Colossians 1:28-29 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.Another semester of Bible school is upon us, and I'm excited about the opportunity to teach the first class in the course on "The Fundamentals of the Faith" (from Genesis 3). Fitting that I should come across this verse in my Bible reading this morning.
What is (or should be) the ultimate goal of spiritual leadership? What is the supreme object of the Christian minister? What is the purpose of the Bible preacher? It is the "perfecting of the saints" (Colossians 1:28; Ephesians 4:11-12; 1 Thessalonians 3:10). It is to bring other believers into full and complete Christian maturity so that they can stand unashamed at the judgment seat of Christ.
How is that task to be carried out?
1. Through preaching ALL the counsel of God (Acts 20:27-32; 2 Timothy 3:16-4:2; 1 Timothy 4:6). This includes the positive parts and the negative parts; the popular topics as well as those many would rather do without; the simple basics and the deeper truths; encouragement as well as rebuke; instruction as well as controversy, etc. CH Spurgeon said, "Controversy for the truth against the errors of the age is, we feel more than ever convinced, the peculiar duty of the preacher."
2. Through setting the example of Christian maturity (Acts 20:18-21; Philippians 3:10-17; Hebrews 13:7). This doesn't mean you're sinless, but it means your personal walk with the Lord is complete, it's well-rounded, and you're constantly growing. This means you're doing the things you preach about. You're reading your Bible; you're spending time in prayer; you're consistent in your study; you're witnessing; you're ministering to others; you're a blessing to your wife; you set the proper order in your home; you're balanced in how you spend your time; you're giving; you're handling your finances properly, etc.
3. Through constant, fervent prayer (Colossians 4:12; Ephesians 1:15-23; Ephesians 3:14-21; Philippians 1:4, 9-11; Colossians 1:3, 9-13; 1 Thessalonians 5:23). James Hudson Taylor once said, "When I get to China, I will have no claim on any one for anything. My claim will be alone in God and I must learn before I leave England to move men through God by prayer alone."
4. Through hard work; through diligent, steady, zealous commitment to the task (Colossians 1:28-29; 2 Timothy 2:15; 2 Corinthians 12:15). It's not easy, and the work will never be completed until we enter into our final rest (Hebrews 4:11). But the God we serve is worth it, and it's definitely worth the while (Colossians 3:23-24).