When we think about iPlay, we draw certain images of recreation and maybe things that are unimportant in life. Really, I drew on that title in part because it's really a reflection of the society in which we live because so much of what we do, even as we work, is geared toward the recreational time we'll have.
We look here in the ancient text at a time when people certainly struggled as well as had times of recreation and enjoyment, when they worked six days a week instead of five. We now live in a society where we go to lakes and boat or fish. We go to rivers and streams to do the same. We go to mountains to ski. We go into the woods and forests to hunt. We go to the ocean to enjoy the beaches. We go to movies for recreation. We go out to restaurants to feed ourselves, but in part for the enjoyment of it. So much of the money we earn, we spend doing things with it.
In fact, it has crept into Christianity itself. There is often the lamenting of the fact that so much of Christian worship sometimes seems to be geared more toward entertainment than reaching out to the heart of God Himself. What we tend to do with the time that we have away from whatever the occupation is we're employed at or the school we're involved in really occupies a great deal of our time. To ignore that, to ignore what we do when we're not sleeping or working or at school, I think would be to greatly ignore much of our lives.
So I want us to speak about that this morning. I think the Bible has, of course, direction for us this morning, and I want to invite your attention this morning to Colossians 3. The key verse of Colossians 3 is going to be the seventeenth verse, but I want to begin at the first verse to give us our context and to bring us to this all important and well known verse 17.
Paul, writing to the Colossians, has been talking about what it means to be in Christ…what it means for Christ to have the preeminent role in your life, and what it means to do away with the old thoughts and the old mindset, the old man, and to embrace this Christianity in Colossae and for us in Saline County as well.
When we come to chapter 3, he makes this statement. He says, "If you then were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God." Well this verse just picks up where we left off, if you were with us last week. We looked at the matter of dying to self…that to live the Christian life and the abundant life means that we have to take on the mindset of resurrected living. That means that a true believer is one who dies to self in order to be raised. If you look at the verse, you see that we are raised with Christ.
Christ, if you'll remember from our previous discussions, was different after the resurrection. He walked with an authority. He ascended to heaven. He sat down at the right hand of the Father. Now Paul says in like manner, "If then you were raised with Christ, we are to seek the things that are above." In other words, if we are to live resurrected lives, we need to focus our mind heavenward. We need to think how would heaven react? How would heaven want me to act in a certain situation? Where would heaven want to go to the movies? What would heaven want to do? We need to begin to think with the mind of Christ and therefore seek those things which are above where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God.
In the next verse he continues by saying, "Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth." Now, that may seem kind of strange to us because our movie mentality tells us that's harps and clouds, but we're going to discover what heavenward thinking is all about here as we look at our text today.
Paul wants the Colossians to quit thinking earthly thoughts, to quit thinking and focusing on the things that earth says is important. In other words, the things the world says, that your worldly friends say, that your worldly goals and ambitions would draw you to. Instead, begin to set your goals and ambitions, even the very words that come out of your mouth and your way of living, so it sounds heavenly; it sounds heaven sent.
It is heavenward, and the reason for it he tells us in verse 3, "For you died..." You died. Not you ought to die, not you ought to think that you died, not that you ought to kind of pretend like, "Well, the things of the world aren't important." No, he said as a matter of fact, if you're a believer in Christ…you died…you died…and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.
The life we now live, we live by faith in the Son of God. The life we now have, if we want to know the meaning of our life, if we want to know purpose and direction in our life, that direction, that definition, that meaning is hidden wherever Christ is. If you want to find…What does God want me to do with my life? You'll find it in Christ. That's hidden in Christ. Our direction, our purpose, our meaning, our motivation for living is inside Christ who sits at the right hand of God and we need to find our meaning and our direction there.
He then goes on to tell us down in verse 5, therefore put to death the old lifestyle. Listen to what he says, "Therefore put to death your members…" In other words that is your old way of life, your old characteristics, your old way of thinking. "…which are on the earth." (The earthy, the worldly ways of responding to the crises and the opportunities of life.) And he gives us examples, "Fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and [that old word] covetousness, which [Paul equates to] is idolatry."
If we are to find our purpose that is hidden in Christ, we're going to have to live as dead to this world, and if you're living in this world in fornication or covetousness, if these things motivate and drive and appeal to you my friends, you have not yet died to self. You have to live your life in Christ. You have to set your mind on the things above. We have to make our goals and purposes the goals and purposes of God.
Does that mean everybody is going to be a preacher? No, but a whole lot more people would be. Does that mean that everybody is going to be a missionary? No, but a whole lot more people would be. Does that mean that everybody is going to sing in the choir? No, but a whole lot more people would. It means that you begin to focus heavenward and not considering what other people think, not even considering your own selfish motives and desires, but…What would heaven do in the situation that is before me?
So how then do we live? Paul begins to tell us what heavenward thinking is all about in verse 12, as we move up to 17. In verse 12, he says, "Therefore, as the elect of God, [the chosen, the children of the very God, and notice how he describes you] holy and beloved…" You see, when you die to self and you've set your mind on the things above, that holiness becomes more something you can appropriate instead of just some distant fantasy.
Then when God says, "Be ye holy for I am holy," that's no longer just a cliché for you that is something that you desire with all your heart, all your mind, and all your soul. "As the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies." Do you want to know what heaven is about? Do you want to know what they're thinking about and what they're talking about in heaven? Do you want to know what the conversation is in heaven? Do you want to know what Christ is focusing on as He sits at the right hand of God? Do you want to know what He's thinking about, what He's saying? Paul is telling us here.
He says if you want to think heavenward, if you want to set your mind on the things above, if you want to die to self and live to Christ, then you're going to begin to focus on these things. You're going to "…put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, [and above all] longsuffering..." Those are the attributes of Jesus. Those are the attributes of our salvation. Those are the attributes of grace itself. It is tender mercies.
If we're to be a people of God, we have to be a merciful people. We don't tire of being merciful. The Bible tells us in the Old Testament that God's mercies are fresh every morning. He never comes to a point where He says, "I've been merciful enough, and I'll be merciful no more." We come up with that. We wonder why God doesn't do that. We often sometimes even kind of question…how can God think like that because we don't think like God. God says mercy rules our lives, and not only mercy but this longsuffering nature.
He says in verse 13, "…bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; [forgive them is what he's saying] even as Christ forgave you..." Do you want to know how you think heavenwardly? You think as Christ thought. You think as God thought. You think as they thought before the foundations of the earth were ever laid, when they decided they would forgive you for your sin. So we forgive one another for our sins.
If we're to think heavenwardly, we are to be a people who forgive, not conditionally forgiven, not if you take care of things I'll forgive, but we forgive as Christ forgave, unconditionally by grace and mercy. That's heavenward thinking. That's not worldly thinking. That's not going to get your bills paid. That's not going to get that loan paid back. That's not going to get your fence fixed, but if you are to be Christ-like you will forgive. You will simply forgive as Christ forgave you. That's the measure. That's the standard. We just simply forgive to the level that Christ forgave. Christ forgave all, "…so you also must do."
You want to think heavenwardly, verse 14 says that we put on love. That's the bond that holds all of this together. Verse 15 says that we let the peace of God rule in our hearts "…to which also you were called in one body..." In other words, the closer you get to Christ, the closer you get to one another. You see, if you're at ought with another believer, if you're at ought with another person, it is because you are at ought with God Himself. The closer you are to Christ the closer you are to one another. So verse 15 says, "And let the peace of God rule in your hearts to which you also were called in one body, [in other words, you were called to this peace] and be thankful."
In verse 16, he says that heavenward thinking lets, "…the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom..." I tell you, you can live your entire life on this earth and never open a Scripture, never open a Bible. You can sit through 52 or 104, or however many sermons a year and never let any of it soak into you, never personally pursue the things of God…have every excuse and every distraction imaginable, but if you're going to think heavenward, if you're going to put on the new man, you're going to have to let the Word of Christ dwell in you. It's going to have to soak in. It's going to have to give you its wisdom. It's going to have to teach you. It's going to have to admonish you.
Notice what it does. It causes you to sing. Isn't that strange? Right here in the middle of everything there is a comma here. He says, "…teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs..." In other words, when you let the Word of Christ dwell in you, when you let its wisdom permeate you…you will sing. You will sing. Notice you sing not to one another or to the choir or to the choir director or to be heard. Notice what he says, "…with grace in your hearts to the Lord."
When the Word of Christ becomes real in your life and it permeates your life… singing was not an after effect. You study Scripture and you understand that is the natural expression of the children to the testament of God, that they praised Him. They lifted up. When you refuse to do so, you need to question whether or not you're thinking heavenwardly, or whether you're thinking selfishly. We need to praise God. We sing to Him. We study. We let mercy, we forgive…all of these things become part of our lives.
In verse 17, which is the key verse for what I want to talk to you about today, says simply this, "And whatever you do in word or deed [in lip or life]…" See Paul had just talked about the problem of cursing. He had talked about it earlier in Colossians. He said how unseemly it was for a child of God who bore the name of Christ to let such ungodly things proceed out of their mouth.
Now he has replaced what the kind words should be…words of mercy, words of forgiveness, words of love. Not only words, but our actions…no longer focused on actions of fornication, and actions of lustful passion, but now focused on actions of mercy, of humility, of meekness, of love, and of peace, and of doing the things Christ would do. He says, "And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus."
Look at this, "…do all in the name of the Lord Jesus..." There is a big principle for us to look at in that verse. We need to dissect that just a minute, and we need to let this soak in. Paul says whatever you do…now the…whatever you do in word or deed…pretty much covers everything we do. It's not just Sunday morning. We're talking about everything we do, whether we go to the lake, whether we go to the movies, whether we go to work, whether we go to school, that whatever we do, whether it's something we say or something we do in action, that we're to do it in the name of the Lord Jesus.
What does that mean? What could that possibly mean? It means that everything is to be done in His name, that everything….listen…with God there is no separation between the sacred and secular. We do that. We separate Sunday from other days of the week, but with God, there is no separation. With God, it's 24/7. With God, we are to do everything in His name.
What does that mean? That means that when you get ready to go to the movies next Friday or whenever that you go in the name of Jesus. You go to that movie as a representative and by the authority and based on the heavenward thinking of Jesus. It's the old…what would Jesus do? But that is exactly what Paul says we are to do. Whatever we do, we're to do it as His representative.
Whatever show you chose to watch on TV you no longer make that decision based on your entertainment. You make that decision based on Jesus' name. What would Jesus do? "Oh preacher, there won't be anything left to watch." Amen. All right, if it's that bad why are you thinking you can hide and watch that and God not know of it? Whatever you do…you want to go to someone's house, you go in the name of Jesus. It is to permeate our thinking.
We represent Him. Remember you died and the life you now have is hidden with Christ. We are to operate in this realm as Jesus would operate through us. We're to let the Spirit make those decisions for us. We're to operate on the name and in the name of Christ Himself. The Bible tells us, "Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him."
We're to do everything with thankfulness…everything with hope because we have died to self and we've been raised to walk. That means going to the woods to hunt, going to the lake to fish, going to the job to earn money, is completely different for a believer because our motivation is different. We're doing that which will bring honor and glory to Christ. Well, I don't know if I can do that all the time. Yeah, but you see Christ has given you eternal life. He deserves it all the time.
You're trying to decide whether to leave on job and take another or whether to continue a relationship, whether to pursue one career in college or another, whatever it is you do, if you're a believer, you're to bring in the name and the authority of Jesus in that decision. You need to decide that today. You and your girlfriend are starting to get a little too intimate, things are about to move out of scale, you need to stop right now and you need to make a decision in the name of Jesus. Anybody out there?
You need to focus your life and realize there are no non-Jesus decisions to make. There is nothing in your life that is just so slightly white-lie sinful that it would not involve Christ. You see it all involves that when we begin to think heavenwardly and when we begin to refocus the things of our life.
Listen to what Romans said. Romans 6:2 says, "How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?" How can we who died to sin then wake up and go off and continue the sin we were saved from? How can we do that? How can we who came to Christ in sincerity and sometimes tears, and praised Him for saving us from the destination our sin was sending us to, then turn right around and continue to commit those sins? It isn't the right way to think.
Paul said in 1 Corinthians 10:31, "Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." Everything, whether we're eating at the restaurant, whether we're cooking at home, everything we do is to be done for God's glory and no longer just for our pleasure, no longer just for our enjoyment.
Does that new toy you want to buy bring honor and glory to God? It may. But you see, we've been bought with a price, and we have to think godly thoughts. I think Romans 14:8 sums it up best. It says, "For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord's." Whether we live…we're going to do what God tells us to do. If we die…we're going to trust God with that. Whether we live or die, our life belongs to Him.
Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:15, Jesus "…died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again." You see, Christ died for every one of us in order that our lives should not be selfish lives, but should be lives for Christ who died for us, who rose again and enabled us to have eternal life.
Colossians 3:17 says, whatever you're going to go out and do, whatever you're going to go out and say…do it with the Word of Christ, the authority of Christ and the mind of Christ controlling your action, do it in the name of the Lord Jesus and give Him thanks. Give Him praise and glory for every decision and every step of life.
Transcribed by Digital Sermon Transcription