Thursday, October 21, 2021

2021.10.21 Hopewell @Home ▫ Colossians 1:24–29

Read Colossians 1:24–29

Questions from the Scripture text: How does the apostle respond to his sufferings (Colossians 1:24)? For whom? What is he “filling up”? In what? For the sake of what? Which is whom? What did he become with respect to the gospel (Colossians 1:25)? How did he become one? For whom? To fulfill what? What does he call the gospel in Colossians 1:26? When and from whom was it hidden? To whom was it revealed when? Who willed the apostle to become a steward of the gospel (Colossians 1:27)? In order to make known what? Among whom? What is this richly glorious ministry (end of verse 27)? Of what does “Christ in you” give you a sure hope? What do the apostles preach (Colossians 1:28)? What two types of preaching are involved in this preaching of Christ? Whom do they warn? In what do they teach every man? In order to do what to them? What else does the apostle do to this end (Colossians 1:29)? How is he able to strive in this work?

The heights of Colossians 1 are as high as anywhere else in the Bible, as they trace the person and work of Christ. But it doesn’t stay in the eternal Godhead or the heavens where the crucified and risen God-Man reigns and intercedes in glory. This gospel comes down into the nitty gritty of the apostle’s life.

Rejoicing in Suffering, Colossians 1:24. With a Lord that glorious who has suffered that much for His body, it becomes not just tolerable but enjoyable to suffer for that same church. The afflictions of Christ have fully accomplished our atonement, and the application of that atonement to believers is appointed to come through other suffering of those who are united to Christ. Paul rejoices that his flesh has this privilege.

Fulfilling a Stewardship, Colossians 1:25. This isn’t just providentially appointed. Paul has a calling as an apostle that is an obligation. He’s a “minister,” which sounds lofty, but it just means “servant.” Paul doesn’t get to fulfill his own word. He has a stewardship from God. Christian ministry is counterintuitive to the flesh. Not only does he rejoice in suffering (Colossians 1:24); he is happy to be humbled (Colossians 1:25). 

Revealing a Mystery, Colossians 1:26-27. “Mystery” here (and throughout the New Testament) isn’t a puzzle to figure out, but a plan of God that He chooses to unveil at the proper time to the proper people. This one was hidden from ages but has now been revealed. This one was hidden from generations but is revealed to His saints. 

And this mystery is a biggie—“the riches of His glory” (cf. 1 Corinthians 2:8–9). What is as big as the glory of God? Only Christ. And here’s the amazing reality of the gospel: Christ dwells in, and joins Himself to, those who believe in Him. This is what makes everlasting glory such a sure hope. “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

Preaching a Messiah, Colossians 1:28. So Christ Himself is the mystery. That means that gospel preachers are preaching a doctrine, but they are preaching much more than a doctrine. They are preaching a person. But this increases what’s at stake in this gospel; those who reject it are not rejecting an idea but the infinitely glorious Son: “Him we preach, warning every man.” 

As believers are taught who Christ is, and come to believe in Christ, and come to be indwelt by Christ, this is the means by which they are perfected: “Him we preach, teaching every man… that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.”

Working a working work, Colossians 1:29. This isn’t a low effort task. The apostle has to “labor” at it and “strive” at it. But, it is a successful-effort task, because God is the one working His work mightily. Paul’s work works because it is God Who is working.

Suffering. Preaching. Working hard. In it’s actions, pastoral ministry doesn’t seem very impressive. But it’s suffering together with Jesus for the same things for which He suffered. And it’s preaching not only a doctrine but Jesus Himself. And it’s not just a man working, but Jesus working through him. So, on one hand, pastoral ministry is suffering, preaching, and working hard. But, gloriously, pastoral ministry is Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. 

And really, this is true of every truly Christian life. It’s done in union with Christ. To serve Christ and show His glory. In dependence upon Christ. Is this true of your life?

Why can you rejoice in suffering? Who is being glorified by it, and who is being served by it? Whom do you serve and in what actions? Upon Whom do you depend in this work, and what by what habits of life and of mind do you exercise this dependence?

Sample prayer: Lord, You are the all-glorious God, and You have given Yourself both for us and also to us. Forgive us for depriving ourselves of joy in our suffering or the privilege of humility as servants; for, when we do this, we are not just miscarrying a duty but denying a person. You. Yet, it is exactly for our sin and folly that You have atoned, so forgive us and cleanse us and warn us and teach us—until at last You present us perfect in Yourself, Christ Jesus, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP23B “The Lord’s My Shepherd” or TPH447 “Christ, of All MY Hopes the Ground”

No comments:

Post a Comment