The Christian Walk
1. In vs.6, Paul gave the Colossians the command to walk in Him.
2. He also told them “how” = by faith… the same way you received Christ.
3. Now some more instructions are given on living the Christian life.
THE BEGINNING OF THE WALK: ROOTED IN HIM
A. Rooted in Him
a. To cause to strike root, to strengthen with roots, to render firm, to fix, establish, cause a person or a thing to be thoroughly grounded
b. The term is used only twice in the New Testament: here and in Eph. 3:17 – being rooted and grounded in love.
2. The Verb:
a. Participle: (walk) … having been rooted…
• After you have been rooted in Christ… then we are to walk in Him.
• You can’t WALK in Christ until you have been ROOTED in Him.
• Being rooted is required for the right kind of walk.
• Rooted precedes the walk…
• Being rooted in Christ is a prerequisite for walking.
b. Perfect: past completed action with present continuing results.
• The Colossians were “rooted” in the past, and they remain rooted.
• They STAND solidly as rooted ones.
• This indicates that this rooting took place at the moment of salvation… before they started their Christian walk. It is a prerequisite to a Christian walk.
• At the moment of salvation, God rooted them in Christ… like a seed or a plant planted in the ground, and thus deeply rooted in the soil.
• The planting or the rooting takes place BEFORE growth can occur.
c. Passive: the action was not performed by the Colossians, but was done TO them… from an outside source—namely, God.
• Only God can save. Only God can plant us in Christ.
• It is the work of the Holy Spirit to baptize into Christ—cause us to be rooted IN Him. (I Cor. 12:13)
• Rooting us in Christ is God’s work on our behalf. It is not something we ourselves could ever do.
• Our only responsibility is to BELIEVE on the Lord Jesus Christ… and then GOD will place us in Christ.
• The illustration Paul uses here is a plant being transplanted. We were in Adam, but at the moment of saving faith, God transplants us out of Adam, and IN Christ… we are planted or rooted in Christ.
• This speaks of a change of POSITION… in Christ… in His Body…
• This change of position is God’s work on our behalf at the moment of saving faith.
• The passive voice indicates that we are the recipients of this great work. God is the One who performs the work of rooting us in Christ.
3. In Him
a. This expression applies to BOTH “built up” and “rooted.”
b. One would naturally think of being rooted “on Him” not “in Him.”
• Our roots are not just ON Christ, but they are actually IN Him.
• This speaks of the unique relationship we have to Christ… as part of the mystery: positionally, we are IN Him and He is IN us.
• A branch is not merely superficially attached to the surface of a vine. It is organically UNITED to the vine… it is IN the vine.
• A member of the body (say a finger or arm) is not superficially attached to the surface of the body. It is organically united to it. It is in a sense, rooted right IN the body and part of the body. (not like a Mr. Potato head—superficial attachment!)
c. The Colossians (and all true believers) have been rooted IN Christ… by means of the baptism of the Spirit.
• I Cor. 12:13 – We were placed IN Christ. Our roots are in Him…
d. Thus, “rooted in Christ” means that He is the source of all of our growth.
• To use the illustration of a rooted plant (as in Col. 2:7), the plant is rooted deeply in the soil…
• The soil is the SOURCE of all the nutrients and even the water the plant needs for growth.
• This parallels the fact, that we are in Christ—and He is the source of all of our spiritual nutrients… the Living water… the Bread of Life… He is all we need.
• We are deeply ROOTED in the source of all we need.
e. Rooted in Him speaks of security and safety. (John 10:28-29)
• Being rooted in Christ speaks of the believer as a plant with deep roots.
• That plant is safe and secure when the stormy winds assault us.
• The believer is like a tree with deep roots and is safe. A tree without roots is easily blown over.
• We are like a deeply rooted tree—not tumbleweed—carried about with every wind—and blown around at the mercy of the wind.
• Paul’s point: Having been rooted in Christ, there is no need for a believer to be carried about with every wind of doctrine! (Eph. 4:14)
• The Colossians were under assault by the false teachers. Paul wanted them to know that they need not fear. They are safely rooted in Christ.
• All they had to do was ABIDE where they were planted… and they would GROW where they were rooted.
• As soil is the source of growth and nutrients for a rooted plant, so too Christ is the source of growth for the believer rooted In Him.
• He is our sustenance. He is our Life.
• He is our safety and stability: rooted in Him.
• A plant rooted in sand might blow away in the storms of life. But not a plant rooted in One who is called the Solid Rock… a firm foundation… Rock of Ages!
• What better foundation for our roots? That’s stability.
• It was the LORD who rooted us in Christ! What God does lasts forever… we were rooted once and for all.
• We CANNOT become uprooted… any more than we can become UN-baptized out of the Body… any more than the church can be shaken off the foundation of Christ… (the gates of hell shall not prevail!)… any more than we can be plucked from the Father’s hands. (John 10:28-29)
4. Having been rooted, we are then commanded to WALK in Him. (vs. 6-7)
a. It would be folly for an unbeliever to attempt to walk in Christ if he had not first been rooted in Him.
b. It is an impossible walk apart from Christ… without Christ we can do nothing… it is impossible to attempt to live the Christian life… walk the walk… apart from being rooted in the One who is the source of all the strength needed to walk!
c. We are able to walk in Christ because we are rooted in Him!
d. With our roots deeply planted in the rich soil of Christ, we have all we need to walk… to live the Christian life.
e. And outside of Christ—in the world – is NOTHING that will aid us in our walk.
f. Our walk is designed to manifest Christ—and to bear Christlike fruit. If that is going to occur, then our roots need to be IN HIM.
g. When our roots ARE in Him… bearing Christlike fruit will be as natural as a branch on a vine bearing grapes!
5. They say that an oak tree has as an extensive a root system BENEATH the surface as it has a branch system above the ground.
a. If that is true, it illustrates well the fact that much of our life as a Christian is HIDDEN away.
b. Col. 3:3 – our life is hidden with Christ in God.
c. The world only sees the external—as the world only sees the branches on an oak tree… but its roots are hidden.
d. Our real spiritual life is hidden from the world—an extensive relationship to Christ.
e. All the world can see is the EVIDENCE of that rooted relationship: the outward fruit!
f. But all of that growth and fruit is the result of an entire HIDDEN spiritual life… rooted in Christ… spending time with Him… meditating upon our position IN Him…
g. Roots are essential to growth and fruit bearing!
h. Whatever fruit is borne is the result of the root. It all starts at the root.
i. But if our secret, hidden, devotional life with Christ is lacking… if our hidden root system isn’t functioning as God designed—it will STUNT our spiritual growth and hinder fruit bearing!
j. The hidden root system is designed to thirst and seek after water and nutrients… to soak as much out of the soil into which it has been planted and rooted as possible… for the benefit of the plant system above the soil… the life that is seen on earth.
k. In a healthy plant, the roots dig down deep into the soil – thirsting after water and nutrients… seeking, stretching, striving, reaching, extending, thirsting…
l. And all that stretching and thirsting digs the roots DEEPER and deeper into the soil—picturing that if we are healthy spiritually, we too will hunger and thirst after righteousness… we will seek more and more of CHRIST in our lives… we too will cling to Him… striving to know more of Him… we will hunger for more of the Bread of Life… we will thirst for more of the living waters of life…
m. We will be like a plant whose roots are seeking sustenance… and he that seeks shall find.
n. We will find that in Christ are hidden ALL the treasures of wisdom and knowledge… all we need for life and growth.
o. Our job is to ABIDE in Him… in a close personal relationship to Him… digging our roots in even deeper…
p. And we don’t have to worry about how much sunshine we receive or how much rain. That’s up to the Lord. Our responsibility is to REMAIN where we were planted… rooted… and seek nutrients for life from Christ and Christ alone.
PROGRESS IN THE WALK: BUILT UP IN HIM
1. Built up = eποικοδομέω – to build upon, build up; make more able, build up, strengthen. (upon + house + build)
a. This is an architectural term. It speaks of constructing a building.
b. Paul mixes his metaphors here—as he often does.
c. Both metaphors speak of the same truth: a plant growing or a building under construction… built upon a solid foundation.
d. I Cor. 3:9 – “ye are God’s husbandry; ye are God’s building.” (same two metaphors) – teaching same lessons: growth; progress; construction; building up.
2. The Verb:
a. Present passive participle.
• This participle indicates that the WALK of vs. 6 and the BUILDING UP of verse 7 are to occur simultaneously.
• Walk… continually being built up in Him.
• As we walk in Him (filled with the Spirit) we ARE being built up!
• This means that spiritual edification occurs during the ordinary events of life… as we go about our daily business, in the home, in the workplace, as we walk in the Spirit… in Christ… we ARE being built up!
• Growth is a very natural thing. Unless there are some unusual and unhealthy circumstances occurring, a plant that is rooted in good soil will be built up and will grow naturally.
• Spiritual growth is not the result of an unusual, supernatural, mystical, or spectacular experience. It is the natural result of having roots in good soil…
• AS we walk in Christ, filled with the Spirit, we are being built up in Him… we are growing more and more into His likeness… our mind is being renewed and made more like the mind of Christ…
• Keep on walking… and we are continually being built up… even when we don’t see any growth. (Have you noticed the trees in your yard getting bigger this month? Not until we compare them with old pictures do we notice!)
b. Present passive participle.
• The work of being rooted in Christ is completed. The work of being built up in Him is ongoing.
• We are to be continually, constantly, and consistently growing and edified in the faith.
• This job is NEVER done in this life.
» It is not enough to be saved and stop there
» It is not enough to be born again… God expects growth after birth.
» It is not enough to be built upon a solid foundation. We are to be building upon that foundation…
» Think of your life as a continual construction project… (with a big sign around our neck: under construction!)
» It is not enough to put a plant in the ground. Once rooted, growth and fruit is expected.
» Which ever metaphor we use (plant or building) the process of construction or growth is to CONTINUE.
• He that began a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ… at the rapture!
» The roots were planted in Christ at the moment of salvation.
» The building up process takes the rest of our lives.
• No believer can say that he has grown enough; or that he is sufficiently sanctified; or that he has attained; or is already perfect; or has been built up enough; or that he has borne enough fruit already.
• When the goal is Christlikeness, there is plenty of room for growth… always more stretching to do… more building up to do… more progress… more transformation into His image.
c. Present Passive Participle: the subject receives the action; it does not perform the action of the verb;
• We cannot build ourselves up; it must be the Lord working IN us.
• This indicates that we are totally dependent upon the Lord to build us up… to cause growth… to produce good fruit… to make us more like Christ.
• We have certain responsibilities as believers, but only God can give increase! (I Cor. 3:6)
• We don’t build ourselves up—except in the sense that we FULFILL OUR RESPONSIBILITIES as believers: (Jude 20-21)
» We build ourselves up by means of the Word, prayer, and abiding in the sphere of God’s love.
» If we abandon those things, then we are hindering the spiritual growth that God desires to produce in us.
» We can’t produce growth, but we can hinder it!
• Our responsibilities for spiritual growth:
» Feeding on His Word
· Acts 20:32 –the word of His grace is able to build you up
· I Pet. 2:2-3 – Growth comes through the Word.
· Notice that taking in the Word of God is likened to a baby thirsting after milk…
· And that is then likened to “tasting” the Lord Himself.
· Time we spend in the Bible, the written Word, is time spent with Christ… the Living Word.
· We should thirst after Christ and His Word as a baby thirsts after milk.
· We are built up in Christ AS we spend time in God’s Word. The Word is the vehicle through which spiritual growth occurs.
· Are you spending time in the Word? Why not? What is more important?
· Either we are being built up spiritually, or we are going to fall apart spiritually.
· The same is true for our families… and for the church Body!
· Walk with God or fall apart!
» Beholding His glory (II Cor. 3:18) – we are transformed (passive)
· Our responsibility is to behold the glory of Christ in His Word… looking unto Jesus.
· God’s job is to produce growth.
· We are to concentrate on Christ… and seek communion and fellowship with Him.
· As we do, it is like a planted rooted in good soil, seeking, thirsting, and hungering after the nutrients in that soil. And as we seek, we find.
3. We are built up In Him = Christ is the SPHERE in which spiritual “building” (edification) takes place.
a. Positionally, we have been rooted in Him once and for all. We have been baptized into His body once and for all. Positionally, we are IN Him.
b. Conditionally, we are to ABIDE in Him… REST in the knowledge of the truth of our position in Him.
c. Growth only occurs when we are ASSURED that we are rooted in Christ.
d. It is not just the fact that we have been rooted that results in growth. (Every believer has been rooted in Christ, but not every believer is continually being built up in Him.)
e. We must BELIEVE that we are a new creature IN Christ before we can walk in Him.
f. We must KNOW and BELIEVE the truth in Romans 6 that declares that our old man was crucified before we can walk in newness of life.
g. Paul’s desire for the believers was their “full assurance” of understanding of the Christian faith… no doubts… nothing wavering…
h. Growth occurs when we are assured that we have been raised up together in heavenly place IN Christ.
i. Growth occurs when we are assured of our position IN Christ… and are meditating upon it… upon Christ… looking unto Him… focused on Him and away from the world… resting in our position in Christ.
j. As we focus on the Word, on Christ and on things above, GOD works in us… building us up… transforming us… renewing us… until Christ like character is formed in us…
k. Being rooted in Christ (seeking; thirsting) we are built up… as we walk by faith… walk in the Spirit.
4. Psalm 1:2-3 – the tree planted by the river is one whose roots are rooted in good soil and is well watered.
a. It has all it needs for growth.
b. The result? It will bring forth good fruit; it will not wither; it will prosper in all it does!
c. And note that the growth and fruit are related to his WALK (vs. 1) A separated walk… not walking with the counsel of the ungodly… but meditating on God’s Word.
5. Being built up refers to spiritual growth and progress.
a. Being rooted speaks of being planted. (speaks of salvation—once and for all)
b. Once a planted is planted, it is to continually grow where it was planted.
c. When saved, we are planted IN Christ. He is the sphere in which spiritual growth occurs.
• When a plant digs its roots deep into rich soil, it receives all it needs and the result is growth and fruit.
• We have been rooted in Christ. When we dig our roots deeply into Him… into our position in Him… and hunger and thirst to know Him… THEN growth and fruit will occur.
• The health and fruitfulness of a plant is determined by its root system… and the soil or sphere into which it is rooted.
d. If a plant is not planted in the proper soil, it will never grow!
• Religious men, not planted in Christ by faith, may attempt to walk the walk… to live the Christian life, but will wither.
e. We cannot be built up in Christ if we are not first rooted in Him.
f. Sometimes folks struggle in their walk for years… before they finally discover that the REASON they struggle so is because they were never rooted in Christ in the first place… they were never saved!
g. Any attempt to live the Christian life apart from that initial step of faith (salvation – rooted in Him) will fail. What could be more frustrating? Be sure that you are saved!
HAVE YOU BEEN ROOTED IN CHRIST?
· Matt. 7:24-27 – Are you building your life on the solid foundation of Jesus Christ or on sinking sands?
· First, take that initial step of faith and COME to Him for salvation… (Positioned in Christ)
· Then and only then can you walk the walk… and live the Christian life.