Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Submitting your priorities to Christ's Lordship - Colossians 3:1-4

Colossians 3:1-2 "Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth."

Paul's letter to the Colossians is all about communicating the fact that: "Jesus is enough".  Like many of His letters (or what are also called "epistles"), the first half is dedicated to doctrine, while the second half is committed to unpacking the practical ramifications of the doctrine.  Colossians 1-2 demonstrates all of the truth associated with the idea of "Jesus being enough". Beginning in Colossians 3, we understand that Paul is going to put legs to these truths to show his readers that acknowledgement of Christ's supremacy or sufficiency is important practically as well as doctrinally. 

How we know Paul is talking about Christ's Lordship in Colossians 3:1-14
We are told in Colossians 3:1 "Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God." The supremacy of Jesus Christ is expressed practically and doctrinally in the scriptures by a closely related idea called "Lordship". To say "Jesus is Lord" means "Jesus is in control of the Christian's life from the start and throughout to the end. We know when Paul is referring to "above" and "where Christ is", He is talking about Jesus' Lordship over the believer. For example consider Philippians 2:9-11  "For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Jesus Christ's Lordship defines the chief end of His accomplished work according to Romans 14:9 "For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living." Thus Christ's Lordship over individual Christians and His church practically expresses the doctrinal truth of His Supremacy, Sufficiency or what is sometimes termed "His Imminency".

Point of application: As we explore Colossians 3:1-14, we will be centering around the following main point of application: Every disciple of Jesus Christ is called to submit to Christ's Lordship. So in what areas are we encouraged to practically submit ourselves everyday to the Lordship of Jesus Christ? Notice first of all....

Submit your priorities to Jesus Christ
Colossians 3:1-4
From the beginning of the believer's new birth in saving faith, Jesus Christ is both Savior and Lord. (Romans 10:9) The way in which we live our lives ought to demonstrate our submission to Christ's Lordship.  Such manner of living is seen in how we prioritize our lives. Setting priorities is associated early on in the New Testament with Jesus Christ's Lordship. In explaining what is meant by His Lordship, Jesus explains in Luke 14:25-33 that in following Him, one must calculate the cost. Such calculation includes the realm of one's priorities. As Paul writes in Colossians 3:2 "Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth." 

The mind is the place where the battlefield of the Christian life is won or loss.  Whoever is the general on the battlefield will determine who wins the battle. Oftentimes we attempt to be that general. When we do, that is where things breakdown. Consider the command in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, 4 for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. 5 We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ." 

If we are to submit ourselves to Christ's Lordship, we must begin in the realm of our priorities. Paul plainly tells us that when we were born again in saving faith, we died to our old way of life. (Colossians 3:3). Simply put, we are not our own any longer, but we have been bought with a price. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Jesus says in Matthew 6:33 "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." Christians are to continue to submit themselves in the realm of their priorities until Jesus comes. (Colossians 3:4) As a matter of fact, Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5:15 "and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf."

Thus as you and I aim to submit ourselves to Christ's Lordship, let us do so by beginning with out priorities.

More tomorrow.....

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