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Teaching

Life in Christ (Colossians 3)

Colossians 3 (ESV)

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.

12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

18 Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. 20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. 22 Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. 25 For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.

 

  1. Paul just reminded us:
    1. In Christ are hid all the riches of wisdom and knowledge – the Person and not wisdom and knowledge from below
    2. God alone circumcises the heart and brings the dead to life
    3. Do not let others disqualify you by capturing you with uncircumcised thinking
      1. Regulations and rules and pious thoughts have the appearance of wisdom but lack the power that only Christ can supply
    4. Paul continues by telling us to set our minds on things that are above

      If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

      1. Setting your mind on things below is thinking as if you are still captive to the pattern of thinking that was part of your life apart from Christ
      2. We are united to Christ
        1. Christ is seated at the right hand of God with all power and authority
        2. Our thinking is to be marked not by slavish, this earth only thinking
  • Our thinking about all of reality is to be marked by the reality that Christ is above
  1. Our thinking is to be marked by the reality that we have died to sin and its power
  2. All our thinking is renewed in relationship to reality
  3. We don’t escape this earth but our thinking is captive to the reality that nothing has power over us
  1. In Christ we died ton sin’s power
    1. It has no claim on us
    2. It has no power to rule us any more
  • Whatever problems or sins assail us, we are hid in Christ and nothing can captivate us
  1. Christ is not merely some “up-there” reality but His power is for us
  2. Whatever happens, we know that everything in life is aiming toward the reality that we will one day be with Him in glory
  1. Put to death the old self

    Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.

    1. This may seem like a “bait and switch”
      1. Did we not just learn that obeying rules and regulations cannot save us?
      2. But remember that it is uncircumcised or dead thinking that believes it can attain to wisdom by its own power
  • The power is not in ourselves here but in Christ
  1. We are called, in Christ to battle indwelling sin
    1. Christ united us in Him while there was still work to do
    2. He is not finished with us and is making us holy
  • We are called to put sin to death in our members with the reality that Christ, and not our temptations, have power over sin.
  1. We are called to put to death the temptations that come at us in the form of sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness.
    1. These are temptations that arise from within that we were once enslaved to – to obey their commands
    2. These are all forms of idolatry because they serve our own selfish desires
  • We use other people in these sins
  1. We either objectify others or we desire what they have for ourselves
  2. We think we are entitled to them and de-humanize others
  3. We sin against God by desiring what others have because we reckon God ought to have given them to us
  • The wrath of God is against all Who practice these sins and His wrath was poured out on Christ for these sins in you
  1. Christ’s claim on you means you not only have power to fight your inner desires but He has claim in our sins against those around us
    1. anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.
    2. These all mark those who can do no better because they lack the power of Christ
  • The irony is that those who practice religion on the power of their own flesh end up practicing these things
  1. But not so the Christ Who has the power to resist these sins against each other
  2. We are not to deceive ourselves that we’re just short-tempered by nature
  3. Your true self is hid with Christ and not defined as if you are outside of His power to deal with these things
  • Our desire for coarse talk to be funny or get along is not from above and can be put to death in Christ
  • Your new self is being renewed by Christ as you remember to put off the old self
  1. There is neither Jew, Greek, or barbarian
    1. There is no distinction in Christ
    2. The Jew has no special access or power in Christ
  • The Greek, a term for the educated or refined, has no special claim
  1. The barbarian, a term for the unwashed masses of uneducated, unspecial people in the eyes of the world, have the same claim to identity in Christ
  2. No matter who you are, your identity and life belongs now to Christ
  1. Put on the New Self

    12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.

    1. These character qualities belong to Christ
      1. You belong to Christ
      2. You need not go searching within to find these things
  • Look to Christ for the power of a transformed life
  1. We need not wait to be humiliated to be humble but we have Christ Who is humble
  2. We need not wait to be shamed to learn meekness but have Him Who is meek
  3. All these character qualities may be practiced not by our power but his as we will to practice them by His power
  1. We can forgive because we are forgiven
  2. We put on love for one another as we remind ourselves that we are in Christ and He loves others
  3. We have peace with God and so that peace can rule over all the small things in this world as we take our thoughts captive to eternal realities
  4. We are called to one body and we can be thankful
    1. You have saved our lives and we are eternally grateful
  5. Let the Word of Christ dwell in you

    16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

    1. This is a parallel to Ephesians where we are called to let the Spirit of God dwell in us richly
    2. It is the Word of God that the Spirit uses to bring our minds and hearts to Christ
      1. Invest in the powerful Word as the Spirit points your hearts and minds toward the Son
    3. This rich dwelling expresses itself in singing the things of God to one another
      1. We are a singing community
      2. We wing of our hopes, fears, joys, sadnesses, glories, and depression
  • All are expressed in the Psalms and in sound hymns and songs
  1. Do everything for one another not in our name, our power, but in the Name of Christ
  1. Life in Christ lived in the Home and the World

    Is our view of the way we live influenced by the world or by the reality of life in Christ?

    18 Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. 20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.

    1. Wives – your life is in Christ and not in the world
      1. The world tells you that to be under the authority of your husband is a form of slavery
      2. In Christ,you are able to submit to your husband
  • He often does not deserve it but you are doing so for Christ’s sake
  1. Husbands – love your wives and do not be harse with them
    1. They are a gift from God for you
    2. They came from man’s rib to be near to our hearts – to be cherished as our own flesh
  • Christ is not harsh and we are called to imitate Him as we love them with sacrificial and tender love
  1. Children – obey your parents in everything
    1. They frustrate you
    2. But God is pleased when you obey them
  • If you belong to Christ then you have the mind of Christ to obey
  1. Fathers – do not provoke your children
    1. They are a precious inheritance
    2. Train them in the fear and admonition of the Lord
  • Repent to them and show them that your hope and strength is in Christ
  1. Do not discourage them by displaying your ruthless authority
  2. Christ is gentle and meek but firm – you are Christ’s and not your own
  1. The Lord evenhas word for the oppressed

    22 Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. 25 For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.

  2. The Gospel meets people in the circumstances of life even when systems are unjust
  3. It does not advocate unjust systems but can redeem even those who, in the eyes of the world, are worthless
  4. Christ even counts their labor and suffering as service to Him
  5. The Gospel does transform societies but, even in the midst of broken and sinful systems, it gives dignity to those who are worthless or cast off in society
  6. The Christian may not have anything in this world but they have a rich,eternal inheritance now in Christ and in the world to come.

 

  1. What is your true self?
    1. The Word of God is searching us
      1. It’s asking us questions about how we define ourselves
      2. Are we defined by how the world thinks and patterns itself?
  • Are we still convinced of certain things about ourselves?
  1. Do we tell ourselves we must give ourselves to sexual immorality?
  2. Do we still convince ourselves that we ought to have what others have?
  3. Do we think we have the right to lash out, to be hateful and angry toward others?
  • Do we join with others in slandering others and showing disrespect?
  • As you call yourselves a Christian is there anything definitive that convinces you that you have broken from the flesh and its power or are you altogether like the world around you?
  1. TheWord of God reminds you that you belong to Christ
    1. You belong to Him
    2. You are hid in Him
  • The Son of God, seated with all power, wisdom, knowledge, and authority
  1. You are His!
  2. In Him is patience, kindness,gentleness, longsuffering, meekness
  3. You need not go searching long and far for these
  • You need not search deep within to produce them
  • These belong to Christ and they are yours in Christ because you are His
  1. Call on Christ
    1. Call, therefore, on Christ in the hour of temptation
    2. Temptation is powerful
  • But Christ is more powerful
  1. Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world
  2. Die to your old self because it has been crucified in Christ
  3. Turn again to Christ and He will give you power over sin in the hour of temptation
  • Turn again to Christ and He will give you the power to live a life of real integrity of heart and mind and a life of service to those around you.

 

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