"A PEACEFUL, GRATEFUL, WORD-FILLED COMMUNITY"
(A Message from Colossians)
Westgate Chapel 10/8/06a.m. Colossians 3:15-17
PROPOSITION: The power of the resurrection of Christ at work within the believer and his/her community of faith will produce peace, joy and gratitude as a way of life.
- THE New Testament is full of powerful references to the resurrection of Jesus and what it means to you and me, sitting right here in Edmonds on October 8, 2006.
* It is the source of our eternal Life. In John 11:25, Jesus said,
“I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies…” (John 11:25)
* The resurrection of Christ is the basis of our salvation. Romans 10:9 says,
“…if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9)
* The resurrection of Christ is the basis of our hope for heaven. I Peter 1:3-4 says,
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you…” (1 Peter 1:3-4)
* The resurrection of Christ was the center piece of the message the apostles preached. Acts 4:33 says,
“And with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all.” (Acts 4:33)
* The resurrection of Christ is the source of supernatural power in us to live victoriously today. Romans 6:4 says,
“Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:4)
- IN the apostle Paul’s letter to the church in Colosse, Paul develops a whole chapter of instruction on the Christian life (Colossians 3)….based solely on the significance of the resurrection of Jesus.
- IN Colossians 3:1 he writes,
“Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ…” (Colossians 3:1)
- AND in the verses that follow, Paul holds up a mirror to show us what life looks like when it is lived in resurrection power….
* You set your hearts and minds on things above, not on earthly things.
* You put to death whatever belongs to your earthly nature.....sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, greed.
* You rid yourself of anger, rage, malice, slander, filthy language, and lies.
* You clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
* You bear with each other. Forgive whatever grievance you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
* And above all these virtues you put on love that binds all of these together.
- THAT is some of what resurrection life looks like.
ii. let the peace of Christ rule
- AND then, starting in verse 15, Paul makes the connection between resurrection power the quality of our life together…in the home and in the family of God.
- SO, back to verse 1, “Since then you have been raised with Christ…..”
- COLOSSIANS 3:15a,
“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body…” (Colossians 3:15a)
- PEACE is the opposite of disturbance....of hostility.
- PEACE is the opposite of a state of war.
- BUT the word translated peace in the New Testament also carries the meaning of a sense of wholeness...of well-being…of tranquility that only comes from God.
- INTERESTING that peace is one of the spiritual weapons of Ephesians 6....the shoes of the Gospel of peace.
- EPHESIANS 6:15 says,
“Stand firm then…having shod your feet with the preparation [readiness] of the gospel of peace.” (Ephesians 6:15)
- THE Roman soldier in New Testament times had very important footwear for battle.
- AND the reason that his footwear was so important was that one of the principle strategies for warfare in Roman times was long marches where a lot of ground was covered quickly and the enemy caught by the element of surprise.
* Apparently, the enemy would have a report of your position and the size of your army. He would estimate how long it would take you to move that many men over the terrain that separated you from him....and gage his strategy against you accordingly.
* If you were able to move faster than he anticipated, by a significant margin, you would catch him unprepared.
* This was one of the reasons behind Rome's military successes.
- AND one of the critical ingredients in moving an army across terrain is what they have on their feet.
- THE Roman army wore a simple leather sole, strapped to their feet and ankles with leather ties. This was light in weight for mobility, it breathed, and didn't create blisters.
- ON the bottom of the leather soles, metal studs or nails were attached to prevent any slipping and sliding. This enhanced stability in battle, and mobility in all kinds of terrain.
- WITH this footwear you could....
* Move into battle fast and surprise the enemy.
* Climb difficult inclines, without sliding backwards.
* Remain standing and stable even when absorbing blows in battle.
* Negotiate the spikes that the enemy would sometimes imbed in the battlefield, trying to trip you up and wound you.
- WHAT is this footwear, the readiness of the Gospel of peace that renders you and me mobile in battle?
* It is the cessation of hostilities between you and God.....PEACE WITH GOD. Romans 5:1-2 says,
“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.” (Romans 5:1-2)
- BUT there is another angle to the use of the word, peace in the New Testament.
* It is also the cessation of hostilities between you and those around you.....THE PEACE OF GOD. Hebrews 12:14 says,
“Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14)
- I BELIEVE that the absence of peace between members of the Body of Christ trips up more spiritual "armies" than the devil has destroyed since Acts 2:4.
- WHY is this aspect of the Gospel of peace important?
- WHY is this aspect of the footwear so critical?
- WHEN you and God are in open hostilities.....you give the enemy place in our life.
- WHEN you and your brothers or sisters in the faith are in open hostilities......you make us all vulnerable to Satan’s plans to destroy the testimony of the Church.
- ON the other hand, unity in warfare is an awesome, powerful thing. Jesus said that is two of on earth agree on about those things that have to do with the kingdom of God.....it shall be done for them.
- THE devil HATES unity in the church.
- JESUS, on the other hand, prayed for our unity, and that we would be protected from the evil one, in the same prayer (John 17).
- PEACE is not just so that we can be nice and happy in the church....it has to do with getting and staying in the flow of God’s Spirit.
- THERE is no discord in the kingdom of God.
- THAT is why Colossians 3:15 says that since we are raised with Christ, we are called to peace.
iii. be thankful
- BUT wait, there is something else that being raised with Christ results in.
- VERSE 15b says,
"…and be thankful." (Colossians 3:15b)
- THIS is a popular theme for Paul. He uses the phrase or some derivative 42 times in his writings.
- THE reason for being thankful is so that those watching our lives might give glory to God.
- READ Paul’s epistles:
* He is thankful for the faith of the Roman believers.
* He is thankful for the Corinthian believers.
* He is thankful, in Romans 7, that Jesus is the victory over his frustrations with himself.
* He thanks God that he speaks in tongues.
* He is thankful to God for every memory he has of the Philippians believers and his time with them.
* He is thankful for His calling as an apostle, even though it cost him dearly.
* He is thankful to the Lord for Timothy, his young trainee pastor.
* He is thankful for Philemon and all that he did for the saints.
* He is thankful to God who gives us the victory.
* He is thankful to God who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ.
* In fact, in everything we find Paul giving thanks to God.
- SO, this is not just a throw away phrase stuck in at the end of Colossians 3:15 by Paul.
- THANKFULNESS is cousin to humility and deals a death blow to opinionated pride and selfishness.
- THANKFULNESS also kills self-pity and discouragement...when we are tempted to think that God no longer pities us. Self-pity is a form of atheism and leads to resentment and bitterness.
- GRATITUDE on the other hand always honors the One who gives every good and perfect gift.
iv. let the word reside in you
- PEACE, thankfulness….and one more thing that flows from resurrection power…
- VERSE 16,
“Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” (Colossians 3:16)
- THE Word of God is the source of faith and strength for every believer.
- ALL of the spiritual warfare equipment of Ephesians 6 is really quite useless without the Word….which in Ephesians 6 is called the Sword of the Spirit.
- WITHOUT the sword, you might be able to last for a while in battle, but you could only absorb so many blows and then you would go down.
- WITH the sword you can deflect the blows of the enemy.
- YOU can also strike at his strongholds, taking the battle to him at a time and with a swiftness that he has not anticipated.
- IN other words, instead of staying in the trenches, waiting for him to bring the fight to you......you can follow the Spirit's direction in taking the battle right into his strongholds.
- AND the sword is the one weapon that allows you to do that.
- WHAT is the sword?
* It is the Word of God. Ephesians 6:17b says,
"Take......the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."
* Its benefits are far-reaching.
“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
“For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)
- HOW does the sword of the Spirit work?
* Defensively, it blocks the penetration of our lives by the enemy's lies and deception.
* When Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness, he used scripture, twisted and taken out of context, to try and derail the purposes of God in His own Son.
* Jesus answered with the truth of God's Word, lifted up so as to block those lies. (Luke 4:13).
* Satan will try to come against us for "the kill" with doubt, unbelief, false teaching, condemnation, accusation, misleading information, wrong turns, dead ends, temptations, lies and half-truths.
* The Sword, taken up in your hand, under the anointing of the Spirit of God, can block every lie.
* Offensively, the Word of God can be used to demolish strongholds in your life, and the lives of others you can minister to, setting captives free.
* In 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says that God's Word will....
* Instruct those bound by ignorance concerning God and His salvation and righteousness.
* Rebuke and correct those who are heading towards destruction.
* Provide a track of righteousness to run on for those who are derailed in the corrupting ways of the world.
* Psalm 107:20 says that God "sent forth His Word and healed them, rescuing them from the grave."
- CAN you see why the enemy will do everything in his power to keep you from God's Word?
* He will see to it that you are too busy to pick up your sword and use it.
* He will see to it that you are distracted, or interrupted when you try to practice with your sword.
* He will try to block your understanding of God's Word and discourage you from using it.
* He will attack you with condemnation, so that you are weighed down with guilt and cannot pick up your sword.
- MAKE God's Word a priority in your life.
* Invite the Holy Spirit within to reveal God's heart to you in the Word.
* Don't just speed read it, meditate on it.
* Listen for the voice of God when you read it.
* Keep a journal of what the Lord says to your heart as you read.
* Study the Word. Get into a good Bible study or Sunday School class and dig into God's Word.
* Memorize the Word. The Navigators have a good system for memorization.
- IN the context of this passage in Colossians Paul suggests that 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)
* Hymns....songs that teach strong doctrinal content.
"Grace, grace...God's grace. Grace that is greater than all my sin."
* Spiritual Songs....songs that come from a heart tender to God’s grace and full of gratitude…..written by others but also a spontaneous expression of yours and my heart.
- 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 from our hearts.
- OUR edification is not the chief purpose. Pleasing Him is the chief purpose of this singing.
- WHICH brings us to Paul's conclusion of the practical application of the resurrected life, in verse 17,
“Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” (Colossians 3:17)
- WE are full of resurrection power.
- AND we are carrying His Name.
* Let the peace of God rule in your heart.
* Be thankful.
* And let the Word dwell in you richly.
THANK YOU FOR LOVING AND SETTING ME FREE