Colossians 3:16c

The First Effect of the Indwelling Word



1. Paul has been explaining how to walk the worthy walk mentioned in the first chapter.

a. 3:1-2 – we are to be heavenly-minded… heavenly affections.

b. 3:3-4 – we are to see ourselves as God does: dead to this world, and our new life hidden with Christ in God… Christ IS our new life.

c. 3:5-9 – therefore, in light of this new position, we are to PUT OFF the sins of the flesh like dirty garments.

d. 3:10-14 – and since we are a new man in Christ, we are to PUT ON new clothing, suitable for such a glorious position.

e. 3:15 – peace and a thankful spirit are to rule in our hearts.

2. 3:16 – now Paul continues to teach us HOW to walk worthy… and he relates it to the Word of Christ.

a. The Word of Christ is the inspired Word of God as it pertains to the PERSON of Christ, the eternal Son of God and our Savior.

b. This Word is to DWELL richly in our hearts… just as the Lord Jesus dwells in our hearts. They should both be AT HOME in our hearts…

c. If our hearts are heavenly minded, He WILL be at home there!

d. If the world’s way of thinking reigns in our hearts, Christ and His Word (written and personal Logos) will be most uncomfortable.

e. When the Word of Christ is dwelling richly and comfortably in our hearts, it will have a DEEP influence on the way we think, live, talk, and walk!

f. It will be life transforming. The influence will be so great that soon we will begin to think, talk, and walk as did the Lord Jesus…

3. Last week we looked at the COMMAND in this verse: LET the Word of Christ dwell in you richly.

a. That command is followed by three participles: teaching, admonishing, and singing. That much is crystal clear.

b. However, how to divide (or diagram) this verse is not as clear.

4. I am going to diagram this passage a little differently then the way it appears in the King James Version.

a. It boils down to a matter of relocating the punctuation marks, which did not appear in the ancient manuscripts anyway.

b. In two different Textus Receptus manuscripts (of 1550 and 1881), the punctuation marks appear in different places.

c. In MOST manuscripts there are no punctuation marks… so it is up to the interpreter to insert them according to his interpretation of the verse.

5. In the King James Version, the translators chose to punctuate the passage in such a way that there are three sections: (3 exhortations)

a. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom;

b. Teaching and admonishing one another by means of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs,

c. Singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
• They connected the psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with the teaching and admonition
• They separated the psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs from the singing.

6. I am suggesting that we diagram the verse a bit differently:

a. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly;

b. In all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another,

c. In psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
• I have connected the psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with the singing and have kept the teaching and admonition in a separate category.

7. Reasons for doing so:

a. The most ancient manuscripts had no punctuation marks.

b. Different Textus Receptus Manuscripts have it punctuated differently—so the interpreter is FORCED to decide for himself.

c. It equally divides the descriptive terms in each section (dwelling is characterized by richly; teaching and admonishing are characterized by wisdom; singing is characterized by grace).

d. It keeps the teaching section together as a unit, and it keeps the musical section together as a unit.

e. It makes more sense (to me at least) to link together in one thought wisdom with teaching and admonition.

f. Col. 1:28 – indicates that Paul uses the expression “in all wisdom” in relation to teaching, not dwelling.

g. AND separating the singing from the psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs does not seem logical.

h. But I really want you to know WHAT I’m doing in this verse and WHY…

i. You may choose to slice the pizza any way you want! Whether six or eight slices, it is the same pizza any way you slice it! It is not going to alter the meaning of any doctrines no matter HOW you slice it!

8. An overview of Col. 3:16 with the altered punctuation marks:

a. The command: Let the Word of Christ dwell in our hearts richly
• The first effect: wise teaching and admonition among the saints.
• The second effect: singing of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.

9. We are going to dig into the MIDDLE part of verse 16 this morning.


1. When the Word of Christ is dwelling richly in your heart (or mine), the first effect is to want to SHARE it with other believers!

a. Teaching and admonishing ONE ANOTHER!

b. The “one another” refers to the other saints in the local church.

2. We have MANY “one another” commands in the New Testament:

a. We are to love one another; serve one another; forgive one another; submit to one another; forbear; comfort; exhort; minister to; confess your faults; use hospitality toward; etc.

b. Here are two more responsibilities we have to one another: to teach and to admonish.

3. Where the Word of Christ is dwelling richly in hearts, there will be an interest in the spiritual well being of each member of the Body… one another.

a. Rom. 12:5 – we are members one of another! We are connected to each other in the Body of Christ.
• It only makes good sense for members of the same Body to desire to see other members in good spiritual health!
• It only makes sense to want to HELP weaker members of the Body to LEARN more of Christ, more of the Word of Christ, and more of their responsibilities as believers… so that they might grow to maturity.
• We accomplish this by teaching and admonishing one another.
• The teaching and admonishing ought to SPRING from a concern for and love for one another… a love for the brethren… a love for members of the Body of Christ… a genuine desire for God’s best in their lives…

b. I Cor. 12:25 – we should desire to see CARE for one another in the Body.
• This speaks of EACH and every member showing CARE for the all of the other members.
• Vs. 22-24 – regardless of how feeble they may seem, they are ALL necessary…
• Hence, it only makes sense that we would want to see each and every member be well TAUGHT in the Scriptures… so if the Word dwells richly in you, TEACH them! Share what you have learned in the Word!
• And if a brother is heading in the wrong direction, since he is a member of the same body in which YOU dwell, it makes sense for us to want to admonish him! We are members one of another!

4. It is a privilege to have the Word of Christ dwelling in us RICHLY.

a. It takes TIME to learn, to grow, and to mature in Christ.

b. It takes TIME for the Word about Christ… truth about Him to sink down DEEPLY into our minds and hearts.

c. It takes TIME to learn the deep things of God…

d. It takes TIME for the Word of Christ to become deeply entrenched in our minds and hearts…

e. It takes years to grow to maturity in the Lord…

f. Over time, as we walk with the Lord, filled with the Spirit of God, the Word of Christ DOES sink in deeply… become entrenched, and dwells RICHLY in our hearts.

g. This is spiritual maturity… and it doesn’t happen overnight.

h. But when the Word of Christ DOES dwell in us richly… when God has graciously granted to us MUCH LIGHT and much truth… that privilege makes us RESPONSIBLE.

i. Light makes us accountable and responsible. “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required.” (Luke 12:48)

j. I Cor. 4:1-2 – To have the Word of Christ dwelling in us richly makes us STEWARDS of that truth…
• And it is required in stewards that a man be found FAITHFUL!
• This is especially so of stewards of the mystery of CHRIST… He in us and we in Him… and all that that truth implies!

k. In Col. 3:16, after giving the saints in Colossae the truth concerning the indwelling ministry of Christ and the Word of Christ, Paul now tells us of our RESPONSIBILITY to share that light and that truth with one another!

l. Truth and light from God are never to be put under a bushel or kept for oneself. Truth and light are to be shared!

m. And first of all, we are to share truth about Christ with our brothers and sisters in Christ! Teaching and admonishing one another… out of love for Christ and love for our brethren!

5. Believers who learn from the Scriptures, to learn of the glorious power of the mystery of Christ in us, do not always USE that knowledge aright.

a. A little knowledge puffeth up! Sometimes knowledge can go to our heads! We begin to think that we have “arrived”!

b. Sometimes after we grow in knowledge of Christ… arrive at a certain level of maturity (nowhere NEAR the prize of the high calling), but growing and maturing…
• We then begin to LOOK DOWN upon other believers who have not yet arrived at that level of maturity… and whose life and choices demonstrate their lack of maturity.
• That’s the WRONG approach.
• If we have knowledge of Christ, we should remember the words of Paul, “And what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?
• Puffing ourselves up or looking down on less knowledgeable believers is NOT the right approach. It is sin!

c. The RIGHT response is to use the light we have been given to help others… to teach and admonish other believers… that they too might GROW in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.
• Some folks use the Bible to beat one another over the head.
• We ought to use the Bible (truth and light) to BUILD UP… not to tear down.
• Remember, we are members one of another!
• If the Word of Christ dwells richly in us, we should have a desire to see it dwell richly in others too!
• God’s method for that is for mature believers to use the light they have been given to teach and admonish others… in love…


1. Teaching defined: impart instruction; instill doctrine in someone;

2. Context: the indwelling Word…

a. It is from a heart in which the word of Christ is dwelling RICHLY that teaching others is to flow…

b. Richly: abundantly, exceedingly, generously.

c. The one who has received of God richly, abundantly, and exceedingly ought to want to SHARE that wealth with others.

d. This is especially so when it comes to the riches found in God’s Word.

e. Truth and light are NOT to be hoarded…

f. When our hearts are full to overflowing with wonderful truths about the Lord Jesus, it should be a natural thing to let that overflow for others… teaching… imparting instruction…

3. Col.1:28 –

a. The content of the preaching is CHRIST.

b. Consider the word Whom (?? [hon]). That is, “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
• It is not just Christ in the abstract or in a generic sense, but Christ in you the hope of glory is the content of his preaching. That’s the Christ we preach!
• We don’t preach the Old Testament message of Christ: Messiah is coming to suffer and die; or Messiah is coming to reign forever…
• Nor do we preach the message of Christ as presented in the gospel… as the King offering the kingdom (Repent; for the kingdom of God is at hand.)
• We don’t preach a baby Christ in a manger. We don’t preach a dead Christ on a crucifix.
• We don’t preach about a mortal Jesus as a carpenter who was tired and weary…
• We preach the risen and glorified Savior, who is physically in heaven, but who dwells in our hearts today… Christ IN you… and you IN Him…

c. The goal of all teaching is to present every man PERFECT (mature) in Christ.
• And maturity comes from learning the Word of Christ… the word ABOUT Him…
• The Word of Christ teaches us about this unique and wonderful relationship we have today to the risen Lord Jesus…

4. When these truths dwell richly in our hearts, they should be FLOWING off our lips to others…

a. This is not necessary as an official church teacher… but it should be the topic of conversation in the hallway… at fellowship times… when we meet together at other times too.

b. This is an “unofficial” form of teaching… something that should occur naturally when believers meet together.

c. Deut. 6:6-9 – the words of the LAW of Moses were to be on the minds and hearts of God’s earthly people Israel.
• It was therefore to be taught in an unofficial way all day long at home… a natural topic for conversation.
• These Old Testament truths from the law were to be constantly before their “eyes” pictured by the frontlets.

d. Col. 3:1-2 –the Christian is not under the Law. He is not to have the legal code before his mind’s eye all day.
• We are to set our affections (mind!) on things above… on Christ Himself!
• We are not to be looking to the law, but looking unto Jesus, the Author and finisher of our faith!
• The word of the law was before the Israelite and it had an influence on his life… his rule of life.
• The word of Christ is to be before our eyes as Christians… and HE is our rule of life… and as we behold HIS glory, it has a life transforming influence on us!
• What we have is FAR BETTER than what the Old Testament saints had.
• And when the Word of Christ dwells in us RICHLY, we too will want to talk about HIM when we sit in our house, or walk by the way, when we lie down or sit up… in other words –through our everyday lives!
• And talking of Him and His indwelling glory is an informal way that we ALL participate in teaching one another!
• If the Word is dwelling RICHLY in our hearts… this is the most natural thing in the world!

e. We don’t need an official class or a pulpit to teach one another about Christ in this sense.
• Titus 2:3-5 – The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness?, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; ? 4That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, ? 5To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands.”
• Titus 2:6-8 – The aged men can teach the “?young men likewise exhort to be sober minded. ? 7In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity,? 8Sound speech, that cannot be condemned.”
• We are all to participate in teaching one another in the local church.

5. I Tim. 1:3 – Paul left Timothy in Ephesus that he might charge some that they teach no OTHER doctrine.

a. It is the responsibility of church elders (shepherds) to guard and protect the assembly from wolves who come into our midst teaching false doctrines.

b. However, there is a role each member of the Body can play too…

c. We can teach one another sound doctrine to SUPPORT the ministry of the pastor and official church teachers.

d. If someone comes with “another doctrine” he is likely to test the waters on the people first… before he attempts to teach it publicly. (How will the people receive it?)

e. If he comes to you, and the Word dwells richly in your heart, let him know that his false teaching will never fit in here!

f. If a believer asks a sincere question about a doctrine… and he really wants to know about eternal security, the rapture, the kingdom, etc… if the Word is dwelling richly in you then SHARE what you have been taught!

g. If you know of a believer who is confused over a particular doctrinal issue, then find some good literature on the subject that might be helpful… that is a supporting role to teaching…

6. II Tim. 2:2 – the same teach to others!

a. Those who have been taught ought to share the wealth… spread the light… teaching one another.

b. It isn’t necessary to be an official teacher of the church to share truth.

c. Even if you don’t have the gift of teaching, you can share what you know with a brother in the hallway… or point him to someone who does know!

d. This is part of our responsibility one to another in teaching!

e. In this way, we can ALL participate in promoting the truth about Christ in the local church.

f. And if you’re not sure about an issue, ask someone who does know!

7. The word is to indwell us richly.

a. But the purpose is NOT so that we will be smart and dazzle folks with our knowledge of Scripture.

b. But rather for a USEFUL purpose: to minister to other members of the Body…. By teaching one another… sharing the light God has given us.

8. The more we use the Word of God in ministering to others, the sharper our sword becomes! Iron sharpens iron.


1. Admonition defined: νουθετέω – to warn; exhort; admonish; rebuke for a wrong done; advice concerning the consequences of… to have a corrective influence on someone.

a. This is the term chosen by Jay Adams to describe Christian counseling. (nouthetic counseling)

b. Counseling a brother would be a good example of this term.

c. I Cor. 4:14 – Paul wrote a letter of harsh correction to the Corinthian believers and said that he did so to WARN them… (same term)… as beloved SONS.

d. Eph. 6:4 – The term is used of fathers bringing up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (counseling; giving advice; warning; exhorting; correcting, etc.)

e. II Thess. 3:15 – Even when there is serious sin, we are to have no company with that brother, “yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a BROTHER.”

f. It is used often in a FAMILY setting… and that seems to be the sense in which we are to admonish one another in the local church… as BROTHERS in Christ.

g. Admonition does NOT mean pontificating… it does not mean beating up on someone.

h. It means to warn, to counsel, to give advice, as a father would to a son he loved!

i. When a family member is admonished, our only goal is restoration! That’s the purpose of admonition…

2. And this is NOT the responsibility of the pastor and elders EXCLUSIVELY.

a. It is the responsibility of EVERY member in the Body.

b. Rom. 15:14 = able to admonish one another.

c. There are TWO prerequisites:
• Filled with goodness: good motives; good intent – not pride; not self will; good goal – the restoration of the brother… not just to tear him down and ridicule.
• Filled with KNOWLEDGE
» In other words, if we are going to warn or counsel someone, be sure you know what you are talking about!
» You need knowledge! And that knowledge is to come from the Word of God rightly divided.
» The Word of Christ should be dwelling in you richly!
» Filled and richly are related terms.
• So if you are going to admonish a brother, check this list first! Are your motives right? Are you filled with goodness? Are you filled with knowledge? Are you sure that your counsel is in line with the Bible rightly divided?
• If so, then you are ABLE to admonish one another!

b. This is an extremely VALUABLE tool for the Body of Christ.
• Eph. 4:11-12 – This is part of what Paul meant when he said that the members of the Body are to be TAUGHT so that they might do the work of the ministry!
• God’s plan is not for the pastor to be a full time counselor (which notion is popular today).
• God’s plan is for the pastor to teach the Word so that EVERY SAINT is equipped and ABLE to admonish!
• When the pastor sees himself as a Christian counselor, then he will be spending more of his time counseling and less time in the Word.
• Thus, the pastor who emphasizes counseling cannot put as much time in the Word… and the saints will be not be fed as well… and thus LESS able to admonish one another… and in MORE need of counseling and admonition themselves!
• And the body will end up with ONE counselor with MANY people who need counseling… rather than with MANY counselors with fewer people who need counseling.
• Our adversary is clever. He knows how to turn God’s program on its head! Let’s stick to God’s plan.
• This Body will function much better with 100 ministers teaching, admonishing, and doing the work of the ministry rather than one.

c. A personal testimony about counseling:
• I have seen the good results of sticking to God’s pattern.
• Over the years, I have had folks come to me and said, “Pastor, Alice came to me with a problem and I pointed her to this Bible verse and told her to do “X”. Was I wrong?
• Often folks are afraid to counsel because they are not professionally trained Christian counselors.
• But the Bible says that if your intentions are right and you know God’s Word on the subject you are ABLE to admonish!
• My response is usually, “No, you weren’t wrong at all. I would have told Alice the same thing. Keep up the good work! You are able to admonish one another.”
vi. When we approach admonishing one another with a right spirit (filled with goodness) and right information (pointing them to Christ and the Word of Christ) you can’t go wrong!
• Professionally trained Christian counselors are sometimes at a DISadvantage… because often the training mingles Bible truth with psychology.
• The “non professionals” (such as mentioned in Rom. 15:14) who know only the Word of God are ABLE to admonish. I believe that. We should practice it here.
• It is for the GOOD of the Body.

3. So keep on teaching and admonishing one another!


1. “In all wisdom” is to be connected with the teaching and admonition, not with what precedes (dwelling in your hearts…) as the King James Version implies.

a. Cf. Col. 1:28 – same usage – teaching “in all wisdom” – same phrase.

b. The point is that teaching and admonition are to be conducted in all wisdom!

c. It is possible to teach and to admonish WITHOUT wisdom. That can be disastrous!

d. If we are going to teach others… and warn others… and correct others… we NEED the wisdom of God!

e. We need ALL the wisdom we can get! The spiritual well being of a beloved brother in the Lord is at stake!

2. Wisdom is needed in applying the Word.

a. It is possible to be filled with goodness (good intentions) and to have a lot of knowledge from God’s Word, and yet lack wisdom.

b. Information can either help or hurt depending upon the WAY in which it is used.

c. Hence, we need wisdom in applying God’s Word… especially if we are going to be admonishing a brother…

d. Without wisdom, we can do that brother more harm than good.

3. A lack of wisdom in applying the Word is dangerous and can be quite hurtful.

a. Paul tells us that if we are going to teach and admonish one another, it is to be done in all wisdom!

b. For example: It is true that God wants us to walk by faith.
• But when a brother reads you that verse and advices you to cancel your insurance; or to refuse medical treatment; etc., he is lacking wisdom to apply it properly!
• That is a misunderstanding of what faith is.

c. Such a lack of wisdom often comes with the best of intentions…
• Hence, when we are admonished, we should receive it with thanksgiving… give it due consideration, BUT search the Scriptures to see if it is so! (Acts 17:11)
d. We need wisdom in knowing HOW to apply God’s Word to the lives of others.
• Sometimes well meaning believers (good brothers) can give very bad counsel and admonition.
• That well meaning brother may have SOME information from the Bible… SOME knowledge… but may not have the wisdom to know HOW to apply it!
• Prov. 25:11 – A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.
• It takes divine wisdom to know what to say… words FITTING the situation…

e. We need wisdom in knowing WHEN to apply Gods’ Word too!
• Another example: it is true that the Bible says, All things work together for good.
• This statement is always true… but it is not always appropriate…
• When a brother has just lost his wife to cancer… that’s not the time to quote Rom. 8:28.

To everything there is a season. That’s not the right time or season.

• Prov. 15:23 – A word spoken in due season, how good is it!
• Oh, how we need WISDOM to teach and admonish one another.
vi. A RICH indwelling of the Word… gives us not just raw data… knowledge, but the wisdom to use it aright.
• The word of Christ is not merely dwelling in the head (knowledge) but in the heart (wisdom).
• Such believers are priceless in the local assembly of the saints!
• Let’s pray that each one of us might grow to become such a help to the Body!


This was the FIRST effect of having a heart richly indwelt by the Word of Christ. Next week we will look at the second effect: SINGING psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs!


1. Before you can grow in the Word of Christ, you need first to take heed to the word of salvation!

2. 2000 years ago, Christ came to earth to become a Man and die for the sins of the world.

3. He paid the price of human sin by shedding His blood.

4. He died and rose again… for YOU!

5. He now offers you eternal life… salvation from condemnation in the lake of fire forever… if you will trust in Him.

6. John 3:16