Archive for October 4th, 2008
Last updated: 10.17.08
Colossians #9: Leading Others to Jesus (1:28-29) – 10/19
In many ways, this passage is Paul’s mission statement that reflects his internalization of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). Several key elements stand out in this presentation:
• Jesus is the goal – leading everyone to complete perfection in Jesus (cf. 2 Corinthians 3:18).
• This goal, bringing others to Jesus, is for everyone – emphasized three times in verse 28.
• The power for Paul to meet this goal is not his own strength or efforts, although he clearly has given everything to make every effort as his imprisonment reference reminds us, but instead he relies on the power of that only God can give him
This will be our accompanying video — thanks Corbett!:
In a world of pluralism where every voice is given equal weight, Paul steps forward and reminds us that Jesus is the goal for everyone. His grace, His character, His compassion, and His holiness must be the goal of everyone! Jesus suggested this about Himself in several ways:
• His “I am” sayings, especially the “I am the way the truth and life, no one comes to the Father except by me” (John 14:6)
• “You have heard it said … but I say unto you …” (Sermon on the Mount)
• “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth …” (Matthew 28:18-20)
But more than knowledge about Jesus, Paul’s goal is our “perfection” to Christ. The word is translated mature, complete and in other ways, but its core meaning is the “perfection.” What Paul wants to do is to take the “Christ in you the hope of glory” (1:27) and see Him come to full form in each disciple.
Our focus will be on sharing this simple message of Jesus and working to bring others to complete maturity in Jesus. This would be tied back into our own church vision statement about the front porch – INVITING people to know Jesus; INCLUDING people in the life of Jesus in our church family; and INVOLVING people in the mission of Jesus. Of course this fits in well with our Harvest Mission focus of sharing the message of Jesus.
Special Late Developing Note
I am looking at the possibility at one of the services of exploring what I would call “The Jesus Seed.” The goal is to have Jesus who is in us and is our assured “hope of glory” fully coming to maturity so that Jesus is seen in us. This organic way of viewing the message fits right along with other metaphors that Paul and Jesus use about spiritual growth — “I planted, Apollos watered, God gave the increase” and the parables in Matthew 13 and Mark 4.
Clearly, there are several crucial messages in these few short verses:
- Jesus the only true Savior
- Internalization of a mission statement (paraphrasing the Great Commission for our lives)
- The Jesus Seed
- The great mystery
Final update follows:
Christ in us is the assurance of our sharing in glory (1:27). But, the goal is for that “seed” to fully blossom till Christ comes alive in us (1:28-29). So helping Christ come alive in others must be our mission and our vision – “I [Paul] planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow” (1 Cor. 3:6) and “My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you … (Gal 4:19). This process is not immediate or automatic, but is a product on our focusing and reflecting Jesus in our lives as the Holy Spirit transforms us to be more like Jesus day by day (2 Cor 3:17-18). We must be willing to be used up to display and share Christ with others, trusting Jesus to be present and to empower us to do that. This is not just the goal for us, for believers, but the goal for “everyone” (3x in Colossians 1:28; cf. Matthew 28:18-20). But this planting of the seed doesn’t happen without our willingness to personally sacrifice to see it that it happens (Col 1:24-25; cf. John 12:23-24)
This is the Sunday to really focus on the call of God and the Great Commission of Jesus to reach all nations with the Gospel. A reminder of … “global economic crisis” and the “global conflict against terrorism” and the “global impact of oil prices” and the “flat world” reality that we live in because of satellites and the Internet – examples of prayer lists for folks like Robert Reagan. In times of crisis and fear and uncertainty, folks are most often open to God’s call in their lives and we can’t let this opportunity pass us by.
The key is to really tie the message of Colossians to our Harvest Mission campaign this week and emphasize the importance of living out the vision.
Ultimately, the issue is how do come to perfection in Christ – having Jesus fully alive in us and seen in all of our activities? That is the issue, Jesus coming alive in us fully so that we can fully come alive?
Focus on Jesus call to take His message to all of the world. The focus would be on this one message as the saving message the world needs. But the goal isn’t just baptisms, but the maturity of people to be the presence of Jesus in their every day worlds. As Jesus says it, “all who are fully trained will be like their teacher” (Luke 6:40).
Use the Great Commission as a Scripture read in the service as a point of emphasis – while we know the normal translations, The Message would be great here as a corporate reading – maybe do it the first time with TNIV, then with The Message, and have us all say it together at the end from The Message. Tie this also to any Harvest Missions announcement and reminders.
Emphasize the “global” term that used is over and over again in media – the global impact of … economy, gas prices, warming in the atmosphere, terrorism, outsourcing of jobs, food shortages …
And those “global” issues have an impact in our houses and apartments and dorm rooms. What we pay at the pump or have in our retirement or what we pay for our utility bills or how far we can stretch our fixed income …
But as things are tough and challenging, one of the interesting ironies is that folks have been historically more open to God during these times. Our own history the great burst of growth during the depression and post depression years (the Stamps Baxter songs that buoyed people’s spirits during these times).
So our faith in Jesus must have global implications as well!
One of the powerful things that Paul reminds us in Colossians is that hard times (1:24) are not a time to back off the commission (1:25) that Jesus gave us in Matthew 28:18-20, but to personalize that commission and live it with passion and power, power he will supply (1:29) because the grace of Jesus and Jesus coming alive in each of us is what is needed for everyone (1:28 everyone is used 3x).
So where do we start? What is our focus?
1. Letting the Christ seed come alive in us! (Rob Video) Our focus on the Gospel of Luke and sharing the story of Jesus we learn for ourselves (Last week!)
2. Personalizing the Great Commission for our own lives – what is God calling me to do, what is spiritual life job description? In other words, how do we let the “Hallelujah” come out in us?
3. Encourage, sacrifice, and support the work of getting the good news to as many as possible (Harvest Missions)
Focus on Jesus as the only hope for all of the world. Emphasize the exclusivity of Jesus versus all other faiths and how that is more than just believing a message about Jesus, but Jesus coming to life in each of us.
Focus on exclusive claims about Jesus in other parts of the New Testament and how they fit with Jesus claims about himself, especially in the “I am” statements in the Gospel of John – cf. Acts 4:12; Revelation 1.
Is it close-minded to say that Jesus is the goal of everyone?
Why do you think it is so hard for folks to say that Jesus is the only way to God?
What are some passages of Scripture or stories that emphasize that Jesus is the only way?
Read Matthew 28:18-20 and then take the basic gist of that and use your own words to write a life’s mission statement for your life in Christ.
What is the difference between “perfection in Christ” in terms of our daily lives and just having lots of knowledge about what Jesus did?