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  Bro. Tom’s Weekly Bible Study
  Week #5
Posted: August 24, 2007


Let us continue our blessed study of Colossians that I have entitled ‘The Sufficiency Of Christ Alone’.  I desire this week to draw our thoughts to Chapter 1 and verses 24-29 which says, Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church: Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: 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: Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.”

I call this section ‘The Mystery Of Christ In Us’.  We have the key to this text in verse 27 when Paul says, “…Christ in you, the hope of glory:” I am amazed that the God of all the universe can birth one who is coeternal and just like Himself.  He is the God man who lives and abides in me.

As we open this text, I notice in verse 24 that we are confronted with ‘The Suffering Of This Mystery’.  Paul says, “Who now rejoice…”  What is going on in the now life of Paul? History tells us he is writing this epistle from prison.  He is suffering in the prison because of the mystery of ‘Christ in him’.  In the midst of that suffering he began to ‘rejoice’.  The word means a sudden burst of thanksgiving.  It is not over the suffering itself but is the sphere or in the midst of the suffering that Paul rejoices.  Christ’ suffering here is not the suffering of the cross but prior to His death the suffering for the righteous sake, exhausting service, heart suffering because of rejection and the result of persecution.  Because we are part of the Church we have been called not only to salvation but to suffer.  In this suffering we are given the grand honor of filling up the cup of Christ’ affliction.  This gives great weight to Paul’s words, ‘That I may know Him and the power of is resurrection and the fellowship of His suffering’.

In verses 25-27 we have laid out for us ‘The Sharing Of This Mystery’.  I find in this verse three little nuggets about sharing the mystery with others.  In verse 25 there is ‘The Word Of This Mystery’.  The ‘whereof’ refers back to the Church.  Paul says as a part of the Church I have been made a ‘minister’.  The word is a table waiter.  Paul said I am to serve up for others “…the dispensation of God...”  The phrase means the laws of the household.  The work of governing the house was done by ‘fulfilling the word’.  This means to proclaim and fully develop the word in others.  In verse 26 this sharing would involve ‘The Wonder Of The Mystery’.  A mystery is a truth once hidden but now revealed.

If there had been no special revelation it would have remained unknown.  I tell this to Pastors all the time who are struggling with people who stand up against doctrinal truth.  The truth is a revelation and until God reveals it you will not see it.  It may be as clear as the nose on your face but so foreign to others.  Paul said, “…the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints.”  It had been made clear and plain to His own people separated unto Himself.  In verse 27 we find ‘The Would Of The Mystery’.  The word ‘would’ in this verse means to desire.  It was the desire of God to let the Gentiles in on the glorious riches of the mystery.  Judaism was beggarly compared to ‘Christ in you’.   It is the hope of glory.  It gives confident expectation that this is only the beginning of much more glory to come.  Glory is the weighty presence of God, the times of lifting Him up high for adoration, and to bear His likeness.  Can we imagine that there will be an eternity filled with much more glory?

In verse 28-29 we find ‘The Stating Of The Mystery’.  In verse 28 the ‘when’ refers back to Christ.  Paul did not preach a system of doctrine so much as a person.  We have grace preachers today, soul winning preachers, and preachers on the home.  May God raise up some Christ preachers.

The word, ‘preach’, means to announce.  The word, ‘warn’, means to admonish and exhort.  The word, ‘teach’, means to instruct.  May we preachers do all three; preach, warn, and teach each time we stand behind the sacred desk.

The Gnostics offered these teachings to only a select few.  Paul on three occasions used the word ‘every’ in verses 28-29.  Our responsibility is to share this mystery with everyone but it is God’s responsibility to reveal it to some.  Why do it?  It will bring men into maturity and make novices fully instructed.  Is it costly or hard to share?  In verse 29 Paul tells us that when God channels His power through us it will exhaust like an athletes in training.  If Christ is in us, let us not keep it a secret!