As you know I was in Colorado for a conference last week. The killings at the movie theater in Aurora occurred just a few miles north of us, and we were also near where a massive fire destroyed 350 homes a few weeks before. To say that there are a lot of people in Colorado looking for answers is an understatement. I met several people, both young and old, who saw me in my uniform and asked for prayer. Many people, both in and out of the church, begin to ask fundamental questions during these kinds of tragedies. What is the meaning of life, who am I, and why am I here?
Most people really don’t know who they are or where they are going in life. And it is very frustrating to be in such confusion. There are so many chasing after the wind. Because they will not deal with the reality of God, they look for fulfillment in so many other people, places, or things other than God. Many are “looking for love in the all the wrong places” as the old classic rock song goes. They have not understood and known the God who is love!
Last week I had the opportunity to be part of small group training with Dr. Ravi Zacharias, the world renowned Christian apologist [defender of the faith]. Ravi used a term at our conference that I have been reflecting on for several days now. He said that only in relationship with God will you find perpetual novelty.
Perpetual novelty! Dwell on that for a second. You see, when you are not abiding in Christ and focused on God, you will always be looking for some new thing; a new product; a new adventure; a new technology, a new love; a new experience; or a new stimulus; but none of them will ultimately satisfy you because you are looking for lasting novelty in temporal and earthly things which are fleeting.
You see, only when you discover the Christ in you do you experience that perpetual and lasting novelty, the newness of God, the newness of you in God. “His mercies are new every morning. Great is His faithfulness!” The Word says that when we are in Christ, the old has past and the new has come. Jesus Christ in you, the hope of Glory.
This morning I want to help you revel in the reality of the mystery and glory and newness of Christ in you!
Scripture Text (Colossians 3:1-4 NIV)
1 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.
Prayer of Illumination
You Died w/ Christ (3:3) – Freedom and Forgiveness
- In Colossians chapter two, Paul asks the question, “Since you died with Christ in the spiritual realm why are you still struggling with the unspiritual aspects of trying to earn your salvation? If you are a new spiritual creation, why are you still focused on the old sinful earthly things?
- That’s why St. Paul says it again in verse three, “You died!” You are dead to the old ways. You are dead to your old self. Your old life is over.
- When we go into the waters of baptism, we symbolically identify with the death of Christ and our sins are washed away by His grace. That is why we baptize by immersion. It’s not that the pouring on of water is not an acceptable mode of baptism, but it hardly symbolizes drowning, or dying to our old life and being born again. We believe that Christ died for our sins on the cross, the just for the unjust, and so we died.
- And since Christ died for our sins and we trusted in Him for our salvation, four realities changed for us in Christ.
- First, we died to our sinful past.
i. We seek to be holy, just as Christ is holy. God is Holy, and the expectation is that we will be holy as well. That is one of the reasons why the Holy Spirit lives in us–to make us holy.
- Second, we died to worldly influences and treasures. We no longer pursue earthly or material desires, but Godly wisdom and spiritual riches.
i. We are now influenced primarily by the Word of God. It instructs and tells us what is right, what is good, what is important, and, clearly what our great God is like.
- Third, we died to our selfishness and focus instead on God and others.
i. The Great Commandment tells us that we are to love God with all of our being, and love others with the love He gives us.
ii. We didn’t love God first; He first loved us. That’s how we can love others.
iii. When I was in the world, I used to say I only have a small deposit of love to give to others. But with Christ in our lives, we have an unending source of love from God.
- And finally, like Christ, we are willing to die for the sake of others that they might come to know Jesus.
i. Jesus said, “Greater love has no man than this that he will give up his life for his brother.”
- So we died to our old selves to live a perpetually new life in Christ. Now all of this talk of dying may not sound so appealing.
- But listen to what Paul said in Romans 6:8: “Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.”
You Were Raised With Christ (3.1) – Power & Authority
- Since we have been raised with Christ to new life, we experience the resurrection power of God. His power and authority course through our veins to live a victorious Christian life.
- In Ephesians, Paul says we are seated with Christ in the heavenly realms, far above all the powers and principalities of the dark spiritual world. We can have authority over all the demonic influences on our lives. We simply use one word: Jesus! And the demons all flee.
- You see, after the resurrection a shift in the order of beings took place. We were once below the angels in authority. But as Christ lives in us and we are far above all things.
- Before Jesus: 1) God, 2) Angels, 3) Humans, 4) Animals/Insects/Plants
- After Jesus: 1) God, 2) Humans, 3) Angels, 4) Animals/Insects/Plants
- Though we may often have to focus on those realities of life here on earth (family, work, school, recreation), we never lose our connection to the heavenly Christ!
- He is the head of the Body, and wherever the Head is so is the Body;
- The power that is within us comes from Christ on throne of heaven.
- So, we should never lose sight of our heavenly destiny.
You Are Hidden With Christ (3.3) – Communion & Intimacy
- Thirdly, Paul says that we are hidden with Christ. What in the world does that mean?
- The Greek word here is krypto, where we get our words cryptic or encrypted.
- The glory of God is encrypted in us. When Christ is in us, the glory of God is encrypted in our spiritual DNA.
- The glory is awaiting its revealing; thus we who are in Christ now posses a secret communion or connectedness with the God that the world cannot know apart from Jesus.
- The prophet Jeremiah foretold this long before the coming of Christ when he said,
“The days are coming,” declares the Lord,
“when I will make a new covenant
with the people of Israel
and with the people of Judah.
32 It will not be like the covenant
I made with their ancestors
when I took them by the hand
to lead them out of Egypt,
because they broke my covenant,
though I was a husband to them,”
declares the Lord.
33 “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel
after that time,” declares the Lord.
“I will put my law in their minds
and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
34 No longer will they teach their neighbor,
or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’
because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest,”
declares the Lord.
“For I will forgive their wickedness
and will remember their sins no more.”
Appear With Christ (3.4) – Parousia & Glory
- Finally, we will appear with Christ at Parousia.
- Matthew Henry said, “At the second coming of Christ, there will be a general assembling of all the redeemed; and those whose life is now hid with Christ, shall then appear with him in his glory.”
- We will be taken up to meet Jesus in the sky, and we will live with Him for all eternity.
- I have said this before, but it bears repetition. I want to go to heaven, not to see my loved ones, not to get wings and fly like the cherubim and seraphim, not to receive my own glory, but to bask in the very presence of God Himself, face to face. I want to see Jesus!
- We talk about heaven so much, but we tend to talk about the absence of pain and suffering, the lack of tears, the pearly gates, the streets lined with gold, but we forget that there will be no sun, because the glory of the Lord will be there to give us light. And the Glory of the Lord is Jesus!
- You see, we cannot live on this planet without the sun. We would all die. But Christ is the Light of Life, and He will sustain us forever and ever.
- So when Christ appears, WHO IS OUR LIFE, then you will also appear with Him in Glory. Christ is our life! Christ is life itself!
Conclusion — Christ Is Our Life
- Listen to this: you will not discover who you are or who you are meant to be, what the meaning of life is until you come to understand the Christ in you who is the hope of glory.
- Paul said, “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” He understood Jesus when He said, “You will never find your life until you lose it in Me!”
- Today, remind yourself who you are and whose you are. You are in Christ, and Christ is in you; and you belong to Christ forever more.
Closing Prayer & Hymn
(c) Paul Dordal, 2012