Be Focused

Be Focused
Col. 3:1-17 Col. 3:1-17 May 15 2011

The Gnostics argued that the body was hostile to the spirit, for the material was essentially evil. Some turned to asceticism to weaken the body. Some gave in to licentiousness, dismissing what the “evil” body did as morally irrelevant. But Paul has shown that God entered the material world and in a real human body won us salvation. Now he shows that the way we live in our body does make a difference. In fact, true spirituality is living a human life, here on earth in union with God.
Since we have been raised with Christ we “put to death” the sins that belong to our earthly, sin nature . We have put on a new “self,” renewed in God’s image . Thus, as God’s people we live with others the kind of life Jesus lived here on earth, so that all we do can be said to be done “in the name of the Lord Jesus” . Here too Paul reminds us that we are each to live this way in the framework of the role we have been assigned—as spouse, parent or child, slave or free. In whatever setting we find ourselves we can live in a way that expresses, and pleases, God .

1. The Colossians exhorted to be heavenly-minded. (Col.3:1-4)

Col.3:1 If, then, ye were raised with the Christ, the things above seek ye, where the Christ is, on the right hand of God seated, 2 the things above mind ye, not the things upon the earth, 3 for ye did die, and your life hath been hid with the Christ in God; 4when the Christ—our life—may be manifested, then also we with him shall be manifested in glory.

As Christians are freed from the ceremonial law, they must walk the more closely with God in gospel obedience. As heaven and earth are contrary one to the other, both cannot be followed together; and affection to the one will weaken and abate affection to the other. Those that are born again are dead to sin, because its dominion is broken, its power gradually subdued by the operation of grace, and it shall at length be extinguished by the perfection of glory. To be dead, then, means this, that those who have the Holy Spirit, mortifying within them the lusts of the flesh, are able to despise earthly things, and to desire those that are heavenly. Christ is, at present, one whom we have not seen; but our comfort is, that our life is safe with him. The streams of this living water flow into the soul by the influences of the Holy Spirit, through faith. Christ lives in the believer by his Spirit, and the believer lives to him in all he does. At the second coming of Christ, there will be a general assembling of all the redeemed; and those whose life is now hid with Christ, shall then appear with him in his glory. Do we look for such happiness, and should we not set our affections upon that world, and live above this?

2. To mortify all corrupt affections. (Col.3:5-11)

Col.3:5 Put to death, then, your members that are upon the earth—whoredom, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and the covetousness, which is idolatry— 6 because of which things cometh the anger of God upon the sons of the disobedience, 7 in which also ye—ye did walk once, when ye lived in them; 8 but now put off, even ye, the whole—anger, wrath, malice, evil-speaking, filthy talking—out of your mouth.
9 Lie not one to another, having put off the old man with his practices, 10 and having put on the new, which is renewed in regard to knowledge, after the image of Him who did create him; 11 where there is not Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, foreigner, Scythian, servant, freeman—but the all and in all—Christ.

It is our duty to mortify our members which incline to the things of the world. Mortify them, kill them, suppress them, as weeds or vermin which spread and destroy all about them. Continual opposition must be made to all corrupt workings, and no provision made for carnal indulgences. Occasions of sin must be avoided: the lusts of the flesh, and the love of the world; and covetousness, which is idolatry; love of present good, and of outward enjoyments. It is necessary to mortify sins, because if we do not kill them, they will kill us. The gospel changes the higher as well as the lower powers of the soul, and supports the rule of right reason and conscience, over appetite and passion. There is now no difference from country, or conditions and circumstances of life. It is the duty of every one to be holy, because Christ is a Christian’s All, his only Lord and Saviour, and all his hope and happiness.

3. To live in mutual love, forbearance, and forgiveness. (Col.3:12-17)

Col.3:12 Put on, therefore, as choice ones of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humble-mindedness, meekness, long-suffering, 13 forbearing one another, and forgiving each other, if any one with any one may have a quarrel, as also the Christ did forgive you—so also ye; 14 and above all these things, have love, which is a bond of the perfection, 15 and let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also ye were called in one body, and become thankful.16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing each other, in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, in grace singing in your hearts to the Lord; 17 and all, whatever ye may do in word or in work, do all things in the name of the Lord Jesus—giving thanks to the God and Father, through him.

We must not only do no hurt to any, but do what good we can to all. Those who are the elect of God, holy and beloved, ought to be lowly and compassionate towards all. While in this world, where there is so much corruption in our hearts, quarrels will sometimes arise. But it is our duty to forgive one another, imitating the forgiveness through which we are saved. Let the peace of God rule in your hearts; it is of his working in all who are his. Thanksgiving to God, helps to make us agreeable to all men. The gospel is the word of Christ. Many have the word, but it dwells in them poorly; it has no power over them. The soul prospers, when we are full of the Scriptures and of the grace of Christ. But when we sing psalms, we must be affected with what we sing. Whatever we are employed about, let us do every thing in the name of the Lord Jesus, and in believing dependence on him. Those who do all in Christ’s name, will never want matter of thanksgiving to God, even the Father.

Summary:
“Right hand” . This is the traditional symbol of royal power. In being raised with Christ we have been given vast power for godly living.
“Things above” . A heavenly orientation is the believer’s ultimate concern in his or her relationship with Christ. As Paul will soon go on to show, our focus on things above is to make a significant difference on our life below.
“You died” . Since we died and were raised with Christ, anything foreign to Jesus should be foreign to us.
“Put to death” . As those who have been raised with Christ we must let our old life wither away and die. Everything evil is under God’s wrath, and everything evil in us was punished in Christ’s death for us. We’re to let it die.
“The new self” . The image of a new creation is common in Paul. We died with Christ and were given new life by Him. We are still our conscious self, the same person. But at the same time we are new persons. The old in us died, now something new and holy is planted deep within.
The Creator’s image . Paul saw God’s image “is being renewed.” A constant process of reshaping us is going on. And as our “knowledge”—perspective, understanding, attitudes, and outlook—grows the effect is to become more and more like our Creator.
Clothed with compassion . How does God’s life in us express itself in practice? In the way that Christians relate to each other, showing the compassion, kindness, humility, and readiness to forgive that Jesus demonstrated when He was here on earth, revealing God in His own way of life. In a real sense, the church as the body of Christ is a continuing incarnation of the Lord, to whom we are all intimately linked.
Let peace rule . A beautiful calm and harmony emerge as Christians focus on living as God’s new people. As God’s people assemble and worship Christ together both unity and peace will result. Unified and confident, God’s people will focus on what is really important in the Christian life—doing whatever we do in Jesus’ name and giving God thanks through Him.
“Admonish” . The Gk. word means to “warn or advise.” It reemphasizes the practical dimension of Christian teaching. The series of instructions Paul gives in Col.3:18-4:1 are examples of admonitions.