August 12, 2019
Pastor John Hering
Therefore, as God’s elect, holy and loved, clothe yourselves with heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with one another and forgive each other if anyone has a complaint against anyone else. Forgive, just as Christ forgave you. And, in addition to all these things, put on love, which ties things together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ control your hearts, to which you were also called, in one body. And be thankful.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, with gratitude in your hearts to God. And everything 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.
There you were sitting in the restaurant enjoying your meal when you noticed someone out of the corner of your eye…. You know that person! Then the light bulb went on. That was an old class-mate of your from high school. He happened to catch you looking at him and he smiled. Then the conversation started. “Hey! How are you? What are you doing in town? How long are you here?” “Just fine. I’ve got some business and I’ll be here a few days.” Then you said, “Hey, we’ve got some empty rooms at our place! Why not stay with us and we can catch up!” “Are you sure?” he said, “I don’t want to put you out!” “Sure, no trouble at all!” And so your friend came to stay and something unusual happened. You came home from work the next day and the smell was fantastic—because he cooked supper, did the dishes, floors, & the clutter was gone.
The next day you came home to find him on his hands and knees with a toothpick flicking those little black thingies in the corners of the baseboards. He had vacuumed the closet, dusted—even the ceiling fans. He fixed the dripping faucet, Windexed all the glass, cleaned the toilets arranged all the junk that you’d stored up in the garage. He purchased all the cleaning supplies, food, faucets and tools. He purchased new cooking utensils, picked up the groceries, not at Aldi, but at Whole Foods deli—fresh seafood, Angus steaks, freshest fruits and veggies.
You thought it couldn’t get any better, but the next week he had a home improvement crew redo your kitchen with high-end countertops and appliances, and while they were at it, they added an extra wing to the house that included the sunroom, jacuzzi, and man cave/theatre room. Everything he touched was better from pipes to paint, vanities to varnish, couches to countertops. He was an incredible blessing to your life and your house. “What do I owe you?” was all you could think of saying. That’s when he said, “Over the past years I’ve become a billionaire. I’m happy to do it.”
Well, a visitor has come into our homes & uses a unique tool to richly bless us in every aspect of our lives. That visitor is Jesus and his tool is neither cash or cookware, paint or plaster. His tool is his Word. No wonder St Paul encourages us in today’s Word of God to
Let the Word of God Dwell in You Richly
So you have what God wants you to have
So you do what God wants you to do
So you have what God wants you to have
God wants to bless his people. God wanted Abraham to have a son so a new nation would rise and from them a Savior. God gave them prophets with his Word so they would know God’s will and his love, and to share it with the nations around them. During periods of chaos and rebellion, God sent judges to bring them back to the Lord. He used King David and Solomon to build up the nation and build his place of worship. God did this so his people would have what God wanted them to have. How? Paul said, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.” Do you see? You have the cure for their spiritual sick heart. You have the remedy to their greatest need. You have the relief for every situation in a person’s life in the Lord Jesus Christ! While we enjoy this greatest blessing, God also wants you to have many other blessings that flow out of his greatest blessing. Three stand out in today’s lesson.
1) To be on God’s team!
You know how it feels at work or school when teams are picked and you’re left out. Well, God wants you to have a sense of belonging. “Therefore, as God’s elect, holy and loved,” Before the creation of the world God chose you to be his very own. You are special—the very ones he picked to be on his team. He shares this blessing through the tool of his Word.
2) God wants us to believe his underserved love!
It is amazing to us that God wants us to have such a blessing. We might compare it to a victimized family in the El Paso or Dayton attacks. Isn’t our natural reaction to have those criminals pay for their crimes before we could even begin to forgive them? Now think about God and us! Maybe we minimize our sins thinking they’re not all that bad. That is until we remember that in God’s eyes even our unkind words and selfish attitudes are a gross violation of God’s rules of conduct that deserve his punishment. Yes, God call’s us his very own. How can he possibly do that? Because God’s justice was satisfied by Jesus about whom Paul said, “just as Christ forgave you.” God wants us to have that undeserved love. He shares this blessing of his forgiveness through the tool of his Word.
3) Peace and Wholeness.
When you’re sick and they draw your blood and take your blood pressure you know what they’re looking for. We know our bodies need the right balance of potassium, glucose and other chemicals and the right balance of blood pressure to function normally. Just as our bodies need nourishment to function normally and be whole, God wants us to have peace for our soul. “Let the peace of Christ control your hearts.” He shares this blessing of peace and wholeness in our hearts through the tool of his Word.
I know how stressful life can be. We make plans that bring change. We endure pressure at work, school and our families. So, God comes to us and says, “Here is my tool so you know you’re on my team, your are forgiven, you have peace and wholeness.” That’s why we make such a big thing about being in God’s Word. Paul said, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, with gratitude in your hearts to God.” So, here in our worship God’s Word comes in the lessons, the sermon, the hymns and songs in order to be blessed. That’s why we encourage you to participate in a small group Bible Class, gatherings around God’s Word, to let the word of Christ dwell in your richly with his blessings. Then you will have what God wants you to have, and
So that you do what God wants you to do
When I told you the story about the wonderful visitor to my home, you had to imagine how such an event would change your life from the ho-hum days of food, furniture and family activities. The blessing of a guest like that would knock your socks off! After all he had done for you, don’t you think you would come to a point where you would say, “So, what can I do for you?” Not in the sense of trying to keep up with what he had already done for you, or guilt that you owe him something, but from a thankful heart. I can imagine his response would be, “I don’t need anything, but do you know what would be fun? Let’s team up. Now you have all the tools and utensils, I’d love to show you how to use them. We can work together on projects and even help others, too! How does that sound?” You would probably say, “That’s music to my ears!”
Dear Christian friends. We are God’s dearly loved people. Equipped with the power of his Word. How can we thank God for his blessings of being his people, having his forgiveness, wholeness and peace? There are so many ways, but today three stand out.
1) Have Christian virtues.
You have known people who have dated someone and you thought, “What do they see in that person to be dating them?” That might be kinda nosey and even a little arrogant. Wouldn’t a better question be, “What do people see in us?” Earlier in this letter Paul told us what we were like, “So put to death … sexual immorality, uncleanness, lust, evil desire, and greed, …. wrath, anger, malice, slander, and filthy language from your mouth.” We have to admit our houses were not in order! But, the Word of God came as a welcome visitor to point us to Jesus who cleaned our house and put us in order, a perfect relationship with God through faith in him. When we sit down with him and ask, “How can we ever thank you?” He responds, “How about we team up in order to make a difference in the lives of others by our Christian virtues. “Therefore, as God’s elect, holy and loved, clothe yourselves with heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” Compassion and kindness like Zacchaeus who looked for ways to pay back the people he had cheated. Gentleness like the Good Samaritan who went out of his way to be a good neighbor to someone in need. Patient like St Paul who kept his calm when being challenged by the enemies of Jesus. (Tell the Samm’s Club story). We can be thankful to God by sharing our Christian virtues with others by the power of God’s Word.
You know the frustration of disunity at work, with your friends, at church or in marriage. How can we change that so that harmony and unity are restored bit by bit? Paul said, “Bear with one another and forgive each other if anyone has a complaint against anyone else. Forgive, just as Christ forgave you. And, in addition to all these things, put on love, which ties things together in perfect unity.” God wants us to have the attitude of forgiveness and love to promote unity. In this way we can be thankful to God with the Power of his Word.
3) Communicate his message
The ladies at Divine Peace have a reputation. And if you’re a lady sitting here right now that doesn’t have this reputation, especially pay attention. Over the years the ladies have sent texts to each other simply asking for a Bible Passage to be texted back. No questions or comments, just a Bible Passage. Others have heard about this and asked about it. That’s a great reputation to have—ladies who communicate God’s Word to each other. We would all do well to engage in this sort of activity. Or maybe you’re more the private type of person. I’ve said this before, but it fits, so I’m going to say it again. How about you take a passage every morning from God’s Word, write it on a piece of paper and on the way to work or school you read it and memorize it. Then when someone asks you, “Hey, what’s new?” You can share the passage with them. That’s what Paul meant when he said, “Let the peace of Christ control your hearts.” I can see this when dads are with their kids and sing, “Jesus loves me this I know.” Or when moms are holding their resting children in their arms and singing, “I am Jesus little lamb.” That’s what God wants us to do. Communicate his Word to people. When we do this we can show our thankfulness to God with the power of his Word.
Dear friends, let the Word of Christ Dwell in you richly! Abraham and Sarah wondered how in the world they could ever have a great nation without even one son yet. God spoke to them. They believed. Jacob ran for his life and wondered if he’d ever be able to return home. God spoke to him. He believed. Joshua scratched his head and wondered how in the world they would ever be able to conquer the Promised Land. God spoke to him. He believed. God spoke to his people to give them what he wanted and so that they could do he wanted. Likewise, God speaks to you through his Word. Let the Word of Christ Dwell in your richly so you can have and do what God wants for you. Amen!