Sermon Prepared by James McCullen
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Standing Strong for the Lord
Col. 1:23-25

23 if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister. 24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions. 25 Of this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, so that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God, NASU

Introduction
Do you ever watch prize fighters? I grew up in an era of the Wednesday Night Fight so I have watched several of them. I personally talked to a person who could have gotten me into training for the golden gloves (an armature boxing program). As I remember a friend of mine and I were scheduled to enter the program but then I broke my leg.

In boxing one of the greatest flaws is dropping your guard. It is a dump mistake but many boxers do it and pay the consequences.   In   Christianity we can also drop our guard. We can fail to remain steadfast in the faith. Paul seeks to this concern in our text.

Follow as we look at

The . . Provocation for Standing Steadfast In the Lord. v 23

The . . Pain from Standing Steadfast In the Lord. v 24

The . . Preaching for Standing Steadfast In the Lord. v 25
 
 

1. The . . Provocation  Of the Steadfastness In the Lord.  v 23



23 if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister.

A.   Provoked to be Steadfast in . . Faith. v 23 a
        "if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, . . ."

        1.    Steadfast = Seated Used 3 times in the New Testament (ATR)
        1 Cor 7:37 But he who stands firm in his heart, being under no constraint, but has authority over
            his own will,. . . " NASU

        1 Cor 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord,   knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord. NASU
 

B.    Provoked to be Steadfast in . . Hope . v 23 b
        ". . .and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard,

        1.   The Hope of the Gospel
        2.    The Gospel they heard. Not written down as yet.

C.    Provoked to be Steadfast in . . Proclamation. v 23 c
        ". . . which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister.

        1.    Paul was called a DIAKINOS in the GREEK a minister not a deacon.
            a.    Faith has been proclaimed . . Every where.
            b.    Faith has been proclaimed by . . Anyone.

Illustration Standing Up For Jesus, , Boldness,
Von Zealand, Frederick the Great's greatest general, was a Christian, and the king was a scoffer. One day the king was making his coarse jokes about the Saviour and the whole place was ringing with guffaws of laughter. It was too much for old Von Zealand, the general that had won the most numerous and the greatest battles for Prussia, who had almost put the crown on the king's brow.

The old general, with his German militariness, stood up, and, amid the hush of the flatterers and parasites, shaking his gray old head solemnly, he said, "Sire, you know I have not feared death, your know I have fought for you in thirty-eight battles, and thirty-eight battles I have won; but, sire, my hairs are gray, I am an old man, and I shall soon have to go into the presence of a greater than thee -- the mighty God, who saved me from my sin, the Lord Jesus Christ, whom your are blaspheming against. Sire, I cannot stand to hear my Saviour spoken of as thou hast spoken of him.

I salute thee, sire, as an old man, who loves the Saviour, on the edge of eternity," and he sat down. Frederick the Great, with a trembling voice, said, "General Von Zealand, I beg your pardon, I beg your pardon." The company dispersed in silence, and the king reflected that night as he never had done before, on the greater than the great Frederick of Prussia, whom his general reverenced even above his visible sovereign. Ay, stand up for Christ! be noble in it! You never gain anything by sneaking. Stand up for Jesus! testify as this man did, and the power of the living son of God your Saviour will be upon you in your home, in your heart, in the market, in your soul, and in all eternity. -- J. Robertson. Wilbur Chapan, "Present Day Parables."

Application

Paul is telling us we should be always faithful for our Lord.
 
 

2.    The . . Pain of Standing Steadfast In the Lord. v 24


    24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions.
 

A.    Pain may occur as we . . Rejoice In Suffering. v 24 a
        "Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, . . . "

        1.    Paul rejoiced while suffering.
Acts 5:41 So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name. NASU

Acts 16:25 But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them; NASU

Illustration
Lorne Sandy, when president of the Navigators, had the following to say, "If you are suffering without succeeding, then someone will succeed after you. . . . If you are succeeding without suffering, then someone suffered before you."
 

B.    Pain may occur as we . . Relate In Suffering. v 24 b
        "and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, . . . "

        1.    We may suffer for another to succeed.
        2.    We may suffer for the church to advance.
 

C.    Pain may occur as we . . Reflect In Suffering. v 24 c
        ". . . in filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions. "

Col.  1:24 What Is Lacking. Christ did not suffering all the suffering that will be suffered for Christianity.

        1.    "The left-overs," so to speak. (ATR) & (Vin)
        2.    Paul attaches no atoning value whatever to his own sufferings for the church (see also
                Col 1:18). (ATR & Vin.)

        3.    Pain as we realize Additional Suffering may come.
        4.    We have not been called to a bed of roses.

Illustration
Several years ago, our embassy in Beruit was bombed by an automobile or truck that was driven into it and several people were injured. One marine was injured and in addition to the physical injuries or legs, etc. he was blinded. The four star general, who was the commanding officer of that area, went into the hospital and commended these men for their suffering.

A few days later, the commanding officer was advised that it was the birthday of the young marine who had been blinded. The general said, "cancel everything, I'm going over to the hospital." He got four stars and he went over to the hospital and he sought out the blinded marine and said, "I understand it's your birthday today." And he said, "Give me your hand." And as he held up his hand, the general put four stars in his hand and said, "these are for you young man. Happy Birthday." The young marine then asked for the hand of the general and gave back the four stars and said, "simper fie". To those of you who know what simper fie means, the comment is obvious. To those of you who do not know, it means always faithful. And this young marine was simply saying, "I do not deserve anything extra. I was simply remaining faithful." To we who are Christians, a similar motto needs to be lived out in our life. Steadfast because we are always faithful to the Lord.
 

Application

There may be more people suffering because of their Christian faith today than anytime since the first century. It relates to remaining faithful.
 
 

3.    The . . Preaching of Standing Steadfast In the Lord. v 25 


    "Of this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed
on me for your benefit, so that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God,

A.    Preaching as a . . Bestowal. v 25 a
        "Of this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit,

        1.    Bestowed as a . . Mandate.
        2.    Bestowed as a . . Ministry.
                a.    Stewardship bestowed. 1 Cor. 9:16
                    For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe
                    is me if I do not preach the gospel. NASU

Illustration
Some prayers that every preacher should pray.

Make me faithful
Make me firm
Make me fair
Make me fervent
Make me fruitful

B. Preaching as a . . Benefit. v 25 b
        ". . . so that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God, "
 
        1.    The . . Caring of the Preaching.
                a.    An evangelistic lifestyle
                b.    Witness right in town and state.
                c.    Fully Carry it out.

        2.    The . . Content of the Preaching.
                a.    All the scripture.

Illustration
The Missouri Baptist paper called the Word & Way has a classified section in it churches can put an ad in for pastor or staff person and we have done that before. But recently it is very sad to note that churches are putting in their ad must believe the Bible or Bible believing pastor wanted. What a sad day that a church has to specify that their pastor candidate would believe the Bible.

Why do they do that? Because some of them have had pastors who really did not believe in the total message that the Bible presents.

Illustration
I heard this story from two different pastor friends. Recently a Baptist church in St. Louis that probably is a 150 years of age has been known for the last 40 years or so as being rather moderate or liberal.

The church has continued to decline and numerically they are doing poorly although they have a financial backlog. Recently they went out seeking a conservative Bible believing pastor. They found a man in St. Louis at a suburban church that they were interested in and they invited him to come in view of a call.

A group in the church asked him what his thoughts were about homosexuality. Would homosexuals be welcomed in a church that he pastored? He thought they were asking would he allow homosexuals to come in to worship and he said any person is welcome whether they be living in adultery, homosexuality, or any other kind of sin. The doors of the church and the gospel are open to all. The group then realized he did not understand their question and the group asked, what about a person who is a practicing homosexual being a member and active in the church.

This young man related he did not believe that the Bible allowed for that kind of sinful lifestyle to be a part of the church. This group then campaigned against to prospective pastor and he was not voted in. What a sad day when a Baptist church has a group in it that are openly admitting that they live in a homosexual lifestyle.

How long does it take a church to get to where they would approve such as that? I've known this church for 40 years and 40 years ago, I knew it had liberal practices and as the liberal practices have advanced and the commitment to scripture has decayed, the church has become a sad representation of what it used to be.

Illustration
Recently I talked to a pastor search committee over in Southeast Missouri. In the past ten years, this church has not baptized anyone in four of those years. That is zero baptisms in four of the last ten years.

The most important thing that 2 ladies on the committee related to the ordaining women to deacon ministry and to pastoral ministry. When I expressed I did not agree these two ladies on the committee stirred up a protest against me and we advanced no further.

It is a sad day when the ordination of women is more important to a church than the winning of the lost.

Application

Standing for the Faith includes preaching all of the Word of God.
And telling people how to become a Christian
 


Conclusion

THE TICKET
There was a certain man who had worked all his life and was
ready for a vacation. He wanted to go to a far away place he had
never been before. He thought to himself; you are a good person,
you've helped the poor and took care of the needy. So you deserve this trip. He went to the airport and got in line to get on the plane.

In his mind, he felt no need to buy a ticket because of all the great things he has done for people in his lifetime. He thought he had earned this trip. As the line got closer and closer to board the plane, he grew more and more anxious to start enjoying himself on his journey.

It came his turn to pass his ticket in and to the amazement of the
ticket collector, he told her he didn't have a ticket because he
deserved a free trip. He went on to explain what a good person he
was, and how he never hurt anyone or caused anyone any sort of
pain, but the ticket collector told him, "you still need a ticket sir"

He told her "I have never stolen from anyone, nor cheated anyone
in all my life", but still she stood firm and insisted he could not board the plane unless a ticket was given to her.

He said "I have given money to the poor and fed the needy", but
still not being moved the ticket collector said if you want to get on
this plane you have to have a ticket. No exceptions.

The man was shocked. He walked away with his head held down
low and thought to himself, "I figured if I was a good person, who
never hurt anyone and took care of other people, surely I would be able to get a free ride on the plane, but I guess I was wrong".

You may say that is a dumb story! That is what some people think of Heaven. They think if they are good people, who never hurt anyone and take care of others, they will get a free ride into Heaven. But the Bible declares in Ephesians 2: 8-9, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; not by works, so that no one can boast."

Are you trying to go to heaven without the ticket which is commitment to Jesus Christ as Lord?
 

I had a neat conversation with Alex Ledgerwood (Chris and Mary's son and the Coulter's and Young's grandson) as he made a decision in Bible School. I asked him if he knew he was a Christian and he said yes. I asked him why he thought he was a Christian and he said "I did the A B C thing".

To those of you who are uninformed the ABC thing is A = Admit your a sinner, B = Believe Jesus is the Son of God and he will forgive your sin, C= Commit your life to Jesus.

I then asked him how he did that and he said I prayed the prayer and I asked "the prayer in the ABC tract" and he said "no the prayer on that yellow card you gave us yesterday"..

He was very calm about this and I judge he really knew what he was doing. How about You.

The first step of being steadfast is commitment to Christ.