Colossians 1:24-29 / The Mystery Revealed

Posted on April 26, 2015


This is the sixth in a verse by verse exposition of the book of Colossians. This message was delivered at Hillcrest Baptist Church on the evening of April 26, 2015. This message deals with the revelation of the mystery of Christ, and the importance of teaching the full counsel of God. This post contains an audio recording of the sermon, as well as my sermon notes (sermon notes are not necessarily a complete transcript). 


Col. 1:24-29 



As he wrote this, Paul was in prison. 

Paul’s purpose was to build the church. He rejoiced in his suffering, because it became a means for him to do that.

  • Philippians 1:12-13

what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ
This may seem an odd statement at first. Certainly, there was nothing lacking in the work of Christ. That’s not what Paul was saying. Paul, just as all persecuted Christians, was experiencing the persecution meant for Christ. In spite of His death on the cross, Christ’s enemies had not gotten their fill of persecuting Him. So they turned their hatred on those who preached the gospel.

  • John 15:18-24

This is the sense in which Paul filled up what was lacking in the afflictions. It simply means that the enemies of God are never satisfied with their persecution of Christ, so they take it out on His saints. Things are no different today.

  • 1 Peter 4:12-13

This suffering, Paul willfully endures for the sake of the church, of which he is a minister. As a minister, he was a steward of the ministry that God had given him.

A steward was a slave who managed his master’s household, supervising the other servants, dispensing resources, and handling business and financial affairs. The church is God’s household.

All believers are responsible for managing the abilities and resources God gives them. Sometimes, in order to fully utilize what God has given us, we will have to face sufferings. In every case, we are to fully use our gifts to the glory of God.


In Paul’s case, God gave him to preach the whole counsel of God.

  • Acts 20:27

The word mystery refers to a truth which was hidden in the Old Testament, and now revealed in the New Testament. This truth included Christ Himself:

  • Colossians 2:2-3

Israel’s unbelief:

  • Romans 11:25


  • 2 Thessalonians 2:7

The Salvation of the gentiles:

  • Ephesians 3:3-6

The Rapture of the church:

  • 1 Corinthians 15:51

These all include the full counsel of God which Paul was called to preach. Here, the specific mystery of which Paul speaks is identified.

This revealed mystery was that Christ would indwell the gentile believers. The church, made up mostly of gentiles, now possess (in each individual member), the surpassing riches of the indwelling Christ.

  • Romans 8:9-10
  • Galatians 2:20
  • Ephesians 1:7

In Christ we have the hope of glory!
If we are to effectively preach the full counsel of God, it must include both warning and teaching in wisdom. Sin cannot be ignored, and people need to be warned of the dangers of sinful behavior.

  • Ezekiel 33:8-9

The Word of God must be taught, not just referenced and and cherry picked. Truly teaching the Word of God will serve to warn, provide wisdom, and encourage.

  • 2 Timothy 3:16-17

It is necessary for our sanctification, that we may be perfected in Christ Jesus. Without the Word of God, we will neither be complete nor prepared for the work to which we have been called.

This is the purpose to which Paul worked, and he considered his accomplishments to be the work of Christ. For Paul, he was nothing more than a vessel to be used by his master. We should consider ourselves the same, submitting to God’s will and allowing ourselves to be used however He wishes. In such, we can warn and teach in love and wisdom.

Posted in: Sermons