Here’s my article for the upcoming newsletter our church produces…
As a church, we continue to walk through the book of Colossians on Sunday mornings this year. It has been a joy to walk through the amazing language of Colossians 3 in recent weeks. We’ve seen a compelling call to seek the things that are above—where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God (3:1). Clearly, we’ve been called in a compelling way to seek Him above all. Even our verse from the sermon on 8/29 says, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (3:17). Chapter 3, then, has sought to draw our attention off of our finite, little lives in this world to the all-encompassing, Christ-exalting future we have with Him.
In Colossians 3:11, we were given an amazing truth about our lives together as the visible church in the current age when we were told, “Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.” Many times, sad to say, our corporate life together is based more on differences that the unity found in Christ. We pit the young married against the older married. Singles vs. married. Children and students vs. adults. Our lives are wrapped up in difference. We divide up based on who likes K-State and who likes KU (we especially don’t hang out with others that differ from us on game day). But, the reality that is to define us as the people of God is Christ. He is all and He is in all. He is everything.
In the verses that follow v.11, we see how Christ is everything. In Christ, we have characteristics that embody the Gospel (compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness and patience). In Christ, we can put up with one another and forgive one another. In Christ, we have a clear idea of what love is. In Christ, His peace governs our lives. In Christ, the message of the Bible (which magnifies Him from Genesis to maps) indwells us richly and emerges out of our lives. And, really, this vision includes all the we do and say, doing it all in the name of our Lord Jesus, even giving thanks to God the Father because of Him.
Is Christ all for you? Or is your involvement and life in the local church about other things? What keeps you united others? Christ? Or the way they treat you? Christ is all, but Christ is also in the ones who trust Him.
The text gives clear remedies for discerning our hearts…
Are you grateful? Over and over again in this text, we are called to be thankful. Are you grateful for what God has done for you in the Gospel? If you are, then this grateful spirit will translate into healthy body life.
Are you united with others? If Christ is all and in all, then really, you have great reason to stand united with others who hold those same truths. Don’t major on minors. Major on the only thing that matters: Christ.
Are you relating well with others? In the coming weeks in Colossians, Paul will take this central Gospel message and expand its influence to include husbands, wives, children, parents, slaves, masters and outsiders. Is Christ seen as your all in this relationships?
Let’s glorify and enjoy God forever by being a people formed by Jesus so that it may be said of us, “Christ is all and in all.”