The Indwelling Word
by Seattle ALC
I found this article from March 1987. It fit so appropriately for the situation we find ourselves in today. Our government has asked us to maintain our “social distancing” for another month, until the end of April. Two weeks seemed long, but to double it seems unending. We are gregarious creatures, even if we think we are not. Even those of us that are introverts and think we do quite well by ourselves, after a period of extended separation from our Brothers and Sisters in Christ, have a need to join in fellowship. Deprived of the opportunity we begin to realize the blessing we do have in worshipping together in church.
I find it amazing that 23 years ago, Pastor Holmgren would pen the words of this article and poem. It addresses the core of what draws us together. Fellowship is so much more that just a social gathering. The Word encourages us to know where our dwelling place is, what is the source of our life. The word “dwell” is found 468 time in the KJV according to the Bible on my phone. Looking at these would be a long study in the scriptures. I pray that all of you will find this time of dwelling in the Word. The Word is Christ and He is the reason we can fellowship, whether we are in the church or apart. May we have a renewed joy in gathering together when we are able to return to our gathering together!
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men.” John 1;1-4
The Indwelling Word
“The Word of God is able to supply all of our needs. It is God’s means to awaken us to an awareness of the importance of spiritual things. It is also by its power that we are brought from spiritual darkness to the light of His kingdom where we receive the assurance of our salvation and the attributes of His Spirit—righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. We are thankful that we derive all of these benefits from the Word.
However, the blessings of the Word are by no means only the enlivening and enriching experiences of the past, but are intended to be our daily issues of life. In writing to the Colossians, St Paul says: “LET THE WORD OF CHRIST DWELL IN YOU RICHLY IN ALL WISDOM, TEACHING AND ADMONISHING ONE ANOTHER IN PSALMS AND HYMNS AND SPIRITUAL SONGS, SINGING WITH GRACE IN YOUR HEARTS TO THE LORD.” (Col. 3:16)
By using the word “dwell”, St Paul seeks to emphasize that the Word is not only an occasional guest in our lives, but that it is intended to dwell with us. I think that it is significant that these Colossian believers were encouraged to “let” or “allow” the Word to dwell in them. We have no doubt about God’s desires in this matter for He wants His Word to be the very source of our lives. Let us ask ourselves this question. Is the Word of Christ dwelling in me? While the fellowship of believers experienced in the church worship is if singular importance, we dare not limit the Word to a weekly or bi-weekly visit or just to an occasional meeting. It is essential for us to let the Word of Christ dwell in us in order for us to have strength for our daily lives.
In all the events of our lives, this living Word is able to shed its light in our hearts so that we are aware of God’s will for us and are strengthened to walk in the way He has appointed. The light of God’s Word is so remarkable that even though we cannot see the way (for we walk by faith and not by sight) we can travel with confidence because we know that the Lord is guiding us with His omniscient eye. (Ps. 32)
It is a source of courage in those times when we do not feel the Lord’s presence because through its teachings we can be confident that the Lord knows the way that we take and when He has tried us, we shall come forth as gold. (Job 23:10) God’s Word causes joy to displace sadness when we remember that all things work together for good to them that love the Lord. (Rom. 8:28)
Since there are inexhaustible riches in the Word, our meditation text tells us to let the Word dwell in us richly. Let us pray that the Lord will help us to take greater advantage of the treasures which are enclosed in this divine revelation of Himself. In so doing, we will then not only derive spiritual blessings for ourselves, but will possess those which we can share with others as well.
God is glorified when His Word dwells in us and is the fount of life from which our spirits drink, and we are then enabled to sing with grace in our hearts to the Lord. Oh that we might thereby offer the sacrifices of praise to God—the fruit of our lips in the giving of thanks to His Name.” (Heb. 13:15)
“How precious is the Book divine,
By Inspiration given!
Bright as a lamp its doctrines shine
To guide our souls to heaven
“It sweetly cheers our drooping hearts
In this dark vale of tears,
Life, light, and jot it still imparts,
And quells our rising fears.
“This lamp through all the tedious night
Of life shall guide our way.
Til we behold the clearer light
Of an eternal day.”
From the archived writings of Pastor A.C. Holmgren March 1987 bulletin, submitted by Pastor Stan
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