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PAUL, THE PASTOR!

COLOSSIANS 1:27-29

" ... This mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily."

 

 A Preacher in his Study

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LESSON 1:

Some would argue the point that Paul was never a Pastor. I have heard sweet fundamental Men of God do so in fact.

But I believe that when a Preacher stays in a place eighteen months, as Paul did in Corinth ... or three years, as he did in Ephesus, concentrating on the spiritual growth of of those specific Believers, he is indeed doing the work of a Pastor!

Luke documents these facts. At Corinth ... "And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them." Acts 18:11

Then at Ephesus Paul himself reminds his hearers ... "Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears." Acts 20:31

Also it seems that Paul always had a goal in mind. I mean as a Pastor Paul had a lofty desire for each church member, each real Christian.

He reveals this passion of his heart in several places and in various ways. For example, In Galatians Paul wrote: "My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you." Galatians 4:19-20

And to the Thessalonians he yearns: "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." 1st Thessalonians 5:23

Often his prayers yield his life goal for the converts. "And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; that ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God." Philippians 1:9-11

Even in the Pastoral Epistles we see this. "That they (the Believers) may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things." Titus 2:10

Furthermore, in Hebrews we see it. "Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen." Hebrews 13:20-21

But one of my favorites is found in Colossians 1:27-29. "To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily." Again I have capitalized the "heart" of Paul's pastoral passion!

These concise and specific words to the Colossian saints we shall examine in the next few lessons, Lord willing.

Paul the Pastor!

Paul the godly Pastor!

One of the best who ever lived!

And the great thing about it is the fact that through Scripture, the divinely inspired inerrant Word of God, Paul can be our "Pastor" too!

Now this does NOT relieve us from going to a local Bible believing Bible preaching Church, sitting under the ministry of a real living human Man of God either!

After all, this same Paul has clearly commanded us to ... "Not forsake the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching." Hebrews 10:25

Yet we must all realize that the key agent in our spiritual development, working through our local Pastor and Church, is The Word of God as empowered by The Holy Spirit!

In that sense, Paul can be our Pastor!

And what wonderful goals he has for us!

                                                                                     --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 2:

Yesterday we studied the Apostle Paul, considering him especially as a Pastor.

Now, what about Jesus' Pastoral Goals for us?

After all, He is The Good Shepherd! And Shepherd is indeed the word for Pastor.

Without Christ's High Priestly Prayer in John 17, we would have to search the whole Gospel Record to compile a list of our Lord's "goals" for us.

But, His Heart being heavy yet keenly discerning, there He prays for His Own little children. And He prays specifically too.

If you are saved, take heart! He has prayed for you ... and is still doing so!

Listen.

"I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine" says Jesus in John 17:9. These precious Words are directed to God the Father.

Our Lord longs for us to be both safe and secure ... then also in harmony one with another! "Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are." John 17:11

He seeks for us joy! "These things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves." John 17:13

He prays for our holiness of life. "I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil." John 17:15

He hungers that we be set apart, separated from the world. That's what "sanctified" means. "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth." John 17:17

He lovingly pleads for our safe arrival in Heaven some day! "Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am." John 17:24a

And that we may literally see His awesome Glory! "That they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world." John 17:24b

He wishes for us love! But look at what kind of love! "And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them." A love based upon His very presence and continual residence within our hearts! John 17:26

See!

Jesus as our Shepherd, just like Paul His Disciple, has some deeply embedded longings for us His children!

These goals are the very "targets" toward which the Holy Spirit is drawing us day by day ... as we are filled with His Power and follow His leading of course.

What Pastors we have!

                                                                                      --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

P. S. --- In no way does this Bible Study suggest that we do not need a local Church Pastor! I have occasionally met folks who believe that since Jesus is their Shepherd and the Bible is their Guidebook ... the Church, again I mean the local Church, is not needed in their lives. Carefully remember this verse. Paul wrote it under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching." You have just read Hebrews 10:25. Brother Bagwell says to each of our dear readers today: Be in Church on the Lord's Day, every Lord's Day! Place yourself under the ministry of a godly Bible Preaching Man of God. He will have the same desires for you as does our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

 

LESSON 3:

In Colossians 1:25 Paul makes an intensely personal statement. He is talking about the Church and says: "Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God."

Paul did not become a Preacher because he simply wanted to do so. God "called" him to preach. As a result of his "new birth" in Christ, he was subsequently "made" a minister. This verb, "ginomai," means "to begin to be, to come into existence," or literally ... "to be born into" a certain state of being! Using this aorist verb Paul is saying that his call to the ministry was completed in a point of time in the past. God called and Paul answered, obeying the "heavenly vision."

Even the noun "minister" is enlightening. "Diakonos" means one who is a servant, an errand runner or an attendant of his Master! Nothing in this word is etymologically "dignified." Paul is a servant, a common slave, of Jesus Christ. Gladly so!

God gave Paul a "dispensation" of service, a "work" to do for Jesus' Glory and Sake. "Dispensation" is spelled "oikonomia." You can perhaps see the English word "economy" in it. It literally means the "law" ("nomos") of the "household" ("oikos") and suggests a slave who is in charge  of all aspects of running his Master's plantation or estate.

Given, "didomai" in Greek, is an aorist passive participle. I'll let you supply the truth each of these grammatical terms brings to our verse. On second thought, the verb's action is now complete, not still happening. The giving was not done by Paul, but unto Paul ... by the Lord Himself! God called Paul then gifted him with a task to perform! And a participle is a verb acting like an adjective. This "dispensation," Paul's very Ministry, is one that has been characterized here as a gift from God, having been bestowed upon Paul by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ!

The apparent prepositional phrases "to me" and "for you" aptly summarize any godly Preacher's ministry. God called him and entrusted him with the truth and ability and wisdom to help God's people grow in faith. The call to preach was extended "to him" but only "for God's people," saved people, to mature in Christ.

But that last phrase is captivating too! Paul says he is a minister who is come "to fulfill the Word of God." The verb "fulfil" is spelled "pleroo" and usually means "to fill to the brim" but here carries the idea of helping "complete" Bible prophecy. Bringing it to fruition! Preaching the Word! Discipling the saints!

God has promised the birth and growth of His Church. She was "born" at Pentecost and grew through the Book of Acts and was nurtured by Paul and others as the years progressed. Literally Paul is helping bring to fruition what Jesus had earlier said would come to pass. "I will build My Church," avows the Lord! Paul is an errand runner, a helper, in that great task!

That's why, exactly why, the great Apostle longs to see His people grow in Christ!

Why he wants "to present every man perfect" in the Lord!

It ought to be so comforting to think that the local Church you attend has a Pastor who loves you and has as his lifelong goal helping you mature in Christ! To grow in Grace! To be "fully furnished" for all of eternity!

All I can say is "Amen!"

                                                                               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 4:

The heart of Paul's ministry for Christ involves a "mystery!" At least that's how he describes it in Colossians 1:26. "Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints."

But what, in Paul's mind, is a "mystery?"

"Musterion" actually means a "hidden thing." In other words, a "secret!" It is technically a fact previously concealed, but now revealed!

The context, the verses both before and after verse 26 here, reveal to us the content of this "mystery."

It is the Truth of the New Testament Church!

I realize Paul does not use this exact word, "church," but rather expresses this now revealed thing as being "Christ in us ... the hope of glory!"

But is not the Church just that?

The Church is the Body of Christ!

The Bride of Christ!

Another reason I identify this "mystery" of which Paul is speaking with the Church is found in Ephesians 5:32. There Paul while teaching says: "This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church."

The Church, that local assembly of Believers, is a Bible truth that was not patently revealed in Old Testament days. Oh yes, there were types and symbols of it occasionally ... but not a direct mention. Adam's wife came from his side, his opened side! So did Christ's Bride come from His opened bleeding side! I mean as He died on the Cross, His Blood being shed!

But admittedly that's a symbol or type of foreshadowing, not a direct doctrinal dissertation!

Into the same category fits the Genesis 24 account of the procuring of a Bride for Isaac. The Son of the Father ... receiving a Bride chosen by the Servant ... yet following the pre-designed plan of that Father! Do see the Trinity here! What a picture, yet still just a picture!

Paul is right!

The Church as an open, clearly-seen and already-existing Body of Believers, meeting in a local assembly being led by a human pastor saved by God's Grace and called to preach the precious Word of God, is a truth "hidden" from pre New Testament days! Hosea did not see it! Nor did Isaiah, not literally anyway! That verb "hidden" translates "apokrupto." The verb "krupto" means to veil or cover something. Here we are dealing with a perfect participle in the passive voice.

Past ages ("aion" in Greek, "eons" in English) and generations (see in Greek = "genea") did not fully envision or understand the coming Church age! That is ... the age in which we now live, prior to the Rapture.

But ... in these last days, the previously hidden truth about the Church has been "made manifest" to the saints of God! "Phaneroo" here just means "revealed or shown or made known," but usually in a bright and dramatic way! Much like a quick and sudden flash of light rushing through a once dark place!

Jesus came and bled and died and was raised again!

Then ... wow ... the Church was born at Pentecost!

And the future for that Church?

Jesus plans one day to ... "present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish." Ephesians 5:27

And that's why Paul also has such lofty goals for the Churches!

Goals such as their being "filled with all the fulness of God!" Or their being "conformed to the image of God's Son!" See Ephesians 3:19 and Romans 8:29.

Let it be so, O Lord.

                                                                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 5:

Paul knew a secret!

Really it is called a "mystery" in Scripture, but the meaning is the same.

The Apostle was a steward, a caretaker, of a "mystery" once a long time hidden ... but now revealed!

It appears that this mystery involves a new relationship with the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ.

This vital truth is embedded in the Life of Jesus, a sinless life. And in His Death, a substitutionary or vicarious Death.  And in His subsequent literal Resurrection from the grave! A victorious Resurrection!

Once a man or woman personally realizes the fact of depravity, all of us being sinners by nature and by practice, and turns from his sin to accept Jesus as Saviour of his or her life ... JESUS WILL REDEEM HIM THEN THROUGH THE HOLY SPIRIT MOVE INTO THAT VERY BODY TO LIVE!

That's the exact mystery Paul has in mind in this pivotal Colossian Text! In seven English words, six of them monosyllables, Paul is about to give us the "secret" to eternity! "CHRIST IN YOU, THE HOPE OF GLORY," thunders the Preacher!

And who are the recipients of this great revelation?

To whom has this great mystery, this life changing truth, been made apparent?

To the "saints" of God!

Those who have been saved by the Grace of God!

Paul elaborates in Colossians 1:27. "To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory."

Notice the particular saints Paul has in mind here are Gentiles, not Jews! The Greek noun for Gentiles is "ethnos," the source of our English word ethnic and its cognates. That includes the Ephesians, but it also includes Americans too, and every other non Jewish identity! By the way, Jesus died for the Jews too! "Whosoever" includes them too!

This mystery is not only defined here; "Christ in you, the hope of glory" ... it is also described.

It is filled with "glory!" The noun "doxa" is derived from the verb "dokeo" and means "to evaluate" or "to ascribe value" to something. Thus "glory" is one's estimate or view or opinion of someone! God feels that this "mystery" is highly valuable, priceless!

It is a glorious mystery!

But even this "glory" of the mystery is further characterized. The "glory" thereof is laden with "riches!" The word "ploutos" means wealth or abundance or fullness or plentitude! All 22 times it occurs in the New Testament (King James Version) it is translated "riches!"

We shall spend our lives as Believers in Jesus, as humble abiding places for His Presence, learning of and wondering at and delighting in the riches of the glory of this mystery ... that Christ Jesus dwells in us!

And this course in Christian Living will automatically, God guarantees it, yield one more spiritual quality to our lives, "hope!"

We will talk about that tomorrow, the Lord willing.

Sounds to me like the key to victory in the spiritual life is discovering and personalizing and experiencing this great mystery! "Christ in us ... the Hope of Glory!"

Amen!

It's better than just a doctrine!

It's even better than the Fountain of Youth!

It's also better than a billion dollars!

And it's better than fame and recognition!

It's better than all the whole world!

Again, its ... "Christ in you, the Hope of Glory!"

                                                                                      --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 6:

In Colossians chapter one Paul was discussing a glorious "mystery!" This mystery is cloaked in glory too! And it has wealth untold!

But, what is it, Preacher Bagwell?

Let's allow Paul to tell us. It's "the riches of the glory of His mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory."

I have capitalized the "heart" of the mystery.

Only in Colossians 1:27 is it precisely worded this way ... "Christ in you, the hope of glory."

But it is true!

Once we are saved, Christ lives in us!

Paul touches on this great fact elsewhere.

"I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me," declares part of Galatians 2:20.

To the Corinthians the Apostle writes: "Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God." 1st Corinthians 6:19

Jesus Himself agrees! "I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me." John 17:23 here was spoken directly by our Lord to His Father in Heaven.

Even in John 15:5 Jesus says so. "He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing."

John of course adds to our discussion. In 1st John 4:13 we are told: "Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit." The Holy Spirit brings Proof of Jesus' indwelling Presence! Then two verses later: "Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God."

Without the Indwelling Saviour, our Lord Jesus Christ ... specifically through His precious Holy Spirit, no one could successfully live the Christian life.

Jesus ... in us!

Yet there is a parallel truth to Jesus' living within each Christian.

We live in Him also!

Jesus again, in John 14:20 teaches: "At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you."

Amazing!

Jesus in us!

We in Him!

But, what does this mystical yet real relationship yield?

Our Text clearly tells us.

"Christ in you, the hope of glory" concludes Colossians 1:27.

His powerful Being in our lives brings with it HOPE!

Such an overpowering Person, almighty Person really, can change us and transform us and ultimately transport us to Heaven, to Glory!

In Jesus one cannot be long despondent!

Or angry!

Or defeated!

His Essence produces penetrating and influencing love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance ... all the very opposites of hopelessness!

Oh, to be like Him!

We shall some day!

Listen to John the Apostle again: "We know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is." 1st 3:2

No wonder Paul calls such truth the "blessed hope!" And yes, he even defines the term in Titus 2:13. "That blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ."

"Christ in us ... the hope of glory!"

God has already decided. We shall all, the saved that is, be "conformed to the image of his Son."

What Hope!

What Glory!

Amen!

                                                                                     --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 7:

Paul preached Jesus!

That's exactly what he said in Colossians 1:28.

Just after he had revealed to us a great mystery, "Christ in us ... the Hope of Glory," Paul continued: That's the Jesus I preach! The One Who lives in us, we who are saved! Christ, our Hope of Glory!

"Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus."

Now this great Apostle will further elaborate on his preaching almost immediately, but he still begins with that essential verb: "preach!"

The God given privilege of preaching is here represented by the Greek verb "aggelizo." However, I cannot find that "root" verb, standing alone, in all the New Testament! It is always prefixed by some qualifying or intensifying preposition. I mean incorporated right into the main verb!

Occasionally the noun is used, "aggelia," a message ... or "aggelos," a messenger or angel!

But in our Text here the verb "preach" as used by Paul is "kataggello."

It means "to declare, to announce, to make known, to proclaim, to promulgate or even to publish!"

The prefix attached, "kata," means literally "down." That's right, "down!"

How can such a short and seemingly illogical preposition illuminate a verb meaning?

It is believed that "aggelizo," standing alone would mean just to "preach!" But that "kataggello," the prefix added, would mean preaching up and down! Preaching thoroughly! No  stones unturned! Preaching with great care! Preaching precisely! Intensively preaching! With all one's heart and soul! Diligently!

That's exactly what Paul meant!

Also in Greek word history, being a carefully study of historical fragments and ancient first century documents, "kataggello" has been used to mean "denounce, report, commend or even celebrate, openly praising" something or someone.

Now the interesting thing is that our verb here is used 17 times in the New Testament, most often in the Book of Acts.

Here's the first occurrence, Acts 4:2. "They taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead." I have underlined "kataggello." It's the Disciples who are here so preaching.

Then to Paul and Barnabas on that first missionary trip. "And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews." Acts 13:5

It's the verb for preaching forgiveness of sins in Acts 13:38.

It's translated "show" in Acts 16:17 in the King James Version of Scripture. But look what's being shown! "These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation." It is again used this way in Acts 26:23.

In Acts 16:21 it is rendered as "teach."

In Acts 17:23 it is translated "declare," another "preaching" verb for sure!

Now here it is just "spoken of." Romans 1:8 says: "First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world."

Even the observance of the Lord's Supper can illustrate the vastness of this verb. "For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come." Paul wrote this in 1st Corinthians 11:26.

No doubt about it.

Paul preached Jesus!

Completely!

Unreservedly!

Gladly!

So should we!

                                                                                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 8:

The Apostle Paul could not only be kind and gentle, "even as a nurse that cherisheth her children," but also strict and bold, "warning every man" when necessary! These two partial quotes come from 1st Thessalonians 2:7 and Colossians 1:28 respectively.

Today we're going to study that "rough" side of the Apostle.

Shepherds love and feed their sheep, but also discipline and correct them! Pastors and their flocks are most like shepherds and their sheep when viewed Biblically ... both in the nourishing and the chastening departments!

In one of Scripture's most concise yet sublime statements concerning any godly Pastor's goal for his people Paul writes: Christ ... "Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus." Colossians 1:28

Let's study the "warning" part first.

Any saved and God-called man in the pulpit will not preach for very long ... until he discovers that some warnings must be issued along the way!

There are two aspects to preaching the whole counsel of God, all the Word. There's a negative side and a positive one too.

Paul mentions both in today's Text verse.

The verb "warning" is spelled "noutheteo." This is an interesting combination of two Greek words. "Nous" is the noun for the human "mind." And "tithemi" is the verb that means "to put or to place." Thus "noutheto" actually means "to put someone in mind" of something or someone! To plant a truth in their thinking!

As we have "noutheteo" here it is a participle, a present participle. That means it is a verb acting like an adjective! Paul is preaching Jesus to the Colossians. But he is preaching in such a way that much warning is incorporated into the sermons! The present participle quality implies that Paul participated in these warnings regularly, habitually ... not just occasionally!

I can only find eight uses of this verb in the whole New Testament! Each of these is either from the lips of Paul or from his inspired pen!

How much warning did Paul do? Well, at Ephesus anyway, he did a lot! "Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears." Acts 20:31

Paul even believes that we Christians are to warn one another when danger approaches! "And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another." Romans 15:14

Paul warned the Corinthians too according to 1st Corinthians 4:14. And this warning was sometimes so strong that it could have been misunderstood. Listen: "I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you." 1st Corinthians 14:4

Even godly singing can be written so as to warn the saints of God! "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord," writes Paul again!

Here are the duties of the Thessalonians Pastors: "And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; and to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake." 1st Thessalonians 5:12-13

Restless rebellious Church folks, beware. Paul has his eyes on you! "Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men." 1st Thessalonians 5:14 (Unruly means out of line or out of order, having broken rank!)

"Warn" or "noutheteo" can even mean to strongly "advise" too.

So ... Preacher, tell me again what the Lord says in His Word!

Warn me of sin!

Caution me when I am about to err!

Advise me in the path of God!

Such is an essential part of preaching God's Holy Word!

A Book that itself ... "reproves, rebukes and exhorts!" Notice, that's two negatives before the positive!

Bless His holy Name!

Thank God for the warnings of Scripture.

                                                                                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 9:

The Apostle Paul balanced his preaching well. He included proper amounts of both positive and negative material; really negative first, then positive.

Let me show you what I mean, using the preacher's very words. Speaking of Jesus, Paul says: "Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom." See the two elements of all successful and powerful preaching?

The "warning" aspect is both initial and essential.

Then the "teaching" follows.

The Greek verb for teaching is "didasko" and is built upon the verb stem "dao," meaning "to learn." Here we have a present participle. That means it is describing Paul's preaching! It consisted partly of systematically teaching God's Word!

Teaching is holding discourse with others in order to instruct them.

"Didasko" is the word that translates the Hebrew "lamad," which to the Jewish mind pictures an ox-goad! That's right! That's a long pole with a sharp pointed end that is used to "convince" a stubborn ox to obey his master! A few prods with such a stick will induce the desired behavior!

See! God's "teaching" might start in the classroom or the auditorium ... but it proceeds to the farm and shop and office, including little prods and pokes and jabs along the way! That is, if we become hesitant or stubborn! Perhaps a fuller word for this concept however is the Greek verb "paideuo," to train as a child.

Still, God's teaching goes from the mind ... to the heart ... to the feet, hands and all other pertinent body parts.

Obedience is the goal!

James is right when he insists that we: "Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving our own selves." James 1:22

Paul, who had sat at the feet of Gamaliel, one of the best known teachers or rabbis of that day, would be conversant with proper ways to impart information. Here's Paul's transcript: "I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city (Jerusalem) at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day." Acts 22:3

Yet sharing mental data alone is not enough in the spiritual world! This kind of teaching must have the approval, yea the very power, of the Holy Spirit behind it.

So Paul tells us that he was busy "teaching every man in all wisdom."

See that?

Teaching the saints ... IN ALL WISDOM.

"Sophia" means insight or discernment or spiritually imparted understanding! One preacher defined it as skill in godly living!

We would have to stop there except Paul includes the little adjective, "all."

"Pas" means "full or absolute or every kind or even the greatest!" No human alone could claim such expertise in teaching, teaching of any kind!

This "all wisdom" business must include the Holy Spirit of God!

He is Wisdom!

Of course, so is Jesus!

Paul's teaching, as well as nearly everything else he did, was Spirit energized and Jesus centered!

Thank God for such instruction.

Folks, if the godly Church you attend is blessed with a Pastor who not only boldly proclaims the whole counsel of God but also teaches the Scriptures ... stop right now and thank God for him!

Teaching with the touch of the Spirit of God is a rapidly vanishing art!

And, like Hosea said: "God's people are destroyed for lack of knowledge." Hosea 4:6

Oh, to be taught God's Word!

                                                                                         --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 10:

Here it is!

The absolute "peak" of this paragraph of Scripture, Colossians 1:27-29.

Paul has learned a mystery!

It was hidden in Old Testament days!

It has only been revealed since Jesus walked the earth in His Virgin born body!

Paul became a special teacher and preacher of this great mystery!

It focuses on Christ Jesus living IN us!

As a result of our being saved by His Grace!

Through the Blood He shed on Calvary and His subsequent Burial and Resurrection!

It's the Gospel!

And as a result, the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ is born!

When folks are saved they are led by the Spirit of God to congregate, to fellowship, to meet in one body locally at a Church, a God approved one!

Why meet as a family in Christ?

To grow!

Spiritually!

Again I ask "why?"

Paul clearly answers in Colossians 1:26-29.

To hear the preaching and teaching and admonition of God's precious Word!

That ...

And here's the "key" to it all!

To Paul's goal as a Pastor of saved people.

These words are directly from Colossians 1:29. "That we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus."

What an aspiration!

What a lofty ideal!

Yet these words are inerrant and inspired by the Holy Spirit of God!

Paul loves the saints of God and preaches to them, carefully warning them and precisely teaching them, so they will become mature Believers in Christ Jesus.

Paul wants one day to stand before the Lord Himself, having the Judgment Seat of Christ in mind I suspect, and present his converts ... offering them before God the Son as brilliant specimens of vibrant spiritual life!

Paul, why do you work so hard, risking life and limb?

"That we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus."

The introductory pronoun "that" is spelled "hina" in Greek. It here opens for us a "purpose clause." It explains WHY Paul is a Preacher! It reveals the desire of his heart! The target for which he aims!

"That we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus."

The verb "present" is lovely. "Paristemi" means "to stand" ("histemi") "beside" ("para") someone! Paul wants to stand right beside each Believer in Jesus and introduce them, present them, give them to our dear Lord!

This verb is a subjunctive mood aorist and is suggesting that this is Paul's craving, hunger, longing and obsession!

He must do this for everyone he has seen come to Christ!

What a Pastor!

The adjective "teleios" means "perfect" but in this sense: that which has been completed! That which is finished! Fully furnished! Whole! Grown to maturity! Even successful spiritually! Lacking nothing!

Paul likely not only preaches to this end, mature Believers before the Lord Jesus, but prays so too! Read with me Colossians 4:12 and see what kind of prayers catches Paul's attention. "Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God."  See that? Standing perfect ("teleios") and complete in Him!

In 1st Corinthians 14:20 "teleios" is translated "men!" Not boys!

In Hebrews 5:14 "teleios" is rendered "full age!"

In Hebrews 9:11 it is "more perfect!"

In James 1:4 it is parallel to "wanting nothing" or lacking nothing!

In James 1:25 the Word of God, the Law of Liberty, is "perfect," or "teleios."

Wait a minute!

This Text began by our learning that Christ lives IN us!

Now it ends with us being made perfect IN Christ!

"That we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus."

Paul, no wonder you couldn't quit!

No wonder you said "necessity was laid upon you!"

No wonder you endured "the care of all the churches!"

No wonder you lived with a passion, a passion that the saints were "to be conformed to the image of God's Son!" Romans 8:29

Think of it!

Every man, every woman, every Believer, PERFECT or mature in Christ Jesus!

Any Pastor with that goal in mind should be respected and followed!

                                                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 11:

One of the most "powerful" verses in the Bible!

That's what I would call Colossians 1:29.

There Paul reveals several facets of his pastoral theology, his work ethic for Christ Jesus!

"Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily." Again, that's Colossians 1:29.

When carefully studied this verse yields four different "power" words! "Labor" translates "kopiao." Then "striving" represents "agonizomai." The noun "working" and its cousin the verb "worketh" are both derived from "energeo." And "mightily" is from our old friend "dunamis."

We shall study Paul's first clause, "whereunto I also labour," in this lesson.

"Kopiao" is an intensive word. It involves more than simple exertion. This is based upon "kopos," a noun meaning a "cut." That is; a gash, a wound, a painful injury or even a beating! This specific verb then indicates work that is painful, tiresome, exhausting, and maybe even injurious! To toil! To labor with wearisome effort!

"Kopiao" is used 23 times in the New Testament. Let me share a few of these instances with you. I will underline the word that expresses "kopiao."

Jesus in Matthew 6:28 says: "And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: and yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these."

Again our Lord in Matthew 11:28 invites: "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."

Here's a good one from the lips of Peter: "And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net." Luke 5:5

With familiar words John 4:6 tells us: "Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour."

And talk about hospitality! Paul writes in Romans 16:6, "Greet Mary, who bestowed much LABOUR on us."

Paul the tentmaker says: "And we LABOUR, working with our own hands ...." That was at Corinth. 1st Corinthians 4:12

Such hard work is even associated with Bible Study in 1st Timothy 5:17. "Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who LABOUR in the word and doctrine." Amazing!

These examples at least give us some idea of how the Holy Spirit uses this word in His Work.

Paul did not then view pastoring as a "light" occupation!

It was strenuous indeed!

He gave it everything he had!

Here's another way he worded his work philosophy: "I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: but I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway." 1st Corinthians 9:24-27

Paul took his ministry so seriously that even when compared to his being beaten and stoned and shipwrecked and his experiencing constant dangers, not even counting the occasional hunger and thirst and coldness and pain ... still "the care of all the churches" was a more weighty task! After an awesome list of trials, Paul adds: "Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches." 2nd Corinthians 11:28

What a worker for Jesus!

Oh!

Let me share with you one last example: "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your LABOUR is not in vain in the Lord." 1st Corinthians 15:58

Fellow laborers, that should encourage us for sure!

                                                                                  --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 12:

Yes, Paul was a worker!

More so than any of his fellow students in Judaism! In Galatians 1:14 he claimed: "And I profited in the Jews' religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers." Indeed!

Even as a Believer Paul still intensely gave himself to the task! "I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me," he truthfully spoke in 1st Corinthians 15:10.

But this sanctified work ethic of his was not his own doing! In Colossians 1:29 Paul honestly and forthrightly acknowledges his astounding work pattern. But then gives us the secret to such motivation! "Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily."

Paul's "labour" is in exact proportion to God's "assistance" in the task at hand!

God's "working" reinforces and propels Paul's "working!"

The noun used for God's part in this equation is "energeia." Therein see our English word energy please.

By composition this word combines "en" which in Greek means "inside" and "ergon" which means work or labor. The Lord ... Who is Power and Force and Ability and Energy ... floods Paul and infuses him with strength and determination and resolve to finish the job!

This energizing power of God is what controlled Jeremiah the day he tried to resign his commission as a Prophet of God. They day he could not quit! The day that fire burned in his bones and he had to proclaim the Word of God again and again!

God works ... so Paul works!

God motivates ... so Paul is motivated!

God encourages ... so Paul is encouraged!

God comforts ... so Paul is comforted!

God never quits ... so neither could Paul!

In closing today, here's another way Paul worded this principle. "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Philippians 4:13

Amen!

                                                                                --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 13:

Paul in Colossians 1:29 uses a word that summarizes and encapsulates his entire ministry for the Lord. I mean the attitude he brought to each new job the Lord gave.

Here's what he said: "Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily."

The word we need to study has been capitalized and underlined in the Text. Obviously, it is "striving."

Paul admits a lot here!

This verbal adjective, a participle, is spelled "agonizomai" and obviously contains a well know English word, agonize! In fact we Westerners borrowed that word from the Greeks. This concept of agony is born in the athletic world, one of the Greek games, the Olympics!

"Striving," as it describes Paul, is framed as a present participle in the middle voice. Thus, intense agony is an on-going thing to Paul, not just a past experience. Also, as the middle voice tells us, it impacted Paul and changed him forever!

According to a standard lexicon, here are some of the pertinent definitions for "agonizomai:" to enter a contest, to contend in the games, to fight, to struggle with difficulties and dangers or to endeavor with great zeal.

Our word is used seven times in Scripture. For example, Jesus said for us to "Strive to enter in at the strait gate." Luke 13:24

Now watch this word being translated as "fight." John 18:36 records: "Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence."

Next it is "striveth for the mastery!" In 1st Corinthians 9:25 we read: "And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible."

Now, in Colossians 4:12, it's: "Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God."

Once again it's "fight." Paul says to a young preacher: "Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses." 1st Timothy 6:12

Lastly, nearing death, Paul manages to incorporate both the verb and the noun in one sentence. "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith." 2nd Timothy 4:7

Our work is nothing without His Power infusing and driving us!

Then we have ... God working in us!

God working through us!

Once that is learned and experienced, a Christian laborer is virtually unstoppable!

Glory to God!

                                                                                  --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 14:

The Apostle Paul certainly was a skilled communicator. And his amazing mind was totally dedicated to the Lord.

Yet he never took any personal credit for his labor or ministry, always ascribing that to God Himself!

Anything Paul accomplished, he clearly acknowledged was due to Christ Jesus working in him and through him.

For example, in Colossians 1:29 the Apostle reveals a fundamental principle of Christian service. Read it with me. "I also labour, striving according to His working, which worketh in me mightily."

See!

The Lord worked in Paul mightily!

The verb "worked" is spelled "energeo" and means "to be effective, to be energized, to be empowered or to be operative." This is power in motion! Power at its best! Power doing its job! Power in high gear!

But Paul, under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, feels he must add one more qualifying or modifying phrase.

"Mightily!"

In Greek that's "en dunamis."

The preposition "en" with the dative case, as here, means "in, on, at, near, by, before, among, within or into!"

Literally God works in, on, at, near, by, before, among, within and into us with power! This is demonstrated energy! Observable energy!

And with what?

"Power!"

"According to His working, which worketh in me mightily."

The word that appears here as an adverb, "mightily," is really a noun.

It's "dunamis" in Greek.  It means power in this sense; inherent power! Indwelling power! Available power! Power on reserve! Stored power! Force! It's root stem means "to be able!"

We have such an impressive string of "power" words here in Colossians 1:19 that one can only stand in awe!

Here is all we need to accomplish anything Christ leads us to do!

Let me capitalize and underline the strength and power words again. I mean in this single short verse. The last few lessons have explained each of them in some detail. Review them often!

"Whereunto I also LABOUR, striving according to his working, which WORKETH in me mightily."

This all seems to make Ephesians 1:6 just come alive! "He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ." Amen! I say He surely will!

Really Paul said more than that. Let's get it all. "Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ."

Yes, Paul was persuaded!

Our Almighty God is able!

What power!

What energy!

What ability!

Praise His Name!

                                                                                  --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 15:

This is the last Lesson in our Colossians 1:27-29 Series. We have been studying: "Paul, the Pastor!" What a Man of God he was!

It's called "pastoral theology."

Many textbooks have been written discussing its parameters.

Some contemporary pastors are only interested in crowds, numbers. Everything they do is geared to that rubric.

Other pragmatic pastors concentrate on money. The budget. Preaching, programs and people must be sculptured to yield high returns.

Then a few just have to have singing, music! Choirs and quartets and all the rest, often with a modern day swinging beat and accompanying action!

Then more yet have some "pet" doctrine which always will receive major emphasis. It could range anywhere from "A" to "Z," and that's about all you'll hear in that place.

But, thank God, there are a few Pastors who still preach the Book.

The precious balanced Bible!

Inspired and without error!

Line upon line!

Precept upon precept!

Negatively, then positively!

Verse by verse!

Not riding some "hobby horse."

Doing just what Nehemiah 8:8 says ... "They read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading" ... they follow the leading of God the Holy Spirit!

And, ultimately, these men always come to that precious place in Colossians chapter one where Paul shares with us his goal in preaching, in pastoring. "Christ," writes Paul ... "Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily."

Now there's the Scriptural essence of real Pastoral theology.

The Man of God, the Pastor, working with every Believer in the church he serves, seeking to bring him or her to maturity in Christ Jesus!

Amen!

                                                                                  --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

Thank the Lord for Pastors who have the passion of Paul, loving their people and preaching God's precious Word! Seeking to bring men and women to maturity in Christ Jesus!

 

 

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