Bible Think Tank

This site is designed to help you interact with others about God's Word. I further some thoughts we developed during morning and evening gatherings at church. I have my NT translations from the original Greek to English. Also, I have book reviews and other current events.

Monday, June 02, 2008

An Anthem Passage for the Missional Church

Colossians 1:23-29 was the passage we looked at this past Sunday night. The title of my message was On Mission with Jesus. (Audio and Notes)

There are many passages that herald the Missional Church movement. This one falls somewhere are the top of that list. Listen to the words of Paul:

"23 if indeed you continue in the faith firmly )established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister. 24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions. 25 Of this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, so that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God, 26 that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, 27 to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. 29 For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me."

Here we see the assignment of our mission (v23b), the extent of our mission (v24), and the enabling of our mission (v27b, 29).

I. The Assignment of Our Mission (v23b)

How far must the message of Jesus go? To the whole world. Paul said it had been proclaimed to all creation under heaven. Elsewhere, he says he completed the task of preaching to all the world. To Timothy, he says in 2 Tim 4, that "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith." What are we doing to get the Word out to the rest of creation? As God said of David when he was buried "David, having served God's purpose in his generation, was buried with his fathers" (Acts 13:36).

II. The Extent of Our Mission (v24)

The group last night had lots of curiosity about the seeming audaciousness of Paul's claims in verse 24. That Paul filled up what was lacking in Christ's afflictions. What is lacking in Christ's sacrificial death? Is the messenger part of the salvation? There are a lot of possible interpretations but the best is that Jesus suffered to accomplish our redemption, but the Christian suffers to take the message of that redemption to particular believers. Not that we all suffer, but it is the willingness to do whatever it takes for His good news to get out.

See my translation work on this verse here

III. The Enablement for Our Mission (v27b, 29)

How are we able to be part of Jesus' mission? How are we adequate for this high calling? The answer is in these two verses. Christ is in us. How radical that Christ is in His believers. Campus Crusade gets picked on for the diagrams, but we DO need to see that Jesus is on the throne of our hearts... that He is the LORD of our lives. Then he wraps up the section with this: "I strive according to His power, which mightily works in me." Are we able to say that the ability we have to impact our community is in His power rather than in our own? Too often, I think, we do ministry from our own thoughts, ways, power, etc.


So let's use this text within the Missional conversation. Let us get the job done in presenting every man woman boy and girl complete in Christ. Let us expend ourselves for His sake and join Him in His mission to this world. Let us do all this in His strength and not in our own.

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Blogger Steve said...

"Are we able to say that the ability we have to impact our community is in His power rather than in our own? Too often, I think, we do ministry from our own thoughts, ways, power, etc."

When I read that Tim, I wonder how much ministry/evangelism is not done because we feel like we are doing it on our initiative. God is with us, He is in our hearts. As we nourish that relationship then I think whatever we pursue, He is right there with us. We need to think of how our pursuit/labor can be for God's glory. IE what are we passionate about and how can we use that to proclaim the gospel. What needs are there in the community and how can we as a church step up to meet that need. We might not be experienced in that area of work but when we pursue it with God in mind and purpose who knows what may happen. It might fail miserably but we can be inquiring of the Lord along the way to see what the right path is to take.

It seems to me that God's power is with us and can be displayed as we work in the community to be salt and light.

Would our communities know any different if our churches were to close down today? I wonder.


6/03/2008 10:23 AM  

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