Three Legged StoolThe Threefold Strategy

Yes, the sword is the principal offensive weapon, yet in any war a good strategy is arguably just as important as the chosen weapon. If an attack is poorly planned, even the best of weaponry may render the assault useless. Praise God this is only true for the physical realm! God’s Word will always accomplish what He desires no matter our poor planning. Nevertheless, our desire should always be to properly prepare our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

The spiritual strategies vary throughout our walk with the Lord. There are times to move forward offensively in the power of the Spirit and other times to wait patiently on our Lord’s direction. However, in general, there is a threefold plan that should be taught to and demonstrated by every believer, one that will serve as the framework for every chapter in our walk with Lord. This strategy is much like a three-legged stool. If only one or two of the legs are employed, the believer will not have as firm a foundation as intended, leaving him and those he disciples at best anemic and at worst open to deceptive doctrines.

This overarching, threefold plan is essential to every believer’s growth and effectiveness in Christ and is revealed to us in Colossians 1. Here Paul, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, instructs born again believers in the mysteries of Jesus, specifically Christ in us, the hope of glory. How fitting that this ever important strategy is found in one of Scriptures most beautiful passages regarding the amazing mystery of Christ, our great God and Savior, literally indwelling the hearts and minds of His children! In Colossians 1:27-28, the Lord wrote through Paul, “To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus…” Colossians 1:27-28

The threefold strategy for every believer is clear: preach, warn, and teach every man. Over the last several decades, many believers around the world have grown weak, choosing to embrace a man-centered, psychological, and social gospel instead of simply preaching and teaching Christ from the Word of God. Thankfully there are a few fellowships that have stood firm on the God’s Word. They do a good job of preaching and teaching Jesus, but unfortunately even many of these have chosen to ignore the other leg of the stool, not warning the flock of God in all wisdom. All three areas must be exercised for each individual believer and the body of Christ as a whole to be as healthy as possible.

  • Preaching Jesus: Truly our preaching should not simply be for doctrine’s sake. Doctrine is essential, but serves a higher purpose than itself. Doctrine is the framework of truth.  It serves as the proper paving stones that pave the godly road, ultimately leading its hearers to the Lord of true doctrine, Jesus Christ, the living Word of God! A person or fellowship that does not point men to Jesus is pointing them to men. To grow in Christ we must preach Jesus! “But you have not so learned Christ; if so be that you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus…” Ephesians 4:20-21
  • Teaching in all wisdom: Too often there is a temptation to embrace the world’s methods and patterns in teaching the flock of God. Sadly, there seems to be more and more pressure for the saints of God to regurgitate the pabulum of this sinful world. God’s wisdom is so far above man’s philosophies! Why should we feel such a need to apologies for the unadulterated Word of God?  We are called not only to preach Jesus, but lovingly and truthfully teach others the Word of God, being led by and leading others to eat from the hand of God, not this world’s feeding trough. “But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty.” 1 Corinthians 1:27
  • Warning every man in all wisdom: “Wisdom cries aloud outside; She raises her voice in the open squares. She cries out in the chief concourses, at the openings of the gates in the city She speaks her words: “How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity? For scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge.” Proverbs 1:20-22. Even solid, Bible teaching churches too often seem to fall into the error of not warning the flock of the dangers of false teachers and heretical teachings. Some argue that we must simply focus on the truth, not worrying about the false teachers within the body of Christ. But Peter warned the saints of Satan’s desire to devour as many as possible (1 Peter 5:8), and Paul warned the Ephesian elders that grievous wolves would enter even among them, drawing away disciples after themselves, not sparing the flock (Acts 20:29). Many times the Treasury Department analogy is used to reinforce the importance of  focusing on the truth. While it’s true that those working for the Treasury Department must carefully study real US currency in order to detect counterfeits, it’s just as true that the same workers must know how the counterfeiters operate, i.e. make their bills, circulate them, etc. As believers we must study, know, love, preach, and teach the truth of God’s Word, but we are not to be ignorant of Satan’s devices. (2 Corinthians 2:11) According to Colossians 1, we must warn the flock of God in all wisdom. Interestingly, many faithful followers of Christ are very concerned about warning the world of the Hell they are heading towards. Why is it that somehow we lose so much of that concern when it comes to the body of Christ? Should we not be more concerned for the body of the One who delivered us from death to life? Speaking of the body, consider a physical body that is unable to fight off infection properly. Certain cells in the blood spend all of their time identifying, mapping, and destroying enemies of the body, all to the goal of keeping it healthy. Why should it be any different in the body of Christ?

The Ultimate Goal: No Christian is called to preach, teach, and warn simply for the sake of preaching, teaching, and warning. Colossians 1:28 makes that clear. Learning how to utilizing all three of these facets is an essential strategy, requiring diligent dedication.  We are called to employ all three with the purpose of presenting every man perfect, that is to say, thoroughly furnished and mature in Christ Jesus. In reality when we only choose to employ one or two of the strategies revealed in Colossians 1:27-28, both we and the hearers lose out on growing in maturity as quickly as we should. We lose out on a closer and more intimate walk with our loving King! God wants His children growing to have a healthy and utter dependence (not independence) on our Lord and Savior, the Head of the body, Jesus Christ. Regardless of what’s popular in today’s professing churches, may we seek to faithfully feed the flock of God; preaching Jesus, teaching, and warning every man all because of our love for Jesus and a true love for His body!

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