The Words of Jesus Christ
Text: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, as you teach and admonish one another in all wisdom, and as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (Col. 3:16 RSV).
Scripture Reading: Matthew 6:21–29
Our attitude toward Jesus’s words will determine our success, happiness, and usefulness as his servants.
Jesus pronounced a beatitude upon his disciples because they were perceptive in that they used their eyes to see and their ears to hear (Matt. 13:16). He said imperatively, “He who has ears, let him hear” (v. 43 RSV).
Our Lord brings the Sermon on the Mount to a climactic conclusion by illustrating the value of not only hearing his words but also doing them if we want to escape a life of waste and disappointment and find a life of security and happiness (Matt. 7:14–27).
Accepting Jesus’s words into our innermost being as the great guidelines for our life will affect the vitality and the effectiveness of our prayer life (John 15:7).
To be a mere hearer of the word and not a doer is to fall into self-deception (James 1:22–25). The apostle Paul was not wasting his breath when he urged believers at Colossae to “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.”
What are you doing with the words of Jesus Christ? Do you study his words? Do you accept as authoritative the great truths, the warnings, the guidelines, the instructions that fell from his lips? As we begin this new year, let us determine that we are going to study and memorize some of the great truths that Jesus spoke.
The psalmist asserted that we can bring charity into our lives by letting the Word of God be our guide (Ps. 119:9). He also declared that we can avoid the way of sin by storing up the Word of God within our hearts (v. 11).
I. Let the words of Christ commend you.
It is interesting to note in the seven letters to the churches of Asia Minor that, following a salutation, our Lord spoke words of commendation to at least six of the churches. These words of commendation were spoken first, indicating that our Lord is positive and affirmative and that he looks for the best in us.
If we will let the words of Jesus Christ dwell in us richly, they will serve to commend and encourage us and will help us to properly evaluate ourselves as those for whom Jesus Christ died.
II. Let the words of Jesus Christ correct you.
All of us are mistake makers. We sin against ourselves, against others, and against God. We all stand in need of correction.
And if we will let Christ’s words abide in us richly, we will hear, along with his words of commendation, words of complaint concerning those characteristics of our lives that are self-destructive or are harmful to others.
Christ is eager to correct us—not to condemn us and put us down, but so that we can achieve our highest possible destiny in life. Any criticism from our Lord will always be positive and helpful rather than vindictive.
III. Let the words of Christ commission you.
As we read the words of our Lord, we should look for words of command, for there are things God wants to accomplish through us. He comes in love to commission us to service in his name.
The Great Commission is all-inclusive in its claims upon our lives and resources. Each of us is to be a witness and a worker for our Lord in the personal world in which we live. If we will let his words live in us richly, he will commission us from day to day as we walk the road of life.
IV. Let the words of Christ cheer you.
It is easy to become weary in well-doing. All of us have experienced discouragement as we have faced the uphill struggles of life and as we have sought to carry the burdens that befall us. Discouragement is one of Satan’s chief methods for bringing about our personal defeat.
All of us stand in need of having a cheerleader along at times to encourage us as we face the obstacles to living a victorious Christian life.
Jesus Christ is the faithful witness who wants to give testimony to you in the deepest zone of your being as you face the problems in your life. If you will memorize his great teachings, he will have the Holy Spirit recall these to your remembrance when you need them most.
No one can do your sleeping for you, and no one can do your eating for you. Likewise, no one but you can let the words of Christ dwell in you richly.
Begin today a personal program of memorizing some selected verses of Scripture, the words of Jesus Christ, and write them on the walls of your mind and heart. Let them become plaques with messages from God to your heart.