Summary: We are masters at self-deception. How can I tell if my behavior really honors Jesus? 1)Peace of God. 2) Word of God. 3) Son of God.
HOW TO BEHAVE IN CHURCH
COLOSSIANS 3: 15-17
1. Illus. of “Jesus in my heart.”
• Little 9 year old girl came home from VBS one day. Proudly told her parents and little brother that, “Jesus is living in my heart now!”
• Mom and dad were so proud, and made a big deal out of it.
• Later that day, little brother said something she didn’t like, and she hauled off and knocked the soup out of him!
• He didn’t know much about church, but he knew a Christian shouldn’t act like that! He said, “I thought you said Jesus was living in your heart?” She replied, “He is, but He’s asleep right now!”
2. Isn’t it amazing how we can rationalize and justify our un-Christian behavior? We can do things that even lost people know Christians shouldn’t do, and then manage to come up with some reason why what we said or did is all right. We have to come back to the word “credibility.” When our practice doesn’t match our position we lose all credibility with those around us. Unfortunately, we’re often so self-deceived that we think people are saying, “look at that super-Christian” when in reality they are saying, “if he is a Christian then the woods are full of them!”
3. Background: This is nothing new. It’s at least as old as the book of Colossians. Paul tells the Colossian Christians to put off their old pagan habits and put on new Christlike habits. But Paul knew human nature. He knew that they would hang on to some of their old pagan habits and yet find some way to justify it as Christlike.
4. Textual: Paul gives the Colossians a series of tests that would clearly show them if they were acting like the new man they were in Christ or the old man they had been before Christ.
5. Today: These same tests will show us if we are behaving like we should as Christians.
6. What are these tests? Paul says there are three.
I. IS MY BEHAVIOR VALIDATED BY THE PEACE OF GOD?
1. See vs 15.
One of the benefits that comes with salvation is the peace of God! See John 14:27. Grammatically, the word which points back up to the phrase peace of God.
Rule- An unusual wordThis word literally means to umpire or referee, as in an Greek athletic event. When the believers in Colosse got this, they would understand it this way: “Let the peace of God referee in your heart.”
2. What does a referee do? He lets you know when you have stepped out of bounds or broken a rule by blowing his whistle.” What is Paul saying? When we are acting like the new man, the Holy Spirit will validate that with His divine peace in our hearts. When we step out of bounds and start acting like the old man, the Spirit will let us know that by withdrawing His peace from us!”
3. Principle: we can know if we are acting like a Christian should by looking for the absence or presence of God’s peace in our hearts.
4. Illus. of shooting game winning free-throw.
• Had missed a game winning free throw. Swore that would never happen again. Practiced until I became excellent at free throws.
• Big tournament. Free throws. Swished both of them. On last, ear-splitting whistle in my ear. I had stepped over the free throw line, so points were invalidated.
• That’s what Spirit does. He lets us know when we have stepped out of bound! It’s very soft. He does this by withdrawing His peace from the Christian’s heart who steps out of bounds.
• Are you acting like a Christian should? Ask yourself, “Do I have that quiet assurance that all is well with me and my God, and that I am living His Will for my life?”
5. Application: Can you imagine ... and being able to honestly say, “I have the peace of God in my heart?”
Being engaged in immorality
Seething with anger
Slandering someone or using abusive speech
6. Right behavior is validated by the peace of God.
II. DOES MY BEHAVIOR LINE UP WITH THE WORD OF GOD?
1. See vs 16-Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly with all wisdom…
We should understand the phrase Word of Christ to mean word referring to or about Christ, their oral and written teachings about Jesus. Today our Word about Christ would be the completed NT.
Contrast with Ephesians 5:18-20. The word of God and the Spirit of God work so closely together that what he says in Ephesians about one he can say in Colossians about the other!
In other words, just as to be filled with the Spirit means to be under the control of the Spirit, to let the Word of Christ dwell richly in you means to be under the control of the Word of God. It has the same effect and produces the same results.