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Setting our Hearts on things above

(2)

Sermon shared by James Galbraith

October 2007
Summary: Continuing my series in Colossians, fleshing out that wonderful phrase, "set your hearts on things above".
Denomination: Baptist
Audience: General adults
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Exegesis

To understand what “Setting our hearts on things above” means here,

We first have to understand that he is speaking to those who have already made a decision to follow Christ.

There are a total of five phrases in this passage that show us just this:

“ Since you have been raised with Christ…”
- Christ raising from the dead also raises us out of our sin,
when we place our faith in him

“ For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God”
- giving up our old way of life is the same as dying to it,
and when we place our faith in Christ we are seeking his protection,
just like a chick hides in his mother’s wings, or a child behind her father

“ When Christ, who is your life,”
- making a decision to follow Christ is a life long commitment,
not a passing whim or hedging your bets

“ you used to walk in these ways…”
- indicating that the former way of life before Christ is to be history

“ You have taken off your old self … and put on the new self”
- Life in Christ as a new start
- looks back to Jesus himself “you must be born again…”

All of these phrases refer to people who have already made a decision to follow Christ.

So according to Paul, we can’t set out hearts on thing above
until we’ve made sure our hearts are in the right hands!

We can think and wonder and learn about “things above”,
and come to a place where we know a great deal about them,
but Paul is telling us that to truly place our hearts on things above
we need to start with a heart given over to Christ.
There is no substitute for full commitment – head knowledge is not enough.

We also see here that the act of “Setting our heart on things above”
is something that we have to consciously and constantly do
after we give our lives to Christ.

Whether we’ve been a follower of Christ for 50 minutes or 50 years,
we still need to deliberately choose to keep our hearts focused on “things above”.

So then, the question still remains, what does it mean for us,
as people with our hearts given over to Jesus Christ,
to set our hearts on things above?

Well, another clue comes in what Paul tells us to stay away from..

There are two lists here of things we must learn to avoid if we are to enjoy “setting our hearts on things above”.

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature:
sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.

These are the kinds of things that come naturally to us when we show no inhibitions, when we simply live controlled by our appetites,
instead of letting God’s love and knowledge guide our choices.

Each of these things, sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, greed, is simply something God has given us that, divorced from God, becomes something evil.

An “earthly nature” is simply our nature apart from God,
our lives when our own appetites rule us instead of helping us and those around us.

Part of “setting our hearts on things above”
means leaving that earthly nature behind,
and allowing God above to set the agenda for us,
which means seeking His desires for our lives
and living the way he intended us to live.

But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these:
anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips

These are the kinds of things that manifest
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