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Colossians 3:15-17

Let this Rule Your Heart

  • Rich Jones
  • Weekend Messages
  • June 4, 2016

Paul writes to the church at Colossae and also to us, that we should put off the things of the old life, the old man as he refers to it in many places. Put off the old habits, the old ways, the old emotions, the old way of thinking; those things that only bring trouble to your life. We want to bring all those old things under the reign of Christ. Paul writes that we should put on the new man which is being renewed in the image of the One who created him. In other words, put on the heart of Christ. Put on a heart of compassion toward those around you. Instead of having a heart of rebellion against the thought of being under the reign of anything other than itself, we need to have the heart of the new man, having great allegiance towards God.

  • Sermon Notes
  • Scripture

Let This Rule Your Heart

Colossians 3:15-17 

We are in the section where Paul writes to the church at Colossae and also to us, that we should put off the things of the old life, the old man as he refers to it in many places. Put off the old habits, the old ways, the old emotions, the old way of thinking; those things only brought trouble to your life.

Paul writes that we should put on the new man which is being renewed in the image of the One who created him. In other words, put on the heart of Christ. Put on a heart of compassion toward those around you, don’t look down on others, don’t be high and mighty; that’s just religion.

Jesus was called the friend of sinners and had compassion on those who were broken and hurting. We need the same heart. Therefore, Paul continues, put on kindness and humility and gentleness and patience, forgiving others even as the Lord forgave you. Put this on, it’s the heart of Christ.

It’s a continual process; you have to keep putting off the old ways, the old emotions and the old way of thinking. You brought all of those things with you when you came to Christ, those things are old and familiar and it’s easy to fall back on them. But God is making you new; you are being transformed by the renewing of your mind. You have to keep putting on new thoughts and new ways, and bring all of those old emotions and old habits under the reign of Christ.

It’s all about what rules the heart; that’s what Paul is speaking to in the verses we’re studying today. There is a recognition that we want to put on the heart of Christ because we want to be like Him, we want to have a heart like His. We want to bring all those old things under the reign of Christ.

But what kind of relationship do we have to Him? The old man, with the old attitude and the old way of thinking was selfish and self-centered and rebelled from the thought of being under the reign of anything other than itself.

Paul writes many verses to compel us to understand who Christ is. “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation,” Paul wrote. And then a few verses later, “He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; so that He Himself might come to have first place and everything.” That should define our relationship.

When you understand who He is and all that He has done for you, there’s an allegiance and a deep love for Him. The old man was hostile, alienated and rebellious, the new man has a deep love and great allegiance.

This reminds me of one of the most famous poems in our nation’s history. Shortly after Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, Walt Whitman wrote a poem that captured the heart of many in this country who had great admiration and respect for their President. The nation had come through the terrible anguish of civil war and was in great need of healing, only to have their beloved President, their Captain, taken from them by an assassin’s bullet.

The poem is called, “O Captain, My Captain.” I imagine this is how the disciples must have felt when their beloved Savior was nailed to the cross. The poem is sad, but it reflects the admiration and respect they had. And in a similar way, there must be an allegiance in our heart, and an understanding that Jesus is our Captain whom we willingly serve and deeply love.

I.    Let Your Captain be Over Your Heart

  • When you put these things on, you’re putting them on, or it might be better said – over - your heart.
  • These are the things that should rule over your life because these are the things that are in the One who is the captain of your soul.
Illus – When Joshua led the people of Israel into the land and they had crossed the Jordan River, Joshua saw a man standing opposite him with his sword drawn in his hand. Joshua went to him and said, “Are you for us or for our adversaries?”

Joshua 5:14, He said, “Neither; rather I indeed come now as captain of the host of the Lord.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and bowed down and said to him, “What has my lord to say to his servant?”

  • With that in mind, we have a context for the verses in Colossians 3.

A.     Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts

  • The Greek word for ‘rule’ here suggests the idea of ruling over decisions, actions, attitudes. It carries the idea of something like an umpire who has authority to determine what’s in the boundary or out; if something is right and good or if it’s wrong and hurtful.
  • There are many things that could disturb the soul and bring a lack of peace.

Illus - Have you ever watched a movie and then felt yucky afterwards? That’s a lack of peace. Have you ever done or said something that you later regret? There is a lack of peace that should alert us to trouble.

If you’re anxious or fearful, there is a lack of peace. These are things that can rule your heart, but will lead you in the wrong direction.

Philippians 4:6-7, Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

  • Let the peace of Christ rule; not sure if you should do something? Let the peace of Christ rule. Feeling your blood pressure rising and want to say something in anger? Let the peace of Christ rule. Feeling fearful and anxious, not sure what might happen? Let the peace of Christ rule.
  • The peace of Christ comes from faith; it comes from trusting that He is able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond all that you ask or think.

2 Timothy 1:12, I know in whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him until that day.

Psalm 121:1-2, I will lift up mine eyes to the hills; where is my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, maker of heaven and earth.

  • We need the peace of Christ for every decision; pray about it, ask God to lead you and give you peace, but we also need the next verse…

B.    Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly

  • This verse contains some of the greatest insights into spiritual victory for every believer.
  • God gives the riches of the treasures of wisdom and the principles for our lives through His word and those principles should guide how we live.
  • Jesus said that it is abiding in His word, and thus His word abiding in us, that makes us His disciples. God sent Jesus as the Word of God; and sent with power.

Hebrews 4:12, The word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
  • Here Paul is telling us how the word should dwell; it should dwell within us richly – pleasantly.

John 8:31-32, 36, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free… and if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.”

  • Some people chafe against the word of God and it doesn’t dwell in them richly at all; it dwells in them begrudgingly, or rebelliously. But if that is the case, it won’t transform your life, you’ll be resisting it at every point; but God sent it for your good.

Illus - Our flesh, by nature, rebels against rules, against constraints, and against authority. If someone sees the word of God like a bossy parent, there’s something inside of them that will rise up against it.

Normally our granddaughter gets up super early for school. As I was saying good night, knowing that she was glad to sleep in the next day, I said, teasing her, “You have to sleep in tomorrow, you can’t get up early.” She responded, “What if I want to get up early?” Ah, the flesh is seen early in life.

  • Be convinced that God is for you and that His word holds the treasure of life and His word dwells richly.
  • At one point Jesus explained to the Pharisees why they were not like their father Abraham…

John 8:37, “Because My word has no place in you.”

Jeremiah 15:16, “Your words were found and I ate them, and Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart;”

II.     Live in the Name of the Lord

  • Verse 17 - whatever you do in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, Paul wrote.
  • When you stop and look at it, you realize how large of a statement that is; do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus. In other words, do those things that are consistent, that are in agreement, with the name of Jesus. Our faith should have a bearing on everything we do and say.

A.    Let your words be in His name

  • We’ve seen over and over how important are the words that come out of our mouths. Here, Paul is saying that our words should be consistent with His name, His character.
  • Words can either tear down or build up. If your words are spoken in His name, they always build up, God’s heart is never to tear down other people.

Colossians 4:6, Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned, as it were, with salt, so that you may know how you should respond to each person.

  • I mentioned recently that salt here refers to adding salt to food which brings out pleasant flavor. When people hear our words they shouldn’t say, “Ooh, your words need more grace.”
Mark 9:50, “Salt is good; but if the salt becomes un-salty, with what we you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.”
  • If your words are in His name, they edify, they build up, they strengthen people around you.

Ephesians 4:29, Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear.

  • Notice that Paul says to let your speech always be with grace so that you may know how you should respond to each person.
  • If someone speaks unkindly to you, how should you respond? If someone gets angry with you, how should you respond?

1 Peter 3:9-10, not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but give a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing. For, “The one who desires life, to love and to see good days, must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking lies.”

  • In other words, when you speak with grace, you yourself inherit a blessing; it comes back to you.

Matthew 5:7, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.”

Illus - When I received a letter and smoke came out…

B.     Let what you do be in His name

Illus - We’ve had various men’s sports events in the church and before we get started I like to give the speech I call, “How Christians should play sports.”

  • Maybe another example would be how we drive. I’ve really had to work at that. When we were first married my wife used to say, “Drive like your mom’s in the car.”

Illus - Finally, I decided to put an end to that one; the next time I took my mom to lunch I said, “Strap in, Mom, we’re going for a ride!”

Colossians 3:15-17     NASB

15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 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 God. 17 Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.

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