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  THREE TYPES OF CHRISTIAN COLOSSIANS 3:1-17: “For [as far as this world is concerned] you have died, and your [new, real] life is hidden with Christ in God.” (v3)

Can you now hear the truth, recall that the word of God told us that God warned Adam and Eve saying, ‘the day that thou eat of the tree that I have warned you not to eat, thou shall die’ and they ate it, this is why the truth of God’s word said, ‘as far as this world is concerned, you have died, but for the called and redeemed, God’s word said, ‘your new and real life is hidden with Christ in God’. Are you making effort to see that this claim is fulfilled in your life by living your life according to the dictates of the Scripture and the Gospel? Another way in which the Word (Jesus Christ) who lived among us changes our lives is by releasing us from a preoccupation with ourselves worldly. A further consequence of Lord Jesus dwelling at the centre of our life is that we will know what it is to have an unhurried heart. An unhurried heart is one who is moving, acting, or making things to taking place without haste or urgency, which is why you hear people say that there is no hurry in life. The Igbos put it in this way saying ‘O ji nwayo eje a digi emeru ahu’! Lord Jesus approached life responsibly, passionately or lovingly, honestly and decisively, but also with a calm, gentle and confident spirit. Comb the Gospel records and never once do you find Him in a hurry or acting dishonestly in life. One commentator said this about Lord Jesus: ‘He was never hurried, never flurried and never worried.’ Flurry means suddenly doing many things at once under commotion or excitement. You can agree with me that this is the attitude that characterized human behaviour, hurriedly and suddenly doing things in commotion and in excitement, is it not? So as we are celebrating the divine birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, let us begin to make efforts to try and emulate the way He taught us how to live on earth so that we will be truly called His. Yet another consequence of the conquering Christ indwelling us is that we receive strength to live ‘in spite of’ all odds. In spite of means without being affected by any or the particular factor mentioned in the cause of living our life. Today contrary to our living our life ‘in spite of’; many of us have strength to live life ‘on account of’, that is you use on account of to introduce the reason or explanation for doing something, but not strength to live ‘in spite of’. So from this explanation you find out that there is a huge difference in living life ‘in spite of’ and in living life ‘on account of’. Living life in spite of spur you up to seek for and receive strength from the Holy Spirit but living life on account of makes one to seek for an explanation or reason why he or she has to live life the way he or she is living life. Do you now understand? Is this not what we do? So please let us learn how to live life ‘in spite of’ because it is only what will make you depend on God receiving strength to forge ahead from the Lord Jesus Christ by learning from His examples of living life on earth. When our circumstances and surroundings are favourable, and life is going according to plan and how we want it, we can carry on, we carry go as we use to say it. But life is not always like that, rosy as people wants it to be rather life is interwoven with trials as a check. There can be moments of huge disappointments, distressing situations, failing moments; moments when we miss the true end and scope of life and cruel reverses which come to us because of our erroneous lifestyle and lack of knowing how God guides us by His word. And that is when we are tested to the very core of our being. If what we have is merely an echo or figments of our imaginations of our surroundings then it fades away and disappears. If what we have comes from the depths within us; from our inner being–where our Lord Jesus life resides –then it holds us safe and steady and secure. From what we have thus learned from above; one writer said that there are three types of Christians: the rowing boat type, the sailing boat type, and the engine-driven type. The rowing boat type is the person who makes a show of being a Christian but, when under test or trial, prefers to rely on his or her own strength instead of receiving strength from God. The sailing boat type depends on the winds. If the winds are with them, they get on, but if not, they make no progress, they are opportunistic. The engine–driven type has a strength and resilience that is constant –they go on whether or not the winds are favourable knowing that the Lord God is on the lead and He knows where He want to lead you to. It is true that these types of people know that one can go faster when the wind is behind them but, nevertheless, they go on –wind or no wind. They are not self –dependent or circumstances -dependent, but they are God –dependent. And being God –dependent they are, in turn, dependable. This type of people knows that God created, He keep providence and He knows all the places where the providence are so He leads them there. In life please do not ever try to do anything that will change the course of God’s plan and purpose for you because this is what many people are suffering without knowing, hence the English man will say that you are the architect of your own fortunes. Receiving this inner strength from Christ indwelling to go on when life is against us is one of our greatest necessities. To those who understand what it means to be conquered by Christ’s love, and have His power within, it is a working truth that only they can talk of the experience. They receive this inner strength to forge ahead in life from Christ by both grace and their ability to live and practice the word of God and so they can talk about it. But because the rest people receive strength only from grace, to them it looks and appears like magic and so they don’t understand it.

  et Your Hearts On Things Above Colossians 3:1-17:

The chapter 3 of Colossians contains the following: 1. The Colossians exhorted to be heavenly-minded; as seen in verses 1-4. Are we heavenly minded? 2. To mortify all corrupt affections; as seen in verses 5-11; from our heavenly mindedness do we try to mortify all our corrupt affections? 3. To live in mutual love, forbearance, and forgiveness; as seen in verses 12-17, do we live our life in mutual love, forbearance and forgiveness? 4. And to practise the duties of wives and husbands, children, parents, and servants as seen in verses 18-25. Do we practice the duties of wife, husband, children, parent and servant? Colossians 3:1-4: As Christians are freed from the ceremonial law, they must walk 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. So whenever you receive grace God intend that you learn to try to reduce the sinfulness in you that brings trouble to you which His grace saves you from. 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 called Christ 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 Jesus Christ in all he does. What does this mean, it means that Christ lives in the believer by His Spirit and the believer lives to Christ in doing all he does according to the examples as Jesus Christ lived on earth. 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, those who did everything they did in life on earth in Christ called those whose life is 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? You have a chance to work and walk towards that world or that place He promised He is going to prepare for us. Colossians 3:5-11: 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 the rule of appetite and passion. There is now or today no difference from country, or conditions and circumstances of life, all are alike. 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. This is why you must try very hard to guide the purity of your Christ content, that part of God in you given to you by God during your formation in your mother’s womb which makes you in His likeness must not be tampered with or must not be allowed by you to be contaminated or be rendered a counterfeit spirit in you which renders you a reprobate, a counterfeit person, an unprincipled person, a sinner who is not of the elect and is predestined to damnation; different from a real person who is Christ indwelled and lead. Colossians 3:12-17: 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, that is being meek and compassionate towards all. While in this world, where there is so much corruption in our hearts, quarrels and misunderstanding will sometimes arise. But it is our duty to forbear and forgive one another, imitating the forgiveness and forbearing 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 and ruled with what we sing. Whatever we are employed about, let us do everything 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. Now let us read Colossians 3:1-17; If then you have been raised with Christ [to a new life, thus sharing His resurrection from the dead], aim at and seek the [rich, eternal treasures] that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 And set your minds and keep them set on what is above (the higher things), not on the things that are on the earth. 3 For [as far as this world is concerned] you have died, and your [new, real] life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, Who is our life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in [the splendor of His] glory. 5 So kill (deaden, [a]deprive of power) the evil desire lurking in your members [those animal impulses and all that is earthly in you that is employed in sin]: sexual vice, impurity, sensual appetites, unholy desires, and all greed and covetousness, for that is idolatry (the deifying of self and other created things instead of God). 6 It is on account of these [very sins] that the [holy] anger of God is ever coming upon the sons of disobedience (those who are obstinately opposed to the divine will), 7 Among whom you also once walked, when you were living in and addicted to [such practices]. 8 But now put away and rid yourselves [completely] of all these things: anger, rage, bad feeling toward others, curses and slander, and foulmouthed abuse and shameful utterances from your lips! 9 Do not lie to one another, for you have stripped off the old (unregenerate) self with its evil practices, 10 And have clothed yourselves with the new [spiritual self], which is [ever in the process of being] renewed and remolded into [fuller and more perfect [b]knowledge upon] knowledge after the image (the likeness) of Him Who created it. 11 [In this new creation all distinctions vanish.] There [c]is no room for and there can be neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, [nor difference between nations whether alien] barbarians or Scythians [[d]who are the most savage of all], nor slave or free man; but Christ is all and in all [[e]everything and everywhere, to all men, without distinction of person]. 12 Clothe yourselves therefore, as God’s own chosen ones (His own picked representatives), [who are] purified and holy and well-beloved [by God Himself, by putting on behavior marked by] tenderhearted pity and mercy, kind feeling, a lowly opinion of yourselves, gentle ways, [and] patience [which is tireless and long-suffering, and has the power to endure whatever comes, with good temper]. 13 Be gentle and forbearing with one another and, if one has a difference (a grievance or complaint) against another, readily pardoning each other; even as the Lord has [freely] forgiven you, so must you also [forgive]. 14 And above all these [put on] love and enfold yourselves with the bond of perfectness [which binds everything together completely in ideal harmony]. 15 And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state] to which as [members of Christ’s] one body you were also called [to live]. And be thankful (appreciative), [giving praise to God always]. 16 Let the word [spoken by] Christ (the Messiah) have its home [in your hearts and minds] and dwell in you in [all its] richness, as you teach and admonish and train one another in all insight and intelligence and wisdom [in spiritual things, and as you sing] psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, making melody to God with [His] grace in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do [no matter what it is] in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus and in [dependence upon] His Person, giving praise to God the Father through Him.

  Introduction:

We should realize that “Your life is hid with Christ in God.” I have been taken out of the old Adam by baptism; that is, by the baptism of the Holy Spirit (not being in). I have been taken out of Adam and placed in Christ. I am now in Christ. Now that I am in Christ, I should live out His life and let His fullness be lived out through me as I grow in Him every day by grace. Key Verse 3:1, 2: “If then you have been raised with Christ [to a new life, thus sharing His resurrection from the dead], aim at and seek the [rich, eternal treasures] that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 And set your minds and keep them set on what is above (the higher things), not on the things that are on the earth.” The Colossian Christians have been truly converted to the Gospel of our Lord Jesus. They had heard the message of the Gospel, and had accepted the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus on their behalf. They had confessed their sins, and received forgiveness through faith in Jesus’ death. More than that, they had been reconciled to God and made heirs with Christ Jesus. In other words they had become citizens of the kingdom of God. Paul assured them that “God had made [them] alive with Christ” as seen in Colossians 2:13 “13 And you who were dead in trespasses and in the uncircumcision of your flesh (your sensuality, your sinful carnal nature), [God] brought to life together with [Christ], having [freely] forgiven us all our transgressions”. Having been given every spiritual blessing in heaven and on earth, what more could they lack? What more could they want? Actually nothing! For they had been given fullness in Christ as seen in Colossians 2:10 “10 And you [f]are in Him, made full and having come to fullness of life [in Christ you too are filled with the Godhead—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—and reach full spiritual stature]. And He is the Head of all rule and authority [of every angelic principality and power].” But somehow there were some false teachers who had clouded their minds with doubts that the Gospel they had received had been lacking the full message. These agitators had been somehow successful in convincing some Colossian Christians to embrace some laws in order to compliment and to complete the Gospel message they had believed in. They had been earthly Laws— laws that require a man to do this or do that in an effort to bolster faith and spirit just as they are teaching some of us today. But the true Gospel requires nothing of a man’s inclusive act except that the man rests his faith on the grace of God— on Christ Jesus who through His death and resurrection had accomplished the work of salvation for those who believe. And that’s where our story begins. Paul who loved the church of the Colossians wrote them a letter in order to refute all the false teachings that had clouded their minds with doubts. In other words like Lord Jesus Christ, Paul gave the false teachers of the people of Colossians his sermon against their false sermon just as Lord Jesus gave the Pharisees and the Scribes the sermon on the mount which is His sermon against their false teachings. And so after exalting Christ, and re-establishing the Deity and Supremacy of Christ above all things, Paul counsels the Colossian Christians in the Gospel they had once heard and believed. This Gospel had brought them forgiveness of sins, had reconciled them with God, and had made them the children of God that they now were which is what it is to be doing for us today. They had been purchased by Christ’s shed blood and had become the citizens of heaven. And Christ had now come to live in their hearts. And that was the greatest of all glorious things that could happen to a people— that Christ now lived in their hearts. For that alone was their greatest and only hope! As seen in Colossians 1:27 “27 To whom God was pleased to make known how great for the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ within and among you, the Hope of [realizing the] glory.” That Christ lived in their hearts, their hope of glory! What more could a Christian hope for! “So then,” Paul had written them saying, “just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him” as seen in Colossians 2:6 “6 As you have therefore received Christ, [even] Jesus the Lord, [so] walk (regulate your lives and conduct yourselves) in union with and conformity to Him.” The Apostle had worried when false teachers had come to shake their faith and confidence in the Lord. So he had counselled them to continue living in Christ as Christ continues to live in them. The Apostle had practically shouted at them “God made you alive with Christ” as seen in Colossians 2:13 “13 And you who were dead in trespasses and in the uncircumcision of your flesh (your sensuality, your sinful carnal nature), [God] brought to life together with [Christ], having [freely] forgiven us all our transgressions.” Did you hear that, men and women of God would always shout at God’s people when they see danger coming their way. It was a blessing beyond their wildest imaginings, that they who were dead in their sins were made alive with Christ— that Christ had snatched them from the dominion of darkness and had brought them into His kingdom of Light. This is exactly what Lord Jesus aims at doing for all His people snatching them from the dominion of darkness, sin, evil, failing and missing the true end and scope of life bring them into His kingdom where He rules, guides, protect and provide for them by His Mercy and Grace! Then some charlatans or false claimers of having special knowledge and skill who pretended to be holy and righteous, who had a semblance of humility and the false appearance of wisdom came by as thief to rob the Colossian Christians of the freedom that they had had in Christ. These charlatans planted confusion, doubt in the minds of the Colossians just as our present day charlatans are planting doubts and confusion in our mind that we no longer know which way is the true Scripture and Gospel to follow. But Paul warned the Colossian Christians not to be deceived by shows of humility nor by a false appearance of wisdom nor by seeming acts of worship. Such things may appear to be religious on the outside, but in reality or in the inside they are absolutely powerless to touch the heart of men, which is what really matters to God; the Lord God is concern only with the heartfelt worship. Religion and religious acts, laws and lawful living, fancy words that seem spiritual and a show of humility and such are as nothing because they cannot touch the hearts of men. Only Lord Jesus and the Gospel of Jesus Christ has the power to penetrate into the heart and to change it and to make it fit and worthy of God and of His kingdom. Why? Because for the heart to change, it needs conviction; it needs rebuking; it needs repentance; it needs forsaking of sin; it needs forgiveness; and it needs recreation for a new life to appear out of the old. And only Lord Jesus and His Gospel with its high divine potency can do that for the human heart. So Paul warned them, and cautioned them not to forget that it was the Gospel of Jesus Christ that had touched their inner person just as He longs it to touch ours and had changed them into men and women of God. They needed to remember the grace of God and the power of the Gospel which had turned their hearts to God. As he put it, “they died with Christ” as seen in Colossians 2:20 “20 If then you have died with Christ to material ways of looking at things and have escaped from the world’s crude and elemental notions and teachings of externalism, why do you live as if you still belong to the world? [Why do you submit to rules and regulations?—such as]” when they renounced their sins and had accepted what the Lord’s bloodshed for them on the cross is meant for them. But in doing so they had not only died with Christ! Paul tells them that they had also been raised with Christ. And through this, they had been individually made a new person. They had been given a new and changed heart and they had also been given a new and a changed life. And so begins the third chapter of Colossians. In it Paul teaches the Colossian Christians and Christians of all time many things. Mainly he teaches us how to live the new life which has been given us. Chapter 3 begins with an exhortation to the Christians to set their hearts and minds on things above rather than on earthly things, to turn one’s heart and mind to heavenly things rather than to earthly things. He says: “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things” as seen in verses 1-2, let us read verses 1-2 together. If then you have been raised with Christ [to a new life, thus sharing His resurrection from the dead], aim at and seek the [rich, eternal treasures] that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 And set your minds and keep them set on what is above (the higher things), not on the things that are on the earth. In these verses Paul commands the Christians not to dwell on earthly things, but rather to dwell on heavenly things. To make it a point to— to set their hearts and minds on— to pursue and to seek those things that are principled or heavenly by nature. And at the same time to subdue— to let go of— to put aside the things that are unprincipled, earthly or worldly by nature. We will talk a little about His exhortation here to think on things that are heavenly rather than to remain earthbound and fixed on the earthly or worldly things. But before we talk about this, look at the rest of the chapter, mainly the passage we are considering today, that is, up to verse 17. When we read it, we see Paul also explaining and giving examples of what are the things that are earthly and what are the things that are heavenly. “If then you have been raised with Christ [to a new life, thus sharing His resurrection from the dead], aim at and seek the [rich, eternal treasures] that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 And set your minds and keep them set on what is above (the higher things), not on the things that are on the earth.” Paul commands the Christian to set his or her heart and mind on things above, where Christ is, and not on earthly things. He commands that the heart and the mind be diverted from the earthly things and set on the heavenly things. The heart and mind encompass the whole man or woman. In other words, the entire being must be diverted from the earthly things and set on the heavenly things. The mind— the intellect— the thought world— the imagination. As well as the heart— the emotion— the feelings— the passion and more. All these things must be set on the heavenly things because that being had died with Christ and had been raised with Christ. And because that being had been changed in his or her inner man to become a child of God. And when we have been changed and given a new life, then that new life can no longer live as it did in its old self, but must now live in its new self as it says A New Life. To live a new life— a completely new life in Christ is demanded of the Christian. The reasons are obvious why a man or woman touched by the Gospel must live a new life. In verse 1 Paul tells us: ““If then you have been raised with Christ [to a new life, thus sharing His resurrection from the dead], aim at and seek the [rich, eternal treasures] that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.” In verse 3 he says: “3 For [as far as this world is concerned] you have died, and your [new, real] life is hidden with Christ in God.” And in verse 10 Paul says: “10 And have clothed yourselves with the new [spiritual self], which is [ever in the process of being] renewed and remolded into [fuller and more perfect [b]knowledge upon] knowledge after the image (the likeness) of Him Who created it.” The reasons a Christian must live a new life in Christ after receiving the gift of the new life are obvious. We died with Christ. In other words, whatever we were before dying with Christ is history, and is gone, a memory of old, a life that was sinful and offensive to God. No one who had embraced the death of Christ and who had his or her sins washed by the blood of Jesus must continue to live the life he or she lived before being redeemed and forgiven by God. Also we were raised with Christ. In other words, the old self that offended God by committing sin and was worthy of death had already died and was buried in Christ, and a new opportunity and life had been given to us that we might now live for Him. We were raised with Him, means that in the old self we were dead, and dying. And if we had died in our sins it would have been the greatest tragedy of all time. For those who die in their sins will rise, but not to Christ. They will rise to hell and to living in hell forever. But those who were raised with Christ is the gift of God to His children, a taste of what would one day come as seen in verse 4 “4 When Christ, Who is our life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in [the splendor of His] glory.” But until that day comes, we must strive to live a new life— the new life given to us to live while we are still in the flesh. Paul also tells us in verse 10 that we must live a new life because we have put on the new self. What a glorious declaration! That self is not complete the moment it is given to us. It is an infant that needs to be nourished and grown. And the promise is that the new life will most certainly grow and mature in the knowledge of God and in the image of its creator Christ. What a glorious truth is given to us here. We must live the new life, and we must live it for all the good reasons that Paul tells us. And we must live it because it has been prepared for us to live, and to grow into all the Christian which God would have us be. We must live the new life. And we must grow in it. But why does Paul encourage us to set our whole being, all our hearts and all our minds and all that there is within us, on heavenly things? Because there is every tendency we may not do so. The new life is given to us. But we must make something of it. We must maintain it. More than that, we must grow it, and see that it matures within us until it can glorify God. Set your hearts, set your minds, are responsibilities we are given on what to do with this new life and new nature that has been given to us. Christians cannot receive a new life and imagine that all will be well from there on, instead we must be aware that miraculously we would fight and overcome temptations and trials. In that miraculously we would always choose the good and wholesome things of God. In that miraculously we would grow a spiritual inch every day until miraculously one day we wake up as spiritual giants who can take on the devil hands down. What foolishness is this! What foolishness is it for a man or woman given a new life to imagine that we become all that God wants us to become without fearing a setback. What foolishness it is for a Christian to also believe that since his physical nature is so strong, much stronger than his spiritual nature, that it is wise to give in and let the sinful nature take its course. That there is nothing he or she can do about that strong and sinful nature, and that giving in is Godly wisdom. Don’t be surprised at this. There were many in Paul’s time who deemed the spiritual nature to be beyond reproach and therefore might as well give in to the demands of the physical nature since it will perish any way. That is heresy! So do not believe it! That is precisely why Paul commands us to set our hearts on heavenly things and not on earthly things. He demands that we fight with every breath we have the sinful nature that desires the earthly things and encourage the spiritual nature which is usually too weak to seek after the spiritual things, the heavenly things. What must we set our hearts and minds on? Or another version the word is seek, so what must we seek? How must we live the new life that has been given to us? We must set our hearts and minds on heavenly things. We must seek heavenly things. Paul relates what these earthly things are in this chapter, and he also relates a little of what the heavenly things are that we must seek and set our hearts on. But we can also understand this command from the many examples that the Bible gives us. One day when John the Baptist saw Lord Jesus for the first time, he pointed Him out to his disciples saying: “Look the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” At these words, two of John’s disciples, John and Andrew, began to follow Lord Jesus. When Lord Jesus saw them following Him, He asked them, “What do you want?” It was one of the most poignant and heart piercing question God can ask any man. What do you want, what is your desire, what do you really want in life? What are you seeking in life? This question is hard to answer because the heart harbours many wants and desires as it is the seat of our desires. What do we want? What do we really want from life, or what do you want from Lord Jesus, or what do you really want from God! The right answer to this question has always been: “Lord I want you, and nothing or no one else.” Which means that Paul teaching us to Set your hearts and minds on things above is really to set our hearts and minds on Lord Jesus, to have Jesus Christ at the centre of our actions, wants and desires. The heart is so corrupt, even for the Christian who has been given a new heart and a new life. He or she need to continuously set their hearts on Lord Jesus, as the main desire of their hearts. One time when Lord Jesus openly told His disciples that He would obey the difficult will of God and surrender Himself to the cross, and to death, Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, telling Lord Jesus that He must not think like this, he may have asked Lord Jesus if He has lost His mind as we use to say it, is it not. That He must not think of surrendering His life, that He should rather fight against those who would capture Him and crucify Him, and Peter gave his allegiance to Lord Jesus to fight next to Him. But Lord Jesus turned around and rebuked Peter, saying to him to get behind Him, naming him even Satan, that Peter did not have in mind the things of God, but of men. That Peter is not setting his mind and heart on the things of God which if he Peter does, he would have known that what Lord Jesus is saying is the desire of God the Father. What Lord Jesus meant was that the things of God or the heavenly things as Paul names them, are so different from the things of men, or the earthly things. Men in their earthly nature desire life and riches and popularity and fame and they avoid suffering and pain absolutely. And God’s things and heavenly things as Paul calls them are self sacrifice and obedience to the will of God, and the welcoming of suffering, pain and many times it is costly to man. In other words, to set our hearts on things above is to desire what God desires of us, to empty ourselves of our own plans and desires for life and future, and to give it to God being ready at any time to do as the Lord wills. To set your hearts on things above, you must begin to learn the heart and mind of God; you must begin to start learning how God does His things so that you may mature into an obedient child of God rather than a spoiled rebellious disobedient Christian who flinches at every discomfort. Flinch means to make a quick, nervous shivering in fear, pain or surprise. Lord Jesus taught the crowds saying: “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.” To set one’s heart and mind on heavenly things is to seek the kingdom of God in our everyday life and living. The world is too strong and vibrant and attractive and flashy so that even the children of God, those who have been given a new heart and a new life cannot escape from the lure or attractiveness of its temptation. Even strong Christians can get easily entangled with the world and its endless intrigues. But to live the new life God has given us, we must strife, we must struggle, we must fight to seek first His kingdom. To have the kingdom of God and God’s precious righteousness is not easy. We must change our priorities. Priority means the things we regard more important than others. The priorities we have in this world often conflict with what God really wants of us. God wants us to put Him God and His kingdom and His word and His benefit first priority in our lives, over and above even the dearest things that we cherish in this world. That is why so many good Christians even fail in this area, not growing in their inner man as long as their priorities become things that the Bible considers “earthly things”. We must love and serve others, and we must guide our hearts and minds to do what is right as Christians. But not at the cost of God and His kingdom. When God calls the Christian to do something he does not like to do, or to give something he does not like to give, only the heart and mind that are set on heavenly things, on God and on Godly things, can please God in this matter and still wear a cheerful look and not murmur or complain. Only that heart actually matures in the knowledge of God and in the image of His Creator. The Bible is full of examples and teachings and exhortations that can teach the sincere Christian how to set his or her heart and mind on heavenly things. But unless that Christian is willing to obey this basic command of “Set your hearts and minds on heavenly things where Christ is seated— seek the heavenly things”, that Christian cannot hope to achieve all that God would have him or her achieve in their spiritual life. We need not be stunted dwarfed in the new life which God had called us to live. He has given us a new life, but there is a responsibility we must fulfil, and that responsibility includes “setting our hearts and minds on things above”. A glorious teaching. It is also wondrous that Paul gives us hope that we can grow in this new life when we set our hearts on things above. When we make up our minds to seek that which is heavenly rather than that which is earthly we truly grow. The earthly things around are too many and too attractive making it hard for us to avoid. But it is absolutely possible to avoid earthly things when we embrace His command and begin to seek those heavenly things. And the more we do, the more we grow into formidable mature Christians who can actually defy the world and its endless temptations, allurement and pitfalls. What then are some of the earthly things we should not set our hearts and minds on? What things of the earthly nature that we must banish and put off from our lives as we struggle to live the new life God has given us in and through Christ Jesus? Read verses 5-9. “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry or valuing worldly things than the things of heaven. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices.” Or “5 So kill (deaden, [a]deprive of power) the evil desire lurking in your members [those animal impulses and all that is earthly in you that is employed in sin]: sexual vice, impurity, sensual appetites, unholy desires, and all greed and covetousness, for that is idolatry (the deifying of self and other created things instead of God). 6 It is on account of these [very sins] that the [holy] anger of God is ever coming upon the sons of disobedience (those who are obstinately opposed to the divine will), 7 Among whom you also once walked, when you were living in and addicted to [such practices]. 8 But now put away and rid yourselves [completely] of all these things: anger, rage, bad feeling toward others, curses and slander, and foulmouthed abuse and shameful utterances from your lips! 9 Do not lie to one another, for you have stripped off the old (unregenerate) self with its evil practices” We need convince no one, not even the worldly man that all that is mentioned in these verses belongs to the old nature, to the earthly nature we were born into. All human beings are born to sin and in sin. They are born with an earthly nature that is completely devoted to the physical elements of this world. Perhaps that is why the world, when it does not know nor acknowledge Christ and the grace of God, consider that such things as sexual immorality natural and at times they even consider it healthy. Greed is another element of the earthly sinful nature which seems to be completely acceptable to those who are not touched by God. Greed seems to be healthy to men and women who need to strive for more of what the world originally has given them. They want more money, more comfort, better jobs, higher positions, fame and such. All come from greed and from not being content with what God has given to each of us and you can even see that greed extended to our preferring artificial make -over to the real things God created us with. This is the old nature, the nature that every human being is born into. Paul tells us that in the new life we must not live like this anymore. In other words, we must view these things as repulsive to God and part of a nature that was under God’s wrath, and part of a nature that eventually caused the Son of God to be crucified for. We must examine all the details Paul gives us of the old nature he has mentioned here, and we must not be presumptuous considering that we are above being caught fixing our hearts on them or seeking them in our life. Even as a Christian full of the grace of God, these elements of the world can find their ways easily into our hearts and minds cause us in a moment to desire them. Rather when this happen in our hearts and minds we must repent of them. We must treat them as enemies of our hearts and minds. And we must do as Paul says— Set our hearts on things above. It is his wise advice that we do so. We must decide to put these worldly things aside, to want them no more, to abhor them and cast them out of our lives as that which originally polluted and corrupted our hearts and minds making them remain hell-bound. On the other hand, what are the things above, the heavenly things that Paul urges us to set our hearts and minds on? Read verses 12-17. “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” or “12 Clothe yourselves therefore, as God’s own chosen ones (His own picked representatives), [who are] purified and holy and well-beloved [by God Himself, by putting on behaviour marked by] tenderhearted pity and mercy, kind feeling, a lowly opinion of yourselves, gentle ways, [and] patience [which is tireless and long-suffering, and has the power to endure whatever comes, with good temper]. 13 Be gentle and forbearing with one another and, if one has a difference (a grievance or complaint) against another, readily pardoning each other; even as the Lord has [freely] forgiven you, so must you also [forgive]. 14 And above all these [put on] love and enfold yourselves with the bond of perfectness [which binds everything together completely in ideal harmony]. 15 And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state] to which as [members of Christ’s] one body you were also called [to live]. And be thankful (appreciative), [giving praise to God always]. 16 Let the word [spoken by] Christ (the Messiah) have its home [in your hearts and minds] and dwell in you in [all its] richness, as you teach and admonish and train one another in all insight and intelligence and wisdom [in spiritual things, and as you sing] psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, making melody to God with [His] grace in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do [no matter what it is] in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus and in [dependence upon] His Person, giving praise to God the Father through Him.” These are some of the heavenly things— the things of God— we must set our hearts and minds on. They are holy and wholesome and perfectly in tune with the new life we have been given as Christians who had died and risen with the Lord. Paul appeals to the Christians of Colosse, pointing to the love of God for them, that in His great love He had done for them what they could have never done for themselves, which is to change into noble and precious human beings worthy of God. A man or woman who is engrossed in sexual immorality and in greed and in slander and gossip and complaints and such is really not worthy of God and in other words, such a person is not a noble and precious human. God did not create us to debase ourselves into animalistic tendencies and to submit to the most ignoble and filthy practices that even the beasts of the earth would not practice. God created us to soar above the earthly and the mundane, above that which is of this earth, and to be as He who redeemed us is, a heavenly being destined for glory. So we must set our hearts on those things that make us real true children of God. To be a real true noble and precious child of God in a world that has grown so animalistic and beastly is a struggle. It is a fight. It is a battle that we must fight every day and struggle to win. Bearing with others and forgiving them is truly noble and heavenly. An earthly man wants to hold grudges and condemn those who offend him. But the man whose heart is set on heavenly things, on Christ, wants to be like his maker, loving and forgiving, bearing with others who are weaker. It is a heavenly attribute, attitude and behaviour. A man or woman who lives a new life in Christ also cherishes love above indifference. They cherish peace above anxiety that comes from the world. They cherish love as something to grow in during their pilgrimage on earth because the Lord their Lord had loved unconditionally. Gratitude, and thankfulness, patience and service, sacrifice and all are all part of the new life and new nature that we are called to participate in and to set our hearts on living and growing in. It is a beautiful thing to be commanded to set our hearts on heaven, on Christ, and to grow in His knowledge and in His image. What else can we want? It is what we must seek and desire with our whole hearts. God bless you as you make efforts to live and practice this new life and new nature.

  Conclusion:

* [The earthly things come from the earthly nature, part of the earthly nature which we are born into. And the heavenly things come from the heavenly nature, which is the new nature, the new life that has been given to us in and through Christ’s death and resurrection. Paul tells them and us that they had been given a new life. But this new life is not like the old life they had. They had been very much at home when they were in the old self, the earthly self they were born into. For years they had given in to the old self, the earthly self, and for years they had been familiar with their own earthly nature such that they had been comfortable with it. Everything they did in their old nature had come naturally to them. But now that they had died with Christ and risen with Christ through what Christ had done for them and through their faith in Him, Paul tells Christians that their old nature had died and they had been reborn into a new nature. But even though they had died to the old nature, it does not mean that they had been completely free of it. In other words, as long as they live in this body on earth, they are still susceptible to the temptations of the flesh that are around them. And even though they had been given a new heart and new life to live in Christ, it does not mean that they would naturally and easily begin to live the new life with power and no hindrances. In fact, Paul knows that the new life in Christ would be difficult— as he calls it elsewhere it is a battle to be waged every day of one’s life. But even though it is not going to be easy living it, it is certainly within their grasp to live it. Their new life and nature was like an infant who needs to be fed and nurtured and matured until the infant grows into a strong adult able to walk on his or her own two feet boldly and confidently without fear.]

  

Lord Jesus, my Saviour and my God, You kept going when life became so tough that it meant Your dying on the cross for me. Lord please take hold of me now so that I might learn and know that the same power also: the power to go on –‘in spite of’ is still within my reach, help me to always take hold of it in all my circumstances so that Your victory will always be mine. In Your name Lord Jesus I pray. Amen!