Wait on the LORD: be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen thine heart;
wait, I say, on the LORD.
- Psalm 27:14
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Our hope of glory, Jesus 8/16/10
There is a statement that is often made in relation to our sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with others: People don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care.

As we continue our journey through Apostle Paul's letter to the Colossians, last week we observed how Paul began to show his beloved recipients of his letter of how much he cared for them, to the point that he told them that he rejoiced in the fact that the sufferings that he was experiencing were for their spiritual benefit. He began to share with them of the nature of the kingdom of God (the body of Jesus Christ) through personal example, in that he considered his (Paul's) personal life secondary to the spiritual life and growth of those to whom he was writing to. In our reading today, he further explains of that which he wishes to share with them.

Colossians 1:25 Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation(stewardship/commission) of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God;(fully preach the Word, or to make it fully known)

He emphasizes that the preaching of the Word is of utmost importance in his ministry, for it is through the preaching of the Word of faith that souls are brought to salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord. In another place, Paul encourages his young co-worker to preach the Word, telling him that not all will receive the Word.

KJV 2 Timothy 4:1 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;
2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

26 Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:

He speaks of the progressive revelation of Jesus Christ, the long prophesied and awaited Messiah, who now has been revealed in the person of Jesus Christ. Those who lived in the Old Testament time only saw Him in shadows, figures, similitudes and allegories.

1 Peter 1:10 Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:
11 Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.
12 Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.

KJV 2 Timothy 1:8 Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;
KJV 2 Timothy 1:9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,
KJV 2 Timothy 1:10 But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:

He speaks of the riches of the glory of this revelation, in that it is Christ in us, Who is our hope of glory. A glory which may only be seen through the illumination of the Holy Spirit. This is the hope spoken about in his letter to the Romans. The gift of the Holy Spirit bestows upon us the promise of salvation which is eternal. It can be compared to having an earnest money agreement on a house. The house is not ours yet, but it is promised to us in the future. There would be much that could be written on this particular verse, but we will simply say that the even seeing and experiencing a small part of this glory/splendor of God in Christ Jesus fills our souls with such confidence and assurance that the joy of our relationship in Christ and of the expected heaven fills our souls. Being a partaker of the glory of God empowers us to look upon our trials from heaven instead of from earth. Being a partaker of the glory of God through Christ enables us to be a thankful servant within His kingdom. May the Lord open our eyes wider to the glory that is ours now and which is immeasureably greater on the other side!

27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: {in: or, among}

KJV 1 Corinthians 2:12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

KJV Romans 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

Ephesians 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

Here we make the point that often Paul preached from positive side as well as the negative side in his ministry, for in this next verse he both warns as well as teaches. We see that illustrated overall in the entire book as to this point He has been coming from the positive point of view. For he has not as of yet directly spoken of the dangers (negative) that their minister, Epaphras, most likely wrote to him about. In our verse below, he warns as well as teaches.. Through both approaches, he wants them to understand that it is only through the work and person of Jesus Christ as spoken through the Word that they will be presented as mature, fully grown believers to God.

28 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect (mature, fully grown) in Christ Jesus:

1 Coriinthians 1:17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. {words: or, speech}
18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.
20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

He took his ministry very serious, as far as effort was concerned, but recognized that both the will and the doing came from God his Father. He also realized that there was no limit to the power that worked in him, that power which came from God, and which has its greatest effect through the church.

29 Whereunto I also labour,(to the point of weariness) striving (agonize) according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.

Ephesians 3:20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

. Philippians 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

KJV Colossians 2:1 For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh; {conflict: or, fear, or, care}
2 That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;
ESV Colossians 2:2 that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God's mystery, which is Christ,
3 In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. {In whom: or, Wherein}

Paul begins the second chapter with words which reflect his care and concern for the Christians in Laodicea, for those who he has never seen, but yet has great care for them. He prays for their comfort, for their unity through love and that they would have the knowledge of this mystery of God, and of the Father, in and through Jesus Christ. That is what he has been emphasizing to this point, for from the early part of the first chapter, he began to pray that they would be filled with the knowledge and will of God in all wisdom and spiritual understanding. He then went on to add other things to his prayer for them, but the first part of his prayer was directed at their being filled with the knowledge and will of God in spiritual wisdom and understanding. Now he adds to that prayer, as we see in verse 3 of chapter 2, he says all this is to be found in Jesus Christ. Soon Paul will begin to address some of the dangers of false teaching that is coming upon the Colossian congregation, but up to this point he has not directly addressed the particulars. He has layed out the truth before them, pointed them to what God has done in Christ Jesus through the cross, encouraged them to continue holding fast to the promise of the gospel of Jesus Christ, has revealed his heart of love and care for them, and now beginning with verse 4 will begin to address some of the false teachings that they are being faced with. We will begin with verse 4 of chapter 2 in our next segment.

May we be filled with the knowledge and will of God through Christ Jesus today.

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 16 Aug 2010 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
The privilege and a purpose of suffering. 8/08/10
Text: Colossians 1:23-29
23 if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation1 under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.
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.

Life is about relationships:
In the relationships of life we have examples, role models which we follow in order to accomplish that which we wish to gain. For example, as parents, we understand that it is benefical to observe parents who are a little older than us so that we would learn by observing their relationship with one another as well as with their children. What is successful for them often times proves successful for us, and likewise what does not work for them often times will not work for us. This is in general, of course. The point is that we draw off of their experiences for our benefit. Growing in maturity in marriage would mean that we are growing in our understanding and experience that the marital/family relationship is in the team concept.

Young people learn somewhat in the same way as they observe those who are a bit older than they are as opposed to having their future directed by taking consensus among their peers. That may work fine sometimes, but they quickly learn to test their directions in life through the observing of the experiences and teachings of those who are mature (parents) or are growing in maturity.(those who may be a bit more mature than they) The youthful years play a major part of one growing in the understanding that life is about the team: The family at home, the church, and the community (how ever large that might be)

Christianity means relationship with Jesus. He is the example that we are called to follow, but since He is both God and man it is difficult to "match up" with Him in all things. Therefore, we draw on the examples of people just like us, like Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, Daniel, David, and even, yes, Goliath in the OT. In the NT, the one we are called to model and imitate is the Apostle Paul, whose letter to the Colossians we are currently going through. We are given much insight into the life of the Apostle Paul, therefore, it is good for us to take advantage of the example that he lived as well as take heed of the words that he wrote under the leading of the Holy Spirit. They are true.

As children of the light, we have been placed in a privileged position within the body of Jesus Christ, because of the grace of God. No other reason can be found in the Bible for this place which we have been placed. As in any other privilege in life, there are responsibilities and duties that come along with it. To this point in our letter, Paul has spoken to us through the Holy Spirit of what God has done for us through His Son Jesus and now begins to shift the focus of his letter to what the life of a Christian is like in everyday life.

Now he begins to indirectly address the question which often times has troubled and challenged the Christian Church through the ages. We are saved, now what! Some have minimized the teachings concerning what the Bible says about our responsibilities and duties as a Christian to the point where any fruits or works are considered wrong, as self righteousness or simply unnecesary while others have placed too much emphasis on them to the point that they become a demand to maintain one's saved condition. Probably the two verses which have led to these two extremes are the following:

Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

James 2:14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,
16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?
17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. {alone: Gr. by itself}
18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

The Apostle Paul begins the transition of his letter to the Colossian congregation by writing that he rejoices in what he is going through for them. As he sits in a prison in Rome, he shows them that he does not turn inward, and therefore feel sorry for himself, but rather writes to them that he rejoices that his sufferings will be to their benefit. In some way, the collective body will benefit because of his sufferings personally.

His sufferings were due to his identification with Jesus, and were not because of the things of life or as a result of his own poor choices. Everyone experiences the latter two situations, but only Christians experience persecution due to being yoked with Jesus Christ.

We must understand that any suffering which we experience does not contribute to the ransom for sin that was required by God. That is a done deal. But our call to identify/suffer with Christ in some way plays a part in the propagation/spreading of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. When God is put on display, some people will be affected and changed for the better by it.

Two of the illustrations from the Old Testament which we referred to last week show this to us.

KJV Daniel 3:29 Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort.
KJV Daniel 3:30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the province of Babylon

KJV Daniel 6:25 Then king Darius wrote unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you.
KJV Daniel 6:26 I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for he is the living God, and stedfast for ever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end.

Let us look at a few New Testament references which teach about suffering, and which clarify that suffering which Paul is referring to in our text is related to that which results from being identified with Jesus Christ.

1. We will experience the common sufferings of life.

1 Peter 2:19 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. {thankworthy: or, thank}
20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. {acceptable: or, thank}
21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: {for us: some read, for you}
22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:
23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: {himself: or, his cause}
24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. {on: or, to}
25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

2. If we sow in the flesh, we will reap in the flesh

Galatians 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

3. As part of the body of Jesus Christ, we will suffer for our identification with Him.

John 15:18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.
19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.
21 But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me.

Examples: The first Apostles suffered in the body of Jesus

KJV Acts 5:40 And to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.
KJV Acts 5:41 And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.

We all have a testimony of our life. John Newton, the writer of Amazing Grace, had a testimony: I once was lost, but now I am found, I was blind, but now I see. Simply said, we all can say, this was my life, this happened, now I am this.

The Apostle Paul had the same testimony of his life. We sometimes get caught up in the idea that we are only "this" and forget that we are yet growing. The subject of growth will illustrated in the next sermon, in the last part of this chapter.

Why did Paul begin his discussion in this way and how did he get to the point to where he could say what he said about suffering?

1. When he was translated into the kingdom of light, it was prophesied to a man named Ananias that he was going to suffer.

Acts 9:10 And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord.
11 And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth,
12 And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight.
13 Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem:
14 And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.
15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:
16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake.

2. He suffered for the cause of Christ

2 Cor 2:23 Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.
24 Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.
25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;
26 In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;
27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.
28 Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.
29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not?
30 If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.

3. He understood the purpose of suffering and desired to participate in these sufferings in a greater way.

Philippians 3:8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ
9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith-
10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,
11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

Paul began to teach about the actual living of a Christian life through his own example. (Note that this is the springboard that Paul uses to begin to teach of the Christian life: It is attitude, not practice. Practice will come later in this letter)

1. He understood and had come to experience that true relationship with Jesus was one of serving the other.

2. He had genuine joy in that his sufferings for the sake of Jesus was and would be a benefit to them spiritually.


What does this mean to us today in our time, in our culture?

Family: Do we realize that our family relationships thrive when we willingly and joyfully (even in suffering) serve for the benefit of the family, for our church, even for our community?

We exercise this by asking ourselves: What can I do today to serve/suffer for the sake of my family? my congregation? my community?

How could I put my family, my church, my community before me, put the needs of the group before my personal needs? When we do this, we are looking to build for the future, for those who are younger than us, for those who will be drawn to worship with us, for those who will be leaders in our community.

As we think upon the grace that God has bestowed upon us, and we ask ourselves the question today, "I am yours, Lord, now what?" let us silently reflect on that which the Lord has spoken with us today concerning the privileges and opportunities that are given to us today and which will be presented to us in the near future in our relationships with our brothers and sisters in the Lord.

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with us now and always, Amen.

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 08 Aug 2010 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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Our hope of glory, Jesus 8/16/10
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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*Wendy and Dan Salo: Strength & courage to trust Him w/her health concerns