June 18, 2023

Colossians: Right Theology Guides Right Living

Speaker: David Jordan Series: Journey Through the Bible Scripture: Colossians 1:1– 4:18

Download the Colossians Bible Journal Outline

Open your Bibles, if you would, to the book of Colossians. Going to preach a summary of the book today. It is similar to Ephesians, so you'll hear similar phrases and words used. Hopefully you have the Bible outline journal that we make every week. It'll go over the themes and the chapter overviews. Colossians is pretty easy to divide into two categories. The first two chapters are doctrinal. And the last two chapters are practical. Meaning the first two are about the theology of Christ. And the second two are about living out that theology. And I do mean theology, the study of God, knowing him rightly. It is, I would say, the foundation of life. Theology is the foundation of life. Let me read to you a quote from a leading cult, see if you can find out what's wrong with this quote. “Jesus is the Christ, the eternal God, manifesting himself to all nations.” Doesn't sound too bad. Right? Sounds pretty good. You already know you're getting set up a little bit. So that's good. But the theology of it might sound biblical. But just using the same words does not mean someone is using the same meaning. And we need to have clarity and discernment when we look at Scripture to understand Jesus for who the Bible describes him as. And using the same definitions.

That quote was from the Book of Mormon. If you've not studied theology, you might agree that it's orthodox. Yet, they do not speak of Jesus the way you and I do. They believe Jesus is a man, born not eternal, elevated to the status of a god, in the sense that he is the brother or the father of all the living. They actually use the book of Colossians to make their strongest case. They actually use the book of Colossians, out of context, but using the same words that you and I would use, to try and understand who this Jesus is. In fact, they don't even believe Jesus is co-eternal. That is, he's not eternal in the same way that the Father is. Nor do they believe that he is co-equal. That is, they do not believe Jesus is equal to the Father, [they believe] that he is lesser. That theology drives all that they do. It drives all that they say. Without good theology, we may be led astray when they come knocking on the door using words that sound orthodox. They would say Jesus is God. But they don't mean the same thing that you and I do, nor do they mean what Colossians describes.

Paul has never visited the people of Colossae. It was a small town, used to be vibrant. But he writes them this deep theology in order that they would not be led astray and that they would be able to worship the true God. As described by God himself, as Paul is inspired to write the holy words of Scripture. So, he writes this amazing, yet concise understanding of the deity of Jesus Christ. The Mormons weren't the first to come up with this understanding, although they may be the latest. Back in the three hundreds there was a document written that if you've met with one of the elders at the church, it's been read to you actually, it's called the Nicene Creed.

So, the first Roman emperor to become a Christian was Constantine. And he wanted to figure out what are these Christians from different parts of the world talking about? Some of them are saying that Jesus is created and some of them are saying that he is eternal and always eternal. That begotten doesn't mean born, like you and I are born, that we didn't exist before. Some Christians were saying that Jesus was existing before he came to Earth. So, in 325 AD, Constantine called all these people together, all these bishops together, all these, what you and I would call pastors, today. And he had them get together and figure out, is Jesus eternal or not? And of course, they labeled as heresy that Jesus did not exist before he was born, and booted out Arius, the guy who held that theology, and all of his followers. And they wrote this Nicene Creed, in 325 AD, to help people understand what is the orthodox view of Jesus, who he is. Because if you get Jesus wrong, then you have a different religion. If you have a different religion, you're not going to worship the same God that we do, the true God. You're going to spend eternity under the wrath of God.

So, Paul as he's thinking about, “how can I encourage these people?” He thinks, “I must write to them a concise, robust theology of the deity of Christ.” Now, when one of your friends gets down or sad, is that what you think of? “I just need to write to them some robust theology, I need to encourage them with the intricacies of Jesus being begotten, not made.” Well, that’s how Paul thought, and that is what he begins Colossians with.

Let me tell you a little bit more about Colossae. It was established long before Paul got there. Many people had gone through there. It was on this trade route from east to west. So, if you wanted to start out in, even Jerusalem or what we would call the Mesopotamian region, and you wanted to go towards Rome, that way, you would have to travel right by Colossae. So since around 480 BC, it was an established city. So, by the time Paul's talking to this city, you know, it's around 500 years old or more. So, they're well developed in their thinking, and their religion, and their society, and how they want to run things. Except they were bypassed, kind of like Route 66 used to be the main road, right? And then all those towns along Route 66 in the U.S. got bypassed by big highways. Same thing happened to Colossae; they made main roads go to Laodicea instead. So, we have this little town, off of the beaten path, with a rich history. And Paul loves them dearly.

Epaphras, who was a fellow minister with Paul, you can read about him in other books. Philemon is even mentioned in this book. Onesimus is mentioned. But Epaphras was their pastor. And so, Paul heard about them through their pastor. They needed to know Jesus. Look at Colossians 1:1. And this is the first point, that “we must know Jesus deeply, to live rightly.” “We must know Jesus deeply, to live rightly.” See, if you get that out of these verses, I'm going to read to you all 14 verses because it's an astounding opening to a letter.

Colossians 1:1–14
1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,
2 To the saints and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father.
3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, 5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, 6 which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth, 7 just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf 8 and has made known to us your love in the Spirit.
9 And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. 13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

I mean, that is an opening to a letter. If you don't see that Paul loves Jesus, and thinks that they love Jesus, then we've missed the opening completely. Notice in verse six, they heard the gospel, they understood the gospel as “the grace of God in truth.” Where did they hear it? Verse seven, they learned it from Epaphras, their pastor. And he has made it known to them in the Spirit. Why? Why do they hear the Gospel? Why does he pray for them? Why does he ask all these things? Look in verse 10, “so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord.” If you want to encourage someone, you want to encourage them to have a worthy walk. A walk that someone could look at and say, “that person follows Jesus Christ, unequivocally, we can see in their habits, and in their love, and their desires, and in their faith that they walk in a manner that is fully pleasing to God.

Now, sometimes we think that that is impossible to do. I just hope I'm not offending God. But there is so much more to the Christian life. There is so much more that comes through this living by faith that we can, in every good work, bear fruit. And that we can constantly be increasing, as verse 10 says, in the knowledge of God. No matter if you have just heard the first 14 verses of Colossians for the first time in your life, or if you've read it 50 times. That there is more gold there to uncover, that there is strength to live by, from God, more strength.

Notice that it says there in verse 11, how much power are we to be strengthened by in our lives? All power. Now that is a strong, courageous life. It's not just a life that's about to crumble or about to fall apart. And if you want to know how to live that kind of life, then Colossians is your book. If you want to know how to live, like it says there in verse 11, with not just a little bit of endurance, but with all endurance, then Colossians is your book. With all patience, with all joy, living a life in verse 12 that is full of thanks to the Father. Now we are good at giving thanks for things. We even have a holiday named after it we love to do that so much. Right? Thanksgiving. We have a giant bird. And we have all kinds of food. And we celebrate and we give thanks for things. We give thanks for our family. But notice what it says, we are to give thanks to the Father. What kind of a life is constantly lived out of giving thanks to the Father? Well, it's one that's described in verse 14. It's one that has redemption. It's one that has forgiveness. It's one that understands the burden of sin is not ours to carry. It's one that understands that Jesus carried this for us. And it was nailed to the cross so that you and I might live abundantly, might live pleasing, might live in an enduring way, might live with joy, might live with thanksgiving. And this is just the opening of the letter. He hasn't even gotten to the deep theology yet. This is just the prelude.

Well, as I said, the first couple of chapters lay out the doctrine. And the last two chapters lay out the life that fully pleases God. And I think there may be a few surprises in there for us today. That there might be some components to what is fully pleasing to God that we might not think about too often. See, theology actively develops a mature life in Christ. Theology actively develops a mature life in Christ. And you're going to see him lay that out specifically, what that looks like. So, he's going to start with this amazing theology, and he just can't get over the redemption and the forgiveness that we have. That’s why he listed in verse 14, in this long opening section.

Can I ask you, friends? If you stood before God today? Would you be fully pleasing to him? Would you stand there, knowing that you have every single sin you have you ever committed, paid for by Jesus Christ? If so, then your life is going to resemble the next four chapters. You did just get set up again. So, I'm glad in your minds, we all said, “yes.” But this book describes that kind of life. And it's something that we should long for in our lives – what he's going to tell us, what he's going to show us. But we have to be wary, we have to be cautious. And he sprinkles in through chapter two, we're going to get back to chapter one (verse 15 and following); but in chapter two, he's going to give the reasons why he wrote this letter. And I want you to remember that this letter is written to people who are faithful, they're full of love, and they're following God. But he gives them this theology, in Colossians 2:4, he says, “I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments.”

When the Mormons come to your door, and our theology is surfacy, you will be confused. You will be confused, because they will use the same words with different meanings. And if you just agree with the words, without developing the meaning, you will have no idea what the difference is between them and a believer in God. Notice it says in verse four of chapter two, that they are “plausible.” That is, they are possible. They even sound logical, believable, credible, but not the standard, not the truth. If a person doesn't know the Bible very well, I guarantee you their life is full of plausible but wrong understanding. Colossians 2:8, he gives them another warning, “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” So, when we are trying to figure out if what someone says is true, according to that verse, what do we compare it to? To Christ. Does the philosophy of what someone espouses match with Christ? Does their teaching match with who Jesus is? Are they just following human tradition? Are they laying this tradition on you? Does it stack up with the fact that God has called us to be holy and he has sent his Son to redeem us from the world. Not to just blend in nicely, but he has redeemed us from it. There are many, if not all systems of religion outside of Christianity, that are built on human tradition and the Word. Right here, Colossians 2:8, says you should reject all of them. Because they are not according to Christ.

Chapter two, verse 16, he goes on to talk about how we should think about preferences. [Colossians 2:16] “Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath.” Some of the cults forbid these things. But you should not judge someone if you like birthdays. It's okay to celebrate birthdays. Nice little pagan holidays, where we just enjoy giving everybody birthday cakes and cards. And if you like, Father's Day, or whatever, you know, we're not going to judge you. It's okay to like those things. You can probably tell where my preferences are on those issues. But if you are one of those who just love those, let us consider others as better than ourselves and celebrate to make them happy, right? Amen. There we go. Getting more and more, “Amens.”

Colossians 2:18, “Let no one,” now notice this is a little bit more of a stern warning, “disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind.” The practice of things that seem to show just incredible godliness. You don't just know what fasting means, you do it six days a week, that kind of thing. You rack your body so that you can put it in subjection, as Paul says. And you don't just pray at the dinner table, that's just being efficient. You pray three hours a night, even though you're tired and useless during the day for everybody. You go on and on about these things, and you want others to do those. That's what insisting on these things means. The worship of angels, some of the cults think Jesus is a glorified angel. Don't do that, it says. Going on in detail about visions, if you ever think you've had a vision. Those things puff us up. Paul's greatest vision he wasn't even allowed to share with people. So let us have humility about the things that God brings in our lives, not to puff us up, but to put us in a place where we are comparing everything to the incomparable Christ.

Our visions, if you've ever had one, I don't think they're common. I don't think they're useful since we have the complete revelation of God. But if you insist on having one, it is not to be compared with the incomparable Christ. If you've had miracles happen in your lives or whatever, we must accordingly put everything in front of Christ. How does this compare to who Christ really is? Jehovah's Witnesses believe Jesus is actually Michael the archangel. They think he was Michael before, he came down took on flesh, and now he's still Michael. They believe in a different Jesus. Mormons believe in a different Jesus. So good theology protects us against deceptive teaching. And we must know and understand what that theology is. So, let's go back to Colossians 1:15. Okay. This is point number three, “that we must know Jesus, to live for Jesus.” “We must know Jesus, to live for Jesus.”

Colossians 1:15–20
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him 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.

Those are some of the richest verses on the deity of Jesus in all of the Bible. Let me summarize. Jesus is the image of God. You say, “What does that mean?” When you look in a mirror, what do you see? Your image. Jesus is the image of God, he is the full representation in flesh of the Father. Jesus is the firstborn of all creation. He is also the creator of all things. If he is the creator of all things, did he create himself? Is that what that passage means? Or did he exist before all things eternally, and therefore all things were created by him and for him? It's the latter. Micah 5:2, speaking of the prophet who is to come, says he is, “from ancient [of] days.” So the Messiah, the one to come, according to Micah chapter five, couldn't be non-existent. His coming is from of old. That was before Jesus was born.

Firstborn can mean first chronologically, but context determines if it means first chronologically or the preeminent one. That's why in this passage, it says he is preeminent. He is before all things. Let me give you a couple of examples of that in Scripture. Esau was born first, not Jacob. But Jacob received the inheritance as the firstborn. Right? Jacob received the inheritance as the firstborn. He was not first, chronologically. He was of the highest rank. He was put before his brother who was born first chronologically. Psalm 89:27, says the Messiah will be made the firstborn, which means he will be “the highest of the kings of the earth.” So firstborn in Psalm 89, means that he will be the highest, there will be no king above him. That is why we say he is the King of kings.

Exodus 4:22 says, “Israel is my firstborn.” As far as I know, Adam and Eve were not Israelites, they came much later. But Israel, my firstborn, means that though they were not the first people born on the earth, they had first place in God's sight. Firstborn here, as far as Israel is concerned, means above all others. If you look at the near context of the passage, you can see it’s defined as being preeminent. He is the first above all others, not the first one born above all others, in the sense that he is the first one to be birthed. But he is given first place among all who have been born. There is no one higher than Jesus, and there is no one greater than Jesus. That's what this theology and doctrine mean. Unless, of course, you're Mormon. Jesus, also in this passage, is described as head of the church. You may, at times, just out of casual conversation. Say that you come to “my church,” when you're talking to me, “I'm so thankful for your church.” Nothing makes me have the jitters more than thinking this is my church. I know what you mean. This is the church where I pastor and preach, but Jesus is head of the church, right? So, if I lightly correct or add a new phraseology, it's because I want Jesus to be preeminent in even our casual conversation. It is not Adam’s church, although you can call him “pastor” as well if you like. That will make him I am get a little squirmy. Right? The elders are your shepherds.

Verse 18, Jesus is preeminent as we have said. We bow the knee to no one else. No one else. There is a documentary coming out soon. We are in process to show it here. It is called, “The Essential Church.” We will, Lord willing, show it on July 23, in the evening. It is going to be a prerelease screening for our church and there are some other churches doing the same thing. It is the story of how Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California lived out the theology that Jesus is before all things, even the government. It's their story. And we are going to be able here to show it and I know the AV team is going, “oh, no,” already. Right? It's always curveballs. You're welcome, I love you guys, you do amazing. But I want to invite the whole area. Because this documentary is going to exalt Christ above all things, which makes everyone who doesn't believe that uneasy. I hope you come, there will be 200 seats, and we'll put them in the back. We'll put more chairs out if you want. But that's what this means. It's not just theology to cheer about, it’s theology to live. It's theology that guides us and directs us.

This passage also says that Jesus is indwelt fully by the Father. There is nothing that Jesus needs to be a fuller representation of the Father. Didn't Jesus say, “If you've seen me, you've seen the Father. How can you ask, show us the Father and it will be enough for us?” As he's talking to his greatest students. “If you've seen me, you've seen the Father.” If you want to know God, the Father, if you think that’s some kind of unknowable thing, you just need to get to know Jesus. If you know Jesus, you have known the Father. He is indwelt fully by God. He is “God of God” and “Light of Light.” And the most wonderful truth is that God brings peace through the cross, through the cross. Now you and I tend to beat ourselves up over our sin, and we should be remorseful over our sin. But we should be thankful that our sin is fully paid for by the Lord, fully paid for by the Lord. There is no greater truth for us to live out than that. We don't need that baggage anymore. We need to acknowledge it as something that has been in the past. And Paul's going to get to that.

This whole letter doesn't just stop with theology, it does get into the practical living. But we need to understand that there is more to living out our theology than just understanding the teaching. There is the warning part. And as we talked about this morning in class, in the How to Study the Bible class, that every one of us is to be a teacher of God's word. Not in the formal, gifted sense. But if you're going to make a disciple, how will you make a disciple if you don't teach them something? Right? If you don't share with them the truth that God's holy, they're sinful, they need forgiveness, what are you going to do about it? Right, that gospel? Who is God? Who is man? Who is our reconciliation to God? And how do we respond? That, in a nutshell, is what we should be able to teach to each and every person on the planet.

If they're four years old, and they ask questions nonstop, every 20 seconds all day, we need to be able to give them answers to all of their questions about who Jesus is. If they have been trained in Bible school or seminary, and some of you have had just a ton of training. We need to be able to concisely explain the gospel. That there is no amount of good works that we can do to earn or further merit blessing from God. That we have everything we need in Christ Jesus. And that should spur you on to a joyful life, as you'll see. To a life that is full of gratitude and thanksgiving. Something that defines who you are. It would define it greater than if someone paid off all of your bills, and said, “you know, if you ever need money, just call me. I'll send it to you a million at a time. Just don't worry about it.” Would that make you happy? Yeah, it would for a little while, you know it would. But after you got back from Bora Bora, and Tahiti, and all those places, and you know, it gets old. That's because life is passing away and it's pleasures are fleeting. Everything that could bring us joy in life, whether it's perfect health, or a perfect boss, it's all fleeting. And when that thing that we truly idolize is taken away, and we get down and depressed, then we have to say, “Wow, is that thing that I wanted, am I really living as though it's on par with Jesus Christ? Am I really like that?

And so, as you get to chapter one, verse 28. You see a summary of Paul's reasoning for teaching. [Colossians 1:28] “Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom,” why? “that we may present everyone mature in Christ.” Warning and teaching are necessary aspects of this life. The Bible commands us to do this. We are in sin, if we do not do this. This, of course, destroys all the “safe place” type stuff out there in the world. “I just need a safe place where I can embrace my sin and I can embrace my lifestyle, and I can embrace whatever I want to embrace without any condemnation.” And here we're having this trajectory in our society, where children are getting all kinds of surgeries that are irreparable. And we're encouraging them. And anyone who disagrees are getting the vehement response of the bright educated ones in society. So, what do we do? We proclaim Christ to them. We understand that their ideologies are unsustainable, their biblical worldviews are unsustainable, but what do we come in with? We come in with Christ. Verse 28, “Him we proclaim.” Christ is what makes mature disciples. And the more you treasure Christ, the more you will see that.

I was at a church one time, and they told the story about a couple who was in their congregation who had since gone on and moved out of the area. And this husband and wife came to church together and the husband was saved and the wife wasn't. And the wife was very beautiful and dressed like the world. And praise God though, over time, she got saved. She got saved. She got a new heart. She got a new conscience. She got a redeemed heart, a redeemed life, and a redeemed conscience. And guess what changed? Her dress, her modesty. And guess what she asked her husband, “Why did you let me go to church like that embarrassing myself for years?” Ouch. He was allowing that, he left out the warning, at the expense of his wife. Thinking peace was more desirable than that. Thinking, “Oh, she'll figure it out sometime. Hopefully maybe one of the ladies at church will tell her or something.” But if we are to warn everyone and teach everyone that is using wisdom. Proverbs 9:8 says, reprove a wise man, and he will love you.”

Parents, this is difficult with your children. It's difficult when you see your spouse going astray. It's difficult at school, you don't get a free pass on this because you are in college, or in high school. You don't want to go around just whacking everybody over the head with the Bible, right? That's not helpful. That's not what brings people to maturity. But we cannot ignore the simple fact that maturity is important enough to discuss in areas that need work. It encourages us to, for the sake of Christ, point out things that need to be improved. And Scripture, of course, says to remove the log in your own eye first. Which if you've ever done this, you'd know that the other person immediately has all discernment to the log in your eye. Right? And they point it out a lot of times. No one likes this. But Hebrews 12:11 says, “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”

I remember sitting in counseling, and the pastor looking at me and saying, “So you have these issues you want to work on, and what Scriptures are you using and thinking about in your mind, to train your mind for godliness?” And when I said, “I couldn't think of a single one.” In my mind, as I heard myself say that and as I was thinking really hard to try and come up with something, to just lay excuse, you know, out there. I realized that I didn't love God the way I thought I did. And not everything is like this, sometimes we just veer off and need to course correct. But notice that it's “the peaceful fruit of righteousness,” that these things yield, “the peaceful fruit of righteousness.”

We do not believe that when you reprove someone, they will love you. But if you reprove a wise person, they will. After the service, I'm going to slip out before we finish. No, I'm kidding. So, you can all come up and not be able to reprove me. But I need to receive this too. Right? I'm not above these things. I have mistakes and I just happen to talk a whole lot every week. And so, I'm going to say things that need corrected at times. And some of you are good at this already, and don't need further encouragement in this. And some of you do need a little nudging in this area to help us promote Christ. It is a most wonderful and glorious thing.

And this is point number four, “That practical living comes from doctrinal understanding.” “Practical living comes from doctrinal understanding.” Notice Colossians 2:13-14, sounds a lot like Ephesians, “And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.” The things that we do and say, and the sin that we have, it's paid for, it's been taken care of. There's no legal binding to it anymore for those who are of the faith. And remember, he's writing to Believers who have an abundant, visible, loving faith. The cross removes all of our sin. It removes all of it.

So he goes on, chapter three, verse five. And he lists some of the things, specifically, that they need to put aside. And I don't think he would have mentioned these things had they not needed to hear this, specifically. He's not just talking about some random things. Remember Epaphras, we learned, is a fellow prisoner with Paul, he was their pastor. So, Paul had first-hand information, and listen what he says in Colossians 3:5-6, “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming.” Now, you don't necessarily need to, if you ever have to bring up sin to someone, tell them “that on account of your sin, the wrath of God is coming.” You can just, you know, encourage them to put off that sin. But notice, the idea here is that everyone who doesn't put off these sins does have the wrath of God upon them. And that is terrifying. You just have to read “anger” one time and who hasn't been angry overtly, or internally in the last month about something?

But when it says, “put it to death,” when we consider our sin, not just sins of omission that we're maybe unaware of. But those things that we keep going back to, those patterns, those habits, that are sinful. We need to kill that sin. We need to starve it to death. We need to make that sin know, there is no friend here to them. We don't live for that sin anymore. And in Colossians, it has this wonderful idea of this phrase that is, put off these sins and put on these virtues. And if you've been in biblical counseling, that's probably what you've heard eventually. You get to, “Okay, so Jesus is the answer. Sin is the problem. Put off the sin by the power and strength [remember chapter one], by the power and strength of God, and put these things on.” It's not just, agree that that’s sin, look at Jesus, and just stay there. No, you have to put on these things.

So, when we ask if Christ is preeminent in our lives? Then we can look through Colossians chapter three, and read this, and this should be what we look like. And in the parenting section in chapter four. Oh, such a convicting section, the first few verses. That's what we should look like if Christ is preeminent in our lives. Colossians 3:9, it says, “Do not lie to one another.” Like, “who is this guy who's never even met us, telling us not to lie to each other?” I mean, it takes a lot of courage to say what he's saying. But notice, he says, “seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices.” “I can see God in you at work, I can see your life is pleasing to God. But this thing, let us put it off.” You've “put on,” verse 10, “the new self which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.” It's not about being like Paul, although that is good. He says, “Imitate me, as I imitate Christ.” But it's about being the image of God that God has called us to. So, we put off the old self with those practices, and we put on the new self which is being renewed in the image of God.

Chapter three, verses 10 to 17, are some of the most wonderful all-encompassing verses, if you're one of those people that likes a life verse. You can find them in those verses. Above all, you know, love one another, let peace rule in your hearts, those kinds of things. They are wonderful, amazing verses. But how do we get to this way of life? You say, “I'm saved, I want to follow Jesus. I want to be able to carry out the Great Commission and make disciples. I want to be able to lovingly encourage one another to be more like Jesus. And I want to be able to teach. How do I get there? What do I need to do?” First, remember that it's Christ at work in you. It's never just you. And if you forget that, you will be utterly tired trying to live out your Christian faith. So, remember that it is Christ’s power in you that brings these things about.

Second, look at Colossians 3:16. And this is a summary and a fitting conclusion for our time this morning. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.” We have been so, so blessed with an amazing access to God, his word. The library is full of teachers, through books that can help us understand. We have the Holy Spirit. But let it dwell in us richly, abundantly, and let it overflow as we do these things, and what will that look like? It'll be a life that just sings songs, and hymns, and spiritual songs to one another. Just out of thankfulness to who God truly is. Let's pray.

Father God, I'm just so thankful for you. We are so thankful for the complete forgiveness that we have in Christ. So thankful, Lord, for the brothers and sisters in Christ that you've brought to this church. I thank you, Lord God, for each and every person here. Lord, I pray that you would help us to live lives that are fully pleasing to you, for your glory.

If you don't know Jesus Christ, or if you're not living the way you should, I just encourage you to take a moment to confess your sin. To ask God to give you a course correction. And if you do know God and you're living rightly, I pray that you would just ask God… why don't we just ask God, right now, to help us to be fully pleasing to him? Let’s just take a moment, right now, and ask God for these things.

Lord, we love you. We are here for your glory. And, Lord God, we pray that you'd help us to be fully pleasing to you in all things. In your precious, Holy Name. Amen.