Our text is Col 3:12-17. In Col 3:15, we read, “ye are called in one body.” The Lord Jesus Christ has called us together into one body. We are in him and therefore we are connected together.
However, there are many forces working against keeping the body together. The strongest opposition is from the devil. He knows the power that’s in this body if it stays together. Another source of opposition is our own flesh because we are involved with other people in the body. And the third source of opposition comes from the world because we are no longer of the world; the world is our enemy and we are an enemy to the world. Paul said, “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world,” Gal 6:14.
So, with all this opposition against us, how do we keep something so special together? How do we keep the body together? We keep the body together:
By putting on Christ – Col 3:12-13 – Paul told us to put on “bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering.” All of these things that we are to put on are found in Jesus. He is merciful (Jude 21), he is kind (Lk 6:35), he humbled his mind (Phil 2:5-8), he is meek (Matt 11:28-30), and he is long-suffering (1 Tim 1:16). In Rom 13:14 Paul said, “put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.” When you put on Christ, as you put on the new man (Eph 4:24), all of these wonderful traits of the Lord Jesus Christ become apparent in your life. In him, you can forbear one another and forgive one another (Col 3:13).
By putting on charity – Col 3:14 – Paul said, “above all these things put on charity.” He knew that charity is the bond of perfectness. Charity keeps marriages together, families together, friends together, and churches together. Charity never faileth (1 Cor 13:4-8). Like Peter said in 1 Pet 4:8, “And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.” One preacher said that “charity is the mortar that holds the stones together in the building.”
By letting the peace of God rule in your hearts – Col 3:15 – Paul said it this way in Eph 4:3, “Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” The devil and your flesh will try to keep things riled up. The world keeps you riled up by being contrary to God and by agitating you with its words (schools, publications, media, etc). Peace overrides all of these agitators. Jesus said, “These things have I spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world,” Jn 16:33. When we let that kind of peace rule in our hearts, we have no trouble keeping the body together.
By letting the word of Christ dwell in you – Col 3:16 – when we get together as a body, one of the principle things we are involved in is the teaching and preaching of the word of God. Paul told Timothy to “preach the word,” 2 Tim 4:2-4. And when the word is preached and it then dwells in your heart “richly in all wisdom,” it performs the miraculous work of transforming you into the likeness of Jesus Christ. You walk his way, you think his thoughts, you say his words, you live his life, you enjoy his constant fellowship and communion. The word of God will absolutely change your life if you will let it dwell in you richly. It does no good if it goes in one ear and out the other or if it only goes into your head (1 Cor 8:1).
By singing with grace in your hearts – Col 3:16 – when we get together to sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, and we sing them with grace in our hearts to the Lord, we all lift our hearts in praise to the Lord just like the angels do in heaven. Christ is exalted among us. We are one because we are all singing the same thing at the same time to the same person. And our hearts retain these hymns of praise. They keep us singing as we go.
By giving thanks to God – Col 3:17 – it is remarkable what thanksgiving to God does for you. We know that God appreciates our thanksgiving. It is the will of God to thank God (1 Thes 5:18). However, when we are thankful, our whole attitude in life changes. We overlook the distressing things, the sad things, the troubling things, and the scary things. We, instead, magnify our God and draw close to him in praise. Hearing others praise the Lord for the good things he has done in their lives reminds us that he has been doing good things in our lives, as well. The Lord is good to his body. Like Paul said, “For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth it and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church,” Eph 5:29.
Conclusion: the Lord loves the body of Christ more than anything else in the world. If you are not a member of his body, you can be today by trusting Jesus Christ as your Savior. Once you are a member of his body, he directs you to the local church where he wants you to be. When you are in that local church, work at keeping the body together by following these six things he has given us to do. If something is falling apart in the body, the problem will be with one of these things. Address it, confess it, and fix it today. And keep the body together.