NASHVILLE (BP) — This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
This week’s Bible study is adapted from the YOU curriculum.
Bible Passages: Colossians 1:24-29; 2:1-3
— How have you seen God use suffering to strengthen another person? How has He used it in your life to help you mature?
— What are some ways believers can work together to share the Gospel?
Food for Thought:
Unity is the key to living out Christ in the world and drawing others to Him. You may think you don’t need anyone’s help to walk with Christ, but you’re wrong. We suffer in Him –– together. We proclaim Him –– together. We find our treasure in Him –– together. We need one another! And the thing that binds us together –– our faith –– is ultimately stronger than the differences we may have.
When believers stand together, they reflect the lordship of Jesus Christ in a way that can change their lives and change the world around them. And their unity opens the door to a treasure that’s beyond belief.
To Paul, persecution was just part of walking each day with Christ. He understood what it meant to suffer for the Christian faith. In this letter to the Colossians, he outlined all the times he had experienced suffering for the Gospel. He had gone through so much. Even as he was writing the Colossians, he was living under house arrest in Rome and awaiting trial before an emperor who had no interest in the things of God.
Yet Paul was willing to suffer because he knew it would benefit others and would help him become more like Jesus. That’s what mature Christians do.
Mature Christians also accept their responsibility to reach the lost world and work together to share the Gospel with as many people as possible. However, some are uncomfortable sharing the Gospel because it feels confusing or even mysterious to them. Paul understood that. He admitted that the Gospel was a mystery in some ways (v. 27). But he was just as convinced that God had given every believer the answer to the mystery and wanted them to share that solution with others. Race, gender, social status, or previous history didn’t matter. They were all part of the kingdom of God through the hope found in Christ, and they all could take part in proclaiming Him to others –– together.
It’s easy to think of the lordship of Jesus as a personal issue. And in a sense it is. But Jesus didn’t come to earth just to live, die, and rise again to be Lord of you as an individual. He came to be Lord of the whole church –– individuals, Bible study groups, congregations, denominations, and the entire body. When we work together under His lordship, He can do incredible things through us. That’s what Paul was telling the Colossians. It’s still what Jesus is telling us today.
Intentionally focused on urban and multicultural believers, YOU is biblically based with culturally relevant and affirming lessons to help people connect, grow, serve, and ultimately be engaged in impacting the world for Christ. This flexible, non-dated all-in-one quarterly resource offers weekly Bible study for leaders and learners, devotionals, and teaching plans, as well as articles on hot topics and missions. For additional online downloadable teaching resources, visit LifeWay.com/YOU.