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Honiton Evangelical Congregational Church April

Dear Friends, 

What would a healthy church look like?

In the next few newsletters we will look at Colossians 3:16 and what it means for our life as a fellowship of God’s people. It reads:

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.

Why is this verse where it is? Colossians is like a number of Paul’s letters – 1st Part = Doctrine (this is what is true) and the 2nd Part Duty (so this is what you do).  The first two chapters have  emphasized the completeness of the salvation we have in Christ. He is personally complete (1: 19), ‘in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell’ and (2: 3), ‘in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge’. The result is our security and hope (3: 3 – 4), ‘For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory’ and this means were to (3: 2), ‘Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.’

What does this mean for our Christian living? Many people think, when they read, ‘Set your minds on the things that are above’ that this confirms Christians are ‘too heavenly-minded to be of any earthly use.’ Reading 3: 5 – 16 seriously, shows it deals with down-to-earth issues in a down-to-earth way! The world around us is deeply divided the new reality we find in the Lord Jesus Christ is totally different. In Christ (3: 11), ‘there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.’

This means love, forgiveness, compassion, kindness, humility, meekness and patience and mutual forbearance are to characterise God’s people and that they will value highly peaceful and constructive relationships in the church fellowship (see 3: 12 – 15). If the church is to look authentic to outsiders then genuine love is vital. (John 13: 35), ‘By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.’ Vital to a church being effective in evangelism is the atmosphere of love and mutual respect it should produce.

The verse we are going to look at (Colossians 3:16) marks the move from trying to prevent things going wrong to constructively setting out how things ought to be among us.

Yours in the Lord,