Get Focused: Look Up

Colossians 3.1-17

Key verse: Keep seeking the things above … Keep thinking about things above

Know who you are in Christ

The transformation: put to death, put off, put on
Vv 1-4 are theological foundation for the following practical verses.

Focus on things above because:
-you died to the old order
-you are already raised with Christ so that you may participate in his resurrection life.

The lives of Christians are to be different: interest, minds, aims, ambitions, outlook.

This doesn’t come automatically – it must be sought diligently: keep seeking … keep thinking …

"your life is hidden with Christ in God"
Presently, I don’t see who you really are – you don’t even see who your really are – you are hidden; I am hidden. These things are done, they are already accomplished, but they have yet to be fully revealed.

"When Christ appears", at the Second Coming, when we see Christ and he is revealed and we see clearly all that he is, we will see who we are,
"you too will be revealed in glory with him."

But until that time, keep looking up, keep focused on things above, don’t get distracted by things below. And as you focus on things above, v.10 says that you are "being renewed in knowledge according of the image of" Christ. You will see Christ more and more clearly, you will know Christ more  and more and therefore, you will be renewed, you will be more and more like Him.

Not a list to achieve but a description of the Christian life. List is not exhaustive (things the Colossian Church needed to hear)

One body (v.15): “one another”
Do not lie to one another
Bearing with one another
Forgiving one another
Teaching and exhorting one another

Particular to believers and their relationship within the Christian community, but in now way suggest that Christians could be less when interacting with those outside the Church.

v.14 love, perfect bond
v.15 called as one body to this peace

The descriptions to follow are more than just individual character traits, it is about how we live together in the world. It is about being a living organism, bound together in Christ and how that effects the way we live together.

Put to death … (v.5)
Put to death: transformation of will, new attitude of mind, shift of center of personality from self to Christ:

Fornication: any unlawful sexual intercourse; extramarital sexual relationships
Impurity: moral uncleanness
Shameful passion: passion leading to sexual excesses
Evil desire: longing, sin that controls
Greed: (more general term) covetousness, desire to have more, usually material things; closer relationship with idolatry

Put off … (v.8)

Anger, Rage: wrath, outburst of temper (destructive of relationships)
Malice: slander, abusive language
Slander: defamation, blasphemy, lies, gossip
Abusive language: (more general term) foul talk, obscene language

You used to be this way, but no longer. God has transformed you. He has transformed you inwardly, let that be revealed in your outward actions.

Sin is not a popular topic. But sin is sin. Sin, as biblically defined, will be sin. God has expectations for his people. And God says sin will be punished and this passage talks about the wrath of God coming to the sons (7 daughters) of disobedience: those who disobey his word. In the OT, we read of Israel, who is God’s people, they were his chosen people, but God in his holiness, could not allow his people to live unholy lives. And that is the same today. God’s ultimate wrath is being withheld until the day of His coming. A righteous God cannot stand idly by and watch people act unrighteously. We would call that a double standard. But this same God is the God who acquits, who has made a way for forgiveness.

Put on … (v.12)
clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ Rom 13.14
Put to death, put off, put on – decisive act leading to a settled attitude. Make your mind up. “Just do it”

Fruit of Spirit: kindness, gentleness, patience

Mercy: compassion. This is demonstrated in God and his saving action toward us.
Kindness: goodness, generosity. Concrete actions. God’s gracious attitude toward the sinner, to save, to lead to repentance.
Humility: lowliness, concern for welfare of others. Esteem others
Gentleness: humility, meekness, considerate of others. Willingness to waive one’s rights
Patience: longsuffering, endure wrongs of others. Put up with the exasperating behavior of others rather than flying into rage or desiring vengeance.

Also …
bear with one another; forgive one another (mutual; reciprocal). Unceasing, unwearying (70×7 in Mt 18). May have legitimate cause for complaint, but must forgive.
love; peace
teaching and exhorting one another; worship in singing

For Further Prayer and Reflection
Philippians 2.5; Romans 12.2; Matthew 18.22; Galatians 5.16-25; Ephesians 4.17-5.20

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