Colossians #15 Colossians 3:15-17
Last time we examined the new wardrobe every
believer is entitled to wear. We take
off the old ways and put on the new way of living as committed followers of
Jesus. We know the character qualities
of a disciple: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline,
even-tempered, contentment, and quickness to forgive. These clothes are all cut out of 100%
heavenly love. In this our 15th
session in the book of Colossians we are going to consider peace, praise, and
The Apostle Paul is instructing the faithful in Colossae,
Colossians 3:15-17 (MSG)
Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each
other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own
thing. And cultivate thankfulness. 16 Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have
the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct
one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! 17
Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of
the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.
Before we consider what
Paul means by the peace of Christ keeping us in tune with each other we need to
know a little about the peace of God. When we read the gospels, Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John Jesus
never seems threatened. There was no
inner conflict even though there were plenty of conflicts directed at him. In one instance the folks from His hometown
were so enraged that they were going to throw Him off a cliff (Luke 4:29). In another instance, the authorities were
going to arrest Jesus, but couldn’t manage to lay a hand on Him (John 7:30).
And again we read that after teaching, the crowd picked up stones to stone him
to death but He just walked away (John 8:59).
That all certainly qualify as conflict. Jesus is unfazed because He had
complete trust in the One He called Father. No worries, God’s got this.
If you have this
gift of peace it is because you trust God.
Regardless of the circumstances of life, regardless of the catastrophes
of life, you know that what is most important is secure. Your relationship with
God is most important. When that
relationship is right, from it grows harmony with others, harmony within
yourself, and harmony with the earth.
Harmony with the earth is about being a wise steward of all the
resources God has entrusted you with. The
power to cope because of hope that God’s got this is yours also. Trust is key to confidence, confidence births
peace. Even though you may not see the
hand of God, even though you may have offered up a million prayers, you still
know that there is no other place to go but to the God of love revealed to us
through the ministry of Jesus Christ.
I grew up with the
idea that peace is found through strength.
If you’re big and strong you don’t get bullied, others are afraid of
you. A motto of President Teddy Roosevelt
is to “Walk softly but carry a big stick.”
Peace through superior firepower.
That’s the peace that the world gives.
I will fear no evil for I am the biggest, “baddest,” meanest dude in the
valley, don’t tread on me. That’s the
peace the world gives you. Peace through
strength, peace through power. The peace
that Christ gives comes through apparent
weakness. The reason it is apparent weakness is that even though at first it
appears humble and weak, in the end, it’s victorious. Apparent weakness is counter-culture, counter
my egoism. Entrance into the kingdom
comes to us by way of crucifixion. It
was in apparent weakness that Jesus won the war. It was in utter humility that
Jesus eventually took first place. This
is a hard truth to live. To live
apparent weakness requires great discernment and keeping in step with the Holy
Spirit in every situation.
Now let’s take all
my ramblings and use them as background for what Paul is telling us.
Christ unifies. The peace of
Christ is a result of wearing the wardrobe of the kingdom. The wardrobe of the Kingdom helps us to live
righteously with one another. If you are to relate rightly to others then put
on compassion, kindness, humility, quiet
strength, discipline, temperate, willingness to let others be first, and quick
to forgive those who offend you. Then over all of those virtues wrap yourself
in a cloak of love (Col 3:12-14 (MSG). Since each disciple is to do this, we know
that our brother or sister in Christ is clothed the same way. When like meets like there is unity even in
the disagreement, unity is more important than being right on nonessentials.
When Paul tells us to
let the peace of Christ rule is he telling us that when it comes to our relationships
with other believers maintaining unity is a necessity. The peace that Paul is
encouraging us to live in is interpersonal; a peace that values unity more than
“me getting my way.” When it comes to a
disagreement, since we are clothed with compassion, kindness, humility, quiet
strength, discipline and temperance we don’t fight, we collaborate and
cooperate The peace of Christ empowers us to remain
agreeable in our disagreements.
The Church has not
been very good at maintaining unity. Church
History contains a sorry record of disunity, of civil war that was never civil. The reason for this is mediocre
disciples. The Church is full of
mediocre disciples, people who are serving Jesus, but are not like him (E.
Stanley Jones, Victorious Living p 77).
Mediocre disciples have come to a compromise between wearing the old
rags and wearing the new wardrobe. Being
compromised on the inside they are going to be compromised on the outside. What is inside a person’s heart, comes out in
a person’s actions (Matthew 12:34; Proverbs 4:23). This shows up most pointedly
in our relationships with others.
It might be wise
that before we take a stand and refuse to be moved that we make sure the real
issue is a disagreement concerning the basics of the faith, the essentials. In a previous message, it was suggested that
the Nicene Creed formulated during the 4th century lays out the
basics. For our holiness movement, 16
articles of faith lay out the basics for our congregation. Even disagreement over cherished doctrines needs
to have the peace of Christ arbitrate any disunity in the diversity. There is a whole lot of opinion when it comes
to the practice of the faith. Those
filled with the Spirit of Jesus will be united by that same Spirit. Jesus
A heart of
thanksgiving helps keeps brothers and sisters united. Instead of cultivating contention, we are to
cultivate thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is
a form of praise. Being thankful moves
us out of first place by recognizing that God is in charge. When we praise God we position ourselves to
hear from God. We take our eyes off
ourselves and focus on the one who gives us peace. There will always be people that you don’t
get along with, your way of doing life clashes, you may see them as EGRs [extra
grace required], you may be at your wits end with their IRN [infantile
religious nonsense], yet when you praise God because you are cultivating a
thankful heart you have the empowerment to continue to love them. You still may not like them but you realize
they are family. As the ole saying
goes: “You can choose your friends, but
you can’t choose your family.”
Verse 16: “Let the
Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in
your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing,
sing your hearts out to God!”
Scholars tell us that this verse describes what a meeting
of the Church family consisted of. Worship
included thanksgiving, teaching, admonition and encouragement, and
singing. The only thing missing from the
list is a meal. The Word of Christ is
the gospel, God’s master plan. Remember
these first believers did not have the New Testament. They had the gospel message and the teachings
found in what we call the Old Testament. Each member of the congregation has
the responsibility to teach and to encourage; there is no hierarchy, very
similar to the new movement of the house church, the church that meets in
someone’s home. This new movement maybe
is not so new after all. Singing was a
common activity whose purpose was spiritual instruction. We in the Wesleyan tradition only need to look
to the songs written by Charles Wesley to see how solid instruction was put to
a catchy tune. We all know how songs
stay with us, and lectures quickly slip away.
Verse 17: “ Let every detail in your lives—words,
actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the
Father every step of the way.”
Paul has given us an incredible guideline for
behavior. For something to be done in
the name of Jesus, it must be in accord with Jesus. If some thought, word, or action is not
something that would meet with Jesus' approval it is to be avoided. Can I do “this” knowing that Jesus will bless
it? Do I have His stamp of approval
because my actions are in accordance with loving God and loving others? If you are not sure if some thought, word, or
deed is right or wrong use the “in the name of Jesus” test. Ask yourself is my “whatever” compassionate,
kind, humble, coming from a place of inner strength and confidence, am I under
control. Is my “whatever” in accordance
with proper anger? Is my “whatever” in
line with forgiving others, loving others; being longsuffering with others,
does it create contentedness? Is my
“whatever” loving? Does it strengthen
relationships or does it hinder righteous relationships? Can I do it “in the name of Jesus?” Passing the “in Jesus’ name” test with a
clear conscience keeps you in tune with your brothers and sisters.
Once again there is an emphasis on thanksgiving. Back in Nov 2021 a series of messages simply
entitles Thanksgiving may prove beneficial to you if you are still seeking to cultivate
that attitude of gratitude for the blessings bestowed upon you by God in
Jesus. Please realize that there will be
no thanksgiving if you think you are entitled.
Pride, selfishness, and worry will steal thanksgiving from you. Perfectionism kills thanksgiving. When suffering abounds we are not thankful
for the difficult time, instead, we do the hard work of being thankful in the
Romans 5:1-2 (MSG)
“By entering through faith into what God has always wanted
to do for us—set us right with him, make us fit for him—we have it all together
with God because of our Master Jesus. And that's not all: We throw open our
doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open
his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might
stand—out in the wide-open spaces of God's grace and glory, standing tall and
shouting our praise.
We are to be “thanking God the Father every step of the
way.” May we all learn to master this
Paul in these verses
tells us how to live in harmony with one another.
“When feelings clash
and we are pulled in two directions at the same time, the decision of Christ
will keep us in the way of love and the Church will remain the one body it is
meant to be” (Barclay's Daily Study Bible (NT).
Many of our practices in our congregations are
cultural and a matter of opinion [by opinion it is mean a belief held without
certainty of its truth], or a matter of personal taste. John Wesley said that outside of the basics
we “think and let think.” This doesn’t
mean we are wishy-washy, we know what we believe. If someone taught that Jesus was merely a
wise and powerful teacher, we know that such a teaching is outside the
boundaries of the gospel. “But as to all
opinions which do not strike at the root of Christianity, we think and let
think. So that whatsoever they are,
whether right or wrong, they are no distinguishing marks of a [of simple
Christianity lived out].” (John Wesley, The Character of a Methodist0.
The peace of Christ “empowers
the desire to live in unity and harmony with all and especially with the
citizens of the kingdom, your brothers and sisters in Christ. There is
supernatural confidence that everything will be alright in Christ.” (What
does it mean to 'let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts' (Colossians
You will have the peace of Christ as you clothe
yourself in the wardrobe of the Kingdom. If there is some questionable action employ
the IJN test, the “In Jesus Name” name.
If you can’t ask or don’t suspect that your thoughts, words, or
behaviors can’t be blessed by God, then don’t do it.
Be encouraged to examine the degree of thankfulness
you walk around with every day. If you
find it wanting, figure out why.
Cultivating thankfulness is a powerful deterrent to the old way of life,
living life on empty.
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