Summary: To exist is to relate. No human being stands alone. We are defined by those people and things that we relate and by which we identify ourselves. So who are we in Christ?
A mother went to wake up her son.
She said, "Son, it is time to wake up. It is Monday morning to go to school."
The son did not want to get up and did not want to go. The mother insisted that he get up.
He said, "I do not want to go to school."
She asked, "Why don’t you want to go to school?"
He said, "Ah, the teacher and the kids don’t like me. Nobody likes me."
She said, "Son you have to go to school."
He asked, "Well, why do I have to go to school?"
She said, "No. 1. You have to be there at 8.30 and it is already 7.30. If you do not get up now, you are going to be late. No.2. You are the Principal."
Sometimes we forget who we are and we have to be reminded. Who we are should impact what we do.
There were noted scientists, great leaders in biology and sociology, chemistry, linguistics, philosophy and genetics joined together to come up with this definition of what it means to be human. They had their arguments. Some said, "We are rationale beings. That is what sets us apart." Others said that we have this linguistic language symbolic system we use for communication that is what separates us.
I think one of the most interesting points was suggested by Francis Collins. He said that there is actually little difference genetically between us and a chimpanzee. In fact 96% of our genetic code is the same. I do not know for some of us it seems to be more than 96%, I am not sure. May be we cannot come up with a scientific definition of what it means to be human, because science cannot really explain to us the meaning of beauty, the meaning of love, and some of the most deeply profound facts of what it means to be human. These are inaccessible to Science. You cannot do a research project on love. Maybe you can study what the brain does when somebody feels they are in love. That is not exactly what I am talking about. So what does it mean to be human? Who are we?
I like to suggest a beginning point would be -- to exist is to relate. In other words we are defined by the relationships that we have and how we function within those relationships. No human being stands alone. An old poet said, "No man is an island." We all need each other. We are defined by those people and things that we relate and by which we identify ourselves.
Paul deals with the issue of who we are quite extensively in the first chapter of Colossians by giving an identity, a definition of who we are. Although it refers to the Colossian church, it includes all of us as followers of Jesus Christ.
Paul had so much to say about it and I confess that I tried to get this material into a 3 point message, but I could not get it into 3 or 5 or even a 7 point message. It just does not fit. There is too much material. Paul is not speaking in categories instead what it means to be in Christ is a panoply of ideas and relationships.
Verse 2: To the holy ones and faithful brethren in Christ who are at Colossae.
One he says is we are holy and faithful brothers in Christ. I could spend the whole morning spending talking about holy, faithful and brothers and even in Christ. Before we finish, Paul is going to say what we used to be in the past that we were not holy, not faithful, not brothers and not in Christ.
1. What does it mean to be holy?
To be holy means to be set apart, to be separate, and if you will, to be different. We should be different from the world. The world has corruption, violence , hatred, division, strife, but being holy means to be different. The standard answer for what holy means is that you are set apart for God’s service.
If a vessel is holy, it has been set apart for temple use. In the NT, we are the temple of God, and we must be holy, because He is dwelling in us. We have to be a holy dwelling place for Him, set apart for His glory, for His filling and for His use. This implies a lot of things that we are not to be used for. We do not take a holy vessel and use it as a garbage can. So we should not be putting garbage into our minds and our hearts. We ought to be clean vessels for God’s use.