By Pastor Babu Cherian
The Colossians who were evildoers, alienated from and enemies of God became holy and the heirs of heavenly hope. Evangelist Ephaphras brought them the gospel but it was Apostle Paul that they heard about the doctrine of perfection.
The hearing of the Word brings continued changes in the lives of those who have made a commitment to change. Once I heard the story of a person who went to hear the gospel preaching for the first time in his life. When he returned after the Gospel meeting his friends, neighbors and relatives asked, ‘How was the meeting? Who was the preacher? What was the subject?’ Though he tried, he could not say anything about the preacher or the subject. Finally, he replied, ‘I don’t remember the subject and I forgot the name of the preacher, but the one thing I understood is, “Unless I change the weights in my balance, I will never go to heaven”.
His friends were curious and wanted to know what he meant. As a businessman he adjusted the weights in his weighing scale from 1000 gram (1 kilogram) and lowered them to 950 gram, earning illegal profits for several years. But when he heard the gospel message he realized he needed to replace his ‘tampered’ weights and set right his weighing machine! This is exactly what must happen to us when we hear the gospel. Paul writes these words to make perfect the people who have undergone primary changes through the hearing of the gospel from Ephaphras. We teach… “to make perfect every man in Christ.”(1:28)
Most of us have heard the gospel and have made some changes in our lives. But how far we have come on the way to perfection? It is high time we gave serious thought to this. Hearing of God’s Word must cause a response from us beyond a mere raising of hands to say ‘Hallelujah’. This response to preaching is indeed welcome where we rejoice, celebrate and worship in the hearing of the Word.
Have we, the Pentecostals, gone way behind in our progress and growth towards perfection? We have, no doubt, traveled a long way in evangelization, church planting and economic growth. But, are there any changes in our character? It is true that we no longer adorn ourselves with ornaments, sport a moustache or smoke cigarettes, but do carry in us anger, grudge and indulge in gossip? What about disunity, jealousy and disagreements? What about lust and greed? Are we any different from the people ‘outside’ the church? Are we able to display genuine increase in love, kindness, mercy, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control?
The believers of the Corinthian church heard the message, rejoiced in the Word, spoke in tongues and even made groups in the name of the preacher! Yet, when it came to personal character formation, they were total failures. Although they expressed great joy and faith when they hear the Word, they did not apply any of that to their lives. Is this the same with us today? ‘Forward to fullness’ is the God given theme for our convention, by Him who knows the condition of the church. “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus” (Philip. 2:5, 1 John.3:3). This is real perfection. We will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is Christ. 4:15. The Apostle speaks about five things we need to do in our way to fullness:
1. Walk in His fellowship (Col.2:6)
A person begins his Christian life when he/she accepts Jesus. The born again experience is not mere change of religion, it is Lordship. Our ownership decides the change in us. Change that happens reflects the authority over us.
We exchange and hand over our lordship, ownership and control to the Lord. Those who accept Christ cannot think, act, talk or even live without Him. This is what it means to walk in his fellowship and walk with Jesus. That is Christian life. The prophet asks, “Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?”
It is not possible to walk with Jesus by getting saved, baptized or merely becoming the member of a church. Two people need to agree. Unity of expressions, ideas and destiny are necessary. It is not bringing Jesus into our opinions, ideas and aims, but we need to identify with His.
2. Rooted in Him
The root of a plant does not go to deep within one day. It is through constant relationship of several days that the experience of ‘bring rooted’ become possible. Who can uproot a tree with deep roots and of several years? No strong wind can shake its roots! Paul says that, neither hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword can separate me from the love of Christ (Romans.8:35).
3. Attain Spiritual growth
God is a Spirit. Our Lord is a Spirit. Holy Spirit is a Spirit. Spiritual growth cannot be understood materially. It is by walking with the Lord that we take root in Him and spiritual growth happens. There could be several ways, short cuts and crooked paths to increase in health, knowledge and in finances. But the only way to spiritual growth is to live in move in Christ Jesus.
4. Established in faith
Our faith is built on the foundation of the Word. The Word is an immovable rock. And our faith must be established in accordance with that Word. Faith does not depend on our experiences alone. Experiences differ for all of us. But Word of God is the same for all.
Be established in faith as it is taught to you by the teachings received from God and God’s servants. The disciples who went to Emmaus stumbled in faith. The Lord Jesus explained the Word to them, rebuked their disbelief. Gradually their hearts were filled with the Word and their hearts began to burn when they heard the scriptures and their faith increased (Luke.24:13-31).
5. Overflow with praises
There are people who do not praise God’, there are those who do praise Him and there are others who overflow with praises.
Those who do not praise God are ignorant. Such people lack knowledge of God or themselves nor do they know what God has done for them. But people who have some knowledge of any of these things will praise God because of their experiences and the touch of God’s Word. But those who walk with him will overflow in praise. They cannot help but continue in praising Him. Where praise exists, there is no room for complaints or murmuring. Do we overflowing with praises or complaints?
Thus let us accept the Lord Jesus into our hearts, walk with Him, be firmly rooted in Him and grow spiritually as we strive forward to fullness and into a life of perfection in Christ.
MGM Ministries-Article Source: trumpetmagazine.com/read.aspx?lang=1&id=3&mid=106 (In 2011-2014)