Summary: God’s people are to live a victorious risen life which is vastly different than the world which brings honor and glory to God in this life.
THE SECRETS ON LIVING A VICTORIOUS RISEN LIFE Colossians 3:1-11
Proposition: God’s people are to live a victorious risen life which is vastly different than the world which brings honor and glory to God in this life.
Objective: My purpose is to challenge God’s people to fully live the risen life in Christ.
Illus: A mother looked out a window and saw Johnny playing church with their three kittens. He had them lined up and was preaching to them. The
mother turned around to do some work. A while later she heard meowing and scratching on the door. She went to the window and saw Johnny baptizing the kittens. She opened the window and said, "Johnny, stop that! You’ll drown those kittens." Johnny looked at her and said with much conviction in his voice: "They
should have thought of that before they joined my church."
Ray Stedman tells of attending a Men’s Retreat and enjoying the wonderful ministry of encouragement by Tim Hansel. “One thing he said struck me forcibly. He declared the symbol of a Christian life ought to be ‘thumbs up.’ Not only does that mean ‘all is well,’ but it also, according to Hansel, is a reminder to Christians of where our true resource lies.” He shares that this fits this passage! Twice in this short section the apostle urges us to set our minds and our hearts on "things above, where Christ is sealed at the right hand of God." Just as the thumb points upward, so Christians are to look to "things above" for their help in living life.
Doctrinal truth (in chaps. 1 & 2) must always bear fruit in practical conduct (chaps. 3 & 4). We must keep in mind that the pagan religions of Paul’s day said little or nothing about personal morality. A worshiper could bow before an idol, put his offering on the altar & go back to live the same old life of sin. What a person believed had no direct relationship with how he behaved, & no one would condemn a person for his behavior. The Christian faith brings a whole new concept into pagan society: what we believe has a very definite connection with how we behave!
The baptism of the believer is a beautiful picture of our new relationship with Christ. We have become identified with Him. We who were dead is trespasses & sins were co-crucified with Christ, co-buried with Him, co-resurrected with Him & are now seated with Him in the heavenlies. Our old life was buried & we are now alive in Christ. The ordinance of baptism portrays that change in the believer when he puts his faith in Christ & was born again. We are new creatures in Christ Jesus. We who were dead are now alive. We have a new relationship with Christ Jesus & a new position before God.
Illus: I’m pressing on the upward way, New heights I’m gaining every day;
Still praying as I’m onward bound, “Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.”
Refrain Lord, lift me up and let me stand, By faith, on Heaven’s table land,
A higher plane than I have found; Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.
I. DECISION: SEEK THE HEAVENLY (vvs. 1-4) “Set your mind on things above”--We know that the Christian faith brought a whole new concept into pagan society. Faith in Christ means being united to Christ; and if we share His life, we must follow His example. .The false teachers were instructing the Colossians to concentrate on temporal observances ( 2:16-23), in contrast, Paul instructs them to concentrate on the eternal realities of heaven. The emphasis here is on the believer’s relationship with Christ. Our goals shape our priorities.
1. A new reality (v. 1a) “You were raised by Christ”-- To encourage his readers to turn away from their false teachers, Paul reminded them of their union with Christ. He also urged them to continue living in keeping with their position in Christ (Note: "If" could be "Since"). Paul returned to his thought about the believer’s union with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection (2:9-15). The spiritual meaning of all this is that we have said goodbye to the former way of life, and have entered upon a completely new type of life, that is, the life of the risen Lord Jesus Christ. We are still on earth, but we should be cultivating heavenly ways.
2. A new reason (vvs. 1b-2) “Seek those things that are above”--To set the heart on ("seek") things above is to desire and to strive for those things. It is to see to it that one’s interests are centered in Christ, that one’s attitudes, ambitions, and whole outlook on life are molded by Christ’s relation to the believer, and that one’s allegiance to Him takes precedence over all earthly allegiances. The verb suggests a continuing action: "Keep on seeking." Decide to do what you know from your knowledge of the word of the Lord he wants you to do. That is the secret of a life that has discovered how to really live. Your life, your daily activity, your thoughts are now tied to Christ. You do wrong if you separate yourself from him. You belong to him. The old godless, self-directed life is over, if you have become a Christian. "The Christian has to keep his feet upon the earth, but his head in the heavens. He must be heavenly-minded here on earth and so help to make earth like heaven."