Formations Lesson for April 17- Rejoicing in Suffering
March 31 2011 by Wayne Proctor, pastor, Eure Baptist Church

Focal Passage: Colossians 1:24-29

Persecution of Christians 2010: On Dec. 12, seven house churches were forcibly closed by Muslim extremists in West Java, Indonesia. On Dec. 3 a Pakistani mullah offered more than $6,000 (US) to anyone who kills Asia Bibi, who was previously sentenced to death by a Pakistani judge on Nov. 8. Her crime — telling Muslim women about Jesus. On Oct. 31 in Baghdad, 59 Christians were killed when Islamic radicals attacked worshippers at the Syrian Orthodox Church (source: persecution.com). 

It is common knowledge that persecution of Christians in North Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia is occurring at alarming, record levels.

As Baptists, we are not allowed to know the name or location of hundreds of our missionaries.   Furthermore, much of the abuse and persecution goes unreported.

It seems we have gone back in time to the days of Paul and Silas where suffering for Christ was not optional — it came with the job.

Paul makes a number of salient points in this text.  

First, he found joy in suffering for Christ.

Not that pain was fun, but there was a pleasure he received knowing that he was pleasing Christ.

In a real way, his pain was a continuation of the suffering Christ Himself had endured (v. 24).

Christ had instituted the church, and Paul reveled in the privilege of being a church leader. Second, Paul rejoiced in the proclamation of what he called “the mystery.”

What was this mystery?

It was the revelation of the gospel to the Gentiles, and their reception of that glorious gift. Paul called the Christian experience, “Christ in you, the hope of glory (v. 27b).”

Third, there was the goal of spiritual maturity.

Colossae was unfortunately infected with a brand of Greek gnosticism and Jewish extremism.

Dangerous heresies abounded.

Paul was constantly “warning” the new, vulnerable Gentile believers to avoid all corruptive influences.

Yet, to use an analogy from sports, you don’t win by just playing defense. In fact, the best defense is a good (great) offense.

Paul’s tact was to work extra hard (relying upon Christ’s strength in him) teaching the people the foundations of the Christian life.

It was no coincidence that he spoke of making God’s message “fully” known to them (v. 25b).

There is a great need for quality Bible teachers in today’s church.

We have an amazing number of resources at our disposal.

We just need to take the time and make the commitment to learn, to study.

Of all the books we might read, the Bible needs to garner our time and affection.

And for those who are teachers, teach it with passion, compassion, and love.

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3/31/2011 4:54:00 AM by Wayne Proctor, pastor, Eure Baptist Church | with 0 comments




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