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Oct 08, 2017

The Hide & Seek Life

The Hide & Seek Life

Passage: Colossians 3:1-4

Preacher: John Repsold

Series: Colossians

Keywords: in christ, life, looking, resurrection life, search, hidden life

Summary:

Humans are hard-wired to like to find what is missing or hidden. This passage calls us into a search for our new life that is hidden in Christ. What does it mean to really make Jesus our life? How can we do that with everyday life? And why will we never be content with anything less?

Detail:

A Hide-&-Seek Life

Colossians 3:1-4

October 8, 2017

INTRO:  How many games have you played in life that required you to find something hidden? 

  • Hide & Seek
  • Capture the Flag
  • Camp Counselor Hunts
  • Easter Egg hunts
  • Scavenger Hunts
  • Road/travel games—license plate game, A-Z game, etc.
  • Escape Rooms
  • Where’s Waldo?
  • Concentration

Have you ever thought much about WHY it is so fun to find things and people who are hidden?  There is just something in the human psyche that loves a challenge, especially to find something hidden.  Whether you’re looking for a hot stock tip that will be the next Amazon company and make you wealthy or you’re looking for a life partner that will…help you be sanctified/happy(?)… we’re wired to find treasure.  Some of you proved that this morning by what you felt when you found a free dollar bill hiding somewhere in the room today! (Don’t let that distract you the rest of the morning!)

Today’s text in Colossians 3 taps into that God-given desire to “find what is hidden” when it comes to our soul-life, the deepest part of our nature.  Just like finding out about a person is a process, even sometimes a “romantic” process, so finding out about God… getting to know Him…discovering new blessings of His person and character…can be a heart-mind-&-life changing journey.  So let’s see how that happens according to God.

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.

Verse 1 starts by asking us to think about the changes that have come and can come to our lives because “you have been raised with Christ.”  Let’s think for a moment about what being “raised with Christ” actually means.  Obviously, it’s something that has already happened to each of Christ’s followers.  So it can’t be the physical resurrection all of us are going to someday experience in the future, God’s children rising to eternal life and those who have rejected God in Christ rising to eternal separation from God

            Resurrection life, by its nature, has to be supernatural life. According to 1st Corinthians 15 and what we know of the resurrected body of Jesus, when we receive our resurrection bodies, it will require a complete and utter miracle of transformationevery human being re-created in immortal bodily form (I Cor. 15:22).  Those bodies will be immortal because they will never die.  They will, however, have many of the capabilities of these physical bodies with many more they don’t now have.

  • We will be “corporal”—touchable, in some way physically spatial and defined. Resurrection bodies will occupy distinct locations and space.
  • They will be recognizable. Even though we may never have met someone, we will know them immediately (Moses & Elijah on the Mt. of Transfiguration, (Mt. 17:3; Mk. 9:4; Luke 9:30).
  • They will be able to feel “physical” sensations that we experience now. BUT, whether it is heaven or whether it is hell will determine WHAT sensations you feel.  In hell, those resurrected bodies will feel pain, thirst, sorrow, anguish, regret, guilt, suffering, etc.  But in heaven, those bodies will eat and drink, hug and laugh, worship and sing, see and smell and much more.  (See Rev. 20:11-15; 21:1-8.) 
  • They will never die. Resurrected bodies will be eternal for death will have been defeated and done away with (1st 15:24-26).
  • In those “bodies”, we will feel sensations of joy, pleasure, happiness, purpose, fulfillment, blessing, awe, wonder, ecstasy, peace, etc.
  • We will be able to move between different dimensions of time and space not now known to us now, possibly instantaneously.
  • We will be able to worship God, praise God, glorify Him and reflect his amazing glory.
  • Our God-enlivened and created spirit will be THE defining part of our nature, not our present physical bodies, minds or “old soulish natures.”

We won’t be striving to experience those things.  They simply will BE because that is what we will BE. 

In a similar way, Paul is telling us that the life we NOW livein Christ” is a supernatural life as well. 

  • God has made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions” (Eph. 2:5). That is a supernatural, divine, miraculous act of God on our behalf.  HE made us alive, not our works or determination.  He did it WHEN we were “dead in transgressions.”  Last I checked, dead men don’t do anything but lie around and decompose.  Dead people don’t perform CPR on themselves.  They don’t apply heart defibrillators to themselves and get their hearts going again.  So just as miraculous as our ultimate resurrection will be, so has our spiritual birth been.    
  • This is the must-have spiritual experience of being “born again” that Jesus told Nicodemus about in John 3.
  • This is the “new creation” we have “in Christ” according to 2 Cor. 5:17.

So this is precisely WHY the rest of our existence in this life, on this earth, we need to go searching for “life” in a different place than we used to search for it before we were born again in Christ.  “For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.”  Life for the child of God is no longer in the places and experiences people without Jesus look for life. 

ILL:  One of the more frustrating things about moving to another country and culture is that things you are used to finding in a particular store in America may not be found in the same store in another country.  (Looking for paint in the “hardware store” when it was actually in the “household chemicals store.”)  You can look all you want for the item you have in mind, but if you're looking in the wrong store, you won’t find it.    

This is why life in Christ is not merely some “add-on” app that makes life work a little better.  Life “in Christ” actually changes everything about life, potentially every moment of every day. 

God’s children may look virtually identical much of the time, going about their daily lives “in Christ.”  They will shower and cook and eat and clean and drive and work and converse from all outward appearances virtually the same as their secular neighbors and friends.  But doing every single activity in life once you have come to new life “in Christ” means that a person is going to experience those things quite differently. 

            As human beings made in the image of God, we have a designed-in drive for life.  When our minds are functioning properly, we will go to incredible lengths to just stay alive.  We will fight through pain and suffering because of the hope of more life on the other side of that pain or suffering.

            But every day we are on a “hide-&-seek” adventure of looking for life.  Every one of us does what we do in the course of a day because we believe life is to be found in whatever activities, attitudes and thoughts we choose to engage in. 

ILL: Take two people who live in the same neighborhood, earn the same amount of money and work in the same business.  One is a Christ-follower and the other is a self-follower. 

  • When the alarm goes off for both at 6:30 a.m., the secular self-follower, Jim, will roll out of bed thinking about what the day may hold. He may be thinking about the breakfast he has planned, the commute he will have, the appointments at the office or work at the job site he has coming up.  All that may fill him with anticipation or dread.  But he will be looking to all those experiences, to a lesser or greater degree, to give him “LIFE” that day.  And depending on how each part of that day goes, he will experience some measure of the “life” he wants.
  • When the alarm goes off for his Christ-following neighbor, Joe, he, too, may think about what the day holds. He may think about the breakfast he has planned, the commute he will have, the appointments at the office or work at the job site he has coming up. 

BUT while his neighbor might be looking to all those things to give him life, Joe Christ-follower knows that his soul is no longer satisfied with just filling his day with stuff he decides to do. He knows that he can actually experience Jesus IN each of those activities…OR he can leave Jesus out of his thoughts and actions.  He can spend the whole day talking life over with God, seeking God’s wisdom, hearing God’s voice and direction and adjusting his life to God. OR he can live life just like his secular neighbor, not giving God a single thought. 

BUT the difference will be that Joe Christ-followers day will be more empty, more frustrating and less fulfilling than his secular neighbor, Jim’s day.  Jim has never experienced what it is like to have the Holy Spirit residing in him.  He’s never known complete forgiveness of sins, freedom from guilt and bitterness, the joy that comes with forgiving a slight or insult, helping those who have hurt you or being loved by God even when you are a mess…and loving others in the love of Christ when they are a mess. 

            This is WHY Paul tells us here that we must “set [our] hearts on things above, where Christ is…” (3:1).  This is WHY he says, “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”  Earthly things don’t hold “life” for us like they used to.  Oh sure, we still can have fun with our families and friends.  We can still enjoy what money or fame can bring.  We can still like good health over sickness. 

BUT, what we get out of them apart from what Jesus Christ now wants to do through them, will no longer satisfy us.  Because we will have at least begun to experience through our now-alive spirit that real life is actually found “in Christ.” 

  • Whether we are in good health or poor health, we will be looking to Jesus to fill our moments of pain or moments of pain-free life with His life, His purposes, His desires, His attitudes and actions.
  • If we are watching TV, what previously we may have loved to see and hear may or may not fill us with “life” because now Christ in us will either be speaking to us through good entertainment or convicting us of bad entertainment.
  • This is why idleness and slothfulness that perhaps used to feel good to us won’t feel that way anymore. Because God is a working God and Jesus is always at work blessing His creation, when His Spirit resides in our newly-awakened spirit “in Christ” we won’t find the “life” we used to revel in in idleness. 
  • OR thinking about the flip side, the person who used to work 80-100 hours a week, neglecting their marriage and children, not taking time for a Sabbath rest to be with God, to rest and to be renewed in relationship with their family or friends, this person will feel emptiness in overwork that they never used to feel. Their new spirit will be calling them into balance in Jesus, into family life in Jesus, into work that is a means to experiencing Jesus, not an end in itself.  

This is why Jesus IS literally “our life.” 

ILL:  If I were to say that my wife, Sandy, is “my life,” that would be accurate only to a certain degree

  • Living “in Christ” I know that Sandy, wonderful as she is, is not going to be able to fill my soul like God’s life does.
  • As renewing and beautiful as her love for me is, I know that God’s love is even more beautiful and amazing.
  • Sandy has days when she is sick and can’t give me life like she normally does. But God never has “sick days” or calls in sick. 
  • Sandy has days when she must leave me but the presence of Christ never leaves me.
  • Sandy may be separated from me by death but Christ never will be.
  • Sandy knows me very well…but not like Christ knows me.

In every way Jesus is superior to THE most wonderful human being in my life, my wife.  And the more I look to Jesus for “life that is truly life,” the more blessed my relationship with my wife will be as well as ever relationship I’ll ever have with anyone. 

            This is why this passage says, “…set your hearts on [lit., seek] things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. [Set…not in the Gk.] your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”

            So just HOW do we do that when we’re engaged every day, 24/7 in “earthly things”??? 

Here’s what I’d like you to do right now.

1.)  Divide your sermon notes page in half by putting a line down the middle.

2.)  On the left side put at least 6 of the most time-intensive, time-consuming daily activities you do.  EX:  eating/food prep & clean-up, sleeping, watching TV, working, reading, spending time with family/friends, surfing the internet, playing video games, studying, going to class, commuting,

3.)  Circle the ones that are optional, i.e. you could skip them and life would still be O.K. 

Now look at the must-do daily activities.  They are probably things like…

  • Sleep (6-8 hrs/day)
  • Work/school (8-10 hrs/day)
  • Eat (2-4 hrs/day)
  • Care for your house, kitchen, room, clothes, hygiene, etc. (1-2 hrs/day)
  • Commute (1-2 hrs/day)

So let’s take the big ones and ask, “How can I find the life that God has ‘hidden in Christ’ for me in each of these activities?” 

  • Sleep: What does “sleeping in Christ” look like vs. just sleeping?
  • Work/study: What does “working/studying in Christ” look like vs. just working like secular Jim?
  • Eating: What does “eating in Christ” look like vs. just eating like secular Jim? 
  • Commuting?

This passage calls us to “…set your hearts on [lit., seek] things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. [Set…not in the Gk.] your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”

Let’s ask the question,

  • What are the “things above…where Christ is” that we should be seeking?
  • What exists in the presence of God right now that we, new creatures in Christ, should be striving after?
  • What kinds of things are “in Christ/Godthat give us life IN any kind of experience in this life?”
  • Are they physical things like houses, businesses, degrees, wealth, possessions?
  • Are they social feathers in our cap like lots of friends who like us or popularity or a full social calendar or a girlfriend/boyfriend? Probably not.
  • Are they mental games or ideas or philosophies?

Very simply, WHAT/WHO is “above”?  God, who He is… and all He holds dear and valuable.

Those “things” are…

  • Personal/Christ-like character? (Fruit of the Spirit, character of Christ—generous, kind, compassionate, truthful, courageous, self-sacrificing, loving, etc.)

ILL: [A brother’s] response to getting laid off at his job and his work getting passed on to younger fellow employees = going to his replacements and offering to help them as much as possible in the transition; being grateful for the years he did have the job; working hard to finish up the work he can well in the remaining days of employment/ giving his best to the end. 

  • Spiritual ministry/impact on others? (Faithful service, seeking the kingdom, being laborers in the harvest field, etc.)
  • Christ living in/through me?
  • Submission to God? (Through submission to divinely placed human authorities like parents, government, sp. leaders, spouse, employer/boss/teachers.)
  • God’s priorities in life?
  • ???

[Other passages which talk about all we “have in Christ.” 

Romans 3:24— We “are justified by his grace …through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”
Romans 6:11– “…consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.”
Romans 6:23– “…the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:1–
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Romans 8:2– “For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.”
Romans 8:39—Nothing “will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 12:5– “ we, though many, are one body in Christ….”
I Corinthians 1:2– “…sanctified in Christ Jesus.”
I Corinthians 1:4– “…the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus….”
I Corinthians 15:22— “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.”
2 Corinthian 10:20-22For all the promises of God find their Yes in him….21 And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, 22 and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.”
2 Corinthians 2:14– “But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession….”

2 Corinthians 5:17— “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.”
2 Corinthians 5:19– “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.” 
Galatians 2:4— “…our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus….”
Galatians 3:14— “…so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.”
Galatians 3:26— “…for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.”

Galatians 3:28— “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Ephesians 1:3— “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,
Ephesians 2:5,6— “[God] made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus….”

Ephesians 2:10— “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works….”
Ephesian 2:13— “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”
Ephesian 4:32— “Forgiving…as God in Christ forgave you.”
Philippians 2:1— “So if there is any encouragement 
in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy….”
Philippians 2:5— “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus….”

Philippians 4:7— “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:19-- “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
I Timothy 1:14— “…the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.”
2 Timothy 1:1— “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God according to the promise of the life that is in Christ Jesus….”
2 Timothy 1:13— “...the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.”

2 Timothy 2:1— “You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus….”
2 Timothy 2:10— “I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.” 
I Peter 5:10— “…the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ….”

We haven’t even touched on the daily activities that most of us spend hours on that are “disposable time”—time we get to choose what to do with either on a daily or weekly basis.  Those activities or “time-wasters” must be submitted to the scrutiny of Christ.  God is not a kill-joy or workaholic.  He’s not opposed to a few minutes or even hours of rest or relaxation or even entertainment.  But all of those things should constantly be under the question, “Is this how God would have me to best seek the ‘things above’, the ‘kingdom of God and His righteousness’ (Mt. 6:33)? 

            God may have so much more life for us if we would just seek Him about it.  If heaven is truly where the best of life resides, where ‘life eternal’ is at its fullest, then God is not wanting to TAKE life from us by asking us to change things out or seek Christ in the activities of our day.  He is only wanting to give us the best of life NOW.  To “seek the things above, where Christ is seated” and to “set our minds on things above” where “Christ, who is our life” resides, is to settle for nothing but the BEST this life has.  God IS the best this life has to offer.  And He is offering himself to every one of us IN this life through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

APP: 

  • Has God spoken to you about something you can do differently in one of your daily routine requirements that will help you find more of Jesus Christ’s life in it?
  • Has God spoken to you about something good that may be actually distracting from ‘the best’ that God wants you to engage in?
  • If you haven’t chosen to “make Christ your life” by simple faith in His death, burial and resurrection for you, what are you waiting for? Why settle for inferior life apart from God when He is offering you Himself and the best life can possibly bring no matter what life brings?  [Call to trust Christ.]

Response in Song:  Give Me Jesus (Jeremy Camp)

In the morning, when I rise
In the morning, when I rise
In the morning, when I rise
Give me Jesus

Give me Jesus
Give me Jesus
You can have all this world
Just give me Jesus

When I am alone
When I am alone
Oh, when I am alone
Give me Jesus

Give me Jesus
Give me Jesus
You can have all this world
Just give me Jesus

Jesus
Give me Jesus

When I come to die
When I come to die
Oh, when I come to die
Give me Jesus

Give me Jesus
Give me Jesus
You can have all this world
Just give me Jesus

Give me Jesus
Give me Jesus
You can have all this world
You can have all this world
You can have all this world
Just give me Jesus