Revealed with Christ

Revealed with Christ

Home Church Service 7/31/2021

These sermons began as devotionals for my family as we met during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. We have now begun to include our friends and the devotional has now become a full sermon. We are also recording our service and will begin posting those videos in the near future.

When my family and I meet for worship, we like to discuss what we are learning, in the moment. Sometimes that happens right after the message and at other times we will address something during the message. This message was designed to be interactive, discussing what we are learning right after I have addressed the points Paul was making. You will find the questions at the end of each section. In most formats they will appear in bold. Use these questions as a guide to meditate on the points Paul is making. Allow the Holy Spirit to search your heart and above all, be honest with yourself and the Holy Spirit. After all, He knows any way!

Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them. But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him— a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all.                                                                                Colossians 3:1-11 (NASB)

Last week we learned the importance of being Anchored in Christ. The Christ follower must be Anchored in Christ to be able to discern the deceptive practices developed by the worldly-minded leader. We must get past judging one another on the non-essentials of our faith and get to the common ground of our love for Christ. Christ followers must also be Anchored in Christ to discern the false teachings of the self-important and self-centered worldly-minded leader. Some of these leaders can be found in the pulpit teaching you to “have your best life now,” or to simply “trust in the science.” Science that they themselves don’t truly believe.

This week we find Paul addressing our new life, a life that is hidden in Christ as He is seated at the right hand of God the Father. Everything the Christ followers believes, says and does is to be found Anchored in Christ. This keeps us from falling into the deceptions of this world. More importantly, the Christ follower has died to the things of the world, his old self is dead but in its place is the new self with new attitudes, values and lifestyle to be Revealed with Christ at His return.

If we have been raised with Christ, we must seek the things above, where Christ is now seated. Our lives are now hidden in Christ, and we will be Revealed with Christ as dead to idolatry, the old life put aside the new life being renewed for the kingdom in the knowledge of the One who has created us.

We are alive with Christ, seeking the kingdom where Christ now lives. We find our lives hidden in Christ and when He returns, we will be Revealed with Christ, dead to sin and our sinful nature; we are becoming more Christlike and gaining true understanding of the One whose image we bear.

In this message we seek to answer the question, “What is the importance of being Revealed in Christ?”

In being alive in Christ we seek the kingdom of Christ, where He is now seated and where our lives are now hidden, that we might be Revealed with Christ.

1). The importance of Christ followers being Revealed with Christ is found in our death to sin.

Our bodies are now dead to the way we used to live – sinful lives that amounted to idolatry.

Because Christ followers have been raised with Christ our first and most important responsibility is to continue to seek Christ. This is the mark of a true believer – alive from the dead! The implications of this are profound. First, Christ followers are freed from the religions of this world. The distinctive mark of our faith is that it is not a religion at all – not in the old sense of the word. Our faith is not a human system linked to an earthly sanctuary, regulations or rites. In fact, our faith has no center of authority in this world – we find our center and our authority in Christ.

Secondly, the Christ follower is a simple person – a man or a woman who has been granted a relationship with Christ, who is now seated at the right hand of God. This is the relationship we are to pursue and develop by seeking the things above. One thing we must remember, there is no human “search for God.” From the very beginning, in the garden of Eden, it has been a divine search for those who hide from the One whose image they bear (Genesis 3:9). Once you have been reconciled the search for things above begins!

In order to seek the things above we must set our minds on the things above. This means we take our focus from the earthly, material, self-centered things of the world and fix them squarely on Christ and the things of the kingdom. Why this change in focus? Because we cannot set our mind on earthly things and on Christ, the things above, at the same time. The earthly things surely include sin, which we are to put aside – our bodies are to be dead to such things! Sin and every other earthly thing only serve to threaten our relationship with Christ.

Our old life is over, and our new life has begun – a new life hidden in Christ, that is, it is a heavenly relationship, the perfect spiritual union, and thus hidden from the view of others. What is to be seen is a life lived out in humility and servanthood for others. The marks of weakness and humility are to be seen in Christ followers because in our weakness the power of God is perfected, in our humility the love of Christ – His sacrificial love for all people – can be perfected and shown to those who need Him most. These are the reasons we must die to sin – to die to the old self!

In verses five (5) and eight (8), Paul outlines specific sins that must no longer be found in the members of the church at Colossae. These sins are mentioned here because of the prevailing culture around the church, however, as you read on, I am certain you can and will see the parallel to our time and the culture in which we live. These sins are broken down in to two (2) groups – sexual sin and sins of anger.

The sexual sins addressed by Paul were the normative lifestyle for the culture around Colossae, however, these are not to be found in the church then or now! We have a new life in Christ that must replace our old way of life and set us apart from the culture around us. Immorality comes from the Greek word porneia, where we get our word pornography. It can be translated as fornication and includes indirect participation – as in watching as an audience. Impurity or uncleanness is a crudeness or insensitivity in sexual matters, even if no sexual act has taken place.

Passion comes from the Greek word pathos and is sometimes translated as lust. This is evil sexual passion that leads to excessive sexual immorality and perversion. Evil is taken from the Greek word kakos and desire is taken from the Greek word meaning a passionate longing – this is an evil desire that controls and drives a person. Finally, greed means advantage or covetousness, it is the relentless urge to get more for oneself. Paul caps off the list with idolatry – idol worship. Many believe this is tied directly to greed but looking over this list, clearly, they all worship the idol of self!

The list of sins of anger is no less daunting. Anger is an impulse or wrath – a continuous attitude of hatred. Wrath is sometimes translated as passion meaning out bursts of anger or quick temper for selfish reasons. It can be a continual and uncontrolled behavior. Malice can be translated as wickedness; it is doing evil despite the good one has received. It is a deliberate attempt to harm another person – an evil force that destroys relationships. Slander comes from the Greek word blasphemia meaning to destroy a person’s reputation with lies, gossip and spreading rumors.

Finally, abusive language is crude talk, as in off-colored humor, abrasive language and swearing or cursing. It is easy to see how both lists of sins have become accepted behavior in the current culture found in our country. Sadder still is the fact the way much of this has been accepted, even celebrated in the church. To be Revealed with Christ we must die to these things – removing the old self much like we remove dirty clothes – and put in the new self, hidden in Christ!

Questions for reflection and/or discussion:

As a Christ follower, do you continue to seek Christ daily?

As a Christ follower, are you fully living in the relationship, given to you, with Christ?

As a follower of Christ, have you fully put to death the old self and its sinful desires?

What part of the old self are you having difficulty “putting to death?”

In being alive in Christ we seek the kingdom of Christ, where He is now seated and where our lives are now hidden, that we might be Revealed with Christ.

2). The importance of Christ followers being Revealed with Christ is found in our likeness to Christ.

The new self is becoming more Christlike as we grow into the image of the One who created us.

It is to our new life – the new self – to which we must now turn our attention. The new self is to become more Christlike, and this must begin with the basics. Jesus Christ is the truth, so we must as Christ followers, must practice the truth in all areas of life. We do not lie to one another – particularly in the body of Christ! Lying to one another destroys trust and thus disrupts our unity, it tears down relationships and leads to conflict in the church. Christ followers are not to brag – inflate the details or statistics of an event or say things that build their reputation at the expense of another.

Renewal is needed on a continual basis for Christ followers, this renewal includes a renewal of the mind. We fight a battle against sin and our old nature every day. The renewal of our minds is to bring a true knowledge – personal knowledge and understanding – of Christ, the One who has created the new nature now within us. The goal – Christlikeness. The more Christ followers know of Christ and His works the more they change and become like Him. This is a life-long process and thus we must never stop learning, growing and obeying.

This renewal means we look at people differently. No longer do we erect barriers based on nationality, race, education, wealth, gender or power. All people have the same value because they are all created the same – in the image of God! Yes, I know, there will always be people who are bad apples – skirting the system, taking advantage of kindness and in general, looking out for what is best for them. Let us not forget we were once sinners as well. We were once without Christ until someone saw the value in us!

Paul mentions four distinct ways we are to no longer look at people. Racial or national distinctions, such as Jews and Gentiles are abolished in Christ. No longer should we look down on any people group thinking we have a privileged position, or they cling to a culture that is heathen, immoral and outside of God’s grace. Religious distinctions, such as circumcised or uncircumcised are no longer valid for those found in Christ. The work of circumcision is now done on the inside, on the heart, of those who come to Christ. Cultural distinctions such as Scythians and the barbarian, are to be torn down and not held over the head of another. Finally, social or economic distinctions, the slave and the free man, are to be no more!

How is this to be? How can these barriers be removed? They are removed because Christ is all that matters, and Christ lives in all who choose to follow Him. Christ followers are not to allow old prejudices to follow them from their old nature into their new life in Christ. Nothing should separate Christ followers from one another, nothing should keep us from practicing unity. We share a common faith; we share a common suffering; we share a common Savior! We share a common kingdom – God’s kingdom – and thus we must work together to advance the kingdom.

Questions for reflection and/or discussion:

As a Christ follower, living a new life in Christ, are you seeking daily renewal?

As a Christ follower, are you still allowing personal prejudices to get in the way of the kingdom work to which you have been called?

As a Christ follower, how has your perception of people changed? Or has it changed? If so, how? If not, why?

What part of your personal prejudices still need renewal in Christ?

In being alive in Christ we seek the kingdom of Christ, where He is now seated and where our lives are now hidden, that we might be Revealed with Christ.

The Christ follower is Anchored in Christ to discern the deceptive practices of the self-important and self-centered worldly-minded leader, we avoid the temptation to judge others over the non-essentials of our faith. Likewise, we discern the false teachings of these same leaders, knowing we have died to the things of this world.

The Christ follower is to be Revealed with Christ at His return. What is to be revealed? A life that has been hidden in Christ and the death of a life, the life of our old, sinful nature. We now have a new life with new attitude, values and lifestyle.

Our new life and the renewal we experience serve one purpose – that we be Revealed with Christ. What will be revealed? For Christ followers, a life hidden will be revealed. The new reality of Christ followers is hidden from others. What we claim to be now – alive in Christ, citizens of a heavenly kingdom – will be revealed at the return of Christ. For some Christ followers their life is too hidden from the world around them – it is no wonder the world does not know they belong to Christ. The life lived before the world must say much about our future and to whom we belong. What does your life reveal about you?

For Christ followers, a life put to death will be revealed. Our old self is not renewed or reformed – it is put to death. With it our old personality with its evil desires, selfish attitudes and personal prejudices are put to death as well. We are not simply slapping a veneer of Christian values over the old – we are being stripped down with all new clothing, attitudes and values in place. This includes our virtues and vices and the lifestyle we live as a Christ follower.

While many in the world resist an objective moral authority and our culture increasingly questions the differences between right and wrong, good and evil, thinking that as independent human we are able to think, act and live as we choose, by whatever standards we choose, the true Christ follower will seek to become increasing more obedient and trusting in the One who has created the new life, attitudes and values now placed within them.

We must never confuse being moral with being a Christ follower and yet, we cannot not truly be a Christ follower without honoring and understanding morality. The way we live our lives as a Christ follower before others is an advertisement of the power of Christ in the life of His followers. The life of a Christ follower is to be so radical that the unchurched and those who have left the church should be asking what makes you so different from everyone else?! People should see a clear difference in how Christ followers handle sexuality and anger, how they treat others who might be different than them and how they forgive and love freely. Are you showing others you are a Christ follower?

We do all things for the glory of God through Christ our Lord.

Amen and Amen.

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