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A Faithful Church in a Deceived Society - Part 2

In Touch / Charles Stanley
The Truth Network Radio
May 4, 2024 12:00 am

A Faithful Church in a Deceived Society - Part 2

In Touch / Charles Stanley

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May 4, 2024 12:00 am

Find out the six characteristics of faithful members of the body of Christ.

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Welcome to this weekend's In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley. How can believers be loyal to Christ in a world so hostile to the things of God? Let's learn how to be a part of a faithful church and a deceived society as the study of Colossians continues. Now, Paul, in writing to Colossians, if you'll turn to chapter one, in the first chapter, he expresses in nine through fourteen, a prayer that he has for the Colossian church. And then in chapter two, which we're going to read in just a few moments, the first seven verses of that chapter, Paul is expressing his concern for that body of believers because they were being infiltrated by false teachers. Now, I want you to listen to these verses in the light of what God was saying through the apostle Paul to the Colossian Christians. But I also want you to hear it another way. I want you to hear it through my own heart. But what I feel about all of you who are a part of the body of Christ to whom I have the privilege of sharing week after week.

Chapter two, verses one through seven. Listen to what he says. Paul says, For I want you to know how great a struggle I have on your behalf and for those who are at Laodicea and for all those who have not personally seen my face.

He says, Now here's what I'm concerned about. Here's the struggle that I have. That their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God's mystery, that is, Christ himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I say this in order that no one may delude you or deceive you with persuasive arguments. For even though I am absent in body, nevertheless, I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good discipline and the stability of your faith in Christ. As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in him and established in your faith. Just as you were instructed and overflowing with gratitude. He says, first of all, and I want you to jot these down, if you will, because what is true of a church can only be true of a church if it is true of the individuals who are members of that fellowship.

Listen to what he says. First of all, he says, this is my first concern, and that is that we be strong in heart, that their hearts may be encouraged. That is, first of all, strengthened in heart. The word here encouraged in heart is the same word that we use for the Holy Spirit. That is the parakletos, the encourager, the one who strengthens, the one who gives courage. And what he is saying in this passage is this, that the body of Christ, the believers who are able to withstand all kinds of trials, temptations and false doctrine are, first of all, those who are strong in their heart. The second thing, if you'll notice, he says not only strong in your heart, but he says knit together in love, united in love.

Now, think about this for a moment. All of us who are believers are part of the body of Christ, we are part of the family of God. Living on the inside of every single one of us is the person of Jesus Christ through the presence of the Holy Spirit, about whom the Bible says the fruit of the Spirit is what?

Love, joy and peace and all the rest, but love. So if the Holy Spirit is living within you and you're submissive to him and the Holy Spirit is living within me and I am submissive to him, the Holy Spirit who is in me is going to be expressing love toward you. And the Holy Spirit who is in you is going to be expressing love toward me so that when a body of believers are living in submission to the Holy Spirit, they are going to be loving each other and love is the super glue that holds a body together. I cannot tell you the destructive power of divisiveness in the body of Christ because you see, not only does the church lose its witness in the community, because Jesus says by this shall all men know that you are my disciples, that you belong to a big church, prestigious church, wealthy church and all the rest know that you just have love one toward another.

You know what that does? That puts every church on the same level, a body of people who are knit together in love because they have a common bond and that common bond is the person of Jesus Christ. The third thing Paul said that should be true of us in the fellowship, that you and I be settled in our understanding of who Christ is, settled in our understanding. Now, notice how he says it, attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding. First of all, he says, I want you to understand who Christ is, Christ in his deity, Christ in his all sufficiency. And you see, that's the theme of this whole book, that Jesus Christ is all sufficient to meet all of our needs. When you have Christ, he says you have it all. Now, he says secondly, I want you to be assured of that, fully assured of your understanding and fully assured that Christ is your savior and is your all sufficiency. What is Paul referring to? That Christ is our very life. Jesus Christ is living on the inside of us and we are in him and he is in us. He says, I want you to have the full assurance of that. Listen, the more you understand who you are and who he is in you, the more you begin to understand what God has provided for you because of your relationship to him, the more you're going to abound in your joy, the more you're going to enjoy living the Christian life, the more confident you're going to be in sharing your testimony with someone else. But you see, sometimes we act ignorantly.

Maybe it's because we are. Some people get in, they're saved and that's sort of where they stop. He says, I want you to have the full assurance. He says, I want you to come to the full knowledge.

I want you to enjoy to the fullest who you are in Christ Jesus. And once you begin to do that, no false doctrine is going to trip you up. So this is what he's referring to when he says this in this particular chapter. Now, the fourth thing that should be true of all of us, and that is in verse five, and that is immovable in our faith. Look at verse five.

For even though I am absent in body because Paul had not been to this church, nevertheless, I'm with you in spirit. That is, he could feel for them. He could pray for them and sense God's presence when he was praying them. He felt a burden for them. He was rejoicing when he heard good things happening about the Colossian Christians.

He says, nevertheless, I'm with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good discipline and the stability of your faith in Christ. Now, what does that mean? He uses two military terms here to describe a Roman, a phalanx. That is, let's say that they would have 50 men lined up shoulder to shoulder, shield to shield, touching each other. All their spears in the right direction, side by side. They may be 50 across and 50 deep, or 100 across and 100 deep, marching together in step, spears pointing the same direction, but a whole wall of mankind, a whole wall of humanity, a whole wall of brass or steel or iron.

And that was 50 deep, not only 50 across or 100 across, but 100 deep. And what he's saying is this, when the shock of false doctrine hits you, he's saying to those Colossian Christians, he says, because of your strong faith, because you are standing shoulder to shoulder, because you knit together in love, because you're walking in unison, because you're living side by side, because you're reaching out in love toward another. He says, in your good discipline and the stability of your faith in Christ, he says, immovable in your faith. Now, that's the way God wants us to walk and live. You see, when we are at one with each other, when we are walking side by side, looking out for the other one, in our spirits being humbled before God and submissive to his authority, therein lies the strength wherein Satan in all of his shock treatments upon us will not work. And what he was saying to them, he says, I'm grateful that I hear of this discipline that is so descriptive of you.

You're walking hand in hand, shoulder to shoulder, side by side, right in line, every trooper in step, shield to shield. And he says that is like a bulwark against those spiritual forces of Satan trying to destroy the unity of the body of Christ. Listen, verse six, he says, as you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in him and established in your faith, just as you instructed and overflowing with gratitude. He says the fifth thing that should be characteristic of us is that we should be walking in Christ.

And let me explain that. What does it mean by walking in Christ? What he's talking about is a lifestyle and what he's referring to here is this. The lifestyle of the believer is that you and I live out of that is we draw all of what we need every day, not out of our environment because our environment changes, not out of others because their attitude toward us change. God wants us to live as if we are tapped into an inexhaustible, indwelling resource in the person of Jesus Christ. Now, here's how he describes that.

Look at this. Verse six, as you therefore have received Jesus Christ the Lord, so walk in him. The Living Bible paraphrased edition as the most beautiful way of saying this. He says, Now, just as you trusted Christ to save you, so trust him, too, for each day's problems.

Let your roots grow down into him, drawing up nourishment from him and bearing fruit. You see, the truth is the source of our nourishment is within. Now, the word of God without, but the truth is it is the Holy Spirit who is within us. Christ Jesus through the Holy Spirit interpreting the word of God. He says, Just as you trusted Christ to save you, trust him, too, for each day's problems. How is that? You don't go by feeling.

You don't operate by sight. We are to operate by faith. Faith in what? Listen, faith in the truth, not the feeling in the truth that the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, is genuinely living within us spiritually in our spirit. And it is out of this tremendous resource of divine energy, out of this tremendous resource of divine wisdom and knowledge that we're to live our life. Which means that we can say with the apostle Paul, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. And we can relate to what he says when he talks about this mighty energy at work within us, this supernatural power that is working within us. It is the very person of Jesus Christ. He says, Let your roots grow down into him and grab hold of him and sink your life in him and draw nourishment from him.

Live out of him. Live your life on the basis that Christ is your energy. Christ is your wisdom. Christ is your knowledge. Christ is your life. And I want to say to you, my friend, that is indeed the key truth in the word of God for the believer.

Let your roots grow down into him and draw nourishment from him. We are talking about an intimate, ongoing relationship with Jesus Christ, whereby his life is expressed through yours and mine. Then notice what he says, not only firmly rooted in being, but he says now being built up in him and established in your faith is what he's saying. Not only do you and I let our roots grow down into him and we draw nourishment from him, but everything you and I place in our life, everything that becomes a part of our life, we build our Christian experience on the foundation of Christ. Our foundation goes so deep that it wraps itself around the person of Jesus Christ, whereby he is our rock, our foundation. He says build upon that. Does it not say in first Corinthians chapter three, no other foundation can any man lay than that which has been laid, which is Christ.

Now you think about this. This is your relationship to God. Having received the Lord Jesus Christ as your savior, he has become the very foundation of everything there is about you. And as you're growing in the Lord, you're reaching down in your spirit, wrapping your roots of your life around the person of Jesus Christ until those roots are so entwined around the person of Jesus Christ.

Nobody can pull you away. My friend, when you and I live that kind of life, all kinds of false doctrine and error, he'll just go in one ear and run out the other. You and I need to be concerned about others who are not strongly rooted, not strongly built up in the faith, not strongly established in the faith. That's why Paul said, he said, My great concern is that not only would you be saved.

Listen to this, because this is my concern for you. My concern is that you not just be saved, but that your hearts desire that something inside of you will not allow you to linger at any level, but that you keep on reaching down and that you keep on reaching out and that you keep on being filled, that you keep on growing and you become more and more spiritually wealthy in the things of God, your understanding of who Christ is and what he's doing in your life in order that you may enjoy the full or blessings of God and in order that you may become the full blessing that God intends you to be. Then he says, one last characteristic that should be found in us, that is, look, verse seven, an overflowing with gratitude. I believe probably the best barometer of where a church is, is their sense of gratitude. You know, if you love somebody, you're going to be grateful.

Let me ask you a question. When's the last time you expressed gratitude to God for what he's taught you through his word, through a Sunday school teacher, through a friend who took the time to sit down and explain to you what it meant to love the Lord Jesus Christ and to be loved by him? When's the last time you expressed gratitude to someone, but just walking up to him and giving him a big old hug and just say, Hey, I just want you to know I really do love you and I'm grateful for you.

But listen to what he says. He says, look, he says, knit together in love, strong in your heart, fully established in your understanding of who Jesus Christ is within you, unwavering in your faith, rooted, grounded, built up in Christ. And he says, abounding and overflowing with gratitude, thanksgiving to God. Are these things characteristic of your life? Are you a grumbler, a complainer, divisive, always looking for something to disagree about and disagree with? Are you weak in your mind because you've listened to lots of sermons, but you have never applied most of them? Are you able for somebody else to love you? Or are you not able to love or to receive it? In many churches, my friends, there's lots of words, but not much love. And that's why I go back to point number three again and again and again, a full understanding of who Christ is within us.

That makes all the rest just right. You may never have received Jesus Christ as your Savior. You may be thinking, I don't understand all that.

And I understand that you would not understand. But I can tell you this, once you acknowledge your sinfulness, once you acknowledge that Jesus paid your sin debt in full, once you acknowledge Jesus Christ as your Savior by the confession of your sin and acceptance of His death as full payment of that sin, you know what's going to happen? All of a sudden you're going to begin to get interested in loving and growing and being grateful.

All the things we've talked about are suddenly going to become of interest to you. And that is my prayer for this fellowship. These six characteristics would be true of me, would be true of you, would be true of us, and would be true of all of us out there who are part of the body of Christ. So I want you to examine your heart this morning and ask yourself the question, are you becoming strong in your convictions? Are you developing a loving relationship with others? Are you growing in your understanding of who Jesus is and are you enjoying who He is in you more and more? Is your faith immovable? Do you sense that you're making progress in your spiritual life, that you're sinking your roots deeper, and you're becoming more wealthy in the things of God?

It is the spirit of your heart, thanksgiving, gratitude to God for each other and for His precious Word. Thank you for listening to part two of A Faithful Church in a Deceived Society. If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or InTouch Ministries, stop by InTouch.org. This podcast is a presentation of InTouch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-04 04:57:14 / 2024-05-04 05:04:26 / 7

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