Crosses             LBG                  HateLove

Devotional - week of January 18, 2004


LABORING FOR THE MATURITY OF BELIEVERS

… (It is) Him (Jesus) we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily.  Colossians 1:28-29

Over and over we hear of conflict and carnality in our churches. We hear of ineffective and declining churches. Why?

Could it be that in some cases a pre-occupation with numerical growth has cast a shadow over our attention to the spiritual growth of our members?

In Colossians 1:28-29 Paul writes of his labors for the maturity of believers—this provides a model we could well follow.

Paul preaches the person of Jesus. This is the heart of his message to believers.

An important feature of Paul’s labors for the maturing of his fellow believers is warning. His warnings are mostly against legalism.

Paul teaches believers. In 1 Corinthians 4:17 Paul states that in every church he teaches of his life “in Christ”—which means that in every church he teaches the message of union with Christ in crucifixion, burial, and resurrection.

Paul teaches with wisdom. In 1 Corinthians 1:30 he states that because God has placed us in Christ, He, Christ, is our wisdom.  

Paul testifies in verse 29 that his labors for the maturing of believers are through the power of God at work in him for that purpose.

Christian leaders who follow Paul’s example of laboring for the spiritual maturity of believers will confront many problems in the church.

A church filled with mature believers will be effective in evangelism. The members will worship in an atmosphere of spiritual power. Visitors will know they are in the presence of God.

That church will impact its community with the gospel and with works of divine love.