Text: Colossians 1:24-29

Context: Paul wrote this letter to the Colossian church. Colossae is in the southwest of modern-day Turkey. Paul was writing the letter as a prisoner (house arrest) in Rome. He did not church plant the church in Colossae; it was Epaphras who planted the church there. In Paul’s third missionary journey, he stayed in Ephesus for three years, and it was there that Epaphras (Epaphroditus) heard about the gospel and was discipled by Paul. In return, when Paul was imprisoned, Epaphras assisted him and told him about the updates in Colossae. Though everyone seems to be growing in their church, it is sad that false teaching is creeping into their community and households. Hence, Paul writes a letter to equip them.

  • Verses 24-25 speak about the suffering of Paul every time he proclaims the gospel of Christ.
  • Verses 26-27 The mystery of the gospel is that the Good News is not only for the Jews but also for all people, the Gentiles. Take note that Colossae is outside the region of Israel but most likely has a strong population of Jewish people.

Two Kinds of Revelation:

    • General/ Natural – human conscience, nature/ creation, morality, and common grace
    • Special – the Living Word (Jesus) through the Written Word (Bible) – salvific in nature

Paul’s Dream/ Goal for the Colossian Christians: “perfect/ complete/ mature” (Colossians 4:12)
Paul’s prayer to the church is to “be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him” (1:9-10)

  • Verse 28 It was not enough for Paul to see people make a profession of faith in Christ, as important as this is. Teleios could be translated as “perfect,” but full perfection will be attained only when Christ returns and believers are fully transformed. Until that time, the maturity Christians are to seek stands in contrast with the immaturity of infancy (cf. Eph. 4:14). Paul ministers so that every person will be complete in Christ.
  • Verse 29 Paul struggles—with all his energy—to help Christians grow and mature in Christ.

Three Dreams of UCBC:

  1. UCBC’s growth and maturity in Christ
  2.  Develop mature youth and YAs
  3. Everyone learns how to disciple
  • Verse 7 – “learn” [manthanō] links to “disciple” [mathētēs]; more than merely listening to a simple gospel presentation, Paul makes it clear that the gospel involves systematic instruction in the faith and in how to live as a Christian.

Conclusion: We Have a Dream

We have a dream that one day, we will see everyone forgiving one another.
A day when everyone is busy with discipling over watching movies.
A day of being busy reaching out to others for Christ over busy reaching the American dream.
A day when our kids, our youth, are passionately studying the Word of God over getting exhausted playing games and entertaining themselves.
A day when we can encourage one another, pray for one another, and live out the Christian walk over dealing with some petty issues of disagreements and conflicts.
I pray for this dream that everyone will grow and mature in Christ.


Rev. John Paul Arceno
UCBC New Jersey
July 30, 2023


References: ESV Study Bible; Photo by Gelgas Airlangga: https://www.pexels.com/photo/shallow-focus-of-sprout-401213/




Text: Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:4; 3:17-19

Habakkuk’s Objections and Response on Pain and Suffering (Sermon Manuscript)



Pain is the ultimate teacher. (Roger Collier)

C.S. Lewis said, “We were promised sufferings. They were part of the program. We were even told in Matthew ‘Blessed are they that mourn.’” Indeed, pain has been present since the beginning of life—mothers feel the pain of birth—and until the last moment of life—death.

Main Idea:

  • Habakkuk complained and lamented to God. He was questioning God. (1:1-4, 13)
  • God answered that he was already at work even before Habakkuk’s complaints. (1:5-11)
  • Perfect time – never delays. (2:3) Other people rely on their might, power, riches, and possession. (2:4a) – The kind of faith that Habakkuk describes, and that the NT authors promote, is continuing trust in God and clinging to God’s promises, even in the darkest days.
  • But Christians—the called out righteous ones—are to live by faith. (2:4b)

How did Christ respond?

Matthew 26:36-45: Jesus prayed three times – in this the same story, in Luke’s version, he said, “And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground” (22:44).

Christ sympathizes with you, in Hebrews 4:15, “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.” Dane Ortlund explained that “In our pain, Jesus is pained…His human nature engages our troubles comprehensively. His is a love that cannot be held back when he sees his people in pain. Jesus is able to sympathize. He “co-suffers” with us.”


Same with Jesus, Habakkuk’s response was prayer. As Christians, this is our default setting. NT Wright says, “That is our vocation: to be in prayer, perhaps wordless prayer, at the point where the world is in pain.” (the temptation to be pragmatic or solution-oriented).
Habakkuk 3:17-19, Rejoicing! Yet even amid suffering and loss, Habakkuk has learned that he can trust God, and with that trust comes great joy, not in circumstances but in God himself: yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. Yahweh has become Habakkuk’s strength.


Ptr. John Paul Arceno
UCBC New Jersey
March 13, 2022


This section is an excerpt only; download the full manuscript here.