Summary: Jesus Himself said, “I came that they must have life, and have it abundantly,” that is “first class” living, and we shouldn’t settle for less when Jesus died and rose again to give us the best.
Introduction: Today we are continuing our series of messages on the importance of love and unity in the Church. When we began two weeks ago we saw that the key to unity within the Body of Christ is love. That is why Paul said in Colossians 3:14—“Above all, put on love—the perfect bond of unity.” The key truth that is guiding our study is:
Love and Unity go “hand-in-hand” without Love there will be no Unity.
Last week I used the illustration about the difference between sitting in “coach” and sitting in “first class” on an airline. And I’m pretty sure that we all agreed that it wouldn’t make any sense to sit in “coach” when you have a “first class” ticket. In the same way, it is equally silly to settle for “coach” or “second-class” living when we have a “first class” Savior. As Jesus Himself said, “I came that they must have life, and have it abundantly.” That is “first class” living, and we shouldn’t settle for less when Jesus died and rose again to give us the best.
Today we are going to add two more “first class” qualities from this list of unity builders that Paul gave to the Colossian believers. Before we do, let’s take a quick look at the qualities we’ve already addressed.
Paul listed 8 important qualities that should be displayed in the lives of those who are followers of Jesus Christ, and so far we’ve looked at: LOVE, COMPASSION, KINDNESS, & HUMILITY.
It all begins with LOVE which is the perfect bond on unity. We have identified LOVE with the expression: Give of Yourself like Jesus Gives. And our application challenge is: BE LIKE CHRIST.
The second quality we looked at was COMPASSION. And we saw that COMPASSSION requires us to Feel like Jesus Feels. The application point we made was that we need to: BE SENSITIVE.
The third quality that will build unity in the Church is KINDNESS. To make that a reality we have to Treat Others like Jesus Treats Us. This is where things started getting a little tougher, but we applied this principle to God’s Word: BE NICE!
Last week we added HUMILITY to the mix and were challenged with the fact that we need to See Ourselves & Others as God Sees Us. We do that by first seeing God correctly, and then, and only then, can we see ourselves and others through His eyes. The application point was simple, we need to BE HUMBLE.
Let’s go back and read our text from Colossians 3 again, and then look at two more qualities that I believe can build unity within the Church, and can help us move up from a “coach” congregation to a “first class” body of believers sold out to serve our Savior Jesus Christ.
Text: Colossians 3:12-14
Both of the qualities that we are going to look at today are qualities that Paul addressed in his other letters. GENTLENESS & PATIENCE are described in Galatians 5 as “fruits of the Spirit”:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, PATIENCE, kindness, goodness, faith, GENTLENESS, self control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 (HCSB)
In his letter to the Ephesians Paul included both of these qualities as challenges to walk worthy of Christ’s calling:
I…urge you to walk worthy of the calling you have received, with all humility and GENTLENESS, with PATIENCE, accepting one another in love, diligently keeping the unity of the Spirit with the peace that binds us. Ephesians 4:1-3 (HCSB)
Christ-like Qualities that Can Bring Unity in the Church
Surrender to Christ so You can Serve Like Christ.
We are called to salvation, but we are also called to service. Jesus said of Himself,
“The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and give His life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28).
If that is Jesus’ testimony, it ought to be ours as well. One way to make that happen is through applying this principle of GENTLENESS.
When you hear the word GENTLENESS (or meekness as it is sometimes translated), you may be tempted to associate it with “weakness.” Here’s something to remember, when it comes to being like Christ, “meekness is not weakness” there has never been, nor will there ever be anyone stronger than Jesus Christ, and yet He described Himself as GENTLE and humble in heart.
The meaning behind this word is: “strength under control.” The Greek philosopher Aristotle who obviously understood his language far better than we ever could described this virtue as the perfect balance between too much and too little anger. That is his way of describing “strength under control.”
In everyday life this word was used to describe the training of an animal, particularly the training of horses. A horse had to be “broken” in order for it to be useful to its master. The “strength” of the horse had to be brought under “control.” Once a horse was broken it didn’t “lose” it’s strength, it “submitted” it’s strength to the reins of it’s master.