It is my hope to begin to share truths from God’s Word through this blogging process which will help us grow as followers of Jesus Christ. Today I begin a series of blogs based upon the concept of “Presenting every man complete in Christ” from Colossians 1:28-29.This blog is an introduction to this truth. Please stop now and read Colossians 1:28-29. The Apostle Paul describes this purpose of making disciples in a unique way here in Colossians 1:28-29. Paul describes it as presenting every person complete in Jesus Christ. We must visualize this purpose of making disciples as our God given destination as we follow Jesus together. If making followers of Jesus is the task of the church then it must be the purpose of every member of God’s church as well. Decisions lead to paths. Paths lead to destinations. If the church is to be presenting everyone complete in Christ (making disciples) then the decisions and path taken must lead to this purpose/goal. If we are not making disciples then we must evaluate our path and see what decisions or lack of decisions have led us to where we are. We must then determine the path needed and begin to make decisions which we lead us on the path to making disciples. Every decision we make needs to keep us working towards making disciples. Every decision should be moving us further down the road to our destination. Decisions that take us off the path must be avoided. In this description the Apostle Paul reveals the destination, the path, and the power needed to reach the goal. Our hope is that as we consider these concepts we will be able to more clearly understand what God means by presenting people as complete. Our hope is to learn how we can apply this concept to enable us to be truly faithful to the purpose of making disciples of Jesus. In this message today our desire is to ask God to enable us together to see His Destination, His Path, and His Power that together enable us to effectively fulfill His Purpose. Understanding the Destination- “Every Person Complete in Christ”-As we seek to understand the meaning of “Complete” we need to look at other passages from God’s Word. It is always best to allow the Scriptures to define the any specific Scripture passage that seems unclear to us. When a person trusts Jesus alone for salvation the person is placed into Christ. Being “in Christ” means to experience our lives being joined eternally to Christ. Every person who trusts Jesus is given eternal life-a relationship with God. If everyone who trusts in Jesus receives the same gift of eternal life then what is meant by “complete”. We know from Scripture that the word “complete” does not mean to be finished serving. Paul said he had finished the race only as he knew he was facing the end of his life. It does not mean to have arrived at complete maturity with no more growth needed. In Philippians 3: 7-14 Paul clearly says He had not arrived but continued to press towards the goal. It does not mean we no longer struggle with sin. After 30 years of ministry Paul wrote in Romans 7 that he still struggled and would continue to struggle until he was set free from his flesh at death. The Scripture does indicate that we should be growing to be more like Jesus. The Apostle John described followers of Jesus as children, young men and Fathers. This indicates different levels of maturity in the faith. In Galatians 6 Paul urges those that are spiritually mature to help others who are struggling with sin. What does it mean to be complete? How do we know when we have presented a person as complete? The answer is in the process. Once a person has trusted in Jesus a walk with God begins. As the person walks in obedience to Jesus he or she will begin to know and apply God’s Word. This walk with God will lead them to a desire to serve. The person then begins to serve according to the spiritual gifts given to them at salvation. Now the person grows to share Jesus with others and to help others growth in faith. The person grows deeper in intimacy with Christ. Complete means the person is able to hear God voice with confidence. It means the person is being guided by the Lord. The person is serving the Lord. This service is both to the church and to the world. The person is also sharing Christ with others and modeling for them how to follow Jesus. When these goals have been reached and maintained the person is matured or complete in Christ. The person has become a disciple of Jesus. The person continues to grow both deep and wide. Deep in the relationship with God and wide as God flows through the person to bless others. Throughout the Old and New Testament the image of a tree with deep roots and fruit is used to describe this kind of person. The destination of the church is to see everyone God enables them to reach growing to this level of completeness. Now let’s consider the Path to presenting people complete in Christ. To reach this level of spiritual maturity a person must be growing in 3 ways. They must be growing in Faith; a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. They must also be growing in Fruitfulness (ministry and multiplication) Thirdly, they must be growing in Faithfulness. Paul describes the process He used to help lead people on the path towards being complete in Christ. This same process can be followed by the church today. The process includes Proclaiming, Admonishing, Teaching, and Presenting. We will look at each of these steps in detail as God allows us in future blogs. The Power required for the process- to reach the Destination-(vs. 29) Presenting people complete in Christ is described by Paul with the words Labor and Striving. These are pictures of hard work in difficult, uncomfortable circumstances. These words indicate the need to stand firm against the winds of resistance to the Gospel which comes from our enemy. The difficult circumstances of people’s lives and choices along with the spiritual battles required to see God transform lives and communities often discourage the church. Most churches will make an attempt or two to try to reach people. The resistance causes most to quit. It is not easy to make the decisions needed to keep on the path to making disciples. It is much easier to simply love the people we have coming and care for one another. The key to making disciples is to stay connected to the source of power we need. We must at all costs resist the desire to rely on our flesh, or on what we believe we can do ourselves. Decisions based upon what we can see will seldom lead us on a path where God is needed. Only God can transform lives. Yet God has chosen to do this as He works through us enabling us to labor and strive in His field. Paul described it as “His power working mightily in me” Applications -Who are we responsible to “present in Christ”? Everyone we proclaim too. Who do we proclaim too? We cast the seed to every person from our community to the ends of the earth. Applying this Word means to ask and answer honest questions about how we are doing in making disciples. It means making decisions that will lead us on a path which leads to people becoming fully functioning followers of Jesus. Each of us make decisions daily that lead to paths. These paths either lead us closer to Jesus or away from Him. If the church is going to make disciples it will be because I do and you do; we do together. Let me know what you think about the blog. His Kingdom Come! Pastor Joe Durham

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