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Paul's Ministry: Fulfilling the Word of God B

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
March 22, 2022 4:00 am

Paul's Ministry: Fulfilling the Word of God B

Grace To You / John MacArthur

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March 22, 2022 4:00 am

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To fulfill his word was at me to fulfill the word of God. I think primarily it means the word of God directly to him. The cold secondarily it means to to fulfill all the revelation of God is to teach it all. I think what he saying here is, I teach all all you couple spotted an old hand buried under some moss over a thousand gold coins from the 1800s were hidden inside treasure worth millions amazing to think that four years of fortune, was buried, and no one knew about it. Well in a similar way, many Christians seem unaware of the astonishing riches of their salvation. The spiritual wealth that is at their disposal.

One of those riches and how do you know if you're taking advantage of the blessings God has given you consider that today on grace to you as John MacArthur continues his study complete in Christ.

And here's John with the lesson I like to have you turn in your Bible to the first chapter of Colossians verse 23 ends with a word minister father said that regarding this truth about Christ that he is just spoken. He was made a minister, the term minister then triggers Paul's thoughts for the next section because in verses 24 to 29. He describes his ministry and what I learned out of this passage was so exciting to me because really you have here eight different aspects of the ministry of the servant of God. Eight different aspects that should characterize the life of anybody who serves the Lord Jesus Christ. Anybody was called a teacher, preacher, minister within the framework of Christianity. And this brings us to the third point we seen the source of the ministry spirit of the ministry.

Here's the suffering of the ministry. Suffering of ministry, he says that I am rejoicing in my suffering because it's for use and fun and also it fills up what is remaining of the afflictions of Christ.

Now this is really been misconstrued. There are some people who say that Christ, when he died on the cross did not finalize all suffering and the idea is that you have to continue to suffer and suffer and suffer, and so forth. In order to expiate sin, you think that's what pulsing would be a fatal blow to what he just said sorry just said is that Christ by the blood of his cross through his death has presented us. Verse 22 through death presented you what holy and what unblamable and what little through his day, so Paul is not going to say everything is just said Paul is dealing with a heresy in Colossae. That's insisted that Christ's death and Christ's life had to be supplemented by asceticism and human works. Anyway, he certain I can say that in fact the word for affliction here… Is nowhere used to describe the atoning suffering of Christ say what what is he saying I was looking who now rejoice in my sufferings for you and this relates directly to him being a prisoner as he is a prisoner when he writes Colossians chapter 4 tells us that as we find him in Romany. Make certain references to his situation. We know without a shadow of a doubt that is presently know what was so neat about Paul. He never saw himself as a prisoner wrong every time he talks about being a prisoner. He says I'm a prisoner of Jesus Christ you always thought that way in Philemon 1.

Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ.

Philemon 9. I'm now a prisoner of Jesus Christ.

Philemon 23. My fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus. The path so is always seeing himself not as a prisoner of men, not as a prisoner.

The Romans, a prisoner of anybody but Christ. So I say I rejoice in my suffering for you and why did he rejoice notice because my suffering is for you know the universe. 24. It's for his body sake, which is the church I'm suffering for years for years say in what sense look at Philippians 129 for unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ. Not only this, to believe on him but to suffer for his sake to suffer for his sake pulses is not only my my lot to suffer for Christ sake, but there's two I'm a suffer for him. You're going to suffer for him for his sake. That means because of him.

The early church boy they suffered they really suffer. Paul says I rejoice in this, I'm thrilled with it. So how can a guy be thrilled about suffering well to give you five will thoughts here five causes for joint suffer number one. It brings us nearer to Christ. It brings us nearer to Christ. You know Paul wanted to get as close to Christ as he could. Philippians 310 that I may know him the power of his resurrection and the what fellowship of his. What sufferings say in what sense John when we suffer for the cause of Christ. That is when the world hates us the world persecutes us when the world rejects us when the world casts its slurs at us and mocks our Christ. In a sense that suffering helps us to understand what Jesus went through doesn't is in John 1516 Jesus said that they paid me to hate you five suffer your answer in second Timothy 312. All the live godly in this present age of suffer persecution. And so it helps us to understand more about him. It helps us is Hebrews 1313 says to go outside the gate and bear his reproach with him. So I think there's joint suffer because it brings us nearer to the understanding of Christ. Second, when we suffer. It brings us the assurance of salvation suffering brings us the assurance of salvation in the sense first Peter 414 if you reproached for the name of Christ.

Happy are you for the spirit of glory and God rests on you.

In other words, when you suffer. You have this tremendous confidence of the presence of the Spirit of God.

That's a very shy assuring so suffering can bring joy to the apostle Paul to many Christian because it identifies and with Christ because it brings them a sense of the presence of the Spirit of God which assures him that he belongs to God. Thirdly it brings a future reward when you're willing to step out for Christ and be bold and speak the truth and suffer the consequences. Sometimes this is we all have from time to time. It God promises a reward. Listen to Romans 818. The sufferings of this present age are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed.

Verse 17 if so be that we suffer with him, we will be glorified with him.

There's a sense in which the suffering now will be rewarded in the day. We look forward to in the future fact and segment is 417 our light affliction. For this moment works a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory so suffering can bring joy because it identifies with Christ because it brings assurance of the presence of the Spirit of God, a confidence of salvation brings a future reward forcefully. It results in the salvation of others that results in the salvation of others. In Philippians 217 he says, if I be offered as a sacrifice for your faith I joy and rejoice in other words, if I offer my life and you get saved that's joy is a price to pay says but that's all right. The results are worth. So we can rejoice in suffering because it brings us near to Christ brings assurance of salvation brings a future reward and it results in salvation for others and I think 1/5 thing. I just have to throw the Senate leads to terrible frustration on the part of Satan because he's trying only candle wax around all it comes out as good results puts a dent in the kingdom of darkness. In acts 916, he says, how many things you will suffer for his namesake. It will come to his glory bounced back to the glory of Christ.

Now, having said those five things. Colossians 124 adds another reason. This brings us right to the text. He says I'm not only rejoicing in my suffering because it brings me near to Christ. From other passages, we gathered that gives me assurance of salvation brings a future reward, results in the salvation of others frustrate Satan but I am rejoicing because it fills that which is remaining of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh. What he means is this like I am receiving in my body. What is intended for Christ.

This does not mean there's anything lacking in the atonement. It doesn't mean that there's some kind of short change in the value of the death of Christ. It means this the enemies of Christ were never satisfied with what they did to Jesus you know that they hated Jesus with an insatiable hate. They wanted to add to his suffering and as soon as Jesus ascended back into heaven, and he wasn't around anymore in the world hated him so much. Who did the world attack the church.

The you to persecute the church and persecute the church and persecute the church and why were they whipping the church and burning the church mistaken throwing the church the lines, why was it because they hated those individual personalities knows because they stood in the place of Christ and since Christ was around to get they got the people stood in his place. That's what means while saying this lack the world wasn't done persecuting Christ, but since he's not here. Whatever is lacking and what they want to do with him. I am receiving it in my body and standing in his place who stood in my place as a cause for joy. Take the blows meant for him when he took the blows meant for me makes me happy.

Jesus Christ could hang on the cross, and take my sin punishment I deserve. I think I could take a few punches for his 20 saying he says in Galatians 617 beautiful statement. I bear in my body scars of the Lord Jesus blows that I received have been taken because the world can't hit him crosses all of this for your sake, for the church. All of this to when you to Christ. All of this to mature you in Christ all for you. You're the objective in this thing. I pay a price to win people to Christ.

I pay a price to build the church. He says I'm willing to make a sacrifice in acts chapter 20 verse 22. Analysis I go bound to Jerusalem. I don't know what's going to before me, except the Holy Spirit tells me in every city, that bonds are chains and affliction await me. I know when I get to Jerusalem, I get it, but none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear to myself so that I might finish my course with what joy I will not allow my spirit to change because the spirit of the ministry is joy to finish this thing with joy which I received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God I don't care what anybody does to me to change. I'll suffer anything for the sake of the church.

That's a joy I'm willing to build the church at any price. Even the price of my own life and one day it was true and asked came down.

The sun severed his head from his body. He says I endured in second Timothy 210. I endure all things for the elect's sake, that they may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus. I'll do anything to get people say I'll do anything to make but after all, he said to the Ephesian elders in acts 2028.

You take care of this flock, which the Lord has purchased with what his own blood.

And Paul always felt that the Lord would shed his own blood for the church. Paul could shed a little of his form to choices and not just the servant of the Lord. I'm a servant of the church and I'll suffer the crime you know it says in X 20 that he wept that he cried over his ministry. Cheers.

He warned them night and day with tears. He suffered internally as well as externally, not just persecution but internal anxiety over the church. What is the source of the ministry God was the spirit of the minister joy was the suffering of the ministry is the willingness to go out and accept the blows from the world that are meant for Christ and rejoice in it that you're even counted worthy to do it for the last thing we talk about Paul presents the scope of the ministry.

This is beautiful the end of verse 25 to fulfill the word of God. Fantastic state. The scope of the ministry to fulfill the word of God, or to give full scope to the word of God, possibly saying I just want to do what he called me to do what God has given me to do. I want to do it and so I will rejoice because that's the right spirit and I will suffer because that has to be in fulfilling the scope of the ministry will want to fulfill it. I just read you asked 20 worries as none of these things move me.

I don't count my life dear to myself. I just want to finish the ministry God is just one thing that's the only thing he had in his mind was to finish the ministry with joy and you know something you didn't and that man's ministry touched is the world you know it still touching the world right now through the letters and I just want to finish the ministry just want to do what he called me to do to fulfill his word were sent me to fulfill the word of God.

I think primarily it means the word of God directly to him and called him in the ministry. Secondarily it means to to fulfill all the revelation of God is to teach it all. I think what he saying here is, I want to teach all the word of God to all of the people that God is called the whole world not necessarily what the whole word to all the world but God sends. I want to teach the word so that world that God gives me. That's exactly what he has in mind. Now that the end of his life in second Timothy four verse two and following it kind of talks about it was all over just about to die. In verse seven he says this I have fought a good fight. I love it. I have finished the course, I've kept the faith. You fought all the way all you had to fight will needs never change what I believe it kept the faith. And I what finish the course would not say that not to come to the end of your life and say God I'm done I can leave now, I'm ready hit the eject button I'm writing under how to do it how the men fulfill the minimum finish the work I gave I was is simple because he said I just want to do one thing I noticed fulfill the word of God. I just do what he called me to do the whole word to the people he's called me to reach now wants a sum it's very important right here what you get this. Some ministers I really see this get so carried away at this point and so can we as Christians that they think they have to win the whole, I've got all of the everywhere.

And what happens there ministries all over everywhere about that deep as much of anything. You don't think about the apostle Paul affect the world is still affecting the world, you know, the family took three missionary trips right. Three. You will all three of those missionary trips with the same places little tiny area in the Mediterranean. First time went over the weight same time same ground that will further their time same ground, just that I want to get the Rome I got there is a prisoner expressed the Roman government.

That's all that's all for that one just thrilled trips and yet the man affect the entire world. How did you. The apostle Paul says in Romans chapter 15 he says this I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ has not wrought in me. One of my limits as I only talk about what God is done in my life is in theory mouse verse 20 I have strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was name I got another limit. I only go to places that are new places for the gospel. See Jesus you realize Jesus never left stayed right in the area yellowing you think he had a sense of what in the world, you better believe he did but he never left, where he was never left, where he was because he knew how McKenna says self-styled messiahs are megalomaniacs, their sense of mission has no limitations short of conquering the world and conquering it now at the slightest signal that their efforts are being frustrated. They usually respond with rage and madness. See Jesus had a tremendous economy of effort you how to do what he wanted do in limitations and let me say this is very important and I need to hear this. I need to remember this Jesus limited his ministry because it is and how broad it is. It's how deep it is God's.

As you take care the depth of it all. Take care, the breath of look at the limits of Jesus, put on his ministry. Number one limit. He says I will only do what the father chose me to do limit number one on any ministry God's will write my mate. There are all kinds of people dreaming about all kinds of fantastic things and run around doing when God is in everything to do and instead of spending their time doing what God wants him to do and God gifted them to do the running around and what they want to do and usually it's megalomania. Usually it's an ego problem when that gets too far stretched out John chapter 5 in verse 30 that's precisely what Jesus said what he want do is just what the father gave him to do. I seek not my own will but the will of the father sent me so the first limitation. He put on his ministry was a limitation of God's will. Second one was the limitation of time. He had a timing limitation. How many times have you read in the gospel of John is our was not yet come. He had a sense of timing that there were certain things to be done in certain times and until it was the right time and the father's time and the father's will. You didn't put limitations on his ministry in terms of God's will. In terms of timing and I'll tell you one thing. When it did become the right time. It was exciting was what when he finally did say my hours, man. It was exciting. The third limitation that he put on his ministry that I see in the Bible is the objective of his ministry. When he first came into the world. In Matthew 913. Matthew 10. He said I am not Tom but for the lost sheep of the house of his just come talk to Jews. Why would he limit himself like that. He tightened the circle of his ministry. The father's will. Special turn special people. He wanted to reach Jews only go step further. He only wanted to reach one kind of Jew. So what time I come not to seek the righteous what to bring what sinners to repentance. He didn't want to put critical super religious once he wanted one to recognize the sin again the scope of his ministry is now another thing that limited his ministry. Not only the father's will time particular people, but the subject. Also, Jesus ministry people try to pressure them into making political statements. When you think about Caesar what he say very judiciously avoided any political involvement said render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God the things of God. You see, he refused to be forced into political involvement because that was not his purpose and I know I have strong feelings about it, but he evaded it because he had limits on his ministry. You know some else he limited himself and the people that he discipled Mark chapter 5 heal the maniac after he healed the maniac maniac fell down at his feet? He was clothed in his right mind said I want to go with Jesus and what no stay here for bacterial people take megalomaniacs mad men. They need lots of disciple she because they need it drag around themselves. Jesus knew how many could handle how many he had. That's all we want Narrowing and narrowing and the limitations on his ministry, rest and get Jesus Christ affected the world listen the manual affect the world put limits on their ministry that allow them to do it with depth.

Father's back the same people three times Jesus works with the same 12 people three years and ultimately affects the world learned people. There is a scope to the ministry of the scope that you're going to have in your ministry is not related to how fast you travel. It's related to how deep you plow, you worry about the depth of God will spread it. So Paul lays out his ministry sources. God spirit is joy suffering that's on the behalf of Christ for the sake of the church scope is a whole word the world God is called in by his spirit extended will be.

This is grace to you with John MacArthur, Chancellor of the Masters University in seminary today. He continued his study complete in Christ John, when you talk about being complete in Christ. Let me ask a question that I think a lot of our listeners may wonder, especially those new believers who may be listening. Are all these riches these spiritual blessings that you're talking about are these things that a Christian can recognize immediately after he or she receives salvation well. In one sense, of course, because they're all revealed in Scripture. When you read Galatians 5 is matter how long you been a Christian what you read is the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, jealous goodness, faith, meekness, self-control, those those are all the riches that are in Christ Jesus that are available to every believer, but I think at the same time there is a can we set this where there is a milk level of all these truths and there is a meat level of all these truths so that as you grow in grace and I can speak for this personally because admin walk with the Lord for so long as you grow in grace your comprehension in riches and enriches and grows greater and greater in the depths with which you understand these things increases and increases so it's available immediately to every believer. All the riches that are ours in Christ are immediately available to every believer because the spirit of God is taken up residence in the believer and the deposit of those things is available to the believer from the inside and the quickening of the spirit in the word of God helps us to understand those riches but at the same time. While we can access them from the moment of our salvation. Lifelong learning in the word of God will deepen our understanding of all these incredible unsearchable riches. That's why Paul calls them unfathomable or unsearchable riches in Ephesians 389. I just want to mention to you the complete in Christ. Study guide. This is the latest in our study guide. These study guides have been very popular for several generations of grace to you listeners and we've really reformatted them of their outstanding. The current one complete in Christ 250 pages of in-depth study that goes along with this series. They're great for discipleship groups personal devotions home Bible study Sunday school class what whatever and their affordably priced and there's a bit of a discount if you say purchased 10 or more because you want to use them in your Bible study to get started or to order more. Just let us know today, yes and friend. When you understand all the spiritual resources God has given you, you will experience victory over sin, strength in trials and a life of joy. Make sure you know what it means to be complete in Christ pick up the new study guide by that name complete in Christ when you contact us today. Call 855 grace or go to our website

We also have study guides for John series spiritual boot camp and the believer's armor to pick up those books or the new study guide called complete in Christ. Call us at 855 grace or go to and thanks for praying for us on a regular basis, encouraging folks you know to listen and strengthening our ministry through your financial partner. This radio program is heard in South Africa, New Zealand.

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I'm Phil Johnson inviting you back tomorrow when John looks again at what it means to be complete in Christ with another half hour of unleashing God's truth one verse at a time.

Grace to you

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