A sermon preached during the 1st Anniversary of Potter’s Clay Baptist Church, Sum-ag, Bacolod City (February 17, 2013). Also preached this in the evening at Massebah Christian Church, Bacolod City.
TEXT: Col. 2:6-7
We grow in the things we give attention to, the things we prioritize, the things we devote ourselves to, the things we prioritize. (Prov. 27:23-27)
1. KEEP THE PERSON OF CHRIST CENTRAL (Col. 2:6-7).
The Christian life is not primarily a matter of dos and don’ts (Col. 2:16-23); it’s a personal and living relationship with Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 2:20). In fact, our relationship to Christ is more important than our service to Christ (Rev. 2:2-4; Luke 10:38-42). If our relationship to Christ is right, right service will follow (John 21:15).
2. KEEP THE PRECEPTS OF CHRIST CENTRAL (Col. 3:16).
The Word of God is one of the most important means of growth (1 Pet. 2:2). By it we become fruitful (Ps. 1:2-3). By it we grow in our capacity to serve (2 Tim. 3:16-17). And there seems to be a connection between being filled with the Spirit and being filled with the Word of Christ (Eph. 5:18-21). Finally, if you love Christ you’ll keep his Word, his commandments (John 14:21).
3. KEEP THE PEACE OF CHRIST CENTRAL (Col. 3:15)
God did not intend Christian growth to be a lone ranger activity; it was meant to be a collective thing. Growth is supposed to happen in the context of loving fellowship (Eph. 2:19-22; Eph. 4:11-16). That’s why maintaining the peace of the body is so important; Christian growth suffers when Christian fellowship suffers (Heb. 10:24-25). And when does Christian fellowship suffer? When peace between one another is broken (Gal. 5:13-15). It is interesting that Paul mentions “biting, devouring, and consuming.” These are all activities of the mouth. I think it is not far from the truth to say that oftentimes what breaks the peace between brethren are the words that come out of our mouths. We should always think twice before we open our mouths. And the irony is oftentimes what comes out of our mouths is the truth, but it breaks the peace anyway, because even though what we say is true we do not say it with love (Eph. 4:29-32). Brethren, I learned this the hard way. Don’t blurt something out just because you think it’s true and just because you think it’s right. The Bible says, there is a time to be silent. In the first place, it might turn out that what you thought was true wasn’t really true, and what you thought was right wasn’t really right. In the second place, even if it’s true and right, if you speak without love you’re going to do more harm than good. Finally, when you’re hurt that’s especially the time to be silent. Permanent damage to relationships is done even among people who used to love each other very much because they cannot resist the temptation to open their mouths when they’re hurt. By then it’s too late; they’ve said things that they can never take back. The damage is done – permanently.
It’s a good thing, however, that in spite of our sins, our failures, and mistakes God does not give up on us. In the final analysis, it’s his grace that keeps us growing. It’s his grace that gives up hope. Sometimes we feel that growth is no longer an option for us; it’s just downhill from hereon. But then God’s grace steps in, put us back on our feet and keeps us going and growing. If not for the grace of God where would anyone of us be? It’s to his grace that I commend you. Continue to grow! (Phil. 1:6)