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Lesson 3 on Colossians: Christ the Head of the Local Church

Subjective Work of Christ for Saints – Colossians 1.24-29
(12 questions with answers following)
Added on  May 9, 2017

Click here to go to the “Bible Studies on the Doctrine of the Church” (Has links to all lessons)
Click here to go to Lesson 4

Answers at the end, following the questions. Those who disagree with anything please see the note at the end. Reasoned dialogue is encouraged and any Bible or fact based comments, if made in a Christian manner in an attempt to get to the truth will be considered.

This is an open book quiz meant to challenge the Bible believer – the saved person who believes the Word of God rather than the person who tries to fit particular Scriptures into a system of interpretation meant to validate one’s desired view of how things should be by philosophizing, allegorizing, or spiritualizing chosen Scriptures. The literal meaning, taken in its immediate context and within the context of all related Scripture is the basis for these studies. It is presented for the glory of God.

Colossians directs our attention to the head of the body who is Christ. The body itself is secondary. Christ is the theme. He is the center of the circle around which all Christian living revolves. Christ is the fullness of God. The dominating thought is that Christ is all I need; He is everything. He is the primary object, and the thought passes downward to the church as the body of Christ.

Colossians was written to the local church at Colosse (with the principles to be applied by all local churches and believers) to counteract the heresy of Gnosticism, the first heresy in the church. There were many forms of Gnosticism, and in Colosse there were the Essenes. There are three points of identification for this group: (1) They had an exclusive spirit. They felt that they were the people—they had knowledge in the jug and held the stopper in their hands. Thus, they felt that they were super-duper in knowledge and knew more than anyone else, including the Apostles. (2) They held speculative tenets on creation. They taught that God did not create the universe directly, but created a creature who in turn created another creature, until one finally created the physical universe. Christ was considered a creature in this long series of creations.  Paul refutes this in Colossians 1:15-19. (3) They practiced asceticism and unrestrained licentiousness. They got the asceticism from the influence of Greek Stoicism and the unrestrained licentiousness from the influence of Greek Epicureanism. Paul refutes this in Colossians 2.16, 23 and 3.5-9.

See, J. Vernon McGee, Colossians for more on this.

Colossians 1: 24-29 [Subjective Work of Christ for the Saints] “24 Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church: 25 Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; 26 Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: 27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: 28 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: 29 Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.”

Questions:

Subjective Work of Christ for Saints: 1.24-29:

  1. 1.24 says “Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church.” Paul was ____________ in his body for the sake of Christ’s body. When Paul (and other believers) ________ for the body (the local church), it completes the ____________ of Christ. Thus, there is still something to be ______. Paul is writing from prison and here he says he has fulfilled all his _____________ in fulfillment of Ac. 9.15-16: “15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: 16 For I will shew him how great things he must ________ for my name’s sake.” These _____________ of Paul were not redemptive.
  2. There are two kinds of _____________: ministerial ____________ and mediatorial ____________. Christ’s sufferings were mediatorial. Meditorial sufferings are of two kinds: Those which Christ endured and in which we ________ This is His human ____________ which he endured as a _____. These sufferings would include:

    (1) hunger and thirst
    (2) loneliness
    (3) anguish, pain, and sorrow
    (4) weariness
    (5) all of the above
    (6) none of the above

    Click here to listen to a teaching by Dr. J. Vernon McGee which gives the answers to the questions 3a. and 3b: The Subjective Work of Christ for Saints – His (and the Believer’s) Sufferings
  3. Christ experienced two types of suffering which He could not share:

    a. The first suffering which Christ could not share was His human suffering. Paul wrote, “For every man shall bear his own burden” (Ga. 6.5). Thus, there are certain burdens we must each bear _______. We are born _______, feel pain _______. We must face certain problems _______. There is a sorrow that comes which no one can share with us. No one can take our place when we become sick. You cannot take your child’s place when he or she becomes sick. No one can go through the valley of the shadow of death for another.

    b. The second ____________ which Christ could not share was His ____________ as the Son of God. We see this suffering in Psalm 69. In verses 11 and 12, we learn that He was the song of ___________ and that He made ___________ His garment. Because He was the son of God, He was __________ by the Roman soldiers. The soldiers of the high priest _________ Him. They played a game in which they _____________ him, and all the soldiers _____ him with their fists. Even when he named the right one, they would not admit it but would ___________ him again and play the same game. He was marred more than any man. His face was beaten to a ______. He ___________ in a way no man has ever ___________ because he ___________ as the Son of God.
  4. Christ also endured sufferings which we can share:

    a. There is the suffering for _____________’ sake. Jesus suffered for _____________’ sake. “But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the _______, which I have heard of God” (John 8:40). Believers are to continue in the example of Paul and the other Apostles. When they do so, they will experience ministerial suffering. They will suffer _____________. “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer _____________” (2 Timothy 3:12). If you are going to live for God, if you are going to take a stand for the right, you will find that you will be passed by. God’s men are passed by today in the distribution of ___________ honors. “The world and many ‘Christians’ will damn the man of God with faint ________, and they will praise him with faint _______.” That is the way many believers as well as lost people treat _______ men. Athletes are lauded; people in the entertainment world are praised; politicians are praised; professors are honored; Christian __________ who have forsaken Bible truth concerning church _______________ teach their ______ at seminaries, Bible __________, and ___________ and sell their heretical books to Christians who _________ follow their teachings; and heretical __________ and _________ within the “Christian” sphere are lauded, praised, and looked up to by millions and their books, sermons, ____________ and __________ teachings, etc. are believed and followed. But the believer who teaches the truth about certain matters is ___________. If you stand for the things that are right in this world, you will suffer for righteousness’ sake. Paul understood this. That will be the lot for anyone who stands for _____ using _______ methods.

    b. Then there is the suffering in the measure we identify ourselves with Christ for the proclamation of the _________ The Lord Jesus made this clear, “If the _______ ______ you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the ________, the _______ would love his own: but because ye are not of the _______, but I have chosen you out of the ________, therefore the world _________ you” (John 15:18-19). “The popularity of the world and the ‘Christian’ community is in inverse ration with his popularity with Christ.” If you are popular with the world and with the general “Christian” community in America, you will not be popular with Christ. The child of God is to take his rightful place and identify himself with Christ. When we suffer for Christ, the Lord Jesus is also suffering through us, through His local church you are a member of.

    Remember what the Lord Jesus said to Saul on the road to __________, “Saul, Saul, why ______________ thou me” (Acts 9.4). Saul thought he was ______________ Christians. He was shocked to learn that he was actually ______________ the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus suffers when His children are ____________.

    If the Gospel and the truths of the Word of God are to go forward today, someone must _________. Believers who take the Word of God seriously and act upon the truths therein will _________. Local churches who take the Word of God seriously will understand that they “are no more ____________ and _____________, but _________________ with the saints, and of the ___________ of God; And are built upon the ______________ of the apostles and prophets, ________ ________ himself being the chief ________ _______; In whom all the ___________ fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an _____________ of God through the Spirit” (Ep. 2:19-22).
  5. “ Whereof I am made a ___________, according to the _______________ of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the ______ of God” (Col. 1.25). “Dispensation means:

    a. age
    b. economy
    c. financing
    d. none of the above
  6. How many of God’s dispensations have been based on the redemption that is in Christ Jesus?
  7. In Colossians 1.25, Paul makes clear that this is a new dispensation of _____, given ______, “for ______” (____________).
  8. A mystery is something that had not been revealed in the _____ ___________ but is now revealed. The mystery spoken of in Colossians 1.26 that is that God would now put _________ on the same basis as the __________. God is now saving both ______ and __________, people of all _______, and making them part of the ________ of God. God also ordains local autonomous New Testament __________ made up of born again _____________. This mystery was now made manifest not only to Paul, but also to his ________.
  9. Christ in the believer is the “______ of ________” (Colossians 1.27).
  10. The gospel is (see Colossians 1.28):

    a. what we preach
    b. whom we preach
    c. both a and b
    d. neither a nor b
  11. “Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus” (Colossians 1.28). This verse commands believers:

    a. to preach the gospel in order to win sinners to Christ and to save them from the wrath that is to come.
    b. to build up believers so that they may grow in grace and be faithful members of and serve Christ in the local assembly.
    c. both of the above
    d. neither of above
  12. According to Colossians 1.29, Paul is laboring according to _____ working, which worked in Paul ___________, to do the things commanded in verse 28. Oh, would the desire of every believer be to

    a. get out the gospel that men might be saved
    b. baptize them into a local New Testament church
    c. build them up in the faith
    d. all of the above.

Answers

Subjective Work of Christ for Saints: 1.24-29:

  1. 1.24 says “Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church.” Paul was suffering in his body for the sake of Christ’s body. When Paul (and other believers) suffer for the body (the local church), it completes the suffering of Christ. Thus, there is still something to be done. Paul is writing from prison and here he says he has fulfilled all his sufferings in fulfillment of Ac. 9.15-16: “15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: 16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.” These sufferings of Paul were not redemptive.
  2. There are two kinds of sufferings: ministerial suffering and mediatorial suffering. Christ’s sufferings were mediatorial. Meditorial sufferings are of two kinds: Those which Christ endured and in which we cannot This is His human suffering which he endured as a man. These sufferings would include:

    (5) all of the above (hunger and thirst; loneliness; anguish, pain, and sorrow; weariness)

    Click here to listen to a teaching by Dr. J. Vernon McGee which gives the answers to the questions 3a. and 3b: The Subjective Work of Christ for Saints – His (and the Believer’s) Sufferings
  3. Christ experienced two types of suffering which He could not share:

    a. The first suffering which Christ could not share was His human suffering. Paul wrote, “For every man shall bear his own burden” (Ga. 6.5). Thus, there are certain burdens we must each bear alone. We are born alone, feel pain alone. We must face certain problems alone. There is a sorrow that comes which no one can share with us. No one can take our place when we become sick. You cannot take your child’s place when he or she becomes sick. No one can go through the valley of the shadow of death for another.

    b. The second suffering which Christ could not share was His suffering as the Son of God. We see this suffering in Psalm 69. In verses 11 and 12, we learn that He was the song of drunkards and that He made sackcloth His garment. Because He was the son of God, He was arrested by the Roman soldiers. The soldiers of the high priest mocked Him. They played a game in which they blindfolded him, and all the soldiers hit him with their fists. Even when he named the right one, they would not admit it but would blindfold him again and play the same game. He was marred more than any man. His face was beaten to a pulp. He suffered in a way no man has ever suffered because he suffered as the Son of God.
  4. Christ also endured sufferings which we can share:

    a. There is the suffering for righteousness’ sake. Jesus suffered for righteousness’ sake. “But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God” (John 8:40). Believers are to continue in the example of Paul and the other Apostles. When they do so, they will experience ministerial suffering. They will suffer persecution. “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12). If you are going to live for God, if you are going to take a stand for the right, you will find that you will be passed by. God’s men are passed by today in the distribution of earthly honors. “The world and many ‘Christians’ will damn the man of God with faint praise, and they will praise him with faint damns.” That is the way many believers as well as lost people treat God’s men. Athletes are lauded; people in the entertainment world are praised; politicians are praised; professors are honored; Christian lawyers who have forsaken Bible truth concerning church organization teach their lies at seminaries, Bible Colleges, and churches and sell their heretical books to Christians who blindly follow their teachings; and heretical teachers and pastors within the “Christian” sphere are lauded, praised, and looked up to by millions and their books, sermons, heretical and apostate teachings, etc. are believed and followed. But the believer who teaches the truth about certain matters is vilified. If you stand for the things that are right in this world, you will suffer for righteousness’ sake. Paul understood this. That will be the lot for anyone who stands for God using God’s methods.

    b. Then there is the suffering in the measure we identify ourselves with Christ for the proclamation of the Gospel. The Lord Jesus made this clear, “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you” (John 15:18-19). “The popularity of the world and the ‘Christian’ community is in inverse ration with his popularity with Christ.” If you are popular with the world and with the general “Christian” community in America, you will not be popular with Christ. The child of God is to take his rightful place and identify himself with Christ. When we suffer for Christ, the Lord Jesus is also suffering through us, through His local church you are a member of.

    Remember what the Lord Jesus said to Saul on the road to Damascus, “Saul, Saul, why persecuteth thou me” (Acts 9.4). Saul thought he was persecuting Christians. He was shocked to learn that he was actually persecuting the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus suffers when His children are persecuted.

    If the Gospel and the truths of the Word of God are to go forward today, someone must suffer. Believers who take the Word of God seriously and act upon the truths therein will suffer. Local churches who take the Word of God seriously will understand that they “are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit” (Ep. 2:19-22).
  5. “Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God” (Col. 1.25). “Dispensation means:

    b. economy
  6. All of God’s dispensations have been based on the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.
  7. In Colossians 1.25, Paul makes clear that this is a new dispensation of God, given Paul, “for you” (believers).
  8. A mystery is something that had not been revealed in the Old Testament but is now revealed. The mystery spoken of in Colossians 1.26 is that God would now put Israel on the same basis as the Gentiles. God is now saving both Jews and Gentiles, people of all races, and making them part of the family of God. God also ordains local autonomous New Testament churches made up of born again believers. This mystery was now made manifest not only to Paul, but also to his saints.
  9. Christ in the believer is the “hope of glory” (Colossians 1.27).
  10. The gospel is (see Colossians 1.28):

    b. whom we preach
  11. “Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus” (Colossians 1.28). This verse commands believers:

    c. both of the above (to preach the gospel in order to win sinners to Christ and to save them from the wrath that is to come, and to build up believers so that they may grow in grace and be faithful members of and serve Christ in the local assembly)
  12. According to Colossians 1.29, Paul is laboring according to his working, which worked in Paul mightily, to do the things commanded in verse 28. Oh, would the desire of every believer be to

    d. all of the above (get out the gospel that men might be saved, baptize them into a local New Testament church, build them up in the faith).

Should you disagree with an answer given, please explain why you disagree in the comment section below the article. All reasoned comments will be published, perhaps with reply. The purpose of this website is the Glory of God. God cannot be glorified by shutting out honest disagreement in the search for truth. The author would be interested in your explanation. The comments are required by the website to be approved or disapproved. The author is very busy with many matters and may or may not immediately notice your comment. He will address it as soon as he notices it. He almost always approves comments presented with a godly spirit. He never alters comments. Sometimes, he replies to comments.


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