Summary: Message 6 in our exposition of Colossians. This message explores the heart of Paul regarding ministry.
Chico Alliance Church
November 16, 1997
“The Heart of a Minister”
Today we look at the heart of a powerful tool in the hands of the King. Paul explains to the Colossians his personal ministry regarding this glorious hope. It is my hope that as we look at Paul’s personal ministry to the Colossians, we might be challenged concerning our own personal attitudes toward ministry.
A. Paul offers thanksgiving to the Father 3-8
I. Paul exhibits powerful prayer 1:3-12
II. Paul exalts God’s terrific transfer program 1:13-23
III. Paul Explains His Personal Ministry 1:24-2:5
A. The Heart of the Minister
1. Paul rejoiced in his personal suffering for their sake. vs 24a
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake,
The true ministry heart finds joy in suffering when it results in benefit to the one to whom he is called to minister. Paul expressed this heart over and over again. His life was committed to ministry to others to his own discomfort. In a culture such as ours we do not understand what this means. We are in a “me first” culture and if I have anything left over for you Ok. Paul was actually rejoicing when suffering for the sake of the Colossians. Since he had not yet seen these believers, it is not quite clear what kind of suffering he is talking about. He refers to “sufferings” on their behalf.
Since he was imprisoned at the time of writing by part of it. Philippians 1:12-18
The point, up front here, is that the true minister finds continual delight in serving others.
How about us? How do we respond to inconvenience and personal suffering in order to serve others?
2. Paul took up the challenge of suffering for Christ.
and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions.
When Paul talks about doing his share, he refers to the fact that God has called him and he has accepted the challenge. He is not saying that he is to do it all. We all have been called by God to do our share. Philip 1:29-30 1 Peter 2:21-24
The rest of this sentence is on the surface a puzzling one. It is clear that whatever is happening it somehow affects the body, it is for the sake of the body of Christ and it completes or supplements what Christ is no longer here to do. Jesus suffered in many different ways. Just the act of taking on the form of a servant and human flesh was a step down for Him. While on this earth he suffered the physical limitations, the emotional trauma of serving and being physically drained from ministry. He experienced the suffering of rejection for the Father’s sake and the sake of the church. He suffered the pain and trauma of proclaiming the Gospel and presenting fallen man complete before the Father. Jesus died, rose and ascended to where he is no longer on earth to physically engage in that ministry but has entrusted the ministry of reconciliation to His followers to complete the work which He began. We are his hands, his feet, his mouth his heart. In being so, we will suffer what He suffered on behalf of the church. Paul gave up all earthly recognition and fame and earthly things in order that he may know Christ, the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings. Phil 3
What did Paul suffer? What was his share? It is not a share that I would want. Each of us will suffer differently. All of us have a part. 2 Cor. 4:5-11; 11:23-28
A closer look at the context of this passage leads me to think that Paul here is not just talking about the suffering of the body but the suffering that comes with serving the body of Christ in a fallen hostile world. He makes clear that this suffering is for the sake of the body. He wants us to know that the only touch people may feel from Jesus is what we, as His representatives, offer to the needy. 2 Cor. 1:3-11 Gal 6:17
How about us? Wasn’t Paul an exception? This has to do with heart. It has to do with a particular mind set. This is a ministry heart and mind. A heart and thinking that rejoices at the opportunity to be the hands, and heart of Jesus. It is a heart that God grants everyone transferred into this wonderful kingdom. Philip. 2:3-5 Romans 15:1-5
What made this attitude so compelling was the one who assigned it.
3. Paul received his ministry to serve others and proclaim the Word from God.
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, that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, 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.