"For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things…" Colossians 1:9-23
John 15:1-8; Colossians 1:19-20
Where and how is your dwell? In your churches?
Key point: Our greatest purpose besides our worship is to build relationships with Christ and with others. This is what makes a great church. When we ignore this, we fail in the most important aspects in life, including our personal relationship with Christ! Living and ministering by one's own pride will not do; we cannot do this. Only by knowing and placing the focus on Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, can we live well and lead well.
Before electronic car ignition systems, you had to fine-tune the timing of your engine to control the correct firing of the spark plugs, and the "dwell" was the tiny screw below the distributor you turned to accomplish this. A small component outside of the car's distributor, this would cause the very powerful engine in a very large car to run smoothly and well or else harshly or not at all. All it took was a fraction of a turn of a small screw. Have you considered that you have a "dwell" too (John 5:37-39; Eph. 3:17; Col. 1:9-23; 3:15-17; Rev. 12:12)!
Dwelling in Christ, God's Redemption at work!
What does it take to be in Christ and thrive for God's glory and our betterment? Jesus is saying, I am the vine, the main and the only channel of life and substance, and God is the cultivator; He is the one in charge. This is about our relationship, responsibilities, uniqueness, gifting, and purpose all flowing from His love to us. John 15 shows God who comes to us, who brings heaven to us, allows us to live in and for Him, and who will grow and cultivate the best in us for His glory and our betterment. This is beyond deep fellowship. It is not just life; it is life itself--abundant and triumphant. We can not only communicate and experience God; we commune and dwell in Him both now and throughout eternity to come. When we are in Him, we glorify God and build a better life, furthering His Impacting Kingdom.
As Christian leaders, we are called--even expected--to know our purpose and work it.
Jesus expects us to bear fruit and will do what is best for us to be cultivated in Him and for Him to better produce His love and goodness for the furtherance of His kingdom. It is good that He prunes, for we need His cultivation and nourishment. Without Him, we can do nothing. We can't know Him, we can't live in Him, and we can't work in and for Him without His life-giving sustenance. So, we must receive and remain in Him, growing and thriving in Him for all the goodness and nourishment to happen and to flow in and out of us.
The true disciple can see his/her role as a child deeply loved, being cared for so growth and faithfulness will result in others coming to Him. If not, we will rot away. Refusing His sustenance and life will only dry us up, burning us away. God wants us to thrive in Him, not be weeds or thorns that will only hurt ourselves and others. Thus, He will do all He can to enable us to thrive and give Him Glory. In Him, this can be so; our only enemy is us, embracing the weeds and pestilence rather than Christ the Vine.
A leader must have a full growing relationship with Christ, our being united in Christ, part of His plan and His appendage as He provides the indispensable sap of substance for life and salvation and faithfulness. As a branch is a part of the vine with the sole purpose to produce its fruit. If it can't do that because of infection, rot or bad care, it must be fertilized and developed to coax it to thrive and produce. If nothing ever comes from it and it is dead, it never was His Vine stem (like Judas) (Eph. 1:22-23).
We cannot be fruitful apart from Jesus.
The wonder of God's nourishment has never flowed in the face of one's own erected barriers (Matt. 3:8; 7:16-20; 13:18-23; 24:12; Luke 6:43-45; John 8:31-32; Eph. 5:9; Phil. 1:11; Heb. 3:14-19; 6:4-8: 10:27-31).
This refers to a growing faith that is fed and focused on our response to Christ that motivates the Fruit of the Spirit resulting in moral and virtuous thinking and action because of God's love to us and our gratitude and love back to Him. This is God's love and work in us that flows in through His Holy Spirit and out of us to others around us--all because we have a personal relationship with Christ. We have God's living presence in us, living in us (Matt. 6:10; Rom. 5:1-5; 12:1-21; 1 Cor. 12:1-14:40; Gal. 5:16-26; Eph. 4:1-6:20; 2 Peter 1:3-9).
Fruitful. This is a call to be obedient, to multiply the seed given to us. We are to make disciples of His Word. We are to point to Christ, never to ourselves! We need disciples of Christ, not of people like ourselves! This is a standard call of God to do something productive and effectual with our life and faith. To have a great gift like salvation, and do nothing with it is a great insult to the gift giver, God, and a proof of ingratitude and nonuse, which would prove that one is either not saved or highly disobedient and foolish (Isa. 27:6; Hos. 14:4-8).
When we dwell in Christ, which is stated 11 times Colossians one--40 times in this Epistle! It means to preserve and commune with, as in our continual relationship in and with Christ. A branch not attached to the vine is lifeless and useless. If a Christian, especially ones who leads, says he/she knows Christ, but there is no evidence (perhaps even the opposite like stated in Galatians 5 and the sets of rotten fruit as opposed to the Fruit of the Spirit), then it is possible that the person was never saved, had no connection to the Vine, and is therefore destined for hell. This is also a warning to get busy with one's faith! Such a person is not called or qualified for pastoring or leadership.
What does it take to be a faithful and fruitful Christian, to be attached to Christ as His love and work flows in and through us?
If you are a person created, bought and paid for with the blood of Christ, forgiven, and saved by your faith in Christ through the Grace of God, you should be extremely grateful. A deep-seated gratitude should be the central theme of your life, flowing from Christ's love, principles, and character and the Holy Spirit's leading. What comes from us in good times and bad should be indicated by what goes into us. Being led by God and His Word and motivated by our appreciation of His work will enable us to be more filled with the Spirit of God to do the work of God. Living by God's principles, our reverence and thanks are all needed and essential for the healthy Christian and church; they all go together. One cannot be an effective Christ-follower without gratitude or without His lead. You cannot say the Holy Spirit fills you by being emotionally ecstatic while you ignore God's Word.
You cannot move closer to Jesus as Lord or lead others when you are a person who is ungrateful. Christ must be our "dwell;" the gauge will be our thankfulness (Col. 1:19-23; 1 Thess. 5:18).
© 2016 R.J. Krejcir, Ph.D., Francis A. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership Development www.churchleadership.org/