INTRO: The text I have just read is one on which I find myself meditating and thinking often. "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom..." Although the expression "word of Christ" does not appear often in that form in the New Testament, the reality of the word of Christ is pervasive! When the apostle Paul said, "But we have the mind of Christ" (1 Cor 2:16), he was no doubt referring to that word which the Holy Spirit was revealing through the apostles. So, in a very real sense, all of the New Testament represents the word of Christ. But there are some specific things of which we need to be reminded about the word of Christ.
I. THE WORD OF CHRIST IS THE WORD OF GOD'S SON
A. Heb 1:1-4 - God has previously spoken through the prophets
1. it was certainly no less God's word
2. the prophets were indisputably great, godly men - often abused
3. but there is something very special about the Son's bringing the message
B. Mt 21:33-41 - A prophetic parable
1. the Jews were the husbandmen to whom servants, then, the son were went
2. notice the householder believed they would listen to his son - they didn't
3. they question is will we listen to the Son?
II. "HE GAVE ME A COMMANDMENT, WHAT I SHOULD SAY..."
A. Jno 12:47-50 - here is important information about the word of Christ
1. the message of Christ is that of the Father ... there is perfect unity
2. the message can result in life everlasting for hearers
3. so, Jesus was careful to deliver just that message ... from the Father
B. The word of Christ will be the standard of judgment "in the last day"
1. Mt 17:3-5 - no wonder it is Christ whom we must hear
2. you and I will not be judged by the law of Moses - word of the prophets
3. further, we will not be judged by the values of society, the sayings of wise men, the leadings of our hearts ... but by the word of Christ!!
III. IN THIS LIFE, THEN, WE MUST CONTINUE IN HIS WORD
A. Jno 8:31,32 - the "test" of discipleship
1. these days one hears much about "love" as the test - cf. Jn 13:35
2. and I would not minimize that aspect of discipleship
3. but my impression is that the emphasis on love among disciples has overshadowed the necessity of continuing in His word
B. What does it mean to continue in His word?
1. is this just a reference to reading the Bible ... or attending some study?
2. Mt 7:24-27 - notice "...heareth...and doeth them..."
3. continuing in his word, then, speaks of a life of obedience ... conforming to that which He speaks, teaches
IV. SO, THE WORD OF CHRIST MUST DWELL IN US
A. Col 3:16 - An imperative of discipleship
1. "dwell" reminds us of permanence ... residence
2. the word of Christ must be permanent in us
3. "let" is imperative in its form ... so, "you must let"
B. This reminds of Ps 119:11
1. the only way the word of Christ can accomplish its purpose is by its being permitted to abide within us
2. but, further, this most certainly implies the acquisition of His word in study
3. I take the word "richly" to refer to quantity and quality - this cannot be a casual, spotty knowledge - it must be rich
V. A POTENTIAL PROBLEM?
A. 1 Tim 6:3-5 - "...and consent not...even the words of our Lord..."
1. this takes me back in thought to the parable of the landholder
2. the words of Christ are "wholesome words"
3. but there are those who, no matter that it is the Father's Son Who brings the message, will refuse it ... even twist it
B. From those who would do such things, "withdraw thyself"
1. the toleration of teaching conflicting with the words of Christ is ruinous
2. but everywhere one turns, the insistence is upon "toleration"
3. where deviation from the words of our Lord Jesus Christ is concerned I can be kind, I can be courteous ... but I cannot be tolerant!
CLOSE: There is one text I would like to read: Acts 20:35. Here is a quotation of the Lord's words not found in the gospel records. And how precious these words are. They are so full of challenge to a very self centered and materialistic society. Do you want to be happy? Learn to be a giving person.
Cecil A. Hutson
24 December 2006
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)