Shepherds’ Conference Session 4 Notes

Session 4

Mark Dever

Colossians 1:24-ff

Paul points to the mystery which is Christ.

Real Christian faith is centered in the mystery, the open secret, the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Verse 24, Paul talks about his suffering or afflictions.

We share in Christ’s sufferings.

No, not his sacrificial, substitutionary sufferings.

True Christians have true Christian faith which centers on Christ.

Verse 29, we see labor mentioned.

Paul worked hard at preaching.

Paul shared that what he had been doing was for others.

You and your is repeated in the passage.

Pauls’ ministry: proclaim and present.

We proclaim the gospel to our hearers.

We long to present them to our Lord.

Christ’s afflictions were for the body.

Paul’s afflictions were for us too.

Why did he do this?

He did it for others.

Verse 25, Paul says that he is united to the Colossians in heart, spiritually, because they are united with him in Christ.

We are to encourage others.

Encourage or comfort each other.

Put heart in someone.

Encourage, put courage in someone.

Paul wanted the Colossians to be united in the truth.

Paul’s whole life was cruciform, he suffered in obedience to God on behalf of others.

Again, his suffering was not substitutionary. But he suffered for others’ good.

Pastoring includes proclaiming and working to present the people of god mature before the Lord.

Paul admonished and taught, not just a group, but individuals.

Had Paul closed his mouth, he may have seen his prison doors open.

He wanted to help others, even if that costed him.

Dever chose 1:28-29 as a life verse.

There is no reason for pride in success in ministry.

What we do we do for God’s glory and the good of the people.

It is God’s work.

We give ourselves for others.

Do you care more about how your sermon goes than how the people who heard your sermon are?

Acts 15:36, Let’s see how they are doing.

No metrics here.

No mission board can raise money based on this.

God cares about growth.

He told the animals to be fruitful and multiply.

He gave the same command to Adam and Eve.

The growth we see talked about in the NT and urged is not merely numerical.

It is a maturing and deepening faith.

Grow up into him who is the head.

In 2 Thessalonians 1:3, Paul thanks God for their growth.

God grows us and gets that credit.

Concern for that kind of growth is right and godly.

A lack of concern for that kind of growth is conversely ungodly.

Your job as a pastor is to be faithful in discipling and to create a culture of discipling in your church.

People naturally follow something and someone.

We are all disciples. The question is, “Of whom?”

Great Commission calls us to teach them to obey.

Discipling is more than preaching.

We live out the Christian life before others as basic discipleship.

In Jesus’ life we see the importance of both words and deeds.

What Dever does as a pastor to try to help others grow:

  1. Preaching – in your preaching, teach people the Bible.
  2. Prayer – He prays through the membership directory. He prays formally in the service, and even teaches people to pray through the regular, pastoral prayers.
  3. Membership – Hold people to faithfulness to the statement of faith and church covenant.
  4. Books – Give them away.
  5. Presence – Be around. Meet with people over lunch. Get people to go with you places.
  6. Conversation – Encourage people to have spiritual conversation.

7. Define – Discipling is trying to help other people to follow Christ. If you are not regularly trying to help people follow Jesus, I’m not sure what you mean when you say that you follow Jesus.

8. Include – Include people as you do ministry. Have others preach. Get feedback

9. Public services – Be thoughtful as you do things in the service. Let people know what you are doing and why you are doing what you are doing.