Summary: It’s important to not just focus on our conversion—we’re called to demonstrate our commitment on a daily basis by going deeper with God.
Deepening Your Roots
During our “Building for the Future” emphasis, I prepared a five-minute sermon on a cassette tape to help explain the key ingredients of our campaign. I received a lot of very positive feedback. Most of the accolades I received had more to do with the length than with the content! People were surprised that I could preach such a short sermon. I have good news for you this morning, while I won’t be preaching a five-minute sermon, I will be preaching a shorter message. This is by design because we wanted to give ample time in the service to celebrate communion and to pray for the persecuted church. We’ll focus on three verses from Colossians 2 and pick up the rest next Sunday.
Last week we focused on our purpose for living. Here’s a quick summary:
1. Suffer joyfully for the gospel.
2. Serve according to your calling.
3. Move people to maturity.
4. Work wholeheartedly with His energy.
5. Enrich the lives of others.
6. Delight in obedience.
As we live out our purpose, we quickly realize that Christian growth is a process. We become Christians in an instant when we receive Christ Jesus the Lord, but it takes a lifetime to live out our faith. Our focus should not just be on knowing, our emphasis must also be on growing. The Bible links information with transformation we’re to become what we’ve begun. Truth must be perceived and then personalized because biblical belief always leads to action. Faith that does not have an impact on one’s behavior is not true faith. Or, as James 2:17 says, “…Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”
Do you know what a mixed metaphor is? A mixed metaphor combines two or more images that don’t seem to make sense. Here are some examples:
You’ve buttered your bread...now lie in it
Clearly we’ve opened a Pandora’s box…of worms
Burning the midnight oil… at both ends
Marching to the beat… of a dead horse
It’s time to step up to the plate… and cut the mustard
Robbing Peter… to pay the Piper
In Colossians 2:6-7, Paul mixes several metaphors in order to describe the process of spiritual growth: “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” Many commentators believe that this is the theme of the entire book, sort of like the hinge point of Colossians.
On the faith side, the Colossians had received Christ Jesus as Lord and had been taught the faith. On the practice side, they needed to continue to live in Him and be built up in Him, becoming strengthened in their faith and overflowing with thankfulness.
Paul uses 6 word pictures of spiritual progress.
1. Soldier. This first picture is a review from verse 5: “…to see how orderly you are and how firm your faith in Christ is.” As we learned last week, as members of God’s army we are to be solidly united against the enemy, as each of us practice discipline and strive to obey our Supreme Commanding Officer. We’re not to battle against each other, but to do battle with each other as we serve side-by-side.
2. Power Walker. The Christian life must be lived out. It’s to go from our head, to our heart, to our hands, and then to our feet. When Paul says, “Just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him,” he’s reminding his readers that since they received Jesus by faith, so too they must walk by faith in His power. That’s the only way to make spiritual progress. The verb indicates continuous action we are to continue to live in Him. The past event of receiving Christ should be a present reality in our lives. Our conduct must be consistent with His lordship. Our worship should affect our walk and our practice must conform to our principles.
The Colossians had not merely received the doctrines of Christ; they had received Christ Himself. The title, “Christ Jesus as Lord” is unique, occurring only here in Paul’s letters. As Christ, He is identified as the Messiah, or “anointed one,” promised to Adam, Abraham, and Moses and prophesied about by Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Micah. Jesus was his human name given at His birth and means Savior. Lord indicates that He is supreme and sovereign. He has no rivals and we must bow before His preeminence.
3. Tree. In this agricultural metaphor, just as a tree is “rooted,” we are to be grounded in the soil of God’s Word. The tense of the Greek word means, “once and for all having been rooted.” Those who have received Christ are rooted in Him. A tree puts down deep roots in order to find nutrition and to provide stability. Likewise, we must go deep with Christ in order to find the fuel we need to flourish, and in order to withstand the storms of life.