Sunday, November 18, 2012

Christian Duty

Christian Duty

Reading: Colossians 3 & 4

In the text, Paul defined for the Church in Colossae what the duties of Christians ought to be. Let us look at this job description with a view to using it to first assess ourselves and then correct ourselves.

Paul defined the Christian job description under TEN headings. Let us take a close look at these headings.

1. What is the duty of every Saint in relation to the Son of God? 

Col 3:1-4
The word “if” in verse one should actually be translated “since”. The New International Version (NIV) translates it “since” This is also the same as the instruction Paul gave in Hebrews 12:2 “looking unto Jesus”. He is saying; “where your treasure is there should your heart be also!” The only meaningful treasure the Christian has is “Christ”. We should focus our whole attention to where He is. Every Christian should be an expectant Christian – waiting for the glorious appearing of Christ.

2. How should the saint live his personal Life? 

Col 3:5-12
He used four words to describe the life: “Put off” and “Put on”. There is what we are to leave behind and there is what we must strive to put on. Let us compare the instruction in verse 5 to what he wrote in Romans 8:13, 6:13 and in Ephesians 5:3,5. All the characteristics of the old life should be put off. The list of the characteristics of the old life is found in verses 5-9.  Then what do we put on? The list is found in verses 10-13.

3. How should the Christian behave in his relation to Other Christian lay people? 

Col 3:12-14
The New International Version translates these three verses in the following words: “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity”. We had earlier in our discussion of his private life put together what he should put off and what he should put on-in in verses 5-12. These things, like a garment, do not fit together except they are bound together with the belt of love; and there can be no love where there is an unforgiving spirit. We do not forgive because we cannot bear one another. The strong cannot accommodate the weak, the educated have no room for the illiterate, the deeply spiritual cannot tolerate the poorly-grounded. The result – a lingering bitterness where love should thrive. I believe that there is a lot of tolerance and accommodation to be practiced in the Church. We cannot pretend there is so much love where it does not exist. Sooner or later it shall burst and all eyes shall see. We need a lot of soul-searching and inward cleansing to be done in this regard.

4. What is the duty of every Saint in relation to the Word of God? 

Col 3:16
This is another great 3:16. The first is Second Timothy 3:16, there is also John 3:16, and First John 3:16. How would you know what to do, how to do it, and what you should expect and when to do it; if you do not have the Word? The need for Christians to read, study and memorize the Word of God cannot be over emphasized. Then you will act rightly, think rightly and speak rightly; and will not be tossed about by every wind of doctrine.

5. What is the duty of every Saint in relation to the Work of God? 

Col 3:17
Do all for God
Image: Humble Walk
The only rightful motivation for everything we do is that Jesus is honoured and glorified. Not to please man or organization; not even self – but Christ. Then God is praised and glorified.

6. How should the Saint live in the Home? 

Col 3:18-21
Wives: -submit to your husbands as you should submit to the Lord. Submission means reverence. Husbands: love your wives and do not be bitter against them. The love of the husband will cause the wife to submit. The reverse cannot be the case. Children: obey your parents in all things. When husbands get children they graduate to become Fathers and here they are addressed in their collective responsibility. The word “Fathers” here should be translated “parents”. Do not provoke your children to wrath and do not cause them to be discouraged. Many children today are very discouraged by the double lives of their parents.

7. How should the Christian behave in relation to His work? 

Col 3:22-25
Servants, stewards, Civil servants etc. Work as unto the Lord and obey your employers. Most Christian employees turn out to be very bad workers especially when their employers are Christians; No respect, no faithfulness. This should not be so. God is interested in the work you do and how you do it. No work is secular work or put in another way “secular work is full time service to the Lord”

8. What is the Christian’s duty in relation to his Prayer Life? 

Col 4:2-4
It is interesting to note that Paul called for prayers for himself and the other leaders – that God would enable them to give utterance to the hidden truth of Christ. How many of us pray for our leaders and when you do pray for them, what do you ask God? Do we play that God would strengthen them in what they are doing or do we pray that God would change them?. We pray and ask and do not receive because we do not ask aright.

9. What should be the Christian’s duty in Relation to his Public Life? 

Col 4:5-6
In our relationship with those outside the Church, we are enjoined to exercise wisdom. Wisdom is the application of knowledge. God redeems our lives through Christ; we redeem our time to use it in the service of God and mankind. The need of the Church today – men who know how to answer every man with words seasoned with salt and full of grace.

10. What should be our duty in relation to Christian leaders?  

Col 4:7-18
In closing this powerful Epistle Paul lists nine key Christian leaders associated in some manner with his ministry at that time:

i. Tychicus: The man who carried this Epistle from Rome

ii. Onesimus: the once run-away slave of Philemon now a Christian through his ministry.

iii. Aristarchus: A fellow prisoner with Paul in Rome.

iv. Mark: The author of the gospel of Mark and his co-worker in the field.

v. Jesus Justus: We do not know much about him except that he was a co-worker with Paul

vi. Epaphras:- the now imprisoned Pastor of the Church in Colossae

vii. Luke: Paul’s beloved Physician and the author of The Gospel according to Saint Luke and the Acts of the Apostles

viii. Demas: A co-worker who would later forsake Paul (See Second Timothy 4:10)

ix. Archippus: The Colossian believer who assumed the pastorate of the Church after Epaphras had been arrested and imprisoned in Rome

I wonder how you remember co-workers with you. If any of us is to write the history of your Church, I wonder who you would list in your book for commendations or condemnation. Do we really recognize those who work in the House of God?

My prayer is that the Lord would lead everyone of us to understand and be truly challenged to know who we are and do what we are expected to do. May the Lord Himself teach us! 

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