Colossians Episode 6
The Makings of a Great Church. We want Jesus to be proud of His Church in Coolidge.
"I will build my church..." (Matthew 16:18)
I want to be so proud of what I build. I used to build structures.
I want Jesus to be proud of His church in Coolidge. Here is why: Eph. 3:20,21. Take a close look at verse 21.
A quick review of some of our lessons so far.
- The divisions of the book. (Colossians)
- The essential doctrines of the church (chapters 1,2).
- The transition by establishing our vantage point (3:1-4).
- The application in life toward which we aim to bring our lives into full compliance (3:5- end).
The Jar. "In Christ" The saints, the faithful, the life-savers, the destiny of the jar.
We are predestined by God to Glory and the inheritance of the saints.
Inside the Jar, where the saints are, is where the "word of Christ"...dwells among us (Col. 3:16).
A review of the last / previous lesson:
When that is the LIFE of the body (church), the love of and for its truth energizes each individual person.
HOW IS THAT?
- Because it provides Good Nutrition for your spirit and the spirit of the church
- Because it promotes self-discipline in your will as well as in the intent of the church
- Because it prompts God-likeness in your values and thinking individually and corporately
- Because it Puts a song in the heart in the church and in each individual.
Would that be a great church or what?
What makes for a great church?
Today we ask three questions to help us understand what a great church is...from God's perspective...one that God can speak well of.
How encompassing is a Great church to be in its scope in life?
In the Greek it is: "everything whatever." Colossians 3:17
Young, in his literal translation: "and all, whatever ye may do in word or in work, (do) all things in the name of the Lord Jesus - giving thanks to the God and Father, through him."
All of your speech and all of your activity. What is left out? That encompasses life as I know it!
Illustration: Deuteronomy 6:4-8 This will make you sit up.
Application: Do we feel that we know better than God and hold back some of our life?
Hold back Saturday? That's my day! I'm not going to be God conscious on Saturday!
WE hesitate to place our trust fully in God in all areas of life. WE know better? Really?
Is that why there are so many who just can't get their lives together?
What are we willing to walk away from? That is a real clue to our commitment to the all encompassing truth of the Bible.
Will we walk away from the ideology of the Dark Ages? Sectarianism? Denominationalism? Will we walk away from worldliness? How about the entertainment of the world? How about unholy associations that can corrupt us? Evil companions?
What habit are you willing to walk away from? What attitude can you walk away from?
How deep are YOUR convictions of right and wrong? Truth and falsehood? Godly success is determined by conviction that you can and will stick to.
What risks and costs are we not willing to participate in for the sake of the Lord?.. and for excellence. "I'll go so far..."
We seem to want to make the choices as to what we will agree with God on and the areas that we are willing to be committed to.
A Church can be great if its ways encompass all aspects and attitudes of life.
But that isn't all. It must have a standard. A real standard...SO...
How high is its standard for living to be?
"In the Name"
What does that mean? Does it mean going around saying "Lord Jesus?" NO!
"My name shall be there..." (I Kings 8:19,29) Both in the Tabernacle and in Solomon's Temple The "name" of God was not reduced to a Hebrew and printable word and painted on the tabernacle's exterior wall.
The tabernacle was to contain the name - not just to be a prop for a sign.
Deuteronomy 12:11; Exodus 34:14; 20:7
"Taking His name in vain" is to speak ill of His being; His nature and character.
The definitive aspects of THE NAME includes all that is involved in the nature and character of God. That part of God that we are made the image of. THAT IS THE STANDARD.
All must be in harmony with the name or nature of God. Do you like it?
This nature was found in Jesus as a man to demonstrate that this same nature can and must be our nature.
Some aspects of this nature we can learn to participate in. This is why we are called "saints."
- God is Light (IJn. 1:5; Eph. 5:9) As saints we participate in His Light. We, too, are make for truth. Light is true knowledge.
- God is Love (I Jn. 4:8) We often measure our love by our ability to tolerate falsehood. God's love hates every false way. Our love must be and can be in harmony with God's love.
- God is spirit (John 4:24; I John 3:18). This is where His nature is - just like humans. Our nature is in our spirit. That is why we are to perfect our spirit (Hebrews 12:23). The Word reveals His nature so that learning of it, our spirit can be like His spirit by our volition.
- God is good. Notice carefully: Psalms 100:5; How do we learn of it? I Samuel 12:23 - It must be taught. What is the source? Hebrews 6:5 Can it be achieved? Matthew 25:23
It isn't that God does good things to me but that He IS good. The Goodness of God. God has all honorable purposes.
These and others represent the nature of God of which all are capable of duplication from learning of it through the Word.
This is the substance of prayer...not that you have an ingrown toenail. When we fail to live up to the standard of Christ's example of the nature of God, we confess those failures to God through the High Priest, Jesus Christ. He is faithful and just to forgive. We do not ask God for forgiveness for not doing what we cannot but what we know and DO NOT.
THERE IS NO KNOWLEDGE OF THE ATTRIBUTES OF THE NATURE AND CHARACTER OF GOD APART FROM THE WRITTEN WORD.
WHAT YOU BELIEVE TO BE TRUE ABOUT GOD CAN PREVENT YOU FROM COMING TO THE GOD WHO IS ACTUALLY THERE...
What is the scope? Everything! A great church affects every aspect of life. Individually and corporately.
What is the standard? The nature of God, The Name.
How Deep is the Gratitude of a Great Church?
Compare I Thess. 5:18; Col. 3:15; Thanksgiving is to be "in spirit" NOT on the lips.
"It is owed to me..." We have produced a whole new definition of greed. "I am entitled."
Illustration: Birgit, the woman who designs our advertising wrote the perfect illustration of this:
Give Thanks Today – Rubbish!
I just read an interesting article about how wrong it is to let a holiday dictate to us to “give thanks today“. I agree – it’s rubbish! Most of us are thankful every day, aren’t we?
So, why am I posting this today? I don’t know, maybe I’m more grateful today than usual! Every morning, I’m grateful for my family, that I have a roof over my head, a bed to sleep in and a shower with running hot water. Every night, I’m thankful that everyone came home safely and another day was spent well.
Today, I am grateful in particular for the technology that allows me to do what I love and to connect with people that I probably would have never met otherwise.
Today, I am grateful for family, friends and clients in my life who
- appreciate and/or question my logic
- critique me in an honest and constructive way
- trust me enough to let my creativity flow
- broaden my horizon by exchanging knowledge and ideas freely
- encourage me when I’m fearful or insecure
- slow me down when I’m too exuberant
I can only hope that I give back as much or more than I receive!
What are you grateful for? Maybe not just today, but every day?