Welcome to our online Bible study. My goal here tonight is to give you the scriptures along with some points for you to consider. As always, please take some time to pray first and ask God to clear your hearts and minds from whatever you may have dealt with today so that you can focus on what we will talking about here. Also, get your Bible close by because you will need it.
While I was truly looking forward to bible study tonight in the sanctuary I'm also grateful that we have modern day technology at our disposal to be able to continue it this way. Before we go to the actual scriptures tonight I would like each of you to give this some thought. On this journey we go through many things and changes. We have to be honest for this message to make sense. We give up a lot in an effort to walk with God. However, we gain so much more because of it.
Let's go a bit further here. We give up the lifestyles we were once so comfortable and familiar with. We give up habits that we've had for who knows how long. We change our ways, we change the way we talk, we change the things we do, we change the places we go, and we even change the people we socialize with. We learn new things such as how to pray, how to study the word of God, how to interpret and understand the word of God, and how to submit to God. Yes, we go through much for the cause of Christ but at the end of the day it has to be more than worth it to you. Whatever you value is what you will give your all to. Give that some thought.
We will be reading Colossians 3:1-4. I will try my best to be as short as possible here because really and truly this is more food for thought than anything. Verse 1 says "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God." There is something powerful about that verse all by itself but let me help you with that in light of what we will be talking about tonight. Christ has to be your life. He's not just the head of your life as we often hear in church. He is our life and this is important. When Christ is your entire life then it puts your life and mindset in a different perspective.
Verse 1 says if you be risen with Christ. That is something you have to be sure of for yourself. Are you risen in Christ and therefore you have life or are you still laying down in self and are spiritually dead? Let's make that point even more plain. Are you sold out to Christ in your entire life or sold out to yourself? You see the choice is simple and there is no one else to blame for your choice. If you choose Christ then you've chosen life. If you choose self then you've chosen death. If you're risen with Christ then you must understand that you've decided to get up from your thoughts, ways, habits, ideas, and emotions.
In this year of embracing God it is super important to realize that there are some things we must make an effort to accomplish. You can't grow in Christ without the time spent in prayer and the study of His word, You can't get closer to God and yet remain attached to self. You can't embrace God when your arms are already filled with what you want. You have to let go in order to grab a hold of. Think about that point. You have to let go of many things in order to grab a hold of many things in Christ. It is more than worth it but here's where the real test comes. Are you only looking for Christ to be the head of your life while you do whatever you want with the rest of yourself? Are you looking for Christ to be your life as you strive to let go of you and make room for Him?
If you be risen with Christ. Notice it doesn't say if you are, were, or might be. It says if you be meaning right now. If you be risen with Christ you are to seek those things which are above. Don't miss this because we have a lot of points along the way. The burden to reach out and seek is on you. You have to be in Christ and then you have the burden or responsibility of seeking out. What are you seeking out? Those things meaning plural. In other words, it's not just one thing that God has in store for you. It's not just one thing that you need to grab a hold of. It's not just one thing that you need to be striving for. There are many things about God and we must seek those things.
Let's go further. Those things are above us. We're in this world but not of this world. We're in the flesh but our spirits are looking for the return of our redeemer. We're not focused on what's going on at the moment. We're focused on eternity. Notice how I'm speaking those things that be not for some of you because that's where you should be. You should be at a place in your life where you are concerned about your eternal well being and not just your temporary problems that you have in this world. Why are we seeking those things which are above? Because that's where Christ sits.
Give this some thought for a moment. Where would your life be if you spent your time focused on Christ instead of your right now? Most of you will say a lot further and that's great. Here's the question though. If you already know your life will be better and further along why continue to still focus on your right now? Let me put it another way. Why would you continue to do something that leads to a dead end when you can walk down a path that's filled with joy and peace? Why lose out on what's a part of your promise even while you're still here on this earth?
Verse 2 says set your affection on things above. There is another reference to things higher than us. Look up to heaven instead of looking down or out to things that only serve as distractions in your life. Get your affection on the love of God. Get your affection on the character and nature of God. Desire to get closer to God instead of being content with everyday things that will one day not be here. Cars eventually break down, clothes wear out, food will eventually spoil, and money can come and go. But the word of God remains. It will stand the test of time and it will still be here when everything else is gone. Don't chase things that don't last when you can chase Christ who will always remain. Set your affection on things above and not on things on the earth is the point here.
Verse 3 says For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ. Lord have mercy on us all that we may clearly get the revelation of that. We, meaning our flesh and old ways are dead. Our new life is hid with Christ. People will not understand us when we change or the reason why we choose to do so. They don't always understand why we no longer do certain things. They don't always understand why we go to church so often. They may never understand things but we need to. We need to know the hope of our glory. We need to know that Christ is the center of our joy and life.
Your life is hid with Christ in God. People on the outside will never understand what it means to you on the inside. The world may call us crazy but when you're sure that Christ is your life then it really doesn't matter. There are things about you when you walk with Christ that make no sense to others because your life is hid with Christ in God. There are things about you that people just can't see. They don't know how deep your love of Christ runs. They don't understand why you're so willing to give up everything for more of Him. That's a fight that's not worth your time. Some of you would do yourself a major favor if you would quit trying to explain to people who don't want Christ in the first place. Learn who's asking a question and who is questioning you. There's a difference for sure.
Lastly, verse 4 says that when Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. Now here's where you have to spend some time to truly get where we're going with this lesson. Is Christ your life? Now give a few things some thought. Do you speak to your enemies? Do you pray for them who despise you? Do you love them who hate you? If your mind is set on no and God says yes will you do what He says even if it hurts? Jesus asked God to forgive them who were persecuting Him at the cross because they didn't know what they were doing. Do you get what He really meant. They were completely aware of Jesus but totally unaware of Christ.
Let me explain that last point before we close. Jesus is the man. Christ is the messiah, redeemer, deliverer, maker, giver of life, sustainer of life, bridge over troubled water, bright and morning star, and our everything. All they could see was Jesus the son of the carpenter though. They could not and did not want to see Christ. To see Christ would've meant they would have to undo everything they both said and were doing. Pride is powerful because even when wrong it can cause you not to admit your guilt. Pride will have you think it's better to remain silent than to become honest by speaking the truth.
Christ is not just the head of your life. He orders your footsteps, He calms your mind, He points your eyes in the right direction, He picks you up when your own arms can't do so for yourself, and He does so much more. He can't simply be the head of your life or you and I will think it's okay to do whatever else we want to and whenever. It's not until He becomes your life that you truly change. You won't be submissive to God, you won't break free from rebellion, you won't stop lying, you won't put your pride down, you won't stop pretending until Christ is so much of your life that there's no room for anything else.
You want to live right? Let Christ be your life. You want to stop being jealous? Let Christ be your life. You want to stop thinking the wrong way? Let Christ be your life. You want to stop hearing things the wrong way? Let Christ be your life. You want to walk in favor again? Let Christ be your life. You want to see others trust you? Let Christ be your life. Is this an easy journey? No, and I've never said it was. The bible never said it was. All God ever said was that all things are possible if you believe. Do you believe that God can change you? Do you believe that He wants to change you? Do you believe that He wants to see you be free from sin and guilt?
I'm closing on this point right here but please give this some thought. You control what type of life you will have because you have a choice on if you will accept Christ or not. There are some people who have no idea just how far from God they've pulled some people. They are clueless as to how much destruction of others is laid to their charge. These things ought not to be so but sadly they are. You will know that you know your identity in Christ in one simple way. He will have become your life to the point that all you want is what pleases Him. Anything less than that and you should be asking the tough question of if you're really His or not. Both heaven and hell is real. Look around you in this world and ask yourself how much time do we all really have left? All of the signs are there but are we paying any attention at all?
So, the final question is simple. Is Christ your life or just a part of your life?
God Bless You,
Bishop C. Lennon