Summary: An attitude that pleases God will: FOCUS ON THINGS ABOVE, SHED THE OLD WAYS, and PUT ON THE NEW WAYS.

Keeping a Heavenly Focus

This lesson will help you understand the importance of keeping a clear focus on your ultimate destination, which is heaven.

It also will offer practical help along the lines of removing old, ungodly habits and replacing them with an attitude and behavior that pleases Jesus.

There are three things required, if you are going to have an attitude that pleases God while you are on your way to Heaven.

The first is, you must--

FOCUS ON THINGS ABOVE (Col. 2:20; 3:1-4)

2:20 Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments (fundamentals or basics beliefs) of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances (regulations/laws),

The Apostle Paul was a prisoner (see Col. 4:10, 18) when he wrote this letter to the Christians in Colosse, a city in Asia Minor.

Although he never traveled to Colosse, Paul stated that he heard about this church from a common acquaintance named Epaphras (see 1:7-8).

As the brief letter unfolds we see that Paul wrote to confront false teachings, by upholding the truth about Christ.

Notice this warning by Paul: "And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words."

Paul went on to describe these "enticing words" as part of an effort to take the Colossian believers captive "through philosophy and vain deceit...after the {basic beliefs} of the world, and not after Christ" (v. 8).

Certainly, the ultimate answer to the false teaching Paul named is Christ, "for in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily" (v. 9).

When Jesus died on the cross, He died for our sins, paying the debt we owed.

When we believe this good news and receive by faith His gift of eternal life, we die to our sins in the sense that sin no longer has a legitimate claim on us.

Therefore, believers are set free from bondage to sin; they are free to live the new life that is theirs because of their union with Christ.

The phrase "rudiments of the world" refers to false teaching about the necessity of keeping various man made religious rules--These rules say, "Touch not; taste not; handle not" (v. 21).

Notice the negative decree of these commands.

A Christian is aware of certain God-given prohibitions, but the primary emphasis always is positive.

However, with these religious rules this was not necessarily the case.

The focal passage for this message begins with Paul's reminder that all believers are dead with Christ.

3:1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.

The meaning of If in this verse is "Since." The verse could be read like this: "Since ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above."

The next 3 verses continue the thought--

2Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

3For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

4When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.

Believers are united with Christ in His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension.

The Lord who is seated at the right hand of God the Father represents His followers in heaven.

He is there as every believer's High Priest.

So, how should this reality affect us?

Notice this command: "Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth."

Paul helps us gain a proper perspective regarding this present life.

We are reminded of our dual citizenship--on earth and in heaven.

But we should focus primarily on heaven because our residence there is permanent.

As Paul stated, our life is "hid with Christ in God."

The term that was translated "hid" emphasizes the ongoing and permanent effects of the believer's death with Jesus.

The Christian's life has been hidden with Christ in God, and it remains that way.

The word "hid" suggests three things:

(1) Secrecy-- the Christian's life is nurtured by Christ's presence deep within the heart.

(2) Christians can identify with the risen Lord; and

(3) There is safety since we are in Jesus.

Perhaps nothing is more helpful for keeping one's focus on the Lord than the practice of daily private worship.

Spend time early each morning reading God's Word.

Lift your heart in praise to Him through songs and prayers (Yes, it's ok to sing when you're walking outside your home and inside its walls; and, of course, we all sing in the shower.), and commit yourself to live continually under His control.

Nothing else pays such rich dividends.

We also must live with continual awareness that an event of tremendous significance is approaching--Jesus' Second Coming, when Christ, who is our life, shall appear.

At that glorious moment all believers from all the ages will appear with him in glory.

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