Ministry Matters (Colossians 1:24-2:5)January 22, 2023 | Brandon Cooper
The following is an uncorrected transcript generated by a transcription service. Before quoting in print, please check the corresponding audio for accuracy.
morning church. Go ahead, grab your Bibles open up to Colossians chapter one, we’ll be starting in verse 24. This morning, Colossians 124 As you’re turning there, and let’s play make believe for a moment, it is the dog days of summer. That sounds nice, doesn’t it right now with the snow on the ground. But you know how that is in Chicago. So it’s, you know, 112 degrees with about 112% humidity, you are inside enjoying the air conditioning, when you get a knock on your door and one of your neighborhood teenagers is asking if there’s any yard work he can do for some extra money. And you’re looking at him like, man, you are crazy. Okay, you should be at the pool right now. Or more likely, given your generation in your basement playing video games, you should not be outside. All your friends are at a party this afternoon. I know about this? What are you thinking? Why not go have fun? And then he tells you Well, here’s the thing, I’m saving up money to buy a car. And you go okay, all right. Now I got it. Now I understand what you’re thinking the sacrifice you’re making is worth it. It makes sense to me. Now, there’s a chance that as a Christian that people have asked you similar sorts of questions. In fact, maybe you’ve even asked them all the your self and your ministry in the church. I mean, think about it, you are often up early on your day off. And if you serve on a worship team or facilities team might be quite early on your day off. You got to skip golf with your buddies on those nice weather days, you might be late to the Bears game because the preacher never stops talking, and often doing what feel like a thankless tasks and all sorts of areas right? This might be you’re out with Christians poverty or dead center counseling somebody who does not want to be helped. Or you’re down in kids city in one of those days when the kids had too much sugar for breakfast, are your counseling. In a draining conversation, you’re doing evangelism with people who are hostile towards you, you know that ministry can be heartbreaking as you watch people that you invested in, walk away from the faith, you know that ministry can be draining, because so often ministry is a little bit like first responders where everybody’s running away from the emergency and you are running towards it and into the mass. And let’s be honest here for a moment as well. It’s not always pleasant either. Is it? Because you are working exclusively with senators? As many have quipped before ministry would be easy without the people, right? Can I get an amen? Mm hmm. You guys don’t Amen. The Gospel like that. But all right, let’s find we’ll talk about this later. So the question is, is kind of hang in there, isn’t it? Why Why would you do ministry? Why would you sacrifice in order to serve in and through the church? Why not go to the pool instead? That’s the question we’re going to tackle. As we listen to Paul describe these ministry matters. And I see three reasons why we should serve Christ faithfully. First, we serve Christ faithfully, because the gospel is glorious. We’re gonna see that in verses 24 to 27. Let me read it for us now. Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you. And I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church, I become a 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 as now disclosed the Lord’s people, 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. This passage starts with a shocking statement to modern years, in a secular or even in our current therapeutic religious culture, suffering is purposeless, since the goal of life is to feel happy all the time. Obviously, suffering does not help you in that. So suffering is to be avoided at all costs. That’s not how Paul thinks of suffering, though. He knows that suffering can be purposeful, and as a result, he can endure it, embrace it, and as he says, Here, even rejoice in it. Now this is not masochism, as though he enjoyed the suffering as though the suffering itself were good. No, it is not, but he knows the good that suffering can bring about it. A lot like that neighborhood kid who is sweating and sore and he’s got blisters on his palms because he’s been digging postholes for you for the last six hours. He sees the good, let’s come. And the only difference is that for Paul, this is not selfishly motivated. I’m I have a car at the end of this. It is motivated by love. He says I am suffering for you that you would experience that good. A little bit like the mentality that parents have or all of a sudden they realize I would rather my kids experience good than I experienced it. Like you reached that point in your life, when you realize is more fun to watch people open the presents you’ve given them than it is to open up the present yourself. That’s Paul, and in suffering exhausts. Paul, he says, fills up what is lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions. That’s a difficult statement. This is a really hard passage in the New Testament. What does it mean to fill up what is lacking? That’s the tricky word, right? We don’t usually talk about lacking and Christ’s work in the same sentence. So you got questions, I got questions. We know what this doesn’t mean. We know that it does not mean that Jesus’s death was somehow insufficient, that he was not able to fully purchase our redemption that we need to complete our atonement. Like where the second general contractor brought into finish building the building after the first guy went bankrupt or something? No, the whole of Colossians nevermind, the whole New Testament teaches the sufficiency of Christ in our salvation. We’ve already seen it in passage we’ve covered here he’s chapter one, verses 13 and 14, he has rescued us. Perfect Tense, meaning it’s complete, right? He has rescued us he has brought us into the kingdom, the Son he loves in Him, we have have redemption, the forgiveness of sins, verse 22, he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death, to present you holy in his sight. So we know that’s not what it is. Who What are we talking about here? Well, here’s what we do know through our union with Christ. Remember, our union with Christ is so strong that we are actually members of His Body, which Paul even says there at the end of verse 24, right for the sake of his body, which is the church. What that means is when we suffer for him, those are his sufferings. I don’t say My hand is suffering. If I cut myself, I’m suffering because my hand is in pain. That is Christ. We actually have seen this Paul saw this firsthand. Acts chapter nine, verse four, Paul’s on the road to Damascus, he has this encounter with the resurrected Christ. And remember, he’d been persecuting Christians. And Jesus says to him, Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? Now my people, me because the persecute them is to persecute Jesus. So there’s this union, that means that our suffering is in some sense, Christ’s suffering is the lesson Helen Rosevear learned famous medical missionary to what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo. She had served there faithfully for 12 years. And then there was a revolution. And now all of a sudden, she was in a hostile place. And she suffered enormously her Her story is a hard read. At one point she was awaiting execution. But a 17 year old boys stepped in to keep it from happening and the soldiers beat him mercilessly were kicking him around like he was a soccer ball. And she was looking at this having suffered herself and thinking, like, I know God exists, but where is he? Like, have I been abandoned at this point? Is this suffering purposeless and she’s crying out to God, and she says she heard the still small voice of the Spirit, whisper these words to her. 20 years ago, you asked for the privilege of being a missionary of being identified with me. These are not your sufferings. These are mine. And she was overcome with a sense of privilege at that moment, her sense of union with Christ increased in her suffering. And so it was with Paul, and so it can be with us as well. Great, good story, but still, what does it mean to fill up what was lacking? I don’t know. There you go.
You’re not getting your money’s worth today. Okay. I don’t know. I’m not sure anyone really does. We will find out in glory. I’m confident of that. Here’s the best guest that scholars have and I think it is a good guest certainly is that Paul is drawing from the world. But he knew the Jewish thought of this time, which was that the Messianic age, like when Messiah would come would be preceded by a definite amount of suffering. So like, we need 1 million units of suffering, and then Messiah will come, of course, from Christ’s perspective, at that point, Messiah will come again, Jesus will come back. And so in his mind, it seems like what he’s saying is that his suffering, which is really Christ’s suffering, is bringing the day of the Lord nearer, and in that he rejoices. Notice that he says he’s suffering for Christ’s Body, the Church. He says he’s become the church’s servant. In fact, of course he has. It’s what happens with right we’re made to magnify them were sent to serve. But that’s an important reminder for us, we must never forget that we are not our own. We are called to serve. My wife and I have been watching the crown lately, we’re in season one, we’re behind the times, we always are. But what fascinates me about movies like this, these periods is the servants that are there who have no lines, of course, because they don’t talk, what I find so fascinating is that they have no self will. They exist entirely for the sake of the Majesty before them. So they have no self will, but they have tremendous purpose. And that is us as Christians, that’s who we are. Now, Paul’s task, his service is a little bit unique, being the apostle to the Gentiles. He wants to present the Word of God in its fullness. There’s that word fullness, again, that we’ve seen a few times, again, probably responding directly to the Colossian heresy. Because the word of God in its fullness means there’s nothing else you would need to learn beyond this, you would not need to know all the secret things that this heretic is now teaching you, you know, the real behind the scenes mystery, to get to know God. Now, it is true, though, that the word was a mystery. He uses the word mystery as well. The word was a mystery. It was hidden for ages and generations, as it was hidden from eternity past but throughout human history as well. But and this is a big, but it is no longer a mystery. It has now been disclosed. What is that mystery that was hidden, but has now been revealed. It is that God is bringing even the Gentiles into his covenant people making of the two groups, Jews and Gentiles one new humanity. This is not that interesting to us. We’re like, oh, yeah, we got that. Right. This was a big deal back then, these groups did not care for each other back then would have seen impossible to many at that time. It would be a little bit like we got some of this in our own country’s history, right? It would be a little bit like in the middle of the 1960s. Somebody saying, here’s the mystery, here’s what’s going to be revealed within just a few decades, you will have a black president in this country. And people go No way. Like they still got the fire hoses on there’s no chance. And yet of course now we know that was true. And that’s what Paul’s saying. It’s now clear. Now we can look back and go wow, seemed impossible. But it’s true. This is what God is doing. You ever watched a who done it movie, you know, or one of those cool like Mr. Like six cents or knives out something like that, right? And at the end of the movie where you had no idea was happening the whole time the end of the movie, you’re like, oh, and sometimes the directors really nice, and they show you all the things you should have seen. And it really makes sense at that point. That’s what Paul is doing. That’s what his task is to go back the Old Testament ago. We should have seen this comic. We should we missed it. We weren’t paying attention. We were just theatregoers. That’s our bad. But now we know. Now we know and we know that this is such good news for the Gentiles, which is by the way, most of us in this room. Gentiles, of course, why is this such good news? Because the mystery comes with glorious riches. It is an infinite inheritance that we received in Christ. What is that inheritance? It is actually Christ Himself. He is the riches of the gospel. God is the gospel. The good news isn’t forgiveness of our sins. The good news is that because we’ve been forgiven our sins, we can now be in relationship with God. Again, we can know Him and be adopted as His children. So you all should have Amen right there. I told you you’re not going to name it in the Gospel. All right. We’re gonna work on this as a church. Christ is our hope of glory, Paul says The hope of God, what does that mean? Our only hope that any of us will enter glory, will experience glory only in Christ, can that miracle transpire the reconciliation with God and by the way with each other, because previously we were enemies or both right? Christ is our hope of glory. That seems important. And let me ask you from where do you draw hope? Because we hope for many things as people. We hoped for world peace. We hoped for it brought it up racial reconciliation, we hope for personal change might be different areas in our lives. But we hope that you know, we get a little bit better. But my question for you is, is your hope of fools hope? Because of where you’ve placed it? Like we start, you know, it’s still January this year will be different. Why? What makes you think that you’re still you? Were still we? What will change us? Hashtag campaign? I don’t think so. If we could just elect the right person and the right party and power finally, no, that’s not gonna do it. New Year’s resolutions? Yep. Let’s talk again in February. Sure. Just some elbow grease, some hard work, some counseling, what is going to change? I see. The issue is that humanity is the problem. Like we’re the reason they’re there. All these issues in the world, humanity is the problem. So I don’t think humanity can be the solution unless something changes us something external changes us gives us that power for transformation. You want me to name that power for you. It’s Christ in you the hope of glory. We’ll see. You just made my heart happy. We said one more thing before we go to the next section. Here’s the other good news. If you’re here today, and you got questions, and I’m glad you’re here. We don’t have to wonder anymore. We don’t have to wonder anymore. We don’t need to keep searching. Because the mystery has been revealed. We have the word of God in its fullness. Here is truth. Paul is saying, and it is a glorious Gospel. And part of what makes it so glorious is knowing that it can bring about that glory in us and on earth, seeing change like that. That’d be worse than suffering, wouldn’t it? So why do we do ministry? Well, we serve Christ because the gospel is glorious. Secondly, that we serve Christ because the people are precious. Let’s keep reading verses 28 and 29. He is the one we proclaim, admonishing 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’s so powerfully worked in me, we preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified the hope of glory, our life, because there’s no forgiveness, there’s no hope there’s no glory. Otherwise, if there’s no hope, otherwise, the hope is only found in Him, then we need to preach him indiscriminately. Everybody needs to hear this message. There is no one on earth who does not need him. And that’s exactly the point Paul makes here. It’s actually even a little more repetitive than we have in our translation here. He says we’re admonishing every person teaching every person so that we may present every person a little heavy handed almost Paul is and making this point so that we don’t miss it. We proclaim Jesus to all people without distinction. Jew and Gentile, male and female, rich and poor on down the line. Now I know we know, this is not new information I just gave you. But we don’t always feel that way. Do we? Sometimes we can look at people and assume the gospel is not actually for them. Usually it’s big either because they’re too bad. Go ahead and try to explain that one to God, by the ways you’re standing before him but too bad. Like, there’s no way that person has any hope whatsoever, or they’re too good, right? Where you’re kind of looking at somebody like well, if anybody doesn’t need Jesus to be that guy, he’s just so nice. So let me make it really simple for you so that we remember this. If God can save you, he can save anyone. Because you are or at least should be the worst sinner, you know.
And what I mean by that is, you know, the depths of your sin better than you know anyone else’s. If for no other reason than just, you know everything going on in your mind, which no one else does. So you know your sin better you know anybody else’s sin. Which means you should stand before God daily going. I don’t know why I’m here. It must be grace. And if you could do this for me, you could do this. And then that’s what Paul says to right. He says he saved me, the chief of all sinners, just to make me an example so that people can go you look at Paul and you alright? Alright, so there’s hope for me. That’s what your life should say to people as well. This message is for everyone. Again, Paul’s made that point really abundantly clear. So Jew, Gentile, male, female, Richard poor. How about this believers and unbelievers? And Christians and non Christians, we need the same message, don’t we? We all need admonishing, to repent from our sin. And we all need instruction so that we believe and obey. But note, I love this. Paul is saying here, we need the same message. It’s not here’s the stuff that the unbelievers need. And somebody who is not a fan of Jesus. And here’s what you know, we need those of us who are fans of Jesus know, we need the same message which is Jesus, him we proclaim, we need the gospel. We don’t ever grow beyond the gospel, we simply go deeper in our understanding of the gospel. And putting this in our collection context, though, part of what that means is that we don’t need some new esoteric mysterious in the bad sense knowledge reserved for just a privileged few. What the false teachers and classy are offering. Let me give you this advice if anyone claims that they have discovered the secret of knowing God, just run away as far and as fast as you can. The Gospel message should be as familiar as your mom’s chicken soup. And as well worn as your favorite slippers. You should go That’s right. That’s what I’ve heard before. That’s what I needed to hear again. This message is for everyone, so that everyone can grow to full maturity in Christ. That is there are not two classes of Christians, the people who really get it and the other people know the great New Testament scholar FF Bruce says it like this. He says there are no heights in Christian attainment which are not within the reach of all by the power of His heavenly grace. But this is a worthy goal. Paul’s talking about making sure that everyone gets this message the people around us people who are struggling, who are hurting who are aimless, who are perishing, finding hope and growing in grace, that’s a worthy goal. We got to keep that goal in mind because the work ain’t easy. What does Paul say I strenuously contend, strenuously content ministry is hard. Ministry often hurts. If you minister Christ, you will have bruises and scars, you will be tired at the end of each day. And there will be seasons when you are just weary. Because there is only one who doesn’t ever get tired and his name is God. You are not never tiring any more than you are omniscient or omnipotent. Those are what theologians call the incommunicable attributes meaning we don’t get to have those. Those are for him alone. Some of God’s attributes we get to grow in love and wisdom and holiness and stuff, not omnipotence, okay. You don’t get that one evening glory. Same with being never tiring. Says the passage that Julie read for us earlier. Right? The Lord, not us. The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth, He will not grow tired or weary. But what about us? Will even youth grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall? But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength? He gives strength to the weary when we depend on him. That is such a precious promise, isn’t it? Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength just confession in the Cooper household right here. I pray this almost daily for Amy before I leave for work in the morning, because she’s got a she got busy days. So I’m praying Lord, would You renew her strength today as she hopes in the Lord but that’s key. It’s not Lord, do you renew my strength today as I work really, really hard? No, it’s his strength with the energy Paul says Christ works in me, meaning it’s not up to us. You are not the Energizer Bunny you will not be able to keep going. But he said applies strength, daily strength, like he supplies our daily bread. Now hear me clearly too, because I can’t preach all of scripture in one sermon, although I often try to. There are other things that scripture has to say on this subject, like the importance of rest, I don’t want you to hear me say he keeps supplying strength. So you don’t ever need to take a Sabbath. Uh, you need time off because you are not God. And that’s really important. We just, that’s not what he’s saying, here. At least what he’s saying is what God calls you to do daily, he will give you the strength to do with the energy that Christ works in you. Here’s why this matters. Everything we’ve said so far, because you won’t count the cost. And you won’t do hard, tiring things. Unless you see the point that people are precious. The people matter. But if we see what God is doing, and love people like God loves them, we will gladly Endure hardship for their sake. And hardship isn’t even the right word. The word that’s used here is the word agonize, which is a Greek word, agonize it ministry is agony sometimes. And make sure we remember that part. We need that perspective, we are called to some agony for others. Milk is important that people come to me sometimes and go, you know, this is really hard. Usually they’re talking about journey groups, by the way. You name and that part too, if you need to. That’s fun. Journey groups, there is a hard it’s a lot of work. Or even community groups like it is hard for us to get our schedules to line up so that we can do life together. You know, my response and your income talking about this later. Here’s what I’m gonna say to you. Yes, you’re right. It is hard. But this is why we do it. In the same way that that kid was out there in the blazing heat, wilting in the humidity, and it was a hard why because he knew it was worth it. We know that it’s worth it. There are no shortcuts. There are no painless options in discipleship, seeing the riches of glory takes work. Like we’re trying to dig up mine the riches of glory, do you know how minds work? They involve some back breaking labor. And not to beat a dead horse. Problem is not a horse, it’s a monster and it’s not dead, it’s still wiggling. This is also why we come together. And we don’t just watch on the live stream. Because it is hard sometimes, because there’s snow on the ground and it’s cold, and it’s rainy, and I had a late night the night before to come together. And it’s easy to stay on our couches at home. But people are precious. And so you got to seek the people, because you need to do something in their lives, and they are there to do something in your life. That’s why we gather, putting an encouragement to parents to by the way this passage mean what else are we called to do as parents but to admonish and teach our kids to present them fully mature in Christ? Those of you who are parents, does it ever feel like a long, slow process? Just remember, that’s exactly what God thinks of you. long, slow process. So what do we do we just keep proclaiming the gospel? Because we don’t know it all. And we know they don’t know it all. We keep claiming Christ, because seeing that change would be worth some agony. Why do we do ministry, we serve Christ faithfully because the people are precious. Last point, then we serve Christ faithfully because the undertaking is urgent.
We read the rest of our passage, chapter two verses one to five, I want you to know how hard I am contending for you. And for those that love to see and for all who have not met me personally. My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine sounding arguments. Though I’m absent from you in body I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how discipline you are and how firm your faith in Christ is. Everything else is building to this moment, isn’t it? And the gospel is glorious. The people are precious. So of course, the undertaking is urgent. The work is urgent. People need to know the riches of the gospel to the Gold is so important. So we should feel that urgency, especially in light of the danger that he mentions in verse four come back to in a moment. But if they don’t get the genuine article, they will settle for the counterfeit. When I was on the mission field in Colombia, I would occasionally and by occasion, I mean quite regularly buy Arsenal jerseys. And I would go to these places, and they would say, do you want authentic or replica? And I would choose replica because I was poor, because I was a missionary. That’s the problem, though, right? The replica is cheap, meaning easy, and not gonna cost you nearly as much. Who wouldn’t want to replicate Christianity that doesn’t cost you as much people will fall for it. The undertaking is urgent. That’s why Paul wants us to know how hard he’s working. He knows this matters. He wants us to see him as an example. He wants us to see his zeal for ministry. Like his his passion. This is not a let’s just, you know, grit our teeth and bear it kind of situation. But pulsator we should feel excited, passionate. Zelis even felt the agony years ago. I mean, like hundreds of years ago, there was an applicant for the Methodist ministry in London. And he was kind of a shy fellow. So he’s been interviewed to preach regularly. And he said, Look, I’m shy, I need you to know that I am not the sort of person who’s going to set the Thames on fire. And the guy who is interviewing him looked at him and was like, I don’t need you to set the Thames on fire. What I want to know is if we dropped you in the Thames, would it sizzle? Are you on fire? Do you have that zeal for Jesus did another story from the same time period when George Whitfield is going to be preaching, and he’s drawing the crowds, of course, this great revivalist and so somebody’s walking along to go see Wakefield, they look over they see David Hume, the great atheist philosopher on his way to see Whitfield. And they’re like, What are you doing here? I thought you didn’t believe in the gospel. And Hume said, I don’t. But he does. He knew Whitfield’s zeal, and he was drawn to it. What about you? We were to drop you in the DuPage. River. You’d be cold, first of all, but what it says what it says, because this is Paul’s zeal. And I love this. This is the zeal he has, he says explicitly for people he has never met. This is not the zeal he has for his kids, for his family for his best friend. This is the zeal he has for everyone. He loves people because he knows that every person was made in God’s image. And those who have faith are in Christ with him. And this is just really reiterating the previous point, right, this is for each and every person. Which means it doesn’t matter if you know them personally or not. Like that’s why we do missions, isn’t it? Well, we can get excited about a discipleship, disciple making movement getting started in Laplace, among people we have never met and probably never will meet, because we love them. Because God loves them. So we love and we work. For what for this fourfold purpose then that Paul gives us starting in verse two, this is his goal. So fourfold purpose, he’s just stacking reason upon reason, like he’s building a club sandwich with layer after delicious layer. Reason one, he says, Here’s my goal, that they may be encouraged, encouraged, so that they persevere, so that they grow, that they may be encouraged second, that they may be united in love, by Christ’s love for us, and our mutual love for him. And that united in love leads to three which is so that they may understand, but we’ll come back to three in just a second quick aside. Notice what Paul just said. He just said, we can’t grow truly wise except in a community of love. You will not grow wise by yourself. This is the lesson our culture needs, by the way, because we tend to live in echo chambers today, which means we live in a community of hate, frankly, or at least indifferent stuff, but we live in communities that know their rights already and don’t want any outside perspectives. We want to be congratulated and how smart we already are. How much smarter do you think you’re gonna get if you already think you’re smart? Not much. So what do we need? We need community love. We need to community different perspectives are people challenging as you Okay, I hadn’t considered that. I was going to nuance my opinion here, broaden my perspective, especially the things of God. mug, if you’re married, you’ve seen this for sure, I can tell you I would be so much less wise if I weren’t married to Amy. Simply because she has a really different personality, and really different gifts. And so there’s been a bunch of times where she’s challenged me in Arizona, okay, like that makes sense. I wouldn’t have seen it that way. Otherwise, that’s what the church should be. Alright, so we’re united in love, so that we, and he goes over the top here for point three, right so that we might have the full of riches of complete understanding. He wants all of it for us. Again, this is why we keep proclaiming the gospel. Because we’re not there yet. We don’t have full understanding complete riches. But as we speak the truth in love to one another. We experienced that mutual encouragement and edification, we become mature. I cannot think of a better defense biblically of what we do, and journey groups and community groups in this verse right here. This is what we need. Right? We gather on Sunday. Sure, we meet, we fellowship, that piece is key, of course. But then we connect the deepest level in community, so that we can encourage, be united and grow in this wisdom. So that number for the culmination of all of this we may know the mystery now revealed, namely, Christ, and enter into covenant with him. We can belong to God and belong to one another by grace, through faith alone. No special pass required. Jesus, only Jesus will, of course, because what does he say next? Verse three, in Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge in Christ, meaning we don’t need intermediaries. We don’t need gurus and cult leaders and whatever else the Colossian heretics are offering or you’re being offered today. Such a good reminder for us though, because people are looking for this, aren’t they? Are people looking for the treasures of wisdom and knowledge? Maybe you’re looking for the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Here’s what you need to do. Get off YouTube. Turn off the TV. Log out of social media and open your Bible instead. Because what does Paul say it’s in Jesus. And we know the Bible we behold Christ’s face on every page of the Bible. In Jesus are found all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. With that word, treasure sink in for a moment by the way, what do we do with treasure? mean whether it’s real treasure just the stuff that we treasure? Personally, we delight in it, don’t we? We display it. It’s on our bookshelves or something we we guard it we talk about it with our friends oh, you should see this collection that I have. And of course we work hard to get it. Like the kid in our opening illustration. That should be us with the Word of God we should dig into his word like divers searching a shipwreck for hidden gold. And we have better do that because otherwise we will be easy marks drawn away from the truth by clever but empty rhetoric. I think of this today I think a politician’s immediately is where my head goes your head and go somewhere else. That’s fine.
Why do we do ministry? Well, because with Paul, verse five, we delight to see people grow in discipline, firm in their faith in Christ. The need is to great if you need to know it. We need to proclaim it. The gospel is glorious. The people are precious in the undertaking is urgent. So as we close let’s get to work. Let’s get to work. agonizingly hard work even let’s serve Christ and His gospel faithfully, zealously strenuously even. So how how do we shift from a well why would you do ministry mindset to here’s why I will keep going, why I will endure even in agony. Here are four steps but maybe four commitments we need to make as we do this. I’ll go through them quickly. First of all, first commitment pick your passion. And by pick your passion. I mean select your passion very carefully, not just pick one randomly off the shelf but actually choose. Like this kid that we’ve been talking about. Also, you know, sermon long here he chose seem to be really passionate about yard work, because he saw the end goal, we need to pick that carefully because we will fall into time and energy eating habits with no eternal impact. Otherwise, you are all devoting your lives to something right now. Because your days are going by and you’re doing something, did you pick what you’re devoting your life to? So stop and evaluate? What will actually be worth it? And start with the end in mind, what’s the legacy I want to leave? What do I want my life to have been about? And then do it. Second, pick your passion, count the costs. Real simple. We talked about a lot, just acknowledge the coming suffering, and prepare mentally even now. And you can do that because your passion is now well placed. And you know that it’s worth it. Third, start to serve. Real simple, get in the game, get in the game, there is no greater calling than gospel proclamation and we are all called to it if we are called to Christ. So how are you doing it? What does this look like for you? Personally, we just had a ministry fair the church a few weeks back, some of you signed up to kind of get more information are you serving? You’re new to church? How are we going to get involved? For the body to grow in love, we need every member mobilized for service, because you you bring different perspectives, you bring different gifts, you got different personalities. And this by the way, I don’t mean I need you to volunteer to fill a slot. I mean, the whole tenor of your life should be one of service to Christ and His Body, the Church. And then fourth, and finally, I your example. Like keep your eyes fixed on your examples. Not Paul, though. He’s a great example. But it is Jesus, who in the night before he died, took the dress of a servant a slave even got down on his knees and washed the feet of his disciples, who said, I did not come to be served but to serve and to give my life as a ransom for many. Why would he do that? Hebrews 12 tells us for the joy set before him he endured the cross, he knew it would be worth it. The agony of the cross to redeem a people for His praise. You’re going to persist in ministry, you got to keep your eyes on him, who is our example and our motivation serve Christ and His people faithfully. Why? Because the gospel is glorious. The people are precious, and the undertaking is urgent. Let’s pray. Father, we pray that even now you would renew our strength as we hope in you that you would renew our zeal, our passion, that you would renew our focus our understanding of what matters most so that we will do what you’ve called us to do, to endure in ministry, for the sake of the people that you have given us, whom we can reach with the gospel. That’s the commission you gave us we would make disciples would proclaim the gospel we’d see people baptized as they come to Christ, we would see people built up as we teach them to obey everything you commanded. Lord, make us faithful stewards of that commission, as we keep our eyes fixed on you. As we see your example, as we let that example the love that you showed us in Christ, motivate us to do the same for others knowing that the riches of the glory of the gospel are already ours in Christ, and it’s in his name that we pray. Amen.