Growing in Christ: Colossians 3 (6)
Opening Prayer: Psalm 126.1, 2
When the LORD brought back the captivity of Zion,
We were like those who dream.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
And our tongue with singing.
Then they said among the nations,
“The LORD has done great things for them.”
Sing Psalm 126.1, 2
(Truro: Shout, for the Blessed Jesus Reigns)
When God restored our fortunes all, we were like those who sweetly dream.
Our mouths with joy and laughter filled, made Him our constant song and theme.
Read Colossians 3.22-25
1. How are we supposed to live our daily lives?
2. What awaits us as we live this way?
Here is an example of how we should address the social ills of our day. In Paul’s day, slavery was a given. It was a dehumanizing and often brutal institution. In his epistles, Paul indirectly eroded this institution by focusing on the equality of love and mutuality that exists among all Kingdom citizens (cf. Gal. 3.26-29; Philem. 1.8-16).
But the way to deal with social ills is to keep seeking the rule of King Jesus, which we do by growing in the Lord and through faithful and humble service, according to where the Lord has placed us. Wives, husbands, and children have their calling. So did slaves, and so do employees and employers in our day (cf. 4.1). We are to serve wherever the Lord sends us (Jn. 20.21), “in sincerity of heart” and with our eye firmly set on the Lord. The Kingdom comes through us, not as we seek to tear down deadly institutions and practices, but as we infuse them with new life and the Presence of the King of glory.
This principle applies to all our work (v. 23). Whatever we do – in the home, on the job, at church, among our neighbors, out in our community – if we set our minds on the things that are above, and especially on the reward and inheritance that awaits us beyond this life – Jesus Christ Himself! – we will heartily and sincerely do all our work to honor our beautiful and gracious King, and to further our journey toward Him.
And if we don’t, if instead of the righteousness of the Kingdom we choose the unrighteous ways of the world, well, God knows how to deal with us, and it isn’t always pleasant (Heb. 12.3-11).
Treasure Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
Regardless of what we have been called to do, we must do it “in sincerity of heart, fearing God” (v. 22).
We are also told that whatever we do, we are to “do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men” (v. 23), because we “serve the Lord Christ” (v. 24). And if we don’t do it, we will be repaid without partiality.
Sounds good. We’re always complaining about things not being fair. Well, here we have it, fair discipline!
So whoever we are and whatever we do we will be treated fairly by God.
But there is an extreme upside to all of this; and that is the fact that through our God-pleasing attitude others will want to glorify Him because of it. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5.16). Peter also tells us to have honorable conduct that when others observe it, they will glorify God. (1 Pet. 2.12) And when Peter took up his teaching on family matters he summarized with this: “Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing” (1 Pet. 3.8,9).
That’s what we receive when we work from the heart, heartily as unto the Lord!
1. What does that mean to “work heartily” or to work “from the heart”?
2. What is “the reward of the inheritance” that we seek through our faithful obedience?
3. How does God “repay” whenever we fall into unrighteous works?
The strong motivation to serve someone well is found in the future reward that Christ gives to those who are faithful in this service. We normally think we receive eternal rewards for spiritual practices like reading the Bible, prayer, or evangelism. Here Paul asserts that all work done to the honor of Christ will bring an eternal reward. Earl Radmacher (1931-2014), NKJV Study Bible Notes on Colossians 3.22-25
Lord, let my faith be only in Jesus, and only according to Your Word, so that I…
Closing Prayer: Psalm 126.3-6
Pray that God will revive and keep you in the true faith, and that He will use you to sow that faith in the souls of others today.
Sing Psalm 126.2-6
(Truro: Shout, for the Blessed Jesus Reigns)
Then the astonished nations said, “The Lord has done great things for them!”
Indeed, great things our God has done, Whose Name we praise, Amen, Amen!
Restore our fortunes, Lord our King! Let grace like flowing streams prevail.
All they with tears of joy shall sing who sow while yet they weep and wail.
They who in tears of sorrow sow and cast their seed on every hand,
with joy shall reach their heav’nly home, and bring the harvest of their land.
T. M. and Susie Moore
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Restoring All Things
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Except as indicated, all Scripture are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.