16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
The gospel is both the catalyst and content for all teaching, admonishing, and singing. We are called to dwell deep in the word of Christ and have its riches lavishly poured out on others. What is “the word of Christ”? Certainly all of God’s Word is the word of Christ and about Christ. But most commentators agree that Paul is speaking more specifically about the gospel – the message of who Jesus is and what He has done for sinners.
The consequence of dwelling in the gospel is greater usefulness in the service of others. From the overflow of the riches of the gospel, others are blessed by instruction, encouragement, and celebration–all of which is centered on Jesus Christ. What greater teaching is there than the truths about Jesus Christ? What greater exhortation do we have than to remember, repent, and return continually to Jesus Christ? What greater song do we have to sing than the glories of Calvary? What produces greater thankfulness than the profound sense of once being lost, now found, one blind but now see, once an enemy but now a son? What channels our thoughts and affections with greatest intensity so that we “do everything in the name of Lord Jesus” than that very message that has captivated our lives?
We are called to live gospel-centered lives because the riches of the gospel demand that be immersed in them. To be rich in the “word of Christ” is to be utterly soaked in it. God delights in believers who are excessive and lavish about the excellencies of His Son so that the commentary of our lives declare the abundance of the inheritance we have as children of God.
Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. So if we have little to say about Christ, what does it say about the state of our dwelling richly in word of Christ? It is said that you and I speak a minimum of 6,000 words a day (over 2 million words each year!). Paul says whatever we do in “word and deed” should be done in the name of Jesus Christ. How else can we interpret that other than to have a conscious awareness and commitment to the dominating reality of King Jesus? The prescriptive means to make our 6,000+ words count, whether aimed at instruction, encouragement, or celebration, is to have our hearts immersed deeply in the gospel of Jesus Christ. When we never lose the wonder of sheer grace, we guard our hearts from the wandering tendency to do everything in our name. May God grant to us an understanding of the value of dwelling richly in the gospel, and from its overflow, cause others to be refreshed by the life-giving words of our Risen Savior.