Representing Jesus Worthily

27 August 2023 PM – Colossians 3:17 – Col23 – Scott Childs
Introduction: When a man murders someone, the members of his family suffer a terrible impact. Their hearts are devastated. They become the hot topic of gossip in the community. The family name is shamed. The family reputation is tainted. People question their trustworthiness. Why does all this happen? It is because the murderer represents his family.
            As Christians, we constantly represent the Lord Jesus. How we live, whether worthily or wickedly, greatly impacts Jesus’ reputation.
            This evening, we are in Colossians 3:17 (Read). The word “and” reveals that this verse is a continuation of v.16. In the middle of this verse, God tells us to “do all things in the name of the Lord Jesus”. This is the theme of the verse, but what does it mean? If you have trusted Christ to save you, He has made you a child of God. You are part of His family. To do things in the name of Jesus means that you now represent Him. He has authorised you to do His work. He has empowered you to overcome evil. You are to promote His honour. You have a divine family reputation to uphold. It is your duty to represent Jesus worthily (i.e., in a manner worthy of Him).
Transition: This evening, I want us to look more closely at what it means to represent Jesus worthily.
1.     Representing Jesus worthily is an all-inclusive duty.
a.      The word “whatsoever” is a loaded word.
1)         It actually translates four Greek words. The words, “everything whatsoever” give a more complete rendering.
2)         Absolutely everything is included by these words. There are no exceptions. Nothing is excluded. God gives us no loopholes here. He is clearly addressing every single thing we do. In life, we are either sleeping or doing.
b.      The word “do” is an action word.
1)         It occurs 596 times in the New Testament. It depicts any action in which a person may be involved.
2)         Whether we are instructing the children, talking with our spouse, studying, doing a hobby, visiting the neighbour, watching a video, listening to music, eating, working, meditating, or playing a game, these are all things we do.
c.       Absolutely everything we do impacts how we represent Jesus.
1)         It includes all that we do in public. Whether we are at work, school, talking to a neighbour, at the store, on the train, or at a sporting event, everywhere we go, the things we do impact how we represent Jesus.
2)         It includes all that we do in private.
a)         Our private lives include the things we do at home when only family is there.
b)         Our private lives also include the things we do in secret when no one else is around.
c)         No matter where we are, we cannot hide from the Lord. (Proverbs 15:3) “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.
2.     Representing Jesus worthily is a practical duty
a.      It includes all of our words.
1)         All of our words are important to God. Jesus said in (Matthew 12:36) “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.” If we will give account for even the idle words we say, we know that God hears every word we say.
2)         God wants every word we say, every reaction, every conversation of any sort, to represent Jesus worthily. This is not easy. Life is full of irritations that push our buttons and rouse us to speak unworthily.
b.      It includes all of our deeds.
1)         This word is the common word for “work” in the New Testament.
2)         It includes our business, employment, undertakings, acts, things done, in a sense, even our thoughts. A deed is anything that takes effort.
3)         As humans, we express ourselves both verbally and physically. If you stamp your foot and slam the door, you have not said anything verbally, but your deeds have spoken loudly. Angry motorists who blow their horns and make obscene gestures are expressing their deeds. Helping without being asked is a kind deed. Arriving on time, completing your homework, being polite, walking in the park, reading your Bible and praying are all deeds. Our attitudes and activities each day are our deeds.
c.       Every word or work, conversation or conduct must be done in the name of the Lord Jesus.
1)         We represent Christ, whether in public or in private, whether seen or in secret.
2)         We must not do anything in Jesus’ name that He does not authorise. If He has not placed His approval on a word or deed, and we do it anyway, we are not representing Jesus worthily. We are shaming him. (1 Corinthians 10:31) “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
3)         Whether we like it or not, the world has a standard by which it judges Christians. If one falls short of that standard, you will hear something like, “See, Christians are just a bunch of hypocrites.” When that happens, the Lord’s reputation is marred. Theodore Epp wrote, “So it is a great responsibility to bear the name of Christ. We who know Him as Saviour are watched. With the eyes of others on us, we must live and talk in a way that causes them to want to know our Lord.” The All-Sufficient Christ, p. 153
3.     Representing Jesus worthily is a thankful duty
a.      We owe God thanks
1)         On Mars Hill in Greece, Paul challenged the philosophers with this description of God, (Acts 17:28) “For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.” All humans owe God thanks.
2)         Thanks is one of the themes of the book of Colossians (e.g., Col 1:3, 12; 2:7; 3:15, 17; 4:2).
3)         As Christians, we ought to be thankful people. (Hebrews 13:15) “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.
b.      We give thanks to God by (or lit. through) Jesus.
1)         We can and should verbally thank God for things He does for us, but one of the best ways to say thanks is to do things in Jesus’ name (i.e., by Jesus’ authority and with His enabling do things that represent Him worthily). Honouring God in this way gives Him thanks through Jesus.
2)         This happens because Jesus authorises, enables, and empowers us to do right. In ourselves, we cannot please God. But because of the change Jesus has made in our lives, we can please Him.
3)         Jesus has forgiven our sin and washed us clean. He has reconciled us to God. He has broken the chains of sin in our lives. He lives inside us, intercedes for us, and works as our Advocate when we sin.
4)         When we do life in Jesus’ name, Jesus gets the glory and this expresses our thanks to God.
Conclusion: Colossians 3:17 presents a difficult and daily challenge for each of us. God wants us to do EVERY area of life (i.e., all of our words, attitudes and actions) in Jesus’ name, authorised by Him, empowered by Him and representing Him worthily. To do this, we must keep this in the forefront of our minds and check ourselves regularly. Memorise and repeat the question, “Does this represent Jesus worthily?” When we fail, we must repent, apologise to God (and to others who observed) and double our efforts to change.
Song: After All He’s Done For Me