At the recent Banner of Truth Trust Ministers’ Conference, Dr Sinclair Ferguson brought two messages to the 300+ men gathered on the topic: “Union with Christ.” Both are worthy of your listening/purchasing (and I hope to do so soon).
My notes cannot do justice to what was presented, but let me share a few things from the first session….
Scripture text read: Colossians 3:1-17.
The aim of Colossians 2-3 (and these addresses by Dr Ferguson) is: to teach believers about their union with Christ, and so combat several disfunctions in the local church. Believing “on” Christ and union “with” Him is not built on a concept borrowed from classical Greek, but is rather a new, gospel-born concept.
As such, it is also a primary tool for pastoral ministry. Indeed, the way we approach and do ministry will reflect (and depend upon) our view of the Christian’s life — and his union with Christ.
False teachers in Colossae were advocating some (false) way to spiritual ‘fullness’. Isn’t this similar to our own day, when ‘fullness’ is being offered to Christians apart from Christ? It seems that so many brethren “live below the privileges” that are theirs in Christ.
The Basic Pattern of Apostolic Teaching/Preaching.
(1) There is a GRAMMAR imbedded in how Paul speaks of Christ. It is like learning a new language that you want to speak well. We must learn the gospel imperatives, and how they are rooted in the gospel indicatives…. [This grammar metaphor was wonderfully developed and employed by Dr Ferguson throughout the rest of the address.]
(2) There is a CHRONOLOGY of the gospel. The present Christian life is rooted not so much in the present, but rooted in the past — in the person and work of Christ!
(3) There is a GEOGRAPHY of the gospel. Col. 3:3 (“your life is hidden with Christ in God”) — do we recall this daily? We are born-from-above; we ought to speak with heaven’s accent.
(4) There is a RYTHYM of the gospel. (Col. 3:5, put off… put on…).
The Basic Substance of Apostolic Exposition. (from details of Col. 1-2-3).
• the person … to whom we are united (Christology)
• the manner … in which we’re united (a mutuality, we have Him and He has us…)
• the extent … we are united
Knowing who we are in Christ forms and transforms us. Thus, Christ ought to be the dominant theme in all our ministry.