- Who was the author of Colossians? Paul, one of the early missionaries after Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension.
- Who was the recipient of the letter? The Colossians, from the city of Colossae
- Problem: Heresy (lies in the church)
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. (Colossians 1:24)
POINT 1: REJOICE IN SUFFERING FOR THE BODY
- This tripped me up. Christ’s death wasn’t insufficient or lacking. The word affliction here in the Greek is for pressure, distress, or trouble, but it was never used to describe Christ’s death. As believers, we are to continue suffering for the gospel. Here’s a few scriptures that show that:
- 1 Peter 4:1-2
Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.
- 1 Peter 4:12-16
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.
- Christ suffered, so we are called to suffer, too. Peter says don’t be surprised if you experience suffering but rejoice because the Spirit is with you. Glorify God because you can call yourself a Christian.
- Have there been times when you have suffered for the gospel? What does suffering for the gospel look like in this stage of life?
- Why do we rejoice in suffering?
I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness— the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. 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. He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. (Colossians 1:25-28)
POINT 2: TO MAKE KNOWN THE MYSTERY OF THE GOSPEL
- (v. 26) “hidden for ages and generations” means before Christ came. Isaiah 9:6-7- Isaiah prophesied, so they knew a child would be born but many thought he would be an earthly king. They had no idea who was coming. It was a mystery that is now revealed. They also thought He was coming just for the Jews, but it was for everyone.
- (v. 27) “The Gentiles” means everyone who isn’t of the Jewish race, including us. God wants to reveal the gospel to everyone, not just a select few. This goes against the Colossian heresy, which said only an exclusive group can know about the mystery. It’s not a mystery anymore. Everyone can know the Gospel. You don’t have to have special knowledge, just faith in Christ.
- (v. 28) How do we proclaim the Gospel to the people around us?
- What is the mystery? Christ in us, the hope of glory.
- How do we present everyone? Mature in Christ. When a new believer accepts Christ, we don’t want them to just stay there, we want them to grow. Are you growing in your faith? If so, are you helping others grow in their faith?
- So, we suffer to proclaim the Gospel, the news that Christ died for everyone, to everyone.
To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me. (Colossians 1:29)
POINT 3: WITH CHRIST’S STRENGTH
- We don’t do this on our own. We work hard but it is only by His strength. We can do nothing without Him. John 15. Stay attached to the vine.
- This sets us apart. We don’t have to strive to do good to get into heaven. We do good works and share with others and love others because of the grace we have received. The cool thing is we don’t do any of it on our own strength.
- How do we tap into His strength?
- Prayer. He gives us everything we need. 2 Peter 1:3
- Memorizing scripture.
- Do you live like you have Christ’s strength working powerfully in you?
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. 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, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments. 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. (Colossians 2:1-5)
POINT 4: SO OTHERS MAY BE STRENGTHENED IN THEIR FAITH
- (v. 1-2) Paul is constantly working for others to know Christ and to grow in Christ. Can we say the same? What are we working for?
- (v. 3) Everything we need is in Him. We just have to ask for it and seek Him. We have to be rooted in his knowledge and wisdom so that we won’t be persuaded.
- (v. 4) How can we be deceived? What are lies that we believe? (other religions, friends, who the world tells us we have to be, media, we have to look a certain way)
- The world throws a lot our way. We must have the knowledge and wisdom found in Christ so when we or our friends are bombarded with lies, we can know that it’s a lie.
- When we suffer with Christ’s strength to share the gospel, we are able to rejoice in seeing others coming to know Him.
- Are you rejoicing in suffering because you know the gospel is being advanced?
- How are you proclaiming the gospel right now?
- Whose strength are you relying on?
- Our goal needs to be seeing others grow in their faith and rejoicing in that. That is why we suffer to make known the gospel.