A few weeks ago, I addressed the issue of what our mission as a church really is, Biblically speaking, from Colossians 1:28-29.  In those verses, Paul says, “28 Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. 29 For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.”

I don’t believe that Paul was talking only about his purpose as a vocational minister of the gospel (i.e. his role as an apostle); I think he was describing his ministry purpose simply as a follower of Jesus Christ.  In other words, I believe that this statement applies to all believers everywhere across all time.  

But what exactly do these verses mean?

The first three words of verse 28 show us the content of our ministry.  Paul says, “Him we proclaim.”  If you look back at verse 27, you’ll see that he’s talking about Christ.  The mystery that’s been hidden for generations and ages, but has now been revealed to the saints is that Christ is in the gentiles, and that this is the hope of glory. Therefore, it’s Christ that we proclaim.

The word “proclaim” here means to announce or preach. But when you hear that, I don’t want you to think that it is simply preaching (i.e. what a pastor does on a Sunday morning). That is certainly part of it, but it is not the limit of it. The word simply means to announce. It could be to one person. It could be to a thousand people. It could happen in a casual conversation. It could happen in a formal, structured setting.

Ultimately, as ministers of Jesus Christ, every single one of us are “proclaimers.” We are “announcers” of a message. And what I love here is that the message that Paul proclaims is so incredibly simple and straightforward.

He has one message, and that’s Christ. Whether he’s preaching to the intellectuals in Athens, or whether he’s preaching to prisoners in the Roman jail, the message is always and only Christ.

You might say, “But I’ve read the New Testament (or at least parts of it), and Paul talks about more than just Christ.  How can you say that his only message is Christ?” Well, are you sure about that? 

“Sure,” you say, “he talks about marriage.” Well, you’re right. He does say, “Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it.”  But notice that his basis for teaching on marriage is Jesus.

“Well, he talks about parenting.” Right again. “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”  Again, Christ is the basis for our understanding of parenting.

“He talks about forgiving one another.” Yes, he does.  “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”  

“He talks about giving.” You’re right, and here’s the reason why. It’s because “we know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for our sake he became poor, so that we by his poverty might become rich.”

I don’t care what page you turn to in the NT, ultimately every single command, warning, exhortation, etc. finds its foundation in Christ. That is why it is Christ that we proclaim.

Here’s what that means for us practically in our ministry. We don’t need to talk to people you know about God. I think I know what people mean when they say that, but sometimes I’m not so sure. Your unsaved friends and family already know about God, even if they deny it. God Himself told us that what may be known about Him is evident within in them because God has made it evident to them. They may deny it and suppress it. But everyone knows about God.

What they need to know about is Christ. We need to talk to our unsaved friends and family members about Christ. Christ is the message that we need to be proclaiming to them. They need Him, because no one comes to the Father without Him.

Here’s another one:  when we’re given the opportunity to help someone in the fight against sin, they don’t need our wisdom, they need Christ. What’s going to help the addict? Who’s going to mend the broken family? What does the woman struggling with abortion need? They all need Christ.

They need to hear how Christ impacts their life and their situation. They need to know what Christ has done for them and can do for them. The only hope for them is Christ, and so, they need to hear about Christ. 

For me, as a pastor, as I stand up and preach week in and week out, what should the constant theme of my messages be? It should be Christ. When I open the Scriptures, people should see Christ.

For us as a church, in everything we do and say, Christ should be the message we proclaim. And so, the content of our ministry (in every sense of that word) is very simply Christ.

And so, in our mission to present everyone perfect in Jesus, the content of our ministry is Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ alone.  Nothing else has the power to transform hearts and lives like the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ.

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