"Christ-Centered Practice in Discipleship Ministry" Colossians 1:28-29
On this day in American history November 19, 1863 the main dedication address at the dedication ceremony two hour speech delivered by Edward Everett . . . In the wake of such a performance, Lincoln’s brief speech (just 272 words long) would hardly seem to have drawn notice. However, despite some criticism from his opposition, it was widely quoted and praised and soon came to be recognized as one of the classic utterances of all time, a masterpiece of prose poetry. On the day following the ceremony, Everett himself wrote to Lincoln, “I wish that I could flatter myself that I had come as near to the central idea of the occasion in two hours as you did in two minutes.” The central idea with two verses by the Apostle Paul in Colossians 1:28-29. Last week Christ-Centered Service in Gospel Ministry. This week Christ-Centered Practice in Discipleship Ministry.
First, Such Proclamation of Christ With Our Focus on Him [v. 28a] “We proclaim Him . . .” which literally means “He whom we ourselves proclaim . . .” Instead of the depreciation of Christ by the heretics against the Colossae Christians there is the declaration of Christ for the Colossians [cf. 1 Corinthians 2:1-5; 2 Corinthians 4:3-6; Philippians 1:15-18]. What would Paul emphasize? What would you emphasize? Message about his life, His works, His words, His teaching and ministry. Message about His person, His glory, His sacrifice, His Coming again. Message about His incarnation, crucifixion, resurrection, exaltation. How long could you proclaim Him [Remember verses 15-20]. “Contrasts with the false teacher's style of speech, which finds its parallel in much modern talk. Their business was to argue and refine and speculate. They sat in a lecturer's chair; we stand in a preacher's pulpit. If the Christian minister allows the philosopher in him to overpower the herald, and substitutes his thoughts about the message or his arguments in favour of it for the message itself, he abdicates his office.” The Christian Ministry, Alexander McClaren]
Second, Such Proclamation of Christ With The Emphasis on People [v. 28b] Notice the emphasis “every [sing] person [sing]” with this phrase is repeated again and again. Three times by Paul demonstrating the individual and intentional concern. Disciple-making ministry on an individual and personal level. This means the mission of such discipleship ministry is Intentional, Personal, and Biblical.
Third, Such Proclamation of Christ With Wisdom In The Word [v. 28c] Here we see the method of discipleship ministry. See the words used by Paul to describe the activity “admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom . . .” Both throughout this epistle [and the Gospels and Other Epistles] Both Present active participles meaning the present activity. Both is these verbs used in Colossians 3:16. There is admonishing [directing on the path of the Word] described as corrected & exhorted. This includes warn, instruct, as giving instructions in regard to belief or behavior. Consider the words of Jesus about self-righteous, unforgiveness, selfishness, unrighteousness, wickedness, deceitfulness. Correcting and exhorting both error and evil. Then there is teaching [helping in the way of knowledge] described as instructed & directed. Here the content is knowledge/intellect primarily has to do with imparting insight and knowledge. Consider all of the truths, promises, blessings, parables, and prophecies given in the Bible, especially in the words of Jesus we have studied in John 13-16. Instructing and directing both grace and truth [cf. John 1:14-15]. The distinction of these "admonishing" as an act that impacts the will and "teaching" as an act that instructs the mind which transforms hearts and changes lives, “Both of the acts of "admonishing" and "teaching" are essential in our work of proclaiming Christ. It isn't enough for people to be informed of the truths of the gospel; they must also be urged to place their trust in those truths and apply them in a practical way to their lives. And likewise, it isn't enough to simply warn people and admonish them to live for Christ; we must also teach and inform them in the truth of who He is and what it means to live for Him.” [READ Colossians 2:5-8]
Fourth, Such Proclamation of Christ For The Purpose of God [v. 28d] “ . . . so that we may present every man complete in Christ.” Remember what Paul said in 1:22. Having this purpose in mind in your own life as you seek to admonish and teach others, and also receiving admonishing and teaching in your Christian life. It is not our agenda which matters but the purpose of God to be complete in Christ. He who matures a person and makes a person complete in Himself. READ Ephesians 4:12-14 where Christ is the mature man.
Fifth, Such Proclamation of Christ With The Power of God [v. 29] “For this purpose also I labor . . .” All of the verbs in the present tense meaning how paul is presently and personally working according to the work of Christ in him as His servant [cf. Ephesians 1:19-20 and Colossians 4:12] This phrase could be translated “great effort by one who labors.” And then he states, “striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.” Expositors says; “The struggle is carried on in proportion, not to his natural powers, but to the mightily working energy of Christ within him.”
In these two verses we find the central idea of discipleship. Christ-Centered Practice in Discipleship Ministry. Here are a few concluding comments. Let us proclaim Christ more and tell others Who He Is & What He has done. All of our admonishing and teaching should put Christ in His rightful place. Make the effort of your ministry by His power and not our own strength. Our discipleship ministry must focus on Christ with emphasis on people with wisdom in the Word for the purpose of God with the power of God
Pastor Timothy J. Atkins
Husband, Father, Grandfather, Pastor, Teacher, Discipler, and Follower of Jesus.