Paul’s Ministry Commissioned by God Servant of the church Gives everything – even his suffering – to Christ Purpose – “To make the word of God fully known” 1:24-25 I am now rejoicing in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am completing what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church. I became its servant according to God's commission that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, He presents himself as an example of the indwelling mystery of Christ’s cross working itself out in a human life, and he makes the astonishing claim that he is suffering for them as Christ would suffer were he present bodily. David Garland
The Mystery Secret made known Saints 26the mystery that has been hidden throughout the ages and generations but has now been revealed to his saints.
The Hope of Glory Christ in you – the hope of Glory For the whole world God’s plan is not a timetable of events or a statement of fact but a person 27To them [the saints] 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.
So what’s it all about? Christ the proclamation Christ the warning Christ the teaching Christ the wisdom Maturity, virtue, in Christ the goal. To and for everyone It is Christ we proclaim, not a system for salvation. 28 It is he whom we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone in all wisdom, so that we may present everyone mature in Christ.
Virtue again! Toil and struggle Christ inspires the energy 29For this I toil and struggle with all the energy that he powerfully inspires within me. “Paul does not go about his work half- heartedly, hoping vaguely that grace will fill in the gaps which he is too lazy to work at himself. Nor, however, does he imagine that it is "all up to him", so that unless he bums himself up with restless, anxious toil nothing will be achieved. He knows that God's desire is to bring Christians to maturity, and that he has been called to share in that work.” Bishop Tom Wright
So what does this mean locally? The church in Colossae Not a church has visited, let alone one he has founded Very personal 2:1For I want you to know how much I am struggling for you, and for those in Laodicea, and for all who have not seen me face to face.
Feedback loops Wisdom to bring God’s love to the world Understanding to bring the world’s worship back to God 2-3I want their hearts to be encouraged and united in love, so that they may have all the riches of assured understanding and have the knowledge of God's mystery, that is, Christ himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Understanding Knowledge Christ Love Wisdom Revelation 22:3-5Nothing accursed will be found there any more. But the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him; they will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And there will be no more night; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.
Getting that Started 2-3I want their hearts to be encouraged and united in love, so that they may have all the riches of assured understanding and have the knowledge of God's mystery, that is, Christ himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Understanding Knowledge Christ Love Community Wisdom “Living in a loving and forgiving community will assist growth in understanding, and vice versa, as truth is confirmed in practice and practice enables truth to be seen in action and so to be fully grasped.” Bishop Tom Wright Gospel
Reason and Faith Knowing what we believe Understanding the implications Being able to articulate and explain 2:4-5I am saying this so that no one may deceive you with plausible arguments. For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, and I rejoice to see your morale and the firmness of your faith in Christ. Colossians 4:6 Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer everyone
Christ all in all Paul the model Christ the reason Christ the goal Christ the proclamation Christ the means Christ the Centre