Heart & Minds

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”(Colossians 3:1–4 NIV11-GKE)

We have come to the middle point of this letter, Colossians chapter 3.

We have seen so far that Paul did not plant this Church, but he writes to them as a Father, Apostle and someone who has a great concern for the life of this congregation.

Paul is thankful to Epaphras, who is a faithful servant and the one responsible for the planting, and growth of this church. 

The Colossians was a growing church, they loved the Gospel and they loved one another. Paul tells them that he is aware of their love of the Holy Spirit.

In chapter one Paul prays for them and he prays that they may experience the awesome power, the mighty strength of the Spirit to endure hardships, suffering and patience. It is in this context that he also prays for a special revelation, wisdom, and knowledge of the Lord.

It seems that this prayer from chapter one, is being opened in front of us here in chapter three, as Paul begins this section of the letter encouraging the young church to live Christlike lives by fixing their hearts and minds on Jesus.

So, in chapter one and two Paul not only confronts the lies and heresies of the enemy but also gives us a real picture of Christ’s Sovereignty, Christ’s power of over creation, and Christ King and Head of the Church. The Christ who is sufficient and more than enough to sustain us, to save us and to change us. We are invited to know that which is no longer hidden, we are invited to live our lives with the knowledge of the Gospel. Paul tells us plainly that we don’t lack anything, that we are complete in Christ since we are found in Christ fullness.

“For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ, you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority.”(Colossians 2:9–10 NIV11-GKE)

We are found in the fullness of God and we got there not because of some mystical experience, nor by following man-made doctrines, nor by denying ourselves by following some rituals but by pure grace!

This grace is manifested in the Gospel, the mystery now revealed. It is in the Gospel that as Paul puts it: “we are dead and buried with Christ, so now the life we live is found in Christ. We are baptised into Christ so that we live in him, eternally”.

In chapter 2 we are told that:

 “Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”?” (Colossians 2:20–21 NIV11-GKE)

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”(Colossians 3:1–4 NIV11-GKE)

It is the same formula that Paul uses in Chap. 2:20 and in Chap. 3:1

  • Since you died with Christ.

Now

  • Since you have been raised with Christ.

Since you died with Christ why do you submit to the elemental spiritual forces of this world: Do not handle – Do not taste and Do not touch!

Remember the three warnings of Paul, regarding the accusations of the enemy:

  1. Do not be judged by anyone by those who teach empty philosophies
  2. Do not be disqualified by those who teach false doctrines
  3. Do not submit to the elemental spirit of this world.

Now Paul moves from warnings to something that we, all followers of Christ should do daily.

In these verses and the verses that we will look at next week, there are four important musts that every one of us should do, we will look at two of them today.

First. Seth your hearts on things above.

Second. Set your minds on the things above.

I did say that Paul’s prayer in chapter one: 

“For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience,” (Colossians 1:9–11 NIV11-GKE)

This prayer is now being answered in how we should live, a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way, bearing fruit in every good work.

So, setting our hearts on things above and setting our minds on things above is a practical expression of this prayer.

So, what I am saying is this: If you pray this prayer the answer to the prayer is that we set our hearts and minds on things above! Because by doing that we will receive spiritual wisdom, understanding and knowledge that the Holy Spirit gives. 

I am saying that we are God’s answer to a prayer that asks for Spiritual wisdom, understanding and knowledge. You can pray all you want this prayer but if you do not yield your heart and mind to Christ, then I doubt that God will answer, however, he is sovereign and he does as he pleases!

What does Paul mean by setting our hearts and minds on things above?

He says 3 things: 

  1. a heavenly one and 
  2. the other an earthly one, 
  3. but then he moves deeper into a powerful revelation.

It is like top elite sport, you know when commentators speak of a team or a player having different gears! Paul does the same!

First. The Heavens

Paul says Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.

This is a description of heaven! 

This is a description of Jesus Christ, the Risen Lord in the Heavens. 

If we set our hearts on things above we will encounter Christ, but not just Jesus, he is the exalted King Jesus, Lord of Lords, he is the Head of the Church and He sits at the right hand of God. That is a place of total authority and dominion. He is the executor of judgment and the giver of life.

This picture is not just an NT one it is a picture that was sung in the Psalms!

“The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.” The LORD will extend your mighty sceptre from Zion, saying, “Rule in the midst of your enemies!” Your troops will be willing on your day of battle. Arrayed in holy splendour, your young men will come to you like dew from the morning’s womb.  The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind: “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.” The Lord is at your right hand; he will crush kings on the day of his wrath.” (Psalm 110:1–5 NIV11-GKE)

And to which of the angels has he ever said,  Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet”?  Heb. 1:13

“We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven,” (Hebrews 8:1 NIV11-GKE)

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him, he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1–2 NIV11-GKE)

“…It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.” (1 Peter 3:21–22 NIV11-GKE)

Second: Set your mind on things above not on earthly things.

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ inGod.

Why is Paul saying that there is nothing of value when we set our minds on earthly things?

Because we are hidden with Christ in God! This is a powerful picture!!

I have done that as a Father! I have done that as a son! I have stood behind my dad and my kids have stood behind me as if they are hidden. When I stay hidden behind my father it is my father who defends me, who protects me and who saves me. I am hidden in Him because I belong to him! It is the same with Christ.

In other words Christ overshadows me!

If I set my mind on Christ then I know I am his, that I belong to him, because his mind is also my mind.

This is very powerful!

Third. Deeper Revelation

When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”

There is a deeper truth that we need to hear and we need to be changed by it!

There is no other way to experience the Glory of the Lord 

This is all about worship!

Just as last week, it is setting our hearts and minds on things above so that we can worship Jesus. Our minds and our hearts are asked to move from an earthly point of view to a heavenly view!

We saw that Paul spoke against the passion of the flesh as he addressed the Sensual mind and heart! I said that the word sensuality means the involvement of all our senses!

Our senses are aroused when our hearts and minds are engaged in what pleases us!

Sins brings short tern earthly pleasure! If you are not sure about this, then read Genesis 3! 

I want you to see this! When we have a vision of Jesus on his throne, we will be hidden in total worship to him. We will not stop signing and when we worship, we are transformed! 

The best antidote against sinning is worship, because it is our worship to him that we see him as he truly is – We are captivated by powerful heavenly vision!!

So, what is your vision of heaven? Do you have one? 

I know that heaven is our destiny and heaven will be the place where we will encounter Jesus, yet Jesus said that this heaven is at hand, every time we pray “Our father you art in heaven” we are invoking the one who has brought Heaven to Earth with Jesus.

How much of heaven do you want here, changing and transforming our lives? Jesus came to establish his Kingdom and he is like no other, it is a heavenly kingdom where he sits at the right hand of God.

 “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:1–2 NIV11-GKE)

The transformation of our minds and hearts takes place when we worship, it is something that we must do, it is the only activity that is so required of us. It is there when we get a picture of who He is and that is more than enough to change us into his likeness.

It is well known that Churches that worship little growth little!

However, when worship is at the heart of our Church life, we grow. When we worship we see him, as he is! 

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