Fixing Your Focus Above

When an American citizen travels to a foreign land, he may immerse himself in the culture, socialize with those who are native to that land, and even adopt their practices. Nevertheless he will remain an American citizen. He may be in another culture, but He is not of another culture. 

As an American citizens, our goals, desires, rights, and privileges all remain in place, even as we reside in a foreign country. As Christians, having fully identified with Christ, we have the goals, desires, rights, and privileges of being a child of God. 

But how do we give our attention to  eternal things while living in our world?

Colossians 3:1-4 says, 

Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.

For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.

  1. Persistently seek eternal results (3:1) 

2. Singularly focus on eternal priorities. (3:2)

3. Steadfastly anticipate eternal glory (3:3-4)

Want to know more about how focus on eternal things? Listen to the full message below.

Holding On to Christ - Colossians 2:16-23

Believers must hold onto Christ and guard against false teaching that threatens our experience of fullness in Christ. How is the believer to hold on to Christ? Paul gives us three methods:

 1. We must guard against the dangers that surround us. (2:16-17)

Warning #1 - Don't be judged by legalists.

Warning #2: Don't be disqualified by mystics

2. We must anticipate the problems that await us (2:19)

Problem #1: Disconnected to the head.

Problem #2: Disconnected from the body.

 3. We must reject teaching that harms us (2:20-23

 3 Reasons to Reject Legalism and Mysticism  

1.    This way of life is related to the world.

2. This way of life reflects human instruction rather than divine teaching. 

3. This way of life cannot produce spiritual transformation.

Concluding Applications:

 1.    We must identify legalistic and mystical thinking and discern when they are feeding the flesh. 

2.    We must cling to Christ as the head, and the body of Christ in order to grow in Christ. 

3.    We must realize the futility of legalism and mysticism and  reject them as diversions from Christ. 

Want to know more about how to hold onto Christ, join us this Sunday!

Fulfilled by Christ's Fullness - Colossians 2:8-15

Sermon Summary/Passage Guide:

Text: Colossians 2:8-15

One of the greatest human quests is the quest for fulfillment in life. This is one of the reasons why Olympic athletes sacrifice so much time and effort to be the best they can be.

 But even success at the Olympic dream often leaves one empty. It’s not failure, it is success that causes depression and suicidal thoughts in Olympic participants. An article in the Washington Post reveals that Baltimore’s own, Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian in history struggled often in his career with depression. 

 What’s more, many Olympians have committed suicide over the years. This show cases a particular, eternal truth – despite his or her best efforts, a person cannot find ultimate fulfillment outside of Jesus Christ. 

In Colossians 2:1-7, Paul the Apostle Paul implores the believers in Colossae to remain firmly rooted and grounded in Christ. Now, in Colossians 2:8-15, he will go on to explain not only why Christ is all sufficient, but how we are to live in the fullness of Christ as well. Paul exhorts believers in three ways.

Be aware of wrong thinking that hinders living in Christ’s fullness.– 2:8

There are so many applications of this today both in the life of the unbeliever and in the life of the believer. Everything from ridiculous rules like not mixing wool and cotton in fabric to avoiding white bread, to guarantees a utopian marriage from the purity movement, to lists of rules and formulas for success in the Christian life.

The list is extensive: the extremes of legalism to license, the mistake of performance rather than service, the error of attempting to take the Old Testament characters in the Bible and making them heroes of Christian success. We are so easily distracted and “captured” away from the sufficiency of Christ.  

Understand the reasons to live in Christ’s fullness. – 2:9-10

Reason #1 – In Christ is all of the fullness of God!

Reason #2 - We are complete in Christ!

If you take a cup and place it under a one of those orange thermoses, it is going to take a while to be filled and you will eventually run out. But if you take the same cup and submerge it in the Pacific ocean it will be filled immediately.  Christ is infinite in his vastness and the fulness of the Godhead. Why would you go anywhere else when you can be filled by Christ!

Experience the reality of living in Christ’s fullness. – 2:11-15

In this final section, Paul masterfully displays 4 facets of our life in Christ!

1.    Christians are dead to the slavery of sin completely. - 11

2. Christians identify with Christ positionally. – 12a

3. Christians are raised with Christ immediately. – 12b

4. Christians are forgiven by Christ entirely. - 13

The section ends with two glorious realities which are clinching arguments for why we must be fulfilled by Christ’s fullness:

Our Freedom is In Christ- Christ’s Accomplishment- 14

Our Victory is In Christ- 15

Concluding Applications:

 1.    We must be constantly aware of wrong thinking that can so easily captivate us!

2.    We must remember that Christ is our greatest fulfillment!

3.    We must experience completeness in Christ!

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