent need in the Church, it is the greatest need of the world also.’ [Lawson writes] If the doctor’s diagnosis correct … then a return to preaching – true preaching, biblical preaching, expository preaching – is the greatest need in this critical hour. If a reformation is to come to the church, it must be preceded by a reformation of the pulpit. As the pulpit goes, so goes the church.
The prophet Amos warned of a famine that would cover the land … of hearing the Word of the Lord (Amos 8:11) … we are living in such days of drought, a time when many forces are suffocating biblical preaching … What exactly is expository preaching? … This is the true nature of preaching. It is the man of God opening the Word of God and expounding its truths so that voice of God may be heard, the glory of God seen, and the will of God obeyed.
The other book I list Supremacy of God in Preaching concludes:
People are starving for the grandeur of God, and the vast majority do not know it … most do not discern that they were made to thrill at the panorama of God’s power and glory. They seek to fill the void in other ways … This is the heart pang of every human being. Only a few know it. Only a few diagnose the longing beneath every human desire – the longing to see God … Christian preachers, more than all others, should know that people are starving for God … Who but preachers will look out over the wasteland of secular culture and say, “Behold your God!”? Who will tell the people that God is great and greatly to be praised? Who will paint for them the landscape of God’s grandeur? … Who will cry out above every crisis, “Your God reigns!”?
If God is not supreme in our preaching in our preaching, where in this world will the people hear about the supremacy of God? If we do not spread a banquet of God’s beauty on Sunday morning, will not our people seek in vain to satisfy their inconsolable longing with the cotton candy pleasures of pastimes and religious hype? If the fountain of living water does not flow from the mountain of God’s sovereign grace on Sunday morning, will not the people hew for themselves cisterns on Monday, broken cisterns that can hold no water (Jer. 2:13)?
[I remember reading those words years ago and being moved and determining by God’s grace that if he ever considered me worthy to the high calling of a preacher that I would do my utmost to make God supreme, because if we don’t magnify Him, who will? I pray God will always be supreme here]
We are called to be “stewards of the mysteries of God” (1 Cor. 4:1). And the great mystery is “Christ in you the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27). [This leads to our text today, Colossians 1]. And that glory is the glory of God. And [the Bible also says] “it is required of stewards that they be found faithful” – faithful in magnifying the supreme glory of the one eternal God.
If we love our people, if we love the “other sheep” [Jesus spoke of in John’s gospel] that are not yet gathered into the fold, if we love the fulfillment of God’s global purpose, we will labor to “spread a table in the wilderness.” People everywhere are starving for the enjoyment of God.
[As the old theologians said man is created to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever, and when glorifying God is our greatest focus, we also benefit with the greatest joy for which we are created]
Jonathan Edwards said, “The enjoyment of God is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied … Fathers and mothers, husbands, wives, or children, or the company of earthly friends, are but shadows, but God is the substance. These are but scattered beams, but God is the sun. These are but streams. But God is the ocean.”
This is the aim of biblical ministry – God. As one ministry says it: “Everything we do aims to spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples in Jesus Christ.”
We’ve been saying that glorifying God is why we exist as a church and shall be the ultimate purpose in all our activities. The title of our message today is: Glorifying God by Preaching and Teaching the Whole Counsel of God.
There’s a connection between preaching or proclaiming God’s Word and God being glorified.
1 Peter 4:11 (NASB95)
11 Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances [oracles] of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Revelation 14:6-7 (NASB95)
6 And I saw another angel flying in midheaven, having an eternal gospel to preach to those who live on the earth, and to every nation and tribe and tongue and people; 7 and he said with a loud voice, “Fear God, and give Him glory …”
The final preaching in history will be the all-vital message “give Him glory.” Preaching is to proclaim God’s glory. We proclaim Him ultimately so that He will be glorified. God is more fully glorified when His full counsel of the Holy Bible is wholly taught.
That phrase in our title “whole counsel of God” I’m borrowing from another passage, Acts 20:27 where Paul summarizes his ministry to the Ephesian church by saying “I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.”
Our text today is Colossians 1:28, which further amplifies how Paul taught and applied God’s whole counsel to the whole of God’s people so that they would be whole or complete in Christ.
We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ.
Colossians 1:28 is one of those compelling yet concise summaries of God-glorifying ministry packed into just one verse. We proclaim Him in the whole revelation of how Scripture presents God in all His glory and attributes and character. Notice God’s whole counsel includes both the positive and the negative, the admonishing or warning, as well as the positive teaching and imparting of truth.
Notice that not only the whole truth is in view, but the whole congregation is in view. Paul says “every man” in the verse 3x. The whole congregation must be given God’s whole counsel and the whole truth must be brought to bear on the whole person, so that every man might be perfect or whole, complete in Christ.
The Message [or main subject] – “we proclaim Him”
The Method – “admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom”
The Motive – “that we may present every man complete in Christ”
THE MESSAGE – “WE PROCLAIM HIM”
KJV “whom we proclaim”, ESV “Him we proclaim”
“We proclaim Him” is smoother English.
Biblical ministry proclaims Him, not us. Biblical ministry is all about Him, not us. It should be centered on God, focused on Christ, who is especially the focus here in Colossians. He is the subject, not just an afterthought, or something we tack on to what we want to say. He is always the main character we should focus on in Bible stories. When we teach from the historical books of the O.T. we should teach biblical history as His story. Don’t make the human character the hero, God is ultimately the character who gets the glory. Don’t focus on the great men of the Bible as they all to a man would want us to focus on their Supremely Great God who is the only reason they did anything.
When Paul says “We proclaim Him” of course he has been building up who this “Him” is for the entire chapter.
1:15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. 18 He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. 19 For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, 20 and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. 21 And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, 22 yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach—
This is the “Him” we proclaim – these great truths about Him are why we proclaim Him.
The end of verse 16 says “all things have been created through Him and for Him” – did you get that? This universe was created for Him, not for us! We enjoy it, but it was created for Him.
The heavens declare the glory of God, David said (Psalm 19:1).
Hebrews 2:10 says of our Lord Jesus that all things are for Him.
This is why we proclaim Him, not us.
Isaiah 43:7 says we are created for God’s glory.
Verse 20 of that same chapter says even the animals glorify God.
In the next verse God says “The people whom I formed for Myself will declare My praise”
In verse 25 God says He blots out our sins for His name sake (He doesn’t say for our sake, although we benefit – it’s for His sake)
Is it for our sake that God gives grace rather than His just anger?
God says a couple chapters later in Isaiah (48:9): "For my name's sake I defer my anger, for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you ... For my own sake, for my own sake I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another."
We read earlier in Psalm 23 “He leads me in paths of righteousness … [for my sake?] for His name sake”
We are not the center of God’s universe, God is. His name and glory are preeminent in all He does. And we benefit when we say:
Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but your name give glory.
We proclaim Him, because He and He alone is worthy of it.
Let’s read the context of Colossians 1:25-27 to get the flow.
25 Of this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, so 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 We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ.
Notice in the prior verse 27 the mention of glory twice and its connection with proclaiming the Lord. God’s plan and will was to make known the riches of His glory in you, and one of the ways God’s glory is made known is when we proclaim Him in His Word
My favorite definition of preaching is this: “Proclaiming God’s glory by the exposition of God’s Word.”
This week I got my haircut and the lady cutting my hair asked me what I did for work and I told her I was a pastor. She said, “Oh …”
As I thought about it a little later, I should have said in light of what I’d been studying, “I’m glad you asked what I do. I have as my job to display the supremacy of God’s glory by the preaching of God’s Word! I have the awesome privilege of mining the riches of God’s truth throughout the week, helping God’s people, trying to make an impact not only now but for eternity, and investing my life in the church which is the one institution the King of the Universe has promised to build and bless. It is not just my work but my great privilege that I get to proclaim Him.”
I said it when I first came here to this church that I view the calling of a pastor so highly that I sincerely believe it would be a step down for me to be governor of the State of California. There is no more critical calling than this, and there is no higher subject than proclaiming God. I hope you understand how important this is.
The old Westminster Larger Catechism gives a good summary of the high and holy and weighty calling of the pastor-teacher:
Question 159. How is the word of God to be preached by those that are called thereunto?
They that are called to labour in the ministry of the word, are to preach sound doctrine, (Tit. 2:1,8) diligently, (Acts 18:25) in season and out of season; (2 Tim. 4:2) plainly, (1 Cor. 14:19) not in the enticing words of man’ s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit, and of power; (1 Cor. 2:4) faithfully, (Jer. 23:28, 1 Cor. 4:1–2) making known the whole counsel of God; (Acts 20:27) wisely, (Col. 1:28, 2 Tim. 2:15) applying themselves to the necessities and capacities of the hearers; (1 Cor. 3:2, Heb. 5:12–14, Luke 12:42) zealously, (Acts 18:25) and fervent love to God (2 Cor. 5:13–14, Phil. 1:15–17) and the souls of his people; (Col. 4:12, 2 Cor. 12:15) sincerely, (2 Cor. 2:17, 2 Cor. 4:2) aiming at his glory, (1 Thess. 2:4–6, John 7:18) and their conversion, (1 Cor. 9:19–22) edification, (2 Cor. 12:19, Eph. 4:12) and salvation. (1 Tim. 4:16, Acts 26:16–18).
When Paul says “we proclaim Him,” the word translated “proclaim” is a word for telling, declaring, declaring plainly, openly, or aloud, to tell with conviction, to preach, to proclaim throughout.
This same word is used in a number of familiar texts. One I read earlier at the Lord’s Table, “as often as you do this, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes”
In Acts 17:23, Paul uses this same word addressing the Greeks in Athens “what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you”
Philippians 1 speaks of some who proclaim Christ from various motives, but Paul says where Christ is proclaimed I rejoice.
And wherever Christ is being proclaimed in churches in our area here, we should rejoice as well. Even if it might not be a place where we would fit in and be most comfortable, wherever Christ is truly proclaimed, Paul rejoiced and so should we.
I meet once a month with a number of evangelical pastors in our area, none of whom probably have services that look like ours, but we meet for an hour to pray together for our nation and for the gospel of God to forth in the foothills, for Christ to be proclaimed.
I also try and get together with a number of pastors in a fellowship of Bible churches, independent churches, IFCA churches, and we encourage each other. I think I’m the only Baptist in each of these groups, and that’s great, because our unity is in Christ not our traditions or styles. We proclaim Him, not a denomination.
I also am a part of a Reformation Society which meets in Sacramento of about 20 guys who are committed to the Reformation truths and historic theology and a high view of God and the doctrines of grace, and this is especially an encouragement to me to see different men (Grace Brethren, Presbyterian, Reformed, Southern Baptist, guys from Cornerstone Seminary, Masters, etc.) guys who may have strong and differing convictions on secondary matters but who are united on the gospel doctrines.
Together 4 Gospel movement, Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, Shepherd’s Conference, etc. are also movements proclaiming Christ that I think Paul would rejoice over
Our text says Paul proclaimed Christ, not creeds or confessions of men. Of course, there’s nothing necessarily wrong with doctrinal statements or denominations, but our devotion and allegiance is ultimately to a much higher court – the Lord and His Word alone.
This is how a young Charles Spurgeon began his 1st sermon at the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London:
I would propose that the subject of the ministry of this house, as long as this platform shall stand, and as long as this house shall be frequented by worshippers, shall be the person of Jesus Christ. I am never ashamed to avow myself a Calvinist … I do not hesitate to take the name of Baptist [yet his focus was not labels but was the Lord] … but if I am asked to say what is my creed, I think I must reply: "It is Jesus Christ." My venerable predecessor, Dr. Gill, has left a body of divinity admirable and excellent in its way; but the body of divinity to which I would pin and bind myself for ever, God helping me, is not his system of divinity or any other human treatise, but Christ Jesus, who is the sum and substance of the gospel; who is in himself all theology, the incarnation of every precious truth, the all-glorious personal embodiment of the way, the truth, and the life.
As someone who has read much of the life of and teaching of Charles Spurgeon, I’m persuaded that this man’s tremendous impact was not just due to his unique giftedness but it was especially the fact that He proclaimed Christ. Every text he preached (and he preached from nearly every chapter in the Bible) always led to Christ. He didn’t just preach about Christ, he preached Christ. And the Apostle Paul was the same way.
Whatever O.T. texts he used, Paul was always proclaiming Christ to the Jews from their Scriptures. When He went to the Gentiles He proclaimed Christ as well. We don’t need to reinvent a new strategy depending on the audience, because man’s need has always been the same: Christ! It doesn’t matter what culture, or what felt-needs sinners have, the real need is always for Christ to be proclaimed. Whatever else we proclaim doesn’t have the power.
Paul proclaimed Him. He didn’t proclaim philosophy or traditions of men. He proclaimed Christ.
Colossians 2:8-10 (NASB95)
8 See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. 9 For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, 10 and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority;
Christ is not only fully God as v. 9 says but He is fully sufficient as v. 10 says (“in Him you have been made complete”). And He is supreme over all and the only true power source.
Paul proclaimed the Lord, not legalism. He preached the real Savior who he had a relationship with, he didn’t preach rules and regulations of ritualistic religion.
Colossians 2:16-23 (NASB95)
16 Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day— 17 things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.
20 If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees [NIV “rules”; NKJV “regulations”], such as, 21 “Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!” 22 (which all refer to things destined to perish with use)—in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men? 23 These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence.
That type of religion may seem pious and holy outwardly, but God’s Word says it has no real value. The book of Colossians is about the supreme value of Christ, the supremacy of Christ, the superiority of Christ, the sufficiency of Christ. We proclaim Him.
This is Paul’s emphasis wherever he ministered, not just in Colossians. Turn to 1 Corinthians 2.
Paul proclaimed Him. Christ was the attraction, not Paul. Paul had no interest in his sermons impressing people with his education or eloquence, and certainly his focus wasn’t entertainment.
1 Corinthians 2:1-5 (NASB95) 1 And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. 2 For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. 3 I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, 4 and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.
This was the focus of Paul’s preaching. He was not a man-fearer, but the fear of God made him tremble when he spoke God’s truth. Nowadays there’s a lot more trivializing in pulpits than trembling. Paul was not at all man-centered or driven by the crowd or culture, he was thoroughly Christ-centered as v. 2 says his determination was “to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” God is glorified when ministry is centered on the Lord, done for the Lord, and empowered by the Lord, as verses 4 and 5 say, because the power is clearly from Him, the credit goes to Him, the glory goes to Him. We proclaim Him.
Paul He didn’t preach himself, or his opinions, or even lots of funny stories. He preached Jesus.
We proclaim Him, not human intuition, insights, or ingenuity.
We don’t proclaim psychology, we proclaim the Savior of souls.
Paul didn’t preach politics, He preached a Person, Jesus Christ.
It’s Him we proclaim. Do you proclaim Christ? Are you a part of the “we” in this verse? Paul doesn’t just say “I as a preacher proclaim Him” – it is “we who proclaim Him.” The word proclaim has the idea of to speak out about, and to tell many things about?
That’s our message, our first point and the overarching point “We proclaim Him.” But now secondly, the method of ministry:
‘admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom’
These participles in the grammar are subordinate to the main verb proclaim, they’re the means by which this ministry goes forth (cf. NET Bible Notes), the method or manner of this biblical ministry.
Christ is not only exalted and preached, but the sufficiency of Christ for all of man’s specific needs is applied. His Word is to be taught and also those in sin are to be warned or admonished.
The two words are admonishing and teaching and they are administered with all wisdom. There’s only one other place the two terms are used together in the N.T. and it’s no coincident that Paul comes back to this thought in chapter 3, which is also “with all wisdom”
3:16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
The same phrases used again, in chapter 1 it’s proclaiming Christ, and here in chapter 3 it clarifies that these things happen when the word of Christ richly dwells within you. Notice admonishing and teaching is not just the pastor’s role but for one another. Believers are responsible to admonish one another – that’s clear also in 2 Thessalonians 5:12 and 14 and Romans 15:14. Colossians 3:16 deserves a whole other sermon by itself but notice even that things we did in the service like reading from Psalms 1 and 23, singing hymns, singing spiritual songs together, are to be instructive avenues, even occasions for admonishing us. As we fulfill biblical ministry there will be greater thankfulness in our hearts to God.
And we don’t just wait for a feeling of thankfulness, the next verse says this is something we are to actively incorporate in all we do:
17 Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. [a parallel text “do all to the glory of God” – this is how we do it]
“with all wisdom” is here because the ministry of admonishing and teaching requires all the wisdom God supplies. (READ COLOSSIANS 1:9-10)
The wisdom mentioned in the historical context may also be in contrast to an early Gnostic-like teaching in Colossae relating to knowledge or wisdom. ‘In every form of wisdom. Thus opposed to the idea of esoteric and exoteric wisdom represented by the false teachers; higher knowledge for the few philosophic minds, and blind faith for the masses. In christian teaching the highest wisdom is freely open to all. Compare ch. 2:2, 3.’
Colossians 2:2 … a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4 I say this so that no one will delude you with persuasive argument.
wisdom refers to practical discernment—understanding the biblical principles for holy conduct. The consistent pattern of Paul’s ministry was to link teaching and admonishment and bring them together in the context of the general doctrinal truths of the Word. Doctrinal teaching was invariably followed by practical admonitions. That must also be the pattern for all ministries.
We all know what the word “teaching” means and its importance
Teaching is part of the Great Commission in Matthew 28:20
1 Timothy 4:11 Prescribe and teach these things.
1 Timothy 4:13 Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching.
1 Timothy 4:16 Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.
The word “admonishing” comes from the Greek word noutheteo, from which we get nouthetic counseling, which is a term for the biblical counseling movement that doesn’t integrate secular psychology or extrabiblical philosophies but that believes the Bible is sufficient to address the spiritual problems of man (as I do).
The basic dictionary definitions of this counseling or admonishing are (using the scriptures to): 1. instruct, teach on proper behavior and belief (Ro 15:14; 1Th 5:12+); 2. admonish, rebuke for a wrong done (1Th 5:14), for another interp, see next; 3. warn, advise on the consequences of a wrong action (Ac 20:31; 1Co 4:14; Col 1:28; 3:16; 2Th 3:15 …)
The standard lexicon (BDAG, 679) has “to counsel about avoidance or cessation of an improper course of conduct”
Using the Bible, it seeks to correct the mind, to put right what is wrong, to improve the spiritual attitude. “The basic idea is that of the well-meaning earnestness with which one seeks to influence the mind and disposition by appropriate instruction, exhortation, warning and correction,” … Hence the dominant meanings “to admonish, warn, soothe, remind, correct,”
“Admonishing” in Scripture has the connotation of confronting in love to help exhort, encourage, or correct a straying brother.
In Acts 20 we have some insight as to what Paul’s ministry of admonishing and teaching looked like:
Acts 20:17-38 (NASB95)
17 From Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called to him the elders of the church.
18 And when they had come to him, he said to them, “You yourselves know, from the first day that I set foot in Asia, how I was with you the whole time,
19 serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials which came upon me through the plots of the Jews;
20 how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you publicly and from house to house,
21 solemnly testifying to both Jews and Greeks of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
… 26 “Therefore, I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men.
27 “For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God.
… 31 “Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears.
This helps us see that when Paul says “we proclaim Him, admonishing and teaching every man” that he’s not just talking about the pulpit ministry. Verse 20 says “teaching you publicly and from house to house.” Verse 27 ties in this ministry with declaring the whole purpose of God.
Paul gives us the model for admonishing and confronting our fellow brothers and sisters and it begins in verse 19 “with all humility and with tears.” And verse 31 makes clear this admonishing is to be done patiently over a period of time and is also with great compassion and tears. Paul was not unsympathetic, mean-spirited, or callous with them, and neither should we be when we are called to admonish one another.
That’s the manner or method of biblical ministry, now finally the motive of this ministry
“that we may present every man complete in Christ”
This word can is translated in other places as perfect or mature. In the context of discipleship, maturity is maybe the most helpful. The goal of Paul’s ministry was to bring people to maturity in Christ, not dependence upon himself.
A biblical ministry is not just interested in numbers, you can’t just count decisions for Christ – Paul counted his ministry objective as discipleship of every man and woman. Getting people saved is not the end, it’s the beginning, and the biblical responsibility of all in the church is to bring all along to maturity.
Paul wanted to get baby Christians out of the nursery and into the army, from the infancy to infantry, from the milk to the meat, from disciple to disciple-maker, from salvation to serving others and ministering to one another. Those who have been admonished and taught are to admonish and teach others in this same way.
And again, the key is Colossians 3:16 “let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly” – this goes far beyond listening to a sermon or casually reading God’s Word. We must labor and strive in this ministry but ultimately it goes beyond our power (1:29). Who is adequate for such things? We must pray for this motive!
Colossians 4:12 Epaphras, who is one of your number, a bondslave of Jesus Christ, sends you his greetings, always laboring earnestly for you in his prayers, that you may stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God.
What a legacy, what a ministry. There is no greater tribute than for someone in the congregation to be known for “always laboring earnestly for you in his prayers, that you may stand perfect [or complete or mature] and fully assured in all the will of God”
May this be your legacy as well, this message – proclaim Him. The method or manner is all of us with all God’s wisdom and help admonishing everyone and teaching everyone, and with the motive – maturity in Christ. May God help us live and pray to this end.
 Steve Lawson, Famine in the Land, 17-18. Bold underlines mine.
 John Piper, The Supremacy of God in Preaching, 107-110.
 Charles Spurgeon, Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Sermon, Vol. 7, Sermon # 369 “The First Sermon in the Tabernacle.”
Marvin Richardson Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament, 3:i-480.
John MacArthur, Colossians (Chicago: Moody Press, 1996, c1992), 78.
James Swanson, Dictionary of Biblical Languages With Semantic Domains : Greek (New Testament), GGK3805.
Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, 4:1018.