Faithlife
Faithlife

Realignment

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The realignment of the spiritual life

3 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.

                                                                                Colossians 3 1-4

o              REFER to reading in Genesis – Jacob influenced by heaven.

This morning we observed in our comment to the children how the clocks of the world were adjusted just before midnight to synchronize them with the rotating earth.[2]   Some folks remain unconvinced that such an adjustment is necessary – but we live in a world where the alignment of clocks is absolutely crucial.  This evening I want to apply that principle to the spiritual life – because our standards tend so easily to drift and we need, particularly at this time of year – to readjust our priorities.

Paul provides us with an appropriate passage for this in Colossians 3.

THE STANDARD is set in the phrase repeated here three times “with Christ”

THE METHOD involves our hearts, our minds and our hopes

“set your hearts…”   “set your minds…”   “you also will appear…”

Notice how Paul reminds us of the pivotal facts about our Lord :

·        His resurrection

·        His ascension and mediation

·        His coming again

He interprets those realities in terms of our experience:

·        You have been raised

·        You died

·        You will appear

EVERYTHING about our spiritual life is centred in Jesus  and as we gather at the Lord’s table this evening I suggest to you that – in the face of what God has done for us in the year that is past, and in prospect of all that He will do in the year to come – we adjust our steps with the Master’s.

We can take the short passage apart into three sections:

·        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.

Expressed very simply these are:

Þ   What has happened

Þ   What is happening

Þ   What will happen

And throughout all of these runs the  central motif that the reality of what is in glory must have a real effect upon what happens here on earth.  We have moved on from Jacob’s vision of the earth joined to heaven – to an understanding of WHAT CHRIST HAS ACHIEVED, IS ACHIEVING and WILL ACHIEVE.  And what Christ is and has done has changed us and the world for ever!

It is when we live our daily lives in ignorance of what happens in the presence of God that the compass needle of our life wavers.  As Hebrews puts it we “drift away” (Hebrews 2:1)[4]  we slip our moorings and find ourselves aimlessly drifting with the tide.

It is when we separate our earthly decisions from the true realities of the Spiritual dimension that we get lost, and become disappointed or disillusioned.  How easy it is to do just that!

To prevent this we need to become increasingly immersed in the spiritual realities – and we are going to achieve this by the Spirit’s help through regular study of the Scriptures, attention to prayer and worship, and seeing the world with the vision of God’s grace.

A.             WHAT HAS HAPPENED

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.

Paul describes the greatest event of all history in terms of Christ’s resurrection and ascension.  And he says – you were involved in that.

He might be referring to baptism – but he doesn’t make it explicit – what he is saying is that because Jesus has been raised from the dead we, for whom He died, are resurrected with Him.

Yet Paul is not asking us to focus our heart’s yearning on a PICTURE of heaven and Christ seated there – but rather on all the realities that stem from that glorious truth.

This is the GLORIOUS PAST that most influences our present and our future.

As believers we are not the sum of our DNA or the product of our upbringing – we are those whom Christ has brought to life, and for whom He royally intercedes!

We like to look for causes in our lives.   The chief cause for the believer is very different – he sets his heart on spiritual realities.   A real living Jesus who died for our sins and sits enthroned having accomplished all that is needed for our salvation.

How much effect does that have on our lives?

Is it not all too easy to pass it off as a glorious fact of the Gospel that has more to do with eternity than NOW?

For all the Why questions that life raises – hear the answer in this “Christ is seated at the right hand of God”     Set your hearts on Him.

B.             What is happening

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.

We are preoccupied with what is going on in the world.  For some it is the news, for a large number of folks it is the events of a favourite soap opera.  

At times it is our family – or our health – or our work.

We interpret what is happening in terms of a diary, or a broadcast schedule, or a routine of daily events – and we so easily lose sight of what is REALLY HAPPENING.

Just occasionally we catch a glimpse of glory – or are provoked by the big questions of the age to look away to Christ – but mostly we are blinkered, downward looking, short sighted people who cannot see THINGS ABOVE.

What is God doing?

What is Jesus doing?

What is the Holy Spirit doing?

Paul warns us of the danger  “NOT ON EARTHLY THINGS!”

Your security does not lie in knowledge or the possession of a secret – the Colossian Christians had to face the real danger of that false teaching – the New Age influence of the New Testament.

Your security does not lie in who you know or what your prospects are or how you will cope with everyday issues.

Your security is somewhere else altogether!

Your life is now hidden with Christ in God

There is a reality here which has everything to do with the Cross of Christ.  Everything to do with SIN and Grace – everything to do with what really happens when a sinner repents and trusts in Jesus

“YOU DIED!”

The Christians to whom Paul wrote these words were fighting against a dogma that promised something better than Christianity (the world is always making such offers) a hidden secret knowledge that would bring satisfaction and security.

Paul reminds them that THEY are what is hidden – and they are utterly secure in Jesus and in God.  A glorious double indemnity against anything Satan can throw at them.

And this, Paul says, is what is HAPPENING NOW

Your life is now hidden with Christ in God

C.             What will happen

4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

 

If the first was a heart longing

And the second a mind focused

This is a glorious HOPE

I think it is most evident in our hope as believers that the world has bent us to its own shape.  We no longer look forward to the return of Christ as the Church once did.

Part of this is down to the long perspective of history – even our own understanding of Biblical history.  We see the time scale over which God has been working,  and we project it on and on into a distant future.

But, more significantly, we have become people more interested in our own lifetimes and less concerned about the generations that follow.   

Perhaps because we do not face the degree of persecution that some have faced and do face today, we are a people of the here and now rather than the coming King.

Does it matter to us what we shall be then?

“We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is” (1 John 3:2).

Does that matter enough?

How easily our lives have become misaligned – diverted. How easily we absorb the “here and now” of today’s so persistent sales patter.

NOTICE THEN how Paul highlights the remedy for such falling away:

4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. 

Christ, who is your life,

The PRESENT reality of a FUTURE HOPE

Christ, who is your life,


In such a manner does heaven touch earth, the glory of His presence meet our humble existence.

Whether we consider the     past

                                        Present

                                        Future

It is all IN CHRIST.


----

[2] The leap second 

[4] Heb 2 We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.

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