Summary: After a person makes a full commitment to the preeminence of Christ, that person needs to be ready to share the Gospel with all people in our world.
READY FOR SERVICE--Colossians 1:23-29
Proposition: After a person makes a full commitment to the preeminence of Christ, that person needs to be ready to share the Gospel with all people in our world.
Objective: My purpose is to challenge God’s people to be ready to serve our Lord Jesus Christ and share the Good News about Him.
Ready to suffer grief or pain, Ready to stand the test,
Ready to stay at home and send Others if He sees best.
Ready to go, ready to stay, Ready my place to fill,
Ready for service, lowly or great, Ready to do His will.
Ready to go, ready to bear, Ready to watch and pray,
Ready to speak, ready to think, Ready with heart and brain,
Ready to stand where He sees fit, Ready to bear the strain.
Ready to speak, ready to warn, Ready o’er souls to yearn,
Ready in life, ready in death, Ready for His return.
If you received a letter from a man you had never met, a man who was a prisoner, accused of being a troublemaker, how would you respond? The Colossian believers faced that exact problem. They knew that Paul had been instrumental in leading their pastor, Epaphras, to saving faith in Christ. They also knew that Epaphras had gone to Rome to consult with Paul and had not yet returned. The church members had received Paul’s letter, brought to them by Tychicus and Onesimus. But the false teachers in Colossae had been discrediting Paul and causing doubts in the people’s minds. “Why listen to a man who is a political prisoner?” they asked. “Can you trust him?” Paul’s enemies made much of the fact that the great apostle was a prisoner of Rome.
Illus: The Gnostics were saying: “Christ is not the Creator, the Incarnation is not real and faith is not enough.” They had a negative view of life: “God is far away, matter is evil and demonic forces are constantly threatening us.” The Colossian error did not deny Christ but it did dethrone Him; it gave Christ a place but not the supreme place.
The work of God’s servant was to show that Christ is preeminent—first and foremost in everything—and the Christian life should reflect that priority. Even though Paul is in prison he writes to give direction to the church and help them give Christ the proper place in their lives and in their church. Paul shared with his Colossian brothers and sisters some of the critical details of his calling and ministry. As his audience would have certainly realized, it was filled with instances of suffering and hardship. However, despite the presence of constant pain and tribulation, Paul chose to “rejoice in my sufferings.” Paul was always “READY FOR SERVICE” but his desire is that God’s people also be “READY FOR SERVICE” in sharing the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I. THE PRIVILEGE OF THE MINISTRY: Serve Christ Even if You Suffer ( vvs. 23-24) “I now rejoice in my sufferings for you”-- Be willing to pay the price. Writing from prison, Paul can say that he now rejoices in his sufferings for the saints, that is, on their account. As a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ, he was called upon to endure untold hardships, persecutions, and afflictions. These to him were a privilege—the privilege of filling up that which was left behind of the afflictions of Christ. When Saul of Tarsus was struck to the ground on the road to Damascus, he heard a voice from heaven saying, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?” Saul had not been consciously persecuting the Lord—he had only been persecuting the Christians. He learned, however, that in persecuting believers, he was persecuting their Savior. The Head in heaven feels the sufferings of His Body on earth.
To suffer in the service of Christ is not a penalty but a privilege of sharing in His work.
1. The call (v. 23b) “of which, I Paul became a minister”-- God made him a minister of the church. Paul says this was because of the call of God on His life (v. 1). This call was by Jesus Christ, who appeared unto him, & called, qualified, & sent him forth as such. This is mentioned to encourage the Colossians to abide by the truths of the Gospel.
2. The courage (v. 24a) “I now rejoice in my sufferings for you”-- Paul: "Instead of being ashamed of my suffering, I am rejoicing in it!" He can rejoice because he knows the reason and the nature of his sufferings, as a part of God’s pur-poses for his life. Paul looks on all the suffering that Christians are required to go through for the sake of the sufferings of Christ which still remain. They include suffering for righteousness’ sake, suffering for His sake (bearing His reproach), and for the Gospel’s sake. It is the price tag he has to pay in order for the church to become more firmly established and to expand. Paul did not ask, as do some believers. "What will I get out of it?" Instead he asked, "How much will God let me put into it?" The fact that Paul was a prisoner did not stop him from ministering to the churches.