Summary: Continuing my series in Colossians, fleshing out that wonderful phrase, "set your hearts on things above".
“Setting our hearts on things above” – Colossians 3:1-11
By James Galbraith
First Baptist Church, Port Alberni
October 28, 2007
3 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.
Paul has been drilling one message in to his readers…Jesus is enough!
You don’t need Jesus
+ money or time or good deeds or special rituals or festivals
You need Jesus – he’s enough!
Jesus will not be impressed with your stuff, your time, your offerings;
he wants you to admit your need for him and give your life to him!
Now that the Apostle Paul has driven that point home,
he shares with them where to go from there.
The Colossians had been living lives of “do this and do that” to please God, and many of us do the same thing as well.
Now, to be fair, there is a fair bit of “do this and do that” in any way of life, including Christianity. There are certain things we should be doing, and certain things we shouldn’t be doing!
But our lives as Christians are not meant to be centred merely around what we do and what we don’t do. They are meant to be centred around the person of Christ himself.
All too often, we forget this and let our faith devolve into a pattern of achievements and avoidances, or “do’s and don’ts”
The problem with the “do this, do that” way of life is that very often it does not sink down in to the heart. We can do things automatically, without letting them touch our hearts.
Think about this question –
How many things can you do well without getting your heart involved? Count change? Get dressed? Drive? Work? Chat? Sing?
I can remember at least two times where I was busy doing one thing, but when I was doing it my heart was far, far away…
1. fold over 800 curtains in one day
2. rip the heads off of live shrimp for over 5 hours…
Now there’s nothing wrong with doing certain things without our hearts getting involved, but our faith is not one of them!
If the living of our faith becomes an heartless activity,
than we are in dire need of spiritual attention.
And that is why, when Paul starts to tell us how to live as Christians,
he starts by telling us to “set our hearts on things above”
For if we can set our hearts in the right place, the other things can begin to fall in to place.
Let’s take a close look at what “setting our hearts on things above” actually means.
To understand what “Setting our hearts on things above” means here,
We first have to understand that he is speaking to those who have already made a decision to follow Christ.
There are a total of five phrases in this passage that show us just this:
“ Since you have been raised with Christ…”
- Christ raising from the dead also raises us out of our sin,
when we place our faith in him
“ For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God”
- giving up our old way of life is the same as dying to it,
and when we place our faith in Christ we are seeking his protection,
just like a chick hides in his mother’s wings, or a child behind her father
“ When Christ, who is your life,”
- making a decision to follow Christ is a life long commitment,
not a passing whim or hedging your bets
“ you used to walk in these ways…”
- indicating that the former way of life before Christ is to be history