Summary: For many Christianity is just not working for them. That may be the reason so many Christians have so little real impact on others, on their world. They live without a clear purpose. God designed and created you for a purpose; His purpose.
COLOSSIANS 1: 24-29
THE HOPE OF GLORY
By the Cross of Christ Christians have been made acceptable to God. Someone said that the idea of redemption in a world of sin and tragedy constitutes the noblest concept ever to enter the mind of God or the awareness of a human being. Thank God for His plan of redemption.
God had a purpose when He designed and created the world. God had a purpose when He designed and created you. Do you know the purpose for which God designed you?
A TRUCK DRIVER was hauling a load of 500 penguins to the zoo. Unfortunately, his truck broke down. He eventually waved down another truck and offered the driver $500 to take the penguins to the zoo.
The next day the first truck driver got his truck fixed and drove into town and couldn’t believe his eyes! Just ahead of him he saw the second truck driver crossing the road with the 500 penguins waddling single file behind him. He jumped out of his truck, ran up to the guy and said, “What’s going on? I gave you $500 to take these penguins to the zoo!”
To which the man responded, “I did take them to the zoo. But I had enough money left over so now we’re going to the movies.” [Brian Bill. Sermon Central. Colossians 1: 24-29]
That guy didn’t fully understand what he was supposed to be doing. Likewise, many believers today are fuzzy about their purpose for living. What is your reason for living? Are you a little fuzzy about why you’re here?
For many Christianity is just not working for them. That may be the reason so many Christians have so little real impact on others, on their world. They live without a clear purpose. God designed and created you for a purpose; His purpose.
This passage teaches us three strategic statements that will help us discover how we can fulfill the purpose of our redemption in Christ Jesus.
I. SUFFER WITH PURPOSE, 24.
II. SERVE WITH PURPOSE, 25-27.
III. STRIVE WITH PURPOSE, 28-29.
Now that we have been taught the extent of God’s mercy in God’s mighty work of reconciliation on the cross one can choose to rejoice in his sufferings. It a privilege to suffer for the name of Christ as we see in verse 24. “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, 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.
Christ’s suffering alone procures salvation (1 Peter 1:11; 5:1; Heb. 2:9). But it is a believer’s privilege to suffer for Christ (2 Tim. 3:11; 1 Peter 3:13-14; 5:9; Heb. 10:32). The word “affliction” (thlipsis) [never used in the NT of Christ’s death [Walvoord, John; Zuck, Roy; The Bible Knowledge Commentary. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1983, S. 675] means “distress,” “pressure,” or “trouble” (with which Paul was so familiar; 2 Cor. 11:23-29). [Ordinarily it refers to trials in life, not the pains of death.] For the sake of Christ’s church Paul willingly suffered (Phil. 1:29). Christ suffered to accomplish salvation. We suffer to spread salvation. Christ suffered to free us from our sin so that we might not only share in His salvation, but share His salvation.
[Christ continues to suffer when Christians suffer for Him. He asked Saul (later called Paul) on the Damascus Road in Acts 9:4, “Why do you persecute Me?” Since the church is Christ’s body, He is affected when it is affected.]
Why is suffering for Christ a cause for joy? The New Testament suggests at least five reasons.
First, suffering is part of discipleship. Suffering brings believers closer to Christ. Paul wrote, “That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings” (Philippians 3:10). Suffering in the cause of Christ yields the fruit of better understanding of what Jesus went through in His suffering. [MacArthur, John. MacArthur NT Com. Colossians & Philimon, Moody: Chicago.1992. Pp 77-75]
Precious people, God will allow suffering in your life so that you can relate to Him in a deeper way than you ever would otherwise. But if you become bitter in it, you miss the opportunity for “the fellowship of His suffering.”
You can say, “Lord, when I lost the promotion because I was a Christian, I felt a tiny bit of what You must have felt when they said, ‘We will not have this man rule over us. Away with Him.”’
You can say, “Lord, when my girlfriend broke my heart, I could relate in a small way to how You must feel when people You love turn their back on You time and time again.”
You can be a friend of God in a deeper way if you embrace suffering for the sake of His Church or body.