Explore The Bible Study: The Gospels Goal

7:30 AM

How have your goals changed over the years? Are there goals you no longer desire to pursue? Are there new goals that have become more important? Paul had some goals regarding the gospel that will be examined in the Explore The Bible Study: The Gospel's Goal. As you walk through this study, record one goal for developing your own spiritual maturity as well as the name of one person who you may also encourage in that direction.

Paul’s goal was to serve the church because of the gospel, no matter the difficulties - Colossians 1:24-27

In this passage Paul declared that he rejoiced in the suffering because of the fact that he desired to see people transformed by the gospel. He called himself a servant who was commissioned to reveal the mystery and hope of the gospel to all people, including the Gentiles.

Paul considered himself a servant whose task was to make the gospel fully known to all. It wasn’t an easy task, but it was a rewarding task because of his love for God and for people. Not only did Paul tell people about Jesus, but he labored to help others grow spiritually through knowledge of God’s will.

Paul was able to rejoice even though he suffered, because he suffered on behalf of others and because his suffering allowed him to identify with Jesus Christ. Paul was enduring suffering on behalf of Christ. Paul endured his sufferings for the sake of the body (Christ’s church). Paul was willing to suffer on behalf of the church because he saw himself as the church’s servant. God gave him a commission to proclaim the gospel, and suffering was included with the commission.

  • How hard would it be, or is it, for you to rejoice in the sufferings that might come so that others might be transformed by the gospel? 
  • Think for a moment regarding those who invest in you and/or the church. Have you ever considered the sacrifice or possibly the “sufferings” they have experienced so that they can make known the mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory? What could you do to join them? What could you do to express your appreciation to them?

Next, Paul’s goal was to passionately invest in all who would respond to the gospel – Colossians 1:28-29

Investing in others' spiritual transformation and sharing the gospel with others should not be part of a checklist one accomplishes. It should originate out of a passion to see individuals, not only respond to the gospel, but grow up in their faith. This is the personal investment believers should embrace.

Notice the actions Paul took to invest in the spiritual transformation of others. He proclaimed Christ, warned them, and he taught them. Paul desired to perform these actions with all wisdom that could only come from his own personal walk with the Lord. Finally, notice his greatest desire: To present everyone mature in Christ!

  • Think of those who have invested in your spiritual transformation. Imagine them presenting you to Christ as one who is mature. Do you feel that, at this point, in your walk with the Lord that this is possible for them to do? What needs to change?
  • Think of those who God has entrusted to you. Perhaps it’s your children, a spouse, a close friend, a co-worker, or an individual or individuals at church. What actions demonstrate that you are passionately trying to present them as mature in Christ? How are you doing at proclaiming Christ to them, warning them, and teaching them with all wisdom? What needs to change?

Notice what Paul says next in verses 28-29. Did he say this was going to be easy? Absolutely not! It was hard work. Paul makes this clear by calling his work labor (to work to the point of exhaustion) and striving (literally, agonizing). The good news is that this hard work and labor is possible because of God’s strength that works powerfully in [us]!

Paul’s goal was to encourage others to be united because of the gospel – Colossians 2:1-3

Paul feared the Colossian believers would allow themselves to be caught in a web of deception, cleverly spun by people promoting false doctrine. Struggling reveals the nature of Paul’s concern. The Greek word means “anxiety or concern.” His is an intense inner struggle on behalf of believers in Colosse, Laodicea, and for all who have not met [him] personally.

Paul desired believers to be (1) encouraged in heart which happens as they are (2) united in love, (3) and as they are settled in their understanding of the truth.

A loving, learning community will produce believers who are settled in their understanding of the truth. Believers who link themselves with fellow believers, who care for one another, and who grow in their understanding of Jesus Christ will stand a good chance of remaining stable and confident.

What About Your Goals?

We examined three goals Paul had because of the gospel: (1) To serve the church because of the gospel no matter the difficulties; (2) To passionately invest in all who would respond to the gospel; (3) To encourage others to be united because of the gospel. Which of these goals are you striving to live by as a believer? Which do you feel you need to focus upon improving?

Consider your own walk with the Lord. Do you believe others see evidence of spiritual maturity that Paul describes in these passages? If so, great! If not, what needs to change?

As you consider the study this week record one goal for developing your own spiritual maturity as well as the name of one person whom you may also encourage in that direction.

The downloadable teaching helps provide more details for this study along with some tools you can use in guiding a group Bible study. Be sure to use this as a supplement to your study of the Explore the Bible Study resources provided by LifeWay.

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