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July 19, 2021 2:33 pm
Coming from a Hindu background. I wondered what does it look like to be an authentic believer and a follower of Jesus Christ. When my wife and I when we moved to the US in 2009 in we started attending Calvary charge and we were immediately introduced to the mission of Calvary church to be and to make authentic followers of Jesus Christ. Maybe you are new to Calvary and you have been asking the same question, what does it look like to be an authentic follower of Jesus, others have been insured for long, and you may have noticed that there is a profound difference between those who claim themselves to be Christians.
Culturally and those who are authentic followers of Jesus, maybe you don't know the difference between them both.
Today we are going to look at that.
So let me ask you this.
What is your picture of an authentic follower of Jesus Christ is that the one who wears Christian clothing and jewelry to the one who listens to Christian music only the one who occasionally attends church only when it is convenience, the one who drives a car with a fish magnet and of those little sticky things that he put in the back of the car, one who hangs crosses in their cars, and if you were to visit their home. You have these beautiful pictures of words like believe in the hope and faith and joy always on the one who post Bible verses on social media daily and also on you version Bible app now always a good number of them about all these are good but is that the picture of an authentic follower of Jesus Christ. Today we are going to look at a very profound passage in the book of Colossians in which apostle Paul gives us a glimpse into the profile of an authentic follower of Jesus Christ. We are going to look at the example of the apostle himself who safely could be called an epidemic of an authentic follower of Jesus Christ. So let's pray father, thank you for your ancient word that is still relevant for us today in error and infallible living word that you have given to a soul. Betty viciously so please father speak to us. Help us to listen well challenge us, convict us transform us changes so that we can be authentic followers of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
For we ask all this in your son's name, amen.
The judge I call Asay was probably founded and pastored by a puffer us. As a result of apostle Paul's to your ministry in Ephesus, the Colossian church was supplanted in a culture very much like ours, religious pluralism and paganism was so rampant was prevalent in that culture. Now these false belief systems and teachings were making inroads into the church through eloquent and persuasive. False teachers.
Consequently, this church was in danger of being deceived by these wrong philosophies. These faulty arguments.
These false teachers and these enticing pagan ritual ritualistic practices that makes people feel good about themselves. So Paul writes this profound episode to warn believers and to and praise them to continue to keep their eyes on Christ and in chapter 1 verses 24 to 29 apostle Paul helps us to see the profile often authentic follower of Jesus Christ. So let's read Colossians chapter 1 verses 24 to 29 Colossians chapter 1 verses 24 to 29.
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you to make the word of God fully known the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his sayings to them 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.
Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me amazing passage from verse 24.
We quickly read about Paul's commitment to the body of Christ to the church and from verse 24 we get our first point and authentic follower of Jesus sacrificially serves the body of Christ and authentic follower of Jesus sacrificially serves the body of Christ. There is no doubt that Paul was committed to the church. Paul's commitment to the church course characterized by his joy in suffering on behalf of of the church now see part was in a room in prison and why was in prison he was in prison because for his faith in Jesus Christ and I find it fascinating that in his shirt off Paul complaining about his suffering sure he had so many things to complain about. I think he's in prison. He is not in a 21st-century US prison. He is in the first century pagan prison.
Of course he had so many things to complain about, but answer complaining about the sufferings look at what he says I rejoice in my sufferings part was only willing to endure hardships for the sake of the church and again look at what he says. After that, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body. That is, the church now that does not mean Christ's sacrifice is insufficient for salvation that is not what he's referring to.
Only Christ can save us. Only he can make peace through his cross. Turn with me to Colossians 1 verse 24 through him that is Jesus Christ to reconcile to himself as God all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross, not the false gods of the other religions can save us. Why, because only Jesus Christ died on the cross for the sins of humanity. Only his cross can give arson support is not saying that Christ's sacrifice is insufficient what he is saying is this, he is willing to suffer for as much as it is needed for not only he rejoices in his current suffering. He was also willing to you as much as it takes to suffer more for the sake of the body of Christ. The church now see suffering is inevitable when referral of one another. What is one John 316 teach us.
By this we know love.
What is it that he came down and he laid his life for us and we ought to lay our lives for others, for the brothers solving sack. Does that hurt. Yes it does.
But is that prevalent attitude toward the body of Christ today, and I'm talking about evangelical circles is that prevalent attitude is that your attitude toward church. Don't we live in a culture. Again, I am referring to evangelicalism.
We live in a culture war charge has become a matter of convenience and not a matter of commitment that would let me in my safe matter of convenience. It is the thought that I will go to church on either side of the brothers served in the church when it fits my schedule when I feel like doing. Many have a very low view of church more and more people see church as a mere club where one goes to get some sort of spiritual fund some sort of spiritual entertainment to feel good about themselves that to you when it is convenient when the church becomes mere club when church becomes a place where programs are provided.
The programs are good, but if that is the only reason why we come to church if that is the only idea of church and we have there was no need for suffering and sacrifice. Is there but see Paul was committed to the church. He was willing to sacrificially serve the body of Christ. How about you are you committed to the church of Jesus Christ. Are you willing to serve the body of Christ sacrificially. I praise and thank God for the many many many volunteers who are some of them who are here today and some of them may not be here today but I praise and thank God for all of them have in the past through these years serve the body of Christ beautifully and sacrificially, especially through the pandemic. Praise God for that, but the others I pray that we all would have a renewed desire to serve the body of Christ to those those of you who consider themselves authentic followers of Jesus Christ.
Would you commit to make church a priority of your life and serve the body of Christ sacrificially. If you're a member of Calvary church would you recommence not only to attending service on a Sunday morning, but also being part of the other. The other part of Cal which is the other life of Calvary church also be part of a small group to serve sacrificially and grow. 1 Practical Way to do it is through our children's ministry of praise and thank God for so trolls who region the others in the team. Hundreds and hundreds of children come through these doors you have an opportunity to pour into these kids to head these kids understand who Jesus Christ is.
Teach them the gospel, nurture them paradigm to grow in the grace and knowledge of what we need volunteers. What is your excuse would use of the body of Christ sacrificially and authentic follower of Jesus serves the body of Christ sacrificially.
So what does it look like to be an authentic follower first, they serve the body of Christ sacrificially now. Second, and authentic follower of Jesus desires to know and proclaim Christ and authentic follower of Jesus desires to know and proclaim Christ. Now in verse 24 in Colossians 1 we see Paul's commitment to the church. In verses 25 to 27 we see his commitment to the word of God and the proclamation is Christ. Now Paul was appointed by God as an apostle to the Gentiles. Look at verse 25 of which I became a minister that meets of the church. I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you for make the word of God known the responsibility that was given to apostle Paul was to make the ministry of Christ, known here in the context word of God is referring to the history of Christ. What is the mystery of Christ. First, let us look at what a ministry biblical ministry is something that was hidden in the past but now has been.
Look at verse 26 the mystery hidden for ages and generations, but now revealed to his saints something that was hidden in the past but now has been revealed. So what is the mystery of Christ. Look at verse 27 to then 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. To understand that a little bit better turn with me to Ephesians chapter 3 and we are going to read verses 4 to 6 now the book of Ephesians and the book of Colossians is sometimes called ask sister books.
If you have a question in the book of Colossians.
Read the book of Ephesians and if you have a question in the book of Ephesians read the book of Colossians.
So we are going to turn to Ephesians chapter 3 verses 4 to 6 when you read this, that is, the book of Ephesians. You can perceive my insight into the phrase again ministry of Christ which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit, something that was hidden in the past, but now has been revealed toward this mystery. Look at verse six. This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel that is in Jesus Christ. The racial divide that existed between the Jews and the Gentiles. The mentee that existed between the Jews and the Gentiles now has been reconciled, so much so that the Jews and the Gentiles have become equal members of the church that is no division. Paul would later say in Colossians chapter 3 division. There is no free or slave, no Gentiles, no Jew everyone equal in Christ.
But how is that even possible. Well with man racial reconciliation is impossible, know nothing, no inbound of social or cortical reform can bring about the reconciliation is only possible through the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is only possible through the gospel, but who is this Jesus. Let's look at what Paul says about Jesus, and we returned to Colossians chapter 1, we gonna look at several verses and please follow along. Given a start from Colossians 1 verse 15 onward, who is this Jesus was 15 he is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation was 16 for by him all things were created in heaven or on our earth, visible or invisible was 17 and he is before all things and in him all things hold together was 18 and he is the head of the body, the church. He is beginning, the firstborn from the dead, and that in everything he might be preeminent was 19 for in him all the fullness of God pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself whether they all things, whether on earth or in heaven he doesn't starve their turn with me to Colossians chapter 2 in verse nine for in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily verse 10 you have been filled him who is the head of all rule and authority. Verse 11 in him. Also, you were circumcised with the circumcision made without hands skip down to verse 13 and you, who were dead in your trespasses. The online circumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him was 15 he disarmed the rulers and the authorities and put them to open shame by triumphing over them in him at the center of the gospel is this Messiah at the center of our universe is this Jesus and what is the gospel that this Jesus through whom all things were created, who existed in the exact form of God, the exact imprint of God the King of Kings and Lord of lords, the beloved son of God would come down to this filthy earth, and he would die for the sins of wretched, depraved, sinful people like you and me reconciling us both to God and to one another and he died on the cross.
20 state that he rose again on the third day, so victorious that God the father would declare him Lord and Christ and by believing in this Jesus in him we have eternal life. No wonder in verse 28 Paul says him we proclaim is no one worthy to be proclaimed except for Jesus. No other gods are worthy to be proclaimed except for Jesus Christ.
No other God is at the center of creation.
No other God. Nobody else created the universe and nobody else can give us salvation except for the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Therefore him we proclaim we don't proclaim ourselves. Why, because that nothing in me that is nothing in you that is worthy to be proclaimed except for the Lord and who is an authentic follower of Jesus.
It is the one who believed in this Lord Jesus for salvation and have found there needs to verse King, having received the gift of eternal life, and have allowed this Messiah asking this Lord to be fair Lord and give complete control of their lives at the center of the gospel is the cross of Jesus Christ at the center of Christian faith is the Lord Jesus Christ at the center of all creation is the preeminent the King of Kings King. No wonder Paul would say in first Corinthians chapter 2, verse two, he says, I decided to know nothing among you except for Jesus Christ and him crucified. We proclaim him. Paul's stewardship was to make known to the church. The ministry of Christ that is who this Jesus Christ is and what his cross has accomplished for us now see that this revelation comes to us in the form of the return word with me to verse 27 to them God chose to make known to them who is them was 26.
The latter portion of was 26 but now revealed to his saints is to us.
It has been revealed through apostle Paul. God's plan was to make known to us the revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ and the hope of the gospel through the apostle Paul. Now why did God reveal the Lord Jesus to us for service for our salvation.
That is true, why did God reveal Christ to us through his Word so that you and I we can individually and collectively know this Jesus Christ from the word and proclaim him to the word why did he give us why did he make known Christ to us tools to his word so that we can know Jesus Christ who he really is from the word so that we can proclaim it to the word but let me ask you this. How would you know who Christ is, how would you know how would you proclaim Christ accurately unless you know who he is, how would you know who Christ is, accurately, unless you study the word of God, the Bible see this is why Paul was committed to make known the word of God. Acts 2027, he says, I did not shrink from declaring the whole counsel of God. That is how we know who this Jesus Christ is. It is through the word that we know who Christ is and by knowing who he is. We accurately proclaim him, isn't it true that more and more people have turned their faces away from the Bible. Isn't it true that more and more preachers, more and more churches have closed the Bible and put up in their chefs.
It is, isn't it true that more and more people have not looked at the Lord Jesus Christ which comes out of the pages of Scripture by turning away from the word of God. They have misconstrued a Jesus who looks more like a genie in a bottle than the Lord of all creation, and they have fabricated a gospel that is no gospel at all that is designed to make people feel good about themselves then to grind them down to their knees to bow before the king. But see poor was committed to the word of God and the proclamation of Jesus Christ authentic followers of Jesus have an ever increasing appetites for the word of God and through the study of the word, they have this deep seated desire to know who Christ is and to proclaim him. How about you are you committed to the word of God. Do you have a desire to know God's word. Dr. Monroe gave us the challenge last year to study the word of God and this year he gave us the challenge to obey the word of God do we take seriously audited like nice cute themes on my refrigerator. Do we take it seriously authentic followers of Jesus will be committed to studying his word daily and through that they will have the desire to know Christ and so first we saw that authentic followers of Jesus and authentic follower of Jesus sacrificially sells the body of Christ. Then we saw an authentic follower of Jesus desires to know and proclaim Christ, no return.
The last point of the day and some of you like an authentic follower of Jesus seeks to mature in Christ and authentic follower of Jesus serves the body of Christ sacrificially desires to know and proclaim Christ now seeks to mature in Christ.
In verse 24 we read about Paul's commitment to the church. In verses 25, 27 we read of Paul's commitment to the word of God and to proclaim Christ.
In verse 28 and 29 we see Paul's commitment to spiritual maturity. Look at verse 28 and 29 him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, why, why is he doing that so that we may present everyone mature in Christ. The goal of Paul's preaching is not self glory. The goal of Paul's preaching is not to make the following is not to merely entertain people often motivate people ought to inspire people. Of course he encouraged believers.
That is true but that is not the end goal or office preaching the end goal of his preaching is spiritual maturity of all authentic followers was 29. Also, for this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me how poor Lady Bird. He was willing to get down to the grass root level and to get his hands dirty. He was willing to labor distraught goal to help believers grow to maturity in Christ is that our attitude toward Christian life to the we want to grow to maturity in Christ as a part not only does this but he also commands the church to do it. Turn with me to Colossians chapter 3 and was 16. Maybe this is one of the verses that you have memorized as you want us to earn a one hour nursery. Now this is Colossians chapter 3 verse 16. A very familiar verse. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing allegories annex one another in chapter 1 he says he does the admonishing. He does the warning and he does the teaching but here he is commanding the church to do what they have seen as an example, in part, admonish and teach one another. It is a commandment given to the church part was committed to help believers grow in maturity in Christ is that your commitment also. Are you committed to spiritual maturity. Do you diligently seek to mature in Christ.
Sadly, spiritual maturity is something that we lack in evangelicalism today you prefer that. Look at social media.
Spiritual maturity is something that we lack. We, the society evangelicalism in general we call good.
What is evil we call evil, what is good, but the core of all authentic followers of Jesus is spiritual maturity and authentic followers of Jesus will seek to mature in Christ. You may ask so what is spiritual maturity.
Spiritual maturity is the process by which authentic followers of Jesus become more and more like Christ is a lifelong process if there was a spiritual mirror and you look into the mirror five years ago and then you look far 10 years after. Would you see a difference if you don't, you're not growing spiritually, but the only authentic followers of Jesus can spiritually grow. Why because it is in Christ, we grow those who are not in Christ cannot spiritually grow is that that be the reason why we see spiritual maturity prevalent in evangelicalism.
It is a lifelong process. We might ask. So how do we grow spiritually. How can authentic followers of Jesus, spiritually mature in Christ. I'm glad you asked because Paul is going to give us the answer for that. In verse 28 and 29.
Look at verse 20. Again here we proclaim this is Colossians chapter 1 was 28 him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. How do we grow into maturity in Christ. It is through the proclamation of Christ. Now this is not rocket science. It is as simple as it gets, the less the lessor, the Christ, the Lord Jesus proclaimed lesser crisis proclaimed the lessor you know who Christ is the lesser you know who Christ is the lesser you go to become a Simple second Corinthians chapter 3 verse 16 says we all with unveiled faces, beholding the glory of the Lord.
We are being transformed from one glory into and other if the glory of the Lord is not proclaimed.
What are we looking at probably self probably the glory that comes from the word if that is a case. Who do you think will become like the word, the more Christ is proclaimed, the more the word of God is studied in your personal time in your small group time in the church is where you attend. Here we have our theme verse is for the word of God and the testimony of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. That is our passion that is our commitment that less you study in your personal time. The less you will see the glory of the Lord Jesus, the less you will see the glory of the Lord Jesus, the less you will be transformed into becoming like Jesus Christ is the foundation of Christian life and spiritual growth key is the cornerstone and we learn who Christ Jesus is through the revealed word of God in the rent, infallible word of God. But how do we proclaim Christ.
Paul is going to give us to participles.
There him we proclaim, how do we do it warning and teaching. It is through the admonishing or the warning that believers admonishing believers to stop unholy living or improper conduct through that and also teaching them to walk in obedience to the Lord's commandment. How do we proclaim it is by admonishing believers to stop unholy living or improper conduct, and teaching them to walk in obedience although admonishing and teaching can be done and it is done in a logical setting like this is much more effectively done in small groups you know why because here we go interact. I don't know you spiritually as I look at you. I don't know you know me spiritually when I look from here all of you look like angels. Some of you don't. But when we start interacting with one another one another. That is when the devils come out, but that is where we need admonishing and teaching that is much more effectively done in small groups. Isn't that why at Calvary be emphasized adult life groups small groups can I say that those who are serious about spiritual maturity in Christ will seriously consider being part of a small group, you will like one. Find another one. We have plenty. We have plenty of space to but let me ask you this, who likes being admonished is the official harassment is getting. I don't I don't like being admonished, but I need it you need it. No one likes being admonished. But what do you do when you are admonished, how would you respond with your response be have no idea who I am. How dare you speak to me the way or will your response be you don't want to attend some other church but they are not going to correctly I'm on my computer anymore.
We'll response me to justify yourself or would your response be to humble yourselves and be willing to be admonished and taught so that you can grow into maturity without some Indians. Not all some of them I am included in that sometimes we function in a very special time zone is called the Indian standard Time, and some of the Indians who are here there laughing at the two and some of them are like you said, but I am included in that. It just means that I am. We are sometimes 30 minutes to an hour late for things that I was functioning in that time zone for for a long time and sometimes I'm late. Sometimes I'm most of the times are not, but sometimes you can so I am late.
I was functioning in this time zone.
Once and this particular day I was a solid 30 minutes late to a pastoral training that was taught by none other than Dr. Monroe. So I walk into this training and he looks into my face in his grace and kindness even call me out. He admitted he did embarrassment from others, but he did bring that up when I met with him individually. Personally and he admonished me deep inside my heart. My pride was trying to respond by saying all overweight women you don't know what was going through what you are in my life on that day I had just to complete. I had this to complete. I had to do this I had to send that email. I recall this though, I was naturally late, but thank God he told me I said sorry but see I didn't like it but I needed that I needed that.
What was he trying to do if he was trying to help me become effective ambassadors of Christ effective steward of what God has given to me. Time is included in that he was trying to help me become better at what God has given. I don't like being admonished, but I needed you needed sometimes sins can be in our blind spots. You will never see that unless someone else comes to you and tells you, you have that sin in your blind spot. How would you respond which you humble, be willing to be admonished, be willing to be taught so that you and I can grow as a growing into maturity is not going to be that easy. Serving the body of Christ sacrificially. That's not going to be easy. There will be times when we will suffer as we serve sacrificially proclaiming Christ in a word that has gone away from God is not going to be easy. With so many false teachers out there and so many opinions out there is that it can be very difficult to stand strong on the word of God, but our commitment is to be in the word daily and to proclaim Christ growing into maturity sometimes comes through the hardest of times. We do is going to be difficult at Charles Spurgeon open one of his sermons he he talks about Christian life this way, the Christian life is very much like climbing a hill of ice. You cannot slide up now I'm no expert in ice climbing, but I think that is pretty accurate.
You cannot be ILC can slide up you have to cut every step with an ice only with incest and labor, cutting and shaping. Can you make any progress. It is going to be difficult. Look at what Paul says in verse 29 for this I toil and struggling but God will help us look at what he says, struggling with what with his own energy with his own power. Now he says, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.
God has given to us in his grace, his Holy Spirit to all authentic followers of Jesus who helps them to grow into spiritual maturity. The goal of all authentic followers of Jesus is spiritual maturity. So how do we spiritually mature through the proclamation of Christ through the admonishing and through the teaching and by the help of the Holy Spirit that your goal what have we seen so far. We looked at the example of apostle Paul, I have sketched a profile of an authentic follower of Jesus Christ. What does it look like to be an authentic follower of Jesus.
Much more could be said about the topic that is true, but we have limited ourselves to three main characteristics that comes predominantly from Colossians chapter 129 and authentic follower of Jesus sacrificially serves the body of Christ and authentic follower of Jesus desires to know and proclaim Christ and authentic follower of Jesus seeks to mature in Christ. Did you see the whole passage Christian does to the maturity of a believer. This is the will of God for authentic followers of Jesus. This is the purpose of our authentic followers of Christ, that is also the prayer or praise for the church glace, we read that in Colossians 110. As used serve sacrificially as you being the word daily and no and desires to know and proclaim Christ as you are being your disciples being admonished, taught, and as you understand Christ by the help of the Holy Spirit. You and I all authentic followers of Jesus will grow into maturity of Christ, and if there is anyone here who do not know this, Jesus as your Lord and Savior. It would be my privilege to explain the gospel to you again. Please don't leave this room without knowing who does Jesus and help you understand how you can have this relationship with the King of Kings and Lord of lords.
Let me pray the same prayer that Paul prayed for the Colossian church father, thank you for your word father we pray that you would help us be filled with the knowledge of your will that we may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord Jesus, that we will please you in every respect and we will bear fruit in every good work and we will increase in the knowledge of God, help us to mature in Christ. Help us to serve the body of Christ, sacrificially, help us to desire and proclaim Christ help us to seek maturity in Christ. We ask all this in the mighty powerful majestic name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.