The Book of Colossians #12

 

Life Is What You Are Alive To
Col. 3:1-4
 
I heard a statement several years ago that goes like this: Life is what you are alive to. I think that statement is true. Life really is what you are alive to. Mention the OU Sooners or OSU Cowboys, and certain people just light up! Mention cars and girls and teenage boys come alive. Mention ribs and recliners and middle-age men come alive! Life is what you are alive to. That is certainly true in the Christian life.
       
The focus of this passage in chapter 3 is in verse 4 where it says that Christ is our life. When you come to the Lord Jesus Christ your life takes on a new perspective and it gains a new center. 
 
Paul put it this way in Philippians 1:21, “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” 
 
Life, for the believer, is Jesus Christ.   You come alive in the Lord Jesus Christ and life is what you are alive to.
       
Ptolemy taught that the earth was the center of the universe. For 1300 years that’s what people believed. Then Copernicus came along and said, “No, earth is not the center of the universe, the sun is the center of the universe.” 
 
At that point the universe took on a brand new center. This universe now had a new perspective when you change the center and the meaning and the purpose of it all.  
 
Life is what you are alive to and when you come to Jesus Christ the Bible teaches that you are now alive to Him.
       
Let me survey for you where we are. In chapter 1 Colossians sets before us the absolute sufficiency of Christ. In chapter 2 he sets before us the deficiency of cults. Now, in chapters 3 and 4 he will present to us the efficiency of the Christian life and it all centers around the Lord Jesus Christ.
       
Remember the old TV program “This is Your Life” hosted by Ralph Edwards? It brought people on and gave a little survey or recap of their lives. 
 
These verses we are studying this morning tell you what your life is as a Christian. There’s a little preposition in these verse--with. That preposition kind of guides us through what the Christian life is all about. 
 
Verse 1--”raised with Christ.” 
Verse 3-- “hidden with Christ.” 
Verse 4-- “appear with him.” 
 
Life revolves around Jesus for a Christian. Life has meaning and purpose around the Lord Jesus Christ.
       
Let’s take those three statements and see what they tell us about the Christian life and what you are alive to this morning. 
 
First of all, the Christian life is -
 
I. A RESURRECTED life.
       
Vs. 1 and 2
That word, if, doesn’t mean there’s a doubt. You could translate it this way, “Since you were raised” 
 
It is a spiritual fact that those who have come to
Jesus and received Him as their Savior are now risen with Christ. They now have a resurrection life.
       
I want to tie together some Scriptures. Look at chapter 2:20, “You are dead with Christ.” In verse 12 of that chapter we are taught that we are “buried with him.” Chapter 3:1, “we are risen with Christ.” 
 
See the picture. We are dead with Christ, we are buried with Christ, we are risen with Christ.  
 
Every time a person is baptized that picture is given. It is a picture of what Jesus did for us in the Gospel. It is a picture of what has happened to us through the Gospel. Jesus died on the cross for your sins. He was buried in that tomb to put away your sins forever. Three days later He rose again to be your Savior. That’s the simple message of the saving Gospel. 
       
It is also a testimony of what has happened to us. We were spiritually identified with Jesus so that 2,000 years ago when Christ died, we died. When Christ was buried, we were buried. When Christ was made alive, we were made alive. We have a resurrection life in the Lord Jesus Christ. 
 
Those who have never invited this living Jesus into their heart the Bible says are dead in trespasses and sins. (Eph. 2:1)
       
 
 
What is needed is not information where you just think yourself into life. And it’s not spiritualization where you study angels and get mystical. And it’s not a reformation where you live by a set of rules. What is needed is a resurrection. You need life.
       
I think about the experience when Jesus went to Bethany. There was a man there named Lazarus who had died. Jesus stood before the tomb of Lazarus. What did Lazarus need? Did he need to think his way out of the grave, or get a spiritual guru to help him get in touch with his inner child? Did he need a set of regulations or rules to help him know how to live? No. 
 
Lazarus needed life. So, the Lord Jesus Christ, the living Savior stood before that tomb of Lazarus and He said, “Lazarus, come forth.” And Lazarus became alive again.
       
Isn’t it wonderful to know that in the Lord Jesus we who were dead in sin have been given a brand new life? Isn’t it great to know that everybody in this building who is dead in trespasses and sins can respond to the invitation of Jesus Christ and be made alive? Life is what you are alive to. Life in Christ is a resurrected life. That’s a spiritual fact according to Scriptures. 
       
Not only is it a spiritual fact, but it is to be a practical force in your life. That’s why you have two commands in these first two verses. 
 
The first command is “seek those things which are above. The second command in verse 2 is “set your mind on things above. That is, seek heaven and think heaven. 
He is saying that now that you have come to Christ you have a brand new perspective. You look at things in a different way. You look at things from a heavenly point of view. “seek the things above.” 
 
The word is a very strong word. It carries the idea of strong pursuit. It’s like an Olympic athlete pursuing a gold medal. The word, “set your affections,” is another strong word. It means to direct your mind to. Put your attention on. Get your total outlook on life directed toward heaven.
       
If you begin to live thinking heaven, if you begin to live seeking heavenly values and outlooks, you will be doing and thinking those things that Jesus would have you to do and think. “Set your affection on things above.”
 
There are two ways, two outlooks, to live your life. You can live from an earthly point of view or you can live your life from a heavenly point of view. You can look at things from an earthly perspective or you can look at things from a heavenly perspective. 
 
There are multitudes of people in the world and all they ever see is this earth. They look at every thing from an earthly point of view.
       
Read the book of Ecclesiastes some time, and you will find the perspective of Solomon was expressed in the little phrase, “Under the sun”. He wrote and experienced life as one who lived only with an earthly point of view. 
 
Here’s how Paul puts it in Philippians 3:19, “They mind earthly things.” They never think about looking up. 
It never dawns on them to get heaven on their minds. They never think that there might be another outlook on life. So, they go through life living from an earthly perspective. 
 
I think this is why most people never really find the things that matter in life. I think is why they never really find peace and satisfaction and fulfillment in life. 
       
A farmer is on the farm and it’s time to feed his hogs. He gets a few ears of corn and calls the hogs. 
They come running to the fence where the farmer sits with his ears of corn. He drops a few kernels of corn on the ground and that hog just roots around and eats them up. But the farmer has the rest of the corn in his hands up above. That hog just continues rooting in the ground. It never occurs to the hog that the corn is up above.
       
“Every good and perfect gift cometh from above, from the father of lights in whom there is no shadow of variableness, neither shadow of turning.” 
 
Don’t spend all of your life looking at life from an earthly point of view. Now that you have come to Christ your treasures are above. The things that really matter in life are treasures in heaven. 
 
Life is what you are alive to. And the Christian life is a resurrected life.
       
Secondly, we discover the Christian life is a -
 
II. PROTECTED Life.
 
verse 3
What is that saying? It says that you as a Christian, now have a protected life. Your life is hidden. The tenses of the verbs are very important in teaching Scripture truth. 
 
The two verbs I have used previously --set your affection on things above, set your mind on things that are above, are present tense.  
 
That means every day of your life make heaven your ambition. Every day of your life make your decisions from heaven’s point of view. 
 
Now this verb--your life is hidden is a verb that carries the idea of something that happened in the past and it is still true. It means that when you come to Jesus you commit your life to Him. Your life, your soul, your very existence, your eternity is now in the impregnable vault of heaven. It is and it shall ever be. You are now and forever hidden with Christ in God. What a statement that is. What protection that is.
       
Several things come to mind. I think of the word, safety. We are a safety-conscious generation. We are very aware of safety issues. 
 
How many of you have an alarm system at your place? We have alarm systems for our homes. The whole idea is security. Security against death. People take steps to give them long life so they won’t die. They want to be secure from death. That’s why we want doctors and hospitals and medical technology around us.
       
 
 
There was a wealthy Texas who was at a party one night. All of a sudden he had a sharp pain in his heart and he thought he might be having a heart attack. He looked around and said, “Don’t just stand there, go buy me a hospital.” 
 
We want protection from all kinds of things. Actually this world has very little protection. This earth is not all that secure. Think about all the devastation down there in Haiti from an earthquake. You know what thousand and millions discovered? This earth is not a real secure place to be.
       
Think about a year ago, when a tornado hit Lone Grove. They landscape still serves to remind us the earth is not secure. Every natural disaster we experience is a very grim reminder of just how insecure this earth is.
       
But your life is hid with Christ in God. You have placed your soul in the heavenly vault. The Bible says, “I am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” When you give your life to the Lord Jesus Christ you gain protection and safety. 
       
Notice the terminology. You are hid with Christ in God. That’s double security. 
 
It’s just like you had a treasure and you put that treasure in a box and sealed it. Then you took that box and put it in a barrel and sealed it. Your treasure now has double security. If anybody gets to your treasure they have to get through the barrel first. But that’s not the end of it. In order to get to your treasure they have to get into the box. 
 
As a believer you have a double security. You are hid with Christ in God.
       
Turn to John 10. I want you to grab hold of this. Verses 28-29, “I give unto them eternal life.” Temporary life? Conditional life? No. Eternal. That means forever. Jesus gives us eternal (forever) life. 
 
“And they shall never perish. Neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” That’s Jesus talking. When you come to Christ the Bible says you are in Jesus’ hand. That’s protection. 
 
Look at verse 29, “My father which gave them me is greater than all and no man is able to pluck them out of my father’s hand.” Your life is hid with Christ in God. 
 
In order for the devil to get to you, he’s got to swim through an ocean of blood, somehow pry God’s fingers open to get to Jesus, then pry Jesus hand off of you! That is safety.
 
We have double security, and we have absolute sufficiency. 
 
Chapter 3:3 says that your life is hid with Christ in God. Now, look back at the second chapter and 3rd
verse. “Christ in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” 
 
Put those two together. If in Christ are hidden all the treasure and if we are with Christ that means that you and I are where all the treasures are. That means if you and I know Christ as our Savior have access to hidden resources.
       
When Jesus was talking to the woman at the well and the disciples had gone into town to Mac Donald’s to get some Big Macs and other things. Jesus talked to her and told her about the water of life and He led her to eternal salvation. About that time, here comes Peter and John and the crowd with the bags wiping mustard off their mouths. 
 
They said, “Here, Lord, here’s something to eat.” Jesus looked up at them and said, “I have meat to eat that you know not of. Peter said, “Has there been a food wagon out this way? Somebody out here selling food?” No. Jesus was saying that He had hidden resources. He has an access to resources this old world doesn’t know anything about.
       
Your life is hid with Christ in God. The treasures are hid in Christ. That means you have resources that are not available to folks who don’t know Jesus. Christians go through the same things non Christians do. I’m not going to tell you that if you come to
Christ all your troubles are over. It’s not true. 
 
Christians have tragedies just like non-Christians do. Christians battle diseases just like non-Christians do. Christians have heartaches with their children just like non-Christians do. Jesus said the rain falls on the just and the unjust. 
       
Here’s the good news. If you know Christ as your Savior, when the troubles come and the difficulties arise and the tragedies occur, you have access to some hidden resources that other folks don’t. I know some Christians and it seems to me like they go from one tragedy and one heartache to another. 
 
Yet, some of these dear sweet Christians instead of caving in and being crushed by the difficulties they seem to handle it with grace and with joy and with victory and with strength. Do you know why they can do that? It’s because their life is hid with Christ in God and that’s where the treasures, the resources of strength are. Isn’t that good news? Doesn’t that make you feel good?
       
Back in the days when England and Scotland were having hostilities the English built castles on their border to protect them. Now, some of those castles are there. Some are in ruins, others are in pretty good shape. 
 
They found out the difference between the two. Some of those castles had to pipe in water from a well on the outside. If those castles had an outside source of water then the enemy could just stop up the wells and cut off the resources. 
 
But other castles had hidden springs on the inside so that the enemy was not able to get to them. Regardless of what the enemy did on the outside they had hidden springs of water on the inside. That’s the difference Jesus makes in your life. 
 
Not only are you in Christ, the Bible says Christ in you the hope of glory. You have the resources of Jesus Christ available to you every day of your life. 
       
This Christian life is resurrected life; the Christian life is protected life, and thirdly, the Christian life is–
 
III. An EXALTED Life.
       
Verse 4
That is saying that one of these days Jesus is coming again. Do you believe that? I do. This old world doesn’t see Jesus right now. This world has its eyes on everything else under the sun, everything imaginable. This world blots out the vision of the Lord Jesus. 
 
But the Bible says that one of these days He shall appear and when he shall appear every eye shall see him. Sometimes the return of the Lord is pictured as a coming--the personal presence of Christ. Sometimes it’s pictured as a revelation--a removing of the veil. In this passage it is pictured as an appearing--the invisible becomes visible. That’s the believer’s hope. Christ our life shall appear. The invisible shall become visible. 
 
I think that’s why Christians have such anticipation in their hearts. That’s why Christians are looking for His appearing. That’s why they are doing what II
Timothy 4:8 says. They are loving His appearing. That’s why they are doing what Titus 3:13 says. They are living for His appearing.
       
God’s children get excited. God’s children begin to anticipate it. God’s children witness as never before and talk about the things of Jesus Christ and the things of heaven as never before. Then one of these days He shall appear and we are out of here. Glory to God!
 
It says, “when Christ our life shall appear, then shall you also appear with him in glory.” 
 
You are going to have an appearing, too. And I’ll tell you something: You can’t get more exalted than that!
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