"BEARER OF 'THE NAME'"
(A Series on Colossians)
Westgate Chapel 9/19/93 a.m. Colossians 3:12-14
PROPOSITION: Since we have been raised with Christ and live in His resurrection power, and since we carry the Name of Jesus, let's do it with humility in regards to our relationships one with another.
- AT the age of seventeen I stood in a little passenger cabin on the SS Louise Lykes, an American freighter in Durban harbor, to say good-bye to my family. I was on my way to America to go to Bible School.
- MY parents and I had made the decision for me to come to this country to go to college a year earlier.
- I HAD recorded a 45 rpm record with two Christian songs that I sold to raise some of the money to come.
- I HAD bought and fixed up two little cars, with the help of my Dad and my brother, to make some more of the money I would need for the trip.
- AND now I stood in my cabin for my last farewell.
* I had been raised in a fairly sheltered environment.
* Most of my decisions regarding how I lived, how I dressed, the music I listened to, how I acted, and how I combed my hair were made for me by my parents.
* Our family was strict, to put it mildly. If you were going to contradict or disagree with my Dad, and you wanted to keep your head on your shoulders, you found a very polite way to word it.
* All my life I had been surrounded by good role models.....in my family and in our church.
* The church that my father pastored had experienced a revival that had lasted several years....from the time I was 12 years old until the time that I left the country.
- BUT now, at the age of 17, I was about to strike out on my own to a country that none of my family had ever seen.
- NOBODY in America had ever seen a Rowlands....at least not our branch of the family tree.
- GREAT grandpa Rowlands had been a miller in Bristol, England....and had served the Lord as a Quaker.
- GRANDPA Rowlands had immigrated to South Africa as a freehold farmer....and ended up serving the Lord as a missionary to the Indian people in Pietermaritzburg. The proceeds from the sale of the Rowlands farm built the first church in the town for the Indian people...Obededom Temple.
- MY father had, at the time that I left South Africa, been pastoring Elim Tabernacle for over 20 years....and like his father and his grandfather had been a faithful, holy, man of God.
- THEY were fierce kind of men. A little on the stern side. Spoke truth regardless of the opinions of others. Not everybody liked them. But they were faithful.
- SO in that cabin on the SS Louise Lykes, August 4, 1966, the last words out of my Dad's mouth after he had prayed were,
"Remember son, you are a Rowlands!"
- THAT name probably doesn't mean a whole lot in this country.
- BUT if you ever get to South Africa, and get into church circles there, if you ask about the Rowlands' you will hear about my uncles, my grandfather, my Dad and my brother who have carried the name with integrity for almost 100 years.
- REMEMBER, you are a Rowlands.
- IT is important to me.....probably at this stage of my life more so than when I was 17.
- NOW it is my turn to carry the name, Rowlands....and in this country I do it almost alone.
- COLOSSIANS 3 is all about carrying a name that is far greater than the family name and heritage that you and I carry on this earth.
- COLOSSIANS 3 is a chapter with a lot of practical instruction about how we are to live....what we are to do and not to do.
- BUT unlike a cold list of legalistic do's and don'ts it is a call to carry the name of Jesus filled with resurrection power.
- VERSE 1 starts out with,
"Since, then, you have been raised with Christ..."
- "SINCE you live with a different power base than the rest of the world.....the resurrection power of Christ within you...."
- VERSE 17, "THEN.......
"......whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."
- SINCE you have been raised with Christ, live in such a way that honors the name that you carry....so that whatever you do or say, you are doing it in the name of Jesus.
- AND in between verses 1 and 17 there are nine ways that Paul suggests you should do that....many of which we have been discussing over the past three Sundays.
* Set your hearts on things above.
* Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
* Put to death whatever belongs to your earthly nature.....sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, greed.
* Rid yourselves of anger, rage, malice, slander, filthy language, and lies.
- PUT to death....get rid of....take off.
- AND the reason is that the wrath of God is being revealed against those kinds of activities.
- NOW in verses 12-17 Paul instructs us in 5 ways that we can carry the name of Jesus.
ii. clothe yourselves with love
- VERSES 12 - 14
"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity."
- WHENEVER you are instructed in Scripture to not do something or to do something you are always given a power source for obedience that is outside yourself.
- THIS chapter started with, "Since you have been raised with Christ...." The resurrection principle working within you to empower you to obey.
- DO you remember the resurrection principle?
* Death no longer has dominion over you.....when you die that resurrection principle goes to work instantly and you are ushered into the presence of the Lord to live with Him for all eternity.
* The penalty of sin has been removed from your life.....the resurrection principle has canceled the debt that you would have had to pay for your sin. And the price would have been eternal death and torment for you.
* The death of your old sinful nature severed the link that you had with this world order. The resurrection power of Jesus in you established the link with the new heavenly order.
* The power of sin over your life now has been broken.....the resurrection principle releases you from the tyranny of sin and you are free to live righteously in the power of the Holy Spirit.
* The purposelessness of life has been canceled...the resurrection principle has brought you into the kingdom of God and you now live for Him and spend your life on things that are eternal.
* The hopelessness of life on earth has been replaced by a guarantee of eternal life...regardless of your circumstances because of the resurrection principle of Jesus at work in you.
- WELL, since that principle is at work in you....then clothe yourself with....
- THIS whole list of character qualities that mark the ones who carry the name, Jesus, have to do with our conduct towards one another.
- AND this word, compassion, comes from the Greek word that means "inward parts."
- IT involved being moved very deeply...like the father who saw the prodigal son coming home and did something very undignified for that time....he ran to meet him.
- OR like the Samaritan who was so moved at the sight of the Jewish traveler knocked down in the street that he risked getting robbed himself to stop and help him.
- IT is not just a natural emotion but a very forceful term when used by Jesus or Paul.
- IT means being gripped by affection for others in the family of God....an affection that is radical and costly.
- SINCE you are carrying the name of Jesus, CLOTHE yourself with compassion towards those around you at home and right here at Westgate Chapel.
- COMPASSION....because there is resurrection power in me and I am carrying His name in this community of believers.
- THIS is a desire for the good of others that springs from an understanding of how good God has been to us.
- IT is looking for that word or action that will produce the most benefit in the lives of those with whom God puts us in contact.
- IT is an attitude and an action that holds up your neighbor's good as much as you are concerned with your own.
- IT is Isaac in Genesis 26 who digs wells and gives them to others rather than fight about them.
- KINDNESS....because there is resurrection power in me and I am carrying His name in this community of believers.
- THIS is not a groveling, cowering thing.
- IT is the recognition that with all that we have and all that we are, we are object of God's mercy and have no rights to exert or demand.
- IN other words, we are nothing without His grace. We owe Jesus everything, so there is no basis for us to demand anything.
- JESUS never insisted on His own rights or comforts, but submitted to the will of the Father.
- SO, humility is total trust in God.
- IT is self-emptying.
- HUMILITY, like the publican who beat his chest when he prayed, puts you in right relationship with God who opposes the proud and exalts the humble.
- HUMILITY....because there is resurrection power in me and I am carrying His name in this community of believers.
- THE weak want to exert themselves, to demand attention, to lord it over others....to be in control.
- THE strong, like Jesus, don't have to exert themselves. The Father is in control.
- THEIR very strength enables them to be gentle. They have nothing to prove.
- THEY can be moderate in their handling of others.
- IT is a readiness to give way when there is no Biblical absolute at stake, but only some personal opinion or desire.....because there is nothing to prove.
- GENTLENESS....because there is resurrection power in me and I am carrying His name in this community of believers.
- PATIENCE is God restraining His righteous wrath against us for our sin....just because He wants to lead us to repentance.
- SO, He puts up with our failures and our weaknesses, waiting for the moment when we will come to our senses and return to Him.
- AND when we realize and appreciate how much God has done that for us then we, out of thanksgiving, extend the same privilege to those around us.
- PAUL gives us two ways that this patience works out.
* Bear with each other.
• This means forgiving injuries or slights that you have received from those in the Body of Christ.
• "One another" here literally means that this is something that is to be extended throughout the fellowship.
* Forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.
• Here is the bottom line....Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
- YOU see, it was very possible that the problems that Paul is addressing in these verses started with a legitimate disputing with false teachers....And then human nature being what it is, that defending of truth turned into a bitter spirit.
- THIS is the quality that binds all of the above together. It unites them all. It fuels them.
- THE apostle John was even more blunt on this subject than Paul. In I John 3:10 he writes,
"This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother."
iii. let the peace of Christ rule
- HOW else do we carry His Name?
- COLOSSIANS 3:15,
"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace."
- PEACE in our family, in our relationships, in our church, starts with peace in your own heart and in mine.
- IF HIS peace rules our hearts....then being at peace amongst the members of His Body is no problem.
- FIND someone who is the source of turmoil around them and you will find someone who is missing peace with God. They are unruly....because Christ's peace isn't ruling their heart.
iv. be thankful
- VERSE 15b,
"And be thankful."
- THAT is not just a throw away phrase stuck in at the end of verse 15 by Paul.
- THANKFULNESS gives birth to humility and deals a death blow to opinionated pride and selfishness.
- THANKFULNESS also kills self-pity...when we are tempted to think that God no longer pities us. It is a form of atheism.
- AND self-pity is a parent to resentment and bitterness.
- SO thankfulness before God does wonders for our horizontal relationships.....which speak louder to the world than our preaching.
v. let the word reside in you
- VERSE 16,
"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God."
- IF you are going to carry the Name....you need His Word in residence.
- YOU need to be taught in His Word.
- YOU need to be warned by His Word (Admonish).
- AND then the Word needs to be sung too as a form of teaching.
* Psalms....the Word set to music.
"Bless the Lord, O my Soul, and all that is within me bless His holy Name." (Psalm 103)
"The Name of the Lord is...a strong tower. The Righteous run into it and they are saved" (Proverbs 18:10)
* Hymns....songs that teach strong doctrinal content.
"Grace, grace...God's grace. Grace that is greater than all my sin."
"Great is Thy faithfulness. Morning by morning new mercies I see."
"There's no one, no one like Jesus....Who dies for me, just to set my spirit free."
* Spiritual Songs....songs with inner reflection.
"Sitting at His feet...that is where my life is complete."
"He's all I need....Jesus is all I need."
- BUT in case we get carried away with the benefit to us in this singing....Paul reminds us that it is to the Lord that we sing.
- OUR edification is not the chief purpose.
- WHICH brings us full circle to where we started this message in verse 17,
"And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."
- WE are full of resurrection power.
- AND we are carrying His Name.
- SO let's commit ourselves to obedience in what the Word has spoken to our hearts today.