Welcome back everyone. Today we talk about the Bible and the importance of a healthy Bible habit. The Bible is how God speaks to us, and reading the Bible is how we stay on the right path as we follow Jesus. You've probably met people who say they follow Jesus but their life just doesn't match up. It happens a lot. So how do we get it right?
The Bible is key. I’m sure you’ve noticed that this whole journey has been grounded in the Bible. The Bible is amazing. Epic stories, awesome heroes, deep wisdom, and powerful guidance for life. There is so much here. And the Bible keeps us grounded. It gives us an anchor of truth in a world of confusion. There are a lot of lies out there - even lies about Jesus - and the Bible keeps us walking in truth and following the real Jesus.
So let's get back to it. We left off in Colossians 1 with a powerful reminder of who Jesus is. Let's pick up at verse 19:
“For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him (Jesus), and through him to reconcile to himself all things.”
That's powerful. The fullness of God is in Jesus. And through Jesus we are reconciled. Reconcile refers to a wrong relationship made right. We make peace with God...
"...through his blood, shed on the cross" (1:20).
Jesus made us right with God, and Paul wants us to stay right with God. So he encourages you to...
"...continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel" (1:23).
Why did Paul say that? Because the Colossian church was getting hit with false teaching about Jesus. Deceivers got in. So Paul wrote to keep the church grounded in truth. In verse 25 he says,
"I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness.”
God commissioned Paul to serve the church by teaching the full Word of God. That means the whole Bible. Often the false teachers quote the Bible, but they take one verse here and there and twist them out of context. So read the Bible for yourself - it will keep you in the truth and away from lies.
Now if you have trouble understanding the Bible, that's what good teachers are for. God gave teachers to help explain and apply the Bible. But the teacher should never replace the Bible - only help you understand it.
Back in Colossians, the false teachers said that the truth was full of mysteries that you can't understand. So Paul says that God has revealed the mystery - He's made it known to us. In verse 27, that mystery
"...is Christ in you, the hope of glory."
That's the real secret. The Bible is about Jesus. The secret to living for God is "Christ in you." He leads us from the inside by the power of the Holy Spirit. It's all about Jesus. So in verse 28, Paul says,
"He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom... .”
Teaching is important because it helps us understand the Bible. And good Bible teaching proclaims Jesus. You know it's good teaching if its focus is Jesus and its foundation is the Word.
Then in chapter 2, Paul explains the goal of teaching:
"My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ.”
See Paul wants you to understand the Bible, because when you understand you get to know Jesus. Now the Bible is also full of wisdom and knowledge, but verse 3 reminds us that "all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" are found in Jesus.
So how do we stay on the right path? How do we make sure we're following the real Jesus? Read the Bible and listen to good Bible teaching.
There are just a few essential habits of following Jesus. The first is a healthy Bible habit. Now reading the Bible is not a step to Heaven, nor is it a way make him love you more. He already loves you perfectly. But it will draw you closer to that love, and help you understand it and walk in it. It's not a got-to, it's a get-to. Remember, God's Word is a seed - it plants life in your heart. So plant some every day!
And how do you start a Bible habit? If you're on this plan, you're already doing it! So set a little time each day to read the Bible and pray. And of course, read Colossians now, and I'll meet you back here in chapter 2.
See that? Habit started. That was easy.