Colossians 3:16

Verse of the Day Devotion Colossians 3:16

“Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. – Colossians 3:16

Paul here is referring to the gospel when he says, ‘the word of Christ’. We see that Paul, in many verses, uses the ‘word of God’ as in “Of this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God,” Colossians 1:25, as well as “And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Ephesians 6:17.  So, what we see is that here in verse 16 he is referring to the ‘message about Christ’ rather then the message from Christ.

The meaning we can derive of the command is that the Christian message must be an integral and permanent living force in all Christian’s hearts, not just an outward performance or routine activities. It may be rather difficult in some languages to speak of a message living in someone’s heart. However, we can re-state it by saying,  a message may speak to the heart. This message should be such that if affects our very being.  Paul makes it clear by saying we must let it ‘richly dwell in us’. Richly is a metaphor for all the resources and blessings which are to be found in the Christian message. The phrase in all its richness may characterize either the message or the way in which the message must live in the believer. The meaning is essentially the same in either case. In the first instance, one may speak of the “the wonderful message” and in the second instance, “must live in a wonderful way.” And this is to be taken in two valid ways, in the heart of each individual as well as in the heart of the Church as a whole.

The main idea is that this message regarding Christ must be what we base our lives on.  We must live out this message in ourselves, and we must also help others live it out as well.  Many people who are new to the faith do not fully understand what this life is all about.  This is what I believe Paul was speaking of.  The word ‘teaching’ is the Greek word didaskō which has the idea of teaching publicly or privately, but also the idea of admonishing when they do not follow appropriately.  And we are called to do it with all wisdom, meaning ‘by using all wisdom’ or ‘by being wise in every way’.  We should not flippantly teach about Jesus and the gospel message but should do all we can to train everyone truly in the ways of Christ.  Too often people share the truth but do not go into the depth needed for others to understand it fully.  This message is far too important to simply present it without making its meaning clear.  You may be able to do this with one discussion, or it may take additional training.  But what is important is that the message is understood.

And the message we present, either of training or admonition, should be such that it prompts praise and thanksgiving to God for all He has done and is doing. The message of Christ is a message of grace and mercy.  We had no hope for salvation until Christ came and presented His body as a sacrifice for us all.  There was nothing we could do, so He did it all.  And finally, when we do all this, we must remember that “whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” Colossians 3:17.  We must let our words be right, and our actions upright.  Theologian Adam Clarke puts it this way. “Begin with him, and end with him; invoke his name, and pray for his direction and support, in all that ye do; and thus every work will be crowned with all requisite success.” We must remember what Paul said to the Church at Philippi. “So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:12-13.  God is working through us to do what we are called to do.  And when we submit to God and allow Him to work through us, we can rejoice with the success we have in helping others become the Christian they are called to be.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.

Psalm 27:4

Verse of the Day Devotion: Psalm 27:4 

“One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the LORD And to meditate in His temple.” – Psalm 27:4    

David here is speaking about what he considers most important in his life.  Remember as we go through this verse that he is king over Judah, essentially having access to anything he desires.  However, as we go through these verses, we see what his focus truly is.  First, let us look at the three verses prior to our focus verse.  “The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the defense of my life; Whom shall I dread?” Psalm 27:1.  He starts here by saying that the Lord is the source of his light and his salvation.  The Word of the Lord is his light, it is what helps him understand and be at peace.  He is also the source of his salvation and deliverance.  And because of this, he does not afraid of anyone or anything.  God is the one who goes before him and protects him. 

Then he declares, “When evildoers came upon me to devour my flesh, My adversaries and my enemies, they stumbled and fell. Though a host encamp against me, My heart will not fear; Though war arise against me, In spite of this I shall be confident.” Psalm 27:2-3.  He has confidence that whoever or whatever comes against him, it will fail.  His adversaries will stumble and be defeated by the God who protects him.  And though an army would come against him, attacking him in order to defeat him, he has complete confidence that God is on his side and will fight the battles for him.  His confidence is in God.  He trusts Him completely such that he can stay at peace. 

And because of the above, he desires to be where God is at all times.  He seeks this by asking God to allow him to always remain in His presence.  This is the great desire of David’s heart.  First, that he would always be where God is, that God would never leave or forsake him, and that he would be in a place where he would hear His words, that his mind and thoughts would ever be on the Lord.  But also, that he could behold the beauty of the Lord.  This is not necessarily speaking of seeing Him.  The idea of beauty in this verse is referring to pleasantness and splendor, then His grace and favor; essentially His beautiful attributes that describe and show how truly wonderful He is.  Then, after he leaves this life, David desires to live for eternity in His presence there as well, to enjoy the favor and beauty of God.  From the moment where he is, David desires to, going forward,  be where God is, to enjoy and be in fellowship with Him that never ends. 

After looking at this verse more closely, this is how I feel.  I never want to experience being where God is not.  I want to be in constant fellowship with Him, and to enjoy His beauty and splendor forever; both here and in the life to come.  I pray this is your desire as well.  For there is nothing better than being in the presence of God no matter what. 

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.

Psalm 133:1

Verse of the Day Devotion: Psalm 133:1

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!” – Psalm 133:1   

David here is declaring that it is a very good thing that we live together in unity.  Throughout history, unity is a pleasant and beautiful thing.  That we are in unity with our brothers and sisters brings peace and satisfaction.  For through unity we have peace and contentment.  It is good in itself, not just bringing about good results.  It is pleasing to God and consistent with His will for us.  Notice that it is both good and pleasant.  Joseph Benson in his commentary on the psalms has the following observation.  “Many things are good which are not pleasant, and many pleasant which are not good. But unity among brethren, whether civil or religious, is productive both of profit and pleasure.”  I believe we can all think of situations that are either one or the other, but not both.  However, it is living together in unity that brings both good and pleasant conditions which is a wonderful way of life.

So, who are the brethren?  In the time of David it was Israel, for they were all descendants of Abraham.   And I believe that the proselytes, those who were not Abraham’s descendants but became followers of God and the law by denying their former lives along with their gods, are included in this as well.  For, in essence they were adopted into Judaism.  Today, it is the corporate Church, the Body of Christ.  It is all the people of God, all the followers of Christ our Redeemer, for we are all a part of the Body of Christ and have the same Father.  We should all be unified in God’s Word.  What He has spoken to us, we all should live by, and not attempt to put our own interpretation based on modern culture.  Paul appealed to the church in Corinth regarding this.  “Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment.” 1 Corinthians 1:10.  Paul understood that though we may not exactly agree on every subject, but we must strive to present a unified message.  We may disagree on some minor points, but we should not allow these differences to create divisions within the body. 

And this is accomplished by us loving each other at all times.  “So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.” Colossians 3:12-14.  Notice the last part.  We must all put on love, because love perfectly bonds us together in unity.  Lack of love can be a recipe for arguments and division.  And there is a very specific reason why this is so important, especially in this modern age. 

I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.” John 17:20-23.  Jesus is saying hear that we are to be one in Christ because He and the Father reside in us.  And because of this, we, being in unity with them can be in unity with each other.  And why is that important?  Note the last part of verse 23.  “so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.” In essence, so that the world will see our unity and love, and thus believe themselves that this word must be true and accept it.  And is that not our calling in this world?

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.