- By Rev. Devadosan Sugirtharaj
- Posted 08/30/2020
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Vital Signs of Growing Church Sermon Series
Commitment to the Word of God
- The church is organic. Like a tree, it grows, expands and gives fruit. The vitality of the church is based on the outside shows but inward spiritual strengths.
- The growing church does not show in quantity but also the quantity of the members of the church. Growing church members are growing mature believers and leaders.
- Our church is called to be growing church because we are called to be people growing in maturity in spiritual life and love for Jesus.
- Today, we are going to explore one of the vital signs of the growing church and it is the commitment to the Word of God.
- Hebrew word: Dabar: It is translated as the speech of God (Psalm.33:9), divine revelation (1 Samuel.3:21), and God’s character such as creative (Psalm.33:6), good (Micah.2:7), holy (Jeremiah. 23:9), Completer(Jeremiah.26:2), flawless (2 Samuel.22:31), wise(Psalm.119:130) and trustworthy (1 Kings.17:16).
- Greek words: Logos: written and spoken word; Rhema: revelational word. Logos is used majority for the word of God (Acts.6:7), word of the Lord (Acts.8:35), word of God’s grace (Acts.20:32), word of Christ (1 Peter.1:23). word of truth (Colossians.1:5), word of faith (Romans.10:8) and word of life (Philippians.2:16)
- In the Bible, the word of God usually refers to a divine message (Jeremiah.1:4), the written scripture( Psalm.119:11) and God’s title too ( John.1:1,2).
Context of the text
- The apostle Paul wrote Colossians Christians to be careful about any false teacher who could rob them through their philosophy, deception, traditions of men and elements of the world. In this chapter, Paul reminded them that they should aware of old traditions, customs, sinful natures and faith because they had been justified by grace through faith. In order to grow as Christ’s church, they had to grow in the inner lives in Christ.
- Dwelling in the Word of God to be wise. Colossians.3:6a
- 6 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom. NLT translation is much clear: Let the words of Christ, in all their richness, live in your hearts and make you wise
- Paul informed the Colossians that the word of Christ, the word of God, is a house. He exhorted them to live in the word of God like they lived in their own home. When they were familiar in the word of God and they live in it, not only they would become wise but also make the church to be a growing church in the city of Colosse. Richly means abundantly and also using constantly at all times and in all circumstances.
- As the people of God, we dwell in the word of God like living in the home. In our home, we are familiar with everything in it, We thoroughly acquaint ourselves. Similarly, the word of God should become so familiar. The word of God needs to inhabit us. So we should commit to the word of God and systematically study it and memorize and apply it in our lives. We must like under its control. We must take our instructions and directions from it. It becomes our milk and meat. We must always ready and at hand to us in everything. Our lives must be influenced by it.
- 2 Timothy 2: 14-15: Remind them of these things, charging them before the Lord not to [d]strive about words to no profit, to the ruin of the hearers. 15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
- Psalm.119:105 : Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.
- Biblical Example: Acts:20:17-38: Paul exhorted the Elders of the Church in Ephesus. Acts.20:32:32 “So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.
- Sermon Illustration: H. A. Ironside told of visiting a godly Irishman, Andrew Frazer, who had come to southern California to recover from a serious illness. Though quite weak, he opened his worn Bible and began expounding the deep truths of God in a way that Ironside had never heard before. Ironside was so moved by Frazer’s words that he asked him, “Where did you get these things? Could you tell me where I could find a book that would open them up to me? Did you learn them in some seminary or college?” The sickly man gave an answer that Ironside said he would never forget. “My dear young man, I learned these things on my knees on the mud floor of a little sod cottage in the north of Ireland. Therewith my open Bible before me I used to kneel for hours at a time and ask the Spirit of God to reveal Christ to my soul and to open the Word to my heart. He taught me more on my knees on that mud floor than I ever could have learned in all the seminaries or colleges in the world.”
2. Sharing the word of God to edify . Colossians 3:16b
- 6 teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
- Paul informed the Colossians that with the word of God ruling our lives, we are called to teach and admonish one another weight the word of God. It is the responsibility of every Christian everywhere. As they study and grow in the word of God, they should share it everywhere, every way and every day. When it happens, the church will grow.
- Teaching is a communication of truth and admonishing is to do with showing someone how to apply the truth. We have to find out the ways of sharing it through singing psalms, hymns, spiritual songs with grace to glorify God and edify one another. In our worship, sharing God’s word is vital and also in worship, our songs bring God’s word to us through psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. When we are aware that we are sharing God’s word in songs and music, let us do it with grace and responsible. It will teach and admonish others in the church
- Ephesians.5:19: 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord,
- 1 Corinthians.14:15:What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding.
- Biblical Example: Paul and Silas shared the word of God by singing and praying. Acts 16:25 But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.
- Sermon Illustration: When John Hannah and his wife were moving to Dallas to begin his first year of seminary. They had stuffed all their earthly belongings into an old Volkswagen. As they drove along a deserted highway, something malfunctioned and the car caught on fire. They pulled to the side of the road, jumped out, watched helplessly as everything they owned, except for the clothes on their backs, went up in smoke. What would you do at a time like that? It would be easy to get angry with God. “Lord, I’m going to seminary to prepare for serving You! It’s not like we were heading for Las Vegas to sin or something! And it wasn’t as if we were living in luxury. We only had these few things and no extra cash to replace them. Why did You allow this to happen?” That would be a normal reaction. What John and his wife, Carolyn, did was to kneel down on that highway next ton that gutted car—and sing the doxology! They were happy in God. You can be happy in God if you’ll learn to thankfully worship Him with your whole being in all of life.
3. Doing the word of God for God’s glory. Colossians.3:17
- 17 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.
- Paul reaffirmed again that Colossians should dwell in the word of God and should share the word of God everywhere, every way and every time in the name of Christ. When they preach, sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, they have to do it both in word and deed to give thanks and to glorify God for what he has done and will do for them in their lives through the word of God.
- Whatever we do both in word and action, we do not have exceptions to get away from the above two responsibilities and also they are committed to us by God. Whether in word or deep, lip or life, sacred or secular, we all have the responsibility to bring worship, thanksgiving and glory to God. When we dwell in the word of God and become wise and share through teaching and admonishing others through psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, let us remember that the glory goes to God and not to us.
- 1 Corinthians.10:31 Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
- Colossians.3: 23-24: 23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for[a] you serve the Lord Christ.
- Biblical Example: King Hezekiah. 2 Chronicles.31:20,21: 20 Thus Hezekiah did throughout all Judah, and he did what was good and right and true before the Lord his God. 21 And in every work that he began in the service of the house of God, in the law and in the commandment, to seek his God, he did it with all his heart. So he prospered.
- Sermon Illustration: Before Clara Schumann, the widow of German composer Robert Schumann (1810-56), would play any of her husband's music in public, she would first privately read over some of his old love letters. Inspired by his words, she said it seemed as if his very life filled her, and she was then better able to interpret his musical compositions to the public. Through her words and music, she brought gratitude to her husband. In the spiritual realm, whatever we do base on the word of God, we bring glory and honour to our God
As the church, we are called to grow like a tree. One of the vital signs of the growing church is the commitment to the word of God. From Colossians.3:16-17, we have learned three important ways we do this commitment to the word of God.
- Dwelling in the Word of God to be wise. Col.3:6a
- Sharing the word of God to edify. Col3:16b
- Doing the word of God to glorify God. Col.3:17
Questions for Discussion
- How is your relationship with the word of God? How do you tell that God’s word dwells in you richly? What are practical ways you can dwell in the word?
- The word of God guides our lives. How does the word of God help you to live life, make decisions every day and guide you about your life choices?
- How do you share God’s word through teaching and admonishing every day, everywhere and every day? How do psalms, hymns and spiritual songs help you to share God’s word?
- What does it mean to do everything with thankfulness in your heart to God?
- Whatever you say or do, you are called to do in the name of Christ. Is it true in your words and actions in your daily life? Do you have any problem with your behaviour to do it? What are the limitations you have and why?