Becoming Whole in Christ
Allowing Christ to Live and Love through Me – Colossians 3:12-17
Pastor Doug Klein
I can’t stand that person. Do you actually expect me to love him? A cynical selfish Christian is a walking contradiction. The Bible tells us that when we come to know Christ, we have died and Christ is now living in me. (Galatians 2:20). Colossians 3: 12-17 is a perfect example of allowing Christ to live and love through me.
The first principle is 1.) The love that must be lived. Colossians 3:12-14
In the Gospel, we receive an unthinkable gift that is far more wonderful than anything we could ever imagine. The challenge is we cannot keep it for ourselves. We must extend the same blessing to others as we ourselves have received from God. The love of God that overflows our hearts is overflowing by nature. The more we give it away, the more of it we experience ourselves.
The Gospel has not come into our lives to make us nicer people. It comes into our lives to save us and raise us from the dead. It is something huge and monumental that has altered our lives permanently. So with that in mind, Paul continues with his practical metaphor concerning putting on Christ and taking off the old nature on a daily basis. And in the process, God gives us one divine opportunity after another as we meet and interact with people. The Gospel is so much more than a sentimental holiday movie like “A Christmas Carol” and “It’s a Wonderful Life” which feature angelic appearances in lives that provide insight and ultimate change. The Gospel means that Christ has visited us personally and is actively at work transforming us.
What a comfort to know that we have been chosen for His purposes. And as His chosen people, we are declared holy and beloved by God. That is an incredible foundation by which we can live our lives. So how do we allow Jesus to live in our imperfect lives without getting in the way? I am not sure we ever do that completely while in our earthly bodies. We are jars of clay with feet of clay. We often cover up the presence of Christ in us because of our selfishness and sin. Yet, Jesus is gracious enough to live within us because we are now His own, despite our frailty and weakness. We are imperfect vessels for His presence but He indwells us anyway.
When we look at what he accomplished for us on the cross, we are awestruck. He didn’t just take our curse but He earned our blessings. What a reward and blessing it is.
2 Corinthians 5:21
21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we
might become the righteousness of God.
The second principle is 2.) The love that produces Christ’s peace. Colossians 3:15-16
There’s an incredible peace that comes about just from His presence. And there’s an explosion of His presence whenever the Word and the Spirit are brought together in His name. Many times, you don’t have to say a word. We simply know that He’s here and we hear His words of assurance: peace be with you.
Paul presents a very interesting metaphor here in verse 15. We are exhorted to let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts. The word for rule means umpire or final authority. The peace of Christ is to have a decisive impact on our lives. It is to have a definitive control over the anxiety, noise levels, and chaos in our lives. We need to ask ourselves on a regular basis, “Who and what is in control of our hearts?” The peace of Christ can only rule in our lives if Christ is truly ruling our lives. So in the midst of the noise and chaos in our lives, we reaffirm that Christ is in complete control of everything. That alone brings a tremendous peace and assurance. The peace Jesus brings is so different from the circumstantial peace of His world. And it’s related to a real person who is risen from the dead and praying for us.
The third principle is 3.) Our love that causes us to honor Christ. Colossians 3:17
What does it mean to really honor Jesus in our lives on a regular basis? That’s the question we need to wrestle with. When Jesus asked Peter three times if he really loved him, He was not being persistent or rude. He was forcing Peter to look deep inside and to understand the things in his life that were hindering the true love of Christ. To begin with, we love and honor Christ because He first loved us and gave Himself up for us. There is nothing in our lives that can compare to this. I can’t help but live differently. I seek to honor Him in everything knowing that I can never repay Him. I live with both gratitude and obedience towards the Lord.
The greatest honors I can give to Jesus is the gift of my life given to Him without conditions or reservation. Right along with that, I honor Him by trusting Him with things I don’t understand. I will continue to walk the road of suffering with Him during the hard times. This I do understand quite clearly: I have been everything in the universe in Christ. So I will continue to endeavor to live a life that causes God joy.
Faith Presbyterian Church
May 29, 2016