It is said, when the British and French were fighting in Canada, in the year 1750, Admiral Phipps, the commander of the British Fleet, was told to anchor outside of Quebec. He was given orders to wait until British troops land, and when they arrived, he was to support them when the land troops attacked the city. Phipps navy arrived early and as the Admiral waited he became annoyed by what he saw. He saw a cathedral with images of saints which were statues created and placed around this great cathedral. He became so annoyed, he commanded men to shoot at these statues with the six cannons. No one knows how many rounds were fired or how many statues were knocked out that day, but when the land forces arrived and the signal was given to attack, Phipps was not able to help because he had used up all of the ammunition on the ship, shooting at the saints around the cathedral.
Admiral Phipps’ actions serve as a parable for Jesus’ church. It reminds us what often happens inside of the church of Jesus Christ. We are called to be ready to fight a fierce warfare against God’s enemies; this world, it’s values, it’s way of thinking, it’s rebellion against God, the flesh inside of us, our bent which leads us away from God, and the Devil himself, that very real and personal enemy who sets himself up in opposition to God. We are called to fight this spiritual warfare, yet often we become distracted from this real battle and train our weapons upon other “saints” we see who annoy us. So, we become helpless in the face of the real threat and we continue to the destruction of our own cause.
A church which is divided against itself cannot stand. The cannonballs fired at each other within the church take various forms; quarrels, back-biting, gossip, fault-finding, grumbling, slander, strife, ill-manners, bad tempers, fits of anger, unkind words, malicious talk, threats, murmurings, and a host of other forms which are lobbed against one another within the church, all of which, I am sad to tell you, I have witnessed first hand, and perhaps you have as well as you have lived very long inside the church.
All of these bring reproach to Jesus’ name. We have ask ourselves, “How many unbelievers are going to say to themselves, ‘If this is what Christianity has to offer, I do not want any part of it,’” before we finally wake up and we take hold of our responsibilities to seeing unity and loving kindness within the church are maintained, and before we become serious about changing the church’s reputation in this world.
How can you and I change the reputation of the church before the world? That is the task which is beyond any one individual, but together we, as Christians, can, and we are called by God to, change such a reputation. We do so by receiving God’s fresh grace each day and living out that grace in loving kindness and patience and gentleness in forbearance and forgiveness of one another.
In John 13, Jesus is giving some of His very last instructions to His Disciples and He talks to them about a “new commandment” He gives to them, when He says,
34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
He is talking about love within the church and not necessarily a love for those who are outside of the church, although that, of course, is a part of our charter. This becomes the badge the church is to wear outside the in the world whereby the world will see we are followers of Jesus.
The Apostle Paul, I believe, is building off of the command Jesus gave to His Disciples in The Upper Room, as he writes in Colossians 2,
12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Paul is giving us a word picture of a man who is dressing himself with fine, brilliant, flowing robes and each garment is a Christian virtue. He puts on the “Robe of Compassion”, then the “Robe of Kindness”, then the “Garment of Humility”, and another “Garment of Gentleness and Patience” so he has these five different garments he has put on, but now there is something missing and Paul recognizes that in Verse 14. These garments need something which will sash them and tie them altogether; they need a belt, so he says,
14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
This belt is the grace which holds all of the other graces together and the glue which binds them together. Over and over and over, again, this is our calling. Love keeps compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience from falling off of our souls as we walk about in life. How joyful it is to be a part of a church which loves one another without condition, without limits, with grace, and with mercy.
I read a statement by Philip Yancy I want to share with you, “Grace comes free of charge to people who do not it and I am one of those people. I think back to whom I was: resentful, wound tight with anger, a single hardened link in a long chain of ungrace, learned from family and church. Now I am trying, in my small way, to pipe the tune of grace. I do so because I know, more surely than I know anything, any pang of healing or forgiveness or goodness I have ever felt comes solely from the grace of God. I yearn for the church to become a nourishing culture of that grace.”
That last sentence arrested me as I read it. I wonder, friend, if that is not your yearning today. Do you yearn for the church to become a nourishing culture of the grace of God? As you think of this, I want to give you an encouragement before we talk about God’s instructions in Verses 15 through 17.
A young woman who was suffering through hard times and very difficulty straits in her life came across a member of Bethany Baptist Church and that member invited her to come to this church, whereby she was introduced to several others. Her life was being blessed by God as a result of God’s grace which was being expressed to her from the people in this church. She was talking with another person who did not attend Bethany and somehow our church’s name came up in the conversation. This is what she said to that person, “Oh, those people at Bethany, they know how to love a person.” There could not be a greater compliment for a church. I want to encourage you, I believe we need to press on, don’t we? While that was that one dear woman’s experience, hopefully that will be everyone’s experience and it will only be such if, together, we yearn to nourish that culture of grace amongst us.
How might we do that? In Verses 15 through 17, God gives us three instructions and ways Christians express live to one another. First, we let the peace of Christ rule over us. Second, we let the word of Christ dwell within us. Finally, we let the name of Christ flow through us. Right away, with those three expressions love takes within a church, Christ is central to everything. It is the peace of Christ. It is the word of Christ. It is the name of Christ.
This letter was written to a church which was being assaulted by false teachers who were leading the flock away from the sufficiency of Jesus Christ, away from His Lordship, away from His centrality, and toward manmade traditions. They said Jesus is fine, but we need more than Jesus. Here, the Apostle Paul, recognizing strife, the lack of kindness, the lack of compassion, and bitterness and anger are beginning to set-in in the church, and starting to sprout and sink in roots, says the problem is they were moving away from Christ. The answer for this strife, bitterness, lack of kindness, lack of gentleness, lack of compassion, and jealousy of each other is to regain the centrality of Jesus Christ and he gives us these three instructions as to how we might regain the centrality of Christ for the peace, unity, and love within the church.
First, we let the peace of Christ rule over us, as we read in Verse 15, and it is set before us in such a clear commandment,
15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
Before we can let the “peace of Christ” rule in our hearts we must possess the peace of Christ. Such peace cannot rule if we have never felt its power, and therefore, it is vital for you, at the outset of the consideration of God’s Word for you today, be certain you are truly reconciled to God through Jesus Christa and your faith in Him.
In Romans 5, the Apostle Paul is going to write of such reconciliation, when he says,
1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ…
Jeremiah warned of false prophets when he said, in Jeremiah 6,
14 “They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. ‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace.”
Many believed the false prophets and they lived out their lives saying, “Of course, I am at peace with God. I am not at war with Him. I am not in open animosity against the God of Heaven. Peace. Peace.” But, there is no peace, Jeremiah said, because truly, in our natural condition, we are at odds and at enmity with God. We do walk after the way we wish to live our lives, not according to the way God tells us. We have sinned against Him and have, thus, offended the Judge in Heaven. We are not born into this world at peace with God. If we were to have peace with God, a change must take place. In this peace of Christ, which is mentioned, the first aspect of this peace is peace with God Himself and this is the call of the Gospel.
What a wonderful thing it is to know the great cause of our conflict with God has been taken away. Jesus Christ dying upon the cross has settled that matter so the sin which stood between us and God, separated us from God, and caused there to be hostility between us and God, is wholly cancelled and removed for us. This is the reason why Jesus Christ is the only “peacemaker”. There is no other process whereby a person can remove that which creates the hostility between us and God in the first place. Jesus Christ is the only Savior and the only Way to God, because He, and He alone, removes the cause of the conflict.
It is vital for us, if we are listening to God’s instructions, to ask the question, “Do I truly have peace with God? Am I reconciled to Him? Do I have a right relationship with Him? Can I fellowship with God Himself?” Such is the peace offered for us in Jesus. God sent His own dear Son to die upon the cross for us so we might be reconciled to Him, and now it is ours only to believe, embrace, and entrust ourselves to Him who created this peace.
In order for us to be able to let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts, we first must “own” such peace. I hope you have this peace with God right now and, if so, I urge you to rejoice in it and do not doubt for a minute what Jesus Christ has purchased for you, but embrace it and let it rule. Let the rule of peace with God and of intimate fellowship with Him and of walking with Him day-by-day in your heart and let it take over completely so you will no more wake up in the morning and suggest to yourself, “Maybe today I will stand in conflict with the God who sent His Son to die so I might be reconciled with Him.” Let such peace with God rule.
Allow your relationship with the Living God to be fresh, lively, intimate, and dear. It is such peace with God which lays the foundation for peace in all other human relationships. When is it when Paul is talking about the “peace of Christ” and the peace Jesus Christ purchased? More than that, the peace of Christ also includes peace with God’s sovereign workings in our life and peace with God’s providential plan.
Now that we have peace with God, we submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. He is good, wise, and completely sovereign. We now refuse to quarrel with God about the painful trials God designs for us for we have peace with God’s providence. We know He loves us. We know He is infinitely wise. We know He is infinitely loving and eternally kind. In light of these truths, though often times His ways are difficult and perhaps impossible for us to understand, nonetheless, we are at peace with God’s providential workings. We know His ways are higher than our ways, His plans higher than our plans, His thoughts higher than our thoughts, and we simply trust Him.
We do not rebel against Him in our sufferings, but we cling to Him all the more in faith, believing. We do not struggle against the yoke God places upon us, even though that yoke is often painful. Rather, we call out upon Him for grace to endure, knowing He is our friend. The day we reveal His infinite wisdom and what we believe, one day we will look back upon every little trial and every great one and we will say, “God, thank you, for now I rejoice, knowing full well your wise and loving design behind it all,” is the day we reveal His loving kindness.
God does not have one will and we have another, but rather God’s will is our will. This is what it means to have the peace of Christ. It means we have peace with God’s providential workings in our life. I like what Charles Spurgeon said, as he preached, “If God has one will and we have another, it is clear the peace of Christ and the peace of God does not yet rule in our hearts.”
It is possible for us to have peace “with” God, but not peace with God’s providence. In such a condition we are not letting the peace of Christ rule, are we?
Charles Spurgeon goes on to say, “Though forgiven, and though the grand cause of our quarrel is gone, yet we are raising minor points of difference and these gendered strife. It is like a great lawsuit which has been decided on all of the grand features of the case, yet here the plaintiff is pitching at little points and raising little questions and giving up fresh litigation. The point with us is to say, ‘It is all given up. What you will, Lord, I will and at least I wish to will it. I ask for grace that I might will it because you will it.’ This voluntary submission to our Father’s appointment is the peace of Christ.”
I believe we are often at odds at one another within the church because we really are at odds with God Himself and His providential working. That sets us all askew, doesn’t it? It is what happens when a man has a bad day at work, and when he comes home, he is upset with the dog, the children, and his wife, but he really is not upset with them. He is upset with what has happened during the day, so if we are upset with God’s providential working, the place He has given us in this life, the lot He has placed in our hands, and the trials He has designed for us, and we continue to rebel against God and we are not at peace with God’s providential working, is it any wonder we lash out at others around us?
Third, the peace of Christ is the peace God creates within His family. It is a work God sovereignly creates within us. In John 14, Jesus gives the same discourse alluded to earlier, and He would say to His Disciples,
27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
There is something objective about this peace and it is His gift. He is going to go on, immediately after this discourse and begin a lengthy prayer to God for His Disciples, in John 17, and He will say,
20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: 23 I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me…”
There is something about “you” in church which is a convincing message to the unsaved world. It is our vertical peace with God, and in our relationship with Him, which changes and affects the horizontal nature of our relationship with others. This is not a subjective feeling, but it is an objective reality which God calls us to yield ourselves to afresh.
Remember Colossians and Ephesians are brother and sister letters and in Ephesians 2, Paul writes, speaking of Jesus,
14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace…
It is impossible for us to say, “You go to your church and I will go to my church.” Such is a rejection of the objective reality Jesus creates in the Gospel when He reconciles us to Himself, and thus He reconciles us to each other.
Paul goes on to say,
16 …and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.
This is the peace God works in our soul. To possess the peace of Christ, we must embrace all which is required for us as a people who live under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. God creates the unity and it is impossible for us to destroy it. When we slip outside the authority of Jesus Christ in our lives, and we live unto ourselves, Satan is going to use our sin to destroy the unity God has purchased for us and which is our birthright in Jesus Christ. We are given a new nature and the new nature is given to us, along with God’s Holy Spirit, so we would have the power to live a different kind of life and overcome sin. When we overcome sin the peace which Christ creates through His cross and through His working in the church becomes evident. It is only sin which destroys the evidence of God’s working in us and through us.
Do you know this peace and the personal relationship you hold? It is possible to let such peace slip through the fingers of our experience and this is the reason why the Apostle Paul comes to us and says, “Let this peace rule.”
What does the word “rule” mean? It means to let it govern and have the power to reign over our life. It is an athletic term used in the 1st Century times in the games in Rome and in earlier times before that Greece. It was used as “the umpire’s or referee’s right to govern an athletic contest”. An umpire sets along the side of the game, he is not a part of the game, and he tells the players and participants of that game what is right and what is wrong. He tells them the rules and he enforces those rules. The umpire would set the rules, govern, and arbitrate.
We come to this commandment and we understand it this way, “Let the peace of Christ be the umpire in the church.” Who is going to tell us what the rules are for a relationship and see we follow those rules? There is going to be a master and an umpire. It will either be our own flesh which will say, “This is the way I am going to live my life and this is what is going to rule and govern in my relationship with other Christians,” or it is going to be “Christ and in peace”. The commandment given to us is to let the peace of Christ rule and govern.
We all love umpires and we recognize they are necessary in order to have an orderly and successful athletic competition, until those umpires tell us something we disagree with and then we rise up. It is interesting, in the National Basketball Association, the NBA, they have made a new rule with regards to having no tolerance to whining against referees. Until recent games, there were fifty-one “technical fouls” called against players because of this new rule. In the previous year, when the rule was not in existence, there were only eighteen technical fouls in that same amount of time. There have been three times more technical fouls called as in years past. Players are going crazy with this rule. They believe it is “unfair” and “unjust” and they do not like it at all. In fact, one NBA all-star said, “It is almost communistic!” I do not believe this all-star has ever lived under communism to be able to tell. They do not want the umpires to rule; they want to rule the court according to their thinking.
This is what often happens in our relationships. We don’t want the peace of Christ to rule; we want to rule, “When I am angry I have a right to be angry. I do not want to forgive. I do not want to forbear. I do not want to be patient. I do not want to be generous right now and give this person what they rightly deserve. I do not want to have a restored relationship. I want to write this person off.”
What does it mean to “let the peace of Christ grow”? What does it mean for us to let the “peace of Christ rule”? What leads us to God and to God’s people, we have to go back to Jesus Christ and realize what He has done for us on the cross and then getting out of the way and say, “Jesus, you are going to rule. You are going to decide and arbitrate for me what my actions should be, what my words should by, what my attitudes should be, and what my relationships should be. I am not going to ask, ‘What kind of attitude do I want to hold in this situation?’ I am going to ask, ‘Peace of Christ, what attitude should I have?’”
The second expression of love is we let the Word of Christ dwell within us, as we read in Verse 16,
16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.
The Word of Christ refers to God’s revelation of Jesus Christ. It is this Word which is given under the inspiration of God’s Holy Spirit which teaches us about Christ, and which directs us to Christ, which brings honor to Christ from Genesis to Revelation. This is what we have which speaks to us about Jesus.
Loving relationships within the church are connected to our dwelling in the Word of Christ. Apart from having the Word of Christ dwell richly in us, it would be absolutely impossible for us to respond to people within the church the way God intends for us to do. The Word of Christ is God’s resource which quickens our heart and which transforms us so we become more like Jesus.
Again, these false teachers in the church in Colosse were leading them away from the Word of Christ. Instead of the Word of Christ, that which talks about Christ and which comes from Christ, they were leading them to teaching which were rooted and established in the traditions and thoughts of me. The more the church was being lead away from the Word of Christ, the more strength there was in the church. The Apostle Paul came to them and said, “Can’t you see what is happening? Don’t you wonder why there is so much lack of peace and so much division amongst you? You need to let the Word of Christ dwell in you and not the traditions of men. The traditions of men will always lead to disharmony, disunity, and to the reproach of Jesus’ name. Get back to the Word of Christ and let it dwell in you.”
The word “dwell” means to live in and be at home in. How might we allow the Word of Christ to dwell richly in us? First, we have to invite the Word of Christ into the home of our soul. Before the Word of Christ can dwell in us we have to invite it in and say, “Come on in. The door is open.” So often, we as Christians miss it at this very point. Too many of us have our Bibles left unopened day after day after day. Perhaps we open them on Sunday because someone instructs us to, but that is not inviting the Word of Christ into your life. We need to have a heart which is daily open and inviting the Word of Christ and we read it, study it, memorize it, and we meditate upon it.
There is a great dearth in the church of Jesus Christ of an understanding of the Word of Christ and it is simply because at the very outset we are not inviting the Word of Christ into the home of our own soul. We ought not look upon this as some sort of legalistic rule and law which we chafe under and which is a heavy yoke, but we remember this is the Word of Christ. It is Christ Himself speaking to us and revealing Himself to us. The answer is not to become more disciplined in our reading and in our searching, but the answer is to grow more in love with Christ. Is it not true, the people we love we want to hear their voice and we want to hear of them? Don’t we spend time with the people we love? The answer to this is to ask God to fill our hearts with love for Jesus.
Inviting the Word of Christ into the home of our soul, while it is a first step, is not the only step, for the Pharisees invited the Word of God into the home of their soul, but they did not let it take root and control. To let the Word of Christ to dwell richly means to let the Word of Christ to take possession and to occupy our lives so the Word of Christ is not just a guest visiting the home of our soul, but the Word of Christ is the owner of our soul; it is always present, always building, and always directing full authority.
There is no value to external religion and it is possible to read and read and to go through the Bible in a year and have the Word of Christ read with our eyes and some of it with our mind, but never to have it sink in so it occupies and dwells and takes the right to rule and takes the right make decisions. There is no value to external religion.
Jesus’ Word, as it dwells, becomes the center of our way of thinking, the manner of our living, and the director of our heart attitude. Every thought and every action becomes subject to Scripture itself and when we let the Word of Christ dwell in us richly we look at the Word of Christ and say, “What do you have to say to me today? If I am to know my sin, and be cognizant of the way I have sinned against others, the Word of Christ must be at my core. If I am to rejoice in Jesus’ salvation and all offered in Him, the Word of Jesus Christ must fill me. If I am to be wise in my family life, my employment, my relationships with others, my church, and my conduct, the Word of Christ must take utter possession of me.” In this way we come to love the Word of Christ.
I am not here to shame you or to chide you into taking up the Word of Christ and read it. I am here to call you to recognize the beauty and the wonder of the living nature of this Book through which and in which Jesus Christ reveals himself to us, and by His Spirit He works so we begin to wonder at Him and we begin to fall in love with Him and we begin to obey Him and we recognize the commandments are not burdensome. Thus, we begin to soak in the reality of the person of Jesus.
It is interesting, what a parallel it is in Colossians 3:15, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts…” to Ephesians 5:18, “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.” After these two commandments, Ephesians and Colossians become identical lynchpins. They are synonymous with each other: to be filled with the Spirit is to let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly and to let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly is to be filled with the Spirit.
The Spirit is not some subjective experience we have outside of the Word of God and to let the Word of Christ dwell in us richly is not such an objective experience. It is a part of the living nature of God’s Spirit working in us. These two are intricately combined. The Holy Spirit is the author of Word and He is the power of the Word and these expressions are interchangeable. To enjoy the fullness of the Spirit, the Christian must be filled with the Word of Christ. To enjoy the fullness of Christ, the Christian must be submitted and yielded to God’s Holy Spirit. These two walk hand-in-hand together.
It is interesting what happens after this, in Verse 16,
16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another…
The aspect of teaching and admonishing are not relegated to the pastor or the church alone, but they are relegated to each and every member. All of us are called to teach one another with the Word of God. When I come to you on Sunday morning, I feel often I am only able to give you communion cup full of the Word of God. I feel from the simple study I have done through the week I am only able to give you a small measure of what God has given me through the Scripture.
This is the reason why, if you are to have the Word of Christ dwell within you, it requires all of us to be a part of the teaching, not just those who are gifted with teaching, not just Sunday school teachers and Bible-study leaders, and pastors. All of us would be talking about the Word of God in our regular conversations. When this happens something significant changes in the culture of the church, it is then we become a culture which nourishes one another with the grace of God. It is then, I believe, strife, division, back-biting, grumbling and complaining all disappear because we are letting the Word of Christ dwell within us.
This commandment, to let the Word of Christ dwell within us richly, is not just a commandment for us individually, but it is a commandment for the whole church. We have talked about the individual implications of it, but Paul is speaking to the church at Colosse. This is the reason why it is so vital to have a church wherein the Word of God soaks in and permeates everything that happens here.
Sometimes people come to me and say, “Pastor, I am going to have to leave town and move to another city. It has been a long time since I have had to search for another church, what should I look for?” The very first thing I tell them is, “Look for a church where the Word of Christ dwells within that church. If you go to that church and the Word of Christ every corner, in the Sunday morning services, in the Sunday school classes, in the fellowship group, and in the conversations people have with one another, that kind of church is blessed by God in exceeding measure.”
The last encouragement God gives us is to let the name of Christ flow through us, as we read in Verse 17,
17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
As Christians, we bear the name of Jesus Christ because we are called “Christians”. That term is only used three times in the New Testament and it was used, originally, by people who wanted to shame those who believed in Jesus and it was a term of contempt. The believers in the early church took up this term and said, “If you are going to call us ‘Christians’, fine. That is a badge of honor and we want to bear the name of Jesus with it.”
Please understand, when you raise your hand and you say, “I am a Christian,” you are taking upon yourself the name of Jesus and what you do, what you say, how you act, how you conduct yourself, and how you relate with each other reflects to the world who does not know Jesus who Jesus is. Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of Jesus knowing you are identified with Him, He is our example, He is our authority so we do that which pleases Him and that which helps others see Him more clearly. We do it all in the name of Jesus and not in our own name and not wishing to bring some kind of reputation to ourselves. We are only seeking to honor Jesus, for His name alone matters.
It is His name which gives focus to church and when this becomes our focus, we are more conscious of how deadly, dangerous, corrupting, and destructive it is for us to personally be at odds with any other Christian. By being at odds with one other Christian unnecessarily, because of sin in our hearts, reflects poorly upon the name of Jesus in our world. Together, if we say whatever we do we are going to do it all in the name of Jesus, this becomes our focus together.
There is a book titled “The Purpose Driven Church”. I have read it and all the ideas in there are good, proper, and right, but there is only one purpose for the church of Jesus Christ and only one reason why we are here and that is to honor the name of Jesus Christ. There are a number of ways in which we might do that, but there is only one purpose and that is to honor the name of Jesus Christ.
If we are doing everything else right, if we are getting more people in and we have programs which are running and working just right, but we are not honoring the name of Jesus Christ because of some of the relationships which are happening in our own personal lives, we are not “purpose driven” and we are not living the purpose God has given to us.
The purpose of our lives is to honor the Lord Jesus Christ. You ask, “Why am I here?” It is to honor the Lord Jesus Christ. We might be doing everything to honor the Lord Jesus Christ in our ministry, in our employment, in our honesty, in our obedience to most of the commandment, but everything we are earning is flushing down the drain on the other side when we dishonor Jesus Christ by the relationships we have with other believers.
We began by talking about the danger of shooting at the saints. The greatest need we have is to love God and to love other people. Such a love is not merely an emotion, but it is a decisive act of our will to yield ourselves over. We nourish a culture to let the peace of Christ rule when we let the Word of Christ dwell and when we let the name of Christ flow us and mean everything to us.
May God nourish though us a culture of grace.