Putting Christ First: New in Christ, Colossians 3:1-4

March 27th, 2017

Putting Christ First: New in Christ

Colossians 3:1-4

New Identity (v. 1)

  • Paul encourages us to see ourselves for who we are in Christ

    • Those who were dead who have been made alive
  • And thus our desires need to change to align with our new identity
    • Both of which come from above


New Thinking (v. 2)

  • If our identity is found in Christ
  • Then our thinking needs to be centered in Jesus as our basis for truth
    • Which is part of the renewing of our minds that God promises us (Rom. 12:2)
  • Thus, not only does our identity undergo a resurrection to a new life
    • But so does our thinking


New Destiny (v. 3-4)

  • If we have our identity in Christ
  • Then we get a new destiny as well
    • Defined by Jesus’ resurrection
    • And resulting in us sharing in His future glory
      • When we share physically in resurrection life


So What?

  • Do we find our identity in Jesus?
  • Do we center our thinking in His truth?

Meditation Verse: Colossians 3:2

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Putting Christ First: The Root of Righteousness, Colossians 2:16-23

March 20th, 2017

Putting Christ First: The Root of Righteousness

Colossians 2:16-23

Wrong Judgments (v. 16-17)

  • Because of the spiritual fullness that we have in Christ alone

    • Paul urges us not let anyone impose a means of spiritual growth that does not have Christ at its heart
  • This false judgment is based in:
    • What we eat/drink

      • Or refrain from

        • “A real Christian doesn’t…”
      • This could be a reference to the dietary law
        • But that does not prohibit the drinking of anything
      • What we celebrate
        • Or refrain from

          • “Christians shouldn’t celebrate…”
        • This included the OT holidays
          • Sabbath & new moons
          • “Shadows of things to come”: They were meant to point to Jesus
        • But also pagan-based celebrations


Wrong Priorities (v. 18-19)

  • Paul warns against ‘false humility

    • Which can mean self-deprecation for the purpose of actually drawing attention to oneself
    • Or, extreme asceticism
      • Prolonged fasting, abject poverty, etc.
    • To gain some sense of self-righteousness
  • Paul warns against ‘the worship of angels
    • Which can mean worshipping angels

      • Rather than God Himself
    • Or worshipping with angels
      • Claiming some sort of ‘greater’ worship experience
    • Paul warns against those who claim special spiritual experiences
      • Including visions
    • All of these things lead to a false sense of spiritual importance
    • This line of thinking is the result of not being rooted in Jesus
      • We cannot add to the work of Jesus with anything expect more of Jesuswork in us

Wrong Logic (v. 20-23)

  • Paul points out that this way of thinking is illogical
  • Since we are no longer to find understanding from the ‘basic elements of this world’ (see v. 8)
    • Then we should also not use those elements to gain righteousness
  • These ascetic rules which some would put upon Christians:
    • Are man-made
    • Appear wise
    • But have no spiritual value
      • Because they cannot help us overcome our sinful desires
    • Only Jesus can do that!


So What?

  • What guides us?

    • Human rules and regulations
    • Or the Spirit of Jesus
  • Are we known for what we avoid?
    • Or the good we do

Meditation Verse: Colossians 2:16

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Putting Christ First: Fullness in Christ: Colossians 2:9-15

March 13th, 2017

Putting Christ First: Fullness in Christ

Colossians 2:9-15

Fullness in Christ (v. 9-10)

  • Paul asserts that in Christ alone dwells the fullness of God (v. 9; see 1:19)

    • Not in some temple
    • Nor dispersed amongst various semi-divine beings (v. 10b)
  • Thus, when we find our lives in Christ, we are filled too
    • Paul is countering a claim of false teachers that we need more than just Jesus
    • All that we can know or experience of God is therefore found in our relationship with Jesus
      • We need no other experience from any other source
      • For Jesus, as God, is over them all (v. 10b)


Inclusion in Christ (v. 11-12)

  • Paul goes on to describe how we have been made full in Christ
  • By circumcision: A symbol of inclusion into God’s people
    • Not the physical rite
    • But a spiritual circumcision of our hearts ( 10:16; 30:6; Jer. 4:4; Rom 2:29)
  • By baptism: A symbol of inclusion into Christ’s death
    • Sharing in His burial
    • In order to share in His resurrection


Alive in Christ (v. 13-14)

  • Paul describes our need for death & rebirth
  • Before Jesus, our sinfulness left us:
    • Both its natural result: dead
    • And its underlying root: rebellious (“uncircumcised flesh”)
  • But through Christ, God has made us alive
    • By forgiving our sins

      • By legally fulfilling the punishment that our sins deserved on the Cross


Victory in Christ (v. 15)

  • Through His death and resurrection, Jesus not only paid for our sins
  • But claimed victory over all rebellious powers
    • Both human and spiritual
  • Thus, we have nothing to fear from them



So What?

  • Do we find our lives in Christ?

    • As Redeemer from sin
    • As Conqueror over our rebellious hearts
  • Are we living out of that truth?


Meditation Verse: Colossians 2:13

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Putting Christ First: In Christ Alone, Colossians 2:8

March 6th, 2017

Putting Christ First: In Christ Alone

Colossians 2:8

A Warning (v. 8a)

  • As Paul mentioned in v. 4, Paul warns the church against false teachers

    • Whose words sound good
    • But would capture and make plunder* of the hearers
      • Συλαγωγέω (sulagogew): to gain control of by carrying off as booty


Philosophies (v. 8b)

  • These false teachers do this through hollow and deceptive philosophy
  • Paul is not speaking of all philosophies here
    • The belief systems of Judaism were called philosophies by Josephus
  • But rather, he is warning the church against the empty and deceitful beliefs of the false teachers


Human Traditions (v. 8c)

  • These teachings were based on human traditions

    • Teachings based in human-centered speculation
  • The same language Jesus uses to describe the Pharisees and teachers of the Law (Mark 7:1–23)


Elements of the World (v. 8d)

  • These teachings were based on basic ‘elements’ of the ‘world
  • Could have 3 different meanings:
    1. The fundamental components of the world (2 Pet. 3:10, 12)

      • Earth, air, fire, water*
      • Based on a natural view of the world alone
        • Limiting spiritual truth to physical behaviors like circumcision, diet, and holy days (see v. 16, 20-23)
        • Or basing our understanding of the world only on ‘science
  1. The elementary principles of this world (see Heb. 5:12)

    • Tied to their understanding of the Law in life of Christians
    • Thus, to them righteousness would be tied to keeping the Law rather than faith in Christ (see v. 16. 20-23)
  2. Spiritual forces
    • Giving too much attention to angels, demons, and other spiritual beings (see v. 10, 15, 18; 1:16, 20)
    • And thus taking away the central place of Christ

In Christ Alone (v. 8e)

  • Paul returns to what our lives and faith must be centered in

    • CHRIST: Jesus as Lord!
  • Nothing else and no one else helps us understand the world and our place in it


So What?

  • What are we building our lives upon?
  • Is Jesus the lens through which we see the world and ourselves?



Meditation Verse: Colossians 2:8

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