Thursday Morning: Dave Doran -- "Proclaiming Christ for the Perfection of the Church"

After singing "I’d Rather Have Jesus," Dr. Dave Doran began his message:

Text: Col. 1:28

Introduction:

  • In advancing the church, there are many approaches taken:

    • Taking surveys, publishing the results, and then writing a book
    • Successful churches hosting conferences to share their secrets
    • These are not different from how the world approaches success.
    • Budgets, buildings, bodies, etc.—visible signs of success
    • It seems as though there are new answers at the end of every new survey, which seems suspicious and contradictory.
    • Some of the most significant books on business success are completely irrelevant now.
    • We would do better to start from the ground up and look to the New Testament.
    • Most would not disagree with this; however, many of us do not realize how much our culture and subcultures have shaped us.
  • Paul had never met the Colossians. The Gospel had gone there, probably through Epaphras.
  • From Col. 1:24-2:5, he uses personal pronouns and adjectives 18 times—very autobiographical.
  • He comes to this statement in v. 28 to explain what drives him.
  • Paul’s mission “for this purpose”

1. Paul had an eschatological goal. (“present every man”)

  • When Paul is talking about presenting someone (1:22), he is talking about the Day of Judgment.
  • Paul wants them to be presented complete in Christ. (2 Cor. 11:2) Like a pure bride.
  • Paul was concerned with the moment they accepted the Gospel; but that was not all—he had in view their presentation to Christ at His coming.
  • He was heeding a biblical goal to shepherd souls safely to the day of glory.
  • If all you are concerned about is the profession of faith and accumulating people, then you will have a different objective than if you are concerned with giving an account for those people.

2. Paul had a discipleship focus. (“complete in Christ”)

  • Complete has the idea of blamelessness or flawlessness, with the ultimate goal of Christlikeness.
  • When we talk about God’s purpose in saving people, we need to think about it larger than just populating Heaven. It is about conforming them to His Son.
  • 2 Cor. 3:18, the idea of progressive sanctification, the image is Christ.
  • Phil. 1:6, God will continue to make us like Christ until the day of Christ.
  • If we don’t care about the cultivation of Christlikeness, then we are evidencing that we are man-centered, not God-centered.
  • Ungodly decisionism has produced more false converts than real converts.
  • What is true on the individual level is also true on the congregational level. (Eph. 4:13)
  • Discipleship is the normal function of life in the church, not a series of lessons we go through.

3. Paul had an inclusive view toward disciples. (“every man”)

  • If they don’t last, it wasn’t real. (“if they went out from us, it was because they were not of us.”)
  • You can’t wave a want over someone and have it beep if the Spirit is in them.
  • The evidence is in the fruit they produce.

4. Paul had a Christ-centered message. (“We proclaim Him.”)

  • The way to get in is also the way forward.
  • Everything about our proclamation is Christ.
  • Who has come in among God’s people whose profession is not real?  Are we being careful in this area?

5. Paul had a confrontational message. (“admonishing every man and teaching every man”)

  • If I am distracted away from Christ, I need to be admonished.

6. Paul had a carefully crafted method. (“in all wisdom”) cf. 4:5

Implications:

  • Being must always precede doing.
  • The older I get, what I see is that somewhere in our subculture, we have shaped our identity by what we do for Christ.  We’re busy for Jesus.
  • So, our goal should be to go for completeness, Christlikeness.
  • Are we content with people who show no signs of spiritual progress?
  • Any view of church growth which ignores or diminishes church health is defective and should be rejected.
  • Any view of evangelism or conversion which ignores the transforming work of the Gospel and the perseverance of disciples should be rejected.
  • Any view of preaching that turns attention toward arrogant knowledge is defective.
  • In light of some of the discussions we’re having about fellowships, if men in ministries are not right on the Gospel and the nature and mission of the church, that matters more to me than what particular label we wear.
  • There are fundamentalist churches that are deceiving people about the assurance of their conversion.
  • When I look at biblical patterns for ministry, that matters more to me than whom we say we identify with.
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Todd Wood's picture

I read through the whole letter last night to those in our church family Bible study. It is all introduction for our Wednesday night inductive study in this magnificent epistle on Christology.

Brian, thanks. These are good snippets that movitate me to further listen to the audio.

"In light of some of the discussions we’re having about fellowships, if men in ministries are not right on the Gospel and the nature and mission of the church, that matters more to me than what particular label we wear."

What label did the believers in Colosse wear? What about those in Nymphas' house? (textual variant - guy or girl?) What label did the Laodicean believers have? And those in Hierapolis? Paul sees them all connected together in fellowship. And it is amazing the fellowship that he has with those whom he has never met (that would be true for me with some brothers and sisters through SI).