Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly
We are blessed. We have access to Jesus' words in our Pew Bibles, perhaps in Bibles at home, on the internet, on smartphones and tablets.
16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, We are to use God's word to teach us how to live the right way and correct us when we go the wrong way.
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 to do everything “in the name of Jesus”. As His representative. Reflecting His example and teaching. Like an ambassador representing a foreign King. This should be done in an attitude of gratitude, giving thanks to God the father through Him.
3:12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; 13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. 14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. 15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
In the first half of verse 12 Paul reminds the Colossian Christians of the root of their salvation. Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;
They are chosen/elected by God, holy or set apart for him, and beloved by God. This foundation should enable them to grow into being more like Jesus. As we read this list of virtues we can relate them to Jesus. We are to be clothed with these virtues. To put them on to replace the way we used to behave.
Talk of familiar clothes. e.g. shoes, comfortable, long while before I wore my second pair bought in sale ! It is like this with the clothes we are to wear for God. It may take some time before we fit them well !
verse 12b. We are to put other people before ourselves. That is the motivation behind the compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. And it isn't easy. I find it difficult to be patient, sometimes when I am driving. Yet this is very selfish. It is saying that our concerns have to come first.
So when we and other people fail how should we react ? 13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.
The motivation behind our forgiving is that we have been forgiven so much by God. The type of forgiving should be like God's. Undeserved and unconditional.
Our forgiveness of others shows that we have understood the true nature of our own forgiveness by God. That is what the Lord's prayer is referring to in the line "forgive us our sins as we forgive those who have sinned against us". It is not that we earn God's forgiveness by being forgiving. That would be salvation by works. It is that our forgiving shows that we have been forgiven and responded accordingly.
We have been thinking about putting on Christian virtues. Like different items of clothing. Paul now gets to the final item. 14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. It is as if love is like a large, full length overcoat. Holding in place and joining together all the clothing underneath.
We have been considering what we should do, or put on. Paul now outlines how we can do these things.
1) 15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.
Christ has made peace with God for each one of us through his body on the cross. When this happens we join his body on earth the church and so are united with one another. I cannot imagine a body attacking itself without bringing harm and ridicule on itself. So we should concentrate on what unites us, rather than what divides us. Something that we declared on Radio Stoke with our Methodist and Baptists brothers and sisters recently.
But we shouldn't be smug about this because I know that there are divisions and tensions between people in our fellowship here and that this is one of the things that is stopping us from growing. So if anyone here has a problem with a Christian brother or sister we are to forgive them and perhaps go to them and be reconciled with them.
We have peace with God through Christ. We should have peace with one another in Christ.
2) We are to be thankful to God for what he has done for us, verse 15b,and be ye thankful.
Praise and thanksgiving puts things in a right perspective. It can free us from the earthly ties that can entangle us. It enables us to set our minds on things above ( as mentioned in verse 2).
This is linked to the singing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God, verse 16b singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
FILL THOU MY LIFE, O Lord my God,
In every part with praise,
That my whole being may proclaim
Thy being and Thy ways.
A good way to start off our quiet time can be to sing a hymn or song of praise to God. The context here, though, is primarily a congregational one. It is encouraging to come together regularly to worship God. It is also important to come together and
3) Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, verse 16.
The word of Christ is his teaching found in the Bible. This should be used to teach and admonish. So the teaching should be applied to correct us in how we should live.
John Mottram showed me a book of pithy sayings based upon Bible verses. I read this one which fitted in with this verse : "In order to receive the direction of God, you must be able to receive the correction of God."
We do this so we can live lives that are more holy, and this will bring glory to God.
4) 17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
Our words and deeds should be 'in the name of Jesus'. This is not a magic formulae to add to things like abracadabra. It refers to us living and acting as those who bear the name of Christ. Acting for him. Relying upon him. Like an ambassador representing his King. Relying upon his King for orders on how he should conduct himself.
To summarise, our foundation of holiness should be our relationship with Christ. We should be putting off the old life with its sinful actions and desires. And putting on the new life that makes us more like Jesus. This should be inspired by the worship of God, and his word, taught and applied to our lives.
Henry Drummond a preacher and author started an address at a club in London this way. 'Ladies and gentlemen, the entrance fee into heaven is nothing: the annual subscription is everything."