Colossians 3:16

Dr. Steve Viars December 17, 1994 Colossians 3:16

- 2 important things to remember about this book so far in the study:

  1) the preeminence of Jesus Christ

     - Paul wants these dear believers to be absolutely convinced about
       that truth---and then live in a way that is consistent with it.

  2) people who are convinced about the preeminence of Jesus Christ will
      be growing and changing using His methods.
        - Col. 3:5-14 is all about the Put off and Put on principle.
           - how God's people can//should be determined to be changing in
              concrete and specific ways.

- verses 15-17 provide some "evidences" or "specific test areas."

    - if you and I are wondering "Just how convinced am I about the
       preeminence of Christ?" -- or, "How do I know if I'm putting off
       and putting on at the rate God desires?"
         - here's some key areas to check:

- the one we studied last week from verse 15 is -- "Are you letting peace
     - this is a verse about corporate relations in the church.

     - God wants us to be people who are pursuing peace.
         - He wants us to be people who are contributing to peace in the
         - Blessed are the peacemakers, our Lord said.

    - now thats biblical peace--where first problems are solved
        (thats how you get it)
          - then the benefits are enjoyed.

- but Christ wants His church to be ruled by that....

    - and some of God's people are in trouble on that one.

    - because instead of being people who are ruled by the desire for
       peace....they're always agitated about something...
         - they're always boiling about something
         - they're ready at a moments notice to pick a fight or start a
         - in fact, I've been around some folks that almost seemed to
             "feed" on controversy and arguments.

         - you may know someone like that...who loves to argue and fight
            and start a tussel.

- God would want everyone of us to ask - "Do I contribute to the
   corporate peace of the church?"
     - (could develop some more -- not talking about ignoring problems)

- the reason that’s so important is that that says something about whether
   you and I have really been impacted by the truth that "Jesus Christ is
- let me ask you to look over at III John for a moment.

   - here's a man who is doing the opposite of what we're studying:

      - read III John 9 - Here's a man named Diotrophes who was causing
         a fuss in the church by not receiving the traveling ministers to
         the churches.
           - John is very clear about what Diotrophes' problem is--he
              wants the preeminence in the church.

- people who are not convinced about the preeminence of Christ are going
   to be peace-breakers instead of peace-makers.
- remember what Proverbs 6 says -- there are certain things that our Lord
     - one of them is -- "he that sows discord among the brethren."

(could develop "thankful" -- and how that fits into this verse)

- our second evidence is found in verse 16 - READ

- last week we said that if you're convinced about the preeminence of
   Christ, you'll:
I. Let Peace Rule

- this morning, we're adding to that: If you're convinced about the
    preeminence of our Lord, you'll:

I. Let The Word of Christ Dwell

  - now, we're going to do something a little different this morning
  - we're going to take a few minutes and talk about how you build a SS

  - the reason is -- this verse gives us a good opportunity to flex some
     of our "principle of Bible study" muscles.
       - that’s one of the purposes of SS is to develop our ability to
          study the Scripture.

- so if you were going to teach this verse to your children, or to your
    club's group, or another setting--how would you do it?
     - What is the verse emphasizing?  What's the main point?
        - what are the other ideas in the verse and how do they fit
           under the main idea?

(might want to deal with the imperative first)

- Key Question is -- Is Col. 3:16 all about singing, or music?

  - the answer to that question will really affect the way we try to
      apply this passage to our lives today.

- in your notes, we've listed the way the three major versions translate
    the verse--and you'll notice that they don't agree on the question
    we're proposing (Is this verse all about singing and music?)

KJV - "Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly, in all wisdom teaching
       and admonishing one another, in psalms and hymns and spiritual
       psalms singing with grace in your heart to the Lord."

       - do the translators of the KJV view the teaching and admonishing
          to be describing the way we sing--is the whole verse about
       - answer - you can't really tell//it's a little unclear
NASB - "Let the Word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom
        teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and
        spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to

     - do the translators of the NASB view this verse to be primarily
        about music?
     - Answer - Yes
        (if you have a Ryrie study Bible - note - "The psalms and hymns
          and spiritual psalms must be those which teach and admonish."
            - we would agree with this point  -- but is that what this
               verse is saying?

- Now let's look at the NIV:

NIV - "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and and
       admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms,
       hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God."

    - INPUT - how is that different?
        (instead of "teaching" and "admonishing" describing the way we
           sing -- it divides them into three parallel categories.

- in this case, I believe the NIV is correct:
   - here's why:  there's three participles in this verse -- (participles
        end in "ing") - INPUT - what are they?
             - teaching
             - admonishing
             - singing

    - that helps us understand the argument of this verse:

       - Let Christ's Word dwell in you richly (in your church)

           - let that be true:

                1) in the way you teach (and how you want to be taught)
                      - the Word of Christ needs to be the emphasis

                2) in the way you admonish
                    (and you respond to being admonished)
                      - the Word of Christ needs to be guide and the

                3) and in the way you sing
                    (and the kind of music you want sung)
                      - the Word of Christ needs to be emphasized...

- and as that is done, your belief in the preeminence of Christ will be

- with that in mind--let's get into the outline:

we're saying - If you're convinced about the preeminence of our Lord,

II. Let The Word of Christ Dwell In You Richly

    - let's make a couple of brief observations:

    A. Initial observations

        1. What is the Word of Christ?
INPUT?  (God's Word, His Revelation)

   - this is the only place in the Bible where the Scripture is referred
       to as the "Word of Christ"
        - usually its referred to as the "Word of God" or the "Word of
            the Lord."

    - INPUT - based on the context of this verse, why do you think Paul
              may have referred to the Scripture as "the Word of Christ?"

        (because there were people depreciating the person and work of
           Christ--this phrase is another reminder of Christ's deity--
           when they undermined Christ - they were undermining all of
           God's Word.)

    2. What does it mean for Christ's Word to "dwell?"

       - that’s a very unusual way to talk about the Bible
       - "let it dwell"

       - that means - "let it take up residence", "let it be at home

- let's add one more idea and then talk about some applications:

    - INPUT - what other word does Paul use in this phrase?  (let it
               dwell how?)

    3. How are we to let God's Word dwell?

        INPUT? - "richly" (all three versions use that Word)

- now let's put this together:

    4. What's the point?

- Paul says - If you are convinced about the preeminence of Jesus Christ
     - and if you are growing by putting off sinful habits and replacing
         them with godly ones...

        - then you will be a man or woman who is doing things to CAUSE
           the Word of Christ to dwell in you (to take up residence in
           you, to be at home in you) RICHLY...

- now, let's work on that together:

    INPUT - What kinds of things would be true of a man or woman who is
             causing the Word of Christ to dwell in them RICHLY?

(develop this more -- could turn each answer back - "are you that kind of
     - could also factor in the theme -- the preeminence of Christ.)

- when you think about it -- this is an excellent verse for us to think
    about just prior to the New Year.

    - INPUT - How might this affect our planning for 1995? (if the Lord
               tarries His coming?)

- now remember what we studied last week--how that this verse is
   primarily talking about our relationships with one another...the
   effect we have on our church family.

- verse 15 is talking about - the place that peace the church.

- verse 16 is talking about -- the place the Word the
   church.....and how you effect the place the Word has in our church.

  - now, this is where the work we did earlier comes in handy.

    - because Paul talks about three ways the Word of Christ should dwell
        in us richly.

    B. Areas in which the Word of Christ must dwell.

        1. in the way you teach (and the way you want to be taught)

        - that’s a key issue in our day, isn't it?
        - are you wanting (and are you causing) the Word of Christ to
            dwell richly in the teaching ministry of our church?

        - now you might say -- well, that's a silly question even to ask.
           - surely every church, every church family, and every church
              member wants the Word of Christ to dwell richly in the
              teaching/preaching ministry of the church...don't they?

           - look over, please, at Ii Tim. 4:1-4 - READ
               (could also read I Timothy 4:13-16)

        - INPUT - What might be some evidences of a church family that
                  is not obeying Col. 3:16? (they are not letting the
                  Word of Christ dwell with them richly in their

              - emphasis on entertainment
              - people not carrying their Bibles
              - fewer and fewer services
              - less faithfulness to SS
              - topical teaching without Scriptural support

        - INPUT - What can you and I do that would help our church
                  obey Col. 3:16?

        - INPUT - How does this fit into the theme of the preeminence of

- let's move on now -- what's the second way that a church family should
    let the Word of Christ dwell in them richly?

    2. In the way you admonish (and in the way you accept admonition)

        - the word admonish comes from the original word "nouthetew"
           - it means to lovingly come alongside someone who is caught up
               in a sinful habit
           --- speaking to them verbally about what the Scripture says
                about that area
           - with the goal of seeing them changed for God's glory and
              their benefit.

        - INPUT - What passages of Scripture come to mind when you think
            of what the Lord tells us about "admonition?"
             (Rom. 15:14, Gal. 6:1, Acts 20:28)
INPUT - what will be true of the way a church family admonishes one
         another if the Word of Christ is dwelling in them richly...and
         what will be true if its not?

INPUT - how does this idea affect the way we accept admonition?

INPUT - how does the theme of the preeminence of Christ fit into this
         part of the discussion?

(If time, could discuss -- how all of this fits into the context of the
   Christian home -- unfortunately--in some families it doesn't dwell
     -- it's not at home there
         - and it doesn't govern the family's teaching, and it certainly
             doesn't govern the family's admonition.

(could also talk about - What is the relationship between verse 16 and
   verse 15?  -- forget about the peace of God ruling if the Word of
   Christ isn't dwelling!)

    3. In the way you sing (and what you sing, and what you want to have

        - it's important for us to note that of all of the things the
           Lord could have put in this list--He chose to list music.

        - INPUT - Why do you think it was important for music to be on
                   this list?

        - INPUT - how might music follow this command, and how might it
                   violate this command?

Dr. Steve Viars


Senior Pastor - Faith Church

Director - Faith Legacy Foundation


B.S.: Pre-Seminary & Bible, Baptist Bible College (Now Clarks Summit University)
M.Div.: Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min.: Biblical Counseling, Westminster Theological Seminary

Dr. Steve Viars has served at Faith Church in Lafayette, IN since 1987. Pastor Viars leads and equips Faith Church as Senior Pastor with a focus on preaching and teaching God’s Word and using his organizational skills in guiding the implementation of the Faith Church mission and vision. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith Church ministries. Dr. Viars serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation. Steve is the author, co-author, or contributor to six books and numerous booklets. He and his wife, Kris, were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and three grandchildren.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

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