Summary: To honour Christ, we are responsible to cultivate those graces that reveal His presence in us.

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” [1]

Though on numerous occasions some individuals accused me of advocating the power of negative thinking, on the authority of the Word of the Living God I hold the opinion that the best way to rid ourselves of that which dishonours the Lord is to fill our lives with that which displaces those qualities that dishonour God. If we want to be righteous, the appropriate way to rid ourselves of that which is unrighteous is to fill our lives with what is good and honourable. If we do this, there remains no room for that which is wicked and that which corrupts our lives. Practical holiness does not simply happen. We are declared holy in Christ; nevertheless, we are still responsible to cultivate those qualities that mark us as having been set aside for God’s purpose in this life.

If a follower of the Risen Saviour imagines that anyone can replace that which dishonours the Lord in our lives, that person must first know what honours Him. There is a problem, however. Simply knowing what is good is not sufficient for inculcating godliness in our life. As fallen creatures, we haven’t the power to cultivate the good in our lives. We must have the power of God Himself working in us to ensure that those elements worthy of His Name are incorporated into our lives. The message today seeks to encourage the people of God to cultivate those elements of life that glorify the Saviour. I will endeavour to point my listeners to the power of God at work in their lives to do what is necessary to enjoy His blessing.

WHO IS ADDRESSED? It is important for each of us to realise that the instructions provided in the Word are often not general instructions given to everyone. Those who are identified with this dying world are incapable of performing many of the tasks demanded by the Lord GOD. They have neither the inclination nor the ability to do what God expects of them. To demand that those who are not born from above and into the Family of God should fulfil the acts that please the Lord leads only to frustration, both for those who are outside of the grace of God and for those who are expecting righteousness of them. It is only those who have the Spirit of God living in them that have any hope of doing what God expects. This is the reason that the opening words of our text address us as “God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved.”

As mentioned in the opening words of this message, because of our fallen nature we haven’t the ability to do what is good, to do that which is holy and godly. Because of our weakness, if we will cultivate those qualities that honour the Lord, it will be necessary for us to draw upon a power that we don’t possess within ourselves. We will require the power of God Himself to accomplish the goal of incorporating those qualities that honour the Saviour. Fortunately, we have the means at our disposal to accomplish this admittedly impossible task. We have the Spirit of Christ living within us.

The wonderful truth is that the Spirit of God is the Spirit Who reveals the power of God in all that He does. Moreover, He supplies that power to those who walk with Christ and draw upon the power of His Spirit. Remember how the Apostle Paul spoke of the work of the Spirit throughout the letters which He wrote. For instance, writing the Christians gathered in Rome, Paul wrote, “I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentiles to obedience—by word and deed, by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God—so that from Jerusalem and all the way around to Illyricum I have fulfilled the ministry of the gospel of Christ” [ROMANS 15:18-19].

Paul did exhibit the power of signs and wonders, and in this verse he confesses that it was by the power of the Spirit of God always working through Him that enabled him to fulfil the ministry of the Gospel which he had received. Here is the thing to hold onto as followers of Christ in whom the Spirit of God dwells—if the power of the Spirit of God equipped Paul to fulfil the ministry God assigned him, you may be assured that you have sufficient power to fulfil the ministry to which God has called you. What God calls you to do, He equips you to complete.

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