How do we become a church where the Word is taking very seriously? If I were to ask you to describe a Word centered church, where would you begin?
For most, their first thought is what the pastor does. Many would say that in order for the Word of Christ to dwell richly in a church, pastors must preach the Word! And they’d be right. It’d be difficult to overemphasize the importance of biblical preaching.
But although that obviously is a key facet of allowing the Word to dwell in us richly, it is not the aspect Paul describes in Colossians 3:16.
Instead he refers to two responsibilities of each and every believer.
The first responsibility, “biblical friendships.”
If the word of Christ dwells in us richly our church will be characterized by relationships in which believers are teaching and admonishing one another from the Word. Paul says, “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom…”
This means we’re going to have relationships outside of Sunday morning where we are helping each other learn what the Word of Christ means. That’s what the word teach indicates, doesn’t it? We’re to teach each other the Word, continually.
This also means we’re going to have relationships outside of Sunday morning where we are helping each other deal with specific problems in light of what the Word of Christ teaches. That’s what the word admonish is all about.
This verse places a great responsibility on each of us towards our brothers and sisters in Christ. If the pastor showed up on a Sunday morning and didn’t preach, if he just sat in his seat and stared at the pulpit, the whole church would go home talking about it. Everyone would say, “I can’t believe pastor is not fulfilling his responsibility.” But the pastor is not the only one with a responsibility to teach and admonish. Every believer has that responsibility as well. If we do not fulfill our responsibility, while it may not be as obvious as the pastor sitting in his pew, over a period of time the effects will be just as devastating. If we do not, the Word of Christ isn’t dwelling in us.
Do you have these kinds of relationships? Are you pursuing them? I know my prayer for the church I'm part of is that every single member would be involved in relationships with other believers within the local church in which they are helping others become more like Christ.
The second responsibility, “expository singing.” If the Word of Christ dwells in us richly our church will be characterized by grateful, biblical singing. Paul explains, “Let the word of Christ dwell in your richly…singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”
It’s easy to downplay the value of singing. Singing is not a take it or leave it matter. Often people will say to me I just don’t like singing. If you are saying that, just understand there are many people out there who say I just don’t like preaching. It doesn’t matter so much what you like as what God wants. He wants biblical preaching in the church and He wants biblical singing. It’s an essential part of allowing the Word of Christ to dwell in us richly!
If we are going to be a Word-centered church we must pursue biblical friendships and work on singing biblically!