I want to begin by reading the statement made in John 6:59-69:
These things He [Jesus] said in the synagogue as He taught in Capernaum. Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this said, "This is a difficult statement; who can listen to it?" But Jesus, conscious that His disciples grumbled at this, said to them, "Does this cause you to stumble? What then if you see the Son of Man ascending to where He was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. But there are some of you who do not believe." For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him. And He was saying, "For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father." As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore. So Jesus said to the twelve, "You do not want to go away also, do you?" Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God."

Human life is a mess. It has been since people allowed evil to be an active force in human life. There are two overriding realities in human existence. One is what I would call the "reality of right now." The other is the "reality of eternity."

We humans make an enormous mess out of the "reality of right now." Then we make a bad situation worse. Most humans do not even deal with the "reality of eternity."

In the reading we just looked at, I focus your attention on this fact: Jesus was talking to disciples. He had just finished telling them that he was the bread of life. "Just as your forefathers ate manna in the wilderness and lived, you can live if you eat me."

The disciples who heard this statement said (my paraphrase) , "Whoa! What is he talking about? That is a hard thing (impossible?) to understand. That statement is totally unreasonable. We cannot continue to follow a man who says those things?!"

As a result, many disciples left him and did not follow him any more. The exodus from following Jesus was so great that Jesus asked the twelve if they, too, were leaving. Peter responded, "Where would we go? Only you can tell us about eternal life. Only you are God's holy one."

The one thing I want you to notice: the catastrophe of following Jesus only as long as we consider what Jesus says as reasonable and understandable. If a person accept the Lordship of Jesus Christ, that person allows Jesus to teach him or her everything about living--Jesus becomes the focus of that person's life, and nothing is "off limits," nothing is unreasonable because Jesus is my guide as I deal with the "reality of eternity."

  1. Read with me Colossians 3:15-4:1.
    Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. 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. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them. Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord. Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart. Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. Masters, grant to your slaves justice and fairness, knowing that you too have a Master in heaven
    1. Notice these things as we carefully examine this scripture from an overall perspective.
      1. If the Christians at Colossae understood what it meant to give yourself to Jesus Christ, three things would result.
        1. The peace of Christ would rule their hearts.
          1. Why?
          2. Two reasons: as the redeemed, they had God's forgiveness; and as the forgiven, they were existing for the "reality of eternity."
        2. The word of Christ would live in them.
          1. Why?
          2. Jesus was the only one who could tell them how to live in "the reality of now" for the "reality of eternity."
        3. The result: everything they did was influenced by Jesus Christ.
          1. They were thankful to be the redeemed.
          2. They acted like the redeemed.
          3. They thanked God for the opportunity to be the redeemed.
      2. Then Paul gave them some specific, real, every day examples of the meaning of letting the peace of Christ rule you, the word of Christ living in you, and letting everything in your life be influenced by Jesus Christ.
        1. Christian wives would honor their husbands "because it was fitting in the Lord."
        2. Christian husbands would love their wives taking care not to make them resent them.
        3. Christian children would honor the directives of their parents because "this is well pleasing to the Lord."
        4. Christian fathers would not exasperate their children causing the child to lose heart.
        5. Christian slaves would obey their masters, their owners.
          1. Not just externally obey them to make them happy.
          2. But sincerely obey them in reverence for the Lord.
          3. No matter what job they did, they worked for their master as if they were working for the Lord.
          4. Why? Because they really belonged to the Lord; they were his servants; he would reward them with an inheritance (the "eternal reality" rather than the "now reality.")
        6. Christian master would treat their slaves with justice and fairness.
          1. A slave would be much more than just some "property" they owned.
          2. The Christian master must never forget the eternal reality--he, too, has a master.
      3. Pay careful attention to Paul's emphasis.
        1. Ask and answer the question "WHY."
          1. Did Christian wives treat their husbands with respect because all husbands deserve such treatment?
          2. Do Christian husbands love their wives because all wives deserve it?
          3. Do Christian children respect their parents because all parents deserve it?
          4. Do Christian fathers give great consideration to how they treat their children because children are deserving?
          5. Do Christian slaves work hard for their masters because all masters are deserving of such effort?
          6. Do Christian masters deal with their slaves as persons instead of property because all slaves are deserving?
        2. NO!
          1. They did it because everything they did in their total lives was done in the name of (to the benefit of) the Lord Jesus.
          2. Christians had the privilege of representing the Lord Jesus in every aspect of every relationship in their lives.
          3. It is the Christians' commitment to represent the Lord well every single day in every single matter.
    2. Let me predict the reaction of at least some of us who are Christians: "That is the most ridiculous thing I every heard of! Everyone understands that religion should have its place in every man or woman's life, but that idea is taking religion much to far."
      1. Really? That depends on how the Christian deals with the eternal reality.
      2. If you think that is my emphasis and not Paul's, allow me to call a couple of Paul's statements to your attention.
        1 Corinthians 10:31-33 Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense either to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God; just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit but the profit of the many, so that they may be saved.
        1. First, focus on the context of this statement.
          1. Paul told the Christians who were not Jews to avoid the mistakes that Israel made.
          2. He told them that in every consideration they needed to run from idolatry because it is their spiritual enemy.
          3. These people had some religious and social problems that many of us do not have.
          4. Religious occasions were sacrifice and eating occasions--in both Judaism and in paganism.
          5. Social occasions were often a combination of a religious occasion and a social occasion.
          6. Christians often found themselves in circumstances that demanded they make choices--even in something as simple as food and drink.
        2. Listen carefully to Paul's instructions.
          1. Notice he did not give them a long list of rules.
          2. He gave them instead two simple principles to always be aware of as they make difficult choices.
          3. First, be certain that God is glorified (not compromised!) in everything you do.
          4. Second, show genuine consideration for the people you are with--Jews, people who are not Jews, the church.
          5. He said that is what I do--I do not seek my benefit, but other's salvation.
          6. So even what a Christians eats or drinks, he wants God to be honored and others be respected.
            1 Corinthians 7:21-24 Were you called while a slave? Do not worry about it; but if you are able also to become free, rather do that. For he who was called in the Lord while a slave, is the Lord's freedman; likewise he who was called while free, is Christ's slave. You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men. Brethren, each one is to remain with God in that condition in which he was called.
        3. Paul answered a question the Christians at Corinth sent him concerning marriage.
          1. In Corinth at that time Paul said my encouragement is this: whatever was your situation when you came to Christ, stay in that situation.
          2. Singles, stay single; married, stay married; circumcised (Jews) stay as circumcised; uncircumcised (non-Jews) stay as uncircumcised.
          3. Whatever you were when you became a Christian, remain in that situation as a Christian.
        4. In the reading I think Paul carried that fact to its ultimate situation.
          1. When you became a Christian were you a slave? Then be a Christian slave.
          2. When you became a Christian were you a master (slave owner)? Then be a Christian slave owner knowing that you, too, have a Master.

Bottom line, what is the spiritual reality for every man or woman who is a Christian any place on earth? No matter what situation a person is in, he or she can be a Christian in that situation. The Christian objective is not to find the "ideal situation"; the objective is to represent God well in the way I live where I am. Why? Because I have finally understood the "eternal reality," and in Christ I devote my life to that reality.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Morning Sermon, 24 August 2003
Study Along With David Chadwell
A Worship Worksheet
August 24, 2003

Two overriding realities in human existence are the "reality of ____________ _______" and the "reality of ________________."

If we accept the Lordship of Jesus Christ then we allow him to teach us _______________ about living.

If Christians understood what it meant to give self to Jesus three things would result:

  • The ________________ of Christ would rule their hearts.

  • The ____________ of Christ would live in them.

  • __________________ they did would be influenced by Jesus

What are some specific examples of how Christ would rule in the lives of the Christians in Colossae if they allowed these elements to develop in their lives?

  • Christian Wives would _______________ their husbands.
  • Christian husbands would _________ love their wives. Taking care to not make them ____________ them.
  • Christian children would honor the _______________ of their parents.
  • Christian fathers would not ________________ their children.
  • Christian slaves would _______________ their masters.
  • Christian master would treat their slaves with __________________ and ________________

WHY would Christian people respond in these ways? ____________________________

No matter what the situation a person is in, they can be a ___________________ in that situation.

The objective in all situations is to ___________________________ God in the way you _______________.

provided by Gary Brown

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