Sermon Transcript: Extreme Make Over

11/24/2019 Jeff Schwarzentraub 40 min read

Well, good morning. Thank you so much for choosing to worship with us today. Will you help me welcome our Broomfield campus, who's worshiping along with us? And every Sunday that we get together is a special time for us. But especially today, BRAVE Global, we are planting a church in Mexico city this very morning. So will you praise God for that. So as we go before the Lord, let's keep them in our prayers as we pray for God to have His way with us here, would you pray with me? Lord Jesus, thank you so much for your living and active word and Lord, as I preach this morning, I pray for your help Lord, that I would be accurate and clear and Lord that your Holy Spirit would speak to each and every one of us here. Lord, that you would have your way with us.

Lord, we pray for our friends, Luis Peralta and his team in Mexico city, Lord for this church, that's being planted in the second largest crime area in all of Mexico city. Lord, may your gospel go forth this morning. May people be saved there this morning, may you build up your saints there this morning. May there be a light in a very dark area because of your glory this morning. We give you praise for that. And now Lord, be helpful to us. Let us hear who you are. Let us hear how we're called to respond to you. And by faith put into practice all that you show us and all God's people who are ready to hear His word and apply it, agree with me by very loudly saying the word amen. Amen.

A few years ago, there was a show on TV called Extreme Home Makeover. Some of you may have seen it. It was on for over a decade. The show really went something like this, there was somebody in the community that had a significant need. And so the community would come to together and provide all the resources. And within a week, their entire house would either be completely transformed or if it was too bad to restore, they would build a brand new house. And at the very end of the show, there would be a guy there named Ty Pennington. And he would be talking about this in front of the community, and this family that had been on vacation came back and they would yell, "Move that bus." And all of a sudden the bus would move and this family would see their brand new house and tears would pour down their face as they felt the blessing of the community in an entire transformation.

We love hearing about stories of transformation. We love seeing something that's so radically different. It wasn't like they just changed the living room. It wasn't as if they just added a basement. It was that everything had changed and people had gotten behind them so that they could see that change.

God has given us the body of Christ because when every single one of us comes to Christ, it's not just transactional in the sense that we give God our sin and He gives us His life, it is completely and utterly transformational. That once you trust Jesus, over time, your life should look entirely different than it did before Jesus Christ came to dwell in and through you. And yet for many of us, the enemy lies to us and says, "You're just an ordinary Christian. You're just like everybody else. Yeah, there's little differences now, but they're not major differences." No. When Jesus Christ saves a person's life and comes to dwell in and through them, his desire is not transaction, his desire is transformation. And the way that he does that is from the inside out. And if you've ever wondered, "Hey, how can my life look more like Jesus? How could my life be in a situation where Jesus really transforms it?" Then today's message is really for you.

I encourage you. If you have a Bible, open it up to Colossians chapter three, Colossians chapter three. We're going to begin in verse 12 and we will finish that chapter here this morning. I'd like to read it out loud and then let's take a look at four ways that we can experience Christ's transformation in and through us.

Hear the word of the Lord, "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. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts to which indeed you were called in one body and be thankful. 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. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God, the father."

And here as Paul writes to the Colossian church, he unpacks four ways in which we can experience complete transformation. That when people see our lives, they would see extreme makeover. And notice what he says, in verse 12 he says, so, or therefore. What's he talking about? He just finished up telling us at the end of verse 11, that Christ is all and in all.

What we've been talking about in the book of Colossians is the gospel of G Jesus Christ. The gospel of Jesus Christ is that God, the father loved the world so much that He gave His only begotten son so that whoever believes in him would not perish, but would have eternal life. Simply put that means this, God's love for the world was so great in that while we couldn't get to God on our own, we couldn't be religious enough, we couldn't be good enough, we couldn't enough to get right with God, God loved us so much, He came and made it right. He sent His son, Jesus Christ, fully God and fully man, born of a virgin, came and fulfilled the law perfectly.

And when he died on the cross, what he was doing was he was taking the punishment that we deserved and he was taking it for us. He died in our place, was buried, he rose from the dead. He's the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords. He's the way, the truth and the life. There is no other way to God except through Jesus. And He wanted you to know that He loved you so much you could have a relation with God through him and only through him. That's really good news. It means you don't do anything to earn it. It means you receive it. It means you give God your sin, He gives you all of His life. And when you do, not only do you get your ticket punch, so to speak for heaven, you get the indwelling person of God through the Holy Spirit that lives inside of you from the inside out, both now and forever more. Christ in you, the hope of glory.

And when he comes in, as I've said, many times from this pulpit, he didn't come in to be just resident and just take up space in your life, He came in to be president. He came in to rule your life. He wants to take over everything and he wants to live his life through you in the same way that he lived his life when he was on planet earth. It's Christ in all and through all. So notice what he says in verse 12, "So those who have been chosen of God, whole holy and beloved." Let's just stop there for a minute. As I've been pointing out in this series, identity precedes all lasting change, identity proceeds all lasting change. If you really want to change and live for God, you have to know how God sees you and be resolute in how God sees you.

Too often in church, we hear messages like this, where there's lists of things we need to grow in, and then we think, "I'll just work on that." I want to let you know something, you can work on behavioral modification and it can change for a while, but it won't be lasting permanent, deep down internal change. If you struggle with a certain sin pattern, you can work on it and perhaps change it for a little while, but there'll be no permanent, lasting change. Once you see yourself the way God sees you, then there can be permanent lasting change. So notice what Paul says about how God sees us this morning. This is beautiful. He gives us three words. Here's what he says, "You have been chosen of God holy and beloved." Chosen means this, you've been selected by God. That the God of the universe chose you. You may remember what it was like as a little kid, when they were playing pickup games on the playground and who was going to get picked. And sometimes maybe you were the person where they picked the girl instead of you, I'll take her rather than you.

I mean, here's how most of us feel when we hear the word chosen, we think like God picked us, but He had to because we trusted Him, but we're not that big of a deal. No, everybody in the body of Christ is a first round draft pick. Everybody in the body of Christ, it was as if God traded up to get you. I mean, you are chosen by the God of the universe. That's how God sees you. Most of us feel like, "Well, I'm not that much. I was lucky to even make the team. I'm not a..." No. God sent His son to secure you. And while you responded to Him by grace, when you understand the gospel, you realize that long before you ever knew who Jesus was, he was at work securing you and bringing you to himself. You have been selected or chosen by God.

If you live your life resolved, understanding that, "God picked me, God wanted me, God shows me." You will live differently than if you just think you're an add-on Christian that just gets to be part of the body of Christ. You've been chosen by God. Notice what else you are. You're holy. You're holy. Holiness is not something you work for, holiness is something that you already are, that you begin to live out. Now you look in the mirror and you say, "I'm not holy. I know I'm not holy."

Holy literally means this, it means set apart for a divine purpose. You are saints. That's how God sees you. You might say, "Well, I'm no saint." Yes you are. You're a saint. You're a holy person because of the blood of Jesus Christ, He has selected you, He secured you and He declares you righteous, which means you are already holy. You've already been set apart for a purpose. You're chosen by God, you're holy, and notice this, you're beloved. It means that you are loved. It's why we end every service here by saying you are loved. It's not a clever pastor thing to say at the end of a service. It's because God's word teaches that all of His people are loved. Now, why is that important? Because as a Christian, if you're working to earn love, you'll never ever be secure in your relationship. But if you're working from a place of love and know that you're secure in God's love, it gives you a lot of freedom to move within the body of Christ.

When you are resolved that you are chosen, you are set apart for service, that God wanted you on His team, and God loves you with an unconditional love, you will live differently. I mean, think about it like this, through the blood of Jesus Christ, his death and resurrection, when you trust in him, it means this, there is nothing that you can do to earn God's love and make God love you anymore. And there's nothing that you can do that would cause God to love you any less. You are loved. You are loved. And more and more people in the body of Christ need to understand just how loved they are. Because so many of us still believe the lie that God loves us based upon our performance. If we do good, God loves us. If we act right, God cares for us. If we do good, God's proud of us. No, God is proud of you. He loves you. He selected you. He set you apart and he loves you because you are in relationship with His son. It's who you are.

And if you understand that and you understand Christ is in you, then you can begin to understand these four ways that we can experience this extreme makeover. And I've used X words throughout this whole outline, just to highlight the point. And the first way we do that, if we want to experience radical transformation, we exude the heart of Christ. We exude the heart of Christ. Exude means to radiate. It means to display abundantly, the heart of Christ. It means when Jesus comes into your life, he wants to press his life out through you in such a way that it comes out of your pores, that no matter where you go, people see Christ in you.

Now, why is that so important? Here's why, when we read about Jesus in the gospels, we see God in flesh. We see all that he began to do and teach. We watch him and we say, "Wow, look at what God is like. And look at who God is." When Jesus ascends to heaven and sends his holy spirit, what do we read in the book of Acts and beyond? We see Christ's body in and through the people that he's redeemed. That is a wonderful testimony to the fact that he still lives in and through us on this planet. So God wants you to exude His heart. Just like breathing, He wants Jesus to come out of you. And here's what He says, here's the character qualities He says that we should have, notice what He says. Verse 12, "You've been chosen of God, holy and beloved." Here's what He says, "Put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Put it on." Okay?

Kids always played dress up. I remember when I was a kid, we played dress up. We were playing football dress up, baseball dress up cowboys and Indians dress up, little girls dress up. My wife gets frustrated with my six year old all the time, because every time she has a friend over, there's like seven different outfits that they go through, just to twirl around in our house. It's dress up because what we're going to do is depictive of how we dress. Now, this dress up we're talking about is dress up from the inside out. How do we put on what Christ wants us to put on? Here's what he says. He says, "Put on this heart of compassion." Now this word heart here, it's a Greek word, it's a cool Greek word. It's [Greek 00:14:25]. It means the guts, the bowels, the inners, the heart, the passion, exude that. When you think about who Jesus is, these next five words would really describe him.

A heart of what? Compassion. Here's what God wants us to grow in, He wants us to grow in our compassion. Compassion is simply this, we use the word pity. It means I see needs, I feel a need for that. And I'm going to provide a solution for that. When I have a heart of compassion, I look around the world, I see needs that people have. But instead of just seeing the need, I go one step further, I feel for them and why they have that need. I don't just see the need and then go to a place, "Well, I see why they have that need. They totally deserve that. Look at all the problems they cause to get their..." No. I see the need, I feel for the need and then what? I help provide a solution for that need. That's a heart of compassion.

Do you see that in Jesus' ministry anywhere? I mean, Jesus, everywhere He went, if people were hungry, He fed them. If people were sick, He healed them. If people were demonized, He released them and freed them of demons. If people were dead, He raised them. I mean, Jesus saw needs. He didn't blame them for how they got there. He saw their needs. He felt pity on them or compassion for them and then He looked to provide a solution for it. Grow in compassion. See, this world tells you to turn your heart of compassion off. This world tells you, use your brain, look at why people are in the situation that they're in and blame them for all the stupid decisions they made to put themselves in that decision. Jesus says, "Look at the world, see all the needs that there are. Don't blame. Feel pity for them, and then help provide solutions to help." Put on that heart, grow in that area.

Then He says this, "Growing your heart of kindness." Kindness means this, I'm easy and I'm helpful. When you're around a person that's kind, they're almost like your guide. They're easy and helpful. It's the same word that's used when Jesus says, "My yolk is easy and my burden is light." That's kindness. It's Jesus saying, "Hey, I'll carry the load for you. I'll help you. I'll help get where you need to go." Romans 2:4 says, "It's the kindness of the Lord that leads us to repentance." It's kindness. It's the opposite of being harsh and heavy and burdensome to somebody, it's kindness. It's lifting their load. It's being a guide to them. It's helping them get to where they need to go. It's growing in that kindness.

Do you see Jesus live that way anywhere in the scriptures? He's always kind. He was kind, even to his enemies. He was always trying to lift a burden from people and help them get from point A to point B and where they needed to go. And here's what the Bible says, "Put on that heart. Put on that heart of kindness. When you look at people." Don't be ruthless, don't be harsh, don't be judgemental. Be what? Be kind. Be kind. And he says this about humility, being humble. Being humble simply means this, it's putting God and others first. That's what humility is. It's putting God and others first. At times it means this, I'm willing to be a doormat so that God gets glory and other people can walk. I'm willing to do whatever. It's like Philippians chapter two says, "Consider others more important than yourselves." It means in every relationship I'm prioritizing God and I'm prioritizing other people. It means others are more important than me. That's humility. It means, I'm not name dropping, I'm not telling you about my background, I'm not telling you how awesome I am. I'm in this conversation to help elevate you. That's humility. Grow in that.

Do you see that in Christ? I mean, Jesus is the God of the universe. He can do whatever He wants to do, whenever He wants to do it. And yet different people that He met, people that He created, people He knew everything about, what was He willing to do? Stop and listen to their story and hear who they are and figure out what their needs were. And He was what? Completely humble. So much so that He humbled Himself to the point of what? Death. Even death on the cross. He didn't come to be served, but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many. And because Jesus is in us and He's that way, He's asking us to grow in the same way.

Then He talks about this word, gentleness. Gentleness, meekness. It means this, it means bridled strength. It's not a weak word. Gentleness means, I have power. I can act, I can show my authority, but I'm bridling it. I'm holding onto it. I'm not going to demonstrate my power over you. I'm going to be meek. I'm going to be gentle. It's not a weak word. It's a powerful word. It's very, very difficult to do an impossible apart from the Holy Spirit. But be gentle with others. When you've been around people that are gentle, it means you feel comfortable being authentic with them, because they're not going to rub you the wrong way or chafe you or be angry with you. They're gentle. They're soothing in what they have say, even though you know they have power.

And then how about this final one that we all struggle with, patience? Patience. Patience is when we suffer a lot, we endure through it, especially in relationships. It's enduring long suffering. And when we endure long suffering, we're not retaliating, we're not seeking revenge, we're not trying to get back at somebody because they wronged us. We are patient with them. We are suffering long.

Now, when I give you this list, just think about this, because most of us, because of our school, we hear this list of five and we go down it like, okay, "Compassion, kindness, humility, patience, gentleness. Okay. I know I can grow in all those, I'll work on those." God's not asking you to work on them. You can't really work on them. Jesus is asking, "Will you give me the opportunity to pour these things through your life in greater measure?" The application point is, if you really want to grow in them, check this out. Here's how you can pray, "Hey God, I'd really like an opportunity to show more compassion. Open my eyes to see the needs in the world. Give me a heart to see it the way you do and help me provide a solution for it. Lord, I'd really like to grow my patience. Put me in situations where I feel like I normally would want to retaliate or have revenge, but teach me how to endure through that."

Do you know that these character qualities are answers to prayer that God will always provide? And the reason we don't want to pray that is because we really don't want to experience any of these five things I just talked about. I mean, we don't want to grow in them. Because for of us, we think of church like this, "Well, if that's what church is supposed to be, how come I go to a church and I don't really see that in everybody? I mean, I don't see our whole church, exuding, compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. How come that is? If everybody acted like that, then I'd act like that too."

And because of that, God gave us verse 13. So when you don't see it in others, then what do you do? You do verse 13, bearing with one another and forgiving each other. Whoever has a complaint against anyone just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. So when you say, "I'm around a bunch of people that aren't compassionate, kind, humble, patient or gentle, what do I do?" You get to bear with them. That means you get to walk alongside of them and you get to demonstrate all those qualities to somebody that's unlovable. That's what it means to bear with them. Because as Christians, here's what we tend to think, "I'm going to set healthy boundaries. I'm going to get that person out of my life. I'm actually going to go to a different church where they don't go. Because then I won't be around them anymore. And that person's this and that person..."

It's just the opposite. When you're around somebody like that, you get to bear with them. Which means I get to show them compassion. I get to show them kindness. I get to show them patience. I get to show them meekness. I get to do all of that because they're none of those things, and by demonstrating that I'm going to grow in Christ like this. Not very fun, is it? I mean, all of us wish these things just happened automatically. Why do you think God puts you in relationships with people that are unlovable? Because He wants to grow your Christ likeness. If everybody was completely lovable, this wouldn't be hard. And how many of you know that even if you change your geography, I'm going to get rid of that person. I'm never going to talk to them again. I'm going to go hang out with people over here. God will bring somebody else in your life, just as difficult as that person was. Maybe even more so, so that you can grow in these character qualities. Bear with them, show them that.

And notice this, forgive them. Forgive them. You get that option too. Yeah, but they don't deserve it. That's why you forgive them. Forgiveness is the bedrock of Christianity. It's why we have relationship with God because Jesus Christ was willing to forgive all of our sins when we didn't even deserve it. So when you have a complaint against another, which means you have a grievance against another, which means this, when somebody wrongs you, you have the opportunity to show them the love of Christ and forgive them with the love of Christ. And that's how you grow in Christ likeness. And if you really want to see radical transformation in your life, then put those things into practice when they happen.

That's why Christianity is relational. You can't grow in these things just by studying your Bible on your own, in your living room and never having a relationship with people. You grow in Christ when God puts you into situations with people that are really unlovable so you can demonstrate the heart of Christ, bear with them under Christ, forgive them just like Christ. And as you do that, you start exuding the heart of Christ to people that don't deserve it.

You say, "Well, that doesn't sound fair." The gospel's not fair. That's exact what Jesus Christ did for you. Every single one of these qualities he's demonstrated towards you. When you were unlovable, when we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. We have the opportunity to forgive. And then we started asking questions like Peter, "Well, how many times do I forgive? Up to seven times?" And Jesus's like, "No, no, no. Like 70 times seven." An infinite amount of time. The more you begin to count, forgive them. And then we'll go back to zero and then you can start adding it up again. It means you never ever have an opportunity in your life to not forgive someone as a Christian, even in the Lord's prayer, "Forgive us, our trespasses," what? "As we forgive those who trespass against us. Lord, I want you to forgive me in the same way you see me forgive others."

And this is convicting to us because we don't like this. It's uncomfortable for us. We all want to see transformation. We all want to be different people. We all want to grow in that, but we want to find some other means to grow. It always happens in relationships that are difficult and relationships that are close. And even in good relationships, these things come up. Even if you, quote married the one, the one that was perfect. Every time I do premarital counseling, when I'm doing premarital counseling, I'll ask people, "You guys have any challenges, have you ever argued?" "No, no. We're not like those other people. We see the world identical. It's like always the same. It's unbelievable. We don't understand all these other people."

And then you get married and realize, maybe you're not so similar after all. Maybe some core values are the same, but in an area that you're weak, maybe your spouse isn't as strong as you thought they were. And maybe in an area that you are weak, you need your wife to be strong in that area, and she's even weaker than you are. Or in an area you need your husband to be strong, he's even weaker than you are. And now you're frustrated with each other. And what do you do? Well, you get to demonstrate compassion and you get to demonstrate mercy and you get to demonstrate love, and you get to bear with one another and you get to forgive one another. And when you do that, you start exuding the heart of Christ to one another and that's when God makes your marriage strong.

And when you're in relationships, in work relationships you're on a team or in the business world or wherever you are, these are what bond people together. This is the glue. It's not finding the perfect person that exudes all these things, because nobody naturally does, it's learning to live like Christ in challenging relationships. And if you can't get beyond all that, verse 14 tells us exactly what to do in every situation. He says, "Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity." It means beyond all these things, just love.

I mean, if the heart of all this, is exuding Christ, this is the trench coat of Christianity. This is putting on love. If you read First Corinthians 13, faith, hope and love abide, but the greatest of these is the trench coat. It's love. Clothe yourself in love. If you're going to make a mistake, just love too much. Jesus said, "A new commandment I give you, that you love one another just as I have loved you." Love. love is always the answer in that situation. Why? Because love is inefficient, love doesn't necessarily benefit you, love always benefits the other person. So just love. When in doubt, love. When in doubt, let other people feel your love. When in doubt, just know that loving is always the right thing.

And God demonstrated His own love for us. While we were still sinners, He died for us. He loved us even though we didn't even know what He was doing on our behalf at the time. And what does it say? It's the perfect bond of unity. Bond is the glue. Love is the Gorilla Glue of the Christian faith. I mean, love holds all things together. If you genuinely love another, your relationship can be solid. If you genuinely love the body of Christ, if you genuinely love people in the relationships, that's what holds it together. It's love.

Now, all of these things are internal. All of these things come from Christ living through us. All of these things are ways that we can grow. So the application of this is, for us to sit down and I encourage you to do, I can't make you, but I encourage you to sit down and ask the Lord about each one of these areas, "Hey Lord, is there any way in my life that I'm hindering your compassion from getting out? Is there any way in my life I'm hindering kindness? Is there any way I'm hindering your humility? Is there any way I'm hindering your patience? Is there any way I'm hindering your gentleness?"

If you have the courage, ask those closest to you. Husbands, I'm guessing if you ask your wife, "Is there any way I can grow in this?" She'll hand you a list, itemized and show you what that looks like. I mean, we can all grow in these areas in our lives, but this is allowing Christ to live our lives out to the full. So exude. It means this should be coming out of our pores as a Christian.

Secondly is this, if we're going to experience extreme makeover and utter transformation in our life, here's what we get to do, experience the peace of Christ. Experience the peace of Christ. Notice what he says in verse 15, "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts to which indeed you were called in one body and be thankful." Let the peace of Christ rule. This word rule is like being an umpire. I mean, picture a baseball game, an umpire calls balls and strikes. You can't argue with the umpire, there's no replay on the balls and strikes. It could be the worst call in history, but he gets to rule. He's in charge. Here's what he says, "In your life, let Christ's peace be the umpire. Let Christ's peace rule." Why is this important? Because for many of us, we live our lives with stress, anxiety, guilt, denial, frustration, upset. Curious. What's going on? You can let the peace of Christ rule.

And here's what peace is. Peace doesn't necessarily one thing about your circumstance. Sometimes God will change your circumstances. I find that oftentimes He doesn't. What God can do through peace is in the middle of whatever circumstance you're going through, you can experience the peace of God presently no matter what. Let Christ's peace rule, let Christ's peace be the umpire in your life. And in relationships that you have, let the peace of Christ rule. The unity of the spirit and the bond of peace, it means when you're making relational decisions, when you're deciding what you're going to do, ask yourself this question, "If I do this, if I say this, is this going to bring peace to this situation? Is peace going to rule the day?" Because for some people they like to live in chaos. Some people like to add chaos. Some people are throwing kerosene on a fire, just because they want to see it blow up even more. Not as Christians. As Christians, we should be the ones that bring peace to a situation. We should bring God's peace to a situation.

Philippians four, six and seven says that when we pray and we give God our prayers and our supplications, that His peace will guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus. A peace which surpasses all understanding.

You ever been around a believer that's going through an incredibly difficult of time? Perhaps the loss of a spouse, perhaps the loss of a kid, perhaps diagnosed with a deadly disease. Perhaps their child has a deadly disease. I mean something that you look at and you say, "That seems unfair. That seems horrible. How are they going to deal with that?" And yet when they talk to you, they have incredible peace. They're actually thankful in the moment for it. And you feel God's peace come out of their heart. And you're like, "Wow, that's incredible."

I just met my neighbor the other day, he's got a little son that's 13 years old that was born with a congenital lung problem, was supposed to live no more than two months. He's 13 years old. He lives his entire life on his back because he cannot sit up. And I was over talking with him and I was talking to the dad and I noticed a Bible. I said, "Are you guys believers?" He said, "Absolutely." He goes, "We love Jesus." And we started talking and I got to pray with his son, talk to his dad. And his dad was telling me, "We got two grown kids. We weren't expecting this guy, but it's so grateful for us to be able to serve a special needs child. We just love him." I walked out of their house and I was like, "That was one of the most special moments I've had. Because in a difficult situation, here's somebody experiencing the peace of Christ in what would otherwise be an extremely, extremely difficult time." Amen.

That's what God says, you can experience God's peace wherever you're at. No matter what you're going through, you don't have to live in anxiety. You don't have to live in stress. You don't have to live in doubt. You don't have to wonder does God really love you? No. He loves you. He chose you. He selected you. You're holy and His love for you remains on you. So experience Christ's peace, it's available to you. You can have it. Let it be the umpire.

Here in Christmas, we often read Isaiah nine chapter six, "For unto us a child is born, for unto us His son is given and the government shall rest upon his shoulders." And then it gives us four names, "And He shall be called the wonderful counselor, the mighty God, the eternal father and what? The prince of peace." Jesus Christ can rule your heart no matter what situation you're in.

I can't tell you as a pastor, "God will change your circumstance. Oh, it's all going to get better." Sometimes it doesn't get better. Sometimes it gets worse, but here's what I can tell you, in the middle of whatever you're going through, Jesus Christ's peace can be present for you no matter what. It's available to you as a believer and you can have it and you can take it. And notice what he says, "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts to which indeed you were called in," what? "One body." One body. There's one body, it's the church. It's not just BRAVE Church, it's the church. It's not just the church in the United States, it's the church. It's the global church. There's one body where Christ dwells in everyone who's trusted him. And notice what He says, "And be thankful. Live in peace and be thankful."

Can I just give you an application here? Oftentimes I find, when I'm frustrated with someone else, I start preparing in my head, "How do I do this? And how do I live as a Christian? How am I going to get through this situation? What do I do?" Here's something I found very helpful in my life. When you're dealing with somebody that's really, really difficult, sit down and just take time by yourself and write out 10 reasons that you're thankful for this person. 10 qualities that you see in their life that are redeemable and that are worthy. Just write that down. You'll be amazed. Because normally what we do when we're around somebody that's really difficult, we can point out the 33 things that they're doing wrong, that everybody else sees. But if you'll back up the truck and you'll start saying, "Hey, what are 10 things, God that are redeemable in this person? And what are they doing well? And what can I be thankful for?" And you begin to thank God for that person, your heart will change towards them. Your heart will change towards them.

And I know it's true because I've never been to a funeral ever, where somebody's been in an urn or in a casket where people have gone up and cursed them or talked negatively about them. No matter how bad they are, it seems that people find something redeemable to say about them at a funeral when it's all said and done. But you can do that on this side too. When you start thinking about it, if Jesus created everyone, which he did, it means in the heart of everyone that he created, there are redeemable qualities. There are things that are good. Thank God for people. Thank God for people. Before you go have confront, make sure you know what Jesus sees in them. Make sure you see them the way that Jesus sees them.

One of the reasons we get all stirred up and we have no peace is because when we get frustrated with another person, we get all amped up too. And then we got all this tension going on and we can't experience the peace of Christ. Thank God for the people. Thank God for those people. Honor those people and then respond with the peace of Christ in your heart. That's how you experience the peace of Christ.

30 tells us this, once we exude the heart of Christ and we can experience the peace of Christ. Here's what he says, "Exhaust the word of Christ. Exhaust the word of Christ." When I say the word exhaust, I'm talking about draw out everything you can. Draw out all that is essential. Notice what he says, "Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you." It means everything. It means imbibe deeply on the word of God. It means when you hear the word of God in a sermon, you should be asking yourself this question, "God, what are you showing me about you? What are you showing me about myself? And what by faith should I put into practice so that I can honor you better?"

When I'm reading my Bible, what application would God want me to make? And how do I exercise this? And what's it look like in my marriage? In my sphere of influence and at work and in my neighborhood and in my community. How do I live this out and what does it look like? Imbibe deeply so that the word of God is part of who you are, not just on a Sunday morning. It's part of who you are in your life, in every single sector. That's what it's supposed to look like. Let the word of Christ richly dwell. It means give God every area of your life.

I remember I got saved in the summer of 1989. I was given this little booklet, it was called My Heart--Christ's Home. And it was an allegory about the inside of your life, likened to different rooms, like your living room, your bedroom, your family room, your study, all these different places as Jesus wants to take a two or three, every single one. And oftentimes as Christians, what we like to do is we like to give God different compartments of our life. Like, "You can have my Sunday morning sometimes. Yeah, you can have my work if it doesn't affect my income. You can have my family so long as you do what I want." In other words, we give God these opportunities so long as He does what we want.

But what the book was about, this little pamphlet was about letting the word of God richly dwell in your heart and saying, "God, in every room of my heart, in every area of my life, you have full reign to do whatever you want to do, and you can own whatever you want to own. And you can do whatever you want to do. I just want you to be in charge and be the Lord of every area of my life." And it's a hard prayer to pray because that prayer would dictate that Jesus gets say over everything in our life.

And some of those areas that are a little bit darker and some of those areas that are a little black and some of those areas that haven't been visited by Jesus in a while, guess what? He wants to shine His light in those areas too. And you can allow him to do that because you already know that you're loved by him and you're chosen by him and you're holy and you're set apart. He's not going to shame you. He's just going to come in and clean it all out. And there's nothing like having your home cleaned up when Jesus has full reign in your life. Let the word of God richly dwell in you.

This is where we have obedience. And obedience is not, "I have to do this or God will be mad at me." Obedience is, "God loves me so much and is dwelling in me that I want Him to have every single part of me." So he says, "Let the word of Christ richly dwell in you." And then he says, "With all wisdom." Wisdom is skillful living. Let the word of God help you in every area of your life so that you know what His word has to say upon all the different areas in which you're walking in.

What does Jesus have to say about who you're dating? What does Jesus have to say about your marriage? And what does Jesus have to say about parenting? And what does He have to say about your kids? And what does He have to say about your finances? And what does He have to say about your vocation? And what does He have to say about your relationships? And what does He have to say about how you're going to spend your spare time? I mean, know what the word of God says on everything so that Jesus can have more operation in your life. That's wisdom, that's skillful living. In other words, live your life in such a way that people see your good works and give praise to your father who's in heaven.

I remember when I graduated from seminary back in like 2002, 2003. It was 2002. I was back preaching at a church in my hometown, a large church. And I didn't know who was all there. Well, a guy that I had seen in high school, I played baseball with, came up after the sermon and he looked at me, he was like, "Dude, what in the world happened to you? You're not the same guy I played baseball with in high school. The words coming out of your mouth were different than the words I used to hear you say. What happened?" Crisis in my life. I'm different. I've been changed, I've been transformed by the power of the gospel of Jesus. That's what he's saying.

And when you're living that out, then what are you to do next? He says this. He says, "Teaching and admonishing one another." In other words, in the gospel, it's not just enough that you learn all these things about God and you got all these things about God, then what are you supposed to do? Teach it. Let other people understand the wisdom that you gleaned from Christ. Let other people experience the wisdom that you have from Christ. Teaching means to share how to walk with Christ, how to do this. Admonishment means correction. It's the same as coaching. When you're coaching people, you're telling them, "Here's what you're supposed to do. Here's what you're supposed to do. Here's what you're supposed to do." Then they start doing it. "No, correct that. Do it a little bit differently. Here's a better way you can do it." That's admonishing.

In the body of Christ, if you want to continue to be transformed, as you learn things about Christ, there should be people in your life that you're pouring those things into where they're understanding the truths of God and you have a solid enough relationship that you can show them, "Yeah, I tweaked this over here. Yeah. The way you did that over there." You can do it even better so that as you're teaching, you're growing as well. There's nothing in the Christian faith that says it's all about you, just learn what you can and forget everybody else. As you learn, coach others, teach and admonish them to grow.

It's the same thing that parents do with their kids. And by teaching, I don't mean stand up and preach. I don't stand up and preach at my house. Teaching is often one on one. It's often conversations and one off. It's often, "Hey, great job here." It's often, "Hey, there's a better way you can do that." I mean, that's teaching and admonishing the word of God. And notice what he says next, there's obedience, there's coaching. And then there's this filling. He says, "As we do this with one another, how do we do it? With Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God." Well, what are the Psalms? The Psalms are the book in the middle of your Bible that are praises to our God for how awesome that He is. Hymns are singing to the Lord truths about who He is. Spiritual songs are songs that we create to sing to God. And notice what he says, men, pay special attention to this, "Singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God."

Now, back in Ephesians, if you look back in Ephesians, where he is talking about being filled with the Holy Spirit, in Ephesians 5:18, he says, "Do not get drunk with wine for that as dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit." In other words, don't be controlled by something else, but be controlled by the Spirit. And then he says this, "Speaking to one another in Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, even the Father."

So what's he saying? He's talking about being filled with the Spirit. Some people teach that we sing so that we can be filled with the Spirit. Other people teach when we're filled with the Spirit and we're excited about him, then we'll sing. And they argue back and forth. Here's what I say, both are equally true. I mean, if you want to be filled with the Spirit, sing. Do you know why we sing in our services? It's not because that's what churches do, it's not because it's the right thing. It's because the Bible commands it. And when you come in and you're not just looking at the words, but you're actually singing with great thankfulness to God, the Holy Spirit fills your life for what you have. And when you're filled with great joy, what do you want to do? You want to sing now.

Some of you, you won't sing publicly, but you do in your car or in the shower. And here's what I'd say to you, "I have a terrible voice, Pastor Jeff." And then here's what God says, "Then make a joyful noise." I mean, God is the one who gave you all of your strengths. God is also the one who gave you all of your weaknesses. If God gave you the horrible voice that He gave, you make Him listen to it because He wants you to hear it. He wants to hear it. I mean, sing to Him. Because we know that singing fills you. It fills you.

So here's what it's all about. Let the word of God richly dwell in you. It's obedience, it's teaching and admonishing, it's being filled with the spirit, with how? With thankfulness. When we sing, we are telling God how thankful we are for all that He's done in our life. We are telling Him it's worthy to take a deep breath and pour out what He's done in our life. That He's rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of His beloved son in whom we have redemption and forgiveness of sins. It's worth standing there and telling God He is awesome and He's worthy. And I'm willing to sing no matter who hears. There's a feeling that comes with that.

I grew up in a church, we didn't really sing, we had hymns, and people rocked back and forth while the organists played, but nobody really sang out loud, because that would've been strange. I never really sang up until about the time of Promise Keeper where I felt like I was growing in the Lord so much I wanted to do that, but I didn't want anybody else to see me. So I remember I got out of my chair up in an arena over there and walked all the way down to the front where nobody I knew would know me and I just began to worship the Lord with my hands above my head. And when I did, I felt the presence of God so strong in my life because I'd never done that before. And then I thought to myself, "Why don't I do this all the time?" And then that became a part of my life.

So yes I worship here and yeah, I'm willing to raise my hands and yeah, I'm willing to clap, but I do it a little more extreme when I'm by myself, when I know nobody's watching. And that's okay too, because God wants us to know that we love Him and that He's worth our voice and our song. So exhaust word of Christ in your life.

And finally he wraps it all up in verse 17, a very familiar verse, Colossians 3:17. And here's what he tells us to finally exalt the name of Christ. That means to honor the name of Christ. He says this, "Whatever you do," whatever you do means literally whatever you do. "Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Do all for the Lord Jesus' honor. Giving thanks through Him, to God the father. See those three words, verse 15, be thankful. Verse 16, with thankfulness. Verse 17, giving thanks. It means we have a thankful heart before the Lord. It means I want to do everything in my life to honor God.

Here's the problem with church. Sometimes the problem with church is what we call legalism. Legalism is, here's the outside behaviors that you need to change. And if you change all of these, then we'll know that you're a Christian and you're acting the way we want you to act. And you have to act the same way I'm acting. That's legalism. It's bondage, it's wrong. Here's what true Christianity looks like, I want to honor the Lord in every area of my life. So my question is not, "Can I do this? Can I not do this?" My question is, "God, will this bring you the greatest honor? Hey God, in this area of my life, how do I best honor you? God, what does it look like to honor you? God, is this an area in my life that you'll bless if I do it? God, will this bring you glory and praise? God, I want to make sure that in all that I do, you are worthy of all that I'm doing."

And this is not generic. This is specific because there's a lot of things that God can bless. Think vocationally, God can bless coaches, teachers, attorneys, accountants, pastors, God can bless all those things, but it doesn't mean that's what God wants to bless in your life. See the question is not, will you just generically bless this? The question is, "Lord, is this what you want to bless in and through me?" Because this is where we get caught up, "If I really want to honor the Lord, I got to go to seminary and be a pastor." No you don't. That might be a dishonoring thing for you. The question for you is, "God, how do you want me, and my sphere of influence to bring you the most honor? And how do you want me to live my life in what I eat, in what I drink, in what I say, in who I hang out with, in what I do. I'm growing in that I haven't arrived yet, but Lord, would you show me how best to honor you?"

And that's a prayer request the Lord will always answer. "Hey Lord, am I honoring you in every way? Lord, is there anything in my life I'm doing that's dishonoring to you? Lord, can you show me if there's a way I can do a better job at honoring you, exalting you?" The Lord has a way of doing that with great tenderness. And by the way, nobody else can hear exactly what you're supposed to be doing. I mean, obviously sin is wrong. So that's obvious, when somebody's deliberately sinning against the Lord we know that's not honoring the Lord, but God gives us a ton of freedom in Christ to honor Him in wonderful ways. And yet oftentimes in church, we think, "Everybody's got to be the same. Everybody's got to look the same. Everybody's got to do the same thing, make the same amount of money, live in the same place." Not according to the Bible. The Bible says, God created you unique with your own gifts, with your own influence, with your own resources. And here's your question, "God, how do I best exalt you? What does that look like in my life?"

And guess what? God through His word, and sometimes subjectively will speak to you and show you what that is. And so when you're heading down a path and you hear the Lord, like, "No, no, no, no, no, don't do that. Don't do that. Don't do that. Don't do it." Then just don't do it. And if you have freedom, then do it. And whatever you do, whatever you do, make sure you have the peace of Christ in your heart and that you're doing it to exalt the Lord. And if you're doing it to exalt the Lord, He will shape and direct everywhere you need to go.

And this is how you begin to see extreme transformation in your life. When the word of God is richly dwelling. When you desire to honor the Lord in everything, when you're exuding Christ, when His peace has a hold of you and you're living it out in such a way that your question is not, "What will other people think of me? What are people's expectations of me?" But you begin to think, rightly so, "God, I know who I am in you, and I want to honor you with everything I have and I want to make sure my life is a living testimony of who you are. Lord, help me grow in all the areas you would desire for me."

And here's the beauty of this, we can spend the rest of our life learning how to do this. This is not a one time thing like, "I got it." I mean, this is not me standing up and saying, "I used to be like that and now I'm like this, and man I've arrived." This is saying, "I used to be like that. Now I'm like this. And here's what I realized. I'm growing in my ability to let the word of Christ dwell in me. And I'm growing in my ability to honor Christ. And I'm growing in my ability to exude Christ and I'm growing in my ability to experience His peace and I haven't arrived yet. And I know I won't until I meet Jesus, but I'm pursuing Christ in such a way that I can experience Him in greater and greater measure." And here's the good news, no matter what you are on the continuum, there's a room for growth. There's just room for growth.

So how do you apply a sermon like this that has so many application points? It means you allow the Holy Spirit in your life for what he's showed you this morning, how you take a step of faith with what he showed you to do. And when you do, you let the peace of Christ and the word of Christ and name of Christ be exalted in and through you. Amen. And amen. Would you stand with me as we pray?

Lord Jesus, we give you all the glory, honor and praise for who you are. And Lord, we want to exalt you. And if you're here this morning, you've never trusted Jesus as your personal Lord and savior, then you can pray like this, "Lord, I don't have a relationship with you. I know that I'm dead in my sin. I admit that. But I believe that you came to this earth for me, that you died in my place and that you rose from the dead. Lord Jesus, right now I'm turning from my sin and I'm giving my heart completely to you. I confess you as my Lord and savior."

Lord fill all those that prayed that prayer fresh with your Holy Spirit. And Lord, for those of us who know you, Lord teach us to be transformed by you because of our identity in you and because of what you show us. Lord, would your life be made more manifest in us for radical, complete transformation. Lord, the things that you showed us this morning speak clearly to us and let us walk them out. We give you all the glory, honor and praise in Jesus name. Amen.

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