Text: Colossians 3:15&16 7/1/07 AM
Thesis: God is enjoyed where peace is trusted and the word dwells.
Intro: One of my biggest struggles is with anxiety about this church. I worry about you and I worry about us.
God has been dealing with me over the past several months in regards to my unhealthy concern about the amount of offerings, the attendance in Sunday School, and the size of our 11 o’clock crowd.
I say this is unhealthy because when the numbers are up then my spirits are up but when the numbers are down my spirits are down.
My joy has been tied to who is here and who is not. My peace has been connected to how much shows up in the offering plate.
I’m telling you this because I need your prayers. But I don’t want you just to pray that I would grow up. I want you to pray that the peace of Christ will rule my heart.
And the grace of God is seen in how He has told us how the peace of Christ will grow. It will grow as the word of Christ takes over more and more of my life.
So, please pray that the peace of Christ will rule my heart and that the peace of Christ will expand as the word of Christ takes up more and more real estate among us.
This has been my progress this week as I prepared this sermon and I pray we will see progress among us all this morning as God’s word is explained.
There is great joy for us to experience; I’ve experienced it this week and if you want to experience it also then you must listen to the Spirit as He teaches you about Christ’s peace and Christ’s word.
Read Colossians 3:12-17
As we dig into the passage I don’t want us to miss the impact of this passage on the church as a whole.
The Spirit’s intention is not just for individuals to benefit from Christ’s peace and word.
The Spirit’s intention is for the church to benefit. That’s why all the “you’s” are in the plural. If you want Christ’s peace and Christ’s word just for the sake of you then you’ve missed the point.
Joy in God experienced through Christ’s peace ruling us and joy in God experienced through Christ’s word dwelling in us is a community project. We’re in this together or we’re not in this at all. Let’s return to verse 15.
I) Our enjoyment of God is tied to the rule of Christ’s peace in our hearts.
a) We must let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts
i) Now, what exactly are we after when we say we want the peace of Christ to rule in our hearts?
ii) What we are after has already been explained in Colossians 1:19&20
19 For in [Christ] all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
iii) The peace of Christ is tied inseparably to the bloody cross. There is no peace without Christ’s work on the cross.
iv) So I think it is fair to say that our experience of peace will increase as our understanding and appreciation of the blood of Christ poured out on the cross increases.
v) And here’s where it gets really important. Christ did not die on the cross so that we will be at peace with ourselves.
vi) The problem is not that we don’t like ourselves or that we are mad at ourselves. The problem is God doesn’t like us and He’s mad at us because of our sin.
vii) What we need most in this world is to have access to the all-satisfying God but our sin breaks our relationship with God and blocks our relationship with God.
viii) It is Christ’s work on the cross which pays our death penalty for sin. And it is Christ’s resurrection from death which defeats the power of sin and death.
ix) Because Christ pays our death penalty and defeats the power of death we can have a right relationship with God.
x) No longer are we alienated from God or hostile toward God in our sin but now, because of Christ, we are at peace with God.
xi) This is the peace of Christ. This is the peace which Christ provides. I am no longer an object of God’s wrath; I am God’s child: chosen, holy, and loved.
xii) Our fundamental problem is not being at peace with God. God’s standards are higher than our own. God’s honor is much weightier than our own.
xiii) If God is pleased with us then there is no reason for us not to be pleased with ourselves.
xiv) If God considers sin taken care of then it’s taken care of. And it is Christ who takes care of sin and it is by faith that we grasp this truth and rejoice in this truth.
xv) If I can have faith in Christ’s work to bring peace between me and God then I can have faith in Christ’s work to bring peace between me and whomever I have wronged.
xvi) But the peace of Christ is about more than the removal of sin. Read Matthew 6:25-33
xvii) Do not be anxious. Instead, let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts. The God who sent Christ to remove your sin is the God who knows you need to eat and not go naked.
xviii) Seek God through Christ and He will take care of your needs. And remember this is not just about the individual
b) We are called to be one body ruled by the peace of Christ
To refresh your memory, Colossians 3:15 says, And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body.
i) When God called us out of our sin and into His family, He called us into a family that is ruled by peace.
ii) This idea here of peace ruling is the idea of an umpire calling a pitch. It is the umpire who calls a pitch a ball or a strike. The umpire rules a pitch good or bad.
iii) In the same way the peace of Christ is intended by God to function as our decision maker.
iv) Is what we are doing magnifying the work of Christ or is it distracting from the work of Christ?
v) Does what I want bring about greater unity among the one body that is Christ’s church or does what I want only serve to feed my selfish desires?
vi) You see a church is not a loosely connected group of individuals. A church is a tight knit community bound together by the reconciling work of Christ.
vii) God didn’t transfer us from the domain of darkness and put us in the kingdom of his beloved Son so we could be a bunch of ego-maniacs.
viii) God transfers us from his wrath and into his love so that we will be living testimonies to the marvelous peace giving work of Christ.
ix) So many people and churches send the message that there is no peace to be found because of all the fighting.
x) People look at some church business meetings and some people’s attitudes and say, “if that’s the peace of Christ then I don’t want to have anything to do with Christ.”
xi) But when we humbly and gently deal with sin and when we bear with each other’s differences in a way that leads to unity and growth then the world looks at that and says, “I want to know more.” You see
c) The peace of Christ is reason to be thankful
i) Let the peace of Christ rule and be thankful
ii) Be thankful for what? Be thankful you have peace with God and that peace with God trickles down and provides peace in your family, in your marriage, in your church, and in your work.
iii) A Christian who says, “I don’t have any reason to be thankful,” is a Christian who doesn’t understand Christ. This is a person who values food and clothing over the kingdom.
iv) The remedy for an ungrateful spirit toward God and others is not finally getting something that we want from God or others.
v) The remedy for an ungrateful spirit is understanding the work of Christ on the cross- the one thing I could never have, peace with God, has been given to me.
vi) Rejoice in that, meditate on that, preach that to yourself, preach that to others, and dig into Scripture because
II) Our enjoyment of God is tied to the expansion of the word of Christ among us. (Read 16)
a) We must let the word of Christ dwell in us
i) And the word of Christ is the gospel. When I meet with every person who wants to become a member of Mambrino Baptist Church I ask him/her to explain the gospel.
ii) One of the great and short descriptions of the gospel is found in Romans 5:8&9
but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.
iii) The word of Christ says, “I am a sinner who is separated from God by sin and I am a sinner who is incapable of reconciling myself to God.”
iv) But Jesus died for me. Jesus took my place. Jesus bore my penalty for disobedience and Jesus gives me the benefits of his obedience. I am justified by Jesus’ blood poured out on the cross for my sin.
v) No longer am I waiting for God’s just and righteous wrath. Instead I am God’s child chosen, holy, and beloved.
vi) The gospel is the truth that because of Christ’s work my sins have been removed and my relationship with God has been restored.
vii) This is the word of Christ and it is described in the gospels, explained in the epistles, and illustrated in the Old Testament.
viii) All of Scripture points to the marvelous redeeming work of Christ. And it is in this marvelous redeeming work that is supposed to dwell in us richly.
ix) It is not enough to just know some truths about Jesus. What God calls us to is a life that is saturated by the truth.
x) Many of us know some good stuff about Jesus but that good stuff doesn’t effect our lives. It doesn’t effect the way we treat our family or the way we do business.
xi) For this person the word of God is an accessory to the more important stuff. This is blasphemous because it says Christ is not what is best and this is ignorance because it’s exchanging truth for a lie.
xii) What we must do is seek to know and use the word of Christ in a way that it comes into us and takes over.
xiii) Have you ever seen a basketball player get so hot on defense it seemed like he blocked every shot?
xiv) We would say that he got in the paint and just set up shop. He dominated. He took control. He didn’t let anything in and kept everything out. He was dwelling in the paint.
xv) Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly. Let the word of Christ take over your life. Let the word of Christ block sin’s shots at your life.
xvi) One practical way to do this is to mediate on Psalm 119. It is full of depth concerning the word of God dwelling in us and taking over us.
xvii) Another practical way to let the word of Christ dwell in us richly is to understand that
b) We must teach and admonish each other
i) Teaching involves instruction concerning what is right. Admonishing involves correction concerning what is wrong.
ii) Every believer, every Sunday School class, every church needs a healthy balance of teaching and admonishing.
iii) The person who only teaches and never admonishes is a wimp. The person who only admonishes and never teaches is a tyrant.
iv) Did you notice that the call to teach and admonish comes after the call to put on compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience?
v) It’s not enough to just teach the right stuff. God calls us to teach the right stuff in the right way.
vi) And we’ve got to be intentional about getting God’s stuff, the word of Christ, into us.
vii) Does the stuff you watch on TV cause the rule of God through Christ to expand in your life or does what you watch on TV cause the power of the world to gain influence on your thinking?
viii) Do you read? If you do read, does what you read cause the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ to gain influence on your thinking or are you just looking for a good story that makes you cry?
ix) If we are going to enjoy God we must give ourselves to the word of Christ. We have to stop leaving theology to seminary professors and a few masochistic people.
x) This includes me; we’ve got to get the word of Christ into us by reading the bible, memorizing Scripture, meditating on it’s truth, reading good books that help explain the bible, listening to sermons, interacting in a Sunday School class, talking about the bible over a meal, and just all around being intentional to know God. Here’s another way
c) We must sing Christ’s praise with thankfulness
i) Singing psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
ii) The person in whom the word of Christ dwells richly will be a person who is looking for a variety of ways to express thankfulness to God.
iii) The person who is captivated by the gospel will be a person who does not get captivated by a particular style.
iv) The more the word of Christ dwells in you the more you will find yourself using the very words of Scripture to worship God.
v) As you memorize the Psalms they will inevitably find their way into your worship. The more familiar you are with the great hymns of the church the more you will find yourself praising God using words they used.
vi) As the word of Christ takes up shop in your life you will find more and more opportunity to praise God through out your day. You’ll sing a new song that you’ve never read before in Scripture or heard before in the church.
vii) You’ll sing God’s praises for a good cup of coffee or finding the sweet spot on your golf club.
viii) James said in chapter 1 verse 17
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights.
ix) The more the word of Christ dwells in us and we understand that every good gift has been given to us by God the more opportunities we will have to give thanks to God.
x) God takes care of me because I am his child. I am God’s child because of Christ’s perfect work defeating sin and death.
xi) If that’s not reason enough to be thankful I do not know what is. Let’s sing and let’s be thankful.