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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

THE INDWELLING WORD OF CHRIST

Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

In the King James Version of the Holy Bible, the word "dwell" is used 338 times. Only 33 of those are found in the New Testament, one being in the lesson text. However, it has great depth in meaning. The word "dwell" is often used to describe an action of a person thinking, speaking, or lingering at length on a thought or subject - they are said to "dwell upon a topic." Mainly, "dwell" is used to describe habitation. For instance, while alive, a person is said to dwell, or reside on earth. Earth is the permanent residence of the physical body and the temporary home of the soul of mankind. The home in which one resides is often referred to as "a dwelling place." We reside, inhabit, or dwell in our individual homes. Whether one owns or leases a home or an apartment, there is permanency in referring to it as "our place of dwelling."

The latter word usage is found in the lesson text. In Paul's epistle to the church at Colosse he tells each member of that body of Christ to let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom. As the inspired word of God, the same message is given for instruction to Christians throughout all ages. Just as we dwell in our individual homes, the word of Christ is meant to reside, to dwell, in the heart and mind of every Christian. It should never be a temporary dwelling place; rather, God wills that it is to take up permanent residency. There are times when we should use the advice of another in our decision-making; times when someone recommends a course of action that we accept and follow. However, if we do not seek and accept this person's advice, on all things we say and do, their words of advice cannot be said to dwell in us. In this case we selectively rely on the words, or advice, of another person. We can either take their advice or disregard it in favor the advice of others or rely on our own intuition.

As Paul uses the word "dwell" in this passage, the meaning is that the word of Christ is relied upon, and used, in our total decision-making process. It moves in, becomes a permanent resident, and rules our lives in every thought and deed. We do not selectively seek and use Christ's advice in one instance and not in another, but rather in all things. The will of God comes to us through the inspired gospel message, which is the word of Christ, his Holy Spirit-inspired apostles, and other chosen messengers of God. We hear it. If we believe it, we accept it as our guide to salvation. By acceptance, we invite the word of Christ, given to us through God's Holy Spirit, to dwell in us. His will then, becomes our own will. Jesus Christ becomes our master-guide in the conduct of our lives. As our indwelling guide, we completely submit to His will; it is used to instruct us; we rely on its influence to direct each step we take in the course of life. Some seek it only on occasion, and therefore the word of Christ is only a temporary dwelling place. These people mainly rely on worldly wisdom, and never, or only in part, rely on the will of Christ as their life's guide.

To those that completely replace their own will, and its worldly wisdom, with the will of Christ, they will find true wisdom - wisdom from above. Then, and only then, will it dwell in them richly in all wisdom. In so doing, we will become obedient children of God, conducting our lives, as good Christians should do. We will be teaching and admonishing one another in all things that are good and righteous, both spiritual, as well as physical. Without the indwelling of the Holy Spirit-inspiredword of Christ, our hearts and minds will not be filled with grace, or attuned to the responsibility of teaching and admonishing others by our actions.

As a side issue, Christians should never loose sight of the fact that congregational singing in worship services not only offers our individual adoration to God, but it edifies other members through the blending of voices singing praises to God. Singing exemplifies unity within the church of Christ. The words of each song, as well as its harmony, are spiritually uplifting, and set the proper mood for each act of worship. The singing of sacred songs by the membership of the church is an extremely important part of each worship service.

Christians need to appreciate, and be grateful for, the hope of salvation available in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. They should be filled with enthusiasm and excitement over the rich blessings found within the body of Christ. Letting these Christian characteristics be seen by others, is the best sermon ever preached to people throughout the world. Without the indwelling word of Christ, neither our singing, nor any other act of worship, would effectively teach and admonish others to accept Jesus as their personal Savior, and faithfully serve His cause. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom.