Sermon on Colossians 1:28-29 | Sharing Jesus

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Sharing Jesus (Colossians 1:28-29)

In just a few weeks, we will be having our “Bring-A-Friend” Day. We will have the opportunity to go to our loved ones, our friends, and our neighbors, and say, “Come, go with me.” We are going to have 200 that day—we are going to work, we are going to pray, and we are going to see our goal realized. Let us not be content to do anything less than have 200 on “Bring-A-Friend” Day. Satan will want us to think, “We can’t do that. It’s too lofty a goal.” Let us look Satan in the face and say, “You hide and watch. We are going to do it.”

Our text this morning tells us how we can do it. This passage tells us how Paul and his contemporaries shared Jesus. Let us see how we can emulate them and share Jesus.

Person of Sharing, v 28

“Him we proclaim.”

Paul declared that he and his contemporaries proclaimed Christ. The “we” would include Epaphras (1:7), Tychicus (4:7), Onesimus (4:9), and Paul’s other fellow-laborers.

These missionaries proclaimed Christ. “Proclaim” here is in the present tense which points to the continual and habitual way Paul and his contemporaries told of Christ. Paul and the others could not keep silent, but they were continually telling others about Jesus.

It was Jesus whom Paul and the others proclaimed. Paul made sure that he preached Jesus Christ. To the Corinthians, Paul wrote, “I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Cor 2:2). Again, Paul said, “We do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord” (2 Cor 4:5). If we want to reach our friends, family, and neighbors, we need to share Jesus.

We need to share Jesus, because:

  • There is no other name whereby men can be saved (Acts 4:12).
  • He has the word of eternal life (Jn 6:68).
  • It is his blood which cleanses us from sin (Rev 1:5).

Are you sharing Jesus with your friends, neighbors, and family?

People of Sharing, v 28

Notice how Paul demonstrates that he and his contemporaries shared the Gospel with every person they could: “Him we proclaim, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man mature in Christ.”

Central to the understanding of the Epistle to the Colossians is the understanding that many false teachers were propagating error in Colossae. We refer to the error as the Colossian heresy. What these heretics seemed to do was to mix Judaism with common philosophical religions of the day. Throughout Colossians, Paul combats the Colossians heresy.

The Colossian heresy seems to have taught that only a select few could be saved. The Gospel was not for all people they said. Here, we see Paul combating that idea—he says that he warned and taught every man in order that every man might be made mature in Christ. The three-fold repetition of “every man” is surely meant for emphasis; every person has a right to hear the Gospel.

In his sharing Jesus, Paul did not single out one group as worthy to hear what he said and another group as unworthy; we need to learn this lesson. The Gospel is for all people. “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mk 16:15). You probably remember Peter’s words at the Jerusalem Conference: “Men and brethren, you know that a good while ago God chose among us, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe” (Acts 15:7). The Jewish had a hard time grasping that the Gospel was truly for the Gentiles as well as for the Jews. It was not until Peter went to Cornelius’ home and saw the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the Gentiles that he knew the Gospel was for Gentiles as well as Jews.

We have no right to regard one group of people as more worthy of the Gospel as any other group.

Are we sharing Jesus with those around us regardless of who they are?

Process of Sharing, v 28

“Warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom.”

Paul and his contemporaries warned every man. Those outside of Christ need to be warned of the consequences of remaining outside of Christ. There are great dangers for those who are lost. Jesus will come again to inflict “vengeance upon those who do not know God and upon those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thess 1:8). “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb 10:31). Those who are lost will face eternal punishment, eternal banishment from God’s presence. Because Paul knew the horrors of being lost, he sought to win the lost: “Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men” (2 Cor 5:11).

We need to warn our friends, family, and neighbors of the consequences of remaining lost.

Paul and his contemporaries taught every man in all wisdom. Paul and those with him used every ounce of wisdom they had to teach people about Jesus. We need to use all the wisdom at our disposal to reach those outside of Christ. We need to be willing to do whatever is biblical to win as many as we can—that’s why we’re having the “Bring-A-Friend” Day. Will you use everything at your disposal to reach others for the Lord Jesus?

Purpose of Sharing, v 28

Paul warned and taught every man I order to “present every man mature in Christ.”

The maturity of people in Christ should be the goal of reaching out to the lost. “Maturity” in the Greek means that something is brought to its end, that a thing is lacking nothing necessary for completeness. Thus, Paul seeks to present people mature in Christ, lacking nothing necessary to be what they ought to be.

The term “perfect” was used in the mystery religions in the Roman Empire at this point in time. In order to become a member of these sects, one had to go through a secret initiation rite. The person who had been initiated was referred to as “perfect.” Paul could be using a play on words here, and making a reference to these initiation rites of mystery religions. Those propagating the Colossian heresy probably taught that one needed to go through initiation rites in order to be a true Christian. Paul is saying, “No, one doesn’t need to go through special initiation rites. One needs to be complete or mature in Christ.”

One needs to be mature in Christ. Scripture exhorts us to work for maturity. “Leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God” (Heb 6:1). “As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby” (1 Pet 2:2). “Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who dwelt in Damascus, proving that this Jesus is the Christ” (Acts 9:22).

Are you mature in Christ? Are you helping others to become mature in Christ?

Preoccupation of Sharing, v 29

“For this I toil, striving with all the energy which he mightily inspires within me.”

Paul toiled to share Jesus. The Greek word for “toil” means to labor unto weariness, to work to exhaustion. The idea is that Paul worked and worked until he could do so no longer.

Paul strove to share Jesus. Striving is a metaphor from athletic competition. The very “strive” comes from a noun meaning a place for assembly, especially for viewing athletic competition. The noun came to mean the contest itself. The verb means to enter a contest, to contend, to struggle. The picture is one of Paul’s mustering all the energy within him to compete for the souls of men.

We need to work to win souls with all the energy that is in us. Christianity is often compared to work where we need to strive greatly. “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able” (Lk 13:24). “Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel” (Phil 1:27).

Soul-winning is hard work. It would be far easier to remain in our comfort zones, to remain in our houses, to remain in our recreational activities. But we need to be as preoccupied with soul-winning as was Paul. We need to seek and to save that which is lost.

We don’t need to talk about soul-winning, brethren; we need to do soul-winning!

Will you be active in soul-winning?

This sermon was originally preached by Dr. Justin Imel, Sr., at the Alum Creek church of Christ in Alum Creek, West Virginia.

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