Christ In You
In the past few years and months I have heard of sermons having to do with growing in your suffering, rejoicing in your suffering and such as that. Paul was writing from a place of suffering, and he was suffering for the cause of Christ and the cross. Can we or should we rejoice in suffering?
If we are to rejoice in suffering; how is that possible? It does seem that while Paul was suffering from imprisonment in a Roman prison he was rejoicing in Jesus our Lord and Savior. He has voiced words of approval of the people of Colossae, so we see he was not bitter. He did not complain. You hear nothing but contentment, and peace in his words.
Just how is it we can rejoice in suffering? Does this rejoicing include all suffering, such as sickness, financial hardship, family problems – marriage or having to do with children? It seems that we can rejoice in suffering, and in all forms of suffering.
There is a “Mystery” revealed in this passage of Scripture which gives us reason to believe that we can suffer and rejoice in the suffering as well. It is the mystery of “Christ in you, the hope of glory”.
I. REJOICING IN THE SUFFERING OF AFFLICTIONS OF CHRIST (v. 24). See MacArthur
II. CALLED TO FULFILL THE WORD OF GOD (vv. 25-26).
III. THE MYSTERY REVEALED AS ‘CHRIST IN YOU, THE HOPE OF GLORY’ (v. 27).
IV. THE PREACHING, THE PRESENTATION, THE PERFECTION, AND THE POWER (vv. 28-29).
In verse 23 Paul states that he is a “Minister of Christ”, and in verse 24 “And now rejoice in my sufferings for you”. Paul was REJOICING IN THE SUFFERING OF AFFLICTIONS OF CHRIST (v. 24). How can Paul do this? The word for “Rejoice” here means “to be full of cheer”. Cheerful and suffering just do not even seem to belong in the same sentence little lone the same life together.
What would the word “Cheerful” mean if we had no suffering? Would the word or the condition even exist? That goes with the words of a song of several years ago which says, “If I never had a problem, how could I know that God could solve them?”
Here are some thoughts from John MacArthur on why suffering is a cause for joy,
“First, suffering brings believers closer to Christ.” (Philippians 3:10). “Second, suffering assures the believer that he belongs to Christ.” (John 15:18; Matthew 10:24; 2 Timothy 3:12; 1 Peter 4:14). “Third, suffering brings a future reward.” (Rom. 8:17-18; 2 Cor. 4:17). “Fourth, suffering can result in the salvation of others.” “Fifth, suffering frustrates Satan. He wants suffering to harm us, but God brings good out of it.” The above quotes by John MacArthur are from The MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Colossians/Philemon pg. 75.
In suffering for Christ, Paul was fulfilling the will of God and Jesus Christ in his life. For every child of God that suffers for the faith, Christ is glorified and exalted above all. Thus, suffering for Jesus fulfills the suffering of Christ for the Church. This has no redemptive purpose, but is due to redemption.
Paul saw his ministry to the church as being one CALLED TO FULFILL THE WORD OF GOD (vv. 25-26). There were many things that had been hidden in mystery (a secret hidden in the past, but now revealed) concerning grace, salvation, and the church. These things were not even seen in the law, but were there. Such things as having a “Heart of stone” and it becoming “Heart of flesh”;
“And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:” Ezekiel 11:19.
“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26 (KJV).
The only way this kind of change is possible in an individual’s life is through the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Word of God is fulfilled when these wonderful things have been made plain. They are now revealed, and open for all to see, hear, and receive. To some, whose eyes may be darkened to the light of the Gospel, it will remain a mystery, and only by the power of God will they ever see. That is the only way it ever came to be in the first place.
There is a glorious thing about all of this, and that is THE MYSTERY REVEALED AS ‘CHRIST IN YOU, THE HOPE OF GLORY’ (v. 27). This is a wonderful, glorious thing. Our hearts should be full to overflowing to think, to know that Jesus Christ is in us. He is in us individually, and as a corporate body of believers when we are gathered together.
How can sinful people have the essence of holiness living within them? It is by the grace of God. How can we as the people of God – made so by grace – continue to live in our own power, and not rely on the One who lives, who abides within us?
The answer to the problem of the “Mystery” is “Christ in you”. You will not find that in the law, or in the Old Testament. Jesus Himself is “The Hope of Glory”. He is our hope of being with Him in glory ie., heaven. He is though, far more than just a hope. He is our salvation. He is our joy. He is our strength. He is our Savior. He is our Lord. He is our Master. He is the One in whom we trust. He is Creator, and our creator. He is Sovereign. He is All-present. He is All-powerful. He is All-knowing. He is God. He lives in those who confess Him as their personal Lord and Savior, whose lives He has changed.
Jesus did say to us, “Abide in Me…” (John 15:4). To abide in Him is to have Him abiding in us. The two go together “Abide in Me, and I in you.” O, the things we must give unto Him to make His life and presence revealed to this lost and dying world. Wherever we go do others see “Christ in you, the hope of glory”, or do they just see the ordinary? May God help me to have others see Christ in me, the hope of glory for others.
THE PREACHING, THE PRESENTATION, THE PERFECTION, AND THE POWER (vv. 28-29). Why did Paul suffer for the cause of Jesus Christ? Why did he rejoice in his suffering? He gives us the answer in these two verses.
He desired to present to Christ in that day a people who were complete in Christ. It is not a work to be left to the disciples own doing. The individual disciple of Christ is ultimately responsible for their own growth in Christ, but only after they have been taught the way; you might even say, after they have been taught to feed themselves.
All those who are in Christ will have presentations to make before Christ. The ones we have led to faith in Jesus will be there for that presentation. Do you desire that they be complete? That should be a strong burden for every Christian, ie., to see the newborn to faith in Christ grow from a babe to full grown adulthood.
The only way we can accomplish this, of course, is through the power of God – Christ in us, the hope of glory. We have no power, but His. We have no Word, but His. We have no spirit to accomplish this task, but His.
I. THERE IS REJOICING WHEN WE SUFFER FOR THE NAME OF CHRIST, AND IN HIS NAME.
II. AS CHRISTIANS WE HAVE BEEN CALLED TO FULFILL THE WILL OF CHRIST IN OUR LIVES.
III. LET THE TRUTH OF ‘CHRIST IN YOU, THE HOPE OF GLORY’ NO LONGER BE A MYSTERY.
IV. GROW IN LOVE AND BE BURDENED TO SEE OTHERS GROW IN GRACE AND KNOWLEDGE OF JESUS CHRIST; THAT YOU MIGHT PRESENT THEM COMPLETE BEFORE JESUS AT HIS COMING.
-Tim A. Blankenship