Summary: Easter (A) -- Fix your minds on things above and not on earthly things. Believers are raised with Christ and believers are to live like Christ.
FIX YOUR MINDS ON THNGS ABOVE (Outline)
April 8, 2007 - EASTER SUNDAY - Colossians 3:1-4
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INTRO: The friends of Jesus looked at the empty cross on Good Friday. They wondered what would happen next. On that first Easter they saw a tomb that was empty. Where was Jesus’ body? The angels asked the women: Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he is risen! During the traumatic events of before and including Easter the friends of Jesus were focused on the earthly. Even after Peter saw the empty tomb he went away wondering what had happened. The empty cross, the empty tomb remind us to stop looking down and begin looking up.
This is not always easy to do. We spend much more time in this world than the time we spend in church (or even in God’s word). We become attached to the things of this world. We can be overcome and mislead by earthly thinking rather than divine. No wonder our text re-echoes the words of Jesus. "But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also"(MATTHEW 6:20,21). We are going to learn that the Lord Jesus wants us to keep looking up. The words in our text serve as our theme:
FIX YOUR MINDS (HEARTS) ON THINGS ABOVE.
I. Believers are raised with Christ.
II. Believers are to live like Christ.
I. BELIEVERS ARE RAISED WITH CHRIST
A. The believers here faced the same difficulties as all of the early Christian churches.
1. The early believers were still grounded in an Old Testament way of worship.
2. For generations, thousands of years, they offered sacrifices – daily, weekly, and yearly.
3. The blood of these sacrifices only was to point ahead to the perfect sacrifice of Jesus.
B. It was with great difficulty that these believers were to change their way of worship thinking.
1. Chapter 2 describes how Jesus disarmed the powers…triumphing over them by the cross.
2. No longer was it do, do, and do for these believers. Jesus had done, done, and done it all!
C. With this background chapter 3 begins. The believers are now raised with Christ, verse 1.
1. God says to stop looking at everything with an earthly. Look up, into heaven itself.
2. Because this was so important verse 2 re-emphasizes the same point.
D. Today it is probably even harder for us to keep our minds and hearts focused on things above. We have a comfortable, often too comfortable, of an earthly. For the most part our lives are quite a happy and satisfying daily routine. YET no matter how great we might have it here the best is yet to come. The Lord reminds us that we lead changed lives. Our lives are changed because of Christ, our Savior. "For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin--because anyone who has died has been freed from sin"(ROMANS 6:6,7). By grace through faith we have been saved. As believers we are given the wisdom and the knowledge to know the difference between what is wrong and what is right in God’s sight. By grace we have been raised from the deadness of sin to be God’s children. We are no longer slaves to sin.
E. God’s grace has been shown us through the love, mercy and kindness of Christ our Savior. We see Jesus willingly suffer all things for us. We see Jesus die on the cross for us. We see our Lord Jesus come back to life so that you have eternal life as God’s free gift to us. "This grace has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel"(2 TIMOTHY 1:10). God’s good news is that we are saved!
F. Now back to our theme that reminds us to fix our minds and hearts on things above. When we con-centrate too much on this life we can easily despair. The worries of this try to choke out the abundant blessing God has in store for us in his word. God reaches down and lifts us up out of the depths of despair, worry and earthly concern. "For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day"(JOHN 6:40).
Believers are raised with Christ so that we can FIX OUR MINDS (HEARTS) ON THINGS ABOVE.