Church Theme for 2011: Rooted and Built Up in Christ

“As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.” Colossians 2:6, 7

Dear Young People,

Every year, around the month of December, the Session of CERC will pick a church theme. This will serve as the theme for pastoral visitation, the various camps like CK, CKS and family camps and other ministries in the church for the New Year. So, for 2011, the Session has chosen the theme, “ROOTED AND BUIILT UP IN CHRIST”, which is taken from Colossians 2:6, 7.

Verse 6 begins with the words, “As you have therefore Christ Jesus the Lord”. The apostle had previously warned the saints against false teachers. In verse 6, the apostle presents the positive conclusion. Rather than listening to the beguiling words of the false teachers, they must walk in the sphere of Christ, even as they have received Christ. The word “received” does not mean to emphasise the activity of faith whereby they accepted Christ as we may say it today. Instead, the emphasis is on their having received Christ and having come into contact with Him through the preaching of the gospel. We see this in verse 7, where the apostle writes “as ye have been taught”. Through receiving the gospel, Christ had been brought to them.

Who did they receive? Note the full name of the Saviour: Christ Jesus the Lord. He is the Christ, that is, the anointed. He is anointed to be the officially appointed Saviour. Anointed to be the qualified Saviour of His people. He is anointed in the three-fold office of Prophet, Priest and King. As their Prophet, He is anointed, appointed and qualified to instruct them. As their High Priest, He represents them in heaven. He sacrificed for them, intercedes for them to the Father, and gave the promise of the Holy Spirit. As their King, He rules over them, as one who is officially appointed and qualified to be their King. He is also Jesus, that is, Jehovah Salvation. He is ordained to be their Saviour from sin and death and give to them righteousness and eternal life. As such, He is not only ordained, He is also qualified. And thus, He is also the Lord. As your Lord, you have been taught to know Him through the gospel. As your Lord, you have so received Him. This means that you know Him and are conscious of the fact that you are His possession which belongs to Him both in body and soul, in life and death. It implies that that you are conscious of being His servants, so that it is your delight to listen to His Word, to keep His Word and thus to do His will. Hence, because you have received Him as Christ Jesus the Lord, you must walk also in Him.

The word “walk” refers to the entire active life of the believer, both outwardly and inwardly. It is the active life of the body as well as of the soul: their thinking, willing, desiring, powers, gifts and talents. It is their active walk and life in the midst of the world and in every relationship of life, in home, in school, in church and in state. And this walk must be in Christ as they have received Him through the gospel. In no way must you move away from Him in your walk. In Christ, you must be moved by Him as you have received Him. In your behavior, you must be ruled by His Word. Thus, you have received Him, as the Lord who rules you inwardly by His Spirit and directs you outwardly by His Word of Truth.

Verse 7 constitutes the necessary means for such a walk in Christ. This means that the main thought of both verses is “walk ye in Christ”. If you are to walk in Christ, it is absolutely necessary that you be rooted and built up in Him, taught and established in the faith and abounding in thanksgiving. “Rooted” refers to the abiding in Christ and the firm relation of believers with Christ and they must never be separated from Him. The source of all our spiritual life is Christ. As the tree draws all its life-sap from the soil in which it is rooted, so believers draw their entire spiritual life and blessings out of Christ. Without Him, you are nothing and can do nothing. How did we become rooted in Christ? How did the plant find its place in the soil? Did it plant itself in the soil? Surely it was the gardener who decided to grow a chili plant and so he planted chili seeds and then through the process he has a chili plant. So, in the same way, we are rooted in Christ. Our Father is the Gardener and by the gracious work of the Holy Spirit, the Father engrafts us into Christ. The picture here is stem grafting where a stem from another plant which is not growing is cut and engrafted into another plant which is very fruitful and in turn that stem becomes fruitful. Why is this stem chosen for engrafting and not others? God chose us sovereignly and sent His only begotten Son to die for us in order that we may be engrafted or rooted in Christ. Being rooted in Christ is absolutely necessary for us to be built up in Him. The believers are here as a building, established on a foundation. This foundation is laid by the preaching and teaching of Epaphras, their pastor. And this foundation is laid by preaching that is in Christ only. So the figure of the building is not that the stones are believers and that the building grows by adding more stones. Rather, the stones are the truths and doctrines of the Christian faith. They must be built up in Him: that is, in the sphere of Jesus Christ and in Christ, they can be built up by increasing in the knowledge of the truth.

It is also necessary that they be established in the faith.   They must grow in Christ by means of increasing in the knowledge of the truth. But this knowledge of the truth must not be a mere intellectual knowledge of the various doctrines of salvation, but by the spiritual knowledge of the faith. And by that faith they must be established lest they be driven to and fro with every wind of doctrine   and by false philosophy. They had   been taught so that they could be rooted and built up and stablished by the faith in Christ. And they are to abound in thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is the principle of gratitude of the heart. This is the mark of a Christian. You are to be a thankful Christian. And you are to be abounding in thanksgiving. Here is the picture of a cup that is full to the extent that it is overflowing. Therefore, you are to conduct your life in such a way that it is overflowing with and abundant in thanksgiving unto the Lord. Why? The reason is that we have received Christ Jesus the Lord and all the blessings of salvation. It is a great joy to walk in Christ.

What is the implication of these truths for us? This year’s theme is “Rooted and built up in Christ”. And this year’s focus is on being rooted in Christ and next year’s will be on being built up in Christ. The focus for 2011 is very important for how can we be built up in Him before we are rooted in Him? First things first: being rooted is first, and then we are built up in Him. We said that to be rooted in Christ means that we are to abide in a firm relationship with Christ and we must never be separated from Him. In other words, the source of all our life is Christ. Practically, we can be more firmly rooted in Christ in two ways that you can put into practice in your life. One: daily and earnest prayer. You cannot be said to be rooted in Christ if you are prayer-less or not communing   with Christ daily. Pray daily; attend the church prayer meeting monthly. Second: daily reading and memorising of the Scriptures. How can you commune with the Lord if you are not interested to hear what the Lord will say to you? How many of you have read through the Bible? Let’s try to read the Bible within two years. Are you reading the Bible daily? Or are you more religious in going to Facebook than the face of God in the Scriptures? Covenant Instruction teachers should give their students weekly memory verses and their students must eagerly memorise them. Lastly, you cannot do all these in your own strength. How do we get strength for all these things? Pray. Dear young people, I pray that in this year you will be more rooted and built up in Christ.

Written by: Paul Goh | Issue 6