Summary: Growing in Christ is a matter of life and death, it’s a matter of giving up our old "life" of death and putting on a new life in Christ.
"A Matter of Life and Death"
How many men remember what their wardrobe looked like before they got married?
How many “favorite” shirts or jeans did you have?
How many do you have now that you’re married?
How many still seem to disappear every now and then?
I had a practical wardrobe. It wasn’t fancy, but it fit the purpose.
But when I got married, I soon found out how “impractical” it was.
Chris realized that if she was going to be seen with me, my clothes had to change!
Before I knew it, I had a whole new wardrobe.
In many respects, that’s how it is with Christ, too.
When we’re born into His family, our spiritual wardrobe needs to change, too.
Christ says, “If you’re going to be seen with Me, you need to change your outfit”.
That’s what spiritual maturity is all about.
It’s about giving up your old clothes and putting on new clothes.
It’s about giving up our old life and taking on a new life.
We’ve been looking at the five purposes that God has given us that we need to fulfill if we’re ever going to be the Church that He wants us to be.
3 weeks ago, we spoke about the purpose of Fellowship.
Today, we’re going to look at the purpose of Discipleship or spiritual maturity.
3 weeks ago, we asked the question, “How can we grow warmer through fellowship”?
Today, we’re asking the question, “How can we grow deeper through discipleship?”
How can we change our wardrobe?
One of the best passages that helps us answer this question is Col. 3:1-17.
Turn there with me please (Col. 3:1-17)
In this passage, we’re going to see 3 key steps to growing closer to Christ (deeper through discipleship).
These steps are life-changing! In fact, it’s a matter of life and death!
Cf. Men’s Retreat – how can we continue that passion for God?
They should be used to govern every decision we will ever make!
Read: 1SINCE, THEN, YOU HAVE BEEN RAISED WITH CHRIST, SET YOUR HEARTS ON THINGS ABOVE, WHERE CHRIST IS SEATED AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD. 2SET YOUR MINDS ON THINGS ABOVE, NOT ON EARTHLY THINGS. 3FOR YOU DIED, AND YOUR LIFE IS NOW HIDDEN WITH CHRIST IN GOD. 4WHEN CHRIST, WHO IS YOUR LIFE, APPEARS, THEN YOU ALSO WILL APPEAR WITH HIM IN GLORY.
I. Look Up! (vv. 1-4)
Look up with physical vs. spiritual glasses. What/Who do you see?
You should see Christ. You should see the glory of heaven that awaits you.
LASB – “Setting our sights on heaven means striving to put heaven’s priorities into daily practice. Letting heaven fill our thoughts means concentrating on the eternal rather than the temporal” (p. 1905).
SINCE THEN YOU HAVE BEEN RAISED WITH CHRIST, (i.e., and you have) SET YOUR HEARTS (keep seeking, keep pursuing, keep striving after) THE THINGS ABOVE,
Our heart is the center of our emotion, our passion, our desire.
Our passion needs to be set on Christ.
“Open the eyes of my heart, Lord. I want to see You!”
Why should we always look up?
A. Because we have been raised with Christ v. 1
This explains who we are in Christ and how we should live in Christ (position vs. practice).
Before we came to Christ, we were dead in our sins and when we met Christ, He
“raised" us up to new life.
B. Because that’s where Christ is. v. 1
WHERE CHRIST IS SEATED AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD.
We need to keep our eyes on Jesus.
We need to look up intently, focused on Him.
2 SET YOUR MIND ON THINGS ABOVE, (be of the same mind, be like minded, give your minds to things above,) NOT ON EARTHLY THINGS.
Not only are we to set our hearts on Christ, but our minds as well.
Not on recent events, not on the impending war, not on the economy.
Does that mean we completely ignore current events or the present world? No.
We need to look beyond these events and prepare for the events of eternity. Why?
C. Because we’re dead. v. 3
3 FOR YOU DIED (i.e. your earthly nature/your life before Christ/your old self died) AND YOUR LIFE IS NOW HIDDEN WITH CHRIST IN GOD.
When people are buried, they’re buried face up - they can’t help but look up.
But what does this mean that we’ve been raised and that we’ve died?
Which is it? Are we alive or dead?
Looking around here, I find myself asking the same question!
Before we found new life in Christ, we were dead to Christ and alive in sin.
After we met Christ ("born again"), we became alive to Christ and dead to sin.