To pick up where Pastor Ben left off in our last post, note carefully that after the wonderful promise of assurance of salvation given unto those who trust in Christ mentioned in earlier passages, in verse 23, Paul inserts the words “if you continue in the faith”. That “if” is not stating a condition that must be met in order to “qualify” for salvation. That is stating the reality of genuine, biblical regeneration.
What this if means is this. Neither you nor I have any biblical basis upon which to assure anyone who has walked forward here at church or at a crusade but has not continued in the faith that he or she will be presented blameless before The Father.
Yes, there is that eternal security in Christ because whom Christ redeems, He fully redeems and ever lives to make intercession for them. But the evidence that I belong to Him is manifested by my continually abiding in Him. There is no eternal security or assurance of salvation outside of an abiding fellowship with The Lord. Read 1 Cor 6.9,10 & Eph 5.3-6. Paul writes that we cannot continue in the faith and continue in sin at the same time. (Rom 6.1)
He was devoted to Jesus Christ at any cost. He was determined to fulfill the call of God upon his life. He had a Spirit driven desire to please His Master by proclaiming the gospel to the lost, and seeing people turned into disciples of Jesus Christ.
To a vast majority of church people today, they would say that Paul was an extreme example of what it means to follow Jesus Christ. But Paul himself exhorted the saints in Corinth to follow him, as he followed Christ.
The modern church person is afraid of extremism to the point where we are guilty of the worst extremism of all, the extremism of impotence. Pastor Vance Havner
- Col 1:24 Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church.
Paul has just finished talking about the completed redemption and reconciling work of The Lord Jesus Christ, so he is not saying that the afflictions he was experiencing added anything to the finished work of Jesus in His death, burial and resurrection.
What he is speaking about the inevitable sufferings that all saints suffer for the Name and cause of Christ.
- There are the sufferings of persecution. 2 Tim 3.12; Matt 5.10-12.
- There are the sufferings in the flesh as we, by the Spirit, mortify those deeds of the flesh in the pursuit of holiness. Rom 6,8;1 Pet 4
- 2 Cor 1.5 & Phil 3 talk about the sufferings of Christ and the fellowship of His sufferings.
- Participating in the sufferings of Christ is a spiritual experience which is born out of the believer’s union with Christ.
- Like the early Apostles, Paul rejoiced that he was “counted worthy to suffer shame for His name” (Acts 5:41). A Christian should never suffer “as a thief or as an evildoer”; but it is an honor to “suffer as a Christian” (1 Peter 4:15–16).
- The Scriptures teach us the best way of living, the noblest way of suffering and the most comfortable way of dying. — John Flavel
Explanation about sufferings
Now some people in the body suffer afflictions because they have made foolish or careless mistakes in the past or even as believers. The issue is not forgiveness, but consequences for the sin.
Others saints may suffer misfortune because of the consequences of living in a fallen world system that has fractured our economic and physical well being. Many godly saints in this body have lost life’s savings due to ungodly men making ungodly decisions in the banking industries. Some precious saints are facing critical physical issues, not because of sin in their life, but because of sin in the world.
Thank God here is forgiveness for all of our foolish sins when we humble ourselves under His mighty hand. Thank God for His very present help and comfort in unexpected or unforeseen times of trouble.
- 25 Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation (stewardship) of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God;
Paul was made a minister of the gospel (Col 1.23,25) of which he was a steward. Paul’s calling as a steward was 2-fold (1) for the benefit of others (2) for the glory of God.
Paul will tell us in verse 29 that he labored to develop his gift and fulfill the call of God upon his life. Paul attributed the ability to minister to the grace of God. 1Cor 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
Paul of course is speaking of His ascension ministry gift and calling of God to be an apostle, teacher and evangelist. Eph 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.
Please note that the purpose of all of the ascension ministry gifts are (1) for the maturing of the saints (2) for the work of the ministry.
Christianity is not a spectator sport, where a few of God’s people in the church serve, and the rest come and get a bulletin, and then go home and eat popcorn, and drink Coke or Pepsi and watch from the grandstands.
God has given to each and every one of us gifts and talents. These talents are listed in Romans 12 &1Cor 12. The gifts listed in Romans 12 are prophecy, serving, teaching, exhorting, giving, ruling or overseeing and mercy.
In 1 Cor 12, there are listed the charismata or divine giftings that are spontaneous, like the word of knowledge or the word of wisdom. But at the end of that chapter, we find listed a few more of the motivational gifts like teaching, helps and administration.
1Pet 4.10,11 tell us that we, we are responsible to stir these gifts up and used them (1) to buildup he rest of the body and (2) to bring glory to God.1 Cor 4.2 tells us that as stewards, each one of us are called to be faithful to their gifting and callings for which we will be held accountable to God. Remember the teaching of Jesus about the person who hides their talent under a bushel? We are responsible for the development and use of these gifts.Your spiritual gift is that irresistible something inside of you that drives you to do what you do. Are you using your God given gift in this body? Are you continually looking for ways to stir up that gift to bless others and bring glory to God?
It is our prayer and goal as the leadership here at Koinonia Fellowship to see every single person who calls this their home church to be involved in some way throughout the week…..Children Ministry, Greeters Ministry, Hospitality Ministry, Worship Ministry, Nursing Home Ministry, Fathers Heart Ministry, Prison Ministry, Prayer Ministry, Hospital Visitation Ministry, Sound and Media Ministry.
If you have a gift or service that you would like to offer to the body here that we are not aware of, I’d like you to click this link and tell us!
One very important thing to keep in mind about the operation of these gifts within the church, and that is the motive. According to 1 Cor 13, the only acceptable motive for serving The Lord in the eyes of The Father is a love for His Son and a desire to please Him and bring Him glory.
The use of the gifts within the church is not to be a talent show or a spiritual Olympics, but a celebration of the goodness, grace and mercy of being accepted in Christ.
- 26 Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:
A mystery in Scripture refers to something that was hidden in days gone by, which has now been revealed or made known by The Spirit. In the NT we read about the mysteries of the kingdom of God (Mk 4.11). The mystery of national Israel’s partial blindness until the purchased possession of the church is completed (Rom 11.25). The mystery of God manifest in the flesh (1 Tim 3.16). The mystery of iniquity (2 Thess 2.7). Mystery Babylon (Rev 17).
According to the parallel passage in Ephesians 3:1-6, the mystery that Paul is speaking about here is the hidden mystery of the joining together of Jewish and Gentile in the Body of The Messiah.
Jesus Christ came to earth, was rejected by His people, and was crucified. He arose again and returned to heaven. Did this mean that God’s promised kingdom for Israel was now abandoned? No, because God had initiated a new program—His mystery—that was not explained by the Old Testament prophets. The mystery is that today God is uniting Jews and Gentiles in the church (Eph. 2:11–22). When the church is completed, then Jesus Christ will return and take His people to heaven (1 Thes. 4:13–18). Then He will again deal with Israel as a nation and establish the promised kingdom (Acts 15:12–18). The present church age is a parenthetical period of time between the 69th and 70th week of Daniel.
One of the most important things to remember when studying the Bible, and in particular Bible prophecy is this. The church is not Israel, and Israel is not the church.
The false teachers used this word mystery to describe the inner secrets that were hidden in their literature that contained the revelation of their belief system. The false teachers exalted themselves and their great hidden “spiritual” truths that only the enlightened could understand. They preached a very heady and complicated message of spirituality, but Paul preached Christ Jesus The Lord. The Gnostics preached philosophy and the empty traditions of men (Col. 2:8), but Paul proclaimed Jesus Christ. The false teachers had lists of elaborate rules and regulations that needed to be kept in order to reach a place of “spiritual enlightenment” (Col. 2:16, 20–21), but Paul presented Christ.
The mystery of the gospel is not a secret society massage as some religious groups like the Masons or the LDS have. It is a message that is to be proclaimed to the whole world and is offered to every creature until Christ returns.
- 27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:
The mystery mentioned here is Christ in you, the hope of glory. That these earthen vessels or clay pots can be the dwelling place of the risen Christ, is indeed a blessed mystery!
1Tim 1.1 Jesus alone is our hope.
1Pet 1.3 Jesus alone is our lively or living hope.
Heb 3.6,7 Jesus alone is the source of confidence and joyful hope.
Heb 6.10,11 Jesus alone is our anchor of hope.
- 28 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: 29 Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.
Paul not only sought to preach the gospel to every creature under heaven (Col 1.23: Mark 16.15), he also labored along with the power of The Holy Ghost to warn people of the consequences of rejecting the gospel and teach them the Word of God in order to make disciples of every creature.
Every man is repeated 3 times here, in order to emphasize the universality of the Gospel against the intellectual exclusiveness as was taught by the false teachers.
Progressive growth in grace and spiritual maturity, not sinless perfection, is the will of God for every person who has truly been regenerated by the Holy Ghost (Titus 3.5).
Please note that Paul labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily. Mom and Dad that which you will most effectively communicate to your kids is that which works in you. Sunday-school teacher, youth worker, home group leader—what will ultimately be fruitful in your ministry is that which has personally been practically worked in and through life by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Never believe that the gospel is what “introduces” you into the kingdom, and from there on, you are on your own. We never grow out of the gospel beloved, we grow in the gospel, for it is by growing in the gospel of Jesus Christ that we obtain wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, redemption: that, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. (1 Cor 1.30,31).
What is the hope of the salvation?
All of us will be living in either heaven or hell a billion years from now. My friends, where or who or what is the hope of the salvation of your eternal soul this morning? Once you answer that, answer this question, what is the basis of that confidence?
If you are reading this and all of this talk about mystery and heaven and hell has your heart and mind spinning like a top, let me make it real simple for you. The Lord Jesus Christ gives to all sinners that come to Him by faith full assurance of forgiveness of sin and hope (Col 2.2; 6,7). He dwells in our hearts by faith, and in light of what He has already accomplished for the propitiation of our sins, you are urged to place your faith in Him this morning.All the weight of having to be perfect in order to be right before God has vanished in a second in the weight of the truth of the gospel. You see salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone or is doesn’t happen….it is all of God or it doesn’t work.