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Opportunities For Ministry Abound!

Finding Our Sufficiency in Christ!  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Paul viewed his circumstances as an opportunity for ministry and challenged the Colossians to do the same.

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Outsourcing Your Faith!

Show video...Let’s face it—no one likes having their plans interrupted. But sometimes, it’s God who’s doing the interrupting. Often we’d rather leave those God-moments to the “professionals.”
Let’s face it—no one likes having their plans interrupted. But sometimes, it’s God who’s doing the interrupting. Often we’d rather leave those God-moments to the “professionals.” But we weren’t called to hide behind a preacher beeper. In fact, the Apostle Peter wrote, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (). God-moments carry a higher priority than our comfort. And God will honor your faithfulness.
But we weren’t called to hide behind a preacher beeper. In fact,
1 Peter 3:15 NASB95
but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;
Peter
Sadly, that is often how today’s believers view ministry…it is someone else’s responsibility…when if we took the time to notice, we would recognize that ministry happens all around us...
One of the key factors to understanding ministry happens all around is making sure Jesus owns the rightful place in our life.
With that in mind, please turn to Colossians 1:24-29
Apostle Peter wrote, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (). God-moments carry a higher priority than our comfort. And God will honor your faithfulness.
Live bravely for God today. Embrace your interruptions and let God use you for His glory.

Theme of Colossians is the Preeminence of Christ!

- remember, the theme for this book is "The preeminence of Christ"
We are in our third week now of studying Colossians together and we need to remember the theme of the book is "The preeminence of Christ"…we understand what that means from our study last week…so every text we examine in this book contributes in some way to that theme...
Colossians 1:17–18 NASB95
He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. 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.
,
Look also at…
Colossians 2:9–10 NASB95
For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority;

Why Study Colossians?

- as a result, we're going through this study so that we might:
we want to grow in our understanding of what it means to make our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ number one in our life… “that in everything he would come to have first place”.
1) grow in our understanding of what it means for our Savior to be
preeminent
we also want to know how we can display a lifestyle that is more Christ-centered as a result of that great truth.
2) how we can lifestyles that are more Christ-centered as a result
of that great truth.
Greatest implication from is that the more we understand the preeminence of Christ and the truth that we are now reconciled to God in Him and because of Him, the more we will want to strive for personal holiness...
example of Christ's preeminence.
- What was that example? (Christ is preeminent because....He was
able to reconcile us to the Father)

Regardless of what is happening in the world around us, the greatest need for God’s people is an increasing desire for personal holiness!

- Now we weren't able to get through the entire passage, but I would like
to just mention that there are some very important implications of
this truth in verses 22-23. - READ
- bottom line is -- the more we understand the preeminence of Christ, ...
Far too often I hear believers bemoan the world in which we live as being filled with such evil and horrible practices (and there is no doubt it is like that)…but I hardly ever hear God’s people talking about their own need to be more holy!
- the more concerned we'll be about personal holiness.
If we have a growing appreciation for our reconciliation then we will have a growing desire to allow that to impact us on a practical level...
- now, in these next verses--Paul is going to tell us how a growing
One of the ways our reconciliation and understanding of the preeminence of Christ ought to affect us is being able to look at our circumstances and see them as a means for ministry!
understanding of the preeminence of Christ has affected Him--and how
in these next verses--Paul is going to share with us how his own reconciliation impacted Him and the way it impacted how he viewed his circumstances...
that was affecting the way he was handling this present imprisonment
Remember when Paul wrote this, he was in prison in Rome because of his work for Christ...
for Christ.
Paul faced constant ridicule and derision from false teachers claiming he was not an authority for the church and merely spoke his opinion…so Paul is going to defend his ministry to them...

Why would the Colossians need to hear this?

Paul wanted them to know what authentic ministry looked like so they would not become victims of the false teachers…(look at this more in depth next week)
Colossians be concerned about that?
- How could that information possibly benefit them?
(before we answer those questions--why do you think we need to ask
them? because understanding how this material was intended to
look quickly at
affect the Colossians will give us insight into how the Lord
intended for it to affect us)
INPUT - Why should the Colossians be concerned about how the truth of the
preeminence of Jesus Christ was affecting Paul--and the way he
was handling the fact that he had been imprisoned for the Savior?
Paul also wanted them to know they were also involved in ministry...
imitator of Christ.
- to the degree to which Paul was handling this situation in
a way that was consistent with biblical truth--they were
to model themselves after him.
- having a flesh and blood model to watch, and pattern
yourself after is a great benefit.
- cf. Lori learning to ice skate (carefully watched the
other people skating for a couple of minutes--and then
took off-she did what she saw them doing)
- the fact that she had the ability//opportunity to
watch them do it was worth a dozen lectures on
"ice skating methods and procedures."
2) because they too, were in the ministry.
many of the facets of Paul’s ministry were also ministry opportunities that they had as well as simply being part of the church.
preeminence of Christ was affecting the way Paul viewed his
ministry because they realized that they, too, were in the
ministry.
- many of the facets of ministry that Paul talks about in these
verses were ministry opportunities that the Colossians had as well
as lay persons in the church.
So it was a great benefit to them to hear Paul the apostle, (even though they had never personally met) tie the truth of the preeminence of Christ to his daily ministry responsibilities.
apostle, (even though they had never personally met) tie the
truth of the preeminence of Christ to his daily ministry
responsibilities.
with those thoughts in mind, let's look at ...

When He is First, Opportunity For Ministry Abounds!

Ministry was an important topic to Paul and frequently shows up in his letters…when he needed to establish his authority he would often talk about ministry…such is the case here...
Paul viewed his life as a constant opportunity for ministry because he had made Jesus a priority in his life...
preeminence of Christ leads to three things:
How can we view life the way Paul did? How can we look at our circumstances as opportunities for ministry.
3 keys...

1. Ministry Opportunities Abound When We Have the Right View of Our Sufferings.

Joy is the second facet of the multi-faceted fruit of the Spirit in and is not dependent on external circumstances…Paul was in prison in Rome when he wrote this letter ()…He never viewed himself as a prisoner of Rome…he always viewed himself as a prisoner of Christ.
His circumstances were a cause for rejoicing...

A. We can rejoice in our sufferings when we view them as being a benefit for others.

A. We can rejoice in suffering because we know our ministry is from God.
notice in verse 24 he says “I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake”.
James 1:2 NASB95
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,
How in the world is it possible for believers to have joy in the midst of terrible circumstances?
- INPUT - what other verse of Scripture are you reminded of when
you read ? ( - My brethren, count it all
joy...)
- INPUT - how in the world is it possible for believers to have
joy in the midst of terrible circumstances?
joy is internal/independent of circumstances…it is a fruit of the Spirit…we have been given the joy of Christ...
of circumstances
Are you joyful in the ministry opportunities God has given you, even when there is some level of suffering involved?
- etc.)
- let me ask you -- are you joyful in the ministry opportunities
God has given you?
- even when there is some level of suffering involved?
or are you like Elijah, who said, "It is enough now, O Lord, take my life." ()
take my life." ()
or like Jonah--who responded to the ministry God placed before him with rebellion, bitterness, anger, and lack of faith.
him with rebellion, bitterness, anger, and lack of faith.
"A Christian who has lost the joy of the ministry does not have bad circumstances, but bad connection. You do not lose the joy of serving Christ unless your communion with Him breaks down." — John MacArthur
has lost the joy of the ministry does not have bad
circumstances, but bad connection. You do not lose the joy of
Paul recognized that what he was going through was for the benefit of others…to encourage them, to embolden them, to build them up…he was able to do this because of how he handled them...
serving Christ unless your communion with Him breaks down."

B. We can rejoice in suffering when we view it as a means of identification with Christ.

Think with me for just a moment on the clause "filling up that which is lacking in Christ's afflictions."
- now, we need to take a minute and talk about this phrase, "and fill up
that which is behind in of the afflictions of Christ"
- NASB - "filling up that which is lacking in Christ's afflictions."
This is an important clause to consider because some people have tried to use this verse as a support of the doctrine of purgatory.
because some folks have tried to use this verse as a support of the
doctrine of purgatory.
in other words, Christ's death, burial, and resurrection was not enough to deliver us to heaven--therefore we have to go somewhere for a period of time to "satisfy that which was lacking."
enough to deliver us to heaven--therefore we have to go somewhere
for a period of time to "satisfy that which was lacking."
How do we know this verse is not teaching us about the existence of purgatory?
contradicts the previous verses (He alone provided our reconciliation)
contradicts the theme of the book (Jesus is our ALL sufficient Savior)
contradicts many other passages of Scripture
2 Corinthians 5:8 NASB95
we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.
The point that Paul is making here is that he recognizes he is experiencing suffering that was intended for Christ.
- if thats the verse is not teaching--then what is it teaching?
- the point is that Paul recognizes he is experiencing suffering that
was intended for Christ.
Since Christ has ascended--those who hate Him often direct their hatred at Christians (the next best thing to being there).
hatred at Christians (the next best thing to being there).
The truth is that because we have been identified with Christ we will experience an abundance of suffering....
2 Corinthians 1:5 NASB95
For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.
What we learn from Paul here is that he viewed it a privilege to suffer for Christ.
abundance." (1:5)
Paul told the Corinthians "the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance." (1:5)
- so the point is, Paul's right view of suffering included the
Galatians 6:17 NASB95
From now on let no one cause trouble for me, for I bear on my body the brand-marks of Jesus.
realization that:
B. It's directed at our Savior.

The more we are impacted by the preeminence of Jesus Christ, the more able we are to handle our suffering as an opportunity to minister for Him.

- because thats true, Paul viewed it as a privilege to suffer for
Christ.
- he said in - "I bear in my body the marks of the
Lord Jesus."
- the point of all of this is--the more a person has been impacted by
the preeminence of Jesus Christ, the more able they are to handle
whatever suffering comes along with ministering for Him.
Suffering is part and parcel of your identification with Christ...
For some of us, this means radical change…it means we are going to need to stop wallowing in the self-pity....it means taking the eyes of yourself and looking to the needs of others…it means we are going to shift our view from an internal perspective to an outward perspective and see that our present circumstances, both good and bad, are an opportunity to help someone else see their need for Christ...
This is radical because that is not the way we are accustomed to looking at our circumstances, our trials, our suffering....
That’s where the next verse comes in...

2. Ministry Opportunities Abound When We Have the Right View of Self.

A. We are servants.

C. We can rejoice in suffering because we know our ministry comes from God.

recently
This verse really speaks to the view we have of self…and this is critical if we are going to view our life as an abundance of ministry opportunities...
How does Paul view himself?
- he in his study of Paul in , me in the study of the
minister = diakinos = servant, slave
Paul never viewed himself as a prisoner of Rome...over and over he referred to Himself as a prisoner of Christ, a bondslave of Christ, a servant of Jesus Christ...
Paul never viewed himself as a prisoner of Rome...over and over he referred to Himself as a prisoner of Christ, a bondslave of Christ, a servant of Jesus Christ...
- over and over he referred to Himself as a prisoner of Christ, a
bondslave of Christ, a servant of Jesus Christ...
that view of self became a critical component to the way he responded to difficulties.
to difficulties.
slaves have no rights--slaves have no expectations--slaves simply carry out the will of their master.
out the will of their master.
Without a doubt, if you and I had a better handle on that--we'd be a lot better prepared to handle the challenges of ministry.
Just so we are all on the same page...We are not just talking about ministry in the church…your place of employment is a field ripe for ministry…your home is a place oozing with ministry opportunities…your neighborhood, (as summer winds down) your school, simply going to the grocery store is an opportunity for ministry...
be a lot better prepared to handle ministerial challenges.
think about the ministry opportunities the Lord gives you...
gives you in your home.
think about the times you get frustrated in the home, things that make you stomp your feet, kick the family pet, slam the doors, fume and fuss…how are you doing with those? …they’re opportunities to minister for Christ...
think about those opportunities at work…that coworker that just has a bad attitude all day…that boss that no one likes because he/she just doesn’t deserve to be the boss… the unfair demands placed upon you, the list goes on…how are you doing with those?…they’re opportunities to minister for Christ...
your neighborhood, your school, your team, etc.
think about the opportunities here at church…are there things that happen here (or don’t happen here) that just gets your blood boiling…that frustrate the dickens out of you… “those parents never come pick up their kids after church and I’m hungry and want to go!” (Not saying I’ve heard anyone say this here),
- think about what makes you fuss, or fume, or seethe
- Now let me ask you this, how are you viewing yourself during those
times?
- is it as "a minister of Jesus Christ"
- what about ministry opportunities here?

As servants, do we recognize that He has the right to bring anything into our life that He wants to?

- does that ever become frustrating?
- does anything ever happen that gets your blood boiling.
"we just cleaned that up at our last work day and then such and
such a group came and messed it up--thats it--I'm never serving
in that way again."
- how are you viewing yourself?
Is it as a minister of Jesus Christ?
Do you realize that the Lord may have a great ministry opportunity in store by allowing you to have that insensitive spouse? ...by having that demanding boss?…by having those challenging kids in class?
store by allowing you to have that insensitive spouse?
- by having that demanding boss?
- by having those challenging kids in clubs?

We are servants of Jesus Christ...do we recognize that He has the right to bring anything into our life that He wants to?

- do we recognize that He has the right to bring anything into our
life that He wants to?
We do if we have been impacted by the preeminence of Christ…we do if we find our sufficiency in Christ.
preeminence of Christ.
Remember back in January when we said the focus of the year for us is that “He must increase, but I must decrease”…instead of more about me and less about Him, it ought to be more about Him and less about me.
- I want to be filled by more and more of my agenda, and less and
less of mine.
a second part of Paul's "view of self" is...

B. We are stewards

the word "dispensation" in the KJV is the same word as "stewardship" in the NASB.
"stewardship" in the NASB.
Paul's point is - he realizes God has trusted Him with something that is very, very precious...he's not about to let some difficulty or frustration get in the way of what God wants to accomplish with what he has entrusted to him.
that is very, very precious.
he's not about to let some difficulty or frustration get in the way of what God wants to accomplish with what he has entrusted to him.
of what God wants to accomplish with what he has entrusted to him.
Paul, like any good servant of Christ, longs to hear the words "Well done, thou good and faithful servant."
done, thou good and faithful servant."
you were a good steward of what I entrusted to you.
Being a good steward requires faithfulness — 1 Cor. 4:2
of self.
Once in verse 23 and again in verse 25, Paul states he was made a minister of the gospel...
1 Corinthians 4:2 NASB95
In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy.
Paul recognized ministry to others was something that God had called him to do and he would stop at nothing less than managing that ministry for God’s glory...
1 Corinthians 9:16–17 NASB95
For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel. For if I do this voluntarily, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have a stewardship entrusted to me.
He was operating under the knowledge of this as a divine mandate and a great sense of stewardship…he recognized that God had called him to preach the gospel to the Gentiles and to serve the church...
Like Paul, God has called us all to steward the ministry (most of the time we think of stewardship in terms of money)…God gifted each of us to serve the body not ourselves…that spiritual gift you have is not to build you up…it is to build up those around you…if you are not using your gifts, you are not viewing yourself as a steward…if you are not contributing to the overall spiritual health of the church you are not being a faithful steward of what God has entrusted to you...
He recognized that the message of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection is a precious treasure that God entrusted to him…don’t be like the steward of who hid his talent…God expects you to be managing the use of your spiritual gifts so the body is blessed by it… “for your benefit”
“mystery” is
The source of his ministry was God…Paul recognized that God was the one who set the course for his life…becoming a minister for Jesus was not on Paul’s bucket list…in fact, before he was converted he was on his way to being one of the higher leaders in Judaism...
ministry in .
Galatians 1:14 NASB95
and I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries among my countrymen, being more extremely zealous for my ancestral traditions.
It was that zeal that made him a persecutor of Christ....study the book of Acts and you can see all that Paul did…but when Jesus captured his heart, he was immediately transformed and made a minister by Jesus himself...
Acts 26:12–18 NASB95
“While so engaged as I was journeying to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests, at midday, O King, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining all around me and those who were journeying with me. “And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew dialect, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ “And I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. ‘But get up and stand on your feet; for this purpose I have appeared to you, to appoint you a minister and a witness not only to the things which you have seen, but also to the things in which I will appear to you; rescuing you from the Jewish people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you, to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.’
1 Corinthians 12:11 NASB95
But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.
2 Corinthians 5:18–21 NASB95
Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
He recognized that the message of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection is a precious treasure that God entrusted to him…don’t be like the steward of who hid his talent…God expects you to be managing the use of your spiritual gifts so the body is blessed by it… “for your benefit”
2 Cor
How are you viewing yourself?
A. It's a cause of rejoicing
- so we're not going to spend as much time here as we might normally
do, but there are a couple of truths Paul gives in verse 28 that
Is it as a minister of Jesus Christ? …a steward...
we need to note.
Do you realize that the Lord may have a great ministry opportunity in store by allowing you to have that insensitive spouse? ...by having that demanding boss?…by having those challenging kids in class?
A. It's a cause of rejoicing
- INPUT - what other verse of Scripture are you reminded of when
you read ? ( - My brethren, count it all
joy...)
- INPUT - how in the world is it possible for believers to have
joy in the midst of terrible circumstances?
(varied answers...be sure to hit--joy is internal/independent
of circumstances
- we have been given the joy of Christ
- etc.)
- let me ask you -- are you joyful in the ministry opportunities
God has given you?
- even when there is some level of suffering involved?
- or are you like Elijah, who said, "It is enough now, O Lord,
take my life." ()
- or like Jonah--who responded to the ministry God placed before
him with rebellion, bitterness, anger, and lack of faith.
- John MacArthur said this about this passage, "A Christian who
has lost the joy of the ministry does not have bad
circumstances, but bad connection. You do not lose the joy of
serving Christ unless your communion with Him breaks down."

3. Ministry Opportunities Abound when We Have the Right View of Ministry.

that which is behind in of the afflictions of Christ"
- NASB - "filling up that which is lacking in Christ's afflictions."
- the reason we need to take a minute on this part of the passage is
because some folks have tried to use this verse as a support of the
doctrine of purgatory.
- in other words, Christ's death, burial, and resurrection was not
enough to deliver us to heaven--therefore we have to go somewhere
for a period of time to "satisfy that which was lacking."
INPUT - how do we know thats not what this verse can be teaching?
1) contradicts the previous verses (we studied last week)
2) contradicts the theme of the book
3) contradicts many other passages of Scripture
- cf.
- if thats the verse is not teaching--then what is it teaching?
- the point is that Paul recognizes he is experiencing suffering that
was intended for Christ.
- Since Christ has ascended--those who hate Him often direct their
hatred at Christians (the next best thing to being there).
- Paul told the Corinthians "the sufferings of Christ are ours in
abundance." (1:5)
- so the point is, Paul's right view of suffering included the
realization that:
B. It's directed at our Savior.
- because thats true, Paul viewed it as a privilege to suffer for
Christ.
- he said in - "I bear in my body the marks of the
Lord Jesus."
- the point of all of this is--the more a person has been impacted by
the preeminence of Jesus Christ, the more able they are to handle
whatever suffering comes along with ministering for Him.
- now, I know a lot of us look at that and say--thats a tall order...
- thats not the way I always respond to the difficulties that come in
seeking to live for God.
- the next verse adds an idea thats helps us understand how Paul
could handle suffering this way:
- read 25
II. The Right View of Self
- a critical issue in whether you and I are going to be able to
handle whatever difficulties come with ministry in whether we have
a biblical view of self.
- INPUT - how does Paul describe himself in verse 25?
A. A servant
- over and over he referred to Himself as a prisoner of Christ, a
bondslave of Christ, a servant of Jesus Christ...
- that view of self became a critical component to the way he responded
to difficulties.
- slaves have no rights--slaves have no expectations--slaves simply carry
out the will of their master.
- there's no question that if you and I had a better handle on that--we'd
be a lot better prepared to handle ministerial challenges.
- for example--let's think about the ministry opportunities the Lord
gives you in your home.
- think about the times you get frustrated in the home
- think about the things that make you stomp around
- think about what makes you fuss, or fume, or seethe
- Now let me ask you this, how are you viewing yourself during those
times?
- is it as "a minister of Jesus Christ"
- what about ministry opportunities here?
- does that ever become frustrating?
- does anything ever happen that gets your blood boiling.
"we just cleaned that up at our last work day and then such and
such a group came and messed it up--thats it--I'm never serving
in that way again."
- how are you viewing yourself?
- is it as a minister of Jesus Christ?
- do you realize that the Lord may have a great ministry opportunity in
store by allowing you to have that insensitive spouse?
- by having that demanding boss?
- by having those challenging kids in clubs?
- we're the servants ... of Jesus Christ.
- do we recognize that He has the right to bring anything into our
life that He wants to?
- thats surely part of what it means to be impacted by the
preeminence of Christ.
- he must increase, but I must decrease
- I want to be filled by more and more of my agenda, and less and
less of mine.
- a second part of Paul's "view of self" is that he remembers he's a:
B. Steward
- we're getting ready for stewardship month in November.
- if you're new to the church, let me just tell you that we all love
Stewardship month around here.
- the word "dispensation" in the KJV is the same word as
"stewardship" in the NASB.
- Paul's point is - he realizes God has trusted Him with something
that is very, very precious.
- he's not about to let some difficulty or frustration get in the way
of what God wants to accomplish with what he has entrusted to him.
- Paul, like any good servant of Christ, longs to hear the words "Well
done, thou good and faithful servant."
- you were a good steward of what I entrusted to you.
- so Paul had the right view of suffering because he had the right view
of self.
- we can summarize the rest of these verses by seeing that Paul also had:

III. The Right View of Ministry

A. We must know what ministry is.

from the end of verse 25 through verse 27, Paul's talking about what it was that was entrusted to Him…ministry is not just what happens here on Sunday...
what it was that was entrusted to Him.
He identified it as a great mystery--which hadn't been revealed to the OT saints
saints
the mystery is beautifully described at the end of verse 27...
Colossians 1:27 NASB95
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.
"Christ in you, the hope of glory."
27 as "Christ in you, the hope of glory."
27 as "Christ in you, the hope of glory."
What a glorious truth to be entrusted with…see the mystery was not something God was trying to hide…it was something we was waiting to reveal…
The God of the OT who was with them at all times…is the God of the NT with the revelation of Jesus as God With Us…Emmanuel…and now that same Jesus lives in us through the presence of the Holy Spirit and we have the assurance that one day we will be exactly like Him...
1 John 3:1–3 NASB95
See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
1 John 2:1–3 NASB95
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world. By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.
This is the message we can take to people of all nations, all backgrounds, all socio-economic levels...
the fact that Jew and Gentile could be redeemed and brought into Christ's body the church, and that Christ through the Spirit would actually take up residence inside a person's body...
brought Christ's body the church, and that Christ through
the Spirit would actually take up residence inside a
person's body
the truth that a man or woman could have a personal, intimate, relationship with the very God of heaven through trusting Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord was a mystery that had been revealed to the church, and to its ministers like Paul.
intimate, relationship with the very God of heaven
through trusting Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord was
a mystery that had been revealed to the church, and
to its ministers like Paul.
Paul says, I realize that God has trusted me with a message that I can't help but proclaim.
can't help but proclaim.
let's think for a minute about that idea of being entrusted with a message.
message.
all of us have had occasions where we had to trust someone to give a message to someone else, and your hope is they remember tell it and that something doesn’t get lost in the translation…like the telephone game…in that game somewhere along the line, someone changes the message, doesn’t hear the message clearly enough and by the time it gets to the end it has changed...
a message to someone else.
- INPUT - what's important to you in those situations?
1) that they remember to tell it
2) that they don't get it confused
How often does that happen in our life?
- one of the common themes in that cartoon is that how children
often get sidetracked when their parents give them messages.
- they get caught up in all sorts of other interests
often times the message is lost, or late, or garbled.
we loose our focus, we get caught up in all sorts of things, we get things out of priority
Paul says--I am focused in on the ministry of proclaiming the mystery that has been entrusted to the church...Christ in you--the hope of glory
mystery that has been entrusted to the church
- Christ in you--the hope of glory

B. We must know how to minister.

verse 28 contains a couple of very important words
warning - admonishing (confronting)
thats what Christian ministry is all about…it is about Proclaiming Christ…and that proclamation of Christ comes with a warning....
thats what Christian ministry is all about.
Paul was willing to confront men and women with biblical truth
cf. …{insert gospel message}
the Colossians are about to be confronted themselves about some things.
we know that the Colossians are about to be confronted themselves
about some things.
Why is this important?
to confront with biblical truth, and what would their proper
This is important because we all struggle with this thing called pride, and we have the tendency to stray and lean on our own understanding…we have this uncanny ability to think we are okay, when we are not...when that happens we need to be confronted to get us back on track...and if we get it, like we talked about last week…we want to be confronted…
response to that be?

The more we understand the preeminence of Christ, the more we recognize what it means to live by His standard and we want to be held accountable to that standard.

Scripture says the “way of the transgressor is hard”…
- a) if we need to be confronted, we want to be.
So if we need to be confronted, we want to be…but we also recognize that if we need to confront, we will -
- b) if we need to confront, we will -
Romans 15:14 NASB95
And concerning you, my brethren, I myself also am convinced that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able also to admonish one another.
2. Teaching
2) Paul also talks about teaching
this matter of "Christ in you--the hope of glory", included more than just trusting Christ as Savior.
more than just trusting Christ as savior.
there was all sorts of teaching that needed to be done...and Paul wanted to be faithful in doing it, and the Colossians wanted to be faithful in hearing and applying it.
- and Paul wanted to be faithful in doing it, and the
Colossians wanted to be faithful in hearing and applying
Part of the Great Commission is to “teach to observe”…we are to always be ready to teach about Jesus Christ and what He revealed as the way he wants us to think and act!
it.

C. We must know the purpose of ministry.

Paul ends this section with a very clear statement about the goal of ministry
goal of ministry
"that we may present every man perfect in Jesus Christ."…maturity…then he describes that maturity in

D. We must know where the power for ministry originates.

Col 1:29
I labor…His power…when we try and do it on our own, we burn out, we crash, we give up...
Here is where we find the balance…
Paul served God with all he had...
Toil = point of exhaustion
Struggle = is the word we derive agonize from…refers to the effort needed to complete an athletic contest...
God worked in Paul with all He had.
Paul was able to minister to others because God was at work in his life…Paul served because God equipped him to serve and God was present with Paul using him and his effort...
Philippians 2:11–13 NASB95
and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
1 Corinthians 15:10 NASB95
But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.
1 Cor 15
1 Corinthians 15:58 NASB95
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.
58

Since ministry opportunities abound, let us not grow weary in them and be faithful stewards of the proclamation of Christ in us, the hope of glory.

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