COLOSSIANS 1:28,
A Great Verse of Scripture
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 RECENTLY, in teaching the book of Colossians, some truths impacted me with a freshness and vitality that I had not experienced before. Colossians 1:28 is the verse in particular I am talking about (and there are others that stand out). There is a lot said here. This verse reads: "Whom [Christ] we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect [complete] in Christ Jesus." Two things stand out that especially impacted me (although we will consider the whole verse). (1) One is the warning and teaching of "every man," and the other is (2) who was doing this warning and teaching of "every man" (who the "we" are that is spoken of here). A proper understanding of this verse should arouse and prod us into considering if what the Lord had in mind in the Great Commission is actually taking place today.
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Brief Background of Colossians
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 Perhaps a brief look at the background of Colossians would be in order before we zero in on this verse. (Read the entire epistle). Paul is experiencing his first imprisonment at Rome when he writes this letter (4:3,18). He is being visited by Epaphras (1:7; 4:12), preacher from the church at Colosse. Colosse was located inland from Ephesus in Asia Minor (up in the mountains where the snow line begins). It seems that Paul had never been here (1:4,9). Epaphras, who had brought the Colossians to faith in Christ (1:4-7), tells Paul of their conversion and of potential problems confronting these new Christians. Paul thanks God and prays for them. The problems facing them took the form of false teaching embodied in "philosophy" (2:8) and possibly Jewish tenets (2:16-23) (two different doctrinal errors, or, perhaps a single hybrid combination of the two). Being in particular the apostle to the Gentile world (1:23,25-29), Paul felt compelled to write them and fortify them against possible apostasy (2:1ff). Before briefly touching upon the doctrinal error, he lays the positive foundation of the great and wonderful truths that they had in Christ (2:2-10). Appreciating these truths should anchor their souls. Then, after dealing with the error, he gives practical admonitions about living the Christian life (3:1-4:6). Christian living actually has its roots in the great doctrines of which he has spoken. Then he signs off with more of a personal section as he winds down in the last chapter.
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The Immediate Context
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 In the immediate context leading up to Colossians 1:28, the verse we are considering, Paul highlights the great and wonderful truths about Christ, how this had been widely preached, and that he was Godís minister in making this gospel known. That which had been kept under wraps in the ages and generations past, was no longer a secret. "God would make known [and had decidedly made known, 1:23] what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect [complete] in Christ Jesus: Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily" (Colossians 1:27-29). The Colossians were recipients and beneficiaries of this mystery and were now participants in its disclosure.
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THE IMPACTING TRUTHS
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1. The Warning and Teaching of Every Man
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 Now let us notice the first thing that sprang out and captured my attention as I studied Colossians 1:28. In preaching Christ, Paul was "warning every man, and teaching every man." In other words, Paul was literally carrying out what Christ had commanded in the Great Commission, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15). All have sinned and personally have come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), and appropriately each personally is to be warned and taught in the preaching of the gospel. Christianity is intensely personal, and the gospel message is to be personally presented. Yes, there is the public proclamation of the gospel, but to get the message across effectively, there must be that personal appeal; person to person evangelism; one on one. It is Christís intention that every person in the world be personally approached with the good news of salvation. Paul was "warning" and "teaching" every person that he knew, that he met, or that he ever would meet. This was the driving impetus of his life. It is no wonder that Christianity spread like it did in the first century. It was not kept behind four walls, but individuals were excitedly telling individuals the good news of the resurrection, salvation and everlasting life (Acts 8:4; Colossians 1:23; 1 Corinthians 15:2-4).
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2. Those Warning and Teaching Every Man
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 Notice that Paul said, "Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man." Of whom was Paul speaking here when he said "we" (the "we" doing the preaching, which also involved warning and teaching every man)? (Finding the answer proved very interesting and refreshingly impacted me). Is Paul speaking of Timothy who jointly sent greetings in Colossians 1:1, Epaphras from Colosse who is named in 1:7, and himself personally when he says "we" ("we preach)? That is a possibility. Or is he simply using the editorial "we," a common practice in writing? This is a possibility, but I think not. In the verses leading up to this (1:23,25ff) he had used the singular pronoun "I," referring to himself. But now in verse 28 he uses the plural "we" in the expression "whom we preach." Then in verse 29 he jumps back to the singular pronoun "I," again referring to himself. So, "we" must distinctly mean "we." If I were standing before a church group and said, "We will now sing," would this be hard for those who heard to know who the "we" were? Paul writes to the Colossian Christians and says, "we preach, warning every manÖ" Is it hard to grasp who the "we" could be? It would include the Colossians. Overall, the "we" could well be inclusive of Timothy, Epaphras, himself, and the church at Colosse (and every Christian who would read this).
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A Grassroots Movement
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 Christís plan seems to be that every Christian tell the gospel story to everyone with whom they come in contact, and in so doing, "warning every man, and teaching every man." The Great Commission as recorded in Matthew 28 is envisioned as a continuous, ongoing experience. The original disciples were to go, teach, baptize and teach those who had accepted the gospel to observe all things he had commanded. He had just commanded the Great Commission, and thus this would include the new converts being given the Great Commission all over again. Doesnít Revelation 22:17 read, "And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely"? The rank and file membership of the Jerusalem church that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word (Acts 8:4). Paul in describing the spiritual armor that every Christian is to wear while engaged in spiritual combat includes having "your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace" (Ephesians 6:15). Every Christian is to be "shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace." New Testament Christianity knows nothing of a stilted and artificial clergy system with its "right reverends." The entire church is a priesthood of believers, with each individual being personally involved (1 Peter 2:5,9; Romans 15:14; Colossians 3:16). Yes, there are leaders, but each and every Christian does his part. Christianity in its inception was a grassroots movement.
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Additional Thought on Colossians 1:28
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 "Warning" and "teaching" are involved in every Christian sharing the gospel message with "every man," according to our Scripture. Contrary to modern so-called evangelism that appeals to the flesh with gimmicks, entertainment and sports, there must be the personal warning and teaching of every person. The Great Commission by saying, "He that believeth and is baptized [immersed] shall be saved" (Mark 16:16) explicitly implies that humanity is lost outside of Christ. People must be made aware that they are sinners, that there is a Day of Judgment coming and that they need a Saviorófirst the bad news, and then the good news. Solid conversions require teaching, not just being enticed by an entertainment program. In the early church the growth of the church was described in terms like "the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied" (Acts 6:7), "the word of God grew and multiplied" (Acts 12:24) and, "So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed" (Acts 19:20), and not just numbers alone. Evangelism was regarded in relation to the Word of God. 
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 And, according to Colossians 1:28, "wisdom" is another important factor in talking to others about Christ (also check out Colossians 4:5,6). It is necessary, to be an effective soul winner. Pray for wisdom (James 1:5).
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The Rest of the Verse
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 The end result to which the preaching, involving warning and teaching, is moving, is "that we may present every man perfect [complete] in Christ Jesus" (1:28). The presentation may be when "every man" (each person) becomes a Christian, and/or Paul may be looking forward to eternity when we shall meet the Lord and present those we have won to Him. This being made perfect [complete] takes place initially when a person repents and is baptized [immersed] for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38; Galatians 3:27). Christís righteousness is counted to be our righteousness in forgiveness, "For he [God] hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin: that we might be made the righteousness of God in him" (2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Corinthians 1:30). We put on Christ. Then as a second possible application of presenting "every man perfect [complete] in Christ Jesus," each person is being encouraged as he works toward that end in his sanctification, becoming more Christ-like and complete in Christ, as he grows in the grace and knowledge of the Lord (2 Corinthians 7:1; 2 Peter 3:18).
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Are "We" Measuring Up?
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 So, in the light of what we have examined here, we are made to ask if the modern church is measuring up to what is taught in Colossians 1:28. Are "we" ("we," meaning each and every Christian) teaching and warning "every man"? Are "we" even concerned about the lost? Personally, not only was I pleasantly impacted by freshness of insight into this verse of Scripture, I was very much disturbed. (I was disturbed by the world situation and my inaction). With the exploding world population (now over six billion), and with secularism and unchristian forces on the ascendancy, Christianity is on the wane. We have to run just to stand still. Materialism, denominationalism, unbelief and just plain unspiritual living have sapped the vitals of the church. Many, wanting something to happen, have settled for less than the spiritual, appealing to the flesh to attract numbers. Many times we are made to wonder if they have forgotten that the business of the church is spiritual (1 Peter 2:5).
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A Prodding Prayer Implored
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 To prod our outlook, I call your attention to Matthew 9:36-38. "But when he [Christ] saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest." His disciples were to pray that laborers would be sent into the harvest. The word from which "send" is translated is a strong word, in some places being rendered "cast out" (as in the casting out of demons). In the language of the New Testament, the word for "send" here is ekballo (ek, out + ballo, throw). This highlights the urgency of how the Lord looked upon the situation. They were to pray for "laborers" to "get with it" and bring in the harvest.
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A Forthright Challenge
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 When we pray this prayer in view of the world situation, and then read Colossians 1:28, we will realize that every Christian must be involved in the answer to this prayer today. How we need a living and vital relationship with the Lord! How we need to be thankful for our salvation! How we need to be soul-conscious! I challenge you. Just think, if each and every Christian would continually have it upon his heart to talk to each and everyone that he knows, to each and everyone that he meets or ever will meet, we would experience New Testament evangelism again. We need to pray that we will indeed be soul-conscious, be soul-winners, seeing every person who crosses our path as someone who needs the gospel. We want to talk to them and will talk to them about the Lord when we have the chance. Letís face it. The world is lost in sin, and we have the only message of hope and salvation.

 
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