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:


(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

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