- Sermon Notes
Christ in it All
Illus. A change of clothes.
This morning we are going to read part of a letter from Paul the apostle, to the church at Colossae. This was a young church that Paul had never been to personally. Paul was in Ephesus for 3 years and while he was there, a man by the name of Epaphras came to faith in Jesus and planted the church at Colossae.
This church, a young church, was being faced with false teachers and their encouragement to mix Christianity with mysticism and legalism. There were a variety of practices, beliefs, and philosophies being encouraged that are contrary to the Gospel of Jesus. The Colossians were being urged by false teachers to seek worldly wisdom and knowledge of mysticism to attain spiritual fullness. Paul finds out about this and essentially tells this church, “don’t fall for the trap. You have all the fullness of God in and through Christ.” He specifically addresses what to lay aside, or put off, and what to put on, or wear as followers of Christ. He encourages the church, throughout this book, to place their priority in Christ, to find their lives in Him and as those chosen by God, to represent Christ in all they do.
Read Colossians 3:1-17
As Paul addresses this church and what they were facing, it seems all too familiar with what we face in our society today. As we embark upon another year ahead, it can be difficult to tell what the year might have in store. Regardless of what is ahead, it is important for us to take a hold of the words Paul wrote.
There is a way we are called to walk, a higher calling to pursue. A need to continually “put on” the character of Christ. It is a matter of taking off or “putting to death” what is not of Christ, and putting on the characteristics of Christ in all things.
The characteristics and things that belong to who we were prior to faith in Jesus must be put away or cut out from our lives and in return, we are to put on what is essential to our life and faith in Christ. In these verses, Paul is stressing what we should wear, or what we should look like as those who have died to self, and taken on life in Jesus.
Putting on the heart and characteristic of Jesus is essential no matter what we face today, and in the year ahead. Other translations say “clothe yourselves,” which is indicative of being clothed in Christ.
I. Put Aside the Old Self
- Verse 2 reads, “keep seeking the things above, where Christ is…Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.”
Illus. “It’s my Friday…”
- The entire dynamic changes when we near the finish line. Singing, whistling, joy, it’s all a part of it.
- When we realize that heaven is where it’s at, that the difficulties and circumstances we face are only temporary, we are able to set our minds on things above. We are seeing the finish line.
We are able to put aside the old self and seek things above where Christ is.
Matthew 6:20-21, But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
A. Set your mind on things above
Illus. Commemorative sports gear.
- Once I handed it over, I didn’t think about it again. I didn’t go into the room and look at the place it rested previously…I lost interest.
- My treasure, was somewhere else. The joy my son gets out of that ball is much more valuable to me than anything.
- When Paul tells the church at Colossae to set their minds on things above, he is telling them to place their value in Christ, not the things of earth.
- When we realized that the joy of the Lord far outweighs the things of this earth, it is easy to let go.
Illus. Turn your eyes upon Jesus.
- It was a bit strange to me that I didn’t value that ball much anymore…The former value became strangely dim.
- It is this way when we set our mind on things above, with Christ. What I valued before Christ, I don’t value as much, those things become strangely dim.
- As Paul continues, he tells the church, to set their minds on Christ and consider desires of the flesh as dead. It will be less challenging to pursue when our treasure is found in Christ.
- Paul was concerned with how this church was representing Christ. There was a great deal of confusion surrounding how they were to live.
B. Keep choosing the new walk
- Paul was imploring the church at Colossae to put to death what belonged to their earthly nature (immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed). In verse 7 he wrote, “You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived…But now, rid yourselves of these things.”
- Reading these verses, it would be easy to think that the process is simple. “Just remove the old clothes and put on the new clothes from God.”
- But it’s not that simple always, it’s a process, often a daily process.
- There is a continual commitment and process whereby one must put off and keep putting off the old ways of thinking, old habits, old feelings and emotions.
- It is easy to fall back into what is most familiar, and most simple to react or respond the way we always have.
- The life God wants for you is so much better than your life prior to relationship with Him.
- Paul reminds the church, there was a way you used to walk, but now you have to remain firm in Jesus, don’t go back and forth.
Illus. Changing sides in a debate.
John 15:4 “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”
- Keep choosing the new walk in Christ.
Isaiah 43:17-18, “Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past. Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it?”
- There was a way in which we all walked prior to knowing Jesus. But once He is known, He comes in as Lord. There is a new walk, and a new way.
- Paul recognizes this, “you once walked that way and lived that way, but now you are in Christ, keep choosing the new way.”
- Not only does he say there were some things that they used to walk in, he names them.
- They were important to name so that those things specifically, would be avoided.
- The false teachers were likely specific about how to obtain false “spiritual fullness.” Paul is specific about the fullness of God through Christ.
Illus. Hearing many voices at a track meet.
- There are many voices we hear. Many people telling us to walk this way, talk this way, be this, do that, go there.
- Keep choosing the new walk, the new life in Christ.
II. Put on the New Self
Just like he named the things we should avoid, he also names what we need to put on. What we need to wear in order for Christ to be Lord of our lives.
A “putting on” of the characteristics of Christ. Why? Because we are God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved (vs. 12).
A. Put on the heart of Christ
Paul continues in verses 12-14, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone, just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.
How would 2018 look different if you put on the heart of Christ in the places you go and toward the people you know?
If the measure of the year was how much compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forgiveness, and love we pursued and “put on.”
How might it look different if that is the standard for our lives, rather than just common courtesy? Or the standard set by others.
Illus – A summer vacation for my niece and nephew.
Are there places we go where our “putting on” Christ is being vacated?
Christ lives where you are if He lives in you. This means that when you take compassion and kindness, you take the very character of Christ with you.
B. Attach Him to whatever you do
Verse 17: Whatever you do, whether it is in:
Word – What you say and how it’s said.
Deed – What you do and how it’s done.
Do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Illus. A good morning, morning until rush hour.
Illus. A stamp with my name.
Wherever that document went, it had my name on it.
In scripture, we read about the seal God has placed on His people.
2 Corinthians 1:21-22, “And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put His seal on us and given us His Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.”
In the ancient world, a seal was used to identify and to protect. If something was sealed, everyone knew who it belonged to, and the seal prevented anyone else from tampering with the item.
The Holy Spirit is upon us to identify us and protect us. Our life is stamped, marked, and sealed by God through grace.
2 Corinthians 2:15-17, “For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.
Some will love the aroma of Christ, others may not. Don’t let that stop you from attaching Jesus to everything you do. To how you live, to how you treat others. Don’t let that stop you from putting on Christ in 2018.
Illus – Just like I had to change my attire in order to represent my company well, there are days when I need to change my “attire” in order to represent Christ well.
Colossians 3:1-17 NASB