Colossians 3:15

Steve Viars December 10, 1994 Colossians 3:15

- the theme of the book of Colossians is the "preeminence of Jesus
    Christ."
       - or the sufficiency of Jesus Christ

- One of the many examples of that theme is Col. 2:9-10 - "For in Christ
   dwelleth all the fullness of the godhead bodily, and you are complete
   in Him."

    - all through this book Paul is reminding these dear believers of
         that great truth and then calling them to live in a way that is
         consistent with it.

- as we've been studying, we've seen that it was so important for the
   folks in this church to get that truth nailed down.
    - because there were many people in their world, who in many
        different ways
           - were undermining the preeminence of Christ

           - and saying in one way or another--Christ is not enough.
               - He's not enough to save you (you need something else)
               - He's not enough to keep you (you need something else)
               - He's not enough to provide the solutions for the
                    problems of life (you need something else)

- there was a steady stream of people in their world who stood ready to
   offer all sorts of "something elses"
     - you need legalism
     - you need philosophy
     - you need mysticism

        - you need "ad infinitum"....but all the while UNDERMINING the
            sufficiency and superiority of Jesus Christ.

- as we've worked our way through the message of this book, it's almost
    taken our breathe away
       - because we've responded so many times...but that's like the
           world we live in.

       - there are so many folks (both outside and unfortunately even
           inside the church) that are saying by their words and their
           actions that Jesus Christ is not enough.

- we have been saying with the apostle Paul in Col. 2:6-7 - "Just as we
    received Jesus Christ as our sufficient Lord, we are going to
    continue to walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him, and established
    in the faith, just as we have been taught."

- that’s why it's so important to us to have Christ-centered lives...
   Christ centered marriages.....families....and a Christ centered church
- most recently, many of us have been studying chapter 3, where Paul has
   given what is surely one of the most important principles of Christian
   growth.
    - the Put Off and Put On principle.

- the argument is this:
   - people who are convinced about the sufficiency (preeminence,
       superiority) of Jesus Christ are actively and aggressively seeking
       to grow and change, carefully using God's methods.

- let me ask you two questions about that and then we'll move into the
    next verses:

INPUT - How/Why is this statement true? (that people who are convinced
          about the sufficiency (preeminence, superiority) of Jesus
          Christ are actively and aggressively seeking to grow and
          change, carefully using God's methods.)

INPUT - What are some things that this passage of Scripture tells us to
        put off, and what are some things this passage tells us to put
        on?


- now, this morning, we'd like to study Col. 3:15-17.

    - we need to say at the outset....
        1) These are some of best known verses in the NT
        2) For many of us, they are some of our favorite verses in the NT
        3) Unfortunately, they are some of the most often mis-quoted and
            often mis-applied verses in the whole OT (especially because
            many times they are discussed apart from their context).

- we're going to title these verses: Evidences Of A Person Who's Growing
    God's Way - Part I

- in other words, if you and I are putting of sinful habits and putting
    on godly ones at the rate God wants us to (in accordance to chapter
    3:5-14) what should we expect to be true?

     - or another way of asking that would be, what are some objective
        areas on which to test whether I'm growing (putting off sinful
        habits and replacing them with godly ones) at the rate God
        desires.

- READ 3:15-17

- one way to tell if you are growing God's way is if you:

I. Let The Peace of Christ Rule You

    - this is the only Roman numeral we're going to attempt to cover this
       morning--Lord willing we'll complete these verses and this outline
       next week.

    - people who are putting off sinful habits and putting on godly ones
        have biblical peace.
    - people who aren't putting off sinful habits and replacing them with
        godly ones don't have biblical peace.


    - now, there are several issues we need to work through in order to
       fully understand what this verse is saying:

    A. What is biblical peace?

        - the answer to that question has at least two parts:

        1) an agreement, pact, treaty, or bond

        2) an attitude of rest or security

           - INPUT - what is the relationship between those two?
               (you've got to have #1 before you can have #2)

           - that's a significant issue:

              - often when someone wants to talk about peace, they
                 automatically want to jump to #2---without being willing
                 to take the steps indicated by #1.

- a person might say--I'd like to have peace with God...but I'm not
    willing to admit that I'm a sinner, or I'm not willing to admit that
    I need a Savior
       - I'm not willing to repent of my sin and turn to the cross

    - the attitude of rest or security comes only after two people, or
       two parties come together and iron out their differences.


- that’s why the Dictionary of NT Theology defines biblical peace as:

    1) the cessation of war.

    2) a condition resulting from the cessation of war.

- again, you see both elements.

- now, let's move on and work through this chart together, and see if we
    can add some more biblical truth to this idea of letting the peace of
    God rule us.

    B. Chart
      ___________________________________________________________________

       Kind of Peace    Passage    Opposite    Substitute     Benefit
      ___________________________________________________________________

       Peace w/God

      ___________________________________________________________________

       Peace w/others

      ___________________________________________________________________

       Peace within

      ___________________________________________________________________

 


       - First, let's go through the following passages, and ask:
           Is this verse talking about peace with God, peace with others,
             or peace within?  (there's obviously some overlap)

       (On transparency - type out)
       - Rom. 5:1, Rom. 3:17, Isa. 26:3, Eph. 4:3, Jer. 12:12, I Thes.
          5:13, Phil. 4:7

- (next, go through questions and complete chart quickly)


    C. What "peace" is especially in focus in Col. 3:15?

        - the answer to that question is - "peace with others"
            - especially, corporate peace in the church.

        - INPUT - What are some things from the context that help us see
            that Col. 3:15 is speaking primarily of "peace with others"
            or "corporate peace in the church"?

             1) previous verses - put offs and put ons - deal primarily
                  with our relationships with others.

             2) pronouns "you" and "yours" in verses 15-17 are all plural

             3) v. 15 - "called in one body"

             4) v. 16 - "teaching and admonishing ONE ANOTHER"

         - so this is a corporate "body life" kind of a passage.

             - our sufficient Savior wants His church to be characterized
                 by peace
                  - of course that's also true of what He wants to see in
                      a Christian home.
                  - it should also be true of a person personally
                  - and I do realize I'm going to have to balance this
                     out in a minute---but the thrust of Colossians 3:15
                     is that our Lord wants His church to be ruled by the
                     peace of Jesus Christ.

         - and men and women who are growing and changing using God's
            method of change and growth are going to be people who
            contribute to that peace.

- now let's balance this some...

    D. Are we saying.....

        1) that we shouldn't address/solve problems?

             INPUT? - (no, that’s not biblical peace--see the definition)

        2) that we shouldn't confront sinfulness?

             INPUT - (no, for exactly the same reason)--cf. also v. 16 -
                teaching and admonishing....

 

    - now from a different vein....

        3) that peace is the final arbiter or umpire in decision making?

            - most of us have heard this verse used as being the primary
                issue in making decisions
                  ...well, I have peace about it, therefore I'm going to
                       do it
                  ...I don't have peace about it, therefore I'm not going
                      to do it.

           - there are some real problems using this verse in this way.

INPUT - Problems with using Col. 3:15 as a primary issue in decision
         making?

         a) this context has absolutely nothing to do with making
              decisions.

         b) it places subjective experience over the Word of God.

         c) often times, people "feel" very peaceful about sinning.

             INPUT - biblical examples of people who sinned yet
               apparently had peace?

               a. Joseph's brothers  (sold him into slavery--ordered
                     Kentucky Fried Chicken)

               b. Annanias and Saphira - no apparent guilt even though
                    they were lying through their teeth.

         - the other side of that is, there are times when doing what
            God wants us to do is anything but peaceful.
             - INPUT - Examples?

                (develop - usually rewards us with peace afterwards)

- now, let's get back to the main argument of the verse.

    E. How Does The Context Help Us Sharpen Our Understanding Of What
        Paul Is Saying?

        - the answer is - I must understand verse 15 in light of verses
           5-14.

        - we said it earlier, but let's say it again and then develop it
           some....men and women who are growing and changing using God's
            method of change and growth are going to be people who
            contribute to the corporate peace of the church...and people
            who aren't....don't.

        - INPUT - How/Why is this true? (can answer either positively or
                  negatively)---How/Why is it true that men and women who
                  are growing and changing using God's method of change
                  and growth are going to be people who contribute to the
                  corporate peace of the church...and people who
                  aren't....don't.


- now let's add another idea from this verse:

    F. Why is this idea stated as an imperative (command)?

        - maybe we can answer a question with a question:

            - INPUT - Is achieving peace a passive issue?

               (cf. II Tim. 2:22 - Flee.....follow after ....peace)

         - all of this leads to a very obvious question, doesn't it?

           - does your lifestyle contribute to corporate peace?
           - does your rate of growth contribute to corporate peace?

- now, let's bat this around for a moment...
   INPUT - If a church family is not characterized by biblical peace,
             what might it be characterized by instead?


   INPUT - If a church family is not characterized by biblical peace,
             what else will be affected?


- there's three more questions we'd like to address this morning:

    G. How does "thanksgiving" fit into our discussion?

        - people who sow division and discord stopped being thankful long
           ago.


        - (develop - you can really see this in a marriage....)


- to conclude this morning, let's come back full circle and think about:

    H. How Does this verse fit into the theme of the book?

        1. Our sufficient savior has made it possible for us to have
              peace.


              INPUT - Ways?

         2. Our sufficient savior demands that we have peace.

    G. What is the relationship between the message of this verse and
         Christmas?

Steve Viars

B.S. - Bible, Baptist Bible College
M.Div. - Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min. - Westminster Theological Seminary

Pastor Steve Viars has served at Faith Church since 1987. He and his wife Kris were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and two grandchildren. Pastor Viars’ gifted teaching ministry, enthusiasm for the Word of God, and organizational skills are instrumental in equipping Faith Church. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith ministries and serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation.

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

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