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Monday, March 2, 2020

2020.03.02 Hopewell @Home ▫ Colossians 3:16

Questions from the Scripture text: What are we to have dwell in us (Colossians 3:16)? In what manner? To that end—what are we to do to one another? In what three things are we to teach and admonish one another? What are we to do with these psalms and hymns and spiritual songs? What are we to have in our hearts (cf. Colossians 3:19)? To whom are we to sing? 
Believers have grace in their hearts from the Lord Jesus Christ, a grace by which He makes His Word to dwell in us richly, as we teach and admonish one another in congregational song.

The main command in this passage is to let the Word of Christ dwell in us richly. What a blessed command! And yet, it is one of the least-kept commands in our churches today. For, the number one way that we do this, according to the text, is by teaching and admonishing one another in psalms—even if hymns and spiritual songs are not two types of biblical psalms (as the majority of the church believed them to be for 1800 years).

And it is not only a blessed command and a largely unkept command, but it is a most necessary command. In the preceding verses, there is a sort of anatomy of the Christian’s walk in this life—a delightful combination of characteristics in our relationships that flow our of love from a heart ruled by the peace of God and thankfulness.

And how are such hearts and lives produced? By letting the Word of Christ dwell in us richly! In all wisdom! And what is one key means by which God gives us this wisdom and indwells us with His Word? A teaching ministry that happens in congregational song. An admonishing ministry that happens in congregational song.

So, yes, we must conclude from this that it is Christ’s Word that we should be singing. With what else are we to admonish each other? The thoughts and feelings of mere men?! God forbid that we would ever read Colossians 3:16 that way.

But it also means that we are to sing by grace. That what we are doing as we teach and are taught, and what we are doing as we admonish and are admonished, is something that can only come by Christ’s power and goodness not our own. It can only be through the grace of Christ that we teach and admonish rightly. And the fleshly heart lacks no humility to receive the Word, but through the grace of Christ we may receive it humbly and be changed by it.

Finally, if we know our own sin, we will realize that it is also only through the grace of Christ that we can truly give thanks to God the Father. For only the grace-transformed heart truly acknowledges who God is and how good He has been to such sinners as we are.

Only Christ’s word. Only by Christ’s grace. Addressing one another through Christ. Addressing God through Christ. This is that congregational singing that God has commanded, and by which His Word comes to dwell in us richly!
What are some things that you can do before and during worship to obey this verse better?
Suggested songs: ARP22C “I’ll Praise You in the Gathering” or TPH22C “Amid the Thronging Worshipers”

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