The Body of Christ in Action

Colossians 3:12-15 ESV

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 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. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.”

When the Bible tells us to “put on” something or to “clothe yourselves” with something, it generally means to apply these qualities or these actions or these character traits to our lives, to make them part of our lives. And this isn’t about faking it, but it is about them becoming part of who we are, a reality in our daily lives. We become compassionate and kind and patient, etc. Basically what we are doing is taking on the character of Christ.

And the only way we can do this is first off we must be in a genuine relationship with Jesus Christ by God’s grace through God-given faith in him. We must have been crucified with Christ in death to sin and then raised with Christ to walk in newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. And then we must be walking (in conduct, in practice) not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

For, it is the Holy Spirit living within us who empowers and strengthens us to live holy lives pleasing to God and to be compassionate and kind and humble and forgiving. It is only because Christ now lives within us in the person of the Holy Spirit that we can be made righteous with God by faith in him, and that we can live righteously, too. And only as we yield our lives to the Lord Jesus Christ are we able to have these character traits.

Basically, because of what Jesus did for us on that cross in delivering us from our slavery to sin and freeing us from the control of sin so that we can now be free to live for the Lord, and because his Spirit lives within us, we can become like Jesus because we are giving him full reign in our lives to live his life in us and out through us. The more that we yield to the Lord and we let him have control, the more we will be like Jesus in character.

And above all these we are to put on love, and love comes from God and God is love, and love means to prefer what God prefers. So, if we are putting on love, we are putting on holiness, godliness, righteousness, moral purity, uprightness, honesty, integrity, faithfulness, repentance, obedience to our Lord, and submission to his Lordship over our lives. For we are now his possession, and we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works which God planned in advance that we should walk in them.

And if we are putting on love, we are thinking about what is best for others, not from a worldly or a fleshly perspective, but from God’s perspective, since this love comes from God. And so we are going to do for others as Christ did for us, not in dying for their sins, but in being willing to die sharing with them the gospel which can save their lives. For this love is self-sacrificial that considers the legitimate needs of others in how we treat them.

Also, if we are loving others with this kind of love, we will not deliberately and/or habitually sin against them, especially not against our spouses, children, other family members, close friends, and our fellow Christians, i.e. the people who are the closest to us for whom we have some biblical responsibility to care for and to nurture in the Lord. We shouldn’t sin against anyone, but especially not those who are under our care.

Colossians 3:16-17 ESV

“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.”

This is how the body of Christ is to operate. We aren’t supposed to “go to church” and just sit there and be spectators and then go home until the next week. But sadly much of today’s market-driven churches do not supply much opportunity for this to take place, and for many people, that is all that they know of “church,” because that is what church has always been for them, these institutions of men and their church denominations.

But the church is not these organizations. The church is not a corporation under the state, although many have turned it into just that. And the church is not a building that you go to. The church is us, the people of God, who have died with Christ to sin and who are living to God and to his righteousness in the power of God’s Spirit living within us. And we are to be operating in the power of the Holy Spirit in our gatherings, too.

So, the church is everywhere that there are genuine believers in Jesus Christ, and it doesn’t matter where they meet or how often or on what days or at what time. And it doesn’t have to be in person if that is not possible. We are also on the internet, and many of us operate more biblically as the body of Christ on the internet than we ever had opportunity to do in our gatherings with people face to face. Sadly, that is the truth.

Not many “churches” these days are truly teaching the Word of God in truth and in righteousness. Many have adopted a diluted gospel message in order to appease and to appeal to the world and to human flesh. And they are relying on humans and books written by humans, not inspired of God, to tell them what is true. And not many are students of the Scriptures who are not only living the Scriptures but who are sharing them with others.

You see, when we gather together, we are to be teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom (the counsel of God). Every part is to do its work in the spiritual growth and the maturity of the body of Christ in Christ. Now, women are not to have authority over men. They are not to be instructors of men with authority over them, but men should be willing to listen to women share what God is teaching them from the word and by it to be encouraged.

If we are all one body, which we are, with equal concern, one for the other, there ought to be these times when we can have true spiritual fellowship with one another in the Lord where we can encourage one another with what we are being encouraged about in our times with the Lord, which includes singing to one another songs that will teach us biblical truths to help us to mature and to be encouraged in our walks of faith in Christ Jesus.

[Ac 2:42-47; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Rom 12:1-8; 1 Co 3:9,16-17; 1 Co 6:19-20; 1 Co 12:1-31; 2 Co 5:1; 2 Co 6:14-16; Eph 1:22; Eph 2:19-22; Eph 4:1-16; Eph 5:17-30; Col 1:18-24; Col 2:19; Col 3:16; Heb 3:13; 1 Pet 2:4-6; Jude 1:20-21]

Songs in the Night

An Original Work / December 18, 2013

“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.” Acts 16:25 NIV ‘84

Lord, I praise You forevermore.
You, my Savior, I now adore.
Hope in heaven awaiting me,
Because You died at Calvary.

I have been forgiven,
And I’m bound for heaven.
Jesus set me free from
All my sin, I say.
I will praise Him always!

Lord, I love You for all You’ve done:
Overcame death, my vict’ry won!
Jesus saved me, and now I’m free!
I rejoice in His love for me.

I will walk in vict’ry!
My sin is but hist’ry!
I am free to please Him
With my life today.
I will love Him always!

Lord, I thank You for giving me
A new life bought at Calvary.
Loving Jesus, I meet with Him.
Tender mercies now flow within.

Lord, I am so thankful;
Through my Lord, I’m able
To sit at His table;
Fellowship with Him.
I will thank Him always!

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