HCC Sunday Service - September 18, 2022

We’re gonna continue
our series
in Colossians.
Let’s turn together
in our bibles to
Colossians 1.
& we’re gonna read
verses 24-29.
Colossians 1:24-29.
& when you find that
in your Bible
pls stand for the reading
of God’s Word.
The Title of today’s teaching is
The Hope of Glory
In Colossians 1:24-29
the Scriptures say:
Colossians 1:24–29 (NIV)
Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church.
I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness—
the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people.
To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ.
To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.
You may be seated.
When you hear the word
what do you think abt?
Sherlock Holmes?
Perry Mason?
Agatha Christie?
you think of
unsolved crimes.
Or something
that’s impossible
to understand or explain.
In biblical usage:
A mystery is something
that was once hidden
but is now revealed.
& in today’s passage
Paul talks abt
the most marvelous mystery
that has ever been revealed
to humanity.
It’s the mystery
of what God
has planned for humanity
in Christ.
We’ll talk abt
that mystery
& what it means for us
As we talk abt
The Hope of Glory.
Let’s pray.
We thank You for Your Word.
Your Word.
Jesus said
Your Word is truth.
& that you wld make
us holy by Your truth.
Do as Jesus said
You wld do.
Make us holy
as we hear & practice
Your Word.
In Jesus name.
Notice Paul starts
Colossians 1:24
w/ a theme
we see repeated
over & over
in the Scriptures.
Paul says:
Colossians 1:24 (NIV)
Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church.
Paul wrote this letter
frm prison.
& in Colossians 4:3
Paul tells us why
He was in prison.
He says:
Colossians 4:3 (NIV)
And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains.
Paul was in prison
bcs of the message
He proclaimed abt
the mystery of Christ.
Paul sees his imprisonment
as a form of suffering
that was added to
Christ’s afflictions
for the sake of
Christ’s body—
which is the Church.
What Paul’s sayin here is:
Christ has now
passed the baton
of suffering affliction
to those who bcm
a part of His body.
Jesus ran His race.
Jesus carried His cross
all the way
to the finish line.
& He left
all His ppl
an example to follow.
As Peter says in
1 Peter 2:20–21 (NIV)
...if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God.
To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.
The Lord Jesus suffered
for doing good.
& His suffering
was for the sake of
his body—
which is the Church.
& as we answer the call
of Jesus to be
His disciple;
& we take up
our own cross
to follow Him;
& as we lift up
our gaze
to look dwn
the narrow road
that leads to life
we’ll see
the blood-stained footprints
of our suffering Savior.
& we’ll hear
His sobering words
in Luke 9:23-24
ringing in our ears:
Luke 9:23–24 (NIV)
“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.
For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.
A call to follow Jesus
is a call
to suffer affliction
like Jesus.
We will suffer
as part of
Christ’s body
for the sake
of others.
But in our hedonistic society
we don’t like
to talk abt that.
We seem
to be scared
to mention
the suffering
Jesus promises those
who become
a part of His Church.
Bcs we’re afraid
that message
will turn pleasure-seeking ppl
away frm
the Church.
But we need to tell
the truth.
We need to
make sure
ppl know what
they’re signing up for
when they decide
to become
a member of
Christ’s body.
Those who are seeking
the most pleasure possible
in this life
won’t find that
in the Church.
If that’s what
you’re looking for
then look elsewhere.
Bcs the truth is
The call to be
a part of Christ’s body
in the Church—
is a call to carry
a crossfor of
& to make
the daily decision
to deny our selves
& embrace suffering
for the sake of
& His body.
That affliction
will come thru
we endure as
we live like Jesus
in a world
that hates Jesus.
Another way we
suffer affliction
as a part of
Christ’s body
is in the ministry
for which
God has gifted
each of us
to serve
the Body of Christ.
This is what Paul’s
talking abt
in Colossians 1:29
when he says:
Colossians 1:29 (NIV)
To this end I strenuously contend...
Paul strenuously
in his ministry
for Christ’ body.
The Greek word
behind the word
is very strong.
It means
to engage in labor
until you are
extremely exhausted.
& it carries the idea
that the labor
involves suffering.
The Greek word
behind the word
is the word
& you can probably
tell frm the way it sounds
this is where
we get
the English word
& the picture here
is of an athlete
struggling & straining
every muscle
as they stretch out
across the finish line
to win a race.
This is what God calls
each of us to do
w/ the gifts
He gives us.
We’re to labor
to the point
of exhaustion.
We’re to strain
every muscle
& stretch ourselves
To serve others
in the body
of Christ.
Church life
is not easy.
& those who tell you it is
are servants
of Satan.
Church life
is not for softies
or slackers.
It’s not for
the half-hearted
or casually-committed.
Life in the Church
Life in the Church involves
substantial struggle
Intense labors
& fierce fighting.
& this is especially true
for leaders
in the Church.
Church leaders are
supposed to live
like soldiers
who are positioned on
the front line.
& who daily do battle
for our souls
& the souls of God’s ppl.
As Paul
reminds Timothy
in 2 Timothy 2:3-4.
Paul says
2 Timothy 2:3–4 (NIV)
Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.
No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer.
Satan does
a great job
distracting the leaders
of the Church.
There’s a constant barrage
of temptations
& distractions
pulling church leaders
away frm
our primary purpose.
Instead of
staying focused on
the kingdom of God;
Instead of
dedicating ourselves
to prayer
& the ministry of the Word—
like we’re called to do—
Our eyes are often
in the ends
of the earth.
We get entangled
in civilian affairs.
We get caught up:
Contending for
the kingdoms
& concerns
of this world.
to all my fellow leaders
in the body of Christ
& to anyone
who aspires to be
a leader in the Church
let’s make sure
we understand
our mission.
We’re ministers
of a marvelous mystery
that has the power
to change the world.
Our weapons
for dealing w/
the problems
in the world
are not worldly weapons.
Our weapons
are mighty thru God
to pull dwn
the strongholds of sin
that cause those problems.
The gospel we preach
is the power of God
for salvation.
The words we pray
are powerful
& effective
to change the world.
So, let’s stay abt
our Father’s business.
Our Father’s business
is in the Church—
the kingdom of God—
Not in the kingdoms
of this world.
The only agendas
church leaders
shld ever be pushing
or promoting
are those that advance
the kingdom of God.
& to help us do that
Let’s make sure
our goal for ministry
is the same
as Paul’s goal
for ministry.
Paul tells us
His goal for ministry
at the end of
Colossians 1:28.
He says
Colossians 1:28 (NIV)
[Christ] is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ.
The Greek word
for “mature” here
can also be translated
Our goal
as Christian ministers
shld be
to bring God’s ppl
to perfection
in Christ.
ppl often ask:
“Is it possible
for God’s ppl
to become perfect
to become
completely Christlike
in this life?”
But that question
puts our focus
in the wrong place.
Even if we never
hit the mark
of being perfectly like Christ
in this life
Complete Christlikeness
shld always be
what we’re aiming at
& what we’re pushing
one another
to strive for.
is the target.
That’s God’s goal
for us.
That’s the high
calling of God
for all of us
in Christ Jesus.
We shld all be
constantly striving
to be completely Christlike
in all we think
& do.
Anything less
is falling short
of God’s glory.
& falling short
of God’s goal for us.
& anything we do
in the Church
that does not
help us & others
accomplish that goal
is not
God’s will for us.
& is a waste
of what little time
we have
on this earth
to take ground
for God’s kingdom.
God expects
church leaders
to pour our lives
into helping
God’s ppl
bcm more & more
like Jesus
until we’re all
fully perfected
in the image of Christ.
In Ephesians 4:11-13
Paul says
this is the reason
Christ gave certain
gifted ppl to the Church.
He says
Ephesians 4:11–13 (NIV)
So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers,
to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up
until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
Here again
the world translated “mature”
can be translated “perfect.”
The role of
& Pastor-teachers
is to teach
the true faith
to God’s ppl
w/ the goal
that everyone
will become
completely Christlike.
Fully conformed
to Christ’s image.
That’s what Paul
was constantly
strenuously contending for.
& we shld
do the same.
But let’s be sure
we understand this.
Any striving
we do
to bcm like Christ;
or to help others
bcm like Christ;
Any moves we make
twd maturity
whether we’re
leaders or laity
none of that is possible
in our own power.
So, Paul
goes on in Colossians 1:29
to remind us
where the power to strive
twd Christlikeness
comes frm.
Paul says
Colossians 1:29 (NIV)
To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.
This is the synergy
of the Christian life.
We’ve gotta work out
what God works in us.
Paul was
constantly &
for God’s ppl.
Paul made every effort
To live for Christ;
To preach Christ;
To warn everyone;
To teach everyone;
To pray for everyone
to bcm like Christ.
But he was not toiling
or struggling
in His own strength.
Paul says the energy
to labor for Christ
is the energy of God
powerfully at work
in His ppl.
It’s God’s power:
at work in us
that allows us
to toil
to the point of exhaustion
in the work
He calls us
to accomplish
in the Church.
We can do things
in God’s power
that we cld never do
on our own.
God’s powerful grace
is constantly
reenergizing us
to use the gifts
He gives us:
To serve others;
To live for Him;
To minister for Him;
& to strive
to reach perfection
in Christ.
That’s God’s goal
for God’s ppl.
& that shld be
the focus of
& everything
we do in the church.
In all we do
We shld be
striving twd
& pushing God’s ppl twd
in Christ.
Like Paul
we need to
make every effort:
To live for Christ;
To preach Christ;
To warn everyone;
& teach everyone
abt Christ.
To pray for everyone
to bcm like Christ.
& one message must be
our main focus.
The message Paul
talks abt in Colossians 1:25-26.
Paul says
Colossians 1:25–26 (NIV)
I have become [the Church’s] servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness
the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people.
Paul says
His goal was to present
The “word of God”
in its fulness.
The Word of God
is the message
of the gospel.
In the gospel message
the most marvelous mystery
is revealed.
It’s a mystery
that had been kept hidden
frm all past ages
& generations.
But is now revealed
to God’s saints.
What is this mystery?
Paul tells us
in Colossians 1:27.
Colossians 1:27 (NIV)
To [God’s saints] God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
When Jesus came
the Jewish ppl
of the 1st century
were expecting
the Christ—
the Messiah—
to be a conquering King.
A military man
who wld rid
the Jewish ppl
of their oppressive
Gentile enemies.
A King
who wld rule
the nations
frm Jerusalem.
& God’s ppl
wld rule w/ Him.
& there are
OT prophets
who predicted
this wld happen.
But God’s ppl
did not
& cld not understand
A key piece
of those prophecies.
It was hidden
frm them.
They were not expecting
a suffering
servant Messiah.
& they were
especially not
expecting a Messiah
who wld offer
& a place of honor
in the kingdom
of the Messiah
to all nations.
They were not expecting
God to make
a New nation of Israel
A New Jerusalem
where Jew & Gentile
become One body
in the Church
of the living God.
That’s the mystery
that had been
kept hidden
But is now
revealed in Christ.
Paul explains this mystery further
in Ephesians 3:4-6
Ephesians 3:4–6 (NIV)
In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ,
which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets.
This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.
The mystery of Christ
which has been revealed
by the HS
in the gospel is:
All ppl
frm all nations
can share in the promises
God gave to Israel
by becoming a part of
the Church.
In the Church
all nations can be fellow heirs
& partakers of
the same kingdom;
the same promises;
the same blessings
God promised
His chosen ppl
thru Abraham.
In other words
God’s plans
for Israel
& the promises He gave
to Abraham
to bless all nations
thru Abraham’s Offspring
are now being fulfilled
thru Christ’s body
in the Church.
& this is
so much bigger
than anyone
ever expected.
Bcs in this relationship
where Christ is in us
& we’re in Him
in the Church
we have the hope
of sharing in
Christ’s glory.
In the Church
we’re being changed
frm one degree
of glory to another
until we perfectly
reflect the image of God.
The gospel
makes Christ
& the glorious riches
of Christ’s kingdom
Equally accessible
to everyone;
All ppl.
All ages.
God makes His salvation
& blessings available to
All ppl;
In all places;
Thru the body of Christ
which is
the Church.
Christ is present on earth
In & among His ppl
in the Church.
We experience
the divine life
& grace of God
flowing in
& among God’s ppl
in the Church.
In the Church
We experience
the mystery of Christ
where a reborn
& recreated humanity
are being reshaped
into the image of God
as we become like Christ.
Paul describes this
in Colossians 3:9-11
where he says
Colossians 3:9–11 (NIV)
Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices
and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.
Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.
We need to
really get a hold of
what Paul’s saying here.
& the Church
desperately needs
a steady diet
of this teaching.
God plans
For all of humanity
to be united
as one nation
in one body
are now being accomplished
in Church.
In the Church
The old self
is put off
& the new self
is put on
when we’re
united to Christ
in the waters
of Holy Baptism.
The old self
is the old humanity.
The new self
is the new humanity
being recreated
in the image of Christ.
This is what
Paul’s talking abt
in 2 Corinthians 5:17
when He says:
2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
In Christ
the old humanity
is gone.
& we become
a part of
the new humanity
that is here
since Christ came.
& notice Paul’s description
of this new humanity
in Galatians 3:26-28.
Paul says
Galatians 3:26–28 (NIV)
...in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith,
for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
When we’re baptized
into Christ
in the waters
of Holy Baptism
We bcm
children of God.
We’re born again
thru water
& the HS.
& we’re united
in one body.
No one
is excluded.
Not by ethnicity
Or gender
or social distinctions.
In Christ
we’re all part
of the same family.
& in Romans 10:12
Paul says
in that family
Romans 10:12 (NIV)
...there is no difference between Jew and Gentilethe same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him...
The glorious riches of Christ
are available
to everyone in the Church.
let’s be careful here.
In Christ
Men are
still men.
Women are
still women.
White folks
are still white.
Black folks
are still black.
There’s still
an incredible diversity.
But in Christ
our diversity
shld no longer
divide us.
We’re all united
Equally loved
Equally cherished
& equally valuable members
of the same family.
In the Church
We’re all united
to Christ
& united to each other
in Christ.
& the Church is
the gym
where we’re
all being trained
to live like
recreated human beings.
In the Church
we gain access
to God’s energizing grace.
& in the Church
we become like God
as part of
the new creation
in Christ
as we strive
to be like God
in true righteousness
& holiness.
That’s the message
of the Most marvelous mystery
That’s ever been revealed
to humanity.
It’s a message
that needs to be preached
& heard loud & clear
in the Church
right now.
God’s ppl
need to be reminded
of the Glorious Riches of Christ.
The hope of glory
that we have
when Christ
is in us.
& we’re in Christ
in the Church.
In Christ
we’re a part of
the new humanity.
A humanity
that’s intimately
connected to God
& one another
in the One body of Christ
in the Church.
When we’re born again
& baptized by one Spirit
into Christ’s body
Though we still
look the same
on the outside
Christ in us
changes our nature.
God pours
His love into our hearts
by the HS.
& God unites all ppl—
some of whom
are the worst enemies—
frm every nation;
every tribe;
every ppl;
& every language together
in one body
in the Church.
When we’re in Christ
& Christ is in us
& among us
in the Church
all types of dfrnt ppl
bcm one united ppl
of God.
Jew & Gentile bcm
one united ppl.
Black & white bcm
one united ppl;
Slave & free bcm
one united ppl;
Men & women
one united ppl;
Rich & poor
bcm one united ppl.
a new race of ppl
in the new humanity;
We’re all one undivided body...
w/ the Lord Jesus Christ...
as our head.
We have
The same God;
The same goals;
The same hope of glory.
In the Church
When we’re clothed w/Christ...
We’re all brothers & sisters.
The color of our skin...
No longer divides us.
Our various ethnic backgrounds...
No longer divide us.
Our social status...
No longer divides us.
All that matters in the church is...
We’re all one in Christ.
Christ is ALL.
& Christ is in ALL.
As we close
In the Church
we have
the most marvelous mystery
revealed to us.
& this mystery
must become
The mainstay
of our ministry
if we’re ever
gonna see
this world change.
That mystery is
All ppl;
All colors;
All nations;
All ages;
All of humanity
Can be made new
& be made one
In Christ.
Let’s not
allow ourselves
to get bullied
Into taking sides
in debates abt
skin color;
& social status.
In Christ
that shld not even
be on our radar
Bcs in Christ—
in the Church—
we’re a part of
the new creation.
We’re citizens
of a new kingdom.
That old stuff
does NOT matter
When we bcm
a part of the Church
we enter a new world
Where we’re
supposed to live
a completely
dfrnt life in Christ.
Our identity
Our view
of other ppl
Our purpose
for living
& if the does not happen
if that has not been
our experience
w/ the Church
then we shld ask ourselves
“Are we really
“a part of the Church?”
In the Church
The glorious riches
of God’s
life-changing grace
are bestowed equally
on all who call on Him.
In the Church
Christ in us
& among us
Unites us
& transforms us.
Until we all reflect
the perfect image
Of God’s Son.
That’s God’s message
for this nation.
That’ God’s message
for all nations.
That’s The Marvelous Message
of the Mystery...
that is ours
in Christ—
in the Church.
Let’s focus on
this Marvelous Mystery
& let’s live in light of
the truth.
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