Summary: Dteails how the reality of Christ’s supremacy over al things impacts the Church. This is number 5 in a series on the Book of Colossians.

The Supremacy of Christ

The Nature of Christian Ministry

Text: Colossians 1:24-29

I. Introduction

Illustration: A group of ministers and a salesman’s organization were holding conventions in the same hotel, and the catering department had to work at top speed serving dinners to both. The salesmen were having spiked watermelon for dessert. But the chef discovered that it was being served to the ministers by mistake. "Quick!" he commanded a waiter. "Bring it back!" The waiter returned, reporting that it was too late. The ministers were already eating the liquor-spiced treat. ’do they like it"? asked the chef. ’don’t know,? replied the waiter, "but they’re putting the seeds in their pockets.

Christ-centered ministry is evidenced by:

II. The Suffering of the Church (v. 24)

A. Fallacies regarding our thinking on suffering

1. We assume suffering is evil and therefore irreconcilable to God’s goodness.

Illustration/Quote: The atheist answers by explaining there is no god. The cynic says that there is a God, but denies that He is good or cares. Life is just one of God’s cruel jokes. The liberal believes that there is a God who is loving, good, ad kind. He explains suffering by denying the sovereignty of God. As a preacher once said in a funeral of a young mother who died from cancer, “It was not God’s will for this woman to die.” A biblical faith does not require nor permit us to deny any of the attributes of God. We maintain from Scripture not only does God exist, but also that He is good and great, a rewarder of the righteous and a judge of the wicked.

2. We do not understand God nor righteousness. –

If God who is righteous allowed Himself to be subjected to the suffering of the Cross, then we must accept that there are some things about suffering, righteousness, and goodness, we do not know.

B. Christians and good people will suffer because there is evil/wickedness in the world.

1. Sin brought suffering into the world

2. Suffering is the element that makes our faith stronger.

Illustration: Muscle strength is built due to resistance in weightlifting or exercise. It is painful and a struggle but it makes you stronger. Wickedness is the weight, suffering is the resistance and faith is the muscle.

III. The Servants of the Commission (vv. 25-26)

A. We are all called by God into the ministry of the Church

1. The proclamation of God’s word in its fullness

Matthew 24:14; 28:18-20 - And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

2. To minister in the name of Jesus. – James says true religion is taking care of the orphans and widows, not looking out for yourself. Too many Christians are not carrying out the call!

B. Some receive the commission to certain ministry

Romans 1:1 – Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God--

Romans 15:15-16a – I have written you quite boldly on some points, as if to remind you of them again, because of the grace God gave me to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles

Acts 16:10 - After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.

Acts 20:24 – However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me--the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.

Too many pastors see ministry as a career, not a calling. Too many lay people see a pastor as their employee, not a man called of God.

IV. The Source of the Confidence (v. 27)

A. Jesus is the source of hope

B. The indwelling Christ is the mystery – There are surpassing riches of the indwelling Christ

John 14:23 – Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.

(additional verses for reference: Rom. 8:9-10; Gal. 2:20; Eph. 1:7, 17-18; 3:8-10, 16-19; Phil. 4:19

V. The Stressing of the Cause (vv. 28-29)

A. Admonishing has the idea of confronting with the intent of changing one’s attitudes and actions.

The term speaks to the task of calling to people’s minds a correct course of action.

B. Teaching is the orderly presentation of the truth of the message so converts may know how to grow.

C. Paul does this not of his own power but through the power of Jesus Christ. Philippians 4:13 - I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

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