1. Walk as you began.
2. Walk like a tree.
3. Walk like a house.
4. Walk like a rock.
5. Walk with thanksgiving.

When Charles (the Second) took over the throne of England in 1660, there had been an ongoing debate within the church of England between two parties: The Anglicans and the Non-Conformists. The Anglicans, of course, held that complete uniformity to The Prayer Book of Common Prayer was required to be a pastor of a church in good standing with the church. The Non-Conformists, on the other hand, refused to submit themselves to the sacramental elements contained in the prayer book, such as the wearing the liturgical vestments, kneeling during Communion, making the sign of the cross at baptism, or bowing at the name of Jesus. None of these things are Scriptural and doing such things violated the conscience of the Non-Conformists. For years, there had been a battle between these two parties. In 1661, the year after Charles (the Second) took over the throne, the Savoy Conference was called. This was an official conference of the Church of England that was called in an effort settle the differences between the Anglicans and the Non-Conformists once and for all. Richard Baxter, one of the Non-Conformists, wrote up an alternate liturgy that could be used by all, and thereby allowing the Non-Conformists to serve in good conscience in the established church. But, the Anglican bishops stood firm in their adherence to the Book of Common Prayer, and rejected any such changes in the liturgy of the church of England. In doing so, this paved the way for the Act of Uniformity, which declared that all ministers in the church had until August 24th, 1662 to publicly give their “unfeigned consent and assent” to the Book of Common prayer. If they refused to do so, they would no longer be permitted, by governmental law, to preach the gospel. This led to what has been called, “The Great Ejection,” where more than 2,000 pastors were ejected from their churches on August 24th, 1662. These pastors were no longer permitted to perform their ministerial functions.

As I have already mentioned, one of those pastors was Richard Baxter. His ministry at Kidderminster was amazing. When he came to Kidderminister, there were perhaps one family in a street that worshiped God. But, by the time he was ejected from his pastorate, there were more than 600 members of his church, and nearly the whole town submitted to his private catechizing, and personal conference. When August of 1662 came, it was time for him to deliver his last sermon to the people of his church, who loved him and adored him. He chose as a text, Colossians 2:6-7, which is precisely the same text that we have come to in our exposition of the book of Colossians. These were appropriate verses for him to choose to place before his people, as his last words to them. Richard Baxter was seeking to prepare those in his church to live the rest of their days without him. I can almost imagine him saying to his congregation, "When your thoughts turn upon me, looking for advice, think of Colossians 2:6-7 and follow its advice." In his last sermon, he was seeking to sum up the entire Christian life for him. Indeed, that is what these words are. They are a summary of the Christian life. I believe that if you get Colossians 2:6-7 words right, you will get all of Christian living right.

Verses 6 and 7 are a pivot upon which turns the entire letter. On the one hand, it summarizes everything said before, as he laid the foundation to combat the heresies that have come up in Colossae. On the other hand, it prepares the way for the particulars of how to deal with the heresies that they were dealing with. Let's consider the text:

Colossians 2:6-7
Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.

My message this morning is entitled, “Walk in Him.” Indeed, this is the central command of these verses. You can see it there in verses 6, “Walk in Him.” All other words in verses 6 and 7 modify this thought of walking in Christ.

When Paul talks here about “walking,” he is simply describing the way in which we live. Paul often uses this metaphor this way. You can see this in chapter 3, verse 7, where Paul was describing the sins which is characteristic of all of us before Christ. He says, “in them you also once walked, when you were living in them.” In other words, these are the ways in which you behaved. These are the ways in which you “walked.” In chapter 4, verse 5, we see the same phraseology come up again. It literally reads, “Walk with wisdom toward them" (as the KJV translates the phrase). The NASB and the ESV both translate this, “conduct yourselves.” The NIV translates this phrase, “the way you act.” This is what it means in verse 6, “As you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, live in Him.” In fact, this is what the footnote of the updated NASB indicates as it gives "lead your life" as an alternate reading.

When it is all said and done, this is how you ought to live. You are to live “in Christ.” How appropriate this text was for Richard Baxter, as the final words that he would speak to his people! How timely are these words for us as well. Let’s look at how it is that we are to “walk in Him.” My outline is quite simple. It follows the five modifying thoughts to this central idea of walking in Christ. The first is this. ...

1. Walk as you began.

I get this from the first half of verse 6, “as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him.” When you become a believer in Christ, the rules don’t change. The same way in which you received Him is the same way in which you need to continue living in Him.

It’s a bit like driving a car. Our neighbor’s sixteen year old daughter has just obtained her driver’s license this past Tuesday. We didn’t realize that she had her license until Friday, when my wife and I were standing outside in our yard with some friends. Here she comes driving down the street, all alone in the car. When she saw us, a big smile stretched across her face and she gave us a little wave, as if to say, "Hello Brandons! Check it out! I’m driving the car all by myself! My parents aren’t seated beside me. Well, ... I guess, I’ll be seeing you around!” We proceeded to see her drive down the street, and fail to quite make a stop at the end of the street. Now, what sort of advice do you suppose that her parents have given to her? I imagine that they have had a conversation with their daughter that went something like this. “Here, we are giving you the keys to our car. It’s a lot of responsibility. We want for you to drive safely. Remember how you drove when we were with you? That’s how we want for you to drive. Don’t try anything crazy or tricky or risky. We want for you to drive, just as you have been taught to drive.” This is the message that Paul is communicating to the Colossians. “As you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him.” accepting what is given. The idea here is one of embracing, trusting, and believing. Receiving Jesus is believing in Him. Receiving Jesus is trusting in Him.

Notice also that the receiving is receiving “all” of Jesus. Whoever Jesus is, you receive Him. Whatever Jesus is, you receive Him. In this context, there are two words that describe Jesus. Jesus is first described as being “Christ.” This is the Hebrew word for “Messiah,” the anointed One who was coming to save the people of Israel. And so, the idea of Jesus being “Christ” is the idea of Jesus coming to save. We know that He did this through the cross. Look down at verses 13 and 14, which describe His role as Messiah nicely. "When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross" (Col. 2:13-14). This was the work of the Messiah, the Christ. Dying in the place of those who would believe, that they might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Cor. 5:21).

Jesus is also described in verse 6 as “the Lord.” This has reference to His authority. Jesus is the creator, sustainer, and ruler of the world. He is the head of the church, who will come to have first place in everything! This is how Jesus is described in chapter 1, verses 15-18.

Colossians 1:15-18
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities--all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.

When you receive Jesus, you need to receive all of Him. Receiving Jesus is trusting Jesus as the Messiah, who came to save. Receiving Jesus is bowing to Jesus as Lord of the universe.

Indeed this is what those in Colossae had done. In chapter 1, we see Paul’s joy in their believing in Jesus. In verse 4, Paul writes of how they had faith in Jesus. They had believed in the gospel (chapter 1, verse 5). They had understood the grace of God in truth (chapter 1, verse 6). So, what is this grace of God that these people understood and embraced? Here it is in a nutshell. Jesus Christ, in whom “all the fullness of Deity dwells” (Col. 2:9), came to earth to die a death that we, as sinners, deserved. When we believe and trust in His death and resurrection, our sins are forgiven us (Col. 2:13). We are transferred from spiritual deadness to spiritual life (Col. 2:13). We become heirs of the kingdom (Col. 1:12), all by the grace of God to those who believe. When those at Colossae received Jesus, this is how they received Him. They received Him by faith, trusting Him to remove the hostility between us and God, which our sins have produced. If you have received Jesus by faith, this is what you have experienced as well. You have experienced forgiveness (Col. 2:13). You have experienced a new birth, from death to life (Col. 2:13). You now have a hope of eternal life in heaven (Col. 1:5).

And here’s the point of our text this morning: walk as you began (Col. 2:6). Walk in the gospel that saved you. Walk in faith. Walk as one who is forgiven. Walk in newness of life. Walk in the hope of heaven. In other words, live in the same manner as you did when you first believed in Christ. Never move on from this. Keep the course that you started.

In the athletic world, you always need to be reminded of the fundamentals. "Keep your eye on the ball." "Follow through on your swing." "Stay low to the ground." Such phrases are often uttered from the mouth of coaches. I have heard from many sources that legendary Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi would begin every season with a team meeting. With veterans and rookies surrounding him, he would hold high a football for all to see. Then, he would say, “Gentlemen, this is a football.” It was an effort to return his team to the fundamentals.

In the business world, you need to remember the things that made you successful. How many businesses fail, when they seek to expand their business to do more than what made them successful. The hamburger joint starts selling pizza also, and suddenly, their hamburgers don’t taste as good as they used to. Fewer and fewer people frequented their store. They forgot the fundamentals.

In the Christian life, it is no different. Never forget the gospel that saved you. Never forget the realities of the gospel. Never fail to live in the gospel. Never forget the sin that was forgiven. Never fail to place your hope in heaven. Or, as Paul said, “Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him.” You ought never to get beyond where you started in the Christian life. You began by faith. You ought to live by faith.

The Bible has several examples of people who failed at this very point. Perhaps the most obvious is the churches in Galatia to whom Paul wrote. To these people, Paul wrote, "You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified?" (Gal. 3:1). He told them that they appeared to be under a spell. They had clearly heard about Jesus Christ crucified. And yet, they were straying from this truth. Paul said, "This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?" (Gal. 3:2). Of course, this was a rhetorical question. All who read this letter would know that it wasn’t by works that they received the Spirit. It was by “hearing with faith.” And then, Paul continues, “Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” (Gal. 3:3). Do you catch his argument? Paul was telling them that they had missed the point by seeking to be perfected through the flesh and not as they had began (i.e. by faith). To continue your Christian life in any way different than the way in which you began your Christian life is a foolish endeavor. The entire book of Galatians is a letter devoted to bringing these people back to where they began. They began their Christian life in the Spirit through faith. They were to continue their Christian life in the Spirit through faith. It’s that simple.

Another example of those who failed to live as they began was the church in Ephesus. On the one hand, they were doing very well. Jesus told them, "I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false; and you have perseverance and have endured for My name's sake, and have not grown weary" (Revelation 2:2-3). Jesus was commending them for the good things that they were doing. Their doctrine was remaining orthodox. They were testing those making false claims. They were persevering through difficulties for the sake of the name of Christ. They hadn't grown weary in this respect. Should Jesus have finished there, we would certainly have been under the impression that this was a great church. However, Jesus was not pleased with them, as they had forgotten how they began their Christian walk. Jesus said, "But I have this against you, that you have left your first love" (Revelation 2:4). We don't know precisely what Jesus was referring to by this phrase, "first love." Some have said that it refers to evangelism. Others have said that it refers to loving God. Others that it refers to loving others. For the sake of my point, it doesn't much matter, as they had deserted the first things they had learned. Jesus rebuked them for it. He said, "Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place--unless you repent" (Revelation 2:5). In other words, Jesus would destroy their church if they didn't return to their initial condition. Despite doing many good things, their first love was neglected. Despite being orthodox in their theology, they were no longer doing the things that they had been doing at first. Unless they repented, Jesus would eliminate the church.

I trust you see the significance of my first point: Walk as you began! To fail to do so brings terrible consequences.

2. Walk like a tree.

The illustration might be a bit humorous, but this is what Paul was saying. Look at verse 7, “Walk in Him, having been firmly rooted.” In literary terms, they were mixing metaphors, which is generally frowned upon.

C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien were great friends. They were both professors together in the English department in Oxford. They had a weekly meeting (along with a few other professors) called, the "Inklings," where they would share their recent writing among the group. It would then be critiqued by others at the meeting. It was a way to sharpen their writing skills. Anyhow, when C. S. Lewis shared his new book, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, with Tolkien. Tolkien's criticism of the book is that "it seemed like a jumble of unrelated mythologies." [1] For instance, Tolkien objected to the character called, "Father Christmas." Tolkien told C. S. Lewis that he was mixing his metaphors. Narnia is a fantasy land. But, Father Christmas brings a flavor of reality into the book with the allusion to the present day tradition of giving gifts to celebrate the coming of Christ.

However bad it might be, Paul mixes his metaphors. He tells us to walk like a tree. The picture here is of a tree, whose roots dig deep into the soil. This tree is able to withstand a drought, because it isn’t dependent upon the surface water. Rather, it receives its nourishment from the water that is found deep down into the soil. A mature oak tree can draw up to 50 or more gallons of water per day through its root system. This tree is not going to blow away in a high wind, because its roots stretch deep and wide. To push over the tree is to move a mountain load of dirt! Oh, how different are the root structures of the mighty oak tree and the tumbleweed. A tumbleweed grows with a single stem that secures it into the ground. Once its seeds are ripe in autumn, a layer of cells in the stem of the plant weaken, and it eventually breaks away from the ground when the wind comes. The wind drives this light, rolling mass through the countryside, where it will drop its many seeds along the way. As we live our Christian lives, we need to be rooted like a tree, and not like a tumbleweed.

What needs to be noted at this point is the tense of this verb. Paul says that those in Colossae, “have been firmly rooted.” This is called the perfect tense, which means that it has already taken place, but that it has a present reality as well. In other words, they are rooted in the faith. The exhortation comes here for them to stay rooted. They need to continue to be rooted in the faith. They need to remain as oak trees. They need to refuse to let their roots decay like the tumbleweed. This goes back to my first point. They need to walk as they began.

Paul was telling these believers in Colossae, that the message Epaphras had brought to them was sufficient for them. The soil in which they have first placed their roots is the same soil that will continue to nourish them in the future. They don’t need to go to the field across the road, where the soil appears to be more fertile. In Christ Jesus, they have everything that they need. Peter said it well in his second epistle: “His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3). There is nothing more that you need, but that you already have.

This past Monday (on my day off), as is often my case, I asked Yvonne if there were any projects that she would like done. After coming up with a list of projects that we need to complete on our house, we both decided to attempt to solve the mold problem on our porch. On the ceiling, we had some mold growing. So, we took out the bleach and began to wash off the mold. After the bleach dried, we were going to pain the ceiling. But, as we looked around the porch, we discovered that not only did the ceiling need painting. But, actually, the rest of the porch needed painting. But, to paint the porch, I needed to take off the screens. But, in taking off the screens, I found that we had several boards that were rotting out. So, I’m planning on replacing a bunch of boards on the porch. Needless to say, I didn’t complete my project on Monday as I had anticipated. (And after working on it off and on all week, it’s still not finished).

Well, at one point (once the screens were off), we saw that we needed to scrape some paint off of our porch. Yvonne asked me if we had a paint scraper. I said, “No.” So, she ran up the street to Lowe's to purchase a paint scraper. As she began scraping, the kids came along and wanted to help. This time, I went to Lowe's to purchase another paint scraper, so they could help. Good thing we only live 5 minutes from Lowe's. Later in the day, I was downstairs, looking in my tools for something, lo, and behold, what did I find? In the midst of my pile of messy tools, I found another scraper. So, now we have three of them.

Here’s the point. We had no need to go out for two separate trips to purchase a paint scraper. We already had one! I simply didn’t recognize that I had a paint scraper. This is the point of Paul in Colossians 2:7. You are already rooted in the faith. There is no reason for you to seek other soil. If you have Jesus, you have everything that you need. “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things" (Romans 8:32).

3. Walk like a house.

Again, the imagery is humorous, but this is what Paul says. “Walk in him, having been firmly rooted [and now] being built up in Him.” The Christian life is a life of growth. Although we have everything that we need at the point of salvation, and although we need to continue in the way that we have begun, there still should be growth in Christ.

In this instance, the picture of a growing Christian is the picture of a construction project. I trust that you have seen a house being built. The foundation is poured. The first floor is laid. The walls go up next. The second floor is placed down. The second story walls are next. Finally, the trusses are placed on the top floor. Then, the roof is placed on the house. Notice that our text indicates that the believer is “built up,” and not “built out.” This is a great literal translation of this text. The sense in this phrase is the same as in the previous one. Though the tree continues to grow, it continues to grow in the same soil, where the roots have been implanted. Though the house continues to be built, it is built upon the one foundation of Jesus Christ. That’s the point of that little phrase, “in Him.” We are to be “built up in Him.”

I believe that the best way to understand this phrase is to take it to imply that Christ is the means of our growth. Do you want to grow in your Christian life? Learn more about Jesus. Learn more about His love. Learn more about His atoning sacrifice. Learn more about His role as high priest. Learn more about His divine character. Learn more about His role as King. Learn more about the way He dealt with people. Learn more about how He loves the church. As you learn about these things, believe them to be real. As you learn about these things, draw closer to Jesus. Cultivate a greater love for Him in your heart. Notice that these things aren’t especially new things. So, it’s not so much new things that you need to grow in. Rather, it’s in a fuller understanding of these things.

In his farewell sermon using this passage, Richard Baxter made this point well (in his old English), ...

Understand well wherein it is your confirmation, stability, rootedness, and growth in religion, consists. The chief part of your growth in grace is not to know more things than you knew before; but to grow in the knowledge, belief, entertainment, and improvement of the same truths, that at first you did receive. ... It is not additional to your former knowledge, but the clearer known, sounder believing, heartier entertaining and improving of the truths you know at first; as the health of a man consists not in having every day variety of food, but in parting and digesting of the same food, that is fittest for him. Get but a more perfect conviction, or concoction of what you knew before, and this is your growth. [2]

This is exactly Paul's point. It's not that we need to know more than we already know. Rather, we need to fully know what we know.

4. Walk like a rock.

This comes from the phrase, “and established in your faith, just as you were instructed.” I know that the text doesn’t say that we should be like a rock, but this is the idea. The idea here is one of firmness, steadiness, security. In fact, this is the idea of the previous two phrases (“being firmly rooted and being built up”). Thus, my second, third and fourth points are really all the same. The message is that we need to be firm in our Christian walk. We need to be firm, “just as you were instructed” (as verse 7 says). So, come to think about it, all of my points this morning are all the same. “As you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, being rooted in Him (i.e. don't move away from your initial faith), being built up in Him (i.e. don't trust in anything else, but Christ), being established in your faith, (i.e. don’t move away from your faith), just as you were instructed (i.e. the way you began is the way you should continue.”

This is the message that Paul has been saying throughout this epistle. His prayer for them (in chapter 1, verses 10 and 11) was for them to be ... “bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience.” He was praying for lives that would grow. He was praying for lives that were being strengthened. He was praying for lives that would be firm and established.

Paul pressed the importance of staying firmly committed to what was first taught them in chapter 1, verse 23. “If indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard.” Notice how the idea of being unmovable is in this verse. (He uses words like “firmly established” and “steadfast”) Notice also how the idea of walking in the way in which you begun is in this verse as well. (He tells them not to move away from the hope of the gospel that was first preached to them.)

This is the message of Colossians. This is the message of the Christian life: Stand firm in your faith. Stand firm in the hope of the gospel. Don’t waver. Don’t move. Don’t seek something else that will help you along the way. Stand firm in your faith. Walk like a rock.

How easily we are tempted away from this. C. S. Lewis made this point in his excellent book entitled, “The Screwtape Letters.” This book is a fictional account of one demon, named “Screwtape,” writing letters of advice to his disciple demon, named “Wormwood.” The idea of these letters is to counsel Wormwood on how to distract his Christian “patient” away from Christianity. Screwtape writes, ...

My dear Wormwood,
The real trouble about the set your patient is living in is that it is merely Christian. They all have individual interests, of course, but the bond remains mere Christianity. What we want, if men become Christians at all, is to keep them in the state of mind I call “Christianity And.” You know -- Christianity and the Crisis, Christianity and the New Psychology, Christianity and the New Order, Christianity and Faith Healing, Christianity and Psychical Research, Christianity and Vegetarianism, Christianity and Spelling Reform. If they must be Christians, let them at least be Christians with a difference. Substitute for the faith itself some Fashion with a Christian colouring. Work on their horror of the Same Old Thing. [3]

I am here to tell you that the “Same Old Thing” is the very “Thing” that we continue to need. It’s the very “Thing” that we need to remind ourselves of. It’s the very “Thing” that we need to remember. It's the very "Thing" that we need never tire of hearing. It’s the very “Thing” that we can’t let go.

At Men’s Equippers last week, we passed out a book entitled, “The Cross Centered Life” by C. J. Mahaney. We are encouraging the men to read the book. We are distributing it to the ladies as well and encouraging them to read it as well. The subtitle of the book is this: “Keeping the Gospel the Main Thing.” The thrust of the book is exactly what Colossians 2:6-7 are talking about. The saving message of the gospel isn’t merely for unbelievers. The saving message of the gospel is for those who believe as well. Certainly, unbelievers need to hear the message of the gospel, so that they can believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ. However, as believers in Christ, we also have a need to hear it as well. We who have been forgiven of our sins need constant reminders of the wonders of God’s grace in our lives. In this book, C. J. Mahaney writes, ...

Reminding ourselves of the gospel is the most important daily habit we can establish. If the gospel is the most vital news in the world, and if salvation by grace is the defining truth of our existence, we should create ways to immerse ourselves in these truths every day.

In his book, The Discipline of Grace, Jerry Bridges calls this "preaching the gospel to yourself." Don’t worry--even if you don’t consider yourself a public speaker, you can do this. Your audience is your own heart. And the message is simple: Christ died for your sins. "To preach the gospel to yourself," Bridges explains, "means that you continually face up to your own sinfulness and then flee to Jesus through faith in His shed blood and righteous life."

It’s a matter of sitting yourself down, grabbing your own attention, and saying, "Hey, self, listen up! This is what matters most: You’re forgiven! You have hope! Your hope is based on the sacrifice of Jesus. So let’s not view this day any other way. Let this day be governed by this one defining truth. [4]

As I have thought about these things over the past few years, what has continually encouraged me is the simple truth that God hasn’t simply ignored my sin. He hasn't swept it under the rug. Rather, God is fully aware of my sin and has dealt with it completely in the cross of Christ. There is no need for me to feel condemnation or guilt over my sin. That’s the truth that I need to continually need to remind myself of. And so, when I sin, as I did against my wife on the way to church this morning, I need to confess it to my wife (which I did). I also need talk to myself saying, "My sin is dealt with at the cross." To be honest, I have as much need to believe it today as I did the day I first believed in the gospel.

And when I do that, I find that an overwhelming sense of thanksgiving arises in my heart, which leads to my last point this morning. ...

5. Walk with thanksgiving.

Verse 7 ends with the simple phrase, “overflowing with gratitude.” It's almost as if Paul has merely attached this to the end of this verse to remind us of the attitude that we must have through all of this. He has done this on other occations as well. For instance, in chapter 1, verse 10-11, Paul prays for those in Colossae to please the Lord in every respect by bearing fruit, being strengthened, and attaining all steadfastness and patience. In verse 12, he ends this list by explaining how they should be "joyously giving thanks to the Father" who had wondrously saved them. Also, in Colossians 3:15, Paul says, "Let the peace of Christ richly dwell within you, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful." It's almost as if the thanksgiving is an afterthought. However, I believe that it's more than that. It believe that thanksgiving is an attitude that ought to pervade all of our lives.

Paul says that we ought to be "overflowing with gratitude." The picture here is of a fountain of water bubbling over. This past week, Yvonne and I were out to dinner with a couple from the church. We went to a restaurant that had a large fountain in the foyer as you walk in. The water keeps bubbling out of the fountain. After bubbling out, it trickles down and eventually gets recycled. That's how we ought to be in our giving of thanks. It ought to spew out of our mouths constantly. We ought to be "overflowing with gratitude."

I want for you to think a bit more about this fountain. What would happen if you tried to stop the fountain with your hand? The water would still come out, but, with the pressure, it would spray out and get everyone wet. So ought our expressions of thanksgivings be. If something comes into our lives, and seeks to suppress our thankfulness, the inner pressure of our lives ought to well up within us and cause our thankfulness to "get everyone wet." All should hear about it.

What should I be thankful for? This text here would call us to focus upon all that we have received in our salvation. God took us from being dead in our sins to being alive in Jesus Christ. He has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light (1:12). He has rescued us from danger and darkness. He has transferred us into the kingdom of His Son (1:13). He has redeemed us (1:14). He has forgiven us (1:15). Thus, we have a hope for a future with God. We know that we don't face condemnation any longer.

We can also thank the Lord for little blessings as well. Recently, I had dinner with an old friend, who had been saved from a life of drugs. He was talking about the blessings that children have of growing up in a Christian home. He even thought a bit about the simple act of praying before a meal with families. He had tears running down his face, thinking of what a great blessing such a thing was. Oh, let's not pass up the little things in life that are worthy of giving thanks to God for.

If you find that you have exhausted all of the thanks that you can give for your salvation and for the many blessings that have come upon your life, be like the fountain at the restaurant I recently went to, which recycles the water. Bring the same things up again and again and again. IN that way, you can be "overflowing with gratitude."

May the following hymn be the prayer of our hearts.

Jesus, keep me near the cross, there a precious fountain.
Free to all, a healing stream, flows from Calvary’s mountain.
In the cross, in the cross, be my glory ever;
Till my raptured soul shall find rest beyond the river.

Near the cross, a trembling soul, love and mercy found me;
There the bright and morning star, sheds its beams around me.
In the cross, in the cross, be my glory ever;
Till my raptured soul shall find rest beyond the river.

Near the cross! O Lamb of God, bring its scenes before me;
Help me walk from day to day, with its shadows o’er me.
In the cross, in the cross, be my glory ever;
Till my raptured soul shall find rest beyond the river.

Near the cross I’ll watch and wait, hoping, trusting ever,
Till I reach the golden strand, just beyond the river.
In the cross, in the cross, be my glory ever;
Till my raptured soul shall find rest beyond the river. [5]

This sermon was delivered to Rock Valley Bible Church on June 25, 2006 by Steve Brandon.
For more information see www.rvbc.cc.

[1] Jack, A Life of C. S. Lewis, by George Sayer, p. 312.

[2] Farewell Sermons, Preached by the Ejected Non-Conformist Ministers of 1662 to their Congregations on the Day of their Ejection, pp. 122-123.

[3] The Screwtape Letters, by C. S. Lewis, at the beginning of chapter 25.

[4] The Cross Centered Life, by C. J. Mahaney, pp. 54-55.

[5] Near the Cross, written by Fanny Crosby