Summary: If you want to help the body witness to the world of the true and resurrected Christ, you must make certain there are some basic factors working. We do that by teaching, or edifying one another.
October 7, 2001
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
Our study of the "one anothers" of the Bible brings us to the need of the body of Christ to instruct ¡V or teach one another in the message of Christ.
Several weeks into the school year, a mom asked her first grader what he thought of school now that he was a seasoned pro. Oh, I love school, he said. It¡¦s great! Then, after a brief hesitation, he added, Well, except for one thing ... I don¡¦t really like it when Mrs. Decker tries to teach us stuff.(1)
Teaching assumes there is learning going on. A favorite story of mine is about the particular church denomination that believed in baptismal sanctification (the moment you are baptized, you are sanctified, and therefore perfect -- you won¡¦t ever sin again).
One winter an older man got convicted, and decided to join the group. It was winter time and he wanted to be baptized right away; but the creek was frozen over. Well, he had a great desire to be pure, so he convinced the deacons to baptize him.
They cut a hole in the ice, took the old fellow and dunked him in the hole, all the way, twice for good measure. As he came out the old man gushed, Oh; it¡¦s so wonderful. I¡¦m sanctified. I¡¦m so blessed; I don¡¦t even feel the cold. The head deacon said, Let¡¦s dunk him again, he¡¦s still lyin¡¦!
Paul wanted to teach the believers at Colosse how to live as Christians. In the first 15 verses of this chapter, Paul lists the Christian virtues and vices. He says, ¡§Avoid the vices -- live by the virtues."
It is important that new believers learn these; it is important that all believers are reminded of these. Why? Because the extent to which unbelievers will get a true impression of genuine Christianity is the extent to which we exhibit the virtues, and shun the vices. We are the world¡¦s open Bible.
Therefore, if you want to help the body witness to the world of the true and resurrected Christ, you must make certain there are some basic factors working. We do that by teaching, or edifying one another. The word ¡§edify¡¨ means to build-up!
How do we build, or teach one another? After listing the virtues and vices, Paul then told the folks what to do about them. Consider these three ways we teach one another¡K
From The Heart
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly
SURRENDERED TO CHRIST
The word "dwell" means reside. Christ takes up residence in the believer¡¦s heart. Christian virtues are not developed by practice and putting on a facade -- they¡¦re a result of Christ dwelling richly, or effectively in your heart.
A teacher must teach from the heart, and in order to teach Christ from the heart, Christ must be living there. And, as Christ takes up residence in our heart, our residence is changed as well ¡V we become citizens of the Kingdom.
Some of you may remember comedian Yakov Smirnoff. He said when he first came to the United States from Russia he wasn¡¦t prepared for the incredible variety of instant products available in American grocery stores. He says, On my first shopping trip, I saw powdered milk--you just add water, and you get milk. Then I saw powdered orange juice--you just add water, and you get orange juice. And then I saw baby powder, and I thought to my self, what a country! (2)
SUBJECT TO CHANGE
I¡¦m certain that "change" is one of the least liked words in the language. It seems people despise having their routines interrupted about as much as a baby complains about having the formula in his bottle changed.
However, when it comes to teaching, you can only give out what you know. And you will only know Christ to the degree you have allowed Him free reign to change you into His image.
Does it hurt? Not really. You must simply trust that the Lord knows what He is doing.
A teacher teaches from the heart, and...
From the Head
in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another
in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,
YOU CAN ONLY TEACH WHAT IS PERSONALLY LEARNED
Notice that there are three categories of learning mentioned by Paul. The Psalms (scripture), hymns (New Testament praise songs), spiritual songs (like our contemporary gospel songs), are the primary teaching vehicles.
Believers have always sung their faith. However, it is important to recognize that knowing Christ (Php 3.10) is the object of the music. Music is a means whereby we praise and honor the Lord; it is not an end.