Colossians 1:24-29 (Week 6 – Jesus Plus Nothing Series)
Jason White




Hope is not found in better situations or circumstances but rather in Christ, the hope of glory. Paul says that Christ in you, the hope of glory is the message that he proclaims so that you’ll be presented complete in Him.

Colossians 1:24-29… 24 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. 25 I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness—26 the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. 27 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. 28 He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. 29 To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.




Sermon Audio Transcript
All right, so let me ask you a question this morning. What are you hoping for today? What is it that you are putting your hope in today? Or who is it that you are putting your hope in today for some of you being the day of the Superbowl, it may be the Kansas City Chiefs, you're hoping that our hometown boy, Patrick mahomes, and his team will win yet another Super Bowl today, others of you are putting your hope in the San Francisco 40 Niners and that they will be the ones to win the Super Bowl today. And if you are putting your hope in them today, you will experience some disappointment later, I hate to let you know about that I'm just preparing you in advance. And in fact of the matter is, somebody's going to be disappointed at the end of the day, right? I mean, if we're gonna put our hope in one of two teams and an outcome of a game today, than half of us at the end of the day are going to be disappointed. Of course, the other half are going to be celebrating and excited and have joy and feel like they've have some fulfillment in that particular way. But the thing is, is after they experience this joy and the elation of winning tonight, tomorrow morning, you are they will wake up and look for the next thing to put your hope. Because that's the thing about hope, hope can be very fleeting things can change and hope can fade so quickly. And even whenever the thing that we were hoping in does come to fulfillment or to fruition, whatever it is that we get out of that thing never really seems to last. And so then we just start looking for the next thing to put our hope in. And that's the way it is with anything and everything. And because hope is necessary in our lives, we just keep looking for it in so many different ways. We're looking for it in a spouse, we're hoping that one day they're finally going to change, right. Don't give anybody an elbow right now that you're sitting next to. Sometimes we're hoping that we are the ones that are finally going to change, I hope that one of these days, I'm finally going to get it right or we're hoping that our kids are going to change or that our parents are going to change, right many of us are hoping the economy is going to change and it's going to get better or you're hoping for different politicians or a different president who will be in there someone who's gonna make your life better make your life easier, make your life more comfortable. Some of us are putting hope and money or technology or a better job or a boyfriend or a girlfriend or a spouse, some of us are hoping that an illness or a sickness or chronic pain that we deal with will go away, we're just hoping that our situations and circumstances will just get better. But again, each time they do or each time one of these things that I mentioned happens, what tends to happen is we get bored again. And then we look for the next thing that will bring us hope. And maybe the next thing, the hope will last that time. But again, what we often learn is that hope is fleeting we find it and then disappears, then some of us need to wake up to that being our reality to seeing that that is the pattern that this is the cycle that we really are in, we're kind of blind to see it. But if we really look at our lives, we start noticing that we're putting our hope and one thing and then what happens we're going oh, well, that didn't really give me what it is that I wanted. So I got to start hoping to put my thing, my hope in something else to see if that will fulfill this time. Of course there are others of you who are in here this morning and recognize that maybe you this morning, don't have much hope you've failed again. You've lost some one, you're feeling that loneliness, you're feeling that emptiness, you're wondering if things ever really will change maybe even if it's really even worth it to continue. If that's you and where you're at this morning, know that I am praying for you. And I can't wait to share with you what Paul has to say to us in this letter to Colossians and verses 24 through 29. Today we've been going verse by verse through Paul's letter to this church at Colossae. We've made it through the first 23 verses so far. And so today we're going to be picking up as I just mentioned in verse 24 of chapter one and going through 29 Here's what Paul says right off the bat. He says now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you. The first thing that we see here is that Paul is suffering, that even the great Apostle Paul, the one who wrote most of the New Testament for us, experienced suffering in his life, life was hard life was difficult. But what we notice here is that Paul's approach to suffering is very different than what a lot of us experience in suffering, because Paul said that he is rejoicing in his suffering. Most of us are looking to get out of our suffering, we're hoping for better situations, we're hoping for better circumstances not to stay in the suffering, we want something to get out of those sufferings, not rejoice in them. But yet that is what Paul is saying, here. He's rejoicing in the sufferings because, well, he knows that it's for the good of the Colossians. It's for their benefit in some way. He understands that God is not absent from suffering, and that God is going to use it for good in some way and to bring Him glory. And of course, the same thing is true in your life as well. He is not absent from your suffering, he is in it with you, and he's even working in it somehow for your good and his glory. And so you too, can rejoice. Because you're not walking through it alone, and he's going to do something in your pain and in your suffering. Paul says, Now I rejoice in what I'm suffering for you. What is it that Paul's suffering for them? How is he suffering for them? Well, Paul is writing this letter from jail pulse in jail, he is suffering in jail in this moment, why is he in jail for telling people about Jesus? People didn't like him telling other people about Jesus, the Jews didn't like it, because they didn't believe that Jesus was the Messiah, especially the Jewish religious leaders of his day. And they were trying it felt like to take away their power and their privilege within the Roman Empire in some way. Gentiles didn't like it because Jesus was being declared as the one and only God and taking away their worship of idols and so called other gods. And so Paul was suffering for them in order to make sure that they knew the truth, and that they didn't miss out on the good news about Jesus, he was willing to suffer in this way to get the truth out to get the good news out for them.So he's rejoicing, because he knows that it is for their benefit. Now I rejoice in what I'm 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. Now that needs a little bit of some explanation, because it sounds kind of like Paul is saying that there's something lacking in regard to Christ's afflictions to Christ's sufferings which were on the cross, was there something lacking in Christ's suffering on the cross? No, we refer to it as his finished work on the cross, Jesus himself declared that it is finished, His suffering on the cross was not lacking in any particular way. So what is it that Paul is talking about here? Well, the way this is written, and especially as he brings the talk about his body in the church here, gives us the idea that he's talking about this, this union, that Jesus again is the head and we are the church, we get this picture, this image that Paul is talking about, and he's brought up in a number of places before right, Jesus is the head, we are his body, there is this union. And so Paul, just like us was one is one of the members of the body. He was spiritually joined to Christ as the head. And so when Paul suffered Jesus, who's connected to him as the head, well, he was suffering as well in that particular way. I don't know if you remember or not, but when the Apostle Paul had his conversion moment, and we read about that in the book of Acts, nine, do you remember what it was that he said to Paul? Here's, here's what he said to Paul. I think I've put it in here. He says he referring to who was sold at the time, Phil To the ground and heard a voice say to him Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? Who are you Lord Saul asked, I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. What do you notice here? He says, Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? And then when he references it here he says, Who are you Lord? So as he's um, Jesus, whom you are persecuting? Let me ask you a question Was Jesus was was Paul persecuting Jesus. Jesus wasn't even around, literally, like in a bodily form anymore. He had been to the cross he had died, he had been buried, he was raised, he had ascended back to heaven. But here, Jesus connects the fact that he was suffering Paul saw was persecuting the church, but because he was persecuting the church, he was persecuting Jesus too, because Jesus is the head of the church. And when the body is suffering, the head is experiencing that suffering as well. So Jesus connects the two and then Paul connects the to hear what's lacking is Christ bodily presence. Paul's physical suffering as a member of Christ's Body represents Christ continuing suffering for the world, through his body through His servants. But of course, this suffering is all for the sake of the church, Paul rejoices, it's going to be worth it, because it will benefit the church, the body, even though part of it will be experiencing some suffering at that time. So that brings a little bit of clarity, I think to what it is that Paul is saying, hopefully, he goes on and says, I have become its servant. What is it? What's Paul referring to there? The church, right? He just referenced the church and the body. So Paul is saying, I've become a servant of the church. How How is it that Paul became a servant of the church by the Commission, God gave me it was Paul's role in the body, we all have a role in the body, we're each a different member, and each member has a role in the body. Paul's role in the body was to become a servant of the church. What was he to carry out in that particular role? Well, he says it right here to present to you the Word of God, in all its fullness, the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord's people. Paul says, My job, my role that the Lord has given me in the body of Christ to is to serve the church to present the full word of God to make sure that you aren't lacking in any way that there's full understanding of things that were kept hidden for ages, there were things that were talked about some in the Old Testament, there were truths that were there, but they were kept hidden for those ages, and they were now being disclosed by the Lord's people. That's what we're talking about. When we're talking about mystery. There was some of this language in this particular area, and with the Gnosticism and things, well, it's mysterious, and only certain people are going to be enlightened and actually know the truth. And Paul's gonna, no, no, he gave me this role to be able to declare the word of God in all its fullness to all of you this mystery, this truth that was found in the Old Testament. Again, I just kind of referenced it, but to make sure we don't miss it when we're talking about mystery here. And he refers to it in that way. We're talking about a truth that lay hidden in the pages of the Old Testament, and its explanation awaited another day. That day was the coming of Christ and His finished work on the cross. And now it's being revealed to the truth that day had arrived. And it was Paul's role in the body of Christ commissioned by God, to present the Word of God in all its fullness to make sure that they did not miss and that they were not lacking in their understanding of the fulfillment of the Old Testament predictions of the future. So what's the mystery? Paul says, that's what I've been here to do. I'm suffering to get this truth in this out to you this mystery that had been kept hidden. It is now being revealed to you what is the mystery that Paul is referring to? Shares in the next verse? To them, who is them? The Lord's people, he had just referenced that at the very end of the last verse, the church to those who had put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ to the Lord's people God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles, the glorious riches have this mystery, which is Christ in you. The hope of glory? What's the mystery? What is it that Paul was commissioned to make sure that they were declaring the full word of God, Christ in you? The hope of glory. Notice what it was not the mystery that hadn't been waiting to be revealed one day was not, hey, here's all the religious things that you were missing out on before that you need to make sure that you do here's all the rules that you were missing out on before that you need to make sure that you follow in order to get closer to God not here's all the kinds of experiences that you need to enter into. Here's all the emotions that you need to feel in order to truly encounter God know the complete truth that has been revealed through Jesus Christ in His death, resurrection, ascension, and sending of the Holy Spirit is Christ in you, the God of the universe in you and always being with you there for always being close to you, and having everything you will ever need in him and in him a loan. And the truth is, is that even for the Gentiles, what it's for every one this had been hinted at in the Old Testament, we see this all the way back in Genesis 12. And the Abrahamic covenant, what was promised for the blessings of all but now it was being revealed in its fullness, and for them to be able to see Christ in all of us who would turn to Him, not just the Jewish people, Christ in us for all people who will turn to Him for the forgiveness of their sins, and receives his salvation by placing their faith and trust in Jesus Christ to be their Lord and Savior. And as you do turn to Him, the hope of glory comes to dwell in you, through the Holy Spirit. Have a golf glove here. If I lay this golf glove out here for you to see,it appears to be kind of lifeless. Looks like it's missing something, right? It looks like it was created for something else. But when a hand enters the glove, comes to life. has purpose can move around things that it can be used for.This glove, let's say represents you with sin in your life and being separated from God, you're kind of lifeless. I mean, of course, you can do things you don't just sit there like a bump on a log. But anything and everything it is that you're chasing, you'll never find fulfillment and satisfaction in you're going to feel that you're going to feel an emptiness within you if you were meant to be in union with the God of the universe, and you're missing that right. But the moment that you put your faith and trust in Jesus for salvation, you are completely forgiven based on his finished work on the cross. And through the Holy Spirit. Jesus comes to dwell in you, and bring you to life now, as well, with his power in his energy working in you and through you and he brings you purpose. Now you can live out what it is that you were created for in the first place. You couldn't live out what you were created for, without Jesus. But with Jesus, now in you, you can live out what it is that He created you for. And he tells us that Jesus coming to dwell in us is Christ, the hope of glory, the hope of glory dwells in you. Again, we've been talking about hope since the beginning of the message today and what we see here is that hope is found in a person hope is not found in better situations or better circumstances lasting hope is only found in Jesus and if he dwells in You and you are in a forever union with Him, then you always have what hope, even if your emotions tell you otherwise, even if your feelings tell you otherwise, hope dwells in you, the hope of glory dwells in you, and you are in union with Him. Hope that he is doing something in the situation or the circumstance that you are in hope that you still have peace and love and joy and patience and kindness and goodness and faithfulness and gentleness and self control in him, no matter what situations and circumstances, you are facing hope that you will be with him. And this will be your experience for all of eternity. Because union with Christ, and the fullness of all that you have in him, it's the greatest truth in all of Scripture. And Paul is trying to make sure that the Colossians Don't miss this, because of this message of the false teachers. He's false teachers, again, we're promoting a Jesus plus Gospel, Jesus is good, but you won't have everything it is that you need. Right? In other words, it might be okay, well, you get Jesus, but you need something else. To fill in the rest of it. You need more rules, you need more regulations you need to follow these have these kinds of spiritual experiences. And then once you have Jesus plus all of those things, then you'll have everything in fullness, you'll have everything it is that you need. But Paul is trying to make sure that they don't miss that Christ in them brings them the fullness that they were missing before, everything they have in him. The reality is, is a lot of Christians miss this truth today. As a matter of fact, I was reading this in one common tater had this to say about it, which I whole heartedly agreed with, says this is the great mystery, the greatest truth taught in the Bible. And yet it is the most seriously missing element in many churches. Today. Most Christians in our churches understand and believe that Christ died for their sins. But most failed to go beyond this basic truth. Relatively few go on to grasp the fact that Jesus died for them, that he might live in them. And through them, the so called exchanged life or the Christ life, and many false sadly short of grasping that it is Christ's life in Vim, that provides the power to live the Christian life, bring about real change in one's behavior and lifestyle, and provide the ability to resist temptation. It is not enough to know that Christ died in order that we might go to heaven, we are also to know, understand and practice, who Christ who is our life, the hope of glory, living in us now. This is your reality, if you've put your faith and trust in Him, and my prayer is that you would not miss this truth today, in the hope that comes from the indwelling Christ in your new life in him. Of course, Paul doesn't again, as we've said, doesn't want you to miss it. And he continues to go on to make sure that they and us know this truth by what he says even here. He says he who is he still continuing to reference Jesus, He called him Christ, the hope of glory. He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we might present everyone fully mature in Christ. Notice again, what he didn't say. He didn't say, the 10 commandments is what we proclaim. The rules are what we proclaim all the stuff you're supposed to be doing, which seems like most of what a lot of churches talk about all the stuff you're supposed to be doing. That Paul says, You know what I proclaim? Christ, Christ in you. The hope of glory, working through you. There's a reason that he proclaims Christ and the reason he says so that I proclaim Christ here's the reason so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ, how else would you prevent present anyone fully mature if it wasn't in Christ? This is sometimes translated perfect. In certain translations, it's also translated complete, in others kind of get an idea of what Paul's saying, proclaim Christ, so that we can present everyone perfect. In Christ, complete in Christ. Again, I'm not all the rules that you need to follow, not Jesus plus, making sure you're following through with doing these things in order to be complete and fully mature. That's where a lot of this ends up going, we'll get all the way to here and proclaim Christ in you. And then the sermon will change and go up is to present you fully mature. You need to get busy doing all this stuff to make sure that you have matured in here and all of a sudden the sermon switches from being fully Christ and focused and proclaiming on him to you know what you need to get busy. Jesus is good. You've got a lot in him, but you're missing out on making sure that you're following through to be mature in Christ. He's going to know I proclaim Christ, because he's the one that you're going to be presented perfect and complete and mature. In Christ. Jesus plus nothing equals everything equals completeness, perfection, maturity. When we proclaim Christ, Christ alone. This is why Paul is willing to suffer for the church to rejoice in those sufferings to tell others about the indwelling Christ and the lasting hope that can only be found in him. And because this is so important to do for the sake of the church, look how Paul finishes up here to this end, to what end, to the end of presenting everyone complete in Christ to the end of making sure that I present the full word of God and you're not lacking in understanding of Christ in you the hope of glory. He says, I strenuously contend, sometimes this word is translated I labor or I toil. In other words, mean you see toil, you go, wow, that's implying hard work to the point of exhaustion. As a matter of fact, the Greek word that is used here that Paul used was used also of athletes who painfully pursued athletic glory. You ever watched an athlete pursue painfully pursue athletic glory.You ever seen one of those Ironman triathlons. I've watched the Hawaiian Ironman Triathlon every now. And then when it's on TV, these guys, again, they they swim 2.4 miles. soon as they finish swimming 2.4 miles, they bike 112 miles, and then they run a full marathon after that 26.2 miles, each one of those things alone is extremely challenging. Most of us will never would never swim 2.4 miles, all in one setting, most of us would never ride our bike for 112 miles, most of us will never run 26.2 miles, much less do all three of them in the same day back to back to back without any rest in between. And that's what these guys do. And it's in Hawaii, and it's hot. And you should see the looks on their faces. When they are pursuing the end of the finish line. They are painfully pursuing the end of the finish line. This is the picture that Paul is trying to give us of what he's doing to make sure that this end is accomplished that the word is getting out there that people are knowing that they're proclaiming Christ in the fullness of Christ in you the hope of glory. But Paul says that I'm strenuously continuing, I'm laboring, I'm toiling with all the what the energy that Christ so powerfully works in me, how could it work in me, because Christ, the hope of glory, is in me, and he is expressing His life and His power and His energy through me. I love the way that Paul says this here because it really just kind of shows us how this whole thing works. The wall though, the way that Paul states This helps us see that we participate with Christ in us the hope of glory working through us, he's the driver. He's the source that we get to participate with him and what it is that he is doing through us. We are actively engaged with him in his work through us. I showed you this illustration a bit earlier. And again when Jesus comes to do Well, in us, His power is going to be in us. And he is going to start expressing that energy and power through us and the things that we are doing. And this is the apostle Paul, and he's going to tell other people and he's going to start suffering and he's going to, it's going to require, you know, he's human in his body is going to get tired. And eventually, this glove is no longer going to look like this glove, but it's going to look a lot more like this glove. Look how dirty and ragged that glove is, there's even a hole in it right here, right? You get the idea that we are human, and that as we engage in, we participate with the hand that's inside the glove, the instrument, and we're involved in this work that He in us is doing through us, it involves us as well, we're not absent from the work that he's doing in us and through us. It's the contact point. And we're going to feel that as humans, of course, we're going to get tired as he powerfully works in us. And we're laboring and toiling as His instruments, because we're not absent from it. We're not robots in it. And I think this is the picture that we're seeing that is powerfully displayed in this message that Paul is being inspired by the Holy Spirit, to write to the Colossians, and to preserve for us to know too. And so for those of us who have put our faith and trust in Jesus, that says so much to us today, Let's Participate with Him. If we get to actively engage with him, and participate in Christ, with Christ in us and working through us, then let's engage in that work that he's doing in and through us. It also speaks to us about our hope. Let's quit looking for hope and other people and better situations and better circumstances and find our hope in the one who is the hope of glory and dwells within us. And let's, if this is the message that Paul proclaims, is Christ, in Christ alone, Christ in you the hope of glory, then let's let that be the message that we proclaim, and remind each other of as well, and that we present to a lost and dying world around us. Maybe you're even here this morning, and you're hearing it for the first time you're watching on line and you're going wait a minute, this is me, I I feel that right. And you're telling me that this can be me that that that Christ can be in me and begin to work through me and I can be filled and have hope. Yes. And if that's you, and you'll just turn to him in this moment to receive His forgiveness, He will forgive you and he will come to dwell in you and begin to work powerfully through you as well give you the opportunity to do that right now. Even in this moment.