Summary: Five Features of Christian Service - Colossians chapter 1 verse 24 to chapter 2 verse 5 – Sermon by Gordon Curley PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email: firstname.lastname@example.org
(1). Ministry Involves Suffering (1:24).
(2). Ministry Involves a Sense of Duty (1:25a).
(3). Ministry Involves Preaching the Word (1: 25b-27).
(4). Ministry Involves Exhortation and Education (1:28-29).
(5). Ministry Involves Genuine Care for God’s People (2:1-5).
• I'm going to give you a quick quiz.
• Don't worry, it's easy! I'll give you a word and you give me the opposite…
• The opposite of Fast is... Slow.
• The opposite of Long is... Short.
• The opposite of Cold is... Hot.
• The opposite of Young is... Old.
• The opposite of Soft is... Hard.
• The opposite of Sour is... Sweet.
• The opposite of High is... Low.
• The opposite of Rich is... Poor.
• The opposite of Love is... Hate?
• Now for the hard one…the opposite of ministry/service is…
• You could have non-involvement, or detachment or observation.
• TRANSITION: In these verses this morning,
• I want to pull out the theme of ministry/service,
• In the New Testament,
• Ministry is seen as service to God and to other people in His name.
• So ministry is not just for the professionals or the select few,
• Ministry is for every Christian,
• Because service to God and to other people in His name.
• In the passage I have been asked to speak on this morning;
• There are five insights as the what Christian ministry/service is.
(1). Ministry Involves Suffering (chapter 1 verse 24).
“Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church.”
• I prepared this sermon sitting in a comfy office chair,
• With a cup of coffee next to me,
• In the top draw of my desk is my ‘secret stash’ of sweets,
• And I was listening my favourite music blasting out the speakers.
• Preparing sermons… it’s a tough job but someone has to do it!
• Now in contrast to me, the apostle Paul wrote this letter (Colossians);
• From a prison cell in Rome,
• Probably no comforts,
• Experiencing great hardships,
• And his only crime was telling people about Jesus!
Notice: those two little words: “for you” (vs 24)
• Now Paul did not plant this Church and he had never visited this Church,
• It was started by a man called Epaphras,
• You would have met him in an earlier sermon when you looked at verse 7.
• Now Epaphras was a convert of the apostle Paul.
• He somehow encountered him, heard the gospel,
• And was converted, he came to faith in Christ.
• When he returned back to Colossae.
• He shared his faith with others and soon a Church was formed.
• So the apostle Paul is the spiritual father to Epaphras;
• And the spiritual grandfather to this Church.
Now although the apostle has never visited this Church:
• He is very concerned for it,
• And through his letters he is able to give guidance and teaching to this Church.
Question: What was the problem with the apostles message?
Answer: He preached to Gentiles (non-Jews).
• In taking the gospel to non-Jews (i.e. Gentiles like those at Colossae);
• Paul put himself on a collision course with religious Jews and pagan gentiles.
• And in the earliest history book of the Church;
• The New Testament book of Acts,
• We read about how he upset both groups with the message of Christ.
• The end result was persecution and ultimately prison,
• He was arrested in Jerusalem on false charges,
• And the key factor in his arrest was when in his sermon he used the word ‘Gentiles’
• His Jewish opponents could not handle that and wanted him executed,
• (You can read about it in Acts chapter 22 verse 21 – full account: Acts chapters 21-28)
• For the apostle Paul and for many Christians in New Testament times.
• Suffering and persecution seemed to go hand in glove
• For many Christians, suffering and persecution as still very much part of the package;
• When it comes to following Jesus.
• As I was preparing this sermon, I received an email from The Barnabus Fund,
• With news updates on the persecuted Church.
• The email contained these three headlines and stories.
• (1). The Myanmar (Burmese) Army is waging a “genocidal campaign” against Kachin Christians in northern Myanmar.
• (2). A teenage Pakistani Christian (Ribqa) from Punjab has been kidnapped, forcibly converted to Islam and married to a 25-year-old Muslim man.
• (3). Armed Chinese police stormed a church service in Lanzhou, northern China and take away offering box