Thursday, January 27, 2022

2022.01.27 Hopewell @Home ▫ Colossians 3:18–4:1

Read Colossians 3:18–4:1

Questions from the Scripture text: Who are to do what to whom (Colossians 3:18a)? In what manner (verse 18b)? Who are to do what to whom (Colossians 3:19a)? And not do what (verse 19b)? Who are to do what to whom (Colossians 3:20a)? In how many things? Why (verse 20b)? Who are not to do what (Colossians 3:21a)? Why not (verse 21b)? Who are to do what to whom (Colossians 3:22a)? In how many things? In what manner (verse 22b)? Why (verse 22c)? What vocations does Colossians 3:23 cover (verse 23a)? In what manner are they to be done (verse 23b)? For what payment (Colossians 3:24a)? Why can we expect that (verse 24b)? What if we don’t do right (Colossians 3:25)? Who are to give what to whom (Colossians 4:1a)? Why (verse 1b)? 

It’s one thing to live the church lifestyle when we are at church: “put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering, bearing with one another, forgiving one another” (Colossians 3:12-13)—And praise and thanks be to God that to facilitate this, He gives us His peace to rule in our hearts (Colossians 3:15) and His word to dwell richly in us (Colossians 3:16)!

But how much more we will want to sing God’s Word and have it sung to us, when we see the primary group of church members to whom we have been assigned to live such a loving, forgiving, harmonious life: wives and husbands, children and parents, bondservants and masters!

A wife’s submission is fitting (Colossians 3:18)—which means that a marriage that lacks this submission is out of order and fails to communicate the beauty of the Lord Jesus in His people. 

The husband’s general command to love his wife (Colossians 3:19a) is followed up with a warning against one of the primary things that gets in the way of this: bitterness (verse 19b); let him instead be understanding, giving the benefit of the doubt, freely letting go of disappointments, covering over a multitude of faults by mighty, overcoming love. 

Children’s obedience is to be in every area, lest they try to place anything outside their parents’ jurisdiction. This of course doesn’t mean to obey anything that would require disobedience to Christ, but that applies to every area—which is exactly the number of areas in which their parents rule over them. This is easy when a child still enjoys pleasing his parents (and he should never outgrow this (cf. Exodus 20:12). But let the Christian child remember that he has a Father in heaven, Whom he should increasingly enjoy pleasing through the rest of this life and forever. The child that is growing in Christ should take an increasing pleasure in obeying his parents as he gets older!

Finally, in the workplace, everyone is working for one great Master: the Lord Jesus. This doesn’t remove authority distinctions among men: here there are even slaves and masters! But it does shape how everyone does everything: obedience in every part of the job (Colossians 3:22a), integrity even when “only” God is looking (verse 22b), wholehearted diligence (Colossians 3:23), and even kindness and fairness (Colossians 4:1). Why? Because it is all being done unto Christ, and He Himself will reward and punish. So the reward at work is much more than the paycheck, and punishment for wrong is much more than disciplinary action or firing.

Let us hone our Christ-like relationships in our homes and workplaces. These may be the hardest places to do it, but this is ground zero for where Christ commands us to practice it. And they give us the most opportunities in which to obey Him in this and serve Him in this and please Him in this! And then, when we interact with the wider congregation, we may know that it is not the self-deceiving hypocrisy of desiring to be well thought of, but rather the wider expression of a gracious work that the Lord has been doing in our lives as a whole.

Who are the most difficult people in your family or workplace with whom to follow these commands? What do you need to be doing differently to do so? Who can enable you? By what means does He do that?

Sample prayer:  Lord, what beautiful things are families and work, which You created and designed before the Fall! But by our sin, we have made them sometimes the most difficult and unpleasant parts of our lives. Forgive us our sin, and give us the grace to love and live according to the life of Christ in us. Make our homes places of love, and our workplaces bustling enterprises of service unto King Jesus, for we ask it in His Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP128 “How Blessed Are All Who Fear the LORD” or TPH128B “Blest the Man” 

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