Date: May 27, 2018
Rev. Rodney Collins
Title: Giving the Word its Rightful Place in Your Heart.
Text: Psalm 119: 1-24; Matthew 5:1-20
Wellspring Church, Springfield, Ma.
SCRIPTURE: Colossians 3:16-17
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
BIG IDEA:Giving the Word its Rightful Place in Your Heart
We, as the body of Christ, are in need of continual encouragement to live out of the Word of God. This verse expresses this teaching.
These words follow the words of the apostle in which he has been expressing the need for believers to put on certain traits:
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Colossians 3:12-15.
OUTLINE FOR TODAY:
Point 1: The Word of Christ
Point 2:The rich indwelling of the Word within the believer
Point 3: The rich indwelling of the Word in the home and the church
Point 1:The Word of Christ
Notice that Paul tells us to “let the word of Christ dwell in you richly”. He refers to the Word of Christ? What is the Word of Christ? It could be that it is the word that comes from Christ. That is true. It could be that it is the word that is about Christ. That also is true. He is the focus of the Word. So the Word is something that comes from Jesus and reveals Jesus. Both of those are equally true.
What does it mean for this Word to dwell in us richly? The words of James that we find in the New Testament need to be in us. They need to dwell in us. The words of the apostle Paul are the words of Jesus. Jesus was speaking through Paul. So no matter who the human author of scripture, it is one in that it comes to us from the Son of the living God. So we are speaking of the Word of God that comes from Christ and points to Him.
It is a powerful word. It is a word that acted upon you when you first came to know Christ. James 1:18 says “ Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures.
God brought us forth by the Word of truth. The Word of truth is the means that God uses to make a new creature come into existence. It is that Word that needs to have a continual indwelling in us. Peter says you have been born again through the abiding Word of God. So the word of God is living and abiding and it needs to abide in us. That is what Paul is saying.
It is the same Word that caused us to go from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light. Jesus sent his word into you to powerfully change you – in your mind, in your will and all through your whole being. Everyone who considers themselves to be a Christian would say that there is a stark change between what they were before and what they have become because the Word of God has had a powerful effect. That Word comes from Christ and is found in Holy Scripture and Paul says let it dwell within you richly.
We just sang a hymn with the words “more love to thee”. The living Word is Jesus and He is our high priest and He is in heaven now. He is fully God and fully man and it is He who you love. The believer is one who loves Christ. What is it that makes you love Him more? Isn’t it the word that reveals Him that makes you love Him? This Word is a love giving Word. It connects us to Christ by means of the Holy Spirit.
Point 2: The rich indwelling of the Word within the believer
This gives us something to do. It doesn’t happen automatically. We can’t sit back on our couches and let God work on us. He gives us something to do.
Then this is a very practical thing. James says let every man be swift to hear. Sometimes we don’t listen all that well. This is a common sin. The Holy Spirit makes us aware of the need to be humble and a humble person will be less quick to spout off his own opinions and more apt to hear. There is a need to listen. Listening takes work. James says – be swift to listen. That’s something for us to focus on. How can I be less quick to speak and more willing to listen with respect to God? We should take every occasion to listen or to read the Word of God. Whenever there is a worship service where the Word of God is preached – be there. Attend worship! Attend it when it’s convenient and when it’s not convenient. On vacation plan to be somewhere to hear the Word of God on the Lord’s day. This is one’s duty.
1) Listen or read the Word of God with a prayer that the Holy Spirit who wrote it will make you attentive to His meaning. Once you have understood it’s meaning pray that He will help you to apply where you need it. We are all different. We each have a life story. Your need is not the same as the need of the person sitting next to you. But God has a specific way that the Word comes to you. No one comprehends the words of God except through the Spirit.
2) Listen or read the Word of God with an intent to understand the meaning. Sometimes we do our duty – we read the Word but are not sure how it relates to us. We try to hurry. Slow down and pray when you hit those times. Don’t give up. Keep reading. Use the cross-references in your Bible. Scripture interprets scripture. So if you run across a verse and you wonder what it means. Look at the other verses that are cross-referenced. You begin to make these connections and all of a sudden you will find light bulbs going off. It will be an exciting thing.
Matthew Henry’s commentary on the Bible is a wonderful help. Use it. That also will help you when you don’t know where to go when you read something you don’t understand. Charles Spurgeon is also a great help in the reading of God’s Word.
3) Listen or read the Word of God as to exercise faith in God. There’s an act of the human soul which is faith in God. The world was created by God. We know this because we were taught this and it is common knowledge. But we know that this is so because God tells us it is so. One involves faith. We receive it because it has authority. You accept it as true because it comes from your Lord and Savior. There is an exercise of faith in our reading of the Word.
4) Listen or read the Word of God in such a way that all of the faculties of the soul are engaged. The mind needs to be enlightened. But we are not just intellects. What we read needs to affect the way we feel. So our affections are involved. Our will is also involved when it comes to making a decision. If we make a change that’s an act of the will.
5) Listen or read the Word of God so as to be sanctified. The grace of faith whereby the elect are enabled to believe is the work of the Spirit brought by the ministry of the Word. Read ALL of the word of Christ not just so you can get your “candy” or your emotional boast but read it so that you are saying to God affect me in the way I need to be effected in order to be more holy. Shine the mirror so that I can see myself the way God sees me. Oh how we need the full conviction of the Spirit of God working in us in the whole range of the human experience. It is wonderful to read about the great blessings that Paul enumerates for us in Ephesians 1. But it is not so great to read about our sin. Oh how precious is the grace of God when our sin is revealed. God has made a gracious provision for our sins in Jesus’s death on the cross and His resurrection. We need to die to sin and live to righteousness.
6) Listen or read the Word of God to hold it in your memory as long as possible. What a blessing memory is. One might also say what a curse it is. There are things I don’t want to remember. But God has given us a memory to seize upon those things that are good and pleasant. Yes, there are things that need to be left behind. When it comes to the Word of God that’s what we need to remember. Hold it as long as you can! Talk about the sermon afterwards.
Point 3:The rich indwelling of the Word in the home and the church
Look at the last part of verse 16 where Paul says “teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom”. When we speak of the blessings in the Word of God to each other we bring the Word to the forefront. Talk with one another. In your homes, make the Word of God a subject of conversation. What would it take to have the Word of God have a presence in your daily life? For every family it is different. Think about this. Pray that it’s not just something you are exposed to on Sundays.
In Deuteronomy 6:7-9 we read
7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
In all of the ways described here God is saying this law that I have given to you is to be overwhelmingly present – when you get up, when you lie down, when you go in or go out. The Word of God is to go with you – it is to be a constant thing.
It also takes place when the gospel so fills us with a sense of its blessing that we cannot help but give praise to God in song. What a blessing music is in the life of every believer. It is one of those vehicles that God gives us to express our praise.
In all of these things this verse tells us don’t let the Word of God be something out there but rather have it be something in you. Let it make your heart beat faster. Spend the effort and spend the time and God will richly bless you. He will make Christ in all of His glory in your heart and your life. You will love Him more. The reason our love grows cold is that the word does not dwell in us.