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1214. The Believer’s Focus

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University
The Truth Network Radio
March 24, 2022 7:00 pm

1214. The Believer’s Focus

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University

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March 24, 2022 7:00 pm

Dr. Steve Pettit continues a series entitled “Seeking Things Above” with a message titled, “The Believer’s Focus,” from Colossians 3:1-2.

The post 1214. The Believer’s Focus appeared first on THE DAILY PLATFORM.

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Welcome to The Daily Platform. Our program features sermons from chapel services at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. Every day, students are blessed by the preaching and teaching of the Bible from the University Chapel Platform. Today on The Daily Platform, we're continuing a study series entitled, Seeking Things Above, which is a study of the book of Colossians. This study explores and applies the timeless truth that Christ is our sufficiency in all relationships, responsibilities, and circumstances.

If you would like to follow along in the study booklet, you can order a printed copy from the Bob Jones store website, shop.bju.edu. Let's listen to today's message from Colossians chapter 3 verses 1 and 2 where it says, Please take your Bibles this morning and turn with me to the book of Colossians, Colossians chapter 3 today. We are a little short on time, so I want to get right into our message this morning as we've been working through the theme of seeking things above, Colossians chapter 3. We've talked about the purpose of the book of Colossians as Paul was addressing a problem in the church, a doctrinal error. It wasn't about how a person gets saved, but it's how much is God provided for your spiritual growth after salvation through the gospel.

And of course, in the church, there were teachers that were teaching that you could be saved through the gospel message that was being preached by a man named Apaphras. But the problem was that he didn't preach enough. He didn't give you enough. You didn't get enough when you got Jesus.

And you always need to be discerning. When somebody wants to add to Jesus, if you add to Jesus, you take away from Jesus. Jesus plus doesn't work.

It's just Jesus. And so they were making add-ons, things like intellectualism, mysticism, legalism, asceticism. They're actually problems that have been in the church for 2,000 years. And so what Paul does is he debunks that, points to Christ, and then we come to Colossians 3, and he shows the believer's identity in Christ. And we talked about that last week, who we are in Jesus Christ, that we are in him. And by the way, there were some statements that I made last week that created some conversation that I think was really, really good because I think the more you begin to understand the glory of what's happened when you are immersed into Christ, it's an overwhelming truth, and it should overwhelm you the rest of your life.

Now this morning, what I'd like us to do is understanding now what our identity is, then what should be our focus. That is, if we are in Christ, then how is it that we actually live this out, and what should be our focus? And we find this in verses 1 and 2 of Colossians chapter 3, where Paul lays out basically two clear commands, and these are basic overall big picture commands, and these things are absolutely necessary for the spiritual outgrowth of who you are in Christ. And we see those this morning, beginning in verse 1. Notice what he says, if you then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above.

So what is the first command? He says to seek the things that are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Then verse 2, he gives a second command. He says set your affections on things above and not on things of the earth, and then he explains why, because you're dead.

So he says basically two things. Number one, seek things that are above. Number two, he says set your affection on things that are also above. So I want to talk to you this morning about those two commands, because these are basic big picture ideas of how you live out who you are as a Christian. Look, you're either going to live the Christian life as what we've already mentioned from chapter 2, where you have mysticism, intellectualism, and all of those things, or you're going to live it biblically. So how do we live it out?

Let's look at those two commands. The first one is to seek heavenly realities. Notice he says, if you then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. The word seek means to seek after something with your whole heart. If you've ever played sports, every coach knows you've got to motivate your players to, we would say, lay it out all on the field. Your whole heart, giving it all.

Nothing worse than to play with a team that they're kind of halfway motivated. He says that we are to do what we do with a passion. I always find it intriguing how a young man plans out how he's going to get engaged to a young lady. There's this intense process of striving for the most creative, original, imaginative, cool, spectacular, and unique way of simply saying, will you marry me? My son-in-law who married my daughter that came out today, Rachel, is a lawyer. He's very, very smart, especially because he chose to marry my daughter. When he asked me for her hand in marriage, of course I said yes, and then he had to plan out, how do you plan out an engagement so that the girl doesn't know it's happening?

Well, this one came out pretty cool. My daughter Rachel, at that time, was spending one semester overseas on a study abroad program, and she was living in Jerusalem in Israel. She had a friend who had rented an apartment that was on the sixth floor of a building in the old city of Jerusalem, which six stories is very high. And this apartment had a walkout patio that had this most magnificent view where you could see the old city of Jerusalem, you could see the Dome of the Rock, you could see the Mount of Olives.

It was incredible. Well, Ethan made a plan, and that is he decided to fly to Israel unbeknown to Rachel, and he wanted to ask her to marry him on top of the rooftop. So with the help of some plans, he devised this plan where Rachel would be invited for a dinner on the rooftop, and when she would come up and walk out on the rooftop, Ethan would be standing there. And of course, we have it all on video.

I'm sorry I cannot show it to you this morning, but you have an imagination. And so when she walked out on the rooftop and she saw him standing there, she just was speechless, and for her to be speechless is quite a miracle. And so he got down on one knee and asked for her hand in marriage overlooking the old city of Jerusalem, and you're always seeking for that one magical moment. The word seeking in the Bible is the idea of a passionate pursuit. So the question is, what do we seek after? And he tells us in Colossians, he says, Seek those things which are above where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. First of all, we are to seek the preeminence of Christ. You see, the fact that Jesus is alive and he's seated at the right hand of the Father, what does that mean?

It's a place of authority. It means that he rules over all. That's the idea of seating at God's right hand. And we read in the book of Colossians that Jesus is the Lord of Creation. He is the head of the church, and he is the highest ranking. He is the greatest human being that ever lived on planet earth, and to seek things which are above means that we are to seek him having first place in our lives. That's what the word preeminence means.

It means that I want Jesus Christ to be the Lord over every area of my life. When I was a kid growing up, there was a famous daily game show called Let's Make a Deal. Maybe you've heard of it.

And basically, it's a guy that's trying to make a deal on a show, and you know, behind this window you can get this, behind this window you can get this, and so forth and so on. And I remember when I became a Christian, I realized that I had something within me that wanted to make a deal with God. Here's what I said. God, I'll give you this if you let me have this.

And by the way, everybody in this room does that. Because we all know God wants my life, but there's some things that I want that I'm not sure God wants me to have, not that they're sinful. I just want to have my own desires. Whether it's my future, whether it's marriage, whether it's how much money I make. You know, we think, oh Lord, I don't want to give my life to you because maybe you're going to make me marry somebody I don't want to marry. Maybe I'm going to have to live somewhere where I don't want to live.

Maybe I'm going to have a job where I'm not going to make that much money. And so we make deals and bargains with God. The problem is this, that a slave cannot bargain with a king. He is preeminent. He is Lord. He is maker of heaven and earth. And what does he want you to do?

He wants you to trust him enough where you give him everything. And that's really the bottom line for us. Have we given to Jesus everything? My future, my family, my finances, my hopes, my dreams, my talents, my times, my treasures. And not only the future, but even trusting him and his preeminence in the presence.

Think about it this way. Do I trust God over the control of my circumstances and things I can't change? Do I trust God with the people that he's brought in my life? Do I trust God with the authorities that he's brought in my life?

Do I trust God with every single thing that has come into my life? I'm seeking his preeminence over my life. That's what it means to seek things that are above. And then secondly, we seek not only his preeminence, but we should seek his presence. Paul had revealed that the false teachers promised spiritual fulfillment through following Old Testament laws. The only problem is the Old Testament laws and regulations were actually pictures that were pointing to Christ.

Let me illustrate it this way. Imagine a soldier who takes his pictures of his wife and his children to the battlefield. Every day he looks at them. He cherishes every picture and he cherishes every thought of his family. And then he kisses the picture as a reflection of his affection for his wife and children.

But the day finally comes when he returns home safely. And when he finally sees his family waiting at the airport, what does he do? Who does he kiss? Does he take out the picture and keep kissing it? Or does he run to his wife and children and kiss them?

Well, obviously, the answer is clear. Once he has his family, he doesn't need the pictures. What he wanted all along was the presence of his family. The Old Testament is filled with pictures and types of Christ. Everything pointing towards Jesus. God's people waited in anticipation and a growing affection for the day when the Messiah would come.

Now he's come. We no longer kiss the pictures. We kiss the Son. Seek those things which are above where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. What is one of the ways that we can do that? We can do that through the daily reading of Scripture because the Bible is the word of Christ. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ. And when we read the word of Christ with the illumination of the Spirit of Christ, what do we experience every day? We experience his presence. I can sit in my dorm room or I can sit in an airport and know that Jesus is with me because he is, because I have his Spirit and I have his word.

What do I do? I seek the presence of Christ. Are you seeking Christ's presence in your life every day? Are you seeking him through his truth, the word? Are you seeking his control?

Are you trusting him all along the way? And then thirdly, we're to seek not only his presence and his preeminence, but in this case we're to seek the power of Christ in our lives. Paul says in Colossians 1 29 that he never did his ministry in his own strength. He said, Whereunto I also labor, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.

Seeking things above means I am pursuing God's power in my life. One of the greatest lessons I learned as a young Christian is how to be filled with the Spirit. I was not a Christian very long before I realized that living the Christian life was not hard. It wasn't difficult. It was impossible.

And I knew I couldn't do it. And I was taught scripturally what it meant to be a Spirit-filled Christian. And a Spirit-filled Christian is one who is living in dependence and reliance on the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome temptation, to serve God effectively, to walk in obedience to him, to become someone different. The Bible says if you're filled with the Spirit, you're different because he said, Don't be drunk with wine, but be filled with the Spirit.

You ever seen anybody drunk? They're different. When a person is a Spirit-filled believer, he's different because he's not controlled by his flesh. His responses, his reactions. And so what is Paul saying? Basically, a big picture is that the way that we live out our identity in Christ is, number one, we seek heavenly realities. But then there's something else he says to do.

And that is in verse two. He says, Set your mind or your affection on things above. In the phrase, Set your affections, the word affection there has the idea of your thinking, but it's the idea of giving serious consideration to something. If I could say it this way, you're fixated on something. Everybody here has things that you fixate on. It could be a video game. I mean, as soon as you get out of class, boom, you go right to the video game. You're fixated on it.

It could be a sport. It could be anything that you're doing in your life. So he says, Set your fixations, that's the idea here, on things above and not on things of the earth. And he says, what he's saying here is that you are making mental and emotional changes in your life in the way you think. For example, for many of you, when you came to Bob Jones University, it's like you're in a whole new world. It's like, wow, it's not the way I grew up. And suddenly you found yourself being in a position where you have you've had to adapt a whole new way of thinking.

That's what he's saying here. As a Christian, we change the way that we think. We put off old evil and we put on that which is new. We adjust our thinking by believing that what God has declared in his word is the truth. The Bible is God's word. And I want this book to be the guide for my life. It's not just good suggestions.

It's God's commands. And God begins to change the way you think. Let me give you two experiences I had in college. One was my freshman year and the second one. One was really before, between my freshman and sophomore year. The second was during my sophomore year.

The first one was between my freshman year of college and my sophomore year of college. I broke my left ankle playing indoor soccer. I was playing actually down at the College of Charleston and the ball was crossed across the court. And I went up to head the ball.

I missed it, came down on my left ankle. In those days I weighed about 195 pounds. You say, how much do you weigh this morning?

None of your business. But I weighed 195 pounds and I came down and I felt my ankle snap. And man, I just dropped to the floor. I grabbed my leg. I went down the leg. The bone came out.

I knew that was a problem and then went back in. I was taken back up to Columbia where I had ankle surgery. Pins put in my left ankle, ligaments sewn up. I was out of the season. And all of a sudden, God got my attention.

I woke up in the hospital after surgery and in those days at the Baptist Hospital in Columbia, they gave every patient a Bible and I picked up the Bible and I began to realize I needed to make some serious changes in my life. Because what had happened to me was that soccer had become my God. It was an idol. I love soccer. I still love it.

But it had to have its right place. Because I was not setting my affections on things above. Now, did I quit playing soccer? No, I ended up playing all the way up to my senior year of college. I was co-captain of the soccer team my senior year. And I ended up playing outside of college. I ended up coaching high school and almost ended up coaching college. But what happened was my affections changed. The second thing happened my sophomore year and that is I was dating a girl that I had actually been dating since my senior year of high school. I was now a sophomore in college. I was pretty certain that I thought we would get married.

But I always had in the back of my mind a question mark because the direction that we were going was not the right direction. But I had gotten saved. I was going to church. I was growing in the Lord.

And there was a growing tension between us. And I will never forget one Sunday morning I called her up and I said I am going to church today. Would you like to go with me? And she said no.

I said well can I come and see you afterwards? And she said no. And basically she broke up with me over the phone. Now it was a bad break up for me. I mean I think I went five days that I couldn't even eat.

That is really really bad. And she ended up dating a guy like a couple of weeks later that she actually ended up marrying. And so it was one of those like really low depressing times. But as I look back on it it was one of the best experiences of my life. Because what it did was it set it forced me to set my affections on things above. And after that I decided God I only want to date and I only want to marry in your will. And I didn't date the rest of college. It wasn't until I came to Bob Jones when I started dating my wife. And when I dated my wife I said Lord I would like to marry that girl if it is your will.

And that was my prayer all the way up to the time that we got married. I set my affections on things above and not on things of the earth. There was a famous Scottish theologian named Thomas Chalmers. He lived in the 1800's. He wrote a little message that I thought was really incredible. He said the name of the message was called the Expulsive Power of a New Affection. The premise of the booklet is that the removal or the displacement of the love for something that is evil or wrong.

Cannot be easily accomplished by simply exposing the object as empty or worthless. Or if I could say it this way. We may all believe that we shouldn't eat fried food. But when you got fried chicken put in front of you over grilled chicken. How many of you are going to choose fried chicken anyway?

You know why? Because you like it. And you can say all you want about eating fried food that is unhealthy for you. But that's not going to persuade you because your first answer is I'm going to die anyway. I might as well enjoy life.

It's the way we are. And the point of what he's trying to say is this. That effective change in one's life can only come when you set forth another object.

In this case it is Christ who is more worthy of your heart's affection and attachment. In other words it's the transformation of those affections that change you. The United States of America was radically influenced in the early 1700s by what was called the Great Awakening. And the preaching of George Whitfield and Jonathan Edwards. And during that revival in a sense they set forth in motion a direction in the United States of America. Where there was a connection between knowledge and if I could say the intellectual and the heart and the passion for something. Because in that revival people got converted and they had small groups of prayer, singing, accountability and encouragement.

And during the revival like all revivals there were some excesses. There were people that went beyond but it ended up creating a division in the United States between those who were more intellectual in their approach. And those who didn't disregard the intellectual but they were much more passionate about their faith. And actually the history of our country has been built spiritually on this passion for both the intellectual, the truth. And at the same time the heart and the spirit.

And so we've always spoken against dead intellectualism. And we've always encouraged a passion for God. And Jonathan Edwards wrote a treatise called A Treatise on Religious Affections. And here's what he said as I conclude. True religion consists in a great measure in vigorous and lively actings of the inclination and will of the soul or in the fervent exercises of the heart.

Here's what Paul is, I think that's what Paul is saying. Set your heart, your affections on things above and not on things of the earth. That's the essence of true spirituality. Father bless your word and help us to seek things above and set our affections on things above.

In Jesus' name, Amen. I'd like to thank you for listening to The Daily Platform. I hope that you've enjoyed it. I hope it's been a blessing and an encouragement to you.

We're living in very unusual times. And this is just such a crucial time for all of us as believers to walk closely with the Lord. So I hope you'll take the opportunity to follow us up on these other things that we have at bju.edu and find out what it is that God is doing in through the ministry of Bob Jones University with our 2,500 students who are coming here to get a biblical worldview and see life from God's lenses. And then go out with an accredited first-class education and go out into the world and make an impact for Jesus Christ in the workplace as they go out and serve in local churches. Not only here in the United States, but our students are globally in-demand Christ-centered servants who are trying to serve the Lord throughout the world for the sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ. So thank you again for listening. I encourage your friends to listen and to be nourished and strengthened through God's Word.

God bless you. These daily programs are made possible by the many friends of Bob Jones University and this radio ministry. If you appreciate these programs and benefit from the faithful preaching and teaching of God's Word, would you consider sending us a special financial gift today? You can easily do that through the website thedailyplatform.com and then click on the Give button on the home page. We'd also love to hear about how this program is helping your Christian walk.

Please send us your feedback using the Contact button at the bottom of the website thedailyplatform.com or you can call us at 800-252-6363. I'm Steve Pettit, President of Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. I'd like to invite you to attend one of our summer camps for both middle and high schoolers. BJU has over 50 camps to choose from, so there is one for you. Here's just a few. Aviation, astronomy, cinema, computers, culinary, criminal justice, media, music, nursing, theater, robotics, soccer, basketball, volleyball, golf, and there's many more. Come explore your future during a week of what we call EduCamp. For more information about our camps, visit our website. Go to EduCamp. That's educamp.bju.edu. Thanks for listening and join us again tomorrow as we continue the study in Colossians on The Daily Platform.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-18 06:05:45 / 2023-05-18 06:16:19 / 11

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