Summary: Paul is telling us that as believers our mind is to be focused on God and His purposes.
Text: Col. 3:1-4
1. Illustration: A wise person once said, "A man’s life is governed by his thoughts; he will ultimately become that which dwells most on his mind. “You are what you eat.” Engulf yourselves with His presence, put Him in your mind, Become more Christ-like and have Faith." -Unknown
2. Perhaps you have heard the phrase "You’re so heavenly minded that you’re no earthly good." Well I think the opposite is also true, we can be so earthly minded that we are no heavenly good.
3. There are four things in this text about what the mind of the believer should focus on.
a. The Reminder
b. The Responsibility
c. The Resource
d. The Reason
4. Read Col. 3:1-4
Proposition: Paul is telling us that as believers our mind is to be focused on God and His purposes.
Transition: First, we have...
I. The Reminder (1a)
A. Raised Up With Christ
1. Paul begins by saying "If then you were raised with Christ..."
2. It goes back to Col. 2:20, "Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations."
3. If denotes reality, as in 2:20, and is better translated "since."
a. Believers having been raised up with Christ is not in doubt.
b. The verb been raised up actually means "to be co-resurrected."
c. It is an accomplished fact. Believers spiritually are entered into Christ’s death and resurrection at the moment of their salvation.—MacArthur New Testament Commentary, The
4. Gal. 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
5. Paul here is reminding us that when we were saved we died to our old self and our old way of life.
a. We are not the same any more. We have changed.
b. Therefore, the way we think has to change also.
c. We can no longer focus on the same things we used to focus on, but we must focus on the things of God.
B. Resurrected Mind
1. Illustration: Dr. Joseph Haroutunian, professor at McCormick Theological Seminary, came to America from Armenia. One day a well-meaning friend said to him, "Your name is difficult to pronounce and difficult to spell--it could hurt your professional career. Why don’t you change your name to Harwood or Harwell or something like that?"
Dr. Haroutunian asked, "What do those names mean?"
His friend said, "Well, nothing. They’re just easier to remember."
Dr. Haroutunian said, "In Armenia, when my grandfather was baptized, they named him Hartounian which means ’Resurrection.’ I am Joseph Haroutunian and I will be a son of Resurrection all my days."
2. This man has not forgotten who he is in Christ.
3. As Christians, we are not the same any more.
a. We have been changed
b. We have been resurrected
c. We have been made new
4. 2 Cor. 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
5. We must remember who we are in Christ, and those things that we think about should reflect our new nature.
Transition: Next, we have...
II. The Responsibility (1b-2)
A. Keep Seeking
1. Paul tells us to "seek those things which are above..."
a. The verb here seek is another present tense which indicates a continuous action. It would be better translated "keep on seeking."
b. Preoccupation with the eternal realities that are ours in Christ is to be the pattern of the believer’s life.
c. Jesus put it this way: "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you." (Matt. 6:33)
2. Paul is not advocating a form of mysticism. Rather, he desires that the Colossians’ preoccupation with heaven govern their earthly responses.
a. To be preoccupied with heaven is to be preoccupied with the One who reigns there and His purposes, plans, provisions, and power.
b. It is also to view the things, people, and events of this world through His eyes and with an eternal perspective.—MacArthur New Testament Commentary, The
3. The things above refers to the heavenly realm and hones in on the spiritual values that characterize Christ, such as tenderness, kindness, meekness, patience, wisdom, forgiveness, strength, purity, and love.
a. When believers focus on the realities of heaven, they can then truly enjoy the world their heavenly Father has created.
b. Focusing on the things above creates a sense of security, because no matter what happens in this world, we know that we have a better home above.