May 26, 2019

Easter Six, Sunday May 26, 2019 — Colossians 3:16 — Be Hoarders of the Word of Christ

Preacher:
Passage: Colossians 3:16
Service Type:

Bible Text: Colossians 3:16 | Preacher: Andrew Schaller | Sermon for Easter Six – Sunday May 26, 2019
Calvary/Marquette
Soli Deo Gloria
Grace be unto you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Colossians 3:16 (NKJV)
16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
In the Name of Jesus Christ,
   Through whom we are God’s Children,
      Through whom our prayers are heard,
         Dear Fellow Redeemed in His precious blood –
 
Why do you do what you do?  Let me qualify that…why do you hold your current occupation?
 
Ø  Was it a childhood dream?  Did you pretend as a child that you were what you are?
Ø  Was it a good opportunity?  Did you come upon your current job, and say, “I’ll try that for a while”?
Ø  Was it a necessity?  Were you looking for something else when the LORD dropped it in your lap?
It is pretty safe to say that we all have different reasons in our minds for what we do.  I can remember pretending to be a pastor, but it was never a childhood dream to wear the black gown.  After graduating from Immanuel Lutheran High School, I went back for college because my friends were there.  I didn’t have any aspirations of becoming a pastor. I didn’t dream of following in my father’s footsteps.
I had different reasons.  In the course of time, it became clear to me that this was God’s plan for me.
Let me ask another question: “Why did you come here this morning?”
 
Do we have different reasons? 
Ø  Is it merely social?  Do we see this as an opportunity to visit with family, friends and acquaintances?
Ø  Is it for appearances sake?  Do we attend for others, so that people see us as ‘church going people’?
Ø  Is it personal? Have you come to confess your sins and find comfort in absolution and confirmation in the Lord’s Supper? Do you see it as an opportunity to praise and thank God for what He’s done for you?
 
Is it all about you…or is it all about Christ? 
 
While we may come here because of the personal benefits received through word and sacrament, the focus of our worship is Christ.  Christ is the reason we worship.  We confess our sins to God knowing that we have forgiveness in Christ. We listen to God’s Word read to us and strive to apply it to our hearts that our faith in Christ be strengthened. We sing praise to the God who reveals Himself in the Bible and come to Him through Christ.
We have forgiveness for all sins…by faith in Christ. We stand righteous in God’s sight…by faith in Christ. We have eternal life ahead of us…because of Christ.  We ought to spend these short lives learning more about what God has done for us and prepared for us in Christ.  It is for this reason that we as Christians and Children of God are here urged in a manner of speaking to be…
…Hoarders of the Word of Christ.
We are urged to be filled in heart and mind with the Word of Christ, using it to teach and admonish ourselves and one another. If we are so filled then our hearts and minds will overflow with godly worship and praise.
Let us pray:
Lord God, merciful Father, I praise You for the light of this day, when by Your Spirit You will shine in my heart through the preaching and teaching of Your Gospel. Open my eyes that I may behold the wonderful truths of Your salvation and find new strength and hope in Your promises. Bless the preaching and teaching of Your Word throughout Your church, and cause Your Gospel to fall as good seed on good ground that it may fear fruit. Give power and conviction to Your ministers that their testimony to Your holiness and grace may ring clear and true to Your revealed Word. Keep me from mere formality in my worship, from paying with the lips only while the heart is far from You, from failure to listen to Your word considering it as message from you. Help me to bring my burdens and leave them here at Your feet.  “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, My Rock and my redeemer. Amen.”
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“Hoarders…Pastor, really?”  Isn’t hoarding a disorder, a sickness?  Isn’t it wrong to consider God’s Word as something that belongs only to me – “Mine, mine, only mine”?  Isn’t God’s Word something we are given that is meant to be shared?  Yes…I’m not making light of the hoarding disorder.
We are to be hoarders in this sense that we are to fill our hearts and minds to overflowing with the Word of Christ.  We are to empty every dusty corner in our hearts and minds, throw out the skeleton in every closet, and fill that space with the word of Christ.  We are to spend time day by day buried in God’s Word.
If we don’t then there will be times when your worship is a matter of formality and not a matter of the heart.  There will be times when you come to church for reasons other than godly worship.
 
“How can you say that pastor; you don’t know my heart?!”
 
No, I don’t know your heart, but I do know my own…and you have the same basic problem that I do…a sinful nature. 
ü  It’s the old man (the sinful nature) that refers to passing motorists as ‘idiots who must have dug their licenses out of a Cracker Jack box.’
ü  It’s the old man that’s too embarrassed and self-conscious to pray aloud with family in a public restaurant.
ü  It’s the old man that likes to laugh at the way other students dress.
ü  It’s the old man that delights in passing on the latest gossip while pretending we are really ‘concerned’ about the person being maligned.
ü  It’s the old man that doubts God’s love and worries about the bills.
ü  It’s the old man that laughs heartily at that dirty joke, just so no one knows.
ü  It’s the old man that stands in judgment of everyone…except himself.
God’s Word urges us to put off the old man…and to put off our earthly, sinful desires.  It is the Holy Spirit, who has taken up residence in us, who enables us to just say no to the old man.  A new man has been raised up within each of us who desires to be compassionate, to bear with one another in love, to forgive, to let the peace of Christ rule and be thankful.
There are two drivers vying for the same steering wheel.  The old man is a tough old bird, a good old boy.  We know what he likes…to be self-centered…to do what feels good…to be like everyone else.  The new man seeks God’s glory.
The new man needs the Word of Christ, which is why you, who are both saint and sinner, are urged to –
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another…”
 
Let the Word of Christ inhabit you, as if your body and mind were its house and home, filling every nook and cranny with its blessed spiritual wisdom.  The Word of Christ is the word of good news that concerns Jesus and what He has done to save us.
 
      When you attended Sunday School and Confirmation Class you were asked to memorize Scripture.  It wasn’t busy work intended to keep your adolescent minds distracted.  The goal was to fill your minds and hearts with treasures and weapons to be taken up and used later in life. 
      When the pastor prints the bible readings for home devotions on the back of the bulletin, his purpose isn’t to give you one more thing to do to keep you busy during the week…but to help you to open your heart and mind to the Word of Christ. The goal is that your hearts and minds be equipped for every spiritual challenge this side of heaven.
But we aren’t just to fill our minds with the Word of Christ like a hoarder stuffing one more thing into an already full closet…we are to use that Word of Christ with all wisdom.  We are to take time to meditate upon, to think about the Word of Christ.  We want to ask:
What does this mean to me?  What can I learn from this?  What does my Savior want me to watch out for?  If the answer isn’t immediately evident, don’t quit, dig in deeper into the Word of Christ!
The more you mine the Word of Christ…the more gems you will find.  The more you search its truths the more you will have to share with others.  The more you are warned by its precepts, the more you can help others to watch out for Satan’s Lies.  There is a direct corollary — the more you grow in faith through the Word of Christ the more your troubles and fears will seem to grow smaller.  
The Colossian Christians were being distracted and disturbed by some who wanted to add seemingly religious requirements to their faith in Jesus.  The Spirit of God urged them to return to the source, to the Word of Christ.
All week long we are distracted from Christ by the things of this life.  We need to get back to the Word of Christ, so we gather here for worship.  But Satan doesn’t take Sunday off…he wants to keep us distracted, to keep us from growing in the Word of Christ.
Satan is even successful on Sunday morning!  He is in cahoots with our old man and as a result it can even happen in the middle of the worship service.
What are the things that distract us?
 
      Who is here…and who isn’t.  Instead of listening to the Word of Christ, it’s easy to think to yourself, “Well, so and so isn’t here in church again…they really needed to hear this sermon.”  The problem is not only potential hypocrisy, but in thinking about who isn’t here…are our own hearts distracted from applying the Word to ourselves?  YES! We need to stay focused and remember that the Words of Christ are meant for me.
      Our plans for the day. We have many blessings.  We look forward to enjoying time with family. God help us to stay focused and listen to the words of the Savior. For…even our best day this side of heaven…will end.  God help us to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, our ears to His Word that we may be strengthened and prepared for the life will not end.
      Babies and noises. They will learn in time that this is a time of listening, learning and growing.  Let’s help them by not acting like them.
      Same message. The pastor never talks about something new.  It’s always the same old thing. There is only one Gospel of Christ, and it better have predominance in our worship.  It is, after all, about Christ.
 
It’s almost like we need to learn again every Sunday: “I’m here because I need Jesus.” I can’t stand on my own.  If left to my own devices and desires, I would turn away from Him.  I’m here to worship Jesus because He fulfilled God’s Law for me.  I’m here to worship Christ because He died to take way my sins and remove my guilt.
Christ is the reason why we have gathered here today…for worship.  It isn’t about me or you, it’s about Christ.
When our hearts are focused on Christ, when the Word of Christ dwells in us richly, then our lips will overflow with His praise.
16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
We are to fill our hearts and minds with the Word of Christ, what he has done and said, so that we may grow and mature, learn and be warned.  When our hearts are filled with the Word of Christ…we can’t help but sing his praises.
Worship…is a personal thing directed to the LORD.  When we sing hymns or the children or church choir sing, let us remember that we sing to the LORD.  We sing to glorify Him, not ourselves.  When we sing we may also listen, contemplate the words and be edified by them.  Let our songs of praise always flow from hearts of faith and be directed heavenward.
Worship…is also corporate because we do it together. We together direct our praise heavenward using Psalms (taken from Scripture’s hymnbook).  We also use hymns, godly expressions of scriptural truth.  Mary, Zacharias, David, and others responded to God’s grace in song.  We use spiritual songs, songs inspired by the Holy Spirit and in agreement with the Holy Scriptures.
These songs serve to glorify God in praise of Christ the Savior who paid the price to make us children of God. It is our privilege to proclaim His praises to the world and in our worship.
For, as it is written (1 Peter 2:9-10):
9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.
      Christ…is the reason we gather for worship, His Word the focus of our attention.
      Christ…is the reason we offer up songs of praise in worship.
      God bless us through the Word of Christ that we may grow in wisdom and join to sing His praise now…and continue our songs of praise in eternity.  Amen. 

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