November 22, 2017
(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
Since tomorrow is Thanksgiving, I will take a break from Two… and concentrate on a Thanksgiving theme. Colossians 3:16 and 17 is a good Scripture passage for this:
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. And whatever you do
in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks
to God the Father through Him.
Notice the admonition the Apostle Paul gives us in verse 17: “…whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”
• “Whatever you do in word or deed….” – This pretty much covers anything we could say or do! The only thing unmentioned is what we think! But since all words that come out of our mouth are preceded by to some degree by thought (see Matthew 12:34; 15:18), this mental aspect of our existence is covered also. So in every part of your life…
• “…do all in the name of the Lord Jesus….” – In the Bible, the name of a person often reflects who that person is or what he or she does! In this instance, Jesus is the Greek rendering of the Old Testament Hebrew name Joshua (or Jehoshua). Both mean “Jehovah is salvation.” (The New Scofield Reference Bible, margin note on Matthew 1:21). So the name of the Lord Jesus is closely tied to the whole person and work of Jesus! To do all in His name is to do all according to His will – in total obedience to Him! (See Mark 12:30 with John 14:15).
• “…giving thanks to God the Father….” The idea here is, as you do your life, give thanks while you are doing it! Now, not all the time do we consider that we are doing life! Too often life seems to just happen to us whether we actively do it or not! But what Paul is saying here about thanksgiving is reflected in two other verses:
✞ Ephesians 5:20 – “…giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
✞ I Thessalonians 5:18 – “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
For all things and in everything give thanks – all the time! But how do we give thanks when what life hands us seems bad and not good? …when life hurts? The answer is in Romans 8:28 and 29.
✞ Just about every Christian has heard of Romans 8:28. Many can even quote it: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Yes, but how does the sickness and death of a loved one – or our own terminal diagnosis work together for good? How does financial ruin or a broken marriage and fractured family work together for good? We could go on and on with examples, but when tough things happen, Romans 8:28 can begin to sound like pollyanna glibberish! It is too much like saying, “Keep smiling! The sun will shine again!”
✞ We need to know, by whose standard is the good of Romans 8:28 measured? It is God’s standard, measured by His purpose! And that purpose is defined in Romans 8:29: “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.”
▸ God’s purpose for every Christian is to conform us to the image of His Son Jesus Christ ! This is a long, often slow and painful process! For we grow in Christian graces the most under the pressure of trials and testings!
▸ We can mark down whatever we experience in life for good because we know that God is making us more and more into the image of Jesus! (See also Romans 5:3-5; James 1:2-4).
This still sounds hard to accomplish – sometimes out of our reach! But we have a resource which Paul points to in verse 16 of our featured Scripture: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly….” The word of Christ is Scripture, the Bible, also called the word of God.
• Hebrews 4:12 – “…the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
• Acts 20:32 – “…the word…is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.”
• II Peter 1:4 – concerning God’s “…great and precious promises…through these you may be partakers of the divine nature….”
The point is that God often calls us to do what seems impossible! How can we be giving thanks to God the Father in whatever we do in word and deed? Life just doesn’t seem to work that way! The secret lies in that resource mentioned just a bit ago – the word of Christ ! Those three verses mentioned above (and there are many others) show that we are dealing with a miraculous word! If we let that word of Christ dwell in us richly, we will find ourselves empowered to experience what Paul writes in Ephesians 3:20: “Now unto Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us….” If we get into our Bibles, and our Bibles get into us, we will be able to accomplish what is beyond our human capacity – even sincerely thanking God in and for whatever we do…even in the toughest of times!