Sermon Notes: Maturity: Colossians 3:1-4

Raised with Christ, so what now?

Remember, we are studying through Colossians to study Paul’s explicitly stated gospel purpose of presenting everyone mature in Christ. 

Colossians 1:28-29 (CSB) 28 We proclaim him, warning and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone mature in Christ. 29 I labor for this, striving with his strength that works powerfully in me.

We are striving to present TRC mature in Christ. Part of how we do that is by studying this gospel purpose of maturity this year in everything we are teaching. 

It will be important for us to not forget the goal of maturity as we move through the coming years together because it will take a lifetime of pursuit to get there individually, and it will take generations to build a legacy of maturity in our families and church.  

If we forget, we might slip backward. So, let’s not forget to keep striving toward presenting everyone mature in Christ. 

We will hit only what we aim for. 

We want to aim for maturity in our life together. 

Maturity in our knowledge of God in the UP relationship. 

Maturity in our IN relationships together as we pursue the glory of God in discipling the nations together. 

Maturity in our OUT relationship with our city and the countries we work in as we strive to see people and systems redeemed.

So, let’s turn our attention to some more of the Bible’s nitty-gritty ways of helping us get to maturity. 

Paul has been giving the Colossians some instructions on what not to do in the previous chapter. 

Now, he’s going to shift to some proactive tactics in order to move toward maturity. 

What he’s going to do, however, is bury these nitty-gritty tactics in some theological glories that are worth exploring. 

NOTE: The bible never just gives things to do without their basis being rooted in theological glory. The tendency may be to shift the pendulum to theological reflection or to actions. 

To this tendency we say: Proverbs 19:2 (CSB) 2 Even zeal is not good without knowledge,

and the one who acts hastily sins.

We want to know and act. Not merely know or merely act. 

It’s like God buried glorious applications inside of glorious theology so that as we mine Scripture, we find glories wrapped glories, and learn that our greatest applications are found through mining out theological truth from the Bible. 

What are these glorious theological truths and glorious tactical actions that will help us get to maturity?

READ: Colossians 3:1-4

Theological Truths That Drive The Nitty-Gritty Tactics. 

  1. At repentance and faith, we are raised with Christ. We used to be dead to God because of sin. 3:1
    1. Ephesians 2:1-10 (CSB) 1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins 2 in which you previously walked according to the ways of this world, according to the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit now working in the disobedient. 3 We too all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts, and we were by nature children under wrath as the others were also. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of his great love that he had for us, 5 made us alive with Christ even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace! 6 He also raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavens in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might display the immeasurable riches of his grace through his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift—9 not from works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time for us to do.
  2. In order to become alive to God, we had to die to who we used to be through salvation, and new life is hidden with Jesus in his relationship with Father and Spirit (This is why we are given the tactical commands in verses 1 and 2). 3:3
    1. In our new life (baptized by the Spirit at salvation), we have actually died to the old life, and the fullness of our new life of maturity is contained in the pursuit of the Triune God, and we have to continue to make sure the old life stays dead.
      1. 1 Corinthians 12:13 (CSB) 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and we were all given one Spirit to drink.
      2. Romans 6:1-5 (CSB) 1 What should we say then? Should we continue in sin so that grace may multiply? 2 Absolutely not! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Or are you unaware that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we were buried with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too may walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united with him in the likeness of his death, we will certainly also be in the likeness of his resurrection.
  3. When Jesus returns, for those who are his, we will be with him as he physically raises us fully transformed and we will enter his full reign triumphantly with him (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18), and those who are still alive will be changed as they are caught up in the final transformation of all things (see Revelation 21). 3:4
    1. Romans 6:5 (CSB) 5 For if we have been united with him in the likeness of his death, we will certainly also be in the likeness of his resurrection.
    2. 1 John 3:1-3 (CSB) 1 See what great love the Father has given us that we should be called God’s children—and we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it didn’t know him. 2 Dear friends, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet been revealed. We know that when he appears, we will be like him because we will see him as he is. 3 And everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself just as he is pure.
  4. Summary: Raised; Died with Jesus in our raising with Jesus; Going to be fully transformed into maturity. 

Nitty-Gritty Tactical Application Helping Us Get To Maturity.

Because we are now alive to God and dead to our old dead lives, we can access this life of maturity, and it is hidden with Christ in God. 

NOTE: Nothing Paul says here should be understood as instruction on withdrawing from society in any manner. It should be seen as bringing the kingdom of God to bear in every domain of society in HOW we engage our world. 

  1. Seek the things above. (present active imperative) 3:1
    1. “Seek” is the command, and “things above” is the adverb (modifies the verb). 
      1. So, because our life is hidden in Christ, we are to seek all of him and his “things” in his seated rule as God and King. 
    2. “Things above”…have to do with Christ’s sovereign reign over the universe as he fills the universe with his power (this is a current reality and it is progressively being realized). They include his character, his presence, his heavenly joys. We are not to be seeking heavenly geography, but the One who dwells there. – R. Kent Hughes, Colossians and Philemon: The Supremacy of Christ, Preaching the Word (Westchester, IL: Crossway Books, 1989), 90.
      1. This is also not merely a “spiritual” seeking in merely meditating on these glorious theological truths. 
      2. This is a seeking Jesus and his kingdom reign on earth as it is in heaven. 
        1. Matthew 6:33 (CSB) 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.
        2. Matthew 6:10 (CSB) 10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
          1. By seeking Jesus’ reign over all things, we are seeking to implement the outworkings of his rule in our lives and the lives of our family and church and city and state and nation and world. 
    3. What does seeking Jesus’ reign look like?
      1. Isaiah 65:17-66:24
        1. Looking for and longing for the new creation.
        2. Gladness and rejoicing.
        3. Longing for the day there will be no weeping or crying over the curse of sin. 
        4. Protecting the infant. 
        5. Protecting the old. 
        6. Seeking economic benefit for all. 
        7. Seeking life for all. 
        8. Anticipating God actually answering before we even ask. 
        9. Seeking peace in the created order. 
        10. Expecting God’s favor on the humble and submissive. 
        11. Seeking and righteous judgment of sin. 
        12. Longing for peace to flow like a river and being that peaceful toward yourself and others. 
        13. Receiving God’s comfort. 
        14. Striving for the nations to come see the glory of Jesus. 
        15. Believing that those who will not come to Jesus will be banished to eternal punishment and working to make sure they know there is salvation available. 
  2. Set your minds on things above. (present active imperative) 3:2
    1. “Set your minds on” is one word, and is literally translated as “be of the opinion of”. 
      1. The idea is that the Christian should have a deep concentration on Jesus and his reign. 
    2. What are we to “be of the opinion of” and have a concentration on? 
      1. Things above!
        1. The idea is that the Christian is to have their thinking shaped by the truth of Jesus Christ and his reign. 
          1. One practical tool to help you with this:
            1. Know the difference between Sola Scriptura and Solo Scriptura. 
              1. Sola Scriptura: The Bible correctly interpreted alone is the supreme, sufficient and clear authority over the church for salvation and knowing God. 
              2. Solo Scriptura: The Bible alone rules over all knowledge and practice. 
                1. Negative Illustration: Mark 16:17-18 means we are to test our faith by handling poisonous snakes, and if they bite us, we are not to seek medical attention because God will heal us by faith. 
                2. Negative Illustration: We don’t use psychology because it’s not in the Bible. 
            2. How do we practice setting our minds on kingdom things? 
              1. Matthew 6:33 (CSB) 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.
              2. Start with reading and knowing your Bible. 
              3. Work out content in covenant fellowship.
              4. Consult with your leadership on meaning and practice. 
              5. Consult some historical theology on how the church has interpreted and practiced all aspects of biblical content since Jesus and the completion of the New Testament canon. 
                1. Use a good systematic theology: Frame or Grudem to start. 
        2. Another way to say it would we have a one-track mind that is set on Jesus and his kingdom and the Bible rightly interpreted as our rule of faith and practice. 
          1. Why? 
          2. The mind that is set on Jesus will seek Jesus and his reign. 
    3. The Chrisitan whose mind is set on Jesus and actively seeking his reign will be a maturing Christian. 

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