Rev. Trevor Johnston, Eric Stewart and Pastor Efrain Silva
Sermon Series: Colossians
Week 3: Gym and Fridge
English PDF file for printing: 09-22-2019
Para imprimir el archivo PDF en Español: 9-22-19
Icebreaker Question: What kind of food is usually in your fridge, and what does that say about you?
- Practice memorizing our theme verse – Colossians 1:28: “He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ.”
- Read Colossians 1:24-29:
“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. 25 I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness— 26 the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. 27 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.
28 He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. 29 To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.”
- Tell about a person whose example inspired you to do better in some area of your life (it doesn’t have to be spiritual). What did that person do, and why did they impact you so much?
- Like a personal trainer, Paul is seeking to inspire the Colossians to live well as Christ-followers, even when it’s hard. At the time, Paul was in prison for preaching about Jesus Christ. Read 2 Corinthians 11:23-33, and talk about some of the ways Paul suffered, trying to imagine what it was like for him.
2 Corinthians 11:23-33: “Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. 24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. 27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. 28 Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?
30 If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. 31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, who is to be praised forever, knows that I am not lying. 32 In Damascus the governor under King Aretas had the city of the Damascenes guarded in order to arrest me. 33 But I was lowered in a basket from a window in the wall and slipped through his hands.”
- Given what Paul had experienced, it would have been understandable for him to get discouraged and give up. But instead he rejoiced. What was the source of Paul’s joy?
- Many of us tend to whine and complain even about life’s small inconveniences. Tell about someone you know personally who inspires you by the way they’ve gone through a very difficult situation. How has their positive example impacted your attitude toward life?
- Paul calls himself a “servant” in verses 23 and 25. What does this tell you about how Paul viewed himself and his mission?
- The words in verse 24 – “fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions” – do not mean there was a deficiency in the atoning sacrifice of Christ. We know from Scripture that Christ’s work on the cross was complete. Rather, Paul is pointing out that additional suffering will be required in order to get the good news about Jesus out to the whole world. Yet Paul counts it a privilege to participate in that mission. We don’t generally suffer much here in the U.S., but we can still experience the privilege of being part of that mission. If you’ve had the privilege of helping someone connect to Jesus or grow in their faith, share about how it feels to be part of that.
- In verses 26-27, the word “mystery” refers to a truth that was previously only known to God, but now God wants to make it clear to everyone. What is the mystery Paul is talking about in this passage? Why would this have been surprising to people?
- What are the implications of this mystery for us today?
- Sometimes Christians think that grace means God does everything, and we’re just passive. What’s the problem with this idea, when it comes to our spiritual growth? What insights do you get from verse 29 about how we actually grow more mature?
- What does the word “synergy” mean? Give an example of synergy from daily life, and describe how it works.
- How is Paul’s concept of spiritual synergy in verse 29 different from “works righteousness” (a false idea that we earn God’s favor and that our good works have to outweigh our sins in order for us to get into heaven)?
- What are some things that have helped you become more mature as a Christ-follower?
- What was one helpful idea from this passage or sermon for you personally? What is one thing you hope to do differently as a result?