We’ve been looking at the character of the old nature and the new nature these past weeks! The sons of Adam versus the sons of Christ! The putting off; to the putting on. The question I asked last week was.....Are you a child of Adam or a child of Christ? The sons of Adam [the old nature] our wicked unregenerate self in which we once walked.....the vile and wicked passions of our former hearts (those former passions found in v5 and v8). Which only leads to death and judgement for the sons of Adam [the unregenerate one in which you once walked](v6- v7). The sons of Christ [new nature] regeneration by putting on Christ which is a compassionate heart, kindness, meekness and so! (v12). Not just putting on Christ in His humanity.......but the fullness of Christ found in His sovereign election through the grace found in the gospel! (2:10; 3:12). When a child of Christ is called out of darkness and brought into His glorious light, they’re not only given a new nature but they're also given a lifestyle change, a character change for the things of Christ! What I’m trying to say is that!......We look at things differently then we used to......for example!
• We look at our finances differently [money isn’t the most important thing in my life]
• We look at our personal goals differently [the gospel and the service to Christ is more important than my career or my personal achievements]
• We look at marriage differently [as sacred and gift from God to the man and woman]
• We look at children differently [as blessing and not an expense or hindrance to our lifestyle]
• We look at the unmanageable circumstances of health or tradgedy differently [cancer, Autism, Parkinson’s disease, natural disasters....even death]
• We look at people around us differently [lost people groups who desperately need Jesus]
What is the reason for this change of attitude? Answer: The Lord Jesus Christ, who is the captain of lives! [the UMPIRE of our souls]. Let me explain why I say “umpire of our souls”! Look what Paul writes in the (v15)...... “let the peace of Christ rule in your heart”
Peace means an agreement, treaty, bond and an attitude of rest or security. It’s also referring to God-given harmony, which comes from the surrendering and yielding of ourselves to our Lord. Remember what Jesus said to His disciples [His called out ones] in John 14:27 ”Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
Rule means to arbitrate, it’s used to describe the activity of an umpire in deciding the outcome of an athletic contest. When Christ is in control, we have peace because He is the source, the umpire of ultimate peace! This is achieved when we’re in relationship with Christ and He umpires the very fabric of our lives! Our attitude and composure. The closer we are to Christ, the closer we are to contentment and what is really important in life. Because Christ’s peace allows for wisdom and peace, it promotes virtue and love and forgiveness. As we have already seen (v13- v14). As one writer put it “Peace is a Fruit of the Spirit that comes from the tree of love that is fruited with wisdom, pruned with virtue, watered with forgiveness, and produces the sweet fruits of “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” It’s the peace that guards our hearts! “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Phil 4:7
Not only are we to let the peace of Christ UMPIRE OUR HEARTS. We are to saturate our lives in the word of God! (v16a) “let the word of Christ dwell in you richly”
"the word of Christ” refers to revelation...which is the scriptures [His 66 book love letter]. Referring especially the teachings of the Gospel message “the word of Christ”
“dwell” which means “to live in” or “to be at home” this is how the word governs and controls the life of the new nature.
“richly” could be translated “abundantly” or “extravagantly rich” It’s the richness that comes when we yielded to the Holy Spirit! This is passage is parallel to what Paul tells the believers at Ephesus.....Eph 5:15-20 “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Paul is calling upon believers to let the word of God take up residence and be at home in their lives...which is filled with the riches of God’s love. Let it become so deeply implanted in our Christian lives that it controls all our thinking. The truth of God’s word should permeate every aspect of the Christian’s life. Hence the fact..... we look and act differently, in this world because Christ is the umpire of our souls! Also, look what happens when we are at peace in Christ through salvation and when the word of God is dwelling, richly within us! (v16b)
The WORD brings wisdom and counsel........which is the plumb line [God’s truth] of how we are to live the Christian life. But in order to do this! We must begin to read it. The bible is not too complicated to understand, though there are admittingly some very difficult passages to understand at times. So don’t let this discourage you or become your excuse all the time when comes to reading and understanding Scripture. But! Mark Twain said it best “Most people are bothered by those passages of Scripture which they cannot understand; but as for me, I have always noticed that the passages in Scripture which trouble me most are those which I do understand.”
The WORD admonishes.......which has a negative side of teaching. It means to warn people of the consequences of their behaviour. It shows you and me our sin! The bible is understandable and we need to read it! We need to both be comforted and troubled by it daily. The power of God word is what confronts convicts and conforms us into the image of Christ day by day!
But not only that.......The WORD also opens the heart to sing to Him..........singing the beauty of the Psalms and the compositions of our praise music from the past and present! It’s the expression of song that fills the heart with joy for what He has done for us. Singing is to be directed to God as praise and worship offered to Him for His pleasure and glory! All our worship whether its reading our singing is to be vertical not horizontal.
And this is all to be done with thankfulness... (v16c) a thankfulness that is amazed every day that He would save a wretch like me and you! Which is the beauty of His grace found in the Gospel...... the power that makes my heart desire His word and sing with joy. Meditating, admonishing and singing with a heart of thankfulness......
• for His salvation
• for His word
• for His called out ones [the church]
• for His great love found in the fullness of Christ.
Remember.......be thankful in the fullness of Christ that you have peace between you and God! Be thankful in the fullness of Christ that you the riches of His word dwelling in you! Be thankful in the fullness of Christ that you the privilege [not a rite] to worship Him the way He desires you too [for His glory]
All this is for His glory and honor and praise! (v17) “giving thanks to God the Father through Him [Jesus]” What Paul is saying is that.......Everything that passes our lips, even unguarded moments. Everything we do inside our homes and outside our homes are to be done in the name of Jesus Christ! My life consists of this one simple principle! Our lives are to reflex Christ at all times....These things are the obligation of every Christian.......no buts or excuses! Why? Kent Hughes said “Our actions must say that Jesus is and does exactly what he claims! Just a few seconds of sin can disgrace the greatest name.”
To put on the new lifestyle is to put on Jesus Christ! Everything the new nature brings is for His glory and His good pleasure. When people look at your life and actions they should be able to see a sinner saved by the grace of God for the glory of God! Guy King related the following story! Years ago I was leading the Children’s Special Service Missions at one of our South Coast holiday resorts. As I was approaching the beach one morning, this little fellow was going along there too, as he caught sight of me, he said, “mummie, here comes JESUS man.” He only meant that I was the man who spoke to the children about the Saviour; but his remark meant far more to my heart that day. What right had I....... have I...... to be called a JESUS man? What degree of resemblance is there about us? Can people say that about your life?" Ask yourself! Can people see a peace, a joy, a love for His word and a thankfulness in your heart always making melodies in your heart to Him and His glory? It comes down to this underlining truth!
Are you a son of Adam? Which is umpired by Satan........ in the end, the wrath of God still abides on your life!
Or are you son of Christ?
Which is umpired by Christ’s righteousness.......in the end, leads to eternal life basking in the glory of the Son?
As it says in John’s gospel “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” John 3:36. So my question for you is......Who is the umpire of your life?