Paul’s teaching in Col. 1:23-2:4 shows us both the need and importance of sharing the gospel to everyone (v. 23-25). Communicating Christ is essential (not optional) and inclusive (not exclusive). But what is the gospel? In a word, its Jesus–who he is, and what he has done for us concerning the remission of sins, redemption of souls (v. 14), and total reconciliation of all creation to its Maker (v. 20). The gospel is a Gift Paul received from God and despite all odds he found his true joy and fulfillment in sharing this grace with others.
It does us well to first notice that sharing the gospel is (1) painful activity (v. 24). It is not something that is easy or comes naturally. Paul had to suffer to share it, but this is precisely where we see one’s commitment to the gospel. What is striking is his positive attitude which came from being assured that this was also (2) purposeful activity (v. 28). Warning and teaching belong together and Paul labored with a singular goal: to present everyone “complete in Christ.”
Further, the paradox in preaching, then and now, is that it is (3) powerful activity (v. 29). God chooses to use his Word along with our weaknesses to manifest His saving power. The gospel is a mystery, but as we faithfully share Christ, the majesty and purposes of God are revealed as it unveils Christ, the “hope of glory!” In all this, we must not forget that communicating Christ, especially in times of religious fundamentalism, is a thoroughly (4) pastoral activity (2:1-3). We need to show solidarity with those whom we serve. Like Jesus we must go about not just teaching and preaching but also healing. Churches must become reconciling communities in which people’s hearts are knit together with Christlike love.
The stronger our faith, the warmer our love and the greater our confidenence will be as we communicate Christ! As I teach preaching and communications at SAIACS, a question I’ve been asking myself is what exactly this means and how it should look within India’s pluralistic yet hi-tech society?