A sermon idea based on Colossians 3:1-11.
Colossians 3:1-11 NRSV
 So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth,  for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.  When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory.
 Put to death, therefore, whatever in you is earthly: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed (which is idolatry).  On account of these the wrath of God is coming on those who are disobedient.  These are the ways you also once followed, when you were living that life.  But now you must get rid of all such things—anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive language from your mouth.  Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have stripped off the old self with its practices  and have clothed yourselves with the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator.  In that renewal there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all!
The relevant topic I would be addressing, based on this text…
Life is messy, but you were made for more than the mess. God formed you for his eternal family and wants you to set your affection on an eternal kind of life.
Information about the text that matters to the message…
This passage is naturally divided into three distinct parts. The first is doctrinal and the second and third are practical.
1. God invites us to catch his vision for more and better. (vs. 1-4)
In verses 1 through 4, Paul details what has changed forever in the lives of those who have, by faith, entered into the resurrection life Jesus has freely offered to everyone. Since our lives are now hidden in Christ and our eternity is quite secure because of him, we can now adjust our desires and our affections.
2. God calls us to die to our old, selfish way of thinking. (vs. 5-9)
In verses 5 through 9, Paul gets practical and talks about the behaviors that follow our affections.
It should be pointed out that some messes are brought on by circumstances entirely beyond your control. The Bible is very clear that not all of our trials and sufferings are the results of our own poor choices. We live in an environment affected by the fall and we deal with natural consequences all the time.
Having said that. many of our messes are the result of the unhealthy, unholy choices we make, often as a result of something broken in us. We all have the propensity to be self-serving and self-destructive. So Paul urges us to “put to death” those behaviors that are destructive in nature – sexual sin, greed, dishonesty, resentment, and more.
Once we’ve been changed from the inside out and our affections are directed toward God’s eternal purposes, we can then move toward healing, deal with our trauma, repent of our sin, and lay our selfishness to rest.
3. God challenges us to learn a whole new way of life. (vs. 10-11)
And in verses 10 and 11, Paul casts a very brief vision of God’s best intentions for the lives of all who follow him. He’s using the picture of changing clothes. Having stripped off the old affections and desires and getting dressed in a whole new way of seeing the world.
And there are two aspects of the vision God shares that matter greatly.
- We get to become like Jesus by a daily process of being renewed in our thinking.
- We get to be part of a new kind of community where all are truly equal.
In the old way of life, you and I were at the center of the universe. In the new way of life, Christ is the true center and everyone belongs in community with him and with each other.
The big call-to-action in the message…
Take a moment to examine your affections. What’s your vision for life all about? God’s purposes, or yours? What is it that you need to give more time, focus, energy, and attention to in your life in order to continue growing into the likeness of Christ?
Photo Credit: Olivia Basile via Unsplash.