Summary: The 5th message of 13 in an expository series on the book of Colossians.
Paul’s Understanding of the Ministry of the Church
23bThis is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant. 24Now I rejoice in what was suffered 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. 25I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness — 26the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints. 27To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. 29To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.
I The Provision of Ministry
Verse: 23bThis is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant… 25I have become its servant by the commission God gave me…
Idea: Paul was made a minister not of his own choosing, but according to God’s choosing. Saul of Tarsus never intended on becoming a minister or an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ. In fact, just the opposite was true. He had dedicated himself to destroying the integrity and credibility of Christ and the church. But then came Paul’s Damascus Road experience. (see Acts 9 and Ph. 3:1-13)
Note: All of us must have a Damascus Road experience. This is a time when I am blinded to the things of this world and I am given sight to the things of God. It is when I am possessed by and empowered unto God.
Word: commission (oiknoomia) to manage a household - as a steward of someone else’s possessions. It is a position of great trust and responsibility as one handles the business and financial affairs of someone else.
Idea: All Christians have been commissioned by God for ministry. We are stewards of His blessings, gifts, talents, and ministry. We are God’s chosen means for reaching the world for His glory.
II The Passion of Ministry
Verse: I rejoice – to rejoice to the source of one’s joy.
Idea: For Christians, the source of their joy must be Christ in them and His call upon their lives. Not only has God given us life, but He has also given us purpose in life. But that purpose has never and will never be for one’s personal gain. Should I ignore my God given call, then I can be certain that I will set out on a journey that leads to sorrow. I may have some happy fleeting moments along the way, but sustaining joy can only be experienced in fulfilling one’s divine purpose.
A The Source of Joy Begins Within
Idea: The source of joy must be Christ in you. It must stem from an understanding of His divine call and purpose for your life. In ministry you will be challenged, threatened, and frustrated, and if you rely on others, or upon success in ministry for your joy, then you will soon find yourself in a world of pain.
B The Sustenance of Joy is Generated by Humility
Idea: Joy is lost when a person focuses upon themselves first. Joy is lost when a person places their personal agenda and wants above others. Joy is lost when I prefer to be served rather than to serve.
III The Pain of Ministry
Verse: 24Now I rejoice in what was suffered 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.
Note: Paul was no stranger to struggle and persecution. When He surrendered to God in ministry, he moved from prosecutor to prosecuted. God promises believers that they will experience trials and suffering for His name sake (Jm. 1:3-4). He promises that the adversary will mount an all-out attack upon those who want to be about the Father’s business (1 Pt. 5:8). But He also promises to give us everything we need for life and godliness (2 Pt. 1:3-10). He promises to given us both the weapons we need and the power we need to win the battle (Eph. 6:10-20).
Verse: 7But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. 12So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you. 2 Cor. 4:7-12