Colossians 1:24-29

A. Paul’s ministry for Christ required him to serve in the face of opposition and
1. His message was that the past mystery of God had been revealed: Gentiles could now have hope of glory through Christ being in them
2. The purpose of Paul’s preaching and labors was to bring every person to
maturity in Christ
B. Thus, Paul preached the supreme Christ even in the face of persecution
1. Paul says, “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake,”
a. Paul was told this would happen… Acts 9:16
b. Suffering is unpleasant – Paul did not enjoy suffering, but he did rejoice in the benefits it would bring the Colossians… Note Philippians 2:17
c. Rejoicing in the face of suffering is what Jesus expected of His followers
1) Matthew 5:10-12
2) Acts 5:41
d. But, in what way was Paul suffering for the sake of the Colossians?
1) He did not explain…
2) But his suffering as an apostle and leader among the brethren would cause them to recognize him as a true representative of Christ, endowed with apostolic authority
e. Paul’s endurance in the face of persecution would strengthen the Colossians – they might be saying, “If Paul can do it why can’t we?”
f. In Paul enduring suffering he was setting a powerful lesson for them to follow
g. Paul continues his thoughts on suffering as he says…
2. “and fill up on my part that which is lacking of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church”
a. Paul’s suffering was not just for the sake of the Colossians, but for the whole body
b. Paul was suffering in his “flesh” – that is, he was suffering physical pain
1) Until he became a Christian, Paul was without abuse from the hands of others
2) Upon becoming a follower of Christ he began to endure persecution almost continually
a) 2 Corinthians 1:8-9; 6:4-5
b) 2 Corinthians 11:23-27
3) These hardships caused him to trust more fully in God, which proved to be a benefit to the church
c. Notice two words he uses in this verse: “sufferings” and “affliction”
1) “Suffering” – denotes pain and abuse
2) “Affliction” – denotes anguish and burdens
d. Paul did his part (“fill up on my part”) in spreading the gospel even in the midst of hardship – if he did not do his part, the church would be lacking
1) Are we doing our part?
2) What are we willing to endure? Are we even willing to endure hardship?
3) Paul suffered like Christ suffered while He walked the earth – burdens, shame, etc. – to help build up the church. Thus…
1. Paul was made a “minister, according to the dispensation of God”
a. Paul alluded to himself as a “minister” (diakonos) – a servant – a servant of the gospel
b. In this passage Paul is saying that he not only served Christ but also the church. However, by ministering to the needs of the church, he was also serving Jesus
1) Christians cannot serve Christ if they isolate themselves from the brethren
2) Matthew 25:40

2. Paul uses the word “dispensation” or stewardship (ESV, NAS, NKJ) and has reference to a position of responsibility in service to others
a. God entrusted Paul with the spreading of the gospel
b. Paul felt and fulfilled his obligation… 1 Corinthians 4:1-2
c. Today we have this same obligation…
3. This stewardship was given to Paul for them “to fulfill (make fully known – ESV) the will of God”
a. This Paul did… Acts 20:20, 27
b. The proclaiming of God’s word was most important with Paul as is seen in his admonition to Timothy… 2 Timothy 4:2
c. Should this not also be true of us?
4. Paul was responsible for revealing the “mystery” that could not be understood until revealed
a. There was much about God’s plan that was concealed “for ages and generations” – but now it has “been manifested (revealed – ESV, NKJ) to his saints”
b. Through the New Testament, they mystery has been made known to the saints
c. The core of the good news that was hidden and veiled in mystery is Jesus Himself
1) 1 Timothy 3:16
2) Ephesians 3:4-6
5. It pleased God to make known this mystery to all nations (“among the Gentiles”)
a. The revealing of this mystery provided “the riches of the glory” – that is, the blessings extended to Christians
b. What are these riches? What are these blessings? – “Christ in you, the hope of glory”
1) The Colossians’ hope was Christ being in them
2) In Colossians 1:27 the “you” that Christ is “in” is plural. Jesus is in His people as a group and is in them individually (Jn. 17:23; Rom. 8:10)
3) How is Christ in us?
a) To speak of Christ being in us is equal to saying we are in Christ
b) The point is: the Christian and Christ are united
c) Christ dwells in us through faith (Eph. 3:17) and faith comes by the word of God (Rom. 10:17)
4) “Hope” points to the future… Romans 8:24-25
6. Revealing this mystery would enable Paul to complete…
1. Paul said “we” (maybe referring to he and Timothy, or an editorial we) are “proclaiming” the mystery of God for the purpose of “admonishing” them and “teaching” them
a. “Admonishing” carries the idea of warning and pointing out the consequences of sinful behavior
b. “Teaching” carries the idea of giving instruction
c. The purpose of this “admonishing” and “teaching” was that they might be “perfect in Christ”
1) “Perfect” (mature – ESV, complete – NAS) comes from the Greek word teleion and carries the idea of spiritually mature
2) The word “perfect” can be misleading because man can never come to God’s perfection
3) But even though we sin (Rom 3:23) we can still be spiritually mature – our continued obedience to God’s word produces this maturity
2. Paul’s efforts had a purpose
a. His “labor” – the hard work in which he was involved was geared toward serving Christ
b. This work involved “striving” which comes from the Greek word agonizomi from which we get our English word agonize
1) Paul set forth agonizing effort for the Lord
2) How much effort are we putting forth?
c. The word “worketh” comes from the Greek word energia from which we get our word energy
d. “Mightily” comes from the Greek word dunamis from which we get our word dynamite
e. The ESV translates this verse this way: “For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me”
1) Paul know that his power was from God – not himself
2) Paul was inspired of God
3) Paul was always gaining strength on the inside… 2 Corinthians 4:16
4) Remember Philippians 4:13
A. Lessons Learned
1. We must be willing servants
2. We must serve in spite of suffering
3. Our labors can lead others to Christ
4. We must serve others
B. How are you doing with preaching and teaching about the Supreme Christ?

Tom Moore
P. O. Box 107
Hamilton, Texas 76531

About from the Preachers PC

Gospel Preacher for the Park Heights church of Christ in Hamilton, TX. I stand for and defend the truth of God's word. All other degrees and diplomas mean very little in comparison.
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