Maturity in Christ Colossians 1:24-29 (Bible)


The gospel of Jesus Christ brings reconciliation. Reconciliation between people is important, but the best reconciliation is reconciliation with God, peace with God. Not only that, but we are sent by God for reconciliation.

24 Therefore I rejoice in suffering for you. And for the sake of the body of Christ, I fill in what is lacking in his afflictions with my body. The body of Christ is the church. 25 I have become a minister of the church according to the ministry that God has entrusted to you. To convey the full word of God. 26 This is a mystery that has been hidden for many generations and is now revealed to the saints of God. 27 God wanted to make known to the saints how glorious this mystery is among the Gentiles. This mystery is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 We preach this Christ, and in all wisdom we reprove and teach everyone. to make all men mature in Christ. 29 For this I also struggle with toil, with the mighty power of Christ working in me. (Colossians 1:24-29)

Paul was in trouble. Before, Paul was a persecutor of the church, but now he is persecuted for the sake of the church. This letter to the Colossians was written from prison. Paul was put in prison because he preached the gospel. But Paul rejoiced in his suffering. Because he is walking in the way of the Lord Jesus. I believe that we also have hardships in our lives. There are hardships to go through in order to believe and follow Jesus. Jesus said to his disciples. You will have tribulation in the world. But be brave. I have already overcome the world (John 16:33). Jesus is victorious. He is the one who has conquered death. Resurrection life is given to those who believe in Jesus.

For the sake of the body of Christ, with my body I fill what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions (v. 24). What is meant here is not that the suffering Jesus suffered on the cross was lacking or inadequate. Because Jesus cried out on the cross, “It is finished,” and He has accomplished all that is necessary for salvation. Man cannot add anything to salvation and redemption. Paul is no exception.

Remember when Paul persecuted the church and Christians. The Lord Jesus appeared to Saul and said to him, ” Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? ” (Acts 9:4) It was the church that Saul (Paul) was persecuting, not Jesus. But Jesus said to him, “Why are you persecuting me?” Paul knew at this time. Remember that to persecute the church is to persecute Jesus Christ, and that Jesus Christ and the church are one. Jesus and the church (not the building, the group of Christians) are very close, cannot be separated.

Paul’s conversion

The church is “the body of Christ” (v. 24c). Christ is the “Head of the Church”. The head and body cannot be separated. So does Jesus and the church (we). Therefore, the afflictions of the church become the afflictions of Jesus. If the church (we) suffers, so does Jesus. Therefore, to suffer for the church is to suffer for Christ.

Paul filled the gaps in the ministry of the church. There is a missing piece in the work of the world church. In world missions, there is still a missing piece, a need, to evangelize and build a church. For that reason, there are people who are given a mission to be sent to undispatched land. I have been to Papua New Guinea three times on mission trips. People responded to the call to salvation. I believe that there was God’s guidance and plan. A place I never thought I would go. However, I became friends with pastors from Papua New Guinea who were my classmates during my Bible school days in New Zealand. We said goodbye and said we would meet again. I thought we would never see each other again, but after a few years they invited me to go to Papua New Guinea. It was primitive and truly otherworldly. When I first went there, I was in my late twenties and stayed there for three weeks. I was very welcomed by the local people and was invited to various places to preach and pray. They had seen many Western preachers, but they were very happy to see a Japanese preacher for the first time. I read books and studied a little before going to Papua New Guinea. Then I learned that Papua New Guinea had become a battlefield between the Japanese and American forces during World War II, and that only 20,000 out of 200,000 Japanese soldiers survived the fierce battle. Papua became the site of the fierce battle and suffered great damage. Not every time, but at the beginning of the meeting, I touched on that and apologized as a Japanese person. People in Papua are basically pro-Japanese, but because of the past, there were generations who hated Japan and had bitter feelings. I thought I was being used for reconciliation. The emotional wounds that the older generation had were healed. Some persons were in tears. I understand that there is something lacking in their ministry, something they need, and I have filled it, if only a little. Japan’s ministry is also lacking, and there are many needs. The most likely reason is that there are not enough workers. Jesus said. “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. (Matthew 9:37) Each must do our best to fill the gaps in the area of ​​Japanese missions. In each church there are missing pieces. Each and every one of us has a duty entrusted to us by God to apply it to ourselves, make up for the lack, and fill it.

The Apostle Paul did a fine job of the work that God had entrusted to him. He became a minister of the church and preached the full word of God (v. 25). He preached Christ, reproved and taught (v. 28).

Paul was once an enemy of God, but when he met the Lord Jesus, he was filled with the Holy Spirit, changed his life, preached the gospel, and became a church worker. By the grace of God, we too were able to reconcile with God. We were once an enemy of God and was under the control of the devil. But now we have peace with God. How were we able to reconcile with God? Through the mediator Jesus Christ. Our sins are forgiven because of the blood and broken body that Jesus shed on the cross. And not only that, but God has given us the ministry of reconciliation. We Christians and churches are tasked with helping people to be reconciled to God.

Jesus took a body. And he used his own body to do his work. His eyes, ears, mouth, hands, feet, etc. How does Jesus continue his ministry today? Of course, there is the work of the Holy Spirit, and there is also the work of angels. But that’s not all. Jesus entrusted His disciples with the church to do His work. The church is “the body of Christ”. This was a revelation given to the Apostle Paul. Jesus is the head. The head commands and directs. The bodies work in unison. Paul preached the gospel of Jesus Christ with Timothy who is the co-worker. 

Why preach and teach Christ and the words of the Bible? What is the purpose? so that all may become adults in Christ (v. 28b). Jesus said that you cannot enter the kingdom of God unless you become like a child. Children are innocent and pure. And they know they are weak. Therefore, it is suitable for the kingdom of God. Those who think they are strong are far from the kingdom of God because they do not need God. But don’t be childlike in our thinking. We are expected to grow up and become adults, grow up and become independent. Parents will worry if their child never grows up. So is God the Father. He wants us children of God to grow.

Paul writing

When we believe in Jesus Christ, we are born again and become children of God. A child needs a family to grow up healthy. The church is given to Christians. There are various expressions in the church, one of which is “the family of God.” We grow through belonging to a family. At a church in Saitama Prefecture, I was led to salvation, baptized, belonged there, and lived a church life, where I was nourished. Through the Word of God, through the work of the Holy Spirit, through praise, worship & fellowship, by doing service, and by giving offerings, I felt my faith grow into adulthood. In the 2017 New Revised Version, it is translated as ” one who is mature in Christ .” I could feel my faith growing and maturing.

We must not remain children. It is important to stand as an adult in Christ. What are the characteristics of adults, what are the characteristics of those who have matured in faith? I would like to see the five points.

( 1 ) First, the fruit of the Spirit is bound. The fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control, and maturity of character. We have been forgiven of our sins, but unfortunately we sin. Ego and flesh get in the way of growth. But by walking in the Spirit, we begin to bear the fruit of the Spirit. Such was the life of Paul. He was a persecutor, but turned 180 degrees and borne great fruit in his life and work.

) Give rather than receive. It means dedicating, pouring blessings. So was Epaphras. Moved by the gospel he heard from Paul, he planted a new church in the city of Colossae. He shared his blessings. He gave his time, he gave his energy, he gave his money. Dedicate himself to the advancement of the gospel.

③ It’s more to pray than to be prayed for. Start praying for someone, for the churches. Paul had never been to the Colossae church. He didn’t know the brothers and sisters gathered there. He still offered intercessory prayers.

It is better to serve than to be served. To serve, to struggle (v. 29a). Paul served the church and preached Christ. He spoke the full Word of God. He valued the Word of God more than the word of man. Then we will be able to walk in faith, not in unbelief.

⑤ It is to rely on Christ’s power, not on our own (v. 29b). We walk and work by the power of God and the power of the Holy Spirit.

God wants and expects us to mature in Christ. Let’s aim for maturity in Christ.

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埼玉県で10年間&北海道で10年間牧師の働きをしました。現在は神奈川県の教会で協力牧師をしています。私自身が様々なことば(特に聖書のことば)で力づけられてきたので、希望に満ちたことばをお伝えしたいと願っています。I used to be a pastor in Saitama prefecture for 10 years and Hokkaido for 10 years. Now I am a cooperating pastor in Kanagawa prefecture. I myself have been empowered by various words(especially Bible ), so I would like to tell the hopeful words. 


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