*This blog post was adapted from Pastor Bobby’s sermon on 3/20/2022. You can find the sermon video below.
We all have different motivations for doing the things that we do. In Colossians 1:21-29, Paul lays out his reasons for serving the Lord. These three motivations for Paul’s service should be the reasons why we choose to serve Christ and share the gospel with others.
Colossians 1:21-22 says, “And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him…”
Paul never got over the fact that he was given the gift of God’s grace – that he was born again! He had gone from being a killer to being the one who would spearhead Christianity through the nations. Paul even called himself the “chief of sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15). He never forgot that he was a wretched sinner saved only by the goodness and grace of God.
Like Paul, we are all sinners in need of God’s grace. We were alienated and even hostile to the Lord, and yet, He died for us. This is the amazing reality that, like Paul, we should never take for granted.
Colossians 1:23 says, “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…”
Paul talks about the importance of continuing in faith even through trials. We must understand that there is a price involved in following Christ. It’s not all about feeling good and having our personal needs met. There will be times when following after God is difficult, but He calls us to “continue in faith, stable and steadfast.”
This call to continue in the faith despite hardships is not only to those who work in ministry. It’s for every believer. 1 Peter 2:9 tells us, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”
We are all called to proclaim the excellencies of God to the world. The darker the days get, the brighter the gospel and the excellencies of God. The more heartbreaking the headlines get, the more the Christian can stand and declare the importance of following God.
Paul served faithfully because He never got over the gospel and also because he loved the Church – as Jesus also did. He was determined to serve his fellow believers, even if it cost him personally. In Colossians 1:24, he wrote, “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…”
Paul was able to rejoice even when he suffered. He rejoiced in all circumstances and worshiped God through it all. Most of us would find it difficult to rejoice in our suffering. Here’s a quick look at the Theology of Suffering.
1. Suffering produces character change in us. (Romans 5:3-5“... glory in our sufferings, ...character…”)
2. Suffering cleanses us. (1 Pet. 4:1 “...whoever suffers in the body is done with sin.”)
3. Suffering has a confirming work in us. (1 Pet. 5:10 “ ...suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong…”)
4. Suffering results in comfort for you and others. (2 Cor. 1:4 “...we can comfort those in any trouble…”)
5. Suffering has a completing effect and makes us mature. (James 1:2-4 “Consider it pure joy, ...mature and complete, not lacking anything.”)
6. Christ is exalted in our suffering. (John 9:3b “...but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”)
7. Suffering challenges us to persevere. Those who persevere will receive the Crown of Life. (James 1:1 “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial ... the crown of life…”)
Paul saw his suffering as a way to further Christ’s message on the earth, so he rejoiced. Being a Christian in our broken world means we will face hardships – even today. But we can rejoice because our suffering is not wasted.
At the end of our passage, Paul writes, “For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.” (Colossians 1:29)
Following Christ and sharing the gospel in this world can be tough. If we truly believe what we say we believe, then we need to be sharing our faith and helping to snatch people from the fire.
Fortunately, we are not alone in this work. We can rely on God’s power to help us. Just as Paul relied on God’s energy and power to help him serve others, so can we!
Mandy manages CFC’s social media presence. She started attending CFC in 2016 after God led her to visit the church with her husband, Ben. Mandy also serves on the Writing and Research Team for the Women’s Ministry and as a preschool teacher for Community Kids. She is grateful for the opportunity to combine her love of content creation with her desire to serve the Lord. Mandy lives in Lancaster with Ben and their three girls: Elyse, Evelyn, and Ella.