Summary: To become a change-agent, we must first experience change through the Word, which changes the way we relate with each other and with God.
Have you ever dreamt of helping others? Have you ever felt you could do something to make a change in another person’s life? The Bible says we can become a catalyst for change. Colossians 3:16 says, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.” This morning we resume our series on the “one another” statements in the Bible. Now, we will look into “teach and admonish one another”. We will see how we can become change-agents.
Paul wrote Colossians to defend the truth about Christ. He also warned about the dangers of wrong teachings. In Colossians 2:4 and 8, the apostle wrote, “I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments… See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.” Note the words “deceive” and “captive.” The truth sets us free. But false teaching do not set us free but take us captive through its deceptions. Note also the words “fine-sounding” and “hollow.” False teaching does not satisfy our soul but leaves us empty.
Colossians 2:16 tell us, “Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day” Note the words “do not let anyone judge you”. False teaching makes us critical and proud. It leads us to think that we are superior to others. But, look at what Colossians 2:23 says, “Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.” Note that false teachings “lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.” False teaching does not help us overcome sin but only deludes us into thinking that we are spiritual. In short, false teachings negatively affect our relationship with God and with others.
That’s why we are commanded in Colossians 3:16, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly”. Only the truth can set us free. Only the truth can satisfy our soul. Only the truth can make us care for others. Only the truth can make us grow spiritually. So, to become a change-agent, we must first experience change through the Word. The word “dwell” means, “to be at home.” We are to make sure that the word of God would take permanent residence in our lives.
The command is in the present tense. That means that we must keep on doing so. That it should be our lifestyle to let the word of God dwell in us richly. Look at how Acts 2:42 described the early believers: “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.” Note that “they continued steadfastly in the apostle’s doctrine,” that is, the Word. They persevered and remained faithful to the Word.
It is also in active voice. That means it is our responsibility to make the word dwell in us richly. Let’s jump to Acts 17:11. “Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” Not only that the Bereans received the Word with gladness, but they also “examined the Scriptures every day.” The word “examined” means “to sift up and down, to make careful research as in legal processes; to try to learn the nature or truth of something by the process of careful study, evaluation and judgment.” Imagine, they double-checked everything even if it was the Apostle Paul himself that taught them! For that they were commended as “of more noble character” than others. To become a catalyst for change, we must enjoy the richness of His word.
That’s why we should really listen when the Word is preached. We should not just sit and listen passively o the message. We are to take notes. Then, don’t just stick them in the pages of your Bible. Study them. Get a copy of the DVD and listen to it again. Wrestle with what it means and how it applies to our lives. And let us not be content with the messages in the worship service. Join our Sunday school classes. We have a class for adults, for example, that goes through the life of Christ verse by verse through the four Gospels. We should feed on the Word not only Sundays but day after day, throughout the week. Read a chapter or more a day. Join a small group. Download podcasts of messages from excellent teachers of the Word. Surf the net for good Christian websites. We have no excuse at all to be ignorant of the Word. The problem is that we are like people who go hungry in a buffet. We starve in the midst of a feast.