Colossians 1:24-2:1 lesson

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What the church needs!

Colossians 1:24 – 2:7

Whenever you meet with members of the church and ask the question, “What does our church need the most?”  You will get a variety of answers.  Some will say that you need to add things for the children’s ministry.  Others will say that the buildings need upgrading, or a new building needs to be built.  Others will say that certain new ministries need to be started or expanded.  Each of these is important to the ministry of the church but what does the church need before all of these things.  

There are two important items that are needed in every church of Jesus Christ.  Paul mentions them in his letter to the church at Colossae.  What are two main needs of the church?  Paul gives them in this letter to the church at Colossae.  One of the needs of the church Paul mentions is a godly pastor or minister.  The next need of the church will be discussed next week.

Colossians 1:23 ESV “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.” 

In the last phrase of verse 23, Paul states that he was made a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  

Duties of a godly Pastor/Shepherd

In the verses twenty-four through twenty-nine, Paul talks about his ministry.  He did not do this to show off what he has done or is doing but give a good overview of what a minister should be in the church.  He is an example for all ministers to follow.

Colossians 1:24–29 ESV “1:24 ¶ 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, 

1:25 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, 

1:26 the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. 

1:27 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. 

1:28 Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. 

1:29 For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.”

A godly minister is willing to suffer for the church

Colossians 1:24 ESV “¶ 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,” 

No one wants to suffer.  No one wants to be persecuted.  However, Paul did suffer and was persecuted greatly for his faith in Jesus Christ and his work for the church, the body of Christ.  Paul suffered many different things for the ministry, from prison, to beatings, to stoning, to shipwreck, and to many other things.  He gave his life so the Gospel might be preached throughout the region.

2 Corinthians 11:23–28 ESV “11:23 Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one—I am talking like a madman—with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. 

11:24 Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. 

11:25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; 

11:26 on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; 

11:27 in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. 

11:28 And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches.” 

Paul did what the Lord called him to do, to preach and teach the Word of God.  Whether he was in church, on the street, or in prison, he shared Christ with those around him.  He was an example to others to evangelize the lost and to build up the church to serve the Lord.

A godly minister of the Lord is willing to suffer reproach, persecution, and other things for the Lord and for His church.  

Remember Moses how he was willing to suffer for the Lord rather than enjoy the pleasures that were present in Pharaoh’s palace.

Hebrews 11:24–26 ESV “11:24 By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 

11:25 choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 

11:26 He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.” 

If a minister lives godly for the Lord, he will suffer persecution and be rejected by others.  He must endure the suffering and realize that if he is persecuted for Christ; great is his reward in heaven.

Matthew 5:10–12 ESV “5:10 ¶ “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

5:11 ¶ “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.

5:12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

A godly minister is appointed to preach the Word of God

Colossians 1:25 ESV “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,” 

A godly minister of Jesus Christ is called or appointed by God, not by mother or father, or another person.  God alone calls a godly minister.  Paul reiterates the fact that God appointed him to be a minister of the grace of God.  

Not only is he called by God; he is called to preach the complete Word of God.  The phrase ‘to fulfill the word of God’ means to preach the entire Word of God, the fullness or completeness of it.  The New American Standard Bible translates the verse this way:

Colossians 1:25 NASB “Of this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God,”

A godly minister does not just preach the passages on love and mercy but on judgment and holiness.  He preaches the entire Word of God to the church because the church must hear the entire Word of God.  Paul gives Timothy, the young pastor, advice on how to fulfill his ministry.

2 Timothy 4:1–5 ESV “4:1 ¶ I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 

4:2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 

4:3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 

4:4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 

4:5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” 

When a minister only preaches a portion or certain subjects of the Scriptures and not all the Bible, he is not fulfilling his appointment by God.  He must preach the hard passages along with the easy ones.  He cannot shy away from the truth.  He must preach both heaven and hell.  He must preach both mercy and judgment.  He must preach both love and justice.  He must preach both life and death.  He must preach both the love of God and the holiness of God.  

The church needs a minister who is preaching the entire Word of God.

2 Timothy 3:16–17 ESV “3:16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 

3:17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”

A godly minister shows the church the mystery of Jesus Christ 

Colossians 1:26–27 ESV “1:26 the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. 

1:27 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.” 

So often this word ‘mystery’ is misunderstood.  There is the tendency to look at the word mystery as a mystery novel that something has to be figured out or deciphered.  But, the mystery of Christ is not something that has to be figured out, rather, it was a mystery in the Old Testament because it was not reveal yet.  The word manifest means to be revealed or seen.  The Old Testament saints had a limited knowledge about the plan of God but they trusted and had faith in the God that He would redeem them through the Messiah.

Now, the church can understand the wonderful plan of God by the reading and understanding the Word of God.  A godly minister of Jesus Christ shows the church the riches found in being in Jesus Christ.  Not just for the Jews but also for the whole world, Christ died to bring salvation to both the Jew and Gentile.

What a blessing to be able to preach that when a person comes to know Christ as Lord and Saviour that He dwells within you.  What a wonderful hope and joy that the Gentiles can now have in Christ.

Ephesians 3:2–9 ESV “3:2 assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, 

3:3 how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. 

3:4 When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, 

3:5 which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. 

3:6 This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. 

3:7 ¶ Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power. 

3:8 To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 

3:9 and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things,” 

A godly minister preaches Christ to all so that they might come to know the riches found in Jesus Christ.  In Christ, there is hope, joy, peace, and salvation.

What did Paul preach?  Adam Clarke sums it up in his commentary.

We find here the sum and substance of the apostle’s preaching.

1.      He preached Christ, as the only Savior of sinners.

2.      He proclaimed this Christ as being in them; for the design of the Gospel is to put men in possession of the Spirit and power of Christ, to make them partakers of the Divine nature, and thus prepare them for an eternal union with himself. Should it be said that the preposition εν should be translated among, it amounts to the same; for Christ was among them, to enlighten, quicken, purify, and refine them, and this he could not do without dwelling in them.

3.      He preached this present and indwelling Christ as the hope of glory; for no man could rationally hope for glory who had not the pardon of his sins, and whose nature was not sanctified; and none could have pardon but through the blood of his cross; and none could have glorification but through the indwelling, sanctifying Spirit of Christ.     Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the New Testament

A godly minister is willing to warn and teach

Colossians 1:28 ESV “Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.” 

A godly minister preaches Christ.  Paul stated that he preach Christ and Christ alone.

1 Corinthians 1:23–24 ESV “1:23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 

1:24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” 

But, not only does he preach Christ, he preaches Christ to every man.  A godly minister is seeking to see all individuals regardless of who they are to come to Christ as their Saviour.  He seeks to bring people to Christ so they might be saved.  But, not only to see the saved, but also to see them grow and mature in the Lord so that when they stand before God, He will be pleased with them.

The goal of every godly minister is the salvation of souls and the maturing of the saints.

2 Timothy 4:1–5 ESV “4:1 ¶ I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 

4:2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 

4:3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 

4:4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 

4:5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” 

A godly minister is willing to work hard

Colossians 1:29 ESV “For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.” 

A godly minister works hard at sharing, preaching, and teaching the Word of God so that the church might grow spiritually and be pleasing to the Lord.  There are three words that describe the work of the ministry.

The first word is ‘labor,’ it comes from the Greek word kopiao, which means to grow weary in toiling or working.  It means to work hard and with great zeal in the ministry.  It is often used to represent what an athlete goes through when he is in training.

The second work is ‘striving’ that comes from the Greek word agonizomenos, which we get our English word, agonize.  It has the concept of agonizing toward a prize, in other words to strive forward to reach the goal.  It means to be committed to the ministry.

The third word is ‘working’ that comes from the Greek word energeian, which we get our English word, energy.  This means power that comes from the Lord.  The Lord gives power and strength to the person to fulfill his ministry.

The minister must not be lazy in his calling, but must strive, agonize, and be filled with zeal and passion in sharing Christ with others.  There needs to be a fire coming from him.

Proverbs 6:6 ESV “¶ Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise.” 

Ecclesiastes 9:10 ESV “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.” 

1 Corinthians 4:2 ESV “Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful.” 

1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV “¶ So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” 

A godly minister is greatly concerned for the church

Colossians 2:1 ESV “¶ For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face,”

Paul’s heart was heavy for the church at Colossae and Laodicea.  He was concerned with the false teachers and doctrines they had to deal with.  He was concerned that the Gospel was being preached at the church.  He was concerned for the members of the church.  His heart was heavy for what the church had to deal with.  

Paul was not only working for the church, sending letters to encourage and correct, but spent a great deal of time in prayer for the church.

A godly minister has a heart for the church.  He spends time in prayer over the church.  He spends time praying for the unity, strength, teachings, stand, and the actions of the church.

Instructions to a young pastor

2 Timothy 4:1–5 ESV “4:1 ¶ I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 

4:2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 

4:3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 

4:4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 

4:5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” 

Paul warns of a time when some within the church will drift away from sound doctrine and go after the things of the world.  It will be this time that they will seek after ministers that will preach what they want to hear, not what they need to hear.  Notice the phrase ‘after their own lusts’; it means that they will desire a minister who does not condemn their sinful desires but rather will tickle their ears with pleasant words – feel good messages rather than the whole Word of God.

Revelation 3:14–19 ESV “3:14 ¶ “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation.

3:15 ¶ “ ‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot!

3:16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.

3:17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.

3:18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see.

3:19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.” 

Conclusion

A minister will stand before the Lord and give an account of how he fulfilled his ministry.  He will give an account whether he made full use of his time, effort, and opportunities.  He will give an account whether he preached the entire Word of God.  This is an awesome and sobering responsibility resting on the minister.  

In the book of Revelation, when Christ is speaking to the churches, He is speaking to the minister or pastor of the church.  The phrase “and unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans”, He is speaking to the pastor of the church of Laodicea.  The minister has the responsibility of the church upon his shoulders.  He must fulfill the calling that God has placed on his life.  A godly minister is called by the Lord, strengthened by the Lord, and held accountable to the Lord.

Acts 20:28 ESV “Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.” 

 

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