Colossians 3:15-17: A portrait of the church.(click here for passage)
The church is meant to be:
A peaceful community (15a). If day by day we choose to wear the clothes Jesus has freely put in our wardrobe (12-14) the Christian community will be at peace. We’ll be unitedly fighting a spiritual war with the powers of darkness, but we won’t be training our guns on each other. However, a peaceful group will be made up of individuals who are allowing the ‘’peace of Christ’’ to ‘’rule’’ in their hearts. Whatever our outward circumstances, this is to be our dominant emotion. Other feelings/attitudes will fight to control our ‘’hearts’’, so we have a part to play in ‘letting’ Christ’s peace rule. The ‘’peace of Christ’’ may refer to the peace Jesus gives or the peace He possesses. Probably it’s about both (John 14:27.) Somebody observed that as Christ lived in the world, outwardly He ran into many a violent storm, but inwardly He was a ‘’sea of glass’’. He was always at rest In His heart. This is a peace that goes beyond human comprehension (Philippians 4:7). This is the peace which the Lord wants us to carry into the world each day. It is also to be the ethos, the culture, the atmosphere of the church as we gather together. People should be able to ‘feel it in the air’ as they join us. Let’s not allow anything of sin to ruin this peace between the ‘’members of one body’’. Those who belong to Jesus can live at peace if they choose to.
A thankful community (15b). One way that will help you to live at peace with everyone is to be thankful for each person in your world. Take that individual you like the least; the one who can just wind you up at the drop of a hat. You can feel yourself becoming agitated at the mere thought of them. I guarantee you that if you look for things to be thankful for, even in them, you will find them! And if you make it a habit to look for reasons to thank God for them, you will see those reasons, and gradually your heart will soften and change More generally, if you cultivate a thankful mind-set, where you regularly ‘count your blessings’, you will find that this leads to a more peaceful and contented outlook. (Look at how the thread of thanksgiving runs through this short section: verses 15b, 16b, 17b.) Recently I heard someone say that each morning he thinks of five things to be thankful for from the previous day, and he starts the new day by thanking God for them, before he starts to ask for anything else. That helped me and I’m endeavouring to bed in this habit. You will never run dry of reasons for thanksgiving. There are always many more than five reasons!
A Bible-centred community (16). By the way, here’s the primary way you can ‘’Let the peace of Christ rule in your heart’’. It’s by ‘letting’ ‘’the word of Christ dwell in you richly’’. A life soaked in Scripture is likely to be peaceful. If you are saturated in the Bible, like a sponge, when you are ‘squeezed’ in the pressures of life, what is likely to come out? Notice how God’s Word is to be at the heart of our teaching, (whether this is from a pulpit or in groups or one to one), our counselling, and our singing. We should no more sing heresy than preach it! It’s not okay to sing the words anyway just because we like the tune.
A worshipping community (17). David Pawson reputedly said: ‘’For the Christian the whole of life is sacred and the only thing that is secular is sin.’’ If we can’t do what we’re doing ‘’in the name of the Lord Jesus’’ we probably shouldn’t be doing it.