Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me. (Col. 1:28-29 ESV)
Jesus said, “If I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto me” (John 12:32) signifying what kind of death he would die.
We have also given this the somewhat spiritual interpretation of meaning that we should only preach Jesus and him crucified (1 Cor. 2:2)–an interpretation that I am not against using. (Maybe it would be more accurate to call this an application, rather than an interpretation.) Anyway, the point is–Him we proclaim.
After 40 years of ministry, teaching the Bible to any who will listen, I am only beginning to understand what this means. I have not failed to preach Jesus and him crucified. I am still moved to tears anytime I talk of the wondrous work of the cross on my behalf. But I am just now coming to understand the fulness of what this means in my ministry and for my daily life.
I am beginning to sense an urgency in the Body of Christ, and I hear many preachers taking on a new tone of warning. This is something that has been lacking for the last two decades as we were lulled into a stupor with our eyes fixed on this world’s goods, listening to those who would sell us and tell us what we thought we wanted to hear.
Now, the emptiness of a self-centered, self-serving life is beginning to take its toll in the lives of many. They have achieved much, but gained little, and are beginning to realize the ledger is not balanced.
If you have any kind of a ministry at all–blogging, writing, talking on the phone, sharing on the street, speaking from the pulpit, whatever–I encourage you to “look on the fields, for they are white to harvest” (John 4:35). Seize every opportunity to speak the truth, to share what the Lord has done in your life, to warn those who are going astray, to encourage those who falling behind. (for an interesting and unique way to quickly encourage others, click here.)
Paul says here that he warns and teaches with all wisdom. I take that verse personally, and believe that I should be teaching and warning with wisdom. But, such is so often not the case. More often than not, I come on like gangbusters, sure that I have the answer for the situation, only to see someone hurt by my good intentions. As a result, I have learned to be quiet, waiting until I “know that I know that I know” that what I have is from the Lord. And I still make mistakes.
But, it’s not about me. It’s about the Lord, and when I can fully learn that lesson and live in its fulness, then I will be more able to see His wisdom as He flows through me in grace towards His people.
I gained an insight just last night while preparing this morning’s message from Phil. 2:13–I can’t get it wrong when serving the Lord. That is liberating for me.
My only goal in all that I do in ministry is “to present everyone mature in Christ.” Hopefully, something you read here will help you in your walk with the Master.
NOTE: This is the first in a weekly posting on the Epistle to the Colossians. I am not the only one who is writing on this book. There are others who will be posting something on their blog each day of the week. We are each bringing something that the Lord gives us from chapter one of the epistle. You will be greatly blessed and encouraged, and your heart will be filled if you will take the time to read each day’s posting from one of the other saints involved in this collective effort. Put the following link in your “favorites” or on your link bar at the top of your browser: http://www.philter48.com/bbs/ and make it a point to visit everyday.
5 thoughts on “The Purpose of Our Ministry”
So, the problem I have here is in what it is that we teach in this truly dark time. I fully agree with your assessment of the past 20 years in Christianity. However, I struggle with the warning bit as it applies to unbelievers. I say this only in comment on what I have observed the warnings to be here in the Bible Belt: if you don’t believe in Jesus, you are going to hell. That may be; but still it is God’s ultimate decision, not ours and too often that is what I hear.
Rather, my heart responds to warning in the sense of the emptiness the sinfulness of our lives gives us; the unfulfillment; the nothingness. And as this book is written to believers, I can’t help but believe the emphasis should be on what we preach and teach to believers.
We are living lies of hypocrisy, and the non-believers and those on the fence are watching us. When we have ulterior motives in things we do, they see; when we guard our lives and homes like fortresses out of fear, they see; when we seek to know our “temperaments” and “colors” and other vanities of life, they see; when we live within the prisons of our own makings, rather than in the freedom of a life firmly grounded in trusting Him to care for us, they see. And what they see is really no different than what they themselves are doing. So why should they “believe in Jesus.”
If we truly are heirs to the spiritual freedoms and riches (spiritual, not material) that He speaks of, then why don’t we accept those freedoms and choose to walk in them. Instead, we choose to fight our own battles, often with a subtle and ugly vindictiveness towards others (especially those we perceive as being ungodly), and engage in all the same whining, laziness, and complaining the rest of the world does.
Two of the churches spoken to in Revelation come to mind: Sardis and Laodicia. Pray God that we do not live as they.
Thanks, Charlotte. That is aneeded word. Of course, since you know me, you know what you said here is my heartbeat also. The purpose of the post is for the Church to see. The warnings I referred to from the pulpits are indeed directed at the Body of Christ, and for that I am grateful.
So, what does it mean, “to present everyone mature in Christ”? I am not sure. But, I think it must be more basic than “ministry” has traditionally taught. We have seen countless teachings and seminars on “How to… What to… When to… What not to… How not to…When not to…” I believe, most, if not all of it is nonsense compared to knowing (becoming one with) Him. I also think that the “How to’s” etc. are based on some twist or interpretation of the Law.
Suppose I speak in the languages of human beings and of angels… Suppose I have the gift of prophecy… Suppose I can understand all the secret things of God and know everything about him. And suppose I have enough faith to move mountains… Suppose I give everything I have to poor people. And suppose I give my body to be burned. If I don’t have love…
Who is this Christ we are to come to know? I keep going back to Acts 26:
“ ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ 15″Then I asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ ” ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ the Lord replied.“
Does our religious minds still have Him living so far away on some planet past the sun call heaven that only death or rapture will allow us to really know Him? Or, will we allow ourselves to see Him revealed in His body? It’s tough for me because it’s hard to love the stinking dead flesh thing I see in front of me, especially when facing the mirror. My prayer is that our spiritual eyes are opened to see the “Christ in you…” in all.
YOU WROTE: Does our religious minds still have Him living so far away on some planet past the sun call heaven that only death or rapture will allow us to really know Him? Or, will we allow ourselves to see Him revealed in His body? It’s tough for me because it’s hard to love the stinking dead flesh thing I see in front of me, especially when facing the mirror. My prayer is that our spiritual eyes are opened to see the “Christ in you…” in all.
Good word, John.
Dale, I have a couple questions.
Do you still update this site? I notice that your blog is from January of this year.
Are you from the Coal Region? Your name just clicked, I think, but I’m not positive I have your first name right.
I have a ministry of distributing Christian poems free of charge. I post them on Authors’ Den, where they can touch many people’s lives, but I also use paper copies in my city and elsewhere.
I see riches on your site, and will be visiting again.