Summary: 1) The Source (Col. 1:23c, 25a), 2) Spirit (Col. 1:24a), 3) Suffering (Col. 1:24b), 4) Scope (Col. 1:25b), 5) Subject (Col. 1:26–27), 6)Style (Col. 1:28a), 7)Sum (Col. 1:28b) & 8)Strength of the ministry (Col. 1:29)
For those mountain climbing, the time they are in most danger is right after they reach the summit. In striving so hard for so long, after the point to which they reach their goal, they are most likely to put their guard down and lose their way. We've just celebrated the pinnacle of our year in the resurrection of Christ. It is easy al this point to just coast off course and lose our way. It's all too easy to substitute our work for His, to engage in ministry apart from His direction. From the time after Jesus' resurrection to His ascension, he remained with His disciples for 40 days to direct their efforts in ministry.
The ministry is a topic that was dear to the heart of the apostle Paul, and it is a frequent theme in his letters. He never lost the sense of wonder that God would call him to the ministry, and he never tired of talking about it. Toward the end of his life, he wrote to his protégé and fellow minister Timothy, “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service; even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor” (1 Tim. 1:12–13). Like Jeremiah, who spoke of the Word of God as a burning fire in his bones (Jer. 20:9), Paul felt compelled to carry out his ministry. To the Corinthians he wrote, “For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel” (1 Cor. 9:16).
Do you have a clear vision for the ministry of Christ in your life? Do you know for certain what we collectively should be doing? What is the consequence in getting off course? If we get off course, how would you know and what could be done to get going again the right. way?
Paul often spoke of his ministry when he needed to establish his authority and credibility. That was his aim in this passage. Colossians was written in part as a polemic against false teachers, and it was essential for Paul to defend his authority to speak for God. Otherwise, the false teachers would have dismissed what he wrote as merely his own opinion. Having begun the epistle with a statement of his apostolic authority (1:1), Paul now gives a detailed look at the divine character of his ministry.
He quickly recites eight aspects of that ministry: 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).
1) The Source of the Ministry (Colossians 1:23c, 25a)
Colossians 1:23c (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 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). 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 (Col1:25). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.).
New Testament readers first meet Paul under his Jewish name, Saul, at Stephen’s martyrdom (Acts 7:58).. Not content with a supporting role, he quickly became the leading persecutor of the church: (Acts 9:1–2). It was while engaged in his one-man crusade to wipe out the church that he had the experience which turned his world upside down: encountering the resurrected Christ.(Acts 26:12–18) Paul did not volunteer to become a minister of Jesus Christ; he was appointed one by the Lord Himself.
•All Christians have been called to serve God in one capacity or another. As God is sovereign in calling people to salvation, so is He in calling them to service. The Holy Spirit gives spiritual gifts, which are enablements for the service to which one is called, according to His sovereign will (1 Cor. 12:11). Like Paul, the believer’s responsibility is to be obedient to that calling (Acts 26:19).