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Living the New Life in Christ
The title of my message today is “Living the New Life in Christ”. It
comes from Colossians 3:1-17. In our passage today it gives us some
pointers to help us live effectively for Jesus.
This message is
a little bit different to my last two messages I have shared here. The
last two were in-depth teachings with application points. This one is
more of a general encouragement from today’s passage. I even have props
to help us remember.
Reading - Colossians 3:1-17
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on
things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set
your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and
your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your
life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual
immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6
Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.
7 You used to walk in
these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must also rid
yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander,
and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since
you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on
the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its
Creator. 11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or
uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all,
and is in all.
12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and
dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility,
gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another
if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord
forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them
all together in perfect unity.
15 Let the peace of Christ rule in
your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And
be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you
teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns,
and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.
17 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.
Now this text has a lot in it
and I think you could actually write a book about it. Prayerfully and
probably thankfully I found as I looked at the text God wanted me to
draw four things out for us all today. There is nothing really new in
what I am going to say. It is more about reminding us, because as
Christians we need reminders every now and then. They help us to stay on
1. Remember to focus on heavenly things (v1-2)
Verses 1-2 talk about things like setting our hearts and minds on
things above. Verse 1 uses the term focus our hearts on things above. We
are drawn towards things we love. We do nice things for those we love.
Verse 2 uses the term setting our minds on things above. It is a
deliberate and intentional focussing of our hearts and thoughts towards
God and His Kingdom.
When Paul says to set our hearts and minds
on heaven he does not mean that we should never think about the things
upon the earth, but he is saying that these things should not be our
main aim, our main goal, or our master.
When we focus our hearts
and minds on heavenly things we see God’s bigger picture. We still may
have problems and struggles along our journey, but if our focus is on
heaven, our lives take on an eternal perspective. We are able to be
lifted above the current struggles that face us today. Viewing our lives
through an eternal perspective gives us peace and comfort and a sense of
purpose. It reminds is that we have a destiny and that we are part of
God’s grand plan.
I love the line from that great hymn Amazing
Grace – when we have been there 10,000 years, we have only just begun.
After 10,000 years we have only just scratched the surface of eternity.
We need to remember death is not the full stop at the end of the book,
it is the full stop at the end of the first chapter. Our lives must
therefore have an eternal perspective. We must focus on heavenly things
if we are to live out this new life in Christ.
- Coloured one end to show this life and the longer white end represents
the time we will spend in eternity.
1 Peter 1:23 - For you have
been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life
will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God.
2. Remember to put off our old earthly nature
If you look carefully at this passage you see there are five things
of the flesh and five things of the mouth that we need to get rid of.
Flesh = sexual immorality, impurity, lust, greed and evil desires. Mouth
= rage, malicious behaviour, slander, lying and dirty language.
In the Colossians church people had infiltrated the church with the goal
to diminish the deity of Christ and to downplay the importance of living
right. They reasoned that because the body is made of flesh and it will
return to the ground, then it was ok to live you wanted. They believed
that an everything goes lifestyle was ok and that you would still be
right with God. They figured your spirt would be right with God so
everything will be ok. Paul writes to counter these things. Paul writes
to remind the people that it is important to live right while walking
Black shirt illustration - covered in 10 behaviours
to put off.
Getting rid of these things may take time, but we
need to remember that at the moment we received Jesus into our hearts
and life the Holy Spirit washes us clean and gives us a new nature.
Titus 3:5 says, “He saved us because of his mercy, and not because of
any good things that we have done. God washed us by the power of the
Holy Spirit. He gave us new birth and a fresh beginning.” This is known
as the Doctrine of Regeneration. It is a work of God that the Holy
Spirit does in our lives when we come to Christ.
At that moment
when we accept Christ we are also Sanctified. Sanctification is a
two-part process. To sanctify means to be set apart for a holy use. So
when we accept Christ we are sanctified or set apart. Sanctification is
also the process by which the Holy Spirit makes us more like Christ in
all that we do, think, and desire. It is an ongoing moral and spiritual
transformation. If we look back at our lives 5, 10 or 15 years ago we
should see very different people to who we are today.
If we do
the right things and allow God to work in our lives, they will slowly
drop away. We need to be reading the Bible and allowing it to renew our
minds, by praying and spending time with God, by spending time with
others who follow Christ, by coming to church and worshipping God and
having communion, by focussing on heaven, and by serving God with your
spiritual gifts. If we work with the Holy Spirit and do the right
things, we will see growth and the old nature’s habits fall away.
Putting off the old self is a key to living the new life in Christ.
3. Remember to put on our new heavenly nature
In verse 12 Paul tells us some of the things we need to put on. It
says, “Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must
clothe yourselves with tender hearted mercy, kindness, humility,
gentleness, and patience”.
As we saw in the last point there
were five things of the flesh and mouth we need to put off. In this
section we see five things we need to put on. They are compassion,
kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. These things sound a lot
like the fruit of the Spirit that is mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23.
I love the analogy of clothing ourselves. In the same way as
Ephesians 6 tells us to put on the armour of God, it says we need to put
on these attitudes and behaviours on like getting dressed. It is a
conscious choice to walk in the ways of Christ.
illustration - clothe yourself with these attitudes. This is what God
wants us to be.
Clothing ourselves with heavenly attitudes is
another key to living the new life in Christ. Letting our lights shine,
being salt and light, loving one another and living right shows we are
Jesus’ disciples. These things will be more important than ever in an
ever changing world.
4. Remember to be Christ’s heavenly
The Bible tells us that we are no longer
citizens of this world, but are citizens of heaven and of God’s Kingdom.
Ephesians 2:19 says, “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and
strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his
household”. And Philippians 3:20 says, “But our citizenship is in
heaven. And we eagerly await a Saviour from there, the Lord Jesus
Christ”. We are to live and breathe and walk like members of God’s
Kingdom and be his ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20). It is our new role
in this life. We can add it in to our resume- in my case 21 July 1989 to
present “Ambassador of Christ”.
Years ago I used to work at the
Immigration Department in Perth. I would often have to visit foreign
embassies to pick up passports or paperwork. When I walked through the
doors or through the gate I was told to be conscious that I was on
foreign soil. Yes, I was in Perth, but I was either in Greece, Russia or
Italy. I had to abide by their rules and try hard not to offend their
customs. In many ways, this is what it is like for us as Christians when
we come into this place. It is God’s embassy. His dwelling place on
earth. The Bible says the Lord inhabits the praises of His people and
where two or more are gathered He is in our midst. When we meet here
were are in His dwelling place. We are His children, doing His work,
representing Him. When we leave this place and go home we still have our
ambassador hats on. We are citizens of heave representing Him.
Ambassadors hat illustration - we are Christ's amabassadors wherever we
So how do we best represent Christ? Verse 16 says the best
way to be Christ’s representative is to “Let the message about Christ,
in all its richness, fill your lives”. When we let the message of
Christ’s love, Christ’s teachings and Christ’s death on the cross for us
fill our lives, we want to live for Him and let others know about Him.
When we are full of Christ’s love, it has no choice but to outflow on to
those around us. Like Jesus said in John 7:39 “Whoever believes in me,
as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within
him." Streams of living water are a natural outworking of faith in Jesus
and the new nature that we are given. As we have seen we need to do the
right things to let this new nature flourish and flow out.
section finishes off with verse 17. It reminds us that whatever we do or
say we need to be conscious that we are Christ’s representative. We need
to remember that we are the only Bible many people will read. Often
people will look at our lives first, before they will ever listen to our
I really like how this
passage starts and ends. It has bookends – Set your hearts and minds of
things of heaven, at the end it says to remember that we are Christ’s
representative in this world. In the middle it talks about putting off
your old nature and putting on your new heavenly nature. It is all about
living the new life in Christ.
1. Remember to focus your heart
and mind on heaven
2. Remember to put off our old earthly nature
3. Remember to clothe yourself with your heavenly nature
to be Christ’s heavenly representative in all you do.
Dear God, please help me to live my new life in
Christ in a way that honours You. Please help to focus my heart and mind
on heavenly things. I pray that You will help me to spend time doing
things that feed my new nature. I pray that You will help me to clothe
myself with tender hearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and
patience. I pray I will be a worthy representative of Christ to those
around me. We ask in Jesus name, Amen.
By Dave Quinn
of PASSION Australia
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