When you saw the title, what were your first thoughts? Was it John 3:16? Well, why not? We see those signs at major sporting events and inevitably when a football team is kicking an extra point someone is sitting between the goal posts holding up “that” sign, John 3:16. It is the verse that church-goers (otherwise known as Churchians) know and can quote. Even most non-Christians can quote this verse. I would feel comfortable saying that statistics would reveal that John 3:16 is the most quoted verse in the Bible.
But that is NOT the 3:16 I am writing about. John 3:16 is an important verse for it marks the beginning of the truth about God’s true heart–that it is a heart for anyone and everyone. This love makes so many of our expressions of love appear weak and inadequate. More than appear weak and inadequate, it shows they actually are weak and inadequate. John 3:16 is a great starting point for giving our heart what it truly is hungry for. But what’s next? 3:16 is next! No, not John 3:16, but Colossians 3:16
Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom He gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. (New Living Translation)
I wonder what would happen if that camera view of the goal posts revealed someone holding up a sign that read Colossians 3:16? I can just see it now. Tons of folks scrambling around, looking under piles of magazines for that Bible they know must be somewhere underneath them. I can just hear them wondering, “Is Colossians in the Old or New Testament?” Unless they have a thumb indexed Bible, they are frantically flipping through the pages trying to find Colossians until they realize they can look in the Table of Contents to find it.
And the mischievous side of me wonders what would happen if every pastor who stepped up to the pulpit simply held up that sign that read Colossians 3:16? And this leaves me wondering something else: What if every person who considers themselves a follower of Jesus lived these words every day? Personally speaking, I know this is a verse I need to memorize, understand and live out as much, if not even more, than John 3:16.
Here is the pattern that will transform any life and every congregation. Look at how it neatly and perfectly knits this life as real followers of Jesus together.
- It starts with the Message of Jesus. We have the tendency to want to share OUR message. When we share OUR message, meaning how WE see it (or would rather see it), it begins to weaken and deteriorate. While our hearts may be open to the message of Jesus, it’s the mind that is often closed. Make sure the Message of your life aligns with the Message embodied in our Incarnate Savior!
- Bring in the richness of the Message of Jesus. The Message of Jesus is about our Creator’s love and grace that has more than enough power to restore us to His intended design and restore HIS image inside us. That Greek word Paul used was plousiōs and it means that there is MORE than enough for anyone.
- Let this rich Message of Jesus FILL your life. That word “fill” is in the Active Voice in the Greek which means it is ongoing. It is just like Matthew 7:7, “ask, seek, knock”. It means to keep on asking, keep on seeking, keep on knocking. Folks, this isn’t the NCAA basketball tournament where you’re “one and done”. The moment you think you’ve got it all, you lose it all.
- Help others with the wisdom of eternity, not your own personal drool. The best way to help others is for others to seek The Truth at work in your own life. Didn’t Jesus say something about not worry about that speck of sawdust in your neighbor’s eye until you deal with the 4×4 beam sticking out of your own eye. God’s wisdom and counsel is gentle, kind and timely. Make sure your words are, too.
- Praise God! Not for what HE has done, but for WHO HE IS! To praise God simply for what He has done for you will cause you to turn Him into the Vending Machine God, and He ain’t that. (Please forgive my use of improper grammar in using that word “ain’t”. Sometime you just need to use strong words.) Adore and lift HIM up because He is just that great, awesome, spectacular, wonderful, indescribably good!
- And once you’ve praised Him, then you can thank Him. Once we see how Holy and Majestic He is, and then reflect on the ways His love, grace and mercy is lavished on us, now we can thank Him for all He’s done for us.
Let’s give up our ways. After all, since God offers us His love as a gift, shouldn’t we accept His plan to restore us to our True Identity and Purpose? Let’s be 3:16 People, Colossians 3:16, that is…
Love God with all your heart. Love others the way God loves you. And make sure all the glory goes to Him!