"Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in
all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ
Jesus. To this end I labor, striving according to His
working which works in me mightily" (Colossians 1:28,29).
Paul is writing to the Colossian Christians. He is writing
to brothers and sisters in Christ whom he has never met
face-to-face, and he is writing to them from jail. What will
he say? How does he introduce himself? What we have in the
first chapter of Colossians is very little about Paul
himself. Instead, Paul takes the opportunity to introduce
Another - or rather, to re-introduce Him. For we have here,
in this first chapter of Colossians, that great revelation
of Christ and God's Purpose: "That in all things [Christ]
may have the preeminence" (Colossians 1:18b). Everything
about this first chapter of Colossians is designed to take
us deeply into Christ, and these depths are so deep that it
takes your breath away. This is Paul's introduction, and
what an introduction it is!
So when we come to the end of this first chapter, down to
verses 28 and 29, we gain some insight into Paul's purpose.
What drives him? What is his intention? What is he called to
And what exactly is this purpose? After giving us this
magnificent vision of Christ in all His glory, in all His
preeminence, in verse 28 Paul finally tells us something
about what he is doing: "Him we preach." HIM we preach. HIM
we preach. Who? Christ. This glorious Christ Jesus of Whom
he has been speaking....
Paul was not occupied with Christianity per se, and he would
have nothing in common with the Churchianity we are all so
familiar with; he was forever and always occupied with
CHRIST. "Him we preach." ...
We have taken "church planting" as a goal, or a means to a
goal, when the goal is not "church planting" at all. What
were they really doing? Not planting churches, but planting
Christ - sowing the Word, the Living Word, so that He will
find some good ground to build His Church upon. Those who
believed were called disciples, and together they are
referred to as the Church. That is the right order of
things. Christ must have the preeminence: the first, the
full, and the final place, and when He has that kind of
position then we will see disciples made and ekklesias come
In addition to the Scriptures we have already referenced,
consider the following:
"For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord"
(II Corinthians 4:5a).
"Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of
Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth,
whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even
by him doth this man stand here before you whole" (Acts
"And daily in the temple, and in every house, they
ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ" (Acts
"Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and
preached Christ unto them" (Acts 8:5).
"Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same
scripture, and preached unto him Jesus" (Acts 8:35).
"[Paul] preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection"
"And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia,
Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the
Jews that Jesus was Christ" (Acts 18:5).
"We preach Christ crucified" (I Corinthians 1:23a).
"I determined not to know any thing among you, save
Jesus Christ, and him crucified" (I Corinthians 2:2).
"O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye
should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus
Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among
you?" (Galatians 3:1).
"But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross
of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified
unto me, and I unto the world" (Galatians 6:14).
"Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is
this grace given, that I should preach among the
Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ" (Ephesians
"What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in
pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein
do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice" (Philippians 1:18).
"As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so
walk ye in him" (Colossians 2:6).
So Paul tells us the secret of his success and the key to
the whole New Testament - for that matter, the key to the
whole Bible and the Key to Everything. After presenting us
with this glorious unveiling of Christ, Paul does not say,
"This is WHAT we preach," but "This is WHOM we preach." ...
Let us keep reading verse 28: "Him we preach, warning every
man and teaching every man in all wisdom." In ALL wisdom.
You know, a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing.
Every denomination is based on a little bit of knowledge
taken to an extreme, and before long that specialty becomes
the thing they stand for. Free Will, Pentecostal, African
Methodist Episcopal, Baptist, Holiness, Apostolic,
Prophetic, Reformed, Charismatic, House Church, all of them
stand for a particular "thing" and make that "thing" their
There are only two sources of wisdom: the Scriptures and the
Holy Spirit, and both these are always pointing us to
Christ, "in Whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and
knowledge" (Colossians 2:3). We need a good working
knowledge of the Scriptures and a good working relationship
with the Spirit in order to say we are truly speaking with
all wisdom. The Scriptures are the objective standard by
which all our subjective revelations may be measured.
... I can take the Scriptures and weigh what you are saying,
and you can do the same thing with me. If it lines up
with the Scriptures then we can accept it, but if it does
not, then we can reject it. That is what it means to
exercise good, sound spiritual discernment.
Or look at it the other way. Take the Scriptures without the
inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Just use your mind and try
to figure it all out. What will be the result? Error and
deception. Just see what a man like Joseph Smith or a woman
like Mary Baker-Eddy can do by taking one or two passages
out of context! They did not know how to rightly divide the
Scriptures, and they did not submit themselves to the
authority of the Holy Spirit, the One Who interprets the
Scriptures for us. To take the Scriptures and try to study
them the same way you would study math or history or social
studies is a grave mistake. Give a Bible to someone who does
not have the Spirit of God for a teacher and you end up with
either a Pharisee or a false prophet. Jesus pointed out that
even though the Pharisees searched the Scriptures they
failed to recognize Him, refused to come to Him, and
eventually got rid of him - all the while clinging to their
carnal understanding of the Law, and quoting Scripture the
whole time! Why, even the devil can quote Scripture, just as
he did in the temptation of Christ.
What am I getting at? I am saying that the Holy Spirit
confirms the truth revealed within the Scriptures, and the
Scriptures confirm the truth that is revealed by the Spirit
(or, disproves what is purported to be the Spirit when it is
not the Spirit). We need both, and this is what I see in
that one key phrase: "in all wisdom." ...
We come to the end of verse 28, a very rich verse indeed,
but there is more. Every word is priceless. We are about to
discover the reason behind all this. Whenever we see the
word "that" in Scripture we should listen carefully because
we are about to be told the "why", the reason, the
purpose behind what was just stated. Now Paul writes,
"Him we preach, warning every man and
teaching every man in all wisdom." Why do you do it,
Paul? What makes you tick? What motivates you? What are you
driving at? What is the point? What is the goal?
"That we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus."
Now when we see
the word "perfect" here, let us understand that the sense of
the word does not mean sinless perfection, but rather,
spiritual maturity. Perfection, according to Paul, is
spiritual adulthood. It is the full-knowledge of Christ. ...
Paul might have buckled under the pressure. He certainly
grew weary. He certainly was misunderstood, rejected, and
persecuted. He suffered so much. What kept him going? Verse
29 of Colossians 1 says, "To this end I labor, striving
according to His working which works in me mightily." He
labors, and he strives. ... But there is something more
extraordinary at work in Paul, something more than sheer
willpower or determination. I tell you willpower will only
take you so far. Willpower is overrated. We need something
else, something supernatural, something that does not rely
upon my limited willpower. What was it?
"I strive according to HIS WORKING
which works in me mightily." It was not the strength
of Paul, but the strength of Christ in Paul, and through
this Christ, Paul said, "I can do all
things" (Philippians 4:13). All things!
So Christ was working mightily in Paul in order to
accomplish His Purpose. Did Paul succeed? Yes - but Paul did
not see the fulfillment of that glorious mission. Paul was
finished, but God's Purpose was not. God's Purpose would
continue on beyond Paul, down through the generations,
and today the torch is being handed off to this generation,
and when our time has passed, if the Lord tarries, we will
hand the torch off to the next generation. How could Paul
have imagined that we would be here today, nearly two
thousand years later, discussing those letters of his,
getting captivated by that same Christ Whom he preached?
And so we have taken this small passage of Scripture for our
very own, because I believe it speaks to the exact purpose
for which we have come together in this School of Christ. If
someone asks, "What is your goal? What is your reason for
living? Why this website, and why this School of Christ?
What are you getting at?" My answer is this: we preach
Christ, and we warn every man and teach every man with all
wisdom, that we may bring every man into a perfect,
complete, mature, and fully-developed relationship with
Jesus Christ. To this end we will labor and strive
according to His working which works in us mightily. Amen.
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