Colossians Chapter 3

March 21, 2013

This Preaching in Shorts Bible study is on Colossians. Each chapter is read verse by verse with the major points highlighted and discussed.

You can listen to the study by clicking here

I speak to you often about the importance of spending time reading the Bible. I would encourage you again today to make it a priority in your daily life. But knowing the Bible is not the key, applying what God teaches us in His word in our daily lives is what we are supposed to be doing.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at Colossians chapter 3 and see what this life in Him is supposed to look like.

Colossians 3:1-25 (NIV)
1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. 5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. 12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. 18 Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them. 20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged. 22 Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. 25 Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for his wrong, and there is no favoritism.

Christianity is about now and forever life in Christ. It is about life. All living things grow. Growth is a natural and gradual process. Change is happening all the time. And yet, on a day to day basis it is often imperceptible. The process of change, sanctification continues throughout our lives in this age, and is only completed in the age to come.

And yet, we often struggle in knowing what life in Him looks like. Is it about some big supernatural experience? Is it about looking spiritual on the outside by following rules and regulations? Actually, the life in Christ is not really like either of those extremes.

We often say that Jesus is our model for life and ministry. So what did His life look like? In a lot of ways it was quite ordinary.

He laughed. He enjoyed companionship. He ate and drank like other men. In many ways He was so much a man that His own people did not recognize Him. His claim to be the Messiah was met with disbelief because He did not fit the image of the established religious community of what they thought a life of the Divine would look like. And yet, Jesus walked among us, fully God and fully man. He demonstrated holiness in the way that He loved and cared for people. The sinners were drawn to Him and wanted to change because of the way He loved them, not because He judged them.

Godliness in this life is characterized by trying to live like Jesus lives. And that is what Paul is pointing out here in Colossians 3. True holiness is expressed in the way that we live like Jesus did. Loving, serving, seeing, and thinking like He does.

Holy living is done in the context of our relationships in our ordinary lives in this world.

Colossians 3:1-4

Since we have been raised with Christ, we are to set our hearts on things above, on Jesus, for it is only in Him that we can experience now and forever life. We need to let go of the worldly, earthy, concepts of rules and regulations, and live as people of mercy and grace.

Colossians 3:5-11

We need to put away those thoughts and ideas that belong to our earthly nature. We need to live by trying to do the next right thing. Asking for forgiveness when we mess up and asking for help and strength to choose to do the right things instead of choosing to follow our old nature.

Colossians 3:12-17

Instead of following the old nature, we are to be yielding to the Holy Spirit in our lives and cultivating virtues like “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” In our relationships with others we are to “bear with [put up with] each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.” Love, which motivates all these expressions of our new life, is to characterize all our personal relationships.

Colossians 3:18-25

Different roles in life become irrelevant when holiness and spirituality are in view. In every relationship—as children, spouses, parents, etc., we have opportunities to live holy a life.

Let’s close with a quick discussion about submission. Submitting to another person is an often misunderstood concept. It does not mean becoming a doormat. In Philippians 2:10 we see that Christ, at whose name “every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth”, submitted his will to the Father, and we honor Christ by following his example.

Ephesians 5:21 says that we are to “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ”. Philippians 2:3-4 says that we are to maintain a humbleness that considers others as “better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others”. Whatever role we have been given provides an opportunity to serve others in the Lord.

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