Now Hear This: It's for Everyone
By Wally Odum
I love the interaction that evolved between Lucy and Charlie Brown in the Peanuts cartoons of yesteryear. Charlie Brown represents Everyman. On one occasion, Lucy said to Charlie Brown, “We are put here to serve others.” Charlie responded, “Then what are the others here for?”
Believers don’t ask, “What are the others here for?” We know that we are here to serve others. Then the question becomes, “Who are the others we are to serve?”
The apostle Paul had a unique and often misunderstood ministry. He was called to reach Gentiles when the Church was largely built on converts from Judaism. The Gentile culture was pagan and worship of idols was rampant. Their “gods” were built on human models with all the flaws and immoral behavior that entailed. Judaism was based on the Old Testament and was clear in its presentation of God’s plan for us. Consequently, there was significant culture contrast, and no little prejudice, in the way the Jewish converts evaluated Gentiles.
In Colossians, Paul particularly confronted the strange institution that evolved—a Church containing a mix of Gentiles and Jews. Bringing the two cultures together was an enormous challenge. Paul advocated two ideas. One, he said was the union can only happen when both are united by the Cross of Christ. Second, he was passionate about the truth that the Cross of Christ was enough for everyone, Jew and Gentile.
Paul taught that we are to serve everyone. The Colossian church was entertaining false teachers who took exclusion to another level. They taught that in the Church, even among believers, only a few could qualify for “perfection.” In the first chapter of Colossians, Paul makes clear that the good news is for everyone. He uses the words “every man” three times in one verse.
“We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ.” (Colossians 1:28, NAS)
In a world that was selective and exclusionary, Paul taught that the good news about Jesus is for everyone. He explained his view of the Christian faith clearly. He wrote,
“To them [the saints] God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:27)
That is a truth we may take for granted, but Paul had to contend for this message. God has invited those from every nation, every ethnic background and every form of sinful behavior into a relationship with Him through His Son, Jesus Christ. It’s for everyone.
God is so concerned that we carry the message to everyone that He uses methods that seem unorthodox to us. Not only that, He supplies the power we lack. Paul concluded this paragraph about sharing the good news with everyone by sharing this encouragement:
“To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.” (Colossians 1:29)
We, like the apostle, labor to share the good news, but not in our own strength. He provides the energy that works powerfully in us. If you’ve ever looked at a portable power tool you will have noticed that a battery is attached. That’s the source of power. As we share the good news, we too have a powerful, divine battery pack. We labor and struggle. There’s no doubt about that. But, God supplies the power.
Paul encouraged us to proclaim the gospel to everyone. It’s good news for the best of us and the worst of us. It’s good news for the churched and the unchurched. It’s good news for those who know the Bible and for those who don’t. It’s good news for everyone!
Copyright © Wally Odum 2012. Used by permission.
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Pastor Wally Odum has been in ministry for 30 years and loves to share the Gospel. He brings a relevant, inspirational approach to the Bible. Wally values relevance, but he also values authenticity. His goal is to make Biblical truth relevant to the lives of all who hear him.
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