By Joe Torosian
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.”—Colossians 3:16
(Note: This “FaithView” is a bit of a follow up to the September 4th edition)
We love the “B” portion of Colossians 3:16. The singing of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs is a blessing.
When you go to Service, you can sit in the back or in the balcony, participate in the worship, nod in agreement with what’s being shared…and then slip out for lunch.
When you go to Church, you sing hymns and songs with gratitude to God for what he has done. And you sing it with a lot of emotion and truth as you allow yourself to be moved by the Spirit.
When fully in play, the phrase to describe the “B” portion of Colossians 3:16 is: “Awesome sauce.”
Except the folks attending a Service skip out on the “A” portion (teaching & admonishing) of Colossians 3:16. Those that attend Church have to at least consider responding to the “A” portion.
And the “A” portion is tricky. As we experience this moving of the Spirit, we must come to understand that we are all called to teach and admonish one another with all wisdom.
Teaching and admonishing, of course, means the Pastors & Staff are to do the teaching and admonishing. We may not see it in the text, so we’ll convince ourselves that it must have been lost in the Greek, but all believers know this clearly is the responsibility, solely, of the clergy.
Thus whether I attend Service or Church, I’m off the hook. I can get out the side door, grab a burger, and get home to catch the second half of the Saints-Rams game. Yes!
Except, there is no translation issue. Colossians 3:16, and its passage is meant for all of us. You’re not off the hook. None of us are, and especially if we attend Church.
I shared this last week:
“To be part of a church is to be part of an assembly. To know who you are assembled with. To know their names, to know something about the work they do, perhaps the names of their children, maybe even a little bit of what they struggle with. For them to know your name, the names of your children, what you do, and perhaps a little bit of what you struggle with…And then encourage each other.”—FaithView 9/4/19
And a Service is more like:
“These days we often fool ourselves by believing we’ve gone to church/assembly when we’ve only attended service somewhere. This can happen in a small church as well as a large. People come for the music/worship, listen to the speaker—agree with what he/she had to say—and then leave through the nearest exit at its conclusion…They might even feel a sense of satisfaction in accomplishing their Sunday and/or spiritual duty. (This can apply to Saturday night services as well.)”—FaithView 9/4/19
There are times we need to attend Services somewhere. We all have seasons where we need to rest, to step away, and be fed. This is an excellent ministry of our larger churches. They provide spiritual shelter and peace for the exhausted believer to recharge and regain focus.
Unfortunately, too often the season of rest becomes retirement and the believer—while remaining a believer in Christ and all the tenets of Christianity—gets lazy, entitled, and the impression their work for the Lord is done.
So they keep on attending Services and come to expect an excellent performance by the Pastor and worship team. If at some point they become disenchanted with the performance or start to feel like they need something fresh…They then just find another show…Another Service to attend. All the while kidding themselves into believing they’re really attending Church. And the idea of teaching and admonishing, no way, that’s for somebody else to do.
That’s not going to work. It doesn’t work. And it hurts the overall testimony of the Church.
As believers, we have to attend Church, not a Service. We have to live the “A” portion of Colossians 3:16. We have to teach and admonish other believers with all wisdom.
Bluntly…That person sitting next to you in the pew or sanctuary chair—needs you. I’ll go further and say if you remain unresponsive to them, uninterested in them as you appear in power-point slides from your latest Work & Witness adventure…You will answer to the Lord regarding them.
How do you teach if you are not allowing the Holy Spirit to speak to you? How can you grow if you’re completely surrendering all aspects of your Christian walk over to the orchestrators of the Service?
If your personal walk with the Lord is what it should be, the Holy Spirit would be convicting you to get out of retirement, to stop merely attending Services, and to start attending Church. To get to know those who sit around you.
Your experience is necessary. Your testimony of God’s goodness and faithfulness speaks louder than any sermon or teaching series. Your presence as a friend, a brother-sister, in the lives of those you assemble with–do Church with–is atomic in effect.
And if we are called to admonish, how do we admonish brothers & sisters we don’t even know? How many times as a young believer been crushed when someone who doesn’t even know their name cracks wise about them spiritually or comments about their children’s behavior? (Churchianity at its finest)
We don’t need to go to the Third World or to the homeless shelter to find ministry opportunity. Some of the Church’s most significant work happens on Sunday morning when we are told to “Stand up and greet one another.”
And if you go to Church, that’s where the rubber meets the road. That’s where you find out if you are really living the “A” portion of Colossians 3:16.
Joe T. is the author of “Tangent Dreams: A High School Football Novel” … “Temple City & The Company of The Ages” … “The Dead Bug Tales” … “The Dark Norm” & “FaithViews for Storm Riders”…all available through Amazon.com.