Paul says we Christians are running a race. Here's what I'm looking at on my run toward Christ.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Suffering, Secrets and Energy

Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regards to Christ's afflictions, for the sake of His body, which is the church.  I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the Word of God in its fullness... the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but in now disclosed to the saints.  To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

We proclaim Him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.  To this end I labor, struggling with all His energy, which so powerfully works in me."  Colossians 1:24-29

There are three things I want to point out from this passage.

1) Suffering is necessary for the advancement of the Gospel.

Don't believe that you will have success in completing the Great Commission without some degree of suffering, whether major or minor.  The servant is not greater than the master, if Christ suffered you will suffer.  Jesus said we will suffer, "In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world."  John 16:33b.

Ask yourself, is the Gospel worth suffering for?

2)  There is no secret knowledge in Christianity.

Paul reiterates that the Word of God regarding the Gospel has been presented in its fulness, there is not secret knowledge.  God chose to make known to us the glorious riches of the hope of glory.  The church at Colosse was infected with Gnosticism, which said you needed secret knowledge to mature in the faith.  Paul said that was absolute bologna.  All wisdom was presented so we can be perfect (mature) in Christ.

3) We labor with Christ's energy.

"To this end I labor, struggling with all His energy, which so powerfully works in me."

We need to be humble if we are serving Christ and His Church.  It is not even with our own energy that we struggle for the cause.  We are so dependent on God that even when we serve Him we need Him.  This is a huge reminder that to serve the causes of the Kingdom is a privilege because Jesus doesn't need us.

We will suffer if we want to advance the Gospel, but rejoice in that suffering because we are part of God's winning plan.  We must not treat the Gospel or theology like it is secret knowledge to be hoarded.  We must not treat the message of the Gospel like something we understood and others can't.  The knowledge of the Gospel is accessible to all.  Finally, we must remember that we labor with Christ's energy.  Right now as I type this I am exhausted from working out.  This exhaustion reminds me that I have limited energy and power.  If I'm to accomplish something of eternal good I need limitless energy and power and that comes only from Christ.

Remember that the Gospel isn't a secret, be willing to suffer for its sake and labor with the energy of Christ today.

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