I.The Suffering Of Paul’s Ministry

A.He Rejoiced In His Suffering V. 24a

1. It wasn’t a case of Paul enjoying pain for pain’s sake.

2. He was able to rejoice in pain because he was benefiting others.

3. We experience joy when we sacrifice & suffer for others but have the opportunity to know that they are blessed. It’s worth it.

4. Paul was suffering for preaching the Gospel. He was in jail.

5. But his preaching had brought salvation to them indirectly through Epaphras.

B.Paul Realized Christ Suffered Thru Him V.24b

1. In this verse, Paul is not saying that Christ’s death was insufficient or that somehow he was a co-redeemer with Christ. Not atoning sufferings.

2. He calls them the afflictions of Christ, not the afflictions of Paul.

3. Before Paul (Saul) was a Christian, he persecuted Christians. He was finally confronted by the risen Christ.

a. Acts 9:4,5  “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” 5And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.

4. “The Head in Heaven feels the sufferings of His Body on earth.” (Believer’s Bible Commentary)

5. John 15:18-20 18“If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.

6. As we seek to serve Jesus, we may have to endure His afflictions thru us

C. Paul Realized That When You Bless Christians, You Bless Jesus. V. 24c

1. The Church is “His Body”, in spiritual union with Jesus Himself.

2. We might have strong feelings of love for Jesus, but are generally bothered by Christians, and don’t want to be around most of them.

3. We are mistaken when we imagine that we would suffer for Jesus, but not for His people. Jesus is inseparable from His Church, His Body.

II.Paul’s Ministry Was A Stewardship V. 25

A. Paul Was A minister To The Church, The Body Of Christ. 25a

1. Minister- diakonos- one who executes the command of another

2. One who cares for the interests or property of another. (The Lord’s Church)

3. A problem among Christians is that there is no deep conviction of what we are to be doing, the result being that serve only if it convenient, easy, or affordable.

4. To serve Jesus is to serve His people and love His people; all of them.

a. Taking time to talk, to care, to give a ride, to help physically.

b. To pray, to counsel, to be available in difficult times.

c. Childcare, making meals, phone calls, visits, loving the Church.

B. Paul Saw His Calling As A Sacred Trust, Given To Him By God. 25b

C. The Stewardship Was Given To Paul For Them, Not For Paul. 25c

1. The stewardship was to be directed to those people.

2. The gifts & talents Paul had were given by God for this stewardship

3. This mindset would serve every Christian well.

4. We can think that what has been given to me is for me and a few chosen others.

5. What we have been given isn’t just for us, and our favorites.

6. What are your gifts? What’s your sacred trust? What’s your mission? To whom?

7. Ephesians 2:10 “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

8.There is great joy in fulfilling your stewardship, even if it is difficult, confusing, inconvenient, awkward, or painful.

D. Fulfill The Word Of God- Bring Fullness Of Revelation Re. The Church 25d

III. Paul’s Activity Vs. 28b-29b

A.28bwarning every man-

1.To put something into someone’s mind; to exhort, strongly urge.

B.28cand teaching every man in all wisdom,

1. False teachers taught esoteric wisdom was for the cultivated, select few; & exoteric wisdom which was dumbed down for the masses the general public.

2.The Gospel doesn’t have two kinds of wisdom: elitist & common.

C.28dthat we may present every man perfect– mature, complete

1.Paul uses the word “every” three times, to indicate equal opportunity.

2.False teachers at Colossae taught that only the “initiated” could know God

3.Paul indicates there Christianity has no such sectarianism or divisions.

4.No favoritism, no upper and lower class, none that had an advantage in learning

D.29aTo this end I also labor- Paul had a clear understanding of his mission/calling.

1. To labor unto weariness. He worked hard to serve all Believers.

2. To this end-Clear goal. “If you aim for nothing, you’ll hit it every time”.

E.29bstriving according to His working which works in me mightily.

1. Striving-agonizomai– to contend in athletic games; (to agonize)

2. According to His working which works in me mightily.

3. J.B. Phillips Translation of verses 28, 29
So, naturally, we proclaim Christ. We warn everyone we meet, and we teach everyone we can, all that we know about Him, so that, if possible, we may bring every man up to his full maturity in Christ. This is what I am working at all the time, with all the strength that God gives me.