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How To Live, Colossians 3:17

This message was given by Pastor Greenfield Sunday morning, July 23, 2006.

Christians in the city of Colossae were wrongly being taught that they needed to keep a detailed code of rules in order to be right with God (read Colossians 2:8-23). The New Testament does not teach this though. Does this mean that believers have no authority over their lives? If you are a Christian, are you free to live however you want?

While the NT does not give a detailed code of rules necessary for being right with God, you are not free to live according to your own opinions, feelings, wishes, or desires (read Colossians 3:1-4). As a Christian Christ lives in you, and you must therefore live for Christ. In Colossians 3:17 the Lord tells us through the apostle Paul that every believer must live a Christ-honoring life. What’s involved in living a Christ-honoring life?

Living a Christ-Honoring Life Involves Everything You Say and Do

Language is a gift of God, one of the greatest evidences of being made in His image. It involves the ability to think about a subject, assert something about that subject, and then express that thought intelligibly and understandably to others.

I can say “Boy, that was smart” either as a complement or as an insult. The words are the same, but the meaning and intention are entirely different. God tells us that your communication must be honorable to Christ, whether done through talking, writing, or sign language!

Your actions are the result of considering what you would like to see happen. You can do a lot of things with a rubber-band—hold things together, play with it when bored, straighten teeth, put hair in a pony tail, or shoot it at someone! 🙂

When God tells us how we should live, the scope of His meaning involves every aspect of your life.

Living a Christ-Honoring Life is Consistent with Who Christ is

Every aspect of your communication and actions must be done “in the name of the Lord Jesus.” Name signifies everything that a person is known for and by. Jesus is the Savior of sinners and He is also Lord. For the Lord to save a sinner from sin, the sinner must repent of his sin and trust Jesus Christ alone as His Savior and Lord (read Romans 10:9-10). Jesus as Savior and Lord cannot be separated.

The Lord Jesus must be the one who controls every aspect of your life. Everything you communicate and accomplish must be done in a manner that reflects Christ’s character. In a word, your entire life must be a Christian life. Everything you communicate and do must scream out “I’m under the Lordship of Christ!!!”

Living a Christ-Honoring Life Gives God the Glory for Everything

The only Person through whom the one true God can legitimately be thanked is the Lord Jesus Christ. Everything you say and do must reflect and express your genuine, total, and complete gratitude through the only Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to the one true and living God for saving your sinful soul.

Colossians 3:17 summarizes the result of Paul’s previous words (Colossians 3:10-16). The new life you have in Christ is seen in every aspect (3:10). The new “clothes” you “wear” are clearly evident (3:12). Longsuffering and love are visibly displayed (3:13-14). Christ’s peace and Word control your entire life (3:15-16).

What do your communication and actions say about who you’re living for? How are you living?

God Saves Believers to Serve Him and Minister to His People

Before our time of prayer on Wednesday evenings, we have been going through various New Testament passages that deal with every Christian’s ministry to the Lord and His people. Here is a summary of what we’ve learned:

God’s Plan And Expectation For All Christians

When God saves a sinner He adopts him into His family. This adoption gives the believer all the rights and privileges that come with being a member of God’s family. There are also responsibilities involved with being in God’s family! God saves and sanctifies Christians to zealously do good works by ministering to God’s people (Eph 2:10; 4:12; Titus 2:11-14).

Why We Minister For God

Why does God want every believer to minister to other believers? The primary reason is that God is glorified when every believer is ministering (1 Pet 4:11). Second, God’s intention for each local church involves every believer ministering to one another so the body is strengthened and unified (1 Cor 12:15-26; Eph 4:12-16; Heb 3:13; 1 Pet 4:10). Third, God wants every believer ministering as this helps them be faithful to the Lord and bear fruit for Him (Titus 3:14; Heb 6:11-12).

How We Are Prepared And Equipped To Minister?

Effective ministry that glorifies God, strengthens and unifies the local assembly, and helps believers’ own spiritual walk doesn’t just happen automatically. Each believer can minister to the body through a special gift or ability the Spirit gives at salvation (Rom 12:6; 1 Cor 12:7). As believers learn from and follow their pastors and teachers, they are equipped to minister effectively (Eph 4:12; Heb 13:7). Christians must let God’s Word control their lives in order to live a Christ-honoring life (Col 1:9-10) that is characterized by holiness (2 Tim 2:20-22).

How We Are To Minister

Believers must minister the way God wants them to minister to other members of His family. The only effective ministry is an obedient ministry. Believers’ obedient ministry to one another involves self-sacrifice (Phil 2:1-8; 1 John 3:16), conscious effort and faithful attention (Titus 3:8, 14), encouraging and building each other up (1 Thess 5:11), and prodding one another to love and service (Heb 10:24). Such ministry occurs through regularly assembling together (Heb 10:25) and tireless service (2 Thess 3:13; Gal 6:9-10).

The Life You Live

Who Are You?

Have you ever wondered why you’re alive, who God is, and what He expects of you?

Everything that exists in this universe was created by God Himself, not as the result of evolution. The Bible says that “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).

This means that even you were brought into existence by an eternal and perfect God. God made you so that every part of your life would be lived for Him, “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).

The God who gave you life is the standard by which you are measured. He is holy, which means He is pure and without sin. He is also righteous—everything He does is right and good. He expects you, His creation, to also be holy and righteous in every part of your life.

What Are You Like?

Unfortunately, everyone has missed the mark God set for us, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Because we are all sinners we all deserve to die. Death is the judgment of sin, and death is separation.

Spiritual death is the separation that exists right now between you and God. Because of this, you will experience physical death, separation from this world. Eternal death is a never-ending punishment, an eternal separation from God in a terrible place called hell, “the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8).

Sin creates a permanent stain you cannot remove; it enslaves you to do what it wants; it requires a payment that will take you an eternity in hell to pay; and it has reversed the relationship God made you to enjoy, causing you to now be God’s enemy.

What can you do to escape these consequences of your sin? There is absolutely nothing you can do to save yourself from sin’s awful consequences: “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). Living a good life, being baptized, or going to church cannot repair this broken relationship and save you from sin.

How Can You Be Saved From Sin?

The only person who can save you is God, the one who created you and must also judge you for your sin. He loved you so much that He became a man—Jesus Christ.

He lived a perfect life on this earth, and died for you to pay the price for your sin. He died on the cross, was buried, and rose from the dead three days later. “For God so loved the world, that he gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

The only way you can be saved from sin’s consequences and have a new relationship with God is to turn away from your sin and trust Jesus Christ alone to save you.  

Turning away from sin requires a total change of mind and heart about your sinful ways. You must want nothing to do with sin because you recognize what it really is: rebellion against God.

To trust in Jesus Christ alone to save you involves understanding Who Christ is and what He has done for you. You must believe that you can do absolutely nothing to save yourself; that only Jesus can restore you to fellowship with God and rescue you from eternal death. It means that you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior—“if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).

Will you turn from your sin and trust Christ alone? “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31).

If you have trusted Christ to save you, or if you have any questions, contact Orwell Bible Church for further help and guidance.

What We Believe About: Man and Sin

We believe God made man directly and supernaturally on the sixth day of the creation week apart from any evolutionary process (Gen 1:26-27). Man was perfectly made in the image of God to glorify Him forever (Gen 2:7; Eph 4:24; Rev 4:11), being composed of both material (body) and immaterial (soul/spirit) parts (Matt 10:28; 1 Thess 5:23; Heb 4:12; Jas 2:26), and possessing a mind, will, and emotions free from the corrupting effects and enslaving mastery of sin (Gen 1:31; 2:7, 15-25).

Sin is the failure to conform to God’s holy character and is the transgression of his holy will (Rom 3:23; 1 John 3:4). The first man, Adam, fell from his original righteousness and communion with God through disobedience (Gen 2:17; 3:1-19), bringing sin, guilt, and condemnation upon himself and mankind through their connection with him (Rom 5:12-19). Adam’s physical descendants inherited from him a corrupted sin nature from which all sin proceeds (Jas 1:14-15). Being a servant of sin (Rom 6:20), every person is sinful in his actions, nature, thoughts, and omissions (Rom 7:19; Jer 17:9; Gen 6:5; Eph 2:3; Jas 4:17).

All men are totally depraved and spiritually dead, alienated from God and the life that is in Him, their minds, wills, and emotions now thoroughly corrupted by and enslaved to sin (Rom 6:20; 8:5-8; Eph 4:17-19). The unsaved, left to themselves, are entirely unwilling and unable to submit to spiritual truth and seek salvation (John 8:42-47; Rom 3:10-18; 1 Cor 2:14). The consequence of sin is death (Rom 6:23): spiritual death, the separation of the person from God (Eph 2:1); physical death, the separation of the body from the soul (Jas 2:26); and the second death, eternal damnation in the lake of fire (Rev 20:14-15). Man is thus hopelessly lost apart from salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ (Titus 3:3-7).

What We Believe About: Angels

We believe that God created all angels (Psa 148:2, 5). Angels are spirit beings possessing great intellect and power (2 Pet 2:11; Matt 22:30), are unable to reproduce, and were all originally sinless (Heb 1:14; Gen 1:31). God created all angels to serve and worship Him and to minister to His people (Isa 6:1-3; Rev 4:6-11; Psa 103:20; Heb 1:14); therefore, angels are not to be worshiped (Rev 19:10; 22:8-9).

We believe that Satan, a created angel, in pride rose up against God (Isa 14:12-15; Ezek 28:12-17; 1 Tim 3:6-7), became the author of sin (1 John 3:8), and led a large number of angels (demons) in rebellion against God (Matt 12:24-26).

Satan and demons are the enemies of God and seek to thwart His will (Gen 3:4-5; Job 1:9-11; 2:4-5; Matt 4:1-11; 2 Cor 11:13-15). They are the enemies of God’s people, accusing and opposing them (1 Pet 5:8; Rev 12:10; 20:7-9), inciting persecution (Rev 2:10), sowing counterfeits among them (Matt 13:39; 1 Tim 4:1), and tempting them to sin (1 Cor 7:5).

Satan presently reigns as god of this world (2 Cor 4:4; Eph 2:2), but is subject to and limited by God (Job 1:6-12; 1 John 4:4). At Calvary Satan and his cohorts were defeated and are now destined for the lake of fire (John 12:31; 16:11; Heb 2:14-15; Rev 20:10).

What We Believe About: Jesus Christ

We believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God (John 5:17-18; 10:36). As God the Son He is coequal (John 10:30) and coeternal (John 8:58 ) with the Father. The eternal Son became incarnate in Jesus Christ (Matt 1:23), having been conceived by the Holy Spirit (Matt 1:20) and born of a virgin (Isa 7:14), so that He was and is sinless (Heb 4:15; 13:8). In the Person of Christ God and man are united with no mingling or confusion of the two natures so He is forever fully human and fully divine (Phil 2:5-8; 1 Tim 2:5).

Jesus Christ kept the divine law perfectly on our behalf by His personal obedience (John 15:10; Rom 5:19). His death on the cross (Matt 27:50) was a one-time (Heb 9:28 ) substitutionary sacrifice (Gal 1:4; 2:20) that fully satisfied God’s wrath toward sin (1 John 2:2). This sacrifice was sufficient for the sin of all mankind (Isa 53:6; John 1:29; 1 John 2:2) but is effective only for those who receive Christ with repentant faith (2 Thess 2:13; 1 Tim 4:10).

Jesus Christ rose miraculously and bodily on the third day (Luke 24:39; 1 Cor 15:4) and forty days later visibly ascended into heaven (Acts 1:11). He presently intercedes for all the saints (Rom 8:34), who wait for His return for them (1 Thess 4:13-18 ) and the establishment of His kingdom (Rev 19-20).

What We Believe About: God

We believe that the God the Bible speaks of is the infinite and perfect Spirit in whom all things have their source, support, and end (Rom 11:36; 1 Cor 8:6; Col 1:16-17). The Bible reveals that God is a person (Exod 3:14; Isa 43:13; 1 Thess 1:9), known by His attributes.

God is holy, majestic above all creation, separate from all that is unclean (Isa 6:1-7; 1 Pet 1:15-16). He is self-existent (John 5:26), infinite (Ps 147:5), omnipotent (Gen 18:14), omniscient (1 John 3:20), omnipresent (Ps 139:7-10), eternal (Ps 90:1-2), immutable (Mal 3:6), and incomprehensible (Rom 11:33). Furthermore, God is perfect (Matt 5:48), all-wise (Rom 11:33), the true God (Isa 65:16), righteous (Ps 11:7), faithful (Lam 3:23), love (John 3:16), merciful (Eph 2:4), and gracious (Eph 1:7).

The one true God exists wholly and indivisibly, simultaneously and eternally, in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matt 28:19; 2 Cor 13:14). God is three persons in one essence. Each person is forever equally God, yet each forever functions differently from the other (John 15:26; 1 John 4:10).

God is sovereign over all creation, freely and wisely directing all things and events in accordance with His perfect will for His glory (Ps 135:6; Dan 4:35; Acts 4:27-28; Eph 1:11; Jas 4:13-15; Rev 4:11; 17:17).

All creation came into existence out of nothing (Heb 11:3) by God’s supernatural and instantaneous work (Gen 1:1, 3, 6, 9) in six literal, twenty-four hour days (Gen 1; Exod 20:11). Every aspect of creation is upheld perfectly and wisely by the Triune God (Ps 104:30; John 5:17; Col 1:17; Heb 1:3).

What We Believe About: The Bible

We believe that the Bible, consisting of the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments, is the Word of God. It was delivered to man through verbal and plenary inspiration (Matt 5:18; 1 Cor 2:13; 2 Tim 3:16), whereby the Holy Spirit protected the human authors from error and guided them in the selection of words consistent with their individual personalities and stylistic differences (2 Pet 1:21). The result was a written revelation from God to man that is divinely authoritative, inerrant in the original writings (compare 1 Cor 14:37; with 1 Cor 2:13).

The Bible is the supreme and final standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and opinions shall be tried, and is entirely sufficient for its intended purpose (Luke 16:31; Acts 20:32; 2 Tim 3:14-17). We believe that correctly understanding and applying the Bible requires a consistently literal, grammatical-historical-theological method of interpretation. This approach recognizes the progressive unfolding of new revelation from God in various dispensations or distinguishable administrations/stewardships of God’s revealed truth (John 1:17; Rom 16:25; Eph 3:2-4, 9; Col 1:25-27; Heb 1:1).

Questions or comments? Please send Pastor Greenfield an email at orwellbible @ gmail.com