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Proclaim for the Hope of the Generations (Forward)

Sermon Series:


Ryan Kimmel
Ryan Kimmel

Lead Pastor

Peace Church

Main Passage:
Colossians 1:24-29


Today is the day that the Lord has made. So let us rejoice and be glad in it. And everyone said, Amen. Amen.

Well, biologically speaking, you have two parents, you have four grandparents, and you have eight great-grandparents. But of those eight last names, typically you're only given one of them at your birth, but I dare say that all of them contribute to you in some form or fashion. They all worked to make you who you are. And so I wonder, when you consider three generations out, four generations out from you right now, what about your life, your traditions, your values, do you wanna see continue on after you're gone. The question is,

What is your hope for your future generations? What is your hope for the future generations of your church? And even more than that, what are you going to do about it?

I'm going to give you an incredibly obvious statement right now. You only have the time you have to make the difference you want to make. I'll say it again. You only have the time you have to make the difference you want to make. If you want to see something continue on, if you want to see change made, guess what? The time is now. You only have the time you have to make the difference you want to make and Church the time is now. As Gandalf said all we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us. Today at these church we conclude a spiritual journey The campaign continues on for two years. For two years we will continue to give to this initiative and for two years God will continue to grow our church. And as more people come and make Peace Church their home, they will continue to give to this campaign. But the spiritual journey of it ends today as we consider how God is calling us to give. We're going to hear God's word preached to us by the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. And then we're going to lay our gifts before the altar as we together, holding hands, commit to see God's plan unfold for our church.

So let's finish what we started five weeks ago. Please turn to Colossians chapter one. We're going to conclude chapter one today. As you're turning there, just a reminder, if you are new, here's kind of the context. Saint Paul, the apostle, wrote this letter. It was written to a church. He's writing from prison and he's going to finish chapter one with six powerful verses that remind us of not just God's plan But how we are called to be part of it because if you are a follower of Jesus Then despite whatever you have going on in your life. You are called to be a part of God's plan and so with that Would you hear God's Word? Colossians chapter 1 we will read verses 24-29. Paul writes this, would you hear God's word?

Colossians 1:24-29

Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, 25 of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, 26 the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. 27 To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. 29 For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.

This is God's Word. Let's pray and we'll continue. Let's pray. Fathers, we come before you on this day, the final day of our spiritual journey. Lord, we ask that you would send your Holy Spirit and Holy Spirit. Would you illuminate your word for us today? Call us into deeper levels of faith, deeper knowledge of your word. God help us to experience more of your love through the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, in whose name we both proclaim and pray. And everyone said, amen and amen.

Well, church, as we look back on this proclaim journey that we've been on, each message in this series has been specifically designed to remind us of why we proclaim the gospel Colossians chapter 1 gave us a beautiful roadmap for this if you remember week one We talked about how we proclaim the goodness of God that we can't lose this simple truth that God is good. The second week we talked about how we proclaim for the health of the church that we want to see God's church built up, not just physically with sticks and bricks, but spiritually as God's people grow both numerically bigger, but also spiritually stronger so we can be more effective for our mission in this world. Then the third week we looked at the, we proclaim for the power of our testimony, how there is power when God's people declare who God is and what he's done and how we can see that in our life. And then last week, we lifted up the name of Jesus as we talked about proclaiming for the King of creation that Jesus truly is the only hope for the world. And today, we're gonna conclude with this message that we proclaim for the hope of the generations. So hopefully you have your devotions with you. Hopefully those are fairly filled out. We're gonna look at our last message for today. Again, there's the title. We proclaim for the hope of the generations. And as we look at our passage today, here is our main idea. Here's the main point I want to drive home for you today.

We give now so that generations yet to come will know the gospel.

We give now so that the generations yet to come will know the gospel. And as we walk through our passage, let's wrap up this sermon series with a nice three-point sermon outline. Here it is for you in the head.

1. We sacrifice so that the church can be built.

2. We testify so that the world will hear the truth.

3. We proclaim because we have the prerogative and we have the power to do so.

1. We sacrifice so that the church can be built.

So church, if you're ready to step into God's Word, let me hear you say amen. Amen. So here we go, first thing. We sacrifice so that the church can be built. Look at our passage, it starts out verse 24. Look at verse 24 and 25. Paul writes and he says, now I rejoice in my suffering, said no American ever. Now I rejoice in my suffering for your sake and in my flesh I'm filling up what is lacking in Christ's affliction for the sake of his body, that is the church of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given from me to you. Moral of the story, Paul, Saint Paul, the apostle, not only sacrifices, not only suffers for the sake of the church, but he rejoices in it. Why? Well, because Paul understood something that I think many of us need to understand, that seeing the church built is what ministry is all about. Not just with sticks and bricks, although that's important as we're going to look at, but we minister and we share the gospel so that the church can be built. The church is the people of God. We want to see more people come to know Jesus so that the church can be built and expand.

Seeing the church be built is better than staying comfortable. Paul was willing to sacrifice his comfort, his money, his well-being so that the church can continue on. It was that important to him. It should be that important to us.

But we need to do a Bible study here on an important phrase that Paul uses. I I don't know if you caught this, but Paul says this, he says, In my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ's affliction. Whoa! What's lacking in Christ's affliction? Don't get ahead of this. Here's the reality. This is a simple misreading of the text. If you think that Paul is in any way saying that the suffering of Jesus was deficient, insufficient, or incomplete. Paul did not teach that. Paul did not believe that. That's not what he's saying here. Hear me clearly. What Jesus Christ did on the cross in your place and in my place, dying for our sins, suffering in our place, that was sufficient, hear me, not just for your sins, but all your future sins, and it was sufficient for all the sins of anyone who would place their faith in him. What Christ did was complete. The sacrifice of Jesus is truly all that we need.

And so what's Paul talking about? We're talking about this lacking. Here's the reality. The only thing lacking is the actual presentation of Christ's suffering to the world so that they can know the gospel. The only thing lacking is people's knowledge of it. As John Piper puts it, what's missing in Christ's affliction is the presentation of those afflictions to the people for whom he died. And this is what Paul is doing. This is why he points to his own sufferings. He's saying, by my sufferings I can take that and point you to the even greater complete suffering that Jesus did on our behalf. As with all things, hopefully you've listened to me preach enough. You know me when I say something like this, like when you're confused on a passage, I think the number one thing you should do is keep reading. Like keep reading. The Bible has a beautiful way of sometimes explaining itself.

So let's continue reading. Let's go on. I am filling up what is lacking in Christ's affliction for the sake of his body, that is the church. We know that the church is the body of Christ. But this is why we need to finish the passage. Look at verse 25. Of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you." Paul is saying, I became a minister so that I could present to you what Christ has done for you. And that's a challenge for all of us who call on the name of Jesus. How are you presenting what Christ has done for you to others so that they could know what he's done for them? Church, we do this when we sacrifice so that the church can be built, both physically and spiritually. Because I'm going to tell you this, a stronger church is one that shares the gospel. And that's what we want to do.

2. We testify so that the world will hear the truth.

In fact, when you talk about our values as a church, our three-strand DNA, the first one is that we are gospel-centered. At the end of the day, that's really the only message that we have to share is, Jesus died for you. And on the third day, he rose again, and all the church said amen So church if you believe this then give Give like you believe in the message we are proclaiming because here's the challenge if you don't give Then it's just logical and reasonable to believe that well It's because you don't believe in the message that we're proclaiming here And you don't see the need to support it So this is why we give. We give because we believe in the message that we are proclaiming as a church. And in this campaign, proclaim is not just about building a building. I'm going to tell you right now, if there's been one thing I've learned about leading us through a capital campaign is that there are some people who just cannot see past that. All they hear is, you just want a bigger building. No, no. And if you think that about a church, I would leave that church. This is not just about building a bigger building. This is about being able to house all the people that God has been bringing to this church.

Last week, our deacons told us they saw five vehicles pull in, not find a parking spot, and then leave. That is intolerable. And so hear me when I'm, I pass you to my heart. This is not just about building a building This is about creating space so people can come and hear the gospel and worship Jesus And if you can't get on board with that then I'm gonna tell you there's two great churches Right to our left right to the south west right to the north of us And if you think we're off the mark, I'm telling you minimal first Baptist with pastor Nate Archer amazing church Head down there and listen to the gospel or pastor Scott up at Caledonia CRC, amazing church, but we got a mission before us, and we are called to take part in it, all of us who call Peace Church home. It's our time to sacrifice. As we've been going through this campaign, I've looked back on so many black and white pictures and I've been so inspired about what the generation before did for us, that we get to experience here now. Yes, I know they did it for God, but I guarantee they had us in mind when they did it. And it's our turn now to do that. If you are listening to it, if you think you're hearing a sales pitch, you don't know my heart. Okay, I got way off my script here, let's get back. Amen.

I wanna show you something that I believe is a very positive thing about our church. I want to show you two pie charts of our membership growth over the last few years. The pie chart on your left there, 2022 to 2023, that is our membership growth, not just our attendance growth, that's our membership growth for the last couple years. And as you see there, we grew via membership by 14% through conversion and 86% through transfer. But this past year we saw the start of a, I think, a positive change. That last year our membership growth was 28% by conversion and 72% by transfer. Our transfer growth went down and our conversion conversion growth obviously went up. Conversion meaning profession of faith and adult baptisms. I believe, yeah, amen, praise God. I believe this is a positive indication of our church's membership growth.

But let me just speak to you who have transferred here. I transferred here. Please don't hear me saying that's a bad thing. I just like to see when people come to Jesus. And so let me say this to those of you who have transferred here like myself and my family. I am so thankful that God led you to become part of this church family. You are helping us to be the church that God's calling us to be. But whether transferred or converted, if you are a Christian who is called here, then it's not to stay comfortable. It's to get on mission. It's not to sit on the sidelines. If God truly called you here, it's because he's given you gifts to use for his kingdom, gifts that we need to fulfill the mission that God's called us to. I believe it's because he wants your family to get stronger and to grow stronger. It's because he wants you to be part of the Peace Church family. And around here, I will tell you, in this family, everybody got something to do. I don't know about how you grew up, but when I grew up, no one was allowed to just sit on their duff. Like, we all have a job to do. We all have something to do. And right now, the thing that we all have to do, I believe, is to joyfully give and sacrifice to make room, just like the previous generation did for you. We gotta do that for our community. Just like the previous generation did for us, it's our time now to do it for others.

If you are new or newer to Peace Church, let me just tell you, I believe God brought you to this church during an awesome, an awesome time. Whether you've been here for five minutes or 50 years, Peace Church is a family, and in this family we sacrifice so that the world will hear the truth. Verse 25 continues, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. Again don't get tripped up on that. Saints just means anyone who follows Christ. Verse 27, to them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles. Again don't get tripped on that word either. Gentiles just means the world at large. It means the nations. To make known the rest of the world, how great are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Now, I love this passage. It's beautiful, it's complex, and there's a lot of words here that seem like they are held in tension. Fully known, yet mystery, yet revealed, both now, but also the ages to come. The glory of this mystery is also the hope of glory. I think some Christians may get confused and even slightly put off that the Bible speaks about mystery concerning faith. I personally think it's a beautiful thing. There is mystery to our faith.

There's deep things about God that humans just cannot know. There's a mystery there. But what Paul is talking about is the notion that for how amazing the Old Testament is, the mystery therein is brought to light in the New Testament It's one story continuously unfolding. And so what is this mystery that's been revealed? What's the Word of God? Brought to light in the gospel or as Paul puts it so beautifully succinctly Christ in you the hope of glory. This is enormous, beautiful, complex, and profound. It's also an oddly accessible truth that for those who place their faith in Jesus, we no longer have to pay for our sins. Rather, we get the fruit of Christ's labor, which is eternal life. And the reason we have the eternal life is because we get the literal life of Jesus in us. We can live forever because Jesus, who will live forever, is living within us. That's Christ in us, the hope of glory. Our destiny is not one of death and destruction and judgment, but it's of life and happiness and joy and glory, if not now, surely in the time to come. And it's the truth, the gospel. This is what we do. This is what we do at Peace Church. We strive and we give and we sacrifice so that the gospel can go forth to our neighbors, to our community, to the world, and to future generations. That there is hope. For however dark the world gets, there is hope. And it's found in the man Jesus Christ. To this we testify, to this we proclaim that Jesus Christ died for our sins and on the third day, rose again from the dead.

3. We proclaim because we have the prerogative and we have the power to do so.

And thirdly, we proclaim, because we have the prerogative and the power to do so. Verse 28, I love these three words, how this verse starts out. "Him, we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ, for this I toil, struggling with all his energy, that he powerfully works within me." I'll tell you what, Peace Church, if there is anything, if there's anything that we do, it can be boiled down to these three beautiful, simple words. Him we proclaim. That is what we do at the end of the day. We may provide counseling, we may provide financial support for those who are in need, but at the end of the day, this is what we do. Him we proclaim. At the end of the day, all I got for you is Jesus. At the end of the day, I don't got wisdom, I don't got advice, I don't even have prophecy. I just have Jesus for you. Jesus is all I can tell you. Place your faith and hope in Him. His name is all we got. By His name we warn people. By His name we teach people. By His name is wisdom. His name is how we grow. His name is worth the fights. It's worth the struggle. Why? Because we have His power to do so.

Our chapter concludes by saying this, for this I toil, struggling. The word there for struggling is actually, it's connected to our word for agony or to agonize. Some Bible translations translate this word as to strive or even to contend. And Paul talks about this struggle or this fight, but he doesn't talk about it from a place of weakness. He talks about it from a place of power. Rather, he says this, he says, with all the energy that he powerfully works within me church what God calls you to do. He will give you the strength to do If you feel like you're weak, then it's because you're relying on your own strengths.Rely on the power of God what God calls us to he will see us through and in this world Our world is rejecting truth, but we are the ones who are going to proclaim it and not just proclaim it but proclaim it with power.

We proclaim because we have the prerogative and the power to do so. And this is from the power and presence of Christ in you, working through us by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. And so it's our time now, throughout human history, this is the time that we have to proclaim the truth. And church, this is why we are in the Proclaim campaign, so that both the generation now that's around us and the generations yet to come will come to know the gospel truth. And I'll say this, men, men in the house, it starts with you in the home. So let me share with you one story of a family from our church that's doing this. And in this family at peace, three generations are represented and they are trying to center their life and legacy on Jesus. So would you please watch the story of the Ross family.

"Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised. One generation shall commend your works to another and shall declare your mighty acts and shall sing aloud of your righteousness to make known to the children of man your mighty deeds and the glorious splendor of your kingdom. We are Tony and Laura Ross and we've been attending Peace Church for 20 years now. I wasn't raised in a Christian home and when I met Tony I had already had a son. We were definitely living a worldly life and making choices that were not pleasing to the Lord. Early in our marriage we knew that we were longing for something but we weren't quite sure what it was and so we found a church service on TV and we were watching that and we were starting to learn about Jesus and we decided that we needed to be centered around a community. So we found Peace Church and we were learning from the sermons and the scriptures and we were falling in love with Jesus. And then unfortunately our worst nightmare happened and our son didn't wake up. And he passed away suddenly in his sleep.And that drove us to our knees in anger. We were bitter. We didn't understand why, after all of these years of not knowing Christ and us getting so close to Him at that point in time, why something like this would happen to us. I know that we can experience the Lord on the mountaintops, but I also have learned that we know him in the valleys and we came to know him in our deepest valley. Thankfully, Dustin's grandma, she was able to take Dustin to church when he was a child and he did give us life to Christ. And again, that is one thing that I regret as a mother, is not being able to teach those morals and values to him. Scripture tells us that we are to train and teach our children to love the Lord with all their heart, mind, and soul. And I didn't want to lose another opportunity to do that. So as we started going to church, we heard about this awesome ministry for kids. And Laura started taking the girls to Carraway Street. It was a great program where they learn scripture through song and through puppets and through acting. We found that we were all immature in our faith, we were kind of learning the same thing at the same time and would come home and talk about things together. My mom would wake up every morning and do her devotions, read her Bible, spend time in the Word, and then we saw my dad every night after dinner spending time in his Bible and connecting with the Lord and I feel like that really gave Hallie and I a concrete example of what it looked like to be a Christian. Because we knew how we had grown up away from the Lord and saw the devastation in our lives that it caused, we wanted to make sure not only to pass that along to our girls, but also to work with teens. I feel like that's something that I so admired about you guys, is that you didn't wait until you were super spiritually mature, or you had all this biblical knowledge. We were learning all together at the same time. That has been such a motivator for me to pass on my faith to not only my children, but also the teenagers here at Peace in the Middle School Ministry. Because God is so good and because we know that full well as a family, we now are able to proclaim that to not only each other, but also to the next generation. And that comes through serving and being involved at the church, but also just spreading the love of Jesus to everyone that we come in contact with."

Church, here at Peace, we often talk about how families must have at least a three-generation vision, that while we can with the time we have, we want to ensure that three generations out from our families will come to know the gospel and live for Jesus, living out our family values. We want that for our families, but we also want that for our church, a generational vision. And this campaign and this sermon series is about that. And so let me give you one last spiritual and financial challenge. You know we've had one of these each week. Here would be your spiritual and financial challenge as you consider these final moments before you lay your gift at the altar.

Are we sacrificial with our finances in ways that we may not be able to experience but our children and future generations will get to enjoy?

Let me say it again. Are we sacrificial with our finances in ways we may not experience but our children and future generations will get to enjoy? My sincere hope and prayer is that future generations of the Kimmel family continue to call Peace Church their home. I happen to love this community. I think this is a pretty awesome church. And so when my wife and I considered our gift, we also considered, we want to give for a church and a church building that our grandchildren will be able to enjoy. Now, my oldest is only 16, so I'm not saying I want grandchildren anytime soon, but I am saying we're having that vision in our minds, that we know that what we're giving now, hopefully our grandkids and their children will get to enjoy. What we give now to God through proclaiming, yes, yes, we will get to experience, hopefully in somewhere not too much longer than a year, we'll have a new building to be able to worship and welcome new people. But we're also giving to this campaign to ensure that we do our parts with the time we have so that future generations will have what they need so that they can continue to spread and share the gospel. And so, we give now so the generations yet to come will come to know the gospel. We do this just like the previous generations have done for us, and now it's our time to follow God's call. Amen.

So let me give you a detail of what's gonna happen right now. We are gonna go to prayer, but what we want you to do now is to, in these final moments, again, this is for the Peace Church family. If you're new or you're just visiting, we're by no means asking you to partake unless the Lord is gonna call you to do that. But this is for the Peace Church family right now. You have the commitment card that was on your seat when you walked in or maybe you brought yours with you. What we want to do in these next moments is I want to give you a moment to fill it out if you haven't yet. Then we're going to go to prayer and then we'll have a time of offering. You've got some black table stations around the church, around the worship center here. While we go to prayer, some boxes will be set up. When we come out of prayer, when you're ready, you and your family can go and drop your gift off as the Lord leads you. But here's what I want to do.

I'm going to give you like 30 seconds right now to fill out the card if you haven't done so, and then we will pray together before we do that. So I'm going to give you a moment right now. If you haven't yet, would you fill out the card that was on your seat? Go ahead and do that right now. So, Again, by just a logistical note, what's very helpful and what's most important is that you mark what you are planning to give over a two-year period, not necessarily at the moment but over a two-year period, that's what's going to be most helpful for our finance team as they accumulate all of this. However you break that down, whether annual gifts or weekly, that's up to you. We don't necessarily need to know that. What we need to know is what God's called on your hearts to give over a two-year period. So we just need that grand total. Again, not expecting it right at this moment, but over the next two years.

So we want to go to prayer before we offer this gift. And I want to read to you a passage. 1 Chronicles 29 is the last chapter of that book. And it records when King David was leading the Israelites to give so that the temple could be built. This is before the temple was built, but David is leading the people to give so that the temple could be built. Now, key difference, the temple was where God dwelt in the Old Testament. Now in the New Testament, God dwells not in a building, but in his people. But like the temple, the church building is the place where the church gathers to worship. So it's important for that. So what you see in this chapter is David. David announces, here's what I'm going to give as the king.

Here's what I'm giving as someone who loves the Lord, and I'm calling on everyone else to give in kind. So he talks about everything that he's gonna give, and then he says this, and I love this challenge he gives to his people. He says, who then will offer willingly, consecrating himself today to the Lord? He's not commanding, he's offering a chance for people to come before the Lord and to give in response to what he's done for them. And that's what we're saying now. Do not be guilted into this. Do not be tricked into this. Be led into this by God himself. So we're going to go to prayer. And then when I'm done, when you're ready, you may get up and lay your gifts. Would you please grab the hand of the people that you came with today?

Father, we come before you on this moment Lord. Father, this is a moment that will come and go but we know Lord This is in many ways gonna help set a trajectory for this church that Father we pray you continue to bless and lead us guide Father we pray as we seek your face. We only want to go where you're calling us We only want to do what you were laying before us. And so Father would your Spirit be present during this time as we lay our gift before the altar and spiritually and physically we give our gifts before you God, you're good and we love you.

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