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Colossians 3.1-4

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(A Series on Colossians)

Westgate Chapel 6/16/02 a.m.                        Colossians 3:1-4

PROPOSITION:  Since we have died, with Christ, to this world, and have been raised with Him to new life, we must set our hearts and minds on those things that have to do with our new life. 

i. introduction

-     HAVE you ever been taken captive by a dream....and set your heart and mind on achieving that dream with such determination that you would not be denied?

*     An educational goal?

*     A possession, like a home, or a car?

*     A business or career goal?

*     Financial independence?

*     Some athletic achievement?

*     A special relationship?

-     AND for the period of time that it took to achieve the dream, that was all that you could think about. Nothing else mattered.

-     YOUR heart was totally involved. All of the emotional energy that you could muster went into attaining the goal. There was nothing left over for anything or anyone else.

-     YOUR mind was completely involved. You planned and schemed and read and strategized and thought.....until the path to your goal was clear.

-     WHEN competing attractions came into your path they were quickly disposed of. Nothing was allowed to get in the way.

-     THERE have not been many of those kinds of all consuming passions in my 45 years of life.....except Rita.

*     I first saw her in the congregation of Clayton Street Church of God, Middletown, the summer of 1968.

*     I was there to preach a series of youth meetings, and our eyes met for a second after I sat down on the platform.

*     A mutual friend introduced she and her Fiancée to me after the service....and something jumped in my heart.

-     I WAS in between colleges and should have been concerned about finding ways to finish my academic training.

-     I WAS supposed to be going back to my family in Africa at the end of that summer.

-     MY goal for those three months at that church was to make enough money to pay my airfare back home.

-     I WAS hired by that church to be an assistant pastor for the summer of '68.

-     MY father, whom I respected greatly, had taught me that you NEVER dated a young lady from the congregation where you were working.

-     COMMON sense should have told me that since she was engaged.....I was wasting my time.

-     BUT from that June Sunday evening on the platform of Clayton Street Church of God, absolutely nothing else mattered but Rita.

-     MY roommate, who had introduced us, had a crush on Rita too. But I had watched him operate for two years at Lee College and it took him months to get up the nerve to ask a girl for a date.

-     SO, to be decent about it, I gave Bill Winters 30 days to ask Rita for a date. I told him, "You've got one month."

-     AND for a month I waited and planned and schemed....and 30 days to the hour, when he had not made a move, I called Rita and asked her to go play miniature golf with me.

-     AND the race was on.

*     I got acquainted with her brother. Taught him how to play soccer. Attended his high school football games and watched him play in the marching band.

*     I spent time with her family, and learned what they liked and didn't like.

*     I found out what Rita liked and didn't like.

*     And immediately got rid of my white socks, my shiny Travera cloth suit, and my Brylcreem.

*     I wanted to make myself as attractive as possible to her.

*     I got personally acquainted with the local florist and spent my return air ticket to Africa money on dozens of red roses....with poems attached.

*     I studied her meticulously every time we were figure out whether my strategies were working and whether or not she was softening.

*     I hated shopping with a passion. But when she mentioned needing to go to the became my middle name.

*     I didn't even look at other girls when we were out. I didn't want to. Rita was all that I wanted.

*     I looked for any hints that George, the fiancée who lived in Detroit, was still a contender.

*     The first time that I told Rita that I loved her, under the Oak tree in their front yard, she said, "Well, I am not ready to even begin to respond to a statement like that." And I drove away and stopped the car a few blocks from her house and got out and kicked myself. Stupid, stupid, stupid!

-     I HAD decisions to make about going home to Africa. I didn't care. I had set my heart on Rita.

-     I SHOULD have been writing home. I didn't. I was too busy pursuing Rita.

-     I WAS supposed to be working at the church. I did. But my heart wasn't in it very much. My heart had been given to Rita.

-     I WAS taken to the final game of the Cincinnati Reds at Crosley Field....before they moved to Riverfront Stadium. But who cared about Johnny Bench or Pete Rose....I was thinking about Rita.

-     INSTEAD of going back to Africa, I stayed that fall and enrolled at Wittenberg University.....because that was where Rita was going to school.

-     I GOT a job as assistant pastor at Rita's uncle's church.

-     I ATTENDED classes, but all I cared about was seeing Rita afterwards in the library.

-     THAT Christmas I asked her to marry me.....we would get married the following Christmas of '69.

-     BUT then I talked her into getting married the next fall of '69.....because of all the beautiful colors.

-     AND then I talked her into June of '69. Why waste a whole summer being single?

-     HAVE you ever been taken captive by a dream....and set your heart and mind on achieving that dream with such determination that you would not be denied?

-     WHAT can you look at in your life that has consumed you for a season...or maybe even still is now?

-     IT is one thing when we demonstrate that kind of consuming determination about things that will sooner or later pass away.....but what about being captive to a spiritual reality that will change your life for all eternity and will never pass away.

-     THIS is the challenge of the apostle Paul concerning our pursuit of Christ in Colossians 3:1-6.

-     IN the first two chapters he has painted an incredible picture of what Christ has done for us.


      "For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." (Colossians 1:13-14)


      "Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation..." (Colossians 1:21-22)


      "For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority." (Colossians 2:9-10)


      "When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross." (Colossians 2:13-14)

-     JESUS has done all of this for us....even when we were far from Him and deserved nothing.

-     AND when you receive Him by faith as Savior of your life, your old sinful nature is buried with Him.....your new Christ-like nature is born anew....and you become a new creature in Christ Jesus.

-     YOU are raised with Him to new life.

-     THAT is the message of the first two chapters of this epistle.

-     AND, as usual, Paul follows a message like this with a challenge concerning our responsibility.

-     IF a Christian has experienced a radical change of status....from death to life like this....then it should affect his whole life from that time on.

-     IT should be a lifestyle that consumes us.

ii.set your hearts on things above

-     TURN with me to Colossians 3:1,

      "Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God."

-     SINCE you share in Christ's resurrection......

-     HAVE you ever stopped to think about what it means for you to share in Christ's resurrection?

*     Death no longer has dominion over you.....when you die that resurrection principle goes to work instantly and you are ushered into the presence of the Lord to live with Him for all eternity.

*     The penalty of sin has been removed from your life.....the resurrection principle has canceled the debt that you would have had to pay for your sin. And the price would have been eternal death and torment for you.

*     The death of your old sinful nature severed the link that you had with this world order. The resurrection power of Jesus in you established the link with the new heavenly order.

*     The power of sin over your life now has been broken.....the resurrection principle releases you from the tyranny of sin and you are free to live righteously in the power of the Holy Spirit.

*     The purposelessness of life has been canceled...the resurrection principle has brought you into the kingdom of God and you now live for Him and spend your life on things that are eternal.

*     The hopelessness of life on earth has been replaced by a guarantee of eternal life...regardless of your circumstances because of the resurrection principle of Jesus at work in you.

-     SINCE you have had this radical kind of change in your life because of the resurrection of Jesus.....set your heart on things above.

-     YOUR heart is the seat of your emotions, your desires, your passions and your will.

-     IN light of this incredible transformation in your life...brought about by Christ's resurrection....set your emotions, your desires, your passion, your will on things above, where Jesus is seated at the right hand of God.

-     PSALM 110:1 has been fulfilled in Jesus,

      "The LORD says to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet."

-     SO the call of God in Colossians 3:1 is for you and me to be consumed by those things that dominate the scene where Jesus is right now.

-     WHAT kind of place is that throne room?

*     It is a place of holiness. 


      "At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian. A rainbow, resembling an emerald, encircled the throne. From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. Before the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God. Also before the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal. In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and night they never stop saying: 'Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.' Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say: 'You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.'"  (Revelation 4:1-10)

      Isaiah saw the same scene and fell in repentance asking to be made holy. 

*     It is a place of intercession.


      "Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them." (Hebrews 7:25)


      "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express." (Romans 8:26)


      "Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died--more than that, who was raised to life--is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us." (Romans 8:34)

*     It is a place of power....the power of God.

*     The purposes and plans of God for the universe are going to be established from His throne room.

*     All end time prophecy unfolds from the throne room of God.

-     WHAT Jesus has done for us, through His death and resurrection is a grand incentive for the way we are to live.


*     Giving instead of getting.

*     Serving instead of ruling.

*     Forgiving instead of avenging.

-     SO, Paul tells us to set our hearts on those things. Set your emotions, your desires, your passion, your will on those things above, where Jesus is seated at the right hand of God.

*     His presence.

*     His holiness.

*     Intercession and worship.

*     The power of God over all things.

-     JUST like you set your heart on an education, a relationship, a house, a goal.....set your heart in that same way on things above.

*     Pushing all competing interests aside.

*     Determined to achieve your goal.

*     Doing whatever it takes.

ii.set your minds on things above

-     NEXT, in verses 2-4, Paul writes,

      "Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.  For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory."

-     REMEMBER your heart is the seat of your emotions, passions, and your will.

-     IN verse 2 Paul tells us to set our minds on things above.

-     THE mind is the seat of reason, logical thought, understanding.

-     SET your mind on things above.

-     PURSUE God with your intellect....of course aided by the Holy Spirit.

*     Read those things that will draw you closer to God.

*     Plan your life to make room for spiritual priorities.

*     Give yourself to those activities that have eternal value.

-     BE determined to invest yourself, to spend yourself on those things that will last for eternity.....not on earthly things that will perish.

-     WHY? Because you died and your life is now wrapped up with Christ in God.

*     Have you heard the phrase about is his life, her family is her life, his job is his life?

*     Well, this is what Paul is saying concerning our relationship with Jesus in verse 4.

      "When Christ, who is your life, appears...."

-     CAN it be said of you...."Jesus is his/her life?"

-     PAUL wrote in Galatians 2:20,

      "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."

-     THEN in Philippians 1:21 he wrote,

      "For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain."

-     SO, set your mind on those things above...not on the things of this world that are passing away.

-     THIS world is not where your life is.

-     YOU are now living for the moment when the kingdom of God which is now invisible becomes visible....and Jesus appears in all of His glory and you with Him.

-     SO set your mind on those things instead of stuff that will pass away in time.

iv. conclusion

-     WHAT is it that is consuming you right now?

-     IS it something that is seated with Christ at the right hand of God?

-     IS it something that is going to appear with Christ when He comes in His glory?

-     IF not, it is time for a reorientation this morning....from the temporal to the eternal.

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