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Theme: A Closer walk with God/ Christian living Oct.

23, 2016

Text: Colossians 3:1-17

Devotion: Colossians 3:1-2

Title: The Christ-centered life

Introduction:
Good morning to every one of you. Before we begin, let us have a word of prayer…
On the topic of having a closer walk with God, the first thing that we always must
consider is the prominence of Jesus Christ in everything that is concerned. It begins with the
new life given to us by Jesus Christ. The starting point is always with what Jesus Christ has done,
and continues on to what we receive, and follows through with what we must do. Most people
will say that the bible is a good source of spiritual teachings and doctrines. But, as we find out,
beliefs should always be translated into actual living. Many say they believe in God, but not
many are really believers. Many say they have faith in God, but not many are Christians. It is
never enough to sit on beliefs. If we really believe in Jesus Christ as the true son of God, that
only He is our Lord and savior, then there must be a difference with the life we had before we
knew God and the new life we have now that we are reconciled with Him. A closer walk with
God is only possible by living in accordance to the will of God. The way to do that is to live with
Christ as the center of it all. That is why the title of our message for today is The Christ-
centered life.

Exegetical Idea: Real faith and surrender to Jesus Christ will result in a new life. A new life
which is centered on Jesus Christ.

Proposition: Brothers and sisters in the Lord, let me propose to you that if we truly understand
and experienced the gospel which saved us and appreciate the sacrifice Jesus made for us, it
rightly follows that we are to live a new life which is centered only on Jesus Christ.

Interrogative: If Jesus Christ is truly the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, supreme in all creation,
the church, and in our lives, if you have been reconciled by Him, and been given new life by
Him, how then are we to live in a way that displays and manifests this truth? The truth that
Jesus really is the center of our lives?

I. A new life in Christ – v.1-4


v.1-4 Paul has always connected the things that we must do to the fact of who we are.
Paul knows and reminds the believers of the reality of being found in Jesus Christ: a person is
transformed into the new life: 1Cor.5:17 it follows then that a person who has been
transformed from old to new is different. It means...

A. A new position implies change


v.1 The old has gone and the new has come. No one who comes and surrenders
their life to Christ remains the same. We are not talking about physical features, but of
character and attitude. The scriptures tell us of a marvelous truth: those who are in
Christ are in Him fully, and experience all the benefits of the life of Christ. Christ died for
us so that our old nature would die with Him, and He also lived again so that we may
receive the rewards of the new life, He did this all because of His great love for us.
Col.2:11-15 our former life and passions have died with Christ because of our union with
Him, and now everything is new. We have gained new insight into our life and what we
do. We understand what we beheld as mysterious before, and now we see things as
what they truly are. We finally see sin as what it is: deceptive and destructive in our
lives. We see what God wants for us and has planned for us: that it is good and
beneficial. Our position in Christ is not something we tack onto our name or resume. It
changed us and affects every part of our life, in how we think and how we act. More
than that…

B. What we consider valuable is now different


v.2 If our new life is now in Christ, our sense of value is now also changed. Our
perception of things are now different. What is implied when Paul says that we should
set our minds on things above? Because the reality is that when we got to know Christ,
we gained something of great value that nothing else could match on this earth. Jesus
Christ and our relationship with Him is the most important thing in the life of the
Christian. It exceeds everything else once our eyes became opened. In the light of the
gospel of Christ, the earth loses its glimmer and attraction. We see it for what it is.
Temporary and fading. What happens now is our focus is changed, we see not only Jesus
Christ, but also the promises of God through Him. In Jesus we have eternal life, in Him
we have joy, and in Him we have perfect peace. An abundant life is made a reality
because of Jesus Christ. We see how Paul himself understood and lived this reality: He
was a Pharisee of great renown, Jewish by birth from the tribe of Benjamin, a roman
citizen of high caliber, graduated from the highly esteemed teacher Gamaliel, he had a
resume that would put any mans’ to shame, but he said: Phil.3:7-10 seeking the things
above gives us the right perspective and reminds us of the truth of the values in the
things we see. Everything is rubbish compared to Jesus Christ.

C. We are secured in Jesus Christ


v.3-4 We have died to the world and we have died to the sin that is in us. No
longer are we tied down to these things. A dead man feels no hunger, no desire, no
pain, and no sorrow. A dead man has no feelings. As people who died to the earthly
things, those very things now have no hold of us, no power over us, and no control over
us anymore. Even if we are still living on earth, our life is hidden in Christ. Being hidden
gives the idea of being well protected and guarded. Not by human security or physical
barriers, but our very life and being is hidden with Christ Jesus. We are sure that our life
is secure in Jesus Christ. A true Christian is always assured of His position and protection
in Jesus Christ. Nothing can sway him and dissuade him from this truth. There is nothing
on this earth that can be thrown at the Christian to scare Him or move him from His
position. Not even the ultimate threat of death can move Him: 1Cor.15:55-57 in the
Christian life there is no fear, no guilt and shame. Those who are in Christ walk through
this earth secured because of the life given to them, and to the inheritance waiting for
them.

Application:
To be in Christ is to be a new creation, to have new life in Him. A new life in Christ
implies new things: a new character, a new mindset, new attitudes, new goals, and even a new
hope. Being a new creation puts everything into a right perspective. A Christ centered life
always has in its mind the eternal and not just the temporary. Living this life is bringing truth to
the saying I learned from the gate of my former college: “only one life, twill soon be past, only
what’s done for Christ will last.”

II. Put an end to the flesh – v.5-11


Paul then takes the next step in the light of our new life. Since Jesus Christ is our life, our
hope and our everything, it follows that we are now not living for ourselves, not living for the
flesh, not living for sin or anything else, but we should live for God alone. It involves a two-step
process, and the first step is putting an end to the things of our former/old nature.

A. Eliminate the sin that has enslaved us


v.5a The ESV translation uses very strong and serious language: “put to death”
we are not to hide this sin superficially or suppress this sin temporarily, but to remove it
completely from our very lives. Sin is the very thing that blinded us from the reality of
punishment, sin has enslaved us to the point of ruining our lives, our bodies, our
relationships, and our future. It is not hard to hate something evil and crippling in our
lives. But more than just disliking or hating sin is the truth that we must also remove the
sin in our lives. It implies action on our part: now that we have died with Christ it is now
possible to live in a manner that is pleasing to God. But as long as we are in the world, as
long as we are still living here on earth, the temptation is always constant and present.
No matter when or where sin still knocks on our doorstep, and our part is to refuse its
admission into our lives. It means making a conscious choice every time the opportunity
is presented. Praying against temptation also means running away from that
temptation, every single time. We need to starve the appetite of the flesh until it
becomes inactive. While a Christian cannot live a sinless life: Rom.7:19-20 a Christian
also has no excuse to continue living in sin: Rom.6:1-2

B. No sin should be exempted


Paul again lists the very things to be put to death, like he has listed down in his
other letters. He first mentions sins of the sensual sense, which pertains to things that
gratify the senses and indulges the appetite. v.5 The yearning of our flesh for all kinds of
physical and sexual gratification of pleasure is included here.
1)sexual immorality – pertains to all kinds of illicit sexual acts outside the marriage of a
man and woman includes adultery, homosexuality, bestiality
2)impurity – pertains to uncleanliness both morally and spiritually
3)passion – pertains to lust and selfish desires only for self
4)evil desire – pertains to the evil desires of the flesh and mind (hurt, deceive, murder)
5)covetousness which is equal to idolatry – pertains to greed of wanting to have what
others have and leads to idolatry because of a strong desire for things that we think are
more important than God
Now that we are in Christ, we can easily see how these things have taken hold of our
lives, bringing with them all the negative effects of sin. We suffer because of such
things! Aside from these Paul also lists down social sins that we commit against other
people:v.8-9
1)anger – sinful anger that seeks to hurt others physically or emotionally
2)wrath – extreme hatred that is unforgiving and destructive
3)malice – ill-will and the desire to see others hurt and fail
4)slander – speech often false that is damaging to another person’s reputation
5)obscene talk – speaking foul words and cursing, as well as filthiness and crude talk
6)lying – speaking deceiving words, deliberately speaking of falsehoods
Paul lists down these key things that we should put to death. But notice however, that
Paul speaks of no category, nor does he rank these sins from bad to worst. It tells us the
plain truth of the bible: no sin is lesser than another and no sin is greater. God sees and
treats all sin the same way. Even though their earthly consequences might differ, the
spiritual consequence remains the same. We have no business condemning one sin and
protecting another. All of these should be put away in the light of our relationship to
Christ.

C. Judgment comes to those who continue in sin


v.6 God’s judgment is coming for those who do not heed and follow his word,
and for those who do not surrender to Christ. God’s judgment will be swift and sure to
those whom He will find still continuing in all kinds of sin. A true Christian will put these
former things away from his life, and strive to do what is the will of God in all things. A
true Christian is no longer condemned because he is now in Jesus Christ.Rom.8:1
however, a person who only says he is a Christian, but is no different from old life of the
flesh is not a real Christian. A person who says he is a Christian but is still controlled by
his old desires is not a real Christian. A real Christian is one who has been set free by
Christ, and no longer subjects himself to slavery. Gal.5:1 (so if now if anyone asks “what
if there is a Christian who continues and openly commits all kinds of sin? Is he/she a
Christian? The answer should already be made clear by now: a man who continues and
openly commits such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 1Cor.6:9-10 Such a
person is not a Christian because of his actions. We already know the truth of 2Cor.5:17

Application:
If we will not rightly put sin to death, we put ourselves in danger because it might be sin
instead that would be slowly killing us. Sin is like a poison in the life of the Christian. It weakens
his faith, it wears us out so that our spiritual desires are diminished, and it invalidates our
testimony. Well I say that NO MORE! Sin has no place in the life of the believer. And even
though we are not perfect, and we will still sin, we have great comfort in the fact that Jesus
Christ is ready to forgive those who are truly repentant of their sin.

III. Put on the virtues of Jesus Christ – v.12-17


The next step of the process is just as important if not greater than the first. We do not
stop at removing the sin in our lives, but we must also put on the virtues that Jesus Christ
himself personified while He was still here on earth. Paul’s concern for the believers is that their
lifestyle should be Holy, like Jesus, which results in consistency in their new identity.

A. Our identity is merged to Christ


v.12a Paul reminds us of who we are in Christ: we are God’s chosen ones, holy
and beloved. Remember that is not our identity in and of ourselves. That change only
came because we are now in Jesus Christ. God has chosen you, God has loved you, God
wants you to be Holy, because of what Jesus has done for you. Being a Christian and
being in Christ is one and the same. As believers, as a new creation of Jesus Christ, our
identity is now in Christ Jesus. I didn’t want to use the word connected, because some
people who connect to Christ like to think that they can also easily disconnect when it
suits their needs. I like the idea that our identity now is that we are in Jesus Christ. It is
not me and Christ, but rather me who is now in Christ. Always, every day, and forever.
(naalala ko nung bata ako mahilig ako magpabili at maglaro ng clay-doh, minsan
branded, minsan generic. At ibat ibang kulay. Ang hilig hilig ko gumawa ng kung ano
ano. Madalas, kapag naubusan na ako ng ginagawa, ang gagawin ko paghahaluin ko
yung ibat ibang kulay. Ang masakit, rambol rambol lang ako maghalo, minsan lahat ng
kulay pagiisahin ko, sayang, kasi yung matitingkad na kulay dati nag mukhang kulay lupa
nalang at dumi ngayon. Isa pa, yung pinagrambol mong kulay ay di mo na pwede
paghiwalayin.) That is the point I want to get across: being in Christ is not just
subtracting or adding a few things in our lives as we please, but it is God taking hold of
my life, and molding me into Christlikeness.

B. Imitate the attitude and character of Jesus


Paul continues in what we must put on: while we put to death all kinds of earthly
things related to our old nature, we must now take on and do the things that are related
to our new nature. v.12-14
1)compassionate hearts – to feel mercy and sympathy
2)kindness – goodness and tenderness. Readiness to help with sympathy/consideration
3)humility – lowliness self. Thinking of oneself as one ought to think. Acknowledgment
that everything is under the absolute authority and power of God
4)meekness – refers to gentleness and kindness. It is having the right or power to do
something but refraining for the benefit of another
5)patience – is not a passive wait but an active one. Ready to endure all things.
Perseverance, and the attitude of not taking vengeance
6)forgiving – our model of forgiveness is God Himself. We do not let anything come
between the bond of Christ in our fellowship. There should be no spite or grudge against
one another.
7)love – which serves as the binding agent for everything else. Practicing such virtues
without love for God and love for others is useless and become distorted. 1Cor13
We can see that most of these things stand in contrast to the sins that we must
be putting to death in our lives. As we go about our lives we learn what it means to be
Christlike, but we must then put these principles into practice. These things are good to
hear, nice to look at, but must also be done and obeyed in our lives. In this we are
blessed, because in this endeavor we are not alone, but the spirit of God is in us, helping
to grow and mature into being like Christ. Obedience is key.

C. Focusing on Jesus Christ alone


v.15 Paul also mentions the importance of having direction in this new life and
new identity that we have. Instead of focusing on the world and its pleasures, we are to
focus our eyes on Jesus Christ alone. Peace with God translates to peace in the body of
Christ. Christians should be united in one body and in one spirit. Like Peter walking on
water, the moment we take our eyes off of Jesus is the moment we start to sink. Our
unity in the church is maintained not of status, not of education, not of interests or
hobbies. We are united because of Jesus Christ. How else do we focus on Christ? Though
His word:v.16 our fellowship consists not of physical matters alone, we teach and
admonish one another with Jesus’ words, and we sing and praise and thank God in our
assembly. Lastly,v.17 as the ultimate imperative to us all: whatever we do, be it inside
and outside the church, be it our words, our actions, we must keep in mind that we are
doing this in the name of Jesus Christ. Keep in mind your new identity, which is in Jesus
Christ. While never forgetting to give thanks to God.

Application:
It is not enough to say NO to sin. We must also be ready to say yes to what Jesus wants
us to do. I think it is time for Christians to stop giving Christ a bad name. We already have the
guidelines, and all that is left now is to follow them. The question remains, if you are truly a
Christian, if you truly are a new creation, if you truly have your identity in Jesus Christ, are you
willing to let Him always be the center of your life?

Conclusion:
For my conclusion, to be Christ-centered is to accept the whole package. We cannot be
in Christ in part, for Jesus Christ did not save us in part. It is all or nothing. If we are truly saved,
then we will live in accordance to the salvation that God has freely given us. Heb.12:1-2 what
are the things you need to put off? What are the things that you desperately still cling on to?
Lay aside all kinds of sin and put them to death. What are the things you still haven’t put on
since the day you were born again? If you have been saved by God’s grace then it is the time to
act like it. In this life, our only hope is Jesus Christ. Focus your eyes on Him and yield your whole
life before Him, it is only He who can save us, and only He who can save us. Start living your life
today with Christ at the center. To God be the Glory.