Monday, 30 June 2014


Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them. Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.  – Colossians 3.18-21

Since we looked at this passage in great detail in Ephesians there is not much more to say here. I think the key here is that God has a diving plan for how families should work. For a good part of western history the western world agreed.

Wives submit to your husbands. Husbands love your wives. Children obey your parents. Fathers don’t discourage your children by provoking them.

But things have diverged. ‘Family’ is seen totally differently now. As a new ad puts it - While what it means to be family hasn't changed, what a family looks like has.

Now I am not going to doubt that the modern ideas of family are composed of people who care about each other. The truth is that we dont have to concern ourselves with the modern concept of family in all its varied definitions.

But we do need to be concerned about our Christian, Bible based, and Christ centred homes. No matter what happens anywhere else that description is not going to change.

So lets stick to Gods plan for our families while we stand for and preach righteousness. 

Sunday, 29 June 2014

All to the glory of God

And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.  – Colossians 3.17

One of the saddest things that happens in our Christian lives is when we divide our sacred responsibilities and our secular responsibilities.

A few years ago I was in correspondence with someone who was questioning something I had done. The point they made was that they questioned the wisdom of doing it on Gods time (as a ministry) instead of on my time. They felt like if what I had done was on my own time it would have been acceptable, but since I was doing as a part of ministry I should have avoided it.

I wrote back, trying not to sound too sanctimonious, that all of my time was Gods time. I didnt punch a clock to be on Gods time.

All of our lives, whatever we are doing needs to be done in a way that God can be glorified.

So how do we do that? How do we do everything for God's glory?

The first thing I think we need to apply is that if we cannot ask God to be glorified in it we probable should not do it to start with. If it is sinful or will 'lead us into temptation' we ought to just leave it alone.

But let's just say it is not sin. Maybe it is just something we enjoy like watching sports or exercising or some type of entertainment.

I think we need to use these opportunities to reach out and, when possible, try to use them to reach out to others. Sure, we all need that down time when we can do something alone, but at the same time we need to not be selfish with our time and our activities.

Let me share a personal example that the Lord has recently laid on my heart. My only really exercise or physical activity is walking, but I do walk. I walk every day and am on target to walked well over 1,500 kilometres (almost 950 miles) so far this year. Walking is walking how can you do that for the glory of God?

About six weeks ago I prayed for more chance to share the gospel. The Lord since then has opened the door to clearly share my faith more times that I have had in the last year.

Now, I prefer to walk early, very early, in the summer. Like 5.00 (yes in the morning) or so. The problem is there is no one to talk to at 5.00 (believe it or not). Now, if I want my walks to glorify God (unless I need the prayer time) I move my walks to a time when I will see people and be able to stop and talk with them and, as God provides chances to be a friend and to eventually share my faith.

Now thats a simple thing. No biggie as they say. But it is an example of how we can do the mundane things for the glory of God.

Whatever we do, whatever, let it be done for Gods glory. 

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Songs, and hymns, and spiritual songs

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.  – Colossians 3.16

One of the things I love the most about church is the music. In our church I lead the music so we dont have the most dynamic or exciting or even quality music programme. I am glad that the Bible says we are to make a joyful noise to the Lord. But I still like the singing in church. Rarely does a service go by that I am not blessed by some aspect of our song service.

God's people have always been singers. I am sure there are songs mentioned before it, but the first song I can think of is the great song of victory after the crossing of the Red Sea. 'I will sing to the Lord, For He has triumphed gloriously! The horse and its rider He has thrown into the sea! The Lord is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation; He is my God, and I will praise Him; My father's God, and I will exalt Him.'

From then on songs run through the scriptures. We have an entire song book preserved in the word of God.

When singing is this important to God it is be pretty clear that singing is important to us. It is important that we do it properly. And God's word tells us how to do that. 

Singing has a real purpose. It is not just an add on. It is not just to entertain us or even to stir our emotions or get us in the mood to worship. In the world music indeed sets the mood, but in the church singing has a different purpose. Singing begins with grace in our hearts and it is singing to the Lord. As we come together, with the word of God dwelling in our hearts and the grace of God singing out to God, our singing does something for each other. Its purpose is for us to teach and admonish each other in our songs and hymns and spiritual songs.

Singing should not just excite us and set the mood for the preaching - singing should teach. Theology should express itself in song. I saw a Facebook posting yesterday quoting J.I. Packer - 'Any theology that does not lead to song is, at a fundamental level, flawed theology'

I love songs that express the theology that enforces our preaching and that is the key to music. We may differ in our choice of styles, but the question is whether or not our singing is teaching and admonishing each other.

I have so many examples in my mind that it is hard to choose one. But here is an example of what I consider a teaching and admonishing hymn.

Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and perfect plea.
A great high Priest whose Name is Love
Who ever lives and pleads for me.
My name is graven on His hands,
My name is written on His heart.
I know that while in Heaven He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart.

When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end of all my sin.
Because the sinless Saviour died
My sinful soul is counted free.
For God the just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me.

Behold Him there the risen Lamb,
My perfect spotless righteousness,
The great unchangeable I AM,
The King of glory and of grace,
One in Himself I cannot die.
My soul is purchased by His blood,
My life is hid with Christ on high,
With Christ my Saviour and my God!

I cannot help but be stirred in my heart when I even read this hymn. The theology is sound and edifying and it shows the grace of God that lives in my heart.

I realise that we are always going to have our songs that are simply intended to lift us up a bit and to encourage us. However, I think it is vital that our theology is reflected in our songs and that our songs are based on our theology. To me, at least, that is biblical singing that builds the church. 

Friday, 27 June 2014

Let the word of Christ dwell

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.  – Colossians 3.16

The character of a home is determined by the people who live there. That is pretty obvious. A house is just a house; it is the dwellers who make it a home. The whole atmosphere of a home depends on the family living there. I love going into a home like we visited last night when the family is open and welcoming and hospitable. It is a pleasure to be in a home like that, no matter what the physical condition of the house.

Our lives are like that in a way. Lives are just lives; the state of those lives depends on who is living there. Our lives as believers are going to reflect who or what lives in us. Our lives dont depend on our skin colour or background or ethnicity or gender or any of those kinds of things. What matters is whether or not the word of God or something else dwells in our hearts.

If we allow sin and selfishness and sensuality to dwell in our lives it is going to be reflected in our attitudes and reactions.

But if the word of God dwells there it too is going to be reflected in our attitudes and reactions. If the word of God dwell sin our lives we respond to the highs and lows and ups and downs in a Christ honouring way. The word of God, not the media or politics or our agendas or anything else, dictates our lives.

Do our lives reflect that the word of God is dwelling within? 

Thursday, 26 June 2014

The peace of God

And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. – Colossians 3.15

What rules our hearts? In other words what controls our hearts and minds and our emotions? Is it fear? Is it anxiety? Is it our passions? Is it lusts?

Gods plan is that His peace is what should reign in my life.

There are many times in my own life when peace does not reign. That happens when I let other stuff get in the way. All those things push peace aside so that they can control me. And the worst part is that I let them do it.

As a believer I need that wonderful peace of God to be in control of my life. Jesus told us that He was leaving His peace with us when He left.

I think there is a key here. Both here and in Philippians peace is tied to thankfulness. Thankfulness comes when I am content. Contentment comes when I trust God to take care of meet and meet my needs. So, the peace of God comes when I truly learn to trust God.

Christ came to give us peace, not just for eternity but in the here and now. That peace can only reign when I am trusting God and being thankful for what He is doing.

May that peace reign in our hearts and minds today.

May the peace of God, our heav'nly Father,
And the grace of Christ, the risen Son,
And the fellowship of God the Spirit
Keep our hearts and minds within His love.

And to Him be praise for His glorious reign;
From the depths of earth to the heights of heaven
We declare the name of the Lamb once slain
Christ eternal, the King of Kings. 

May this peace which passes understanding,
And this grace which makes us what we are,
And this fellowship of His communion,
Make us one in spirit and in heart.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

The bond of perfection

Bond of perfection

But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. – Colossians 3.14

You have put on the new man. Put on all the tender mercies we looked at yesterday. But all of that is incomplete unless we put on the one thing that is the bond of perfect completion.

Above all else put on love.

While it is easy enough to love too little I don't think there is any way to love too much. Love should be our trademark.

Love has been the consistent theme of the New Testament. When asked what the greatest commandment was Jesus said, 'love God and love others.' That is the greatest commandment of all. It summarises all of he commandments.

When Paul wrote to Corinth he said that faith, hope, and love remained. And the greatest one is love.

Jesus said that the notable thing about his followers are that they love each other.

Why is it then that we find love so hard to do? Why is it easier to fight and squabble and disagree? Why do we have to be told to put on love?

The problem seems to be that most of us love someone more than anyone else our primary object of love too often is ourselves. The kind of love Paul writes about here requires a sacrifice because it means we have to turn our focus from self to others.

Love should be the basis for all we do.
Love should wrap everything else together.

It really is all about love. 

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Tender mercies

Tender mercies

Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. – Colossians 3.12-13

Today’s verse answers the question about how we learn to overcome the fleshly divisions we read about yesterday. This passage almost feels impossible because it is so rare from my own experience. I see so much, including in my own life, that is the opposite of what Paul writes about.

I heard a lot about how Christians need to be hard and tough and militant and all that kind of thing. Of course, those are Biblical concepts. They are attributes we need to have as we endure hardness as good soldiers. When dealing with false teachers and opposition to the truth we need to take a tough stand.

But far too often I have seen these hard attitudes taken against Christians over petty stuff. Tender mercies don’t seem to far up on the priority list.

Long suffering
Putting up with each other

All of these are the things that should mark out the believer. They are not the world’s normal traits so they do make a difference.

Since we are all one in Christ and since he has forgiven us and shown us tender mercies should we not do the same for each other? Are these the marks of our lives?  

Monday, 23 June 2014

No difference

where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all. – Colossians 3.11

Ever since the Tower of Babel the world has been all about divisions. Writers have written all about various utopias. Governments have tried all kinds of ideas to try and unite their nations.

But wars continue. Squabbles carry on. Troubles persist. We still we divide. And it seems that we find more and more way reasons to divide to add to those listed.

Black v white
Irish v English
North v south
Greek v Jew
Circumcised v uncircumcised
Slave v free
East v west
Settled v traveller
Male v female

And so it goes.

But none of these divisions mean anything in Christ. When Christ enters our hearts He is all and in all. There is nothing to divide us because in Christ we are all one and in Christ we are all citizens of the same kingdom.

That is just the way the world is.

But sadly that is the way the church can be despite the fact that there is no room in Gods kingdom for these human divisions. Why then do they persist?

They persist because we insist on giving way to the thoughts of the flesh. When we dont choose to put on the new man the effects of the old man carry on.

We need the next verse to see how to apply this truth. 

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Put on

and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, -Colossians 3:10

So there are some things that the Bible tells us to put off if we are going to live for Christ. But as we put them off there is something to put on as well.

We are to put on the new man.

It is a good thing that God tells us what it means to put on the new man. He doesnt just say do it without explaining it.

This putting off an putting on always reminds of when God told Jacob to go back to Bethel and "Put away the foreign gods that are among you, purify yourselves, and change your garments.’

The change of garments was more than just a change of clothes. It was a change of life. The same pictures applies to us. When we die to the power of the old man we are told to put him off to not let his characteristics be a part of our news. We put away those idols and change our garments.

The new man we put on has a new knowledge to what it means to live in the image of Christ.

When we head out today we need to reflect on whether our lives reflect the old dead man who as no power, or do we reflect the new man to reflect the image of Christ? 

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Put off

But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, - Colossians 3.8-9

Some things we are told to kill. And then there are some things that we are simply told to take off. Yesterdays list was a list of attitudes. Today there are list of things we need to put off because they are the results of the attitudes that we are supposed to kill. Getting rid of these things is evidence that have truly slain the attitudes.

If we are truly raised with Christ there are some parts of our lives that we need to kill off. When we do that there are certain things that need to be shed from our lives. These things may have suited the old man but they dont suit the new man.

Anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language, and lying are not the actions of the new man in Christ. Or at least they should not be. The very fact that we have to be told to put them off is evidence that it is something we have to deal with.

We put them off by consciously choosing not to act when we are tempted to say and do these things. We have the power of Christ dwelling in us to enable us to make the right choice. 

We do have a choice. We dont have to be controlled by these things. Are we going to follow the leadership of the old dead man, or are we going to follow Christ who has made us alive in Him? 

Friday, 20 June 2014

Put to death

Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience,  - Colossians 3.5-6

So, because we are dead there is something that needs to happen. If we are indeed dead our actions should match up with our deadness. We are in Christ. We dont have to do this alone. But there are some things we need to be actually doing. There are some things that bring the wrath of God on the world, so we have no business being involved with them.

Put to death these things. Slay these things. Mortify these things:

Evil desires
Covetousness (which is idolatry)

Those things are sound really bad, but the last one doesnt really seem to fit.

Every Christian knows that fornication is sin. We all know that unclean living is wrong. Being driven by passions is not right, and evil desires are, well, evil.

But covetousness? Just wanting more stuff is in the same list as those things?

When you think about it though it makes perfect sense. All of these are based on earthly desires and fulfilling the flesh. They are the opposite of setting affection on 'things above.' Covetousness is called idolatry because it puts something between us and God. It means that things take the place of God's will in our lives. It means that something else is our god.

Covetousness means that we think we know better than God about what we need. It means we are not satisfied with what our God provides for us.

All of the attitudes lead to actions. If we slay the attitudes we get rid of the accompanying acts.

If we are truly risen with Christ we will kill off the attitudes. With Christ on our lives these attitudes no longer fit.

Will we continue to allow them to dwell? Or will we kill them off?