16 November 2011

Living The Risen Life


Col 3:1-4

The Christian life is very much like a marriage! You bonded together by God....It’s a commitment that lasts the remainder of your earthly life...It’s a life empting of one’s selfishness through submission to one another...It’s a life that is built on trust, honor and most of all love that God supplies....It’s a life that completely changes the way you use to live before you were married. The Christian life is very similar to gift of marriage! But.....How quickly we are to break the vows we made as we live in a world that wants us to divorce the very One [Jesus Christ] the Saviour [the Groom] who came to save our wretched lives [the bride] through the gift of salvation. So that we can embrace this world and all its pleasures. It boils down to this one question! Do I love this world more than Jesus? Before you answer that question.... take this test with me keeping in mind what makes you more upset!

• A soul lost in Hell....or a scratch on your new car?
• You’re missing the worship service....or missing a day’s work?
• A sermon 10 minutes too long...or lunch half hour late?
• A church not growing...or your garden not growing?
• The church work being neglected...or housework neglected?
• Missing a good bible study...or your favourite TV show?
• The millions who do not know Christ...or your inability to keep up with your neighbours?
• The cry of the multitude for bread...or your desire for another piece of German chocolate cake?
• Your children late for Sunday school and Church...or late for school?

Which really disturbs you most? The answer to those questions will determine what you the love most! Who are you divorcing in your life? Is it the world or Jesus? Because! We must never forget what Christ did in order for us to divorce this world and all it has to offer. “who gave himself [Jesus] for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age....” Gal 1:4. We need to understand that Christians are of Christ’s kingdom and not this world. This is not our home and we sometimes constantly need to be reminded of this wonderful truth!

Paul wrote these words “and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,” Eph 2:6....The Apostle John said “we have overcome this world through Jesus Christ” 1 John 5:4-5. The Hebrew writer said “we are strangers and exiles on the earth” Heb 11:13

Our Christian purchased lives, require us to have a proper perspective of this world. Our Christian lives require us to live in such a way that we are always focusing Heavenward. Everything I want and need is found in Him and all I want is Him. But this is a daily battle for [everyone, including myself] This world is always working 24 hour a day 7 days a week, tempting us all to focus on self and the things that bring us pleasure over Christ and His sufficient work found in His death and resurrection. R.C Sproul said "We can serve Satan, the interests of this world, or we can serve the Living God & be servants of Christ." What’s it going to be? Him or this world? This is why Paul continues in his letter reminding the church about who is and should be supreme in our lives CHRIST! Satan hates this and he will do whatever it takes to see as many people go to Hell and he also desires to see the testimonies of the faithful crushed underfoot. This why we must be vigilant and sober in a perverse and fallen generation! This is why we must be living Heavenward and not for this world.

Look at (v1a) “if then you been raised with Christ..” Let’s stop there for a minute! “If” is better translated “since” which speaks of something already done [past-tense]. Referring to our resurrection.....which is an accomplished fact? So since we have been raised with Christ through the Gospel that saves, we enter into this at the point of conversion! “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me” Gal 2:20. This is the reality in which we must wake up to each and every day! This is our victory song. (Col 2:13; and 2:20-21). This present world doesn’t control us and we need stop thinking it does! Christ has broken that chain by His death and resurrection. We need to keep our minds focused on Christ at all times. This is the only path in which we are to take....not through the things mentioned earlier in Paul’s letter

• False philosophy
• Legalism
• Doctrines of men
• Mysticism
• Asceticism

We have been raised with Christ and we are to daily remind ourselves of this wonderful truth. Why? Because we will be able to seek the things above more clearly!

Look at (v1b) “seeking those things which are above...” Let’s stop there! “Seeking” in this text is a continuous action, an ambition, one’s attitude. It’s the same continues action that Jesus said in His sermon on the mount! “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matt 6:33. All our choices and decisions we make here on this earth should done with Heaven in view of our earthly responses. “seek His kingdom” Making right choices because we are children of His kingdom and everything should be done with this in mind. John MacArthur said in his commentary on this passage.......“To be preoccupied with Heaven is to be preoccupied with the One who reigns there and His purposes, plans, provisions, and power. It is also to view things, people, and events of this world through His eyes and with an eternal perspective.” If we look at everything through a here and now as the world wants us too.....we lose focus of what’s most important. Which is Christ first and foremost and secondly the blessed gospel that saves to the uttermost....So “seek” here in this text literally means “keep seeking”

What are we to keep seeking? “Those things which are above” (v1b-v2) This is that inner disposition [character or by nature] that we are to have daily...minute by minute! What does it look like to set your mind on the things above? There was example a came across in my study! About a man who recently played catch with his dog named Bozie....“After spending forty-five minutes tossing the ball for Bozie, he came to the conclusion that when she dies an autopsy will reveal she has a tennis ball for a brain! Bozie sleeps with her tennis ball, carries it to her water dish, and she can find it wherever it is thrown. Her mind is constantly set on the tennis ball.” This story tells us that we are to regard the things of Heaven in the same way! So let me ask you! If they did an autopsy on your brain this morning what would they discover? A worldly perspective or a Heavenly perspective? The Bible says “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matt 6:21. Paul is reminding us that we are God’s possessions for His glory and we are to seek and pursue the things that are above.

Where! Jesus is seated at the right hand of God. (v1c) again let’s stop there! This is a statement we tend to read over so quickly...but we need to stop and read this carefully. We have already been told that we have been raised with Christ! We have already been told to keep seeking the things of Heaven! Because this of this wonderful truth about our Lord and Saviour “He is seated at the right hand of God” this is a place of honor and majesty. This is a place of extreme privilege and divine authority. When we picture Christ seating down at the right of the father, this tells us that redemption has been completed in the Son. When you look into In the Old Testament we always see the Priests job was never done. Why? Because they were always sacrificing animals as an offering to God for the sins of the people, and if you took a look inside the tabernacle you find a piece of furniture missing! A chair.The sacrifice the Levites did on behave of the people..... was a foretaste of what Christ would complete on the cross once and for all. How do we know this is true? He is seated at the right hand of God in all His glory and splendour. “But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God,” Heb 10:12. When you come to passages like this you really need stop and praise His name for such a great love He has for sinners.

Look what Paul writes next (v3) “for you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” “Death” refers to the death to self at the point of salvation. “If any man is in Christ.....he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” 2 Cor 5:17. Your penalty of sin has been paid for and you are dead to sin so don’t let sin reign over you! Remember the wages of sin is?........................Death. This is exactly what the world wants you to do ....this is exactly what Satan wants you to do! Though sins presence and power still affect us, but understand this! It cannot condemn us! Why? Our death and new birth is hidden in Christ! That’s the gospel truth. “Hidden” gives the idea of protection from spiritual foes...enemies. The blessing of salvation is that we find rest and security because our lives are hidden in Christ It’s like the T-Shirt with the arrow that says “I’m with Him” and it points to the person beside you! The Christian is hidden in Christ and nothing can separate that love and hope we have in Christ Jesus our Lord. Who are hidden? “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one." John 10:27-30. Those who are truly born again through repentance and faith in Christ alone! If this is you? You are hidden in his protective arms .....That’s a great comfort especially when we are faced with so much whether they are good or bad! No matter what has happened or what will happen we are hidden in Jesus our Lord!

Paul puts the icing to the cake.... to bring this point home! Look at (v4) “when Christ is revealed” is referring to His second coming! John paints the scene for us in Revelation 19:11-16...“Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.” When He is revealed in His second coming so will we! The King of Kings will be accompanied by the saints [Christians]

This portion of Paul’s letter should motivate, stimulate or confirm what we always knew to be true. That we are to look this life differently more and more each day to live vertically and not horizontally! Our lives are completely full and hidden in Christ and we are to look at his world through eyes of the new birth not the old self!

• Live for Christ
• Proclaim the good news of the Gospel
• Walk in holiness
• Deny this world and the lies they are trying to sell
• Keep focusing on the prize which is Christ
• Never look down because all it leads to is ........doubt and despair!

My only question is! Who are you divorcing in your life?....... Is it the world or Jesus?

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