We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.
We have seen that Paul knew the origin, the focus, and the purpose of his ministry. Now, I want to shift our attention to the point and the power of Paul's ministry. Paul was one of the if not the most self-aware Christians to have ever lived. Part of it could have been due to his transformation that is as unique as any that has occurred. Paul was a man who has such a presence of the Holy Spirit on his life. He was truly filled up and fully controlled by the Spirit of God and because of this Paul was well aware of the origin, focus, purpose, point, and power of all of his ministry.
1. The Point – We proclaim Him (Christ), and work to see every Christian come to full maturity and completeness in Christ.
The text says, "We proclaim Him," meaning we (Christians, the born-again ones, the saints) proclaim Him (Jesus Christ, the One who saved us, the One who justifies us) and we ONLY proclaim Jesus and none other. We don't proclaim self, we don't proclaim religion of any kind, and we certainly don't proclaim any idols.
The text goes on to say, "admonishing every man." This means that every single Christian is included and it means to exhort, warn, counsel, instruction, theological training, etc. It means that in making disciples we proclaim Christ and exhort and train every Christian up to maturity and completeness in Christ. Both Admonish and Teaching are present tense Greek verbs meaning that the action is ongoing action. It is not something you can do just one time. It must be a life-long pursuit.
The Greek term translated "complete" can also be translated as "perfect." It means "having reached its goal or end." In other words, it is full-grown or complete in every aspect and in every part. In reference to our character, it is a fully grown and mature character. This maturity finds its full completeness in Christ and it should be the goal of every Christian to grow every day into further maturity and completeness in Christ-likeness.
2. The Power – It is the energy of Christ working in us which empowers us for the work of ministry.
Paul also knew the true power of His ministry lies in the same person he had been proclaiming to every person in the early church. The source of His power to do ministry is the same person who provides the origin, focus, purpose, and point of his ministry. That person is Jesus Christ.
Paul says, "I labor," meaning that he grew weary in doing ministry. He worked with true effort. Both his body and his mental abilities were used and worn out to the point of exhaustion at times. Many of us have barely lifted a finger in ministry compared to the work and effort Paul put in. In fact, in a lot of cases, many Christians actively avoid anything that would require effort in the Christian life. This is a sad but true judgment on the American church, especially the modern American church. One would think that if we truly had faith in the One who justifies that we would take up our cross and follow Him and partake in the sufferings of Christ. However, we too often seek our own and never consider the benefit of others. What is further tragic is that all the power we need to do effective ministry already indwells us in the person of the Holy Spirit.
Paul also says that he "strives according to His power" meaning that he contends or agonizes over his ministry. It is something that occupies his thought life on a regular and consistent basis. In fact, one could argue that to be true to the meaning of the Greek word you would have to say that Paul literally thought about it every minute that passed during the day. If you think about something that truly means a lot to you, if you think about something you would truly contend for or agonize over, then you would have to admit that it is something that you would think about as every second passes.
And the power that Paul utilized to do His ministry was the power of Jesus Christ. Paul states that it is Christ's power that "mightily works within me." It is this power which is the Greek word dunamis from which we get our English word dynamite that Paul refers to. It is an explosive power that always gets the job done!
So, how did Paul ultimately view ministry? As a way to proclaim Christ, to bring Christians to maturity in Christ, and to see the power of Christ working in the saints!