What is the purpose of the Church in the world? What should our goal be as far as ministry? Many believe that it is either to evangelize or to worship and glorify God. I would say that they are part of the bigger plan. Certainly the Glory of God is ultimate goal. However, this is done simultaneously not only through evangelism and worship, but ultimately by bringing sinners to maturity in Christ. Thus evangelizing, worshiping and also instructing people to bring them to completion in Christ (who then evangelize, worship and bring others to maturity) glorifies God in the ultimate sense.
The Apostle Paul’s goal in life and ministry is given to us in the verses that lead us from the end of Colossians 1 and into chapter 2. He tells them;
Colossians 1:28-29 Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. 29 To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily.
To “present every man perfect in Christ.” is the goal that accomplishes God’s purpose and thus tends the most to His Glory. This includes their coming to faith and learning to worship and live for Him. It also includes our ministry to them in that process. It is done by the ministry of preaching, teaching and warning every man in all wisdom. The inculcation of the primary truths of the Gospel is the substance of it all.
Colossians 2:1-3 For I want you to know what a great conflict I have for you and those in Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh, 2 that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
Encouragement, love and assurance are the basis of the the “perfected” man. They are rooted in an understanding of the knowledge of the great mystery of the Gospel; that God would make His enemies into His sons and daughters and give them a perfect standing in righteousness before Him through the sacrifice of His only Son. As we embrace this basic idea and begin to grow in our understanding of its implications, we gain more encouragement, grow in our love for God and one another, and become more assured of our place in His plan. The depth of that mystery is unfathomable, just as the God who has planned it and brought it to pass as a result of and yet in spite of our rebellion. As we trust God and His plan we are changed and grow in this simple yet profound truth.
This is the goal of all ministry. Not to present “new” truths or to grow up beyond the basics of the Gospel, but to help people to grow deeper in their grasp and appropriation of this basic truth. It is when we try to move beyond it that we move toward error, as the Apostle warns them next;
Colossians 2:4-8 Now this I say lest anyone should deceive you with persuasive words. 5 For though I am absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ. 6 As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, 7 rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. 8 Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.
The questions then come; What are you looking for in your walk with Christ? What are you trying to accomplish with your ministry? If it is not to move into a deeper apprehension and application of the fundamental concepts of the Gospel, then it is likely that you will be lead or lead others away from the true Faith, away from the Glory of God. I encourage you to listen to the audio of this message and contemplate the truths as we find them here in the letter to the Colossians; to evaluate your walk and ministry and to seek the Glory of God through His ordained means.
Perfect in Christ – AUDIO