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November 5, 2020 7:00 pm
BJU President Steve Pettit continues a discipleship series entitled, “Seeking Things Above” from Colossians 3:1-2.
Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville South Carolina today on The Daily Platform were continuing a study series entitled seeking things above, which is a study of the book of Colossians. If you would like to follow along in the study booklet you can get one on Kendall or you can order a printed copy from the website. The Daily Platform.com. Colossians chapter 3 this morning where looking today in our fourth study through this theme of seeking things above. Here we are coming into our fourth message fourth challenge, not quite halfway through the series this morning were looking in verses one through four. We actually looked at it last week. As I spoke on the believers identity in Christ and now were going to look at the believers focus in Christ. Chapter 3 the apostle Paul is explaining how Christians live the victorious resurrected life.
And Paul is taking the time to show us the essence of true spirituality, what it looks like and he's already made it clear that spiritual spirituality is not found in those add-ons that we saw in check and send the second chapter.
Any mentions those like intellectualism or mysticism or legalism or asceticism, but rather it's found in your identity in Christ to you are in Christ.
It always starts there and then that has to be lived out through a focused, passionate pursuit of Jesus Christ this morning were going to look at the two specific commands that Paul gives us here in Colossians chapter 3 verses wanted to notice what he says if you then be risen with Christ, and here's the first command, seek those things which are above, where Christ set it on the right hand of God, then notice the second command set your affections on things above and not on things of the earth. So, as Paul gives us this practical steps of living out the Christian life before he even gives us the ethical commands the things that we should and should not do that start in verse five he really gives us our focus and our focus is to be on heavenward focus and he tells us there are two things that were to do number one the first command is that we are to seek heavenly realities. Notice he says if you then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above board. Seek their means to seek after something with your whole heart.
It's a command in which we are to be actively engaged doing this all the time.
I think we all recognize that everybody here has a passion for something deep in your heart. There something you would like to do there something you would like to have something you'd like to be a pursuit, it could be a person it could be a job it could be a house. It could be a degree or could be some kind of mission.
For example, I find it always intriguing how a guy plans out his engagement to a girl by the way, and it's always been interesting to watch as I see it happen many times I go through this intense process of striving for the most creative and imaginative cool spectacular unique way of asking, will you marry me. My son-in-law Ethan is a lawyer. He's real smart marry my daughter is real smart.
When he asked for her hand in marriage. When he asked her to marry him. My daughter the time was actually spending a semester in school in Jerusalem in Israel. My daughter had a particular friend who had rented an apartment on the sixth floor of a building in the old city of Jerusalem and they had this magnificent patio with a spectacular view overlooking the famous dome of the rock coming. It's unbelievable. So people would go there and they would said, and they would dying and they would feast their eyes on the beauty of this ancient city.
Well, Ethan made a plan.
He decided to fly to Israel unbeknown to my daughter Rachel and ask her to marry him on the rooftop well with the help of some friends, he devised a plan.
Rachel would be invited for dinner on the rooftop apartment without her knowledge of Ethan's actually being there. Well you could only imagine the surprise that she felt when she walked up the six flight of stairs stepped out on the patio and there he was waiting for her and we have it all and fill that's what makes it so cool. He drops to her knees. She's weeping and crying. He was looking for that one magic moment. I think you got it when he said, would you marry me so it's interesting to me to watch that pursuit. We look at this verse and it says to seek things above, is the idea of an intense pursuit. So the question is what is he mean by those things that are above and I think their number things. First of all think it means that we are to seek the preeminence of Christ over our lives. Paul is speaking here of Christ. He was seated in the father's right hand position of preeminence. The position of authority, and Paul tells us earlier in Colossians that Christ is both the Lord of creation and he is the head of the body, he is the highest ranking human that is ever live in.
The result of that is that we should all give him first place in our lives that in all things. Colossians 118, he might have the preeminence to seek things above means to seek for cries to be first place in every area of your life.
Now when I became a Christian at 19 years old I I knew I was saved but I didn't really realize everything that Christ wanted really was a part of my sanctification, especially the first year of my Christian life. It was just one decision after another of taking things that were mine and my thinking and giving them over to the Lord giving my future to God giving the idea of marriage to God giving my education.
The God giving my finances to God giving my friendships to God giving God my time giving God my talents giving God. My treasures everything to be given over to him.
That's the idea of seeking things about seeking his preeminent, but I think it also has the idea of not only giving him these things but also trusting him, trusting him with control over your circumstances. Many people are disappointed or they're not sad or they live discontent over their circumstances. They don't like this. They don't like that and they want to constantly change it to match a question if ever thought Lord you are the one is the Lord over my circumstances, you are the one who brought these things in my life seeking the preeminence of Christ, is seeking his control over things over people over the authority that God has placed in my life. Coming to the point where something Lord.
This is your will. This is your purpose.
This is a spirit of yield business.
In contrast to a spirit of resistance. I think this is particularly true if you grown up as a Christian young person a Christian home that is easy to grow up with a mentality towards God. That reminds me of the old TV game show called let's make a deal ever heard of it, you know growing up, that God is to have first place in your life. You've heard that all your life growing up, but there are also things as a human being. You want to have or you want to be here. You want to do and the problem is you not so sure God wants you to do that. So instead of naturally giving those things over to God and trusting God with those things.
The tendency is to make a deal with God you like God you won't.you want God to have first place in your life and you also have other things that you hope that he will let you have and it may be that God will allow you to have those things. But that's not the issue. The problem lies in the fact if your will is still first in the Lord is Lord he's Lord of creation.
He's head of the church is the highest person in all humanity. He is the king of kings is the Lord of lords and folks kings don't make bargains with his servants. He wants first place in all of your life. This is a big deal.
And this is where many of you are living does God have first place in everything.
Paul's point is to seek things above means to seek his preeminence and what is important to remember here is that this is voluntary is not forced it's not coerced, because it's a decision of trust because he is worthy of your trusting him with your future.
He is worthy of that. As for God, his way is best.
You are entrusting what is important to you to the care of his loving lordship because he cares more about you than you care about yourself.
That's a big deal and that's what it means to seek things above and then secondly it means to seek not only the preeminence of Christ. But I think means to seek the presence of Christ in your life.
Earlier in chapter 2 Paul revealed that the false teachers promise spiritual fulfillment through following certain Old Testament laws and regulations. However, the laws of the Old Testament were actually pictures that were pointing us to Christ.
For example, imagine a soldier who takes a picture of his wife and his children toward everyday he looks at these pictures.
He cherishes each and every thought of his family, and then every night before he goes to sleep, he kisses the picture as a reflection of his affection for his family well.
The day finally comes when he returns home safely. When he finally sees his wife and his children waiting for him at the airport. What is he do.
Who does he kiss does he pull out the picture and start kissing the picture or does he run to his family, and cast them answers obvious. Once he has his family. He doesn't need a picture any longer.
What he wanted all along was the presence of his family. The Old Testament is filled with pictures of what we call types of Christ and God's people in the Old Testament waited in anticipation and growing affection for the day when the Messiah would come and now that he's come.
We really don't need the pictures we don't cast the pictures we kiss the son to seek those things that are above means I seek Christ with all my heart. I seek his presence in my life is nothing more wonderful than the have the presence of the people that you love the most with you. So yesterday afternoon I got home from traveling over the weekend and walked in the house and who were there about my children were there. My wife was there. And suddenly there was this wonderful sense of peace and relaxation him home but you're never more at home in your life that when you have the presence of Christ in your life. You say how do you then experience that well. We have the spirit of Jesus living in it inside of us. We have the words of Jesus written in the Bible. So if you have the spirit of Christ in the word of Christ and you have the presence of Christ Bible says search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life, but they are they which testify of me. How is it that we have the presence of Christ in our life we open our Bibles, we get on our knees. We begin to pray and say Lord I need you I need your presence in my life and then you read the word of God until there's a glorious sense of his presence.
I remember very clearly in college many hours and many nights I felt alone, but I wasn't alone I would pull out my Bible and read a Psalm or two or three or four and then I would begin to sense the Lord's presence with me his comforting reality.
That's what it means to seek those things which are above mass say to you this morning. You can't afford to live here without his presence in your life all day long going with you. Let me say one of the thing about seeking things above and I think it also means to seek the power of Christ in your life. In chapter 1 verse 29 Paul states that he did his ministry through Christ, power pieces, whereunto I also labor, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily seeking things above includes the pursuit of Christ power in your life and your ministry not just the power to overcome sin, but the power to be used in ministry to be effective.
And so it is seeking that power for daily living. In seeking that power for daily service. I think these are just a few ways in which we are to seek the things that are above so he commands a seek and pursue and focus on Christ. Then there's a second command that's found here in verse two and notice what he says. He says, set your affections on things above and not on things of the earth.
The second command is to set your mind own a new affection that was he mean by set your affection on things above the word affection there actually has the idea of the way that you think that affects the way that you feel to set your affection on things above means to give serious consideration to something to ponder to let your mind dwell on it to keep thinking about it is the idea of meditation is, like going to college for the first time in realizing your I have to adapt a whole new way of thinking.
You have to make adjustments. True spirituality requires the engagement of the mind and the affection on eternal, unchanging truths.
Okay, now let me try to explain what I mean by that, I give you a couple of illustrations last week we talked about your identity in Christ.
If you say that you find your identity in Christ about the way I was very encouraged last week but just some of the verbal responses to me personally about how was so helpful to recognize your identity in Christ. If you say your find find your identity, your value your worth your security in Christ, then how do you actually live that way does this actually work well first of all, you have to realize you're going to have to make some mental and emotional adjustments or changes you have the transfer of the way that you think, for example, last week I said that insecurity is putting your trust in something or someone that can be taken away.
You're putting your dependents in somebody or in something that can be taken away. You're going to be naturally insecure. That could be your parents. You can look good today look terrible. Two years from now, your abilities mean you're constantly comparing yourself each other. That's human nature. The kinda great you make. How you do your abilities, your approval or your acceptance to people approve of you to people, except you your achievements what you accomplished all of these things.
None of them wrong.
Of course, but all of these things will inevitably breed some kind of insecurity. If you're totally trusting them for your identity and purpose because none of these things are permanent when you begin to see that you actually are trusting those things and you begin to understand your own natural insecurity or wrong responses.
You begin to realize that those very things that you're trusting and actually have become idols.
They are things that you are from your heart almost naturally worshiping and so when I talk about a mental and emotional change. What I'm talking about is recognizing that what I'm trusting. It is actually wrong. You have to repent of that you have to turn from trusting and that and you have to transfer your trust to what cannot be taken away. What is that your identity in Christ.
Your relationship with him.
He is under his eternal, unchanging love for you is redemption of you his promises to you, you have to adjust your thinking by believing that what God is declared in his word is not just true but it is more than enough to give you the security that you need, regardless of the way that you feel are now let me give you two illustrations. These go back to my experience. My sophomore year of college and there were two very difficult experiences I went through the first one had to do with sports and the second one had to do with the girl. The first one was sports and I grew up playing sports I love sports I love sports. In this day and a particularly I love soccer.
I just I just really enjoy soccer.
Fact is, when when the Bruins are playing.
I go find a place to sit in the stands were nobody is there generally nobody wants to submit with me anyway but I go and I sit there because I get so engaged in the game and that last week we were playing Pensacola II thought you know if Coach McCormick does not chew out our guys at the end the first half, to walk across the field and start throwing bodies because we didn't play very good but really good second half. We want thankfully by getting engaged so you know I just like it is natural for me but between my freshman and sophomore year of college I broke my left ankle playing indoor soccer in a match of the College of Charleston and I had to have two surgeries on my ankle ligaments torn bad break pins put in my leg and it completely knocked me out of my soccer season.
So what I look to for significance and achievements was like gong cycling happen is that I've been dating a girl for three years my senior high school freshman year college and then into my sophomore year I really thought we were going to get married, but she broke up with me. Looking back on it I kinda laugh about it now, but it was so bad I did not eat for one week. That's really bad. So not only did I lose something that meant significance to me but I experience real rejection in both of these things that were important to me at that moment in my life were taken away and in the process of that pain and in the process of pursuing God, I begin to realize that both of those things to become idols wasn't that they were wrong in themselves, but they were the things that I was looking to for significance and purpose, and acceptance and satisfaction, and suddenly those things were gone. I mean literally vanished away in a moment of time, and I remember clearly asking God to forgive me for my sin of making those things more important than him. I began to pursue the Lord in reading Scripture and meditating on Scripture and in actually spending time with Christians that were influencing me when I began to read the Bible.
I didn't read the Bible because I was disciplined. I read the Bible because I was desperate by the way, that's the best that's the best way to read the Bible.
You're desperate, you need God. Some of you don't read your Bible because you're not very desperate yet or you're still worshiping the idols. But when you get rid of the idols in your heart and you get rid of the things are filling your life to bring you satisfaction, insecurity and significance, and you take those things and rip them out of your life suddenly there's a open gaping hole in your heart you come to fill that with the Lord. That's what it means to set your affection on things above, is to replace the old with the new Thomas Chalmers was a well-known Scottish theologian of the 19th century, he wrote a little piece entitled the explosive power of a new affection. The premise of this booklet is that the removal or the displacement of the love for something that is bad cannot be easily accomplished by simply exposing the bad object is empty and worthless and effective change can only come when you set forth another object in this case Christ who is more worthy of one's heart affection and attachment and he says these words that the heart shall be prevailed upon not to resign. An old affection which shall have nothing to succeed it, but a new affection and exchange of an old affection for new one to set your affections on things above is a transfer of what you're trusting in or what you're looking to that something or that some person and not necessarily they're all bad, but but if they are more important to you than God there and I know and you take those idols that are in your life and you transferred that trust through repentance and then you look to Christ, set your affections on things above what you find you find a sweet presence in your life you find his sweet power in your life. Jonathan Edwards was considered the greatest theological minded American history. He was a leader of the first great awakening in the United States and by the way, we are the great-great-grandchildren of that great awakening here Bob Jones University and in the process of this revival that they experience there was a conflict among the theologians over the passions and the affections of the believers in and spend a Edwards came from the group that believed that there should be both mind and affection.
There should be the mind engaged in the Lord, but there should be passion in the life and out of this conflict. He wrote, was considered a masterpiece in the history of Christian literature is called a treatise of religious affections and here's his main point. He says true religion consistent a great measure in vigorous and lively, acting's of the inclination and will of the soul or the fervent exercises of the heart and the essence of what Edwards is writing about is the same basic truth that Paul is saying in Colossians chapter 3, he is saying.
True spirituality is a passionate pursuit of the heavenly realities in your heart and mind is an exchanging of old affections for new ones. So as we finish this morning. Let me give you a very simple spiritual exercise.
Something you can actually do when negative emotions begin to rise in your heart to come up and they're going to come up. This is an opportunity. This is a call to transfer your focus to Christ. For example, take things like anger and fear and disappointment and frustration and irritations in worry and jealousy and pity and let those negative emotions be up call alarm clock so that you turn into you turn that into prayer by casting those negative alts and feelings on the Lord by confessing your sin. Thank God I'm trusting in something that I'm looking to bring satisfaction and that's why these emotions are coming and confess the sin of idolatry and then begin to search the Scriptures and find promises in the Bible that can become mental and emotional hiding places of refuge for spiritual refugees in a world filled with false idols that make false promises that only God can give you look to those promises for your comfort for your help for your strength.
Only then, only then will you find in Christ real satisfaction and security, and significance when you exchange the old affection for a new father, we thank you that you have given to us your beautiful son, who in him we can be satisfied and secure and find our complete significance.
Forgive us Lord of our idols that we worship. Lord I pray especially for our student body that they will rid themselves of faults idols and that they will from your heart from their heart, cry out in desperation for your presence in your power, we thank you that all of this is found in Jesus may be glorified in our lives. We thank you for this in his name.
You been listening to a sermon from the study series in the book of Colossians by Dr. Steve Pettit, president of Bob Jones University.
Thanks for listening and join us again tomorrow as we continue the study in Colossians here on The Daily Platform