Sermons

Summary: 1) The Source (Colossians 1:23c, 25a), 2) Spirit (Colossians 1:24a), 3) Suffering (Colossians 1:24b), 4) Scope (Colossians 1:25b), 5) Subject (Colossians 1:26–27), 6)Style (Colossians 1:28a), 7)Sum (Colossians 1:28b), and 8)The Strength of the ministry (Colossians 1:29).

Colossians 1:23-29 [23](if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of) the gospel (that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven), and of which I, Paul, became a minister. [24] Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, [25] of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, [26] the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. [27] To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. [28] Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. [29] For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me. (ESV)

There is a force at work in the world today that is more powerful and more significant than any other in the history of the world. It is not the spread of democracy, nor is it any of the anti-democratic movements that are currently active and threatening. It is not capitalism, nor socialism. It is not civil rights, gay rights or feminism. It is certainly not atheistic secularism. The force that is more powerful and more significant than any other in the history of the world is the gospel of Jesus Christ, the gospel you who have come to faith in Jesus Christ have heard, understood and believed, which we have been learning from the apostle Paul is bearing fruit and growing in the whole world (1:6). Indeed it is reverberating in all creation under heaven (1:23).

We have been listening to Paul’s letter to the believers in Colossae in which he has been explaining and confirming this extraordinary understanding of the times in which they lived—which in all relevant respects is precisely the same as the world in which we live. The trouble (and it was the trouble then for those who first heard this letter just as much as it is for us today) is, it does not always look like that, does it? Indeed, let’s be frank. It rarely looks as though the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is the most powerful and significant force in the history of the world. (Woodhouse, J. (2011). Colossians and Philemon: So Walk in Him (pp. 77–78). Ross-shire, Great Britain: Christian Focus.)

As a Christian believer it is more than likely that you have faced and will face many discouragements. It is not easy to see that the gospel you believe is really so powerful when you find few persuaded by it, or even interested in it. The society around us is moving further and further away from any positive recognition of the truth of this gospel.

In summarizing his ministry, the Apostle Paul is explaining the power nature of the gospel and how we can have a gospel centered service.. This service would apply to elder oversight, deacon ministry or one-to-one service that individual Christians would seek the welfare of another. In this explanation he highlights: 1) The Source of the ministry (Colossians 1:23c, 25a), 2) The Spirit of the ministry (Colossians 1:24a), 3) The Suffering of the ministry (Colossians 1:24b), 4) The Scope of the ministry (Colossians 1:25b), 5) The Subject of the ministry (Colossians 1:26–27), 6)The Style of the ministry(Colossians 1:28a), 7)The Sum of the ministry (Colossians 1:28b), and 8)The Strength of the ministry (Colossians 1:29).

For those who serve, they must know:

1) The Source of the Ministry (Colossians 1:23c, 25a)

Colossians 1:23c [23](if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of) the gospel (that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven), and of which I, Paul, became a minister. (ESV)

Colossians 1:25a [25] of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, (to make the word of God fully known), (ESV)

Paul introduced the content of the Colossians’ faith, namely the gospel, the saving truth of which he became/was made a minister (1:23) which we previously considered. In 1:25 he repeats the thought, saying again that he became/was made a minister of Christ’s church. The source of his ministry was God. Paul’s appointment made him a minister of the gospel (Eph. 3:7; Col. 1:23) a minister of God (2 Cor. 6:4); a minister of Christ (1 Cor. 4:1); and a minister of the New Covenant (2 Cor. 3:6) (Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (Col 1:25). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.).

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