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“As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the
Lord, so walk in Him…”
Paul has demonstrated to the believers at Colossae the preeminence of Christ and the all sufficiency of His redeeming work on the cross. The point is clear; they need not look elsewhere for spiritual growth and development since they are complete in Christ because all the fullness of God dwells in Him bodily. They do not need additions of any type; all they need is more of Jesus and this is obtained through a real, vital and personal relationship with Him. They have been reconciled to God their Father by Christ’s redeeming work and now they have to walk this out by being steadfast and faithful in their relationship with Him. He will transform them and free them from their sinful natures.
Paul has committed his life to this cause because it is the Gospel and he intends, with God’s grace and ability, to reach the world with the good news that Jesus saves! He therefore now turns to the burden and privilege of ministry that is his.
1. The way of suffering 1:24
Paul knows that Christ’s sufferings are all sufficient but sometimes believers need a role model in order to encourage them to lay hold of all that Jesus has done for them on the cross. The cross is enough but Paul by his example encourages God’s children to pick it up. It is in this way that he fills up in his flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ. We should be the same in that Christians around us should be encouraged to follow Christ more fully because of what they observe in our lives, especially when we go through hard times. Paul’s steadfastness in suffering displays Christ’s supernatural life in him. Can this be said of us?
2. The way of service 1:25
Paul was called by heaven into the ministry (Acts 9:1-9). He saw his ministry as a stewardship from God and therefore his chief concern was to faithfully preach the word of God. This word he is now preaching to them by the means of his pen. His concern is truth and we do thank God that he used his pen to preach as we have been left a remarkable deposit of what it truly means to be a Christ follower. Actually Paul wrote this letter from prison (4:10), as he did some of his other letters, and while at the time it may have appeared odd that such a great preacher was locked away and his voice could not be heard, in the plan of God his imprisonment gave him a greater voice that has now reached through the ages of time and by so doing has transformed millions of lives. The way of service does mean that we go through strange times that appear to have no purpose but in fact in God they are accomplishing great things! Our Lord does cause “all things to work together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
3. The way of understanding 1:26-27
Paul’s message was “the mystery which has been hidden from ages.” This mystery, always spoken of in the Hebrew Scriptures (Romans 16:25-26), but not clearly recognized, was Christ in them “the hope of glory.” Again Paul is bringing them back to Christ and in fact is saying that the only way back to the image of God, here spoken of as the glory of God (See Romans 3:23), is by fully embracing Christ, and only Christ. He desires that they must get this understanding and so he stresses it again here in another way. This is the only message he preaches to the Gentiles, though it applies to Jews as well. (Romans 1:16)
4. The way of teaching 1:28-29
Paul then gives us an insight into his love for God’s people. Though he preached to great crowds from time to time (Acts 17:22-23) he fully recognized his calling to disciple the individual. The emphasis he places in these two verses is inescapable; he wants to make sure that “every man” gets the truth of Jesus and His saving work on the cross right! This in turn tells us that the local church, no matter what the size, should at the very least provide a structure by which the individual can be taught the basic principles of what it means to follow Jesus.
The writer of the book of Hebrews referred to these as the “First Principles” (Hebrews 6:1-2). Sadly, these are too often neglected today the result being the production of believers who have no proper spiritual foundations in their lives and consequently they can be influenced by what Paul in his letter to the Ephesians called “every wind of doctrine.” (Ephesians 4:140
We should take note of these things, ask ourselves some challenging questions and determine to follow Jesus with all our hearts!
©Malcolm Hedding Ministries