Colossians 1:24-2:5                                 Friday, December 23, 2011
Key Verse: 2:2                                           Kevin Jesmer NIU UBF

“My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ,”

Dear Lord heavenly Father, thank you for your great love and provision. Thank you that I could get some dental work done and some recent medical check ups. Lord, you provide all things for me and my family in abundance. I pray for the less fortunate. I pray that they may come to Jesus and live by faith and learn to be content in you and trust you for all things as they walk by faith. Lord, please inspire me and my family to fan into flames the spirit of evangelism. I pray to make a new beginning to minister to the people of DeKalb and NIU. Lord, I pray that you guide Jennifer on her university choice. May she find your choice. Lord, please grant me one word of God to hold onto through this passage. I thank you and I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen!

1. Paul’s commission: to disclose the mystery (1:24-29).

Verses 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.”

God’s plan of salvation, the gospel, was a mystery kept hidden for ages and generations. But now this mystery has been made known. God chose and commissioned Paul to disclose this mystery by preaching the gospel. Paul gladly suffered in his body for the Colossians. Paul labored strenuously with all the energy Christ worked in him to proclaim, admonish, and teach them. In this way, the Gentiles came to know the glorious riches of this mystery – Christ in them, the hope of glory.

This is a healthy response to the gospel. We must share the gospel and make Christ known and this will take some effort on our part. The impetuous of the effort is not born out of legalism, or an attempt to save ourselves, or in an attempt to please people…but born out of a thankfulness to Jesus and a desire to thank Jesus and please Jesus because of his grace on our lives.

I have become lax in sharing the word of God with others. I definitely do not labor to share the gospel of God, admonishing and teaching others with all my energy.. I labor to survive. I labor to avoid boredom and depression. I do share the word of God in many ways, but I lack the passion that Paul had. One reason is that I feel like I don’t have a community to share with new Bible students. I am so busy working and driving around and doing my own business that I no time to build up the community of believers. What am I inviting people to? To Jesus…Yes! But what about the life in the church? I also feel that I have given up many things and opened my heart and my home and people, largely do not want to share in a life of faith with me and my family. I have adopted, “I am going to live my life and if someone wants to follow then fine. If not… fine too. No more being stood up. No more being ignored. No more being alone in the making of sacrifices.” But this is not entirely Christian. It is not the attitude of Christ. And with this attitude I cannot passionately preach the word of God. I pray that God I may grow to have the mind of Jesus and the attitude that Paul had.

2. Paul’s goal in his labor for the church (2:1-5).

Verses 2:1-5 reads, “I want you to know how hard I am contending for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not met me personally. 2 My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4 I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments. 5 For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how disciplined you are and how firm your faith in Christ is.”

Paul’s goal was threefold: that they may be encouraged in heart and united in life, they may have the full riches of complete understanding, and they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ. When we know Christ, we have all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge at our disposal. Then we won’t be deceived by fine-sounding arguments. The longing of our hearts for knowledge, mystery, and wisdom are fully satisfied in Christ. This satisfaction is full and complete with nothing lacking.

My goal as a preacher is that people may be encouraged in heart and united in spirit and that they may know the gospel and Jesus very deeply. So often I discourage people and create factions and dissensions rather than unity. I thank God for the Wheaton Cohort. It is helping me to know the reason for unity among believers. This new generation, the mosaic generation, are masters of compromise with differing groups and could be used by God to bring unity in the church if their people skills are wisely applied for the glory of God. In the past I focused on only teaching. I focused less on encouraging and unity. I need to be a more well rounded shepherd of God’s flock.

I need to help the young people to have complete understanding of the mystery of Christ. To do this means that I need not depend on old methods, but find ways to minister to this new generation.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, for disclosing the mystery of God, that is, Christ. Help me to passionately share all wisdom and knowledge.

One Word: Share Jesus because of God’s grace.

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