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5/20/12 “Things Above, Things on Earth, Part 2: Heavenly Things” Colossians 3:1-4
A. Col. 3:1-4 “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”
II. A reality above
A. Our faith is based on the premise that there is an invisible reality which is just as real – and even more real – than the visible reality around us.
1. There is another reality. And it’s better. It’s not only a right and true reality, it’s a better reality, much better. “Your lovingkindness is better than life.” Psalm 63:3
B. And a corollary of this is that there are two great, very-distinct ages: this age and the one to come.
1. There is the age we’re in, which we can see and experience. And there is an age which is to come.
2. You can’t see the age to come. God has told you about it, including many of its characteristics, both gloriously pleasant, and terrifyingly unpleasant, and promised it.
3. But just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not coming. And just because you haven’t experienced it doesn’t mean you won’t.
III. The hiddenness of the truth
A. Just because something is invisible doesn't mean it's non-existent.
B. Christ is not invisible by nature. He's just temporarily hidden.
C. The reality of Christ is hidden: Not obscure. Not unknowable. Not irrelevant.
IV. What are “the things above”?
A. Things above
1. Christ: “seek the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.”
a. We need the Spirit to open the eyes of our hearts to see the greatness of His mighty power, the breadth and length and height and depth of His love, the weightiness of the hope of Christ’s glorious return, and the vast riches of the inheritance that is mine in Christ Jesus.
b. The fountain of living water – “My people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.” (Jer.2:13. Cf. John 7:37-39)
c. The bread of life, the light of the world, the good shepherd, the lamb of God, the savior of our souls, etc.
2. Your forgiveness
3. Your name written in the Book of Life
4. Your sonship, your citizenship, your privileged position: we are hidden too!
5. His promises: Forgiveness, Help, Future
a. They meant it for evil, God meant it for good.
b. Rom.8:28: everything is going right even when it feels like it’s going wrong.
(1) There is a beautiful story being told versus everything is random at best and cruel at worst.
6. The home He is preparing for you
7. Holding on to the hope of God’s word
B. Paul's vision of heaven: “he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter.” 2Cor.12:4
1. We can't see it but we can know it.
C. There is Something so wonderful that seeing it would literally kill you.
D. That age (the invisible one) instead of this one (the visible one)
1. Where is your home?
2. “To die is gain.” only when you believe your life is in Christ and your real home is in the next age
a. Growing old or “to die is gain”: it matters whether you set you mind on things above or on earth
b. 3 “For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”
c. When we came to life in Christ, we officially died to our old life and our old existence which was earthly.
3. The best is yet to come.
V. Set your minds on things above.
A. What this doesn’t mean: not paying attention in class
B. What it does mean: not looking to this world for your happiness
1. To live is Christ.
C. Scenario (yesterday: soccer field, house full of family & guests, concert at church)
1. People with eternal souls
a. “From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2Corinthians 5:16-17)
2. Actions with eternal consequences
3. God’s glory being revealed as the most important thing here
VI. Set your minds
A. Invisible things aren’t remembered without effort. “Out-of-sight, out-of-mind”
1. We know this is true from ordinary life. E.g. Almost time for dinner
2. The fool who lives like something doesn’t exist just because it’s invisible.
B. We have the world, the flesh and the devil all working to convince us that earthly things are really where it’s at. We need things to help us think about the bigger, more real and yet invisible things.
1. Investing in your heavenly-mindedness
2. Long-distance courtship: letters, phone calls
C. Refreshing yourself in the splendid truth of the gospel: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” (1Peter 1:3-9)