Summary: Message 11 in our study of Colossians dealing with the command to focus on things above.
Chico Alliance Church
“A Heavenly Focus””
Today I want us to spend our time thinking about Paul’s second application of the co-death and co-resurrection with Christ principle found in Chapter 3.
Paul said all things all lawful. Christ declared all things clean. The issue now becomes one of pleasing God out of love for Him and profit for us. If you love me you will keep my commandments. Not all things are profitable. When it comes to law, you’re dead. When it comes to relationship with God and life in the kingdom you are alive in Christ.
1. Keep seeking the “up things”
“Since you have been raised up (at a point in time) with Christ,
keep seeking (continuous action) the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.
God did not leave us in a state of neutrality. He raised us up with Christ. He gave us new life.
2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”
Paul urges these Christians to keep “seeking” the things associated with their new life. Keep seeking the eternal things. Keep seeking the things associated with Christ who presently sits at the right hand of God.
“Set” means “to seek or strive for earnestly” (cf. Rev. 9:6; 1 Cor. 7:27). Fixing their attention decisively toward “things above” involves centering their lives on the ascended (Eph. 4:10), glorified (John 17:5; Phil. 2:9) Christ, who is seated at the right hand of God (Ps. 110:1; Luke 22:69; Acts 2:33; 5:31; Rom. 8:34; Eph. 1:20; Heb. 1:3, 13; 8:1; 10:12; 12:2; 1 Peter 3:22). This is His seat of divine authority because He has defeated the forces of evil and death (Heb. 2:14-15).
Paul encourages these believers to direct their energy and resources to seeking eternal things.
“Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.”
God will take care of the rest. This new way devotes time and energy to discovery and exploration of the new life.
2. Keep thinking about the “up things”
“Since you have been raise up with Christ
set (present) your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on the earth.”
Not only does Paul urge an active pursuit but also urges a continual meditation on the things associated with this new way of life.
1. History and Oldest Sense. “set your mind,” means “diaphragm,” regarded as the seat of mental and spiritual activity, then “mind” or “understanding.” The compounds reflect the intellectual focus, usually means “to think” or “to plan,” and the nouns “thought,” “thinking,” or “reason.”
The parallel is quite clear in the original language.
• the “up things” seek after
• the “up things” meditate on
Paul emphasizes an eternal focus in contrast to an earthly focus. Jesus reproved Peter and Satan for failing to keep a clear focus.
He rebuked Peter and *said, “Get behind Me, Satan; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.”
Before we go on to further motivation to keep our focus correct let’s explore a bit more what a heavenly focus looks like. It is up not down. It is up not earthly. It is where Christ is now seated at God’s right hand of authority.
So we are talking about the spiritual dimension of things. We are talking about things basically as yet unseen. 2 Cor 4:13-18
Through the Scriptures and the eyes of faith we have the opportunity to see the unseen.
Although is may be blurry to us, nevertheless we see it.
We see the attributes of the eternal God. Love, mercy, grace, faithfulness, wisdom. We see Jesus. We see truth. We see light. We see hope. We see holiness and righteousness. We see the ways of God.
In contrast to the course of this world and the ways of this world we see God’s kingdom.
In contrast to the temporality of the flesh we see the eternality of the spirit. When Paul urges these believers to not think about the things upon the earth, he is not waging some sort of anti-matter campaign, as were some in his day.
Some were advocating that anything material was evil and either to be ignored as of no account or avoided as something evil. Paul is urging a concentration on the things of the spirit. He is urging a new focus. It is no different than is urged all over the Bible.
Don’t be conformed to this world but be transformed. (Paul)
Love not the world or the things in the world. (John)
AS obedient children don’t be conformed to the former lusts but be holy like your Father. (Peter)
Where as the Law demanded conformity apart from reason our new life urges transformation based on renewed understanding and thinking. Paul lifts our focus to our new identity in Christ. The old you died. The new you lives to walk in newness of life. That is the very reasoning Paul goes on to reinforce once again. He zeroes in on a motivation based in the present and a motivation based in the future.