One of my favorite Spurgeon sayings is this one. He said, if you plan to be lazy, there are plenty of places where you will not be wanted, but above all, you are not wanted in the Christian ministry. Serving the Lord is hard work. And as Skip shares today on Connect with Skip Hyten, the labor of the believer requires the kind of strength that you can only find in God. But first, we want to tell you about a resource that'll help you uncover God's will for your life. We want to tell you about a powerful resource that will help you understand and follow God's will.
It's Pastor Skip's eight message package, Discovering God's Will. You have the Spirit of God living in you and he will guide you, he says, with his eye. And do you realize God is more interested in guiding you than you are in being guided? So as soon as you say, Lord, I want to take and be ruled by your peace and rooted in scripture and I want to honor your name. He's right there to direct your steps. Skip Heitzig's Discovering God's Will package includes message titles such as, Guard Rails to Knowing God's Will, and Navigating Another Year, as part of eight full length teachings by Skip. We'll send you this powerful resource as thanks for your gift to expand Connect with Skip Heitzig to reach more people in major US cities. So request your resource when you give and start to make your life count for God's kingdom. Just call 800-922-1888 or visit connectwithskip.com slash offer.
That's connectwithskip.com slash offer. Now we're in Colossians one as Skip gets started with today's study. One of the surprises that Paul mentions is one that we read, but we just kind of skipped over and that's in verse 24, where he doesn't just talk about suffering. What does he say at the very beginning? I now rejoice in my sufferings for you.
Okay, that's a little weird. You know, most people would say, you know, I'm going to make it through. I grin, I bear it. I clench my teeth. I'm going to make it.
Paul goes, I'll go a step better. I rejoice in it. Who does that? Well, I'll tell you who does that. A, somebody who's not right in the head. B, somebody who doesn't live in reality, like I'm just always positive thinking, positive confession.
Or C, somebody who is tapped into a source outside of the environment and reality that I'm in, but I've tapped into some kind of a source of joy irrespective of my surroundings. Think of a guy out in the desert who discovers an artesian well. It's bleak. It's hot.
It's barren. But he's discovered a source of refreshment, and it's constant. So I rejoice in my suffering.
That's a surprise. Unbelievers can't do this. Unbelievers cannot rejoice in suffering, and there's a simple reason for that. For an unbeliever, this life is all there is. If this life is all there is, then any disruption to the good life, if this is all there is, is to be avoided at all costs, certainly never to be rejoiced in.
But God's kids can do this. His servants can do this because we know no matter how dark the evening gets, the morning is coming. It's Friday, but Sunday is coming.
It's going to be much, much better. And not just in the hereafter, but according to the Apostle Paul, he says, I rejoice in my suffering for you. See, it's worth it to me to suffer because you're going to get a benefit out of it. So Paul is in prison. He's in Rome.
But the way he figures it, I'm in Rome that affords me a lot of time to write a letter to y'all in Colossae and help straighten out your situation. I'm suffering. You're benefiting. It's worth it. It's worth it.
I'm doing it for you. So suffering brings surprises. But there's another surprise. The real surprise that Paul is all about here is what he calls the mystery.
Look at verse 26. The mystery, which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to his saints. To them, God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Mystery. We hear the word mystery.
We think of something scary, frightening, eerie, a murder mystery. When Paul uses the word mystery, he does not mean that. What he means is it's something that was concealed in the past but is now wide open and revealed in the present. It was concealed in the Old Testament. It is now made plain in the New Testament. And there are several such mysteries that Paul the Apostle mentions or the Bible mentions. One is the mystery of the incarnate God. Remember when Paul wrote to Timothy and said, Great is the mystery of godliness. God manifests in the flesh.
Here is God in human flesh in Christ. Another mystery is the mystery of Israel's unbelief. Romans chapter 11, Paul says, I don't want you to be ignorant, brethren, about this mystery that blindness in part has happened unto Israel, the Jews, until the fullness of the Gentiles will come in. Another mystery is called the mystery of lawlessness, 2 Thessalonians chapter 2. Paul said the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. And I've got to say, just the last two years and now that the onslaught of certain agendas and what people are trying to pull over on us here in this country, there seems to be a mystery to just the sin and wickedness in this world.
It's just so profound. It's a mystery. The mystery of lawlessness is already at work. And Paul's point is it's going to culminate in the mystery of lawlessness. Paul's point is it's going to culminate until the last days of the Antichrist. And then another mystery is the mystery of the rapture of the church, 1 Corinthians chapter 15. Paul said, Behold, I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be transformed in a moment in the twinkling of an eye. Here, Colossians, Paul is talking about another mystery, and the mystery here is the mystery of the church. And let me explain that. What was hidden in the Old Testament is the idea that God is going to build a new community of chosen people, and it's not just going to be the Jews.
It's going to be saved Jews and saved Gentiles, all that have the same footing and status before God. Let me give you a little illustration that'll help you, I think. Back in the 1940s and 1950s, down south, especially in sort of the flashpoint city of the civil rights movement, Montgomery, Alabama, African Americans were required, if they got on a public bus, to sit where? Back of the bus. You can't sit in the front of the bus. Got to sit in the back of the bus. Only white folks can sit in the front of the bus. That was until 1956, when it became a law, that you can't have that segregation.
It's all integrated. You can sit on the bus wherever you want. What was hidden from the Old Testament, revealed in the New Testament, is because of Christ, there's a whole new bus, and we're all on the same bus, going to the same place, and every seat is first class. So Jew, Gentile, they're all on the same bus.
So those of us who grew up in Christian surroundings, we don't think, you know, okay, there's church, so what? But to somebody back then who was a Gentile, a non-Jew, to be called one of the chosen people of God, that was a huge deal. Because in those days, ancient Jews thought of Gentiles as, okay, you guys can tangle along, but back of the bus.
But not now. The mystery that has been revealed, and the great surprise is I get to tell everybody, Jew and Gentile, you can ride first class on the bus all the way to the kingdom. Now, how does this truth help those of us in this era serve?
Easy. Now when I look at people, as a Christian, I can't look at you and say, oh, you're different than I am. You have a different ethnic background, you have a different economic background, you have a different educational background, you're in a different position or status in life and stage of life than I am. Now when I look at you, it's just brother, sister, son mi familia, right?
We are all part of God's family on equal footing on the same bus at the same table. So serving involves suffering, it is a stewardship, and serving brings surprises. Next is that serving includes speaking.
Now I know some of you are kind of nervous about this, but not me. I am not called to that. Maybe you, Mr. Preacher Man, are, or Paul the Apostle was, but actually you are to some degree. Now let me take you to verse 28, because Paul does not say him, referring to Christ, him I preach.
He says him we preach, collective, plural. Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. You know that a large part of Paul's ministry was spent in proclamation.
But there's three words in this verse that sort of sum up the ministry for Paul. Preach, warn, teach. He preached the gospel, the ultimate truth of salvation. The word preach means herald, caruso, proclaim. It was the job of a town crier before the printing press, printing press was available, or social media.
They had to have a town crier sent out from the government to make an official announcement about any change in policy. He was a preacher. Paul said I'm a proclamary preacher. I give people the ultimate truth of the gospel, but I don't just give them the ultimate truth of the gospel. I also have to warn them about the untruths that are out there. That's why he wrote this letter.
So I warn every man. And then he uses the word teaching, which is a word I happen to be very fond of because it tells me that not only should we speak the ultimate truth of the gospel, not only should we warn of the negative truths of all the bad things that are out there, but at some point we need to be teaching people the positive truths that will help them grow in grace. That is the ministry of teaching. The gospel teaching ministry.
I have found that many pulpits, if not most pulpits, most pulpits are not filled with teaching. They're filled with exhortation, sort of like a spiritual pep rally. Preacher's going to come up with something cool to say. Everybody's going to applaud. Yeah.
Okay. But if that's it, it's about that deep. If that's it, it's about that deep. It's just a spiritual pep rally. Also, some preachers just spend their time warning. It's all the bad stuff. World's bad. False doctrine's bad.
And give me enough time, I'll think of more bad stuff to tell you about. That's hard to listen to. There's no nourishment in that. The nourishment comes in the teaching, where people aren't just told, you need to love more.
You need to treat your wife better more. You need to do this more. How about having somebody tell them how to do those things? That's teaching.
And that's what he's talking about. I always love the story about this elderly Native American man who went to church one Sunday. The preacher was really fiery and moved around a lot, yelled a lot, and pounded the pulpit a lot, and got people all excited. And he was just kind of using all these histrionics to cover up his lack of preparation. But people loved it. And a lot of them said, he preached up a storm.
That's the term they used. And they asked the Native American man what he thought. Man, he preached up a storm.
What do you think? The old Native American man gave him six simple words, high wind, big thunder, no rain. High wind, big thunder, whoo, no rain, no depth. What is the goal of all this speaking, especially teaching? Here it is. Teaching every man in all wisdom that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. Wow, that's a tall order. Perfect? I got a long way to go with some of you. I got a long way to go with me. Perfect.
That's the goal. Mature, complete, well-rounded, perfect in Christ Jesus. You know, Jesus never said, go into all the world to make converts.
He said, go into all the world to make disciples of all nations, teaching them to do what I have commanded you. A few years ago, my assistant pastor, who happens to be sitting right here in front of me, Brian, you were taking me to the airport, and you asked me a question. I was flying across the United States, and Brian turns to me, and he said, name five pastors under 40 who are expository teachers. So I immediately named somebody I knew, named him, named somebody else, didn't know about the third. I could not complete five. They may be out there. I just couldn't complete them.
I didn't know of them. And he said, well, let me tell you why I'm asking you the question, because our school of ministry students here at the church asked, he said, me, this question. Name five pastors under 40 who are expositors.
He said, I couldn't complete the list. So he says, this stems from conversations that the school of ministry students have been having, and they posted this up on Facebook. We're done with glam rock liturgy and preaching for pizazz that masks the lack of biblical preaching. We want our souls fed, not our emotions tickled.
We don't care about the show. We want to know. Those are some smart students.
Those are some smart students. Now you might say, well, this is good for people who are going into the ministry, but this has nothing to do with my life, because I am not a public speaker. I am not a preacher.
Now I want to give you a challenge. Challenge number one, pray about, seriously go home and pray about, leading a connect group. You heard the announcement, say, you know what, I'm going to sign up for that. I'm going to learn how to lead a connect group, because you might find an area of fulfillment and satisfaction in that kind of discipleship, and maybe that's what you actually have been waiting for. So just pray about going to the leadership training and starting a connect group. You say, well, you've got like 150, 200 connect groups. Let's have thousands of them. Let's have thousands of them across this city.
You could be a leader. The second part of the challenge, Wednesday night Bible study. It's where we go through the scripture verse by verse, chapter by chapter, book by book, Old Testament, New Testament. We've done it four, five times as a church. We don't do it all in one fell swoop. It takes us time to do it, but it equips people like nothing else to give you a full orb view and gives you the depth to find out and the equipment to serve better. So pray about that. So serving includes speaking.
Let me finish this out with a fifth. Serving requires strength. To this end, or for this purpose, to present every man in Christ. To this end, I also labor. It's hard work to do that. I labor. Striving.
Stop right there. Let me give you a better translation of that. I labor to the point of weariness, to the point of exhaustion. I am engaged in a strenuous contest.
That's what the wording means. Because the word labor means the kind of labor that leaves you exhausted at the end of the day. And the word striving is an athletic term, agonizumai, which we get the term agonize from.
It speaks of an athlete pushing every bit of muscular energy to win the race. Paul the Apostle worked hard. He worked hard. Paul didn't go into a town and say, well, first tell me all the benefits, salary. Where's the HR department?
I want two, maybe three days off a week. He labored. He worked. He said, 1 Thessalonians 2, first of all, 1 Thessalonians 2, for you remember, brethren, our labor and our toil, laboring night and day. 1 Corinthians 15, I labored more abundantly than they all. I quote Spurgeon a lot.
One of my favorite Spurgeon sayings is this one. He said, if you plan to be lazy, there are plenty of places where you will not be wanted, but above all, you are not wanted in the Christian ministry. The man who finds the ministry an easy life will also find that it brings a hard death.
Well, that would filter out a lot of people probably in that class by just having that old preacher say that. So Paul says, to this end, I labor striving, I work hard, but here's the key, here's the secret, according to his working, which works in me mightily. Listen, I can work hard, but I want you to know, Paul says, I don't work hard. It's not my own strength doing it. It's the strength he gives me to do it. In fact, if you try to do the work of God in the energy of your flesh, that's where you get burnout.
You don't get burned out serving, working, laboring with his strength. It's when you do something he hasn't called you to do in the energy of your own flesh that you fall short. Again, 1 Corinthians 15, I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was in me.
Burnout is just doing that on your own. This is the Philippians 2 principle. Work out your own salvation, for it is God who works in you, both to will and do, for his good pleasure. You can't work something out that God hasn't first worked in.
If God has worked it in you, you can work, you can labor, you can push. Let me close with this illustration to illustrate this point. I was on a different flight, not the flight you took me to, Brian. I was flying out west. I had to land in Phoenix to make a connecting flight. My flight here was a little bit late, so I landed late, and the connection was really, really, really tight.
I thought, I'm going to miss my flight. Phoenix is a great airport. I'm not disparaging our airport, but come on, that's like a real airport. You can actually go places. I was in the Phoenix airport, and I had to go through several terminals. I just thought, there's no way. It's on the other side of this huge complex, but in between the terminals, you know how Phoenix has those escalator walkways? You can walk without them in the middle, but if you walk on the sides, there's this escalator. I hopped on.
I think I jogged a little bit, but the combination of my running and the moving walkway was just enough for me to make my flight. I was working, but I was cooperating with a power much greater than my own. Work, labor, serve Christ with all your might, all your heart, knowing He will give you the strength and the power that never runs out in abundance to do whatever He has called you to do.
Find out what is your stewardship and do it. If He's called you to be a servant, don't stoop to be a king. You might be a king.
Congratulations, king, queen, politician, doctor, lawyer, whatever you are, that's good. That's your vocation, but you also have a calling. The calling is to serve Christ wherever you are. I remember one time I was witnessing to a co-worker when I was in medicine, in radiology, and I was passionate about the gospel with this person, and this person stopped me. He wanted to deflect the conversation.
It was getting too personal. He said, hey, I'd say have you ever thought about going into full-time ministry? And I smiled, and I said, I am in full-time ministry. I'm speaking to you right now, and I wouldn't be able to do this if I was off somewhere else. So here we are.
Let's deal with this right now. So wherever you are, you are in full-time ministry. Consider this your ordination service. You're all called to the ministry. That wraps up Skip Heitzig's message from his series, Always Only Jesus. Find the full message as well as books, booklets, and full teaching series at connectwithskip.com. Now here's Skip to share how you can keep these messages coming your way to connect you and many others around the world with God's Word. It's easy to become wrapped up in ourselves or caught up with the world's ways, but we're called to a higher purpose, and we strive to encourage you in whatever the Lord may be calling you to.
That's why we share these affirming Bible teachings to push you on in your pursuit of the Lord, and you can help encourage many others in living out God's calling on their lives. Your gift today means more people can connect with God's truths, and that these messages will keep coming to you. Here's how you can give now. Visit connectwithskip.com slash donate to give a gift. That's connectwithskip.com slash donate, or call 800-922-1888.
800-922-1888. Thank you for your generosity. Before you go, remember that you can find a treasure trove of resources to help you go deep into God's Word at connectwithskip.com. Check it out today and connect with more life-changing truth from scripture. That's connectwithskip.com. Be sure to come back next week as Skip begins a message about an issue that weighed heavily on the apostle Paul's heart and why it should concern you as well. Connect with Skip Hyten is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-24 04:56:25 / 2023-03-24 05:05:49 / 9