Seeking the Things Above

by Jeffrey W. Hamilton

Text: Colossians 3:1-4


I.         So often we focus on winning souls for Christ that we lose sight that conversion is not the goal but the first step in a life long process of change - Colossians 2:6-7

            A.        To stay with Christ, to live with him, is to walk after him - I John 2:6

            B.        Can we call ourselves Christians and go our own way? No! - Colossians 1:21-23

                        1.         Only if we continue in the faith

                        2.         Remain steadfast

                        3.         Not moved away from the hope of the Gospel

            C.        It is a common and repeated theme - Hebrews 3:6, 14; 6:11; 10:23

            D.        But steadfast and unmoveable does not mean we are not changing.

                        1.         As a matter of fact, we cannot be steadfast and unmoveable unless we change

II.        Keep the goal in sight - Colossians 3:1-4

            A.        One of the ways Christians are lost is when they are distracted by this world - Matthew 13:22

                        1.         For example, the distraction of riches - Matthew 19:23; I Timothy 6:9-10

                        2.         The world is filled with lusts - I John 2:15-17

            B.        If you were raised with Christ

                        1.         A reference to becoming a Christian through baptism - Colossians 2:11-13; Romans 6:3-4

            C.        Christ is there and because we follow him, we ought to desire to be with him

                        1.         Ephesians 1:17-23

            D.        You gave your life to Christ - Galatians 2:20

                        1.         In Colossians 3:3, the Greek tense is to indicate that you died once and remains that way.

                        2.         A hope laid up in heaven - Colossians 1:5

                        3.         You trusted him with your life - II Timothy 1:12

                        4.         The promise - Romans 6:5

III.       Removal of earthly ways - Colossians 3:5-9

            A.        Because we died to the world and our goal is heaven, we have to die worldly things - Romans 6:1-2; 8:13; Galatians 5:24

            B.        The things we once walked in, but no longer

                        1.         Fornication - sex outside of marriage

                        2.         Uncleanness - moral impurity

                                    a.         The opposite of holiness - I Thessalonians 4:7

                                    b.         Pursuit of sensuality - Romans 1:24

                                    c.         The “dirty old man”

                        3.         Passion - lust, desires that are externally chased

                                    a.         This is the drive behind homosexuality - Romans 1:26-27

                                    b.         Would include pornography - I Thessalonians 4:5

                        4.         Evil desire - Strong desire for evil, desires that are internally chased

                                    a.         Again, especially in a sexual way - Romans 1:24

                                    b.         It is at war with the spiritual life - Galatians 5:17

                        5.         Greed, which is a form of idolatry - a desire for worldly things, most often money

                                    a.         Should not be associated with Christians - Ephesians 5:3-6

                                    b.         Frequently terms joined - Ephesians 4:19; Exodus 20:17

                                    c.         Idolatry because men put more trust in these than in God

            C.        If we don’t put them to death, we will face God’s wrath and be put to death.

                        1.         Enough of the past - I Peter 4:1-3

            D.        Lest you think it is just about sex, put off (like old clothes)

                        1.         List is similar to Ephesians 4:29-31 and I Peter 2:1

                        2.         Anger - violence

                        3.         Wrath - heavy breathing fierceness

                                    a.         Example: When the Jews sought to throw Jesus off a cliff - Luke 4:28-29

                        4.         Malice - acting with evil intent

                        5.         Blasphemy - Willful vilification of another

                                    a.         Numbers 15:30-31

                        6.         Filthy language - profanity

                        7.         Lying

IV.      Putting on Christ - Colossians 3:10-17

            A.        Create in me a new heart - Psalms 51:9-13

                        1.         Being transformed - Romans 12:2

                        2.         Everything is new - II Corinthians 5:17

            B.        To leave it only as a removal of sin is to create a vacuum needing to be filled - Matthew 12:43-45

                        1.         It is a replacement of sin with righteousness - Romans 13:11-14

                        2.         Out with the old and in with the new - Ephesians 4:21-24

            C.        The renewal comes through knowledge

                        1.         Born again of the word of God - I Peter 1:22-25

                        2.         II Peter 1:2-4 - Escape through the knowledge given us

            D.        In Christ we see all alike

                        1.         The divisions that people erect between each other in the world does not exist - Galatians 3:28; 6:16; Romans 10:12; I Corinthians 12:13

                        2.         The world finds reasons to divide and fight

            E.        Because we are alike, we treat each other with respect

                        1.         We are all holy and beloved - Ephesians 1:4-5; I Peter 1:13-16

                        2.         Toward each other we put on:

                                    a.         Tender mercies

                                                (1)       Giving to people less than what we might think they desire.

                                                (2)       Mercies that come from compassion - Luke 10:33,36-37; I Peter 3:8

                                    b.         Kindness - Being courteous and good to others

                                    c.         Humility - Opposite of self pride - Romans 12:3

                                    d.         Meekness - Considering self far less important that other people. Putting other people first - Galatians 5:13

                                    e.         Longsuffering - Willing to put up with difficult people

                        3.         We bear with each other - Galatians 6:2

                        4.         We forgive each other, just like Christ does us - Ephesians 4:32

                                    a.         Too often we make this merely words

                                    b.         It is releasing the person from any obligations to us.

V.        Practical application

            A.        In family - Colossians 3:18-21

            B.        In employment - Colossians 3:22-4:1

            C.        In your spiritual relationships - Colossians 4:2-4

            D.        In your relationship with those still in the world - Colossians 4:5-6

VI.      It is not an instantaneous change by process

            A.        We work at removing old habits and replacing them with new ones

            B.        Those changes affect all aspects of our life

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