Truly living for God
Key Text: Col 3:12-25
The last time I preached we covered the main issue in Christian Spiritual growth is that we have an incorrect understanding of what really causes Christian growth and maturity.
Most Christian’s spend their Christian life focused on moral reformation, of fixing our actions, rather on the real power of the Christian faith; which is faith that produces repentance. You can download the previous sermon if you want to look at what we went through.
However, to recap; the whole of our lives is to be lived in repentance produced by faith. What does this mean? We must spend our lives identifying what is in our lives that we are trying to gain worth and righteousness from apart from Christ and, in faith that He and He alone is sufficient for us, repent (or turn) from these things. And too this I want to add; we must rest! Are you in your life seeing what is taking the place of Christ and are your turning from it and then returning to rest in the completed work of Christ on the Cross?
I’ll illustrate it in this way; is reading your bible a rest in the completed work of Christ; are you doing it to discover the wonder of Christ; or are you reading your bible to find your worth and righteousness; “I’ve read my bible; God must love me.” – this is wrong. Repent and rest!
Effectively the single task of a Christian is to identify and destroy that which has taken the place of Christ in our life.
This week; we will continue in this. As we continue in Colossians. So if you have your Bibles here. Please turn to
This week we will go through as Paul speaks about and identifies what a repentant filled life looks like. So with this in mind lets read.
Colossians 3:12-25New International Version (NIV)
12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 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.
Instructions for Christian Households
18 Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.
20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.
21 Fathers,[a] do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.
22 Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. 25 Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for their wrongs, and there is no favoritism.
The reality is that a repentant life is a life of repentance in all spheres of life. What do I mean by this? Well many of us have this understanding of Christianity that is essentially two part: we have our spiritual side that comes out at church and church events and then when we have our secular side which comes out at work or home or when we are by ourselves.
We even see this in the fact that there is such a divide in the idea of clergy and laity; in pastors and the congregation.
This is a destructive understanding of Christianity and short-changes what God actually want to do to you and in you in Christ Jesus. And short changes the finished work of Christ on the Cross.
Repentance means that all of our life finds its completion and significance in Christ Jesus – ALL OF OUR LIFE!!! Which leads to my first point:
You Are All of Christs
The Gospel teaches us that we are wholly in need of saving; that every aspect of our lives have been corrupted by sin; there it needs to be said that for our salvation to be real it has to encompass every aspect of our lives. Jesus doesn’t want to just save your soul; he wants your entire life to be reformed so that you are completely His!
As we spoke of last time; this doesn’t mean we just need to go to Jesus when we mess up; rather we need to be taking everything that we are finding our significance or worth in apart from Christ.
In this Paul tries to describe to the church; if you have got what Christ has done for you; it will look like the following. Effectively; if you understand repentance Paul is saying it will work itself as follows:
Christ Defines Your Church Interactions
Paul spends verses 12-16 focusing on what we as pastors love to focus on; the church interaction! We love passages like this because we feel in control here.
“Church this is what we must look like.” The problem is that we generally preach this in a vacuum. “Church we must be more like this!” However, unfortunately if we have no concept of repentance and faith (essentially the core value of the gospel) as the centre it may become a command that causes guilt rather than an outworking of rest in repentance.
I want to list on some level what Paul goes through:
Paul says in the community of faith we should be:
- Baring with one another
- And love
Add to this:
- We are typified by peace
- We are thankful
- And constantly lifting each other up with a songful exuberance.
Now I want you to get this; Paul is not saying doing these will make you the people of God; a good church has these characteristics. Look at the text; he says:
“Therefore as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved!”
These are not things that we put on to define ourselves. Rather, it is who we are as people (loved by God) – who have surrendered to the cross and are resting in the finished work of Christ – live these things out.
Yes! We have to clothe ourselves and put on… but recognise that these are produced from a soul at rest.
How do we gain that rest? We live a life of repentance. We find our worth and righteousness in Christ and Christ alone.
This, church, enables us to even hope of living out the Christian community.
I wonder, if coming here today is an expression of your rest or a hope of righteousness? I wonder if you are putting on the mask to appear friendly or are you rested in Christ so that you can be compassionate, kind humble, etc. with others.
Does Christ and the completed work done for you on the cross define your coming together? It should Jesus gave us an ordinance that was meant to remind us to do that.
It is why we have communion; so that our coming together would be remaindered that the point of it is and always will be the finished work of Christ on the Cross! Do this in remembrance of me; Jesus commanded us!
Don’t come to church to be a better person; let Christ complete you and then come here and live that completion out!
The net aspect of the verse Paul changes; from verse 17 on Paul starts to define life outside the community of faith. And so it is in this that;
Christ Defines Your Non-Church Interactions
We have to still read all these statements in light of the finished work of Christ on the cross. But Paul says:
In word or deed
Family; husband or wife
Children or parents
Masters or servants
In whatever you do
It must be done in light of repentance; of the fact that Christ is paid it all and so I find my worth and my righteousness in Him.
We don’t tend to think like this; we have a sense of I must be religious in church and then live my life. Or we tend to say I love Jesus but then struggle to apply this when we go to work on Monday or deal with difficult problems in our families.
The problem is that we have separated our lives in to two distinct parts; the secular and the spiritual.
I have a spiritual dimension that comes out when I can’t answer life’s difficult problems; or when I am desperate; or on Sunday so I can feel better about myself. And then I have my secular dimension; the me that has to do work that has to pay bills; that breaths and eats and lives.
The problem is that the bible never differentiates these two things. You are not two people you are an entity (one) saved by Christ and His death on the cross; and that has implication for all of your life, not just the spiritual dimension; but every aspect of your existence.
Let me throw it out to you in this way; If Jesus actually did live 2000 years ago and actually did die for your sins. That He actually hung on a cross and actually bore the weight of your sinful actions; does it make sense at all that He only wants that action to affect us one day a week?
Absolutely not! And so then we feel bad; because we know that well we didn’t think about Christ too much this week and, well, ja, we did kind of forget about him a little at work…
The problem is not that we need to think about Christ more and do more Christian activity in the week; the problem is that we must redeem our secular life to Christ!
Christ must be in every aspect! He must define; or redefine how we are everywhere! And this only happens when we are really living a life that is defined by the Cross! A life of repentance, faith and rest!
Do you know that Jesus wants to define the way you work!
Let me put it another way! Jesus wants your work life to be His! God has called you to go to work on Monday! Not to secretly wait for opportunities to be Christian (you know share the gospel when I can); no he wants you to celebrate the fact that the work He has given you is actually His work; that in fact you are called to redeem that work for Him!
You job – believe it or not – is full time ministry! But that will only happen if you see it in light of the completed work of Jesus on the cross!
I’m not a Christian because I got to Church; I am Christ’s because He died for me! I cannot escape that reality – or underplay its significance! I cannot hide that reality; it permeates and changes everything I do!
Now the way we think about this way; okay when I get to work on Monday I must do it with the idea that Jesus died for me. I must constantly think about Jesus dying for me throughout the day so that I can fulfil this. The problem is that not only is that impossible but it completely misses the point of this passage and what we covered last week!
It is a world view reality! You are in Christ! You are His; therefore, redefine the way you see your life!
You now see the world differently; it’s no longer my world it is Christ’s, and people and the interaction I have and the jobs I do and the things I achieve are defined by this new reality!
Now obviously we slip up; but that is why it was mentioned last week; we live in constant repentance and gratefulness of what Christ has done!
Church you are all of Christs; the joy is now if Christ actually is my all; and He now defines my worth and righteousness then how does my life respond to that reality!
Every aspect of life and every reality is defined by Jesus and His death!
May you live a life defined by the fact that Jesus paid it all!