call, Colossians 1:28&29, Discipleship

My First Ever Sermon…

Colossians 1:28&29. “We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. To this end I labour with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me”.

It .was 20 years ago, I was 19, and working in wakefield and my boss, a dude called Tony vashington, asked me to do a talk on this verse to some youth and children’s workers in Darlington (top north east of England). I was very nervous…. here is (more or less from memory what I remember saying, although I think it was probably peppered with a million “you knows”, “er’s” “ums” and “sort offs”.

We are going to change a few words here and there, maybe tweak it a little.

Let’s change the first word… “We” -the idea of collective responsibility- its is assuming that those of us reading this have bought into the idea of living out the message of this letter. The problem is in our society is that it is always someone else’s problem, yet Paul is saying the work of the Kingdom is our responsibility… but I guess many people would like this verse tweaked to say:

“Keen Christians and leaders and anyone that isn’t me”

“Proclaim” er, um, here we have another problem…

Proclaiming sounds a bit um bold, people might not agree with us, or like what we are saying, lets change “proclaim” to “tentatively suggest”…

-Maybe we could addd in the phrase “it would be jolly nice if you might”

“him” – well that’s Jesus, Jesus is a bit controversial, you can just bout get away with talking loosely about God, or Church, or Spirituality…

The problem is Christianity is all about Jesus Christ, and if it isn’t about Jesus Christ, then it isn’t really Christianity…

Yet, I wonder is JC, well, PC?

Couldn’t we say, “think seriously about Spiritual stuff”?

Admonishing and Teaching “that sounds a bit bold too, implies that we have something to share, rather than just listen to their stories” maybe listen and nod enthusiastically and hope they pick up stuff even if we are not saying anything”

So, where have we got too?

“Church leaders and keen Christians and anyone that’s not me, would be jolly nice, if you could tentatively suggest thinking spiritually about stuff, whilst we listen and nod and hope you pick up stuff even if we’re not saying anything”

with all wisdom… Maybe change that too “with any luck”

“That we may present everyone mature in Christ” -maybe we could change that to “coming to Church reasonably regularly” or maybe if we are being a bit daring we could say “that they may have once pray a -or even (gulp at our bravery”)- THE prayer” or at least we could say “really nice people”….

Now, the last bit is difficult, because we know how important a work life balance is, so instead of saying “to this end I labour, struggling…” maybe I could say “as I’m sure they mean well and are doing their best (I mean what can you expect for the money we pay them!)”.

…and the last bit maybe could say “and I’m sure the good Lord is Jolly grateful”

“Church leaders and other keen Christians and anyone that isn’t me would be jolly nice if they tentatively suggest that people consider thinking about spiritual stuff with any luck they might come to Church, maybe even pray the prayer, but even so they’re lovely people, as they mean well and are doing their best (I mean what can you expect from the money we pay them) and I’m sure the good Lord would be jolly grateful”

Sounds a bit different doesn’t it.

Lets look at the proper passage again.

“We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. To this end I labour with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me”.

Personal responsibility to make Jesus Christ known and to see one another (and ourselves) come to maturitty in Christ as we seek to serve him and each other with wisdom, learning from each other, warning and challenging each other, wanting the best for each other that we might be all we can be in Christ. It is a tough battle, a real struggle, and yet in doing this, we have this awesome promise that Christ himself, the one who is greater than he that is in the world, is working powerfully in us and through us.

Yet how often does the conversation sound like the corrupted verse?

Or even if it doesn’t how much of the corrupted verse actually is want we may secretly think, or at least is a viewpoint within our Church communities.

So, let’s end with this fab verse…

“We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. To this end I labour with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me”.

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