Planted to Grow
My grandfather would begin preparing his garden about this time of the year. He had his soil plowed and would have potatoes planted by St. Patrick’s Day. He had learned from his parents and grandparents how to be a master gardener so that every year, his garden would yield beautiful and bountiful vegetables and fruits. He received that knowledge and made sure that his sons and grandsons knew it well. I hated the fact that the potatoes he planted in March had to be dug up around July 4th, but I loved eating them in the fall and winter months! There was much benefit to my grandfather receiving this knowledge and passing it along from generation to generation. I have learned from my grandfather and my father that there are four simple steps to having a successful garden: preparing to plant, nurturing the plant, growing the plant, and experiencing the harvest. I see this same pattern in our lives spiritually. We have those that have imparted knowledge to us. Through our study of Colossians, we see that they learned from receiving instruction from Epaphras.
We understand through our study of Colossians that they learned from receiving instruction from Epaphras.
You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf,
This process helped strengthen the church at Colosse and others nearby. The teaching of sound and solid doctrine was and still is crucial for the church. As we continue this study in Colossians, we will see that indeed we are planted to grow. These two verses in have several key words that are of great instruction not only to the people of Colosse, but also to me and you as we strive to be what God has called us to be.
Listen carefully to these two powerful verses:
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
Notice first, the idea of preparing to plant.
Preparing to Plant
Preparing to Plant
The first phrase in verse 6 has us reflecting on what we have already learned. “So then” links us back to the previous verses that outline the purpose, provision, protection and presence we have previously discussed. It could also be “therefore or because or as a result.” You could also say, “in light of having this wisdom and knowledge...”
We see the validation of the previous verses and then the phrase “just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord.” We have to stop and ask how did they receive this? Just like what I received from my grandfather and father about gardening, they received this teaching from previous generations of the faith that showed them what to do.
The idea of receiving is the transmission of teaching from one person or generation. The Greek word here, PARALAMBANO, indicates the receiving or accepting the tradition about Christ and His significance. There are several examples of this receiving throughout the New Testament that are worthy of our study:
Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand.
For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
1 Corinthians 15:4
Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more.
Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
Tell Archippus: “See to it that you complete the work you have received in the Lord.”
And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe.
We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true—even in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.
These verses all imply that which was received was not only the teachings of Jesus, but Jesus Himself. Paul says in , “So then, just are you received,” then he tells us what we have received: “Christ Jesus as Lord.” Why is this important? Jesus referred to Himself as Lord. In says,
“You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am.
Receiving is the acceptance of a gift. It implies a sends of understanding and obligation that what is received is real and substantial. Receiving Jesus is more than recognizing Him as a person of history that lived long ago. It is through an act of faith that Jesus becomes real to us and we are able to receive Him fully.
Receiving also means grasping or getting possession of something. In doing so, that which I receive becomes my own. When I receive Jesus as my Savior, He not only is the Savior of the world, He becomes the Savior of my world. He becomes so real to me that nothing in this life nor anything I may face in death robs me of Him. This is mine given to me as God’s free gift and to have in my heart as my Lord and Savior. Oh the gift of salvation!
Salvation can be described as the blind receiving sight, the deaf receiving the ability to hear, the lame receiving strength to walk, and the dead receiving new life. However, we have not only received these blessings, we have received Christ Jesus Himself! God has given us His Son and allowed Him to pour Himself into us!
Charles Spurgeon stated, “Do not turn away from Him; do not dream of going beyond Him. You received Him at the first very simply, you trusted Him entirely, so go on doing so. You were satisfied with Christ when you first came to Him, so be satisfied with Him still, for you do not need anything more than Christ and there is nothing more than Christ.”
Receiving Christ as Lord is not the end but rather the beginning! It is like a seed planted in fertile soil. As it is watered and nourished, the seed begins to grow.
Nurturing the Plant
Nurturing the Plant
Paul writes that those that receive Christ Jesus as Lord must continue t live in Him. This is the same thought Paul began in where he writes:
And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,
Continue means literally means to walk or live. To the Jews, it meant the path one took to make sure that his or her conduct was of the most ethical importance. Paul emphasizes here that if you have a relationship with Jesus and have made Him your Lord, then you need to act like it! You continue in your life in a way that demonstrates the life that Jesus led. To walk in Him means that you practice, in speech and action, and conform to the principles established by Jesus.
In other words, your talk and walk need to match up to that of Jesus’. Our living and thinking need to line up under the Lordship of Christ. Jesus said in
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
We are saved by the WORD so we must live by the WORD with is Jesus. So we continue to live in Him. Christ is planted in you and I and as a result, we are given divine roots. These divine roots firmly establish us in our faith. This is when the plant grows.
Growing the Plant
Growing the Plant
The state tree of North Carolina is the Long Leaf Pine. These trees usually grow in the the eastern part of our state in very sand soil. They can grow 60-100 feet tall. You may ask, “How can such a tree grow so tall in such sandy soil?” The reason is their root system. The roots can spread out up to 75 feet and the tap root that comes down can be as big as the trunk and go down 10-15 feet to serve as an anchoring point for the tree. What if you and I were rooted spiritually like the Long Leaf Pine? It would be hard for us to be toppled over by the strong winds of false teaching! You have to be rooted so you can grow. You got to go deep before you go up! Paul recognizes this as he writes the church of Colosse. The Greek word here for rooted is RHIZOO. It means firmly planted and firmly established. How are you planted?
I will plant Israel in their own land, never again to be uprooted from the land I have given them,” says the Lord your God.
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,
Not only are we to be rooted in the truth and love our God’s Word, we are to be built up. The Greek word used here is EPOIKODOMEO. It means to build up or add to. Jesus spoke of being able to build upon that which begins with a solid foundation. In , Jesus told the following parable:
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
We are to live out the teachings of Jesus. Are you living out the teachings of Jesus?
And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.
When you are rooted and built up, you are “strengthened in the faith as you were taught.” This is the ultimate growth. The word in Greek for strengthened is BEBAIOO. It is not just getting strong. It is established, confirm, and to make valid. Can you see what Paul is teaching here? You received Christ Jesus as Lord, you continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, then you become strengthened in your faith. You confirm your faith. You establish your faith. You validate your faith. Are you established? Are you validated? But that’s not all!
Experience the Harvest
Experience the Harvest
The whole purpose my parents, grandparents, great grandparents and generations before that even prepared to plant, nurtured those plants, grew those plants, was to experience the harvest. It was the harvest that sustained them and gave them the nutrients to help them live. The work had to take place for the harvest to be experienced! Paul tells us in the last phrase of these verses that there will be an overflowing with thankfulness.
The more I understand about the salvation I have received in Christ Jesus, the more I continue to live in Him, the more rooted and built up in Him I get, the more strengthened in the faith I become, the more the thankfulness overflows!
Glory Hallelujah thanks be to God! Sometimes I can’t say thank you Jesus enough for His all He has done for us!
By the way, when we are overflowing with faithfulness, it spills out and lands on other folks that need to receive the love of Jesus. You are planted to grow. What an incredible circle of life!