Grace Baptist Church

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Discipleship: A Faith-filled, Joyful Struggle

Mar 22, 2015

Passage: Colossians 1:24-2:5

Preacher: Jared Longshore

Category: Sunday Morning

Keywords: christ, cost, discipleship, fruit, maturity


Pastor Jared Longshore addresses Colossians 1:24 through 2:5 in a message entitled “Discipleship: A Faith-filled, Joyful Struggle.” In this passage Paul lays out the process of disciple-making. This process is one to which all believers are called (Matt 28:19). They should be both disciple and discipler. Discipling can only take place as, in the words of J. B. Lightfoot, Christians engage in “repeated acts of self-denial in successive individuals and successive generations. They continue the work which Christ began.” In this passage Paul show the nature, the goal, and the struggle and supply of discipleship.

The nature of discipleship is always Christ-centered. Christ, Who had been party hidden in types and shadows in the Old Testament, is now revealed to the church. The church needs to have a full understanding and knowledge of Christ. V. 28’s words, “Him we proclaim” shows the necessity of teaching, a task to which the church is, and believers are, called. This teaching is to be done “with all wisdom.” Modern believers are to imitate Paul in this regard and have a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures in order to employ this wisdom.

The goal of discipleship, as shown in v. 28, is that everyone, that is all believers, may be made “mature in Christ.” The goal of maturity is to build the body, to make it effective for the Lord, and to present a testimony for the Lord (Rom 16:19 for example, where the church’s obedience to God is said to be “known to all”).  The challenge to grow is a personal one; when people view our lives are they able to see a display of holiness and dedication to God?  Furthermore, maturity leads to fruit bearing. It is only mature creatures that can effective bear fruit for God’s kingdom. Finally, maturity provides a defense against the wiles of worldly wisdom. A mature Christian can recognize error, turn from it, and remain committed to the Lord’s calling on their lives.

However, being an effective disciple comes at a cost. Paul wrote this letter to Colosse from prison. His incarceration was the result of his preaching and teaching. Yet he did not consider the struggles, further enumerated in 2 Corinthians 11, to be in vain. The spiritual growth of others was well worth the sacrifice and cost. It is equally true today that discipling comes at a cost. Those who disciple must give of their time, their worldly comfort, and their energies in the furtherance of Christ’s church. Through personal suffering Christ enables a supply of discipling activity. Therein lays the empowerment. Those who successfully disciple do not do so under their own power but rely on Him who is able to sustain and provide. It is God’s empowerment that enables true discipleship.

Pastor Longshore closed with an invitation for those who do not know Jesus Christ, and invitation to receive salvation, to know Him and to enter into discipleship. A further challenge was for believers. They need, they are commanded, to disciple their brethren.