“Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, 
which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions.” – Colossians 1:24, 2:1-2

I remember a Christian radio show many years ago titled “Songs in the Night.” Often while traveling and driving home from speaking at meetings late at night I would find the station and listen to it. The program consisted of some devotional commentary and worship music. I don’t know if it came on so late for those who couldn’t sleep but it had music that was definitely soothing and would help you sleep!

Recently due to sickness I have been taking some medication that keeps me awake and up until 2-3 in the morning and though I have not heard “songs in the night” for many a year, I can certainly say I have had my own rendition of “songs in the night” due to the sweetness of communing with the Lord in His Word though during those hours. With Bible, pen and paper, lying in bed during those early hours of the morning have turned out to be a great time of comfort and communion with the Lord.

Colossians 1:24-2:1-2 has been my companion, encouragement and blessing for several of those nights. Last night, for “fun” I stumbled across “Paul the preacher” in the passage and thought I would share it with you for your edification, perhaps an opportunity for you to show appreciation to the Lord for your preacher and also as stimulation in your own life as you like Paul
are His minister also into the lives of others.

Consider with me some thoughts on Paul the Preacher and in particular… “What kind of Preacher was Paul?”

When God called Paul, he said of him “He is a chosen instrument of Mine and I will show him how much he must Suffer for My Names sake.” -Acts 9:15-16. And didn’t God fulfill His Promise! Paul was shipwrecked, beaten numerous times, hungry, ostracized, had his life threatened, misunderstood, even abandoned by his countrymen and fellow believers, he was imprisoned, he was scared, {2 Cor 11:23-29} – yet he was Christ’s and oh how he loved Him- “For me to LIVE IS CHRIST and to die is GAIN” he told the Philippians believers- Phil 1:21…and a little later on he said “that I may know Him, the power of His resurrection and the FELLOWSHIP of His SUFFERINGS.”- {Phil 3:”8,10} Thirty years after his conversion Paul’s Goal was no less than God Himself.

Can you say that dearly beloved? It is Christ Himself you seek? Paul knew that part of knowing Him involved suffering and he wanted what intimacy he could glean through the circumstances God would orchestrate for him if it would only mean that he “may Know Him.”

  • PAUL SUFFERED PHYSICALLY- Gal 6:17 he writes “From now on let no one cause trouble for me, for I bear on my body the brand marks of Jesus.” – 2 Cor 12:23-27
  • PAUL SUFFERED EMOTIONALLY – What believer or church did not have such a wonderful empathizer as Paul. Indeed his compassion was great FOR the Lord’s People.

But unlike SOME of us who “suffer” Paul was not a whiner, indeed he REJOICED in his suffering. “I rejoice in my suffering for YOUR SAKE…”- Col. 1:24

What lost-ness the man displayed, lost in the care and concern for OTHERS. And he was glad to Suffer, if it would benefit their spiritual well-being and Gods Glory. Oh how we should thank God for those ministers and preachers, whose life is lived to care for Gods People sacrificially.

Paul writes in 2 Cor 12:29- “Who is weak without my being weak? Who is led into sin without my intense concern?” He cared and took on the concerns and welfare of others.

What a blessing to have someone who so values you that for them to suffer that you may grow in the Lord, they count it a joy to do so. Such was Paul. He knew the suffering he endured would benefit others and so he looked beyond himself to their spiritual well being and found joy in what it would mean for them. Now there’s a man who chose to lose his life for the benefit of others and Gods Glory. Paul found joy in others benefiting spiritually. Indeed in 3 John we see John also found joy in the news that the believers were walking with the Lord and he wrote, “I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.” -v4. Both Paul and John found their joy in the maturity of other believer and it caused them to rejoice and be joyful!

Paul lived in the reality that it was GOD who had chosen for him to preach. He had not bought, bargained nor was a hired hand of the people, but he understood his privilege was bestowed upon him from God. Verse 25 “Of this church I was MADE A Minister according to the STEWARDSHIP from God bestowed upon me for YOUR benefit.

Paul realized and kept before him the privilege he had to represent God and that it was for the Benefit of Gods People. And he lived and acted in light of such … responsibility.

Oh Bless God for a Pastor who’s Theme is Christ and whose Text is the Word of God.

We live in a day where we want our “ears tickled” and want a short message, devotional, not too long, just enough to keep us happy but certainly not anything that would trouble us, confront us, or leave us feeling the pangs of our sinfulness. We hire preachers,, But praise God for the preacher whose God is not money or prestige, who cannot be bought when he steps into that pulpit, but is as a man standing speaking from Gods Word with the authority of Gods Representative feeding Gods People what alone can “FREE” them up- John 8:31-32; “BUILD” them up- Acts 20:32; “GROW” them up- 1 Peter 2:2; Give them discernment- Heb 5:13; “BLESS”” them- James 1:25; reveal Jesus Christ to them- Luke 24:27. He reads them the Word, explains the Word and calls them to obey Gods Word- James 1:21

WHAT WE NEED is God’s Word accurately taught and APPLIED!

He proclaims the Mystery, once hidden but now revealed, Christ Himself.-1:2-27

Years ago two Americans traveled to England to listen to some of the well-known preachers of the day. After one message they stood and spoke of the message. One said “What a message” On visiting and listening to CH Spurgeon and upon exiting the service one commented to his friend “WHAT A SAVIOR!”

Oh dear friends we hear many a message and so little of the Savior in our preaching today and is it any wonder we make so little of Him when we hear so little about Him from our pulpits. Paul was a Christ Intoxicated Preacher- 2 Cor 4:5 “We PREACH Christ as Lord…” Col 1:28 “We Proclaim HIM…” Luke 24:27 and “beginning with Moses and ALL the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning HIMSELF in ALL the Scriptures.” Oh dearly beloved with the Scripture as His Text the Theme was Himself. Bless God for the Preacher who makes much of Christ the Lord!

Paul “Proclaimed Him”- Col 1:28…He proclaimed Him as  “Savior” in 1:13. He proclaimed Him as “Creator” in 1:16; He proclaimed Him as Preeminent 1:16-18; Paul proclaimed Him as “Beloved” of the Father 1:13; He proclaimed Him as “Head of the church.” He proclaimed Him as  God- 2:9; He Proclaimed Him as He who sits in the place of Power and privilege- 3:1. Paul was Christ centered and his message revealed it. He made much of the Lord Jesus for there is much to take of Him, who loves you best having died and being raised again and ascending to the Throne of God on your behalf-Amazing love-Amazing Lord Jesus!

This is not to say he preached for the accolades of the people, was influenced by the people in what he should and should not say but it is to say he cared passionately for EACH INDIVIDUAL PERSON. He writes “every man…every man…every man” Three times he writes this phrase in v 28… his was an INCLUSIVE MINISTRY-his concern was that “every man” without exception have the opportunity to mature. None excluded either by nationality, economic, educational background. Every person had value to Paul. Paul did not discriminate in whom he desired to see honor God. He did not pick and chose whom he should minister to, but desired all men come to Christ and mature in Christlikeness.

His goal was not Budgets, buses and buildings, his was not a Bigger crowds and program’s mentality. His Goal was their Spiritual Maturity, verse 28 “…to present every man COMPLETE in Christ.” The word “complete” or “perfect” as some translate the Greek word…speaks of Maturity. Paul’s Goal was their Maturity and so he “Proclaimed Him… Admonishing every man…Teaching every man….” That they would be Mature in Christ.

Thank God for men whose Goal is Gods Goal for those in the congregation- Christ likeness and heaven help him to turn the “budget boys and CEO’s of the pulpit and committees back to Gods goal – which is Growing people like Christ, and presenting them as mature as possible to Christ.

He thought them with wisdom. What are the means to obtaining Wisdom? The ability to know which principles and precepts to use in the circumstances you find yourself in?

Consider these 4 ways God imparts His Wisdom to His People
1. Worship – Prov 1:7 -“the Fear of the Lord is the BEGINNING of Wisdom”
2. Word of God – Col 3:16
3. Prayer- James 1:4
4. Godly Counsel- Col 3:16

And the Source of Wisdom is Christ Himself- 1 Cor 1:30 “…Christ who IS OUR

How easy in ministry it is to “wing it” in your preparation for messages, Begin the night before for your Sunday school lesson after spending hours watching TV perhaps or hide behind busyness of meeting people for lunches etc, that do nothing very often but wear you out, keep you out and keep you from laboring.

There was a former great preacher of Gods Word, who would arrive in his office early in the morning and as he would hear the road workers arriving outside to begin their day of work, he would put his work boots on in his study to remind himself as these dear men labored so he too was to give himself to laboring in Gods Word. –

In 2 Tim 2:15. Paul uses the word “labor” It is a word that means to “labor to the point of exhaustion” Paul labored and strove that “every man… be mature in Christ. He labored long, he labored with his hands, and he labored with tears,- Acts 20:19

The Scripture says “the flesh profits nothing it is the Spirit who gives Life.” Oh how easy it is to do much in our own strength and have nothing to show but frustration, exasperation and vain boasts, but for the man who labors hard at what God prescribes for him as clearly laid out in His Holy
Word there is the Power to exercise such labor and love.

Phil 2:12-13 is a great commentary on this labor and power “…work out your salvation in fear and trembling, for it is GOD who is at work IN YOU both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” God empowered Paul , “working IN him both to will and to do according to His good pleasure.” -Phil 2:12-13; 1 Thess 2:13

My wife recently shared with me a preacher she heard who said he was not much of “a pray – er. ” This troubled her as the was reminded of the early church leaders who gave themselves to Prayer and the Word- Acts 6:4-6. After three years of seeing His miracles the disciples asked, “Teach us to pray” for they knew this was the key to His Life- communion with His Father.

Paul wrote Timothy in 1 Tim 2:1 regarding the priority of the church under his care – “FIRST of all, I want the men to pray…” The priority of the church was

Perhaps this dear man was being transparent, for which of us cannot improve in our life of prayer, but also if a man does not pray it is often an indication of self sufficiency- Like Peter who made a great profession of loyalty to our Lord yet, he could not pray for one hour and was in need of
prayer for strength- See Luke 18:1 on the alternative to prayer… spiritual fainting! Paul prayed and in Col 2:1 we see his “struggle” on their behalf. He had never met them, seen them but he labored in prayed for them. The Prayer of Epaphras 4:12-13 “laboring earnestly in his prayers for you.” Shows the intensity of his prayers. Col 4:2 “Devote yourselves to prayer.”

In Col 1:9-11 when Paul prays for them it is for their SPIRITUAL NEEDS. How often we pray for people and fail to pray for that which is the greatest need- their spiritual well being. Consider Paul’s prayers in Eph 1 and 3; Phil 1, Col 1 and see he is always praying for their spiritual need FIRST. We can pray about everything but the great need of any person is first SPIRITUAL. Thank God for a Praying pastor who zeroes in on the Spiritual condition of the people.

13.- CHRIST WAS HIS LIFE- “…Christ who is our life…”- Col 3:4

“For me to LIVE IS Christ….”Paul told the church at Philippi. “The life I live by faith in The Son of God LOVED me and GAVE Himself for me.” Jesus Christ was not something that was “tagged” on to Paul’s life, like a hobby or something on the perimeter of his life. Jesus Christ was Paul’s life. Thirty years after his conversion when he was confronted by the Risen Lord Jesus on the road to Damascus, Paul’s PASSION, was “that I may KNOW HIM”- Phil 3:8,10.

Paul was Christ intoxicated, Christ centered, Christ Conquered, He was Conquered by the Love of the Lord Jesus for Him and in turn he said in 2 Cor 5:9,14-15 “…we have as our AMBITION, whether at home or absent to be PLEASING TO HIM…For the LOVE OF CHRIST CONTROLS US, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore al died; and He died for all, SO THAT they who Live might no longer Live for themselves, BUT for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.”

Paul never got over the fact the Lord Jesus loved Him, have you, have I? Christ’s love for him influenced the way he viewed life…life was now to be lived with an aim and a purpose and that aim and purpose was to be pleasing to the Lord Jesus and Live by faith-depending and trusting and developing trust in Him because of His love.

S-T-O-P and P-R-A-Y…and -T-H-I-N-K when is the last time you have read and meditated on the cross of Christ. Why He was there, what it cost  Him to leave Heavens Glory and descend to this earth robed in humanity taking on the flesh of a man and coming to His own and being rejected, ridiculed, slandered, falsely accused, had those who desired to murder Him, eventually  having Him subjected to lies, beaten and crucified agonizingly hanging on a cross. Abandoned by His Followers, Separated from His Father, and bearing the shame and sin on His sinless being…YOUR SIN, MY SIN… murdered…all for LOVE’S SAKE…His LOVE FOR YOU.

We often live so little for Him {I am speaking to myself here also} because we often fail to realize so Great His Love for us…Ask God to help you understand something of His cost and love for you, and may His love conquer and control us both, like it did our friend and companion the Apostle Paul. The Love of Christ was Paul’s Great Motivator ….Is it yours? Is it mine? Heaven help us not to be as Ephesus who  had “left their FIRST LOVE”- Revelation 2:24

THANK GOD FOR A HARDWORKING PREACHER, who labors over the Word of God, proclaiming the Son of God and for the maturing of the people of God in the things of God for the Glory of God. Paul Proclaimed Him, Warned the people, taught and he labored at it so that the people may become more mature in their faith. -v28-29

So there you have it! What kind of Preacher was Paul?
He was a Suffering, Joyful, Accountable, Bible bound, Gospel, Christ Centered, People orientated, Wise, HARDWORKING, empowered, Praying, Christ Intoxicated Preacher!

More like Who was Paul’s Motivation- for his Motivation was a Person, the Lord Jesus Christ! What Motivated Paul the Preacher? “The SON OF GOD LOVED me and Gave HIMSELF for me.”- Gal 2:20. Paul never got over Gods Love for him… and dear friend neither should you. If your heart is cold or indifferent towards God and the souls of men…Read His Word and
mediate on His cross…

Perhaps read chapter 3 in Romans and consider what God says about the state you were in, in verses 9-20.

Begin reading Romans chapter 5 and write down all He did for you… and ask Him to give you an appreciative heart and a life that is compelled to proclaim Him … because “the love of Christ compels” you to – 2 Cor 5:14. Pray that for me and mine, and this ministry!!

Well, there you have some of my “songs in the night” as I have had sweet communion with the Lord and in His Word. I would not have known such sweetness if it were not for this present illness, what a blessing! Have you ever noticed how often during difficult times how sweet and meaningful our times of prayer and communion with Him become?

A Good question to ask IS “So what.” You may say I am not a preacher…. Ah but you are dearly beloved, you preach every day with your life …maybe not in the sense of standing behind a wooden pulpit but you stand behind a stove or desk or in a school and your life and mine … preaches…. A MESSAGE IS BEING CONVEYED…

But lets look at some practical ways we can apply this study to our lives

Thank God and go and thank your pastor if he bears the above marks. If he
does not PRAY for him, encourage him…. How can you help to free him up to
give himself to the Study of Gods Word and Prayer? – Acts 6:2,4.

I have a friend a young pastor in a church of a couple of hundred… he is making the bulletins, running them off etc…on a Saturday. Surely someone in the congregation could serve the Lord through serving this dear brother by handling this. So often our pastors are overloaded, underpaid while so many of the congregation merely spectate rather than participates! Ask him what you can do to assist him?

Model your ministry on Paul; WHAT KIND OF PREACHER ARE YOU? Am I?
Paul loved his people and in light of that love…suffered for them gladly,
rejoicing etc.

What can you do to help your pastors be FREE to Give themselves to Gods Word and Prayer and help them…not Hinder them.

How can you do so? Become a Doer of Gods Word-  James 1:22..and DO your Part in “the work of the ministry:-Ephesians 4:12…don’t leave it all to him…God has not called you or me to be SPECTATORS but PARTICIPATORS in the work of the ministry-.

DO what you can in extending Gods Kingdom with the Gifts God has entrusted you with- 1 Peter 4:10-Spiritual Gifts- Rom 12:6 and His Word-Heb 4:12 and in aiding your pastor …through showing him APPRECIATION for his “labor” –

Consider what these passages show regarding leaders and what our responsibilities are -1 Thess 5:12; 1 Tim 5:17-20; Heb 13:7

INDEED BRETHREN, Let us show our Appreciation for Gods Servants who labor diligently and let us Imitate their lives as we endeavor in our own lives to labor in the things of God where God has planted us… You are much loved and appreciated from this side of the computer! How Thankful I am to God for those dear men who have poured their life into me over the years as they have labored. I Thank God for the Privilege He has afforded me these last 16 years to be able to share His Word … and I thank Him for you. PLEASE REMEMBER us in Prayer and let us know HOW we may pray for you…

You are loved- See what God says regarding His love in these two versed for you Revelation 1:5; Galatians 2:20