Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Christ is the Riches of God

Colossians 1:24-29 Christ the fountainhead of Life: week 3
"Christ; the Riches of God"

24) Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, 25) of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, 26) the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. 27) To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28) Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. 29) For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me. (Colossians 1:24-29 ESV)

Objective Statement: The Church is Fully Complete in Christ by Receiving the Stewardship of His Ministry in Three Areas.
1. We Receive the Stewardship of Sufferings for the Church


Verse 24-26
24) Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, 25) of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, 26) the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. 
This word that Paul uses here in verse 24 has stumped Biblical scholars probably since the letter was written. He says He "fills up what was Lacking": So I wanted to look at that word for a moment. The Greek word is
G5303 ὑστέρημα
Pronounced hoos-ter'-ay-mah
from 5302; a deficit; specially, poverty:--that which is behind, (that which was) lack(-ing), penury, want.
By his sufferings Paul enters into the sufferings of Christ, who is now exalted above earthly sufferings as the head of the church (kittle) 'what is lacking' or 'what is wanting'.  
The wanting that Paul is referring to here is that he enters into Christ sufferings and becomes a fellow partaker in the suffering. For us the same when we enter into sufferings we are entering into the full measure of what it is to know Christ. We have never before seen Him in His suffering so as we and Paul suffer as a follower of Christ we "fill up what was lacking". By way of suffering Paul fulfills the suffering that Jesus went thought and presents that suffering to the church, so that they can also see and enter into the sufferings of Christ and thus "fill it up". He does this so that the church can know better their great suffering head. And be in true communion with him as suffering head. As Paul also said in Philippians, "that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead." (Philippians 3:10, 11 ESV). Paul was glad to receive the stewardship of suffering from Christ to display to the church. And they were many sufferings indeed. His stewardship of sufferings for the church is best expressed in 2 Corinthians 11:24-33
"Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to fall, and I am not indignant? If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, he who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying. At Damascus, the governor under King Aretas was guarding the city of Damascus in order to seize me, but I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall and escaped his hands." (2 Corinthians 11:24-33 ESV)
If you are interested here is info on the greek word also used here for Sufferings:
G2347 θλῖψις
Pronounced thlip'-sis
from 2346; pressure (literally or figuratively):--afflicted(-tion), anguish, burdened, persecution, tribulation, trouble.
The Greatness of this message is that we can enter in to what our savior experienced and as Paul did He was a steward of the great sufferings that he experienced for His name. How a bout you? do you complain, moan, or resent your sufferings. We can leverage, and steward them for Christ and His glory in the Church?

2. We Receive Stewardship of the Riches of Gods Glory as Revealed in Christ (to the Gentiles)

We as modern day Christians have such an insiders, consumer, entitlement mentality. But what Paul says here is that we are the outsiders! God made His mystery that had been hidden forever, namely Christ, known to Jews first then to Gentiles (outsiders). And His mystery in Christ are the riches of God. God's riches; let's meditate on that for a while. God is the best thing in all the universe! He is also the most wealthy, because not only does he own all things, he is the inventor, creator, and manufacturer of everything in all of the entire universe! All that we see and know, and all that we cannot see and will never know in a thousand lifetimes belongs ultimately to him! So he is the wealthiest individual in all the universe. He makes the top ten wealthiest individuals put together look like they are running a lemonade stand. Let's have a look...
#1 Bill Gates $77.1 B 
#2 Carlos Slim Helu & family. $71.5 B 
#3 Warren Buffett $64.6 B
#4 Amancio Ortega $63.3 B
#5 Larry Ellison $50.6 B
#6 Charles Koch $41.2 B
#6 David Koch $41.2 B
#8 Sheldon Adelson $38.7 B
#9 Christy Walton & family $38.6 B
#10 Jim Walton $36.2 B
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With a grand total of. $736.2 Billion in net worth...
Their wealth is as a drop in the bucket compared to His. If His wealth is so immeasurable it must be great to experience His wealth and receive it. Guess What...YOU HAVE! Jesus is his wealth! Jesus is his greatest prize to you! The most valuable thing God could give you is 'Christ in you the hope of glory.' Not only do you have God's wealth in Christ, but you also have a fast and sure hope of glory! An immovable mountain as steadfast as God himself that one day you will experience glory with Christ in heaven, as co-heirs of Jesus himself, he is our brother! And we His! And not to mention that...Heaven is a wonderful place (Revelation 21), I wanna go there! 
You see his riches revealed in Jesus in Vs. 27
27) To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
-God's glory now extends outside the bounds of Israel and now can be entered through Christ by anyone! 
-All nations
-all tribes
-all people groups
-all languages
And he will be The Lord and king of them all

3. We Receive the Stewardship of Proclamation (warning, teaching, and wisdom): that makes us mature in Christ

We receive warnings daily...do not touch, do not eat, speed limit 55, weather warnings, Danger signs, caution, speed bumps ahead. These warnings are loving! Sometimes we hear the word warning and do not see it as loving, but it is. Warning us of danger is a loving thing. Usually the warning comes from a person wanting our good and not our destruction. As we traveled from California to South Carolina we saw some pretty interesting things, but I loved the signs the most...
1) Do not pick up hitch hikers, prison near by!
2) Gusty winds may exist!
3) Drive safely
4) Drive carefully
5) Would u trust Indian food at a truck stop in Texas? (Literally that was a real sign!)
6) Drive friendly the Texas way
7) Road construction sign: "be caution"
8) Aircraft used! (I guess this sign is true aircraft is often times used)
Some of these signs make no sense at all. Some of these warnings were not very thought through...or passed by an English teacher, or anyone who speaks English for that matter. But the signs and warnings that Paul proclaims are the only pertinent and meaningful signs ever. Him (Jesus) we proclaim. The end game of the proclamation and warning is that he could and would present everyone "mature in Christ". How does Paul do this continually? How does he endure his trials? With "His energy that so powerfully works within me." Are you toiling on this earth in some meaningless task, something altogether unimportant? Or are you toiling, warning, teaching, proclaiming Christ? If not why not? And if so do you lean completely on Him struggling with all His energy?
Vs. 28
28) Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. 29) For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me. (Colossians 1:24-29 ESV)

Close: the church needs proclamation and maybe it even needs people to suffer in that proclamation that Paul goes through. Lydia my five year old asked me when she was four, "where is Jesus' church"? I said, "Jesus church is everywhere all over the world in America, Germany, China, Pakistan, and lots of other countries." I said, "why do you ask." She said, "because I love Jesus." I said, "but there are lots of people who have not heard about Jesus yet, and so we have to go and tell them about him." She responded, "they need Jesus in their heart too, it's only fair." It is only fair and our stewardship of his message is of utmost importance. He has given us everything we need to make Christ known His sufferings, His riches and His message to proclaim faithfully. So let's proclaim Him and the riches found in Him! 

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