Colossians 1:23-24 Finishing the Work of Jesus, 1/3, Paul's Suffering for the Church
Topic: Unity, Gifts, Growth, Ministry Scripture: Colossians 1:23–1:24
Is it important that believers hold and believe the apostolic faith that was preached so long ago? Why should we hold to the historical faith taught in the Bible? Why should believers not accept modifications and updates to the Christian faith?
In the text before us, we should carefully take notice that Paul challenges the Colossians believers to stand fast in the faith that they received from him and from Epaphras. In this section, he lays down three profound and powerful arguments as to why the Colossians should resist the seduction of the false teaching and hold fast to what was preached. John Davenant’s summary of Paul’s approach is helpful.
John Davenant: “In this verse [verse 23] he stirs them up by three arguments to a steadfast faith in this Evangelical doctrine. The first is derived from the utility and necessity of constancy and perseverance in the right faith: … The second is derived from the multitude of believers, or from the common consent of all Christians; for this same gospel was preached and received through the whole world…The third is derived from Paul’s own ministry: Paul, who was an Apostle called of God, and taught the mystery of the faith by the Holy Spirit had preached this doctrine everywhere…” Colossians, pg. 260-261
We have already considered the first two of these. For the next two Sundays, I want us to consider the teachings in this passage concerning the nature of gospel ministry. What does Paul reveal about himself and his calling to gospel work? What may we learn from him about the great mission of the church to preach the gospel to the world?
First, let us consider what it means to be called to be a minister of the gospel. This morning we will consider what it means to “Finish the Work of Jesus.” We will break this down in three parts so that we may give it due consideration. This week we will look at “Paul’s Suffering on Behalf of the Church.” Next week we will consider “Paul’s Stewardship of the Mystery of the Church.” Then, the third week we will think through “Paul’s Strength for Gospel Ministry in the Church.”
First, let us consider what it means to be called to be a minister of the gospel.
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