“Filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions” – what!?
Admit it. At first blush this phrase in Colossians 1:24 is alarming…I mean, didn’t Jesus pay it all on the cross? Yes! The clear & constant teaching of the Bible, let alone Colossians itself, is that Jesus left nothing undone in His life, death, & resurrection. He is fully sufficient to save all who believe!
But in order to make known his saving suffering we must be willing to suffer. Instead of running from our suffering we need to embrace the reality that the gospel runs forward in our suffering! This message is so important that even though I planned to cover 6 points in this message I only hit this truth – the gospel servant must embrace suffering. And it made for one of my shortest sermons ever, 29 minutes including discussion;)
“No wound? No scar?
Yet, as the Master shall the servant be,
And pierced are the feet that follow Me.
But thine are whole; can he have followed far
Who hast no wound or scar?” Amy Carmichael
For an excellent sermon on the role of suffering in the advance of the gospel listen to “Missionary Martyrs: Fools for Jesus” preached by David Sitton at the 2006 Desiring God Pastor’s Conference. Have a hanky handy!