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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder


Colossians 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him.

Whatsoever is an emphatic form of whatever, which carries with it the meaning of everything, no matter what. It is a word that describes actions having no limitation or exception. Actions expressed in word or deed, are the things we say and do. We can then say that whatsoever ye do in word or deed refers to everything we say and do, without limit, and without exception. Does it include things we say and do at home? Yes! How about the things we say and do at our worksite? Yes! What about at school? On vacation? At sporting events? Visiting family, friends, and neighbors? Does it include the time I spend worshiping God at church? Yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes! Can we say the meaning of this phrase includes all things done of a temporal nature? Yes! What about the things we say and do spiritually in religious affairs, are they also included? Definitely, yes! Then what word or deed that we say or do is excluded? Not one!

With this thought firmly established, Paul then states two ways this is to be done, by the Christians at Colosse, as well as all children of God thereafter; how Christians are to conduct their lives in every word and deed - in everything we say and do. First, all is to be done in the name of the Lord Jesus. Paul told the Christians at Corinth that in everything they were to do all to the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31b). Words are not to be spoken, and deeds are not to be done, with the intention of bringing fame, honor, and glory to one's self. Christians are to be laborers in the vineyard of God. Upon becoming a child of God, through baptism into the body of Christ, we assume the responsibility as His servant. Our will is not to be served but, rather, the will of God. As obedient servants, we can neither take credit for what is said or done, nor the results that are accomplished. Any good that comes to us or to others, from the things we say and do, is to glorify our heavenly Father whom we serve. In reference to servants, Paul makes this clear in verses following the lesson text. And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ (Col. 3:23-24).

As servants of God, the words we speak are to build up, and edify, those around us. Paul's letter to the Christians at Ephesus bears this out when he taught them to let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers (Eph. 4:29). With our words we are to edify. In doing so, hearers will be built up spiritually and God will be glorified. This is how God's plan of salvation is to be spread throughout the world, and such is the duty of His Christian servants.

Not only are we to speak words of love for God and for our neighbor, but we are to perform deeds of love as well. And how do we, as Christians, express our love for God? We do so by demonstrating our love for our fellow man. God considers acts of love, kindness, and compassion shown to others as if ye have done it unto Me (See this parable in Matt. 25:31-46). We can say we love God, and we can also say we love our neighbors. But unless our love is demonstrated through deeds, there is no physical benefit to those in need, and neither is there spiritual benefit that accrues to us. The apostle John wrote, But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth (1 John 3:17-18).

Secondly, the words and deeds we speak and do, are to be done with thanksgiving to God and His Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. Peter says, let all Christians be thankful to God in service through Jesus Christ, that we have been given the talent and opportunity to speak as the oracles of God, and to minister to the needs of others by the ability which God giveth (from 1 Pet. 4:11). In all things we are to give thanks to God in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (Eph. 5:20). By accepting God as our Master, and His Son, Jesus Christ as our Savior, we assume the role of humble Christian servants. Only in Christ will our words and deeds be perfected in accomplishing God's will. Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen (Heb. 13:20-21).