Sunday, February 26, 2017

Paul's Epistles – Colossians - Part 3: Paul’s Labor for the Church

Paul's Epistles – Colossians - Part 3:
Paul’s Labor for the Church
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |


Paul’s letter (Epistle) to the Colossians was a letter to correct Heresy.

Heresy is having an opinion which is in opposition to true doctrine. In other words, the Colossian church had, as many other early churches, fallen prey to false doctrine.

We see a mixture of Judaism, Gnosticism, Asceticism, Angel worship, etc.

Judaism would be the adherence to Old Testament teachings while ignoring the completed works of the cross.

Gnosticism is the belief that “secret” knowledge existed, specifically that the world was created by a lesser divinity, and ruled by an emissary of the remote Supreme Being. This belief system, which was carried over to Christianity, placed God the Father as the Supreme and Jesus as the lesser ruling divinity.

Asceticism is the severe self-discipline and avoidance of all forms of indulgence, typically for religious reasons.   The doctrine that a person can attain a high spiritual and moral state by practicing self-denial, self-mortification (embarrassment and shame – “mortified”) and the like. Rigorous self-denial; extreme abstinence; in a severe nature.

It is obvious why this is false doctrine, and has no place in a Christ following church.

The heresy, destroyed the Supreme lordship and sovereignty of Jesus Christ, it dethroned Him, destroying the mediator-ship of Christ, making Him only 1 of a multitude of mediators, (such as the Hindu belief in avatars, a manifestation of a deity or released soul in bodily form on earth; an incarnate divine teacher.)

However, we know Jesus is so much more than that, He was, is and always will be God.

We read about Paul’s labor for the church

SCRIPTURE REFERENCE Colossians 1:24-29
Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. 25 I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness— 26 the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. 27 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
28 He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. 29 To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.

The overall message of this epistle to the church is;
The Supreme Glory, Deity and Dignity of Christ Jesus”.

a. Paul was in prison in Rome at the time he wrote Colossians

b. Suffering for righteousness sake
                                                                 i. Christ suffered for the redemption of the church

                                                              ii. We suffer on other accounts, for righteousness sake

                                                           iii. Such as Paul being in prison for preaching the Gospel

                                                            iv. This suffering for righteousness sake is real, while Asceticism is self-created for ones own sake

c. For his body, which is the church
                                                                 i. Again Paul addressing the issue and placing Christ at the Head of the Body

                                                              ii. Making clear we suffer for His body

a. Servant (LIT. Diakonos)
                                                                 i. Meaning run errands, waiter, pastor or minister

                                                              ii. Seeing to ones needs

                                                           iii. In this case, Paul was commissioned by God to see to the needs of the Body

b. I have become ITS minister = “IT” being the church

c. By the commission God gave me
                                                                 i. (LIT dispensation)

                                                              ii. Meaning administration or stewardship

d. To present the Word of God in its fullness
                                                                 i. Fullness = the mystery

                                                              ii. The mystery is Christ dwelling IN believers

                                                           iii. And the fact that this was available to ALL people who believed, no matter the race or nationality.

a. admonishing and teaching everyone (in the Church)
                                                                 i. With all wisdom

                                                              ii. Meaning when we proclaim Christ, we are rebuking (or warning) and teaching about Christ to everyone in the church

b. So that we may present everyone (in the church) fully mature in Christ
                                                                 i. Presenting a Church mature is Christ is the goal of Paul, and every church minister who has been commissioned by God for the Body

c. Spiritual Maturity
                                                                 i. Paul addressed Spiritual Maturity in many of his epistles, and this one is no different.

                                                              ii. All the issues we have addressed so far in the epistles we have looked at all came about from Spiritually Immature people.

1. Division, arguing and back biting
2. False doctrines
3. Sin taking place and accepted within the church
4. Etc…

                                                           iii. Members of the Body of Christ who are Spiritually Mature, know the Word and Will of God, and will be protected from falling prey to the wiles and fiery darts of Satan’s attacks on the Body of Christ.

CONCLUSION – to this end i STRENUOUSLY contend with all the energy christ so powerfully works in me  

To this end (Proclaiming Christ and the fullness of the Gospel to the Body of Christ) I strenuously
·        Tirelessly
·        Persistently
·        Actively
·        Compete
·        Challenge
·        Run

With ALL the energy Christ so powerfully works in me!

Paul pushes forward, through pain, through suffering, through it all suffering for the Church’s sake, the Body of Christ, fighting with every ounce of strength given to him by Christ, which works mightily within every believer.

God does not call or commission us without equipping us!

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