A Labor to Present Every Man Perfect in Christ Jesus - Page 1 of 2 (series: Lessons on Colossians)

by John Lowe
(Woodruff, S.C.)

8/9/18

Tom Lowe

IIIA2b― A Labor to Present Every Man Perfect in Christ Jesus (Colossians 1:28-29)
• “Special Notes” and “Scripture” follow associated verses.
• NIV Bible is used throughout unless noted otherwise.

Colossians 1:28-29 (NIV)

(Text) Col. 1:28-29: He is the one we proclaim, admonishing (instructing) and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.

Introduction

We have met Paul the preacher, sharing the Gospel and Paul the prisoner, suffering for the Gentiles. Now we meet Paul the prayer-warrior, striving in prayer for the individual saints that they might mature in the faith.

Christ’s message is for everyone, so everywhere Paul and Timothy went they brought the Good News to all who would listen. An effective presentation of the Gospel includes warnings and teaching. The warning is that without Christ, people are doomed to eternal separation from God. The teaching is that salvation is available through faith in Christ.


COMMENTARY

(1:28) He is the one we proclaim, admonishing (counseling) and teaching (instructing) everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ.

“He is the one we proclaim.” “He” refers, of course, to Jesus Christ. “For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake” (2 Corinthians 4:5). The false teachers exalted themselves and their great “spiritual” achievement. They preached a system of teaching, but Paul preached a Person. The Gnostics{28.2] preached philosophy and the empty traditions of man (Colossians 2:8), but Paul proclaimed Jesus Christ. The false teachers had lists of rules and regulations (Colossians 2:16, 20-21), but Paul presented Christ. What a difference in ministries!

Paul, in proclaiming this Christ who now also dwells in Gentile believers was admonishing (“counseling”) and teaching (“instructing”) everyone (Colossians 3:16). No doubt he did this admonishing and instructing because of the false teaching about Christ in Colosse. He did so wisely (Colossians 4:5-6) since his purpose was not to drive them into the hands of the heretics but to present everyone perfect{28.1] (James 1:4) in Christ. Paul was wishing that the believers would not remain spiritual babies (1 Corinthians 3:1-2), but would instead become spiritually mature (Hebrews 5:11-14). Elsewhere Paul prayed for complete sanctification of believers (1 Thessalonians 5:23). Paul preached the “fullness” of the Gospel so that believers could have the fullness of life Jesus promised (John 10:10). To this end Paul expended all his God-given strength. Developing maturity in believers took great labor or wearisome toil (1 Corinthians 15:10, 58; Galatians 4:11; 1 Thessalonians 1:3) and even struggling (Colossians 2:1; 4:12) or agonizing like an athlete in an arena (1 Corinthians 9:25; 1 Timothy 6:12). The power for this struggle came from Christ (Philippians 4:13).

Verse 27 closes with the clear, understandable statement, “Christ in you, the hope of Glory.” Verse 28 opens with “He is the one we proclaim,” referring to Christ. Paul had a singular message: Christ. He said, “I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord” (Philippians 3:8). Everywhere he preached, his theme was “Jesus Christ—crucified, buried, risen and coming again” (Acts 17:3; Philippians 1:17). To Paul, Christ was glorious in His person and perfect{1] in His ministry: He satisfied Almighty God. To Paul, Christ was God incarnate—the bleeding peacemaker, Governor of the universe, because it pleased the Father that in His Christ, the Son of His love, all fullness dwelt. To Paul, it was “Christ—whom we preach.” Paul did not preach the doctrine of Christ—he preached Christ. But the Gospel is not what we preach, but it is whom we preach. No man has ever preached the Gospel who hasn’t preached Christ. Jesus Christ is the Gospel. He is eternal life. John wrote that He was going to show us eternal life, that He had seen eternal life (1 John 1:1-2). Whom had John seen? He’d seen Christ. And, my friend, today you either have Him or you don’t have Him. The Gospel is Christ—what He has done

for us by His death and resurrection and what He is going to do in the future.

Paul did not attempt to be spectacular. He did not desire to be advertised as “the world’s greatest Bible teacher,” nor did he crave to be known as the world’s number one evangelist. Christ Jesus, the one and undivided all-sufficient Savior was the singular subject of his preaching. Paul did not preach high-sounding messages, but his preaching was definite and precise, clearly expressed in words easily understood. He did not speculate in the things unknown to man, he did not announce subjects concerning mysteries that are secrets known only to Jehovah God. He did not deal in meats and drinks, days and garments. He preached Christ—the Man, the person, the Mediator, in whom we are complete. He did not cater to crowds who desired to be gratified by prying into the Celestial arena of spirits and angels. He did not suggest that angels should be worshipped or prayed too. He never substituted anything for Jesus Christ. His message was faith, hope, love—all wrapped up in Jesus, the greatest of these being love, because God is love and Christ is God. His one theme was Christ, in whom we have pardon by His blood, by whose spirit we possess purity, righteousness and, eventually, perfection without spot or wrinkle when we shall stand in His presence.

“Admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom.” Paul not only preached Christ, but he also taught Christ,” for in Christ are “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3). It was not necessary to introduce any new teaching, for all that the believer needs to know is related to Jesus Christ. “Teaching everyone with all wisdom” was Paul’s concern. Wisdom is the right use of knowledge. The false teachers promise to give people a “hidden wisdom” that would make them “spiritually elite.” But all true spiritual wisdom is found only in Jesus Christ.

Paul made it his business to instruct men, as well as to exhort{28.3] them. Exhortation and warning are of little use where there is not sound instruction and a careful infusion of the truth. It is one of the duties of the ministry to instruct men in those truths of which they were formerly ignorant; see Matthew 28:19; 2 Timothy 2:25.

Paul’s message was for all men, regardless of race, creed or color. He warned the sinner to repent, believe, and trust, or else he may have to stand before God alone—condemned, helpless, hopeless and hell-bound. He warned the Christian to present his body a living sacrifice, his members as instruments of righteousness, and whether eating, drinking, or whatsoever the believer should do, all should be done to the glory of God. While it is good to proclaim positive truth, it is also necessary to “WARN” God’s people against the lies of the enemy (Acts 20:31). This does not mean warning of danger, but “bringing all of the claims of the Gospel to their attention.” Our word “WARN” is commonly used in the sense of cautioning against danger. The Greek word here means to put in mind; to admonish; to exhort. The idea the apostle expresses here is that he made it his chief business to bring the offers of the Gospel fairly before the mind of every man. Since it had the same claims on all; since it might be freely offered to all, and since it furnished the only hope of glory, he made it the object of his life to inform every man of it, as far as he could.

I believe there are two commands here for ministers today—these are two things we should be doing. We are to preach the Gospel in order to win sinners to Christ and to save them from the wrath that is to come, and we are to teach every man in all wisdom. In other words, we are to seek to build up men and women so that they may grow in grace and become faithful members of the body of Christ; they are to be encouraged to serve Christ in the local assembly.

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