Bowman Community Church
Lord's Day 8-8-21
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        Adult Sunday School

        June 6, 2021 - 9:00 AM - 9:30 AM
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        Adult Sunday School

        June 6, 2021 - 9:00 AM - 9:30 AM
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        Worship Service

        June 6, 2021 - 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
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        Worship Service

        June 6, 2021 - 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
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        Evening Discipleship (Q&A, Catechism, Open Forum)

        June 6, 2021 - 5:00 PM - 6:00 PM
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        Evening Discipleship (Q&A, Catechism, Open Forum)

        June 6, 2021 - 5:00 PM - 6:00 PM
  • Great is the Lord!
  • In Christ Alone / The Solid rock
  • Our Great God
  • More Love More Power
  • Holy Holy Holy
      • 1 Thessalonians 2:13–20ESV

  • Introduction

    Over the course of my time speaking at Bowman, learning to preach and subjecting my beloved church to that process, I have started noticing a recurring thought in my mind. I keep coming back to this idea of a “heavenly perspective.” In James, it’s pretty much written into every verse; this idea that the world wants us to think in an “earthly way.” Or in the story of Mephibosheth, the idea that an earthly perspective on the story would cause the reader to miss out on the glorious truths the history was pointing to. In my sermons on James, I used the imagery from the Matrix — the red and blue pills.
    I haven’t been able to get this idea out of my head. I see it everywhere in my life now. Situations have taken on a larger scale for me — conversations are no longer one-off interactions that can be forgotten: what I say in private is heard by God. The thought life that I cultivate is either earthly or heavenly. It’s either Christ-centered or man-centered. Probably one of the most intimidating things to consider.
    But it is by far the most important one to consider, as it comes to living out the Christian life. I’m confident that, in this room, there are those who are struggling for their lives because of the weariness and tragedy this life brings. I’m confident there are people in this room who are crushed beneath the weight of their sin, and struggle privately beneath the waves of that kind of ocean.
    I’m confident because I am that person. You are that person. We don’t know each others full stories, but we all have the same struggle: glorifying God and enjoying him forever. We haven’t hit the forever part yet, so here we are, wanting to glorify God and enjoy him.
    Our text today is powerful. All scripture is powerful; but, this text is just staggering. We’re only looking at four verses today, because, for this section, I don’t think our souls could bear more glory, more conviction, or more beauty than is already found here. Let’s pray and ask that the Lord sends us help in handling it.

    Prayer

    Lord, we pray this morning that you would send help. We praise you for the help you’ve already sent that we will never recognize. We ask that you would work in us a faith that allows us to see you for who you are, and to see what you are doing in our lives. Father, our prayer, as children before you, is that you would fix our beliefs about the world that are wrong, and strengthen the belief that is right. Even if this process involves pain and loss, we remember Paul’s words: “to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” We want life, Father: real life, real peace, real joy, and real heaven. Help us to set our minds on things that are above, where Christ is. Help us to live our lives as those waiting for the coming King. Help us to live as dead men and women who have been raised to new life in Christ. Lord help us, this day and all days ahead -- for we ask it in Jesus name. Amen.

    Text

    Colossians 3:1–4 ESV
    If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

    We will not seek the things above if we don’t believe we’ve been raised to them

    Our life begins with death. This is a reality all human beings understand. The moment we are conceived by our parents, the inevitability of our death is present. The fleeting nature of our life are the clouds that gather above all life on this planet. They are there for everyone, even those who have been saved by Jesus.
    If you’ve seen the Lord of the Rings movies, you’ll remember the many scenes with Mount Doom in it. Do you remember? Huge mountain ranges, taller than anything around it, except for one thing. The clouds; the brooding dark clouds above Mount Doom. This is a picture of the inevitability of death, to me. It’s not here, but it’s there; off a ways on the horizon, immovable.
    But death isn’t just a thing on the horizon for the living, it has made its way into every facet of the human world. The looming reality of death has shaped humanity throughout history. The fear of it drives humans to desperate attempts to either escape it, or to sinfully extract every ounce of pleasure that can be drawn from this one life. The lust for causing death, and its illusion of power, drives evil men and women to commit unspeakable acts.
    Natural man’s disposition is towards death. They will die, they will do things worthy of death, and they will live as if there is no further death beyond the one they can see. Because of this, natural man seeks earthly things — because it’s all they can see.
    1 Corinthians 2:14 ESV
    The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.
    Others in the Bible refer to this. James talks about wisdom that is either “from above,” or “from the earth, spiritual, and demonic.” Paul, in both letters to the Corinthians, uses this death and life, earthly and spiritual comparison, as well. It’s all referring to the same thing: that there are those who have a heavenly perspective, and those who don’t. The dividing line is whether or not they have been raised to that heavenly perspective by Jesus Christ.
    And this is the backdrop for our first verse. Paul says that “we’ve been raised with Christ.” This obviously implies that we were not raised before. We had to be raised by another; by the works of the Savior. Where our works failed and brought death, so Christ’s works succeeded and brought life - through faith. When we believed in Jesus, we were raised from this earthly life to a heavenly one. And now, being raised, we have the proper perspective to, then, seek the things that are above.
    You see this imagery, right? “Raising and then seeking that which is above”? Paul is very sharp here; we probably don’t catch that at first. He’s writing to a Christian church, but says “if you’ve been raised.” He’s making a point here: if you’re a Christian, act like a Christian. This makes even more sense when we look at the last verses of chapter 2. If you have an ESV, your section heading says, “Let No One Disqualify You.” It’s getting at the idea that the church professed faith in Christ, which meant freedom from the law, but obeyed the law as if they were not freed in Christ.
    My first point is this: we will not seek the things above if we don’t believe we’ve been raised to them. There are Christians who have been raised, but do not seek as they should. I’m first in that line. I really am. Even now I can see in my life where I have mucked around in puddles of mud when I could have been in Christ’s palace. I see in my life how I chose to seek the earthly and the profane when the heavenly was simply just up the road. How about you?

    The sacrifice of Jesus melts our calloused hearts

    Let’s be honest: we won’t go up the road if we aren’t sold on what’s up there. It feels like a terrible thing to say, doesn’t it? “I believe Jesus died for me, but this sin is more convenient.” God protect us from sinning, but if we do, please don’t make us numb to it. Because sin will always be convenient. It will always present itself as the reasonable decision. Paul, a few verses past ours for today, will talk about how we have “put away the old self,” and are “putting on the new self.” The old self, he says, walked in darkness and sin, and the new is being “renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.” Do you see it?! It’s as we grow in the knowledge of who Jesus is and what he did 2,000 years ago that we have any hope of ever choosing to climb out of our mud baths.
    The author of life died to save us from death. Here’s where we need to start, at setting our mind on things above. And there’s no loftier thing to consider than the one who made the universe dying for us.
    Pam and I have talked and she rightfully protests the idea that we are a very “blood, death, and Cross” kind of church. I took it as a compliment, but she has a point. Her point was that we can’t stay there as Christians. All the spilt blood of Christ, the misery and death he experienced on the cross is not where the story stops. The cross is not what we worship. It’s the risen Savior that we worship. It’s what his blood on the Cross accomplished that we praise him for. The blood of Jesus is at once both the most terrible thing, and most beautiful. I’m reminded of the hymn, How Deep the Father’s Love, where we sing:
    “As wounds which mar the chosen one bring many sons to glory.”
    Christ was raised on a cross, we were raised with him. The death that Christ suffered, we suffer with him. This is a picture of life on earth, where we experience suffering and tragedy. Jesus said, “when the world hates you, know that it hated me first.” He also said, that “in this world you will have tribulation, but take heart: I have overcome the world.” Christ overcame the world when he died. One of my favorite verses:
    Ephesians 2:12–13 ESV
    remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
    This is why we are a “blood, blood, blood” church, at times. Because we, who were far off, in darkness, were brought near. Though, when we were part of the world, we hated Jesus along with the world, he reached across time and space and saved us for himself. Though the world continues to hate the Gospel of peace and those who believe it, we have been brought near to the Prince of Peace. We are able to partake in his death — we get the privilege of dying with him.
    It doesn’t stop here: Christ was raised from the dead, and we were raised with him.
    Romans 6:4–5 ESV
    We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.
    There simply is nothing more terribly beautiful than this: our death and resurrection in Christ.
    There’s a list of certain things that can consistently bring me to tears. Good music, Hannah holding my future children, a dying Savior, and, finally, baptism. And this is why: the baptism of a believer is the acting out of our death and resurrection in Christ. It is the public proclamation that we, as Paul says, have “put off the old self,” and are “putting on the new”. When we go beneath the water, we are saying that we have died. When we are brought back above the surface, we are saying that we now live because of Jesus, and for him.
    Set your mind on this idea with me: 2,000 years ago, God took on flesh. The form of this flesh was a man, who the Bible says “had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.” (Is 53) Jesus wasn’t a mythical King in a suit of armor: he was a real, historical man! And this man gave his entire life to save you, Christian. To save me. Every single act of obedience and refusal to sin, even when facing the unbridled attack of Satan, is what is credited to us when we believe. But for Jesus, the lifetime of rebellion, apathy, and death that we sought is what was credited to him — our dying Savior.
    To summarize my second point: the sacrifice of Jesus melts our calloused hearts. The sacrifice of Jesus give us the courage to seek the things that are above, and when we’re consumed with the idea that Jesus sought us out of darkness — we will set our minds on the things that are above. We won’t be able to do anything other than that.

    Victorious living means dying

    So, next time I see her, I’ll tell Pam: real living requires death. It requires death every day, in fact. “For you have died,” Paul says in v. 3, “and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”
    If you have despaired of yourself and the fallen world, and have flung yourself on the mercy of God, this is where you life is now currently hidden—this very moment. It is secured within the vice grip of the Redeemer, who is, himself, secured at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. Beneath two impenetrable and immovable barriers, your life is currently hid. And not just this, but the sin that we continue to commit from this place of security is washed. It’s washed!
    Hebrews 10:22 ESV
    let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
    The tragic irony is that we can still flirt with the old self and spend the blood of Jesus on our passions. It’s only after I set my mind on things above that I begin to get it. It’s when I am shocked and disgusted at my sin that I begin to understand what it means to die. When my willful sin is compared to obeying Jesus, I want to die to myself in order to choose Christ. That is how serious we must take our Christian walk. It’s how serious Jesus took it.
    See, victorious living is that living which is constantly dying to self. It is the decision to put to death the old self that wants desperately to keep you worldly, and not heavenly. If you are addicted to a substance, pleasure, power, or experience, it’s only when faced with the substance, pleasure, and power of experiencing Jesus that we are sold on ditching it. It’s a grueling road; a vicious road. When did we get it in our heads that it would be anything other than that?
    Matthew 10:38–39 ESV
    And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
    Victorious living is death. It’s death to the old self. Jesus says, “whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Victorious living means losing this life for Jesus. It’s death to our love affairs with worldly things. It’s abandoning hope to preserve a half-pagan/half-Christian lifestyle. It’s abandoning hope that anything we do on this side of eternity will do anything to save us. Victorious living is dying to worldly pleasures because the heavenly ones are infinitely better. The life we find in Jesus is infinitely better.
    Romans 6:1–4 ESV
    What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
    Baptism isn’t simply a small ritual: it is an expression of the most important transformation of our lives. It shows how we have been risen with Christ, and have made a commitment to live our lives for him, by thinking about and seeking the things above.

    We will die to self and resist sin when we’re alive to Christ and seeking him

    The first thing I said today is that our life begins with death. I’m going to end by saying that our death ends with life. Look at verse 4,
    Colossians 3:4 (ESV)
    When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
    Christ is our life. We have life because of his work, and it’s for his glory. I’ve struggled with this idea before, only ever giving glory to God. Not because I necessarily disagreed with it, but something inside me wasn’t quite sold on it. “Seeking my own glory feels good,” I think. That is, until I set my mind on things above. When I remember Christ’s sacrifice, my eyes are opened to the vanity and empty satisfaction that all personal glory-seeking brings. It isn’t comparable — it’s rubbish. Christ is infinitely sweeter. Considering the life he’s given me, how could I ever want anything else?
    Fellow Christians, I haven’t touched on how the dying I’ve been talking about is actually the most rewarding, peace-bringing, and joyful thing in this world. That’s for next week. If there’s one thing you take away from this message, it’s this: we will die to self and resist sin when we are alive to Christ and seeking him. These aren’t vague platitudes — this is a drop-down, drag-out renovation of how we ought to live. Every conversation is held with Jesus as a participant. Every morning and waking moments are given to him, instead of our phone. Every idle thought is taken by Christ, and every idle moment surrendered to his cause.
    The lie our old self wants us to believe is that we are missing out when we do this. That, somehow, there is more pleasure and contentment to be found in the world, rather than in Jesus. And, man, it can be a convincing lie — a powerful lie, but a lie nonetheless. We will see it for what it is, and how worthless it is, when we set our minds on the surpassing worth of knowing Jesus.
    Philippians 3:8 ESV
    Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ
    This is the victorious life, though it suffered even the loss of all things — it gained Christ. This is what we need—what I need—that the gaining of Christ would surpass all things in importance and dedication.
    “The sands of time are sinking, and the dawn of heaven breaks.” This life will end, and we have no guarantees on when that will be. But our death ends with life, and life eternal. Everything in the past is set in stone, only the present moment is within our control. How much of our life will we wish we had died to self and followed Jesus, when our life is spent and laid out like a scroll before God? I know this is bitter-sweet; it’s an intimidating and convicting thing to consider. But God, through Paul, says to us this morning: “For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ.” It’s when we start here that we begin putting off the old and putting on the new.
    Christ gave his life for us. We should do the same for him.
      • Colossians 3:1–4ESV

      • 1 Corinthians 2:14ESV

      • Ephesians 2:12–13ESV

      • Romans 6:4–5ESV

      • Hebrews 10:22ESV

      • Matthew 10:38–39ESV

      • Romans 6:1–4ESV

      • Philippians 3:8ESV

  • Bowman Doxology

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