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Why Are We Thankful

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With thanksgiving just passing we are often called to reflect upon things that we are thankful for, but often we can find ourselves having a shallow approach to thankfulness or might even be in a bitter or depressing place in life striving to grasp at anything to be thankful for
I want us to take a look at Colossians 3:1-17 to help us understand biblically not only what we ought to be thankful for, but also why we ought to be thankful for it, as Christians

Reading of God’s Word

Colossians 3:1–17 ESV
1 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is 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 what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 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.
Verse 1 we have been raised in Christ, what does that mean? lets look to (Col 2:9-15) for reference
So if we have been raise THEN seek what is above
Paul mentions where “above” is in this sense, which is where Christ is seated
Christ being seated by the Father is significant because it communicates to us these things: Christ is in a position of authority and also in a position of intercession between us and the Father
We look to Rom 8:34 - Note that Christ is “at the right hand of God” showing a parallel to Verse 1
Hebrews 7:25 - Christ is able to complete his saving work for us that believe by his continual work of intercession
Hebrews 9:24 - Christ appears before the father on our behalf, we are represented before the Father by Christ. This is Christ fulfilling the role as our High Priest, but we won’t dig into that today
Verse 2 we are called to set our minds to the things that are above, so what might you think “things that are above” are?
Perhaps its pertaining the things of Christ, such as his work for us and I strongly feel like when we get into those times where we struggle with the trials and pain that we face is often because we aren’t setting our minds to the things that are above. When we don’t do that our attitude towards the trial, the cause of the trial, or even ourselves leads to sinful decisions
Verse 3 answers why we ought to set our minds on the things above, which is, because we have died - died to what?
Well in Chapter 2 verse 20 we are told that we died to the elemental spirits of the world, which is the idea “the basic principles of the world”, however the same greek word is often translated as spirits in Persian religious texts, some Jewish texts, and other occult like texts in the ancient world, so the interpretation of this word is something like the fundamentals of pagan religion, really anything antithetical to Christ
So we were all alive in these false religions, human traditions, philosophies, and again anything opposing Christ including our sins
So we died to those things, but that is accompanied by being hidden in Christ - language that suggests security (Psalm 27:5-6, Psalm 31:19-20)
Verse 4 This is our salvation, We will be raised from the dead on the last day, counted as righteous by faith before God because of the works of Christ, and live, fellowship, and worship God with God for eternity in glory
Verse 5 The list that paul defines earthly with is not an exhausted list, its all sin, however these particular sins may have been some more common known sins within the Colossian church.
We have died to those earthly, sinful things so we are called to take strong measures to keep them out of our lives - if you struggle with lust don’t follow instagram or tiktok accounts that would trip you up
Verse 6 God Judges sin and its paid for in one of two ways - either the sinner is found guilty and is condemned to everlasting punishment or their sin is imputed, which means “applied to one’s account”, to Christ by Christ taking on the sins of those who believe in him and he suffered in our place - he paid the debt and satisfied the justice of God
Verses 7-8 We once lived in sin and “walked” it out - every step we took was in sin
Verses 9-10 the metaphor is past tense - we have already taken the old self off and put on the new - like a change of clothes - a change in identity
With the new self on we are constantly being renewed in what? knowledge - so listen, read your bibles, pay attention during service - that this renewal conforms us to the likeness of Christ - This is our sanctification
Verse 11 Christ unifies us, we all share in the same redemption, social status plays no role in salvation
In verses 12-17 Paul calls us to a holy lifestyle that is consistent with our new identity in Christ
verse 12 we are God’s chosen, which Paul says the chosen are holy or set apart for God’s purpose which can be seen in the way our actions reflect a regenerate heart and that as His chosen we are beloved by God
Verse 13 bearing with one another, showing a level of tolerance and understanding, however not at the expense of Godly living or the gospel - Forgive because we have been forgiven - love because we have been loved - It is God’s who initiates and in return we do likewise having our eyes and hearts open to the knowledge of the truest love found only in God
Verse 14 Put on love, love seeks harmony, love seeks reconciliation - If two people are at enmity with each other not having love then there can be no reconciliation, no harmony
Verse 15 The peace of Christ must rule in our hearts to of one body
Verse 16 Let scripture dwell - or have its home - or live inside of you - but this isn’t for us to be idle, but to share what we’ve learned to help grow the knowledge for other believers - and also to advise or warn or even rebuke another for their benefit - we are to do this in all wisdom - be wise and gentle in teaching and admonishing others
Express praise and joy to the Lord via singing and songs with a heart of thanksgiving - how can we praise and worship the Lord without thanksgiving - They are inseparable
Verse 17 Do all things to the praise of the Lord, through Christ we give thanks to the Father for his gift of grace
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