Dishman Baptist Church
Hidden In Christ
      • Colossians 3:11CSB

  • Great Is Thy Faithfulness
  • Our God
  • Revelation Song
      • Matthew 21.1-3CSB

      • Matthew 21.4-6CSB

      • Matthew 21.7-8CSB

      • Matthew 21.9-11CSB

  • Introduction

    Good morning and welcome to Dishman Baptist Church. It is a joy and a privilege to be here with you today. What a journey we’ve been on with Paul through the book of Colossians. He has taken us to the heights of Mount Everest in Colossians 1:15-20 and we’ve just come through what may have seemed like the Mariana’s Trench with the depths of the human nature that he has just explored as he begins to caution us about the false teachers and the lure to being distracted by man-made and sometimes self-made programs that take our focus off of the true nature or object of our faith. And Paul will do this in his letters - he will start off with the theology and then get very practical with his teaching.
    The book of Ephesians is a great example of this as he spends three chapters highlighting the truths of the Christian life and then he gets very practical with how that Christian life should be lived out. In Colossians, the book we’ve been carefully looking at, he spent the first section reinforcing the truth of Christ’s identity as both God and man, as our savior and Lord and most recently he was applying that knowledge to dismantling the false teacher’s attacks.
    He is about to turn the letter to the practical living section - with the knowledge that he has imparted to the Colossians how should this impact their lives. How should they live in society and in the home in light of this knowledge. And so he has just brought all of us low with the teachings about legalism, mysticism and asceticism - and he’s going to tell the Colossians to put to death what belongs to the earthly nature - as long as we’re plumbing the depths of human nature we might as well expose all of it.
    But this mornings passage is a break - almost like a newscaster who will drop in during This Is Us with “We now interrupt our previously scheduled programming for this important announcement” and no matter what you’re watching you response is one of frustration. But here Paul interrupts his train of thought regarding these false teachers and the nature of man to say “just in case you forgot there’s a higher purpose here and so I’m going to remind you of the whole point of this”. He’s going to remind us of some core truths that really boil down to one statement - and I know the title of this message is Hidden with Christ but that’s because this statement was too long to make the title. Christianity at its core is a whole body program that delivers a glorious result.
    Christianity at its core is a whole body program that delivers a glorious result.
    So with that in mind, lets turn to our passage this morning. If you have your Bibles or on your phone navigate with me to Colossians 3 and we’ll look at verses 1-4 today.
    Colossians 3:1–4 CSB
    So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the 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 hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

    A Whole Body Program

    Colossians 3:1–2 CSB
    So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
    It is spring and it’s the annual season for second new years resolutions. Everyone is getting ready for summer and whether you live on the ocean or in the Pacific Northwest some people want to get fit so they look nice in their shorts, shirts, swimsuits what have you. It is the time for summer body workouts to start. Muscle and Fitness advertises “Are you looking to perfect your beach body for the upcoming summerOpens a New Window. ? If so, we have the right prescription just for you.”
    Now why are we talking about workout programs? Because no one really goes into a gym and only ever works on one aspect of their fitness. No one goes into the gym and only ever works their arms, or legs or abs. But sometimes we as Christians do that with our faith. We say that Jesus has our heart so we’re good we don’t need to work on our minds. Or maybe He has our hearts and our minds but he doesn’t need our actions. It’s all about faith after all that work stuff is for legalists and you (meaning me) just told us that was bad. Well it is but in this passage Paul is going to show us just how wrong we are to think like that.
    He does that with two short phrases both involving that pesky present, active imperative tense that require something of us - the first is seek the things above and the second is set your minds on things above.
    Seek - zeteo - this is not some sort of passive seeking. When I was a kid I would often misplace my baseball glove and I would as my mother where it was. She would always ask where have you looked and I would say “everywhere” which in kid speak really means “nowhere”. But this is not the type of seeking that Paul is speaking of here.
    Nor is this a random seeking - the kind of seeking that some of us in this congregation might be familiar with. It’s that seeking that happens every year when its suddenly Christmas Eve and we realize that we haven’t gotten someone a gift. You’re in whatever store is still open on Christmas Eve picking out whatever you can find that might still be there. And so what you’re seeking is whatever catches your eye, whatever it is that appeals to you. And we see that in the world of the church today. There are lots of people who are only seeking a god that appeals to them.
    2 Timothy 4:4–5 CSB
    They will turn away from hearing the truth and will turn aside to myths. But as for you, exercise self-control in everything, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
    But this is not the type of seeking that Paul is speaking of here either.
    The type of seeking that Paul is speaking of here is the type of seeking that compelled Christ to come here to earth. This word for seeking - zeteo - is only ever used in a religious context with respect to seeking of something that is lost. It is the type of seeking that Christ speaks of in Luke 19
    Luke 19:10 CSB
    For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost.”
    It is the type of seeking that was found in the parable of the lost sheep where the shepherd leaves his 99 sheep and goes out into the wilderness to find one. It was this type of seeking that caused the woman who had lost a coin to clean her whole house, sweeping it from top to bottom until she had found the lost coin.
    It is this seeking that drives the many metaphors in the Bible for the Christian life. The ideal of running a race and pushing your body to complete that task which you have set out to accomplish. The picture of being a soldier and not getting involved in other pursuits that would distract one from their business.
    But this isn’t simply the mindless efforts of an automaton. Paul makes the statement that we are to set our minds on things above. This Christian life is also one of pursuit from a mental standpoint. The earliest uses of this Greek word - phroneo - referred to the diaphragm or the midsection as being the seat of our intellectual capacity and emotions. In the New Testament however, and really it was before this in the writings of Homer, the word was used to refer to the mind and this is the meaning in Paul’s letters. For Paul devotion to Christ employed the whole person. He understood rightly the instruction given in the “Shemah” the ancient Jewish creed found in Deuteronomy 6:4-5
    Deuteronomy 6:4–5 CSB
    “Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.
    and broadened in the writings of the New Testament
    Mark 12:30 CSB
    Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.
    Paul gives us two contrasting reasons for these two commands - we’ll look at them in reverse order. First Paul says that we should set our minds on things above, not on earthly things. The easiest road is always to focus on the here and now because we can see it and touch it. It’s often easier to get angry at God for the diagnosis rather than to look for how it can be used for God’s glory. It’s easier to be cold and distant from a situation rather than to seek what God’s desire is for everyone involved - even when it may not benefit us. It’s easier to dive into work or play or any other distraction than it is to face up to what God has for us in both this life and the life to come.
    This is also an attack of the false teachers who were continuing to plague the Colossians. The false teachers were also attempting to offer the Colossians the “things above” through the worship of angels and access into the visionary realm. But in so doing Paul says that they have not held on to the Head meaning that they’ve cut themselves off from Christ and in all of their visions they were still focused on earthly things. We have the same situation happening today.
    Many people claim to be seeing angels or to be taking trips to Heaven. It is interesting that every single one of them see something different when they get there. Kim Walker-Smith sees Jesus as this stretch Armstrong type figure who is silly and laughing. Colton Burpo says that Jesus looks like a brown haired, blue eyed man of average height but Gabriel and Michael the archangels are much taller. Others like Kenneth Copeland and Mike Bickle claim to have made trips to heaven and in 2016 a man said he was captured up into heaven and he took pictures with his smartphone to document this. You can see those for the paltry sum of $330 a picture.
    The reality is that both the false teachers in Colossae and those who claim to have been to Heaven today are so wrapped up in gaining personal notoriety that they have been cut off from Christ - as Paul says in Colossians 2:19 they are not holding on to the Head of our faith - and they’re minds are squarely focused on the things of earth.
    The next reason for actively seeking and setting our minds on things above is because of where Christ actually is. Paul, who did take a trip to Heaven, tells us exactly where Christ is. He is seated at the right hand of God. This has several implications for our faith. The first is that His task is completed. That He as our high priest can now sit is significant. In the days of Temple worship in Jerusalem the priests could never sit down. There was always another task, another sacrifice, another element of temple worship to oversee and so the priests never sat. There were no chairs in the Holy of Holies. Yet Paul tells us that Christ is seated at the right hand of God. This is demonstrated in several places in Scripture: Psalms 110:1, Jesus himself says that He will sit down at God’s right hand in Luke 22:69, on the day of Pentecost Peter tells the crowd that Christ is seated at the right hand of God Acts 2:33. It is most clearly spoken of in Hebrews 1:3
    Hebrews 1:3 CSB
    The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact expression of his nature, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.
    After making purification for sins by His sacrifice on the cross - an action capped by the words “It is finished” - Christ having been raised from the dead and ascended into Heaven could sit down at the right hand of His Father and await the call and the time for His victorious return because the sacrifice that He made on the cross was sufficient, once and for all and cleansed sin for all time in those who would believe. That is the second implication for our faith. It is finished.
    No longer do we have to toil under the impossible weight of trying to accomplish salvation for ourselves. No longer do we toil under the systems of legalism or asceticism or mysticism trying to achieve a spiritual credit report that is good enough to earn us a spot in Heaven.
    Hebrews 9:24–28 CSB
    For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with hands (only a model of the true one) but into heaven itself, so that he might now appear in the presence of God for us. He did not do this to offer himself many times, as the high priest enters the sanctuary yearly with the blood of another. Otherwise, he would have had to suffer many times since the foundation of the world. But now he has appeared one time, at the end of the ages, for the removal of sin by the sacrifice of himself. And just as it is appointed for people to die once—and after this, judgment— so also Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.
    I can’t say this loudly enough or strongly enough. It is finished. Our High Priest has accomplished everything, He has ascended into Heaven and He even now sits at the right hand of God interceding for us as only the purchaser of our salvation can. It is this reality that frees us from having to worry about this world and the trappings associated with it - success and glory and financial prosperity - but instead enables us to focus our actions and our minds on the things that are pleasing to Christ. It is because of this reality, that the promises Paul makes in the next two verses are possible.

    Hidden in Christ

    Colossians 3:3 CSB
    For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
    When we moved to Japan in 2011 the first thing we had to do was to attend a base orientation as well as a cultural orientation to understand the new culture that we were about to be immersed in for the next three years. The final step of that orientation was a day long trip to a local town called Kamakura. The town was beautiful. There was an ancient temple there with pagodas and torii gates. One of the highlights of the trip for most people was the nearby statue of Buddha. The reason is that the statue was massive. It is so large that you can actually walk inside it. When you do you disappear to anyone looking from the outside.
    Now I’m not trying to promote the false religion of buddhism, but when I saw that statue for the first time I thought of this verse. Because the same thing happens to us when we put our faith in Christ. Our life is hidden with Christ in God. We are no longer visible on our own but we are completely wrapped up inside Him.
    The reason for this is that we have died with Him. We have been crucified with Him and are now dead to the world’s sinful system. This statement is the summation of Paul’s earlier assertion in Colossians 2:11-12
    Colossians 2:11–12 CSB
    You were also circumcised in him with a circumcision not done with hands, by putting off the body of flesh, in the circumcision of Christ, when you were buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.
    Christ’s life and death on our behalf carries with it eternal significance for us. Charles Spurgeon said it this way “If His first coming does not give you eternal life, His second coming will not. If you do not hide in HIs wounds when He comes as your Savior there will be no hiding place when He comes as your judge.”
    If we have not been crucified with Him in this life, there will be no hiding place for us in the next.
    You will either stand before God hidden behind Christ’s blood or you will stand before Him naked in your sins.
    This is both a warning to those who haven’t submitted to His lordship in your life, but it is also great comfort to those who have placed their faith in Him, have confessed their sins and are resting within His righteousness. Christian - you can rest assured today that if you have done that then you are secure. What you have given to Him you can trust that He will maintain it until that day. Jesus said these comforting words in John 10:28
    John 10:28 CSB
    I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand.
    There is another assurance that this condition gives us. Being hidden in Christ also means being hidden from the world. We can be assured that nothing this world can do to us will ever touch our spiritual reality. Yes, they may be able to affect us physically - in fact this is promised to us through out Scripture. We are not promised an easy road or one without pain and suffering.
    2 Timothy 3:12 CSB
    In fact, all who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.
    We are not promised health. We are not promised financial stability. We are not promised social acceptability. What we are promised is that, after all of this is through, after this life has passed that we will reign with Him and that we are assured of a place with Him in Heaven. That is the point of the last promise that Paul makes.

    This is Your Life

    Colossians 3:4 CSB
    When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
    He starts off with a beautiful assertion for us. When Christ - there is no possibility in Paul’s mind and there should be no possibility in our minds as to whether or not Christ will one day return. No matter how far off it seems or how dim our hope might be on some days we have the assurance that He who rose from the dead will in fact return for His people.
    John 14:1–3 CSB
    “Don’t let your heart be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if not, I would have told you. I am going away to prepare a place for you. If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come again and take you to myself, so that where I am you may be also.
    There is no doubt that one day Christ will appear but this promise has more implications for us than just on that day that we all look forward to.
    Paul says Christ, who is your life - He is our very life right now. Paul would write to the Philippians
    Philippians 1:21 CSB
    For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
    Paul’s singular purpose in life following his conversion was to know Christ. I think sometimes we look at this and say of course we should know Him - in our Bible study time, in our prayer time, at church. But the reality of Christ being our life is much grander than that. In John 15:5 Christ said
    John 15:5 CSB
    I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without me.
    I am the vine, you are the branches applies to more than just evangelism or church life.
    It applies to every aspect of our lives. Abraham Kuyper said it this way
    300 Quotations for Preachers Aiming at God’s Glory in Everything

    Wherever man may stand, whatever he may do, to whatever he may apply his hand, in agriculture, in commerce, and in industry, or his mind, in the world of art, and science, he is, in whatever it may be, constantly standing before the face of his God. He is employed in the service of his God, he has strictly to obey his God, and above all, he has to aim at the glory of his God.

    If Christ is truly our life then every moment should be lived in light of the fact that we are before Him and with the knowledge that we represent Him to the world. He is our very life, our very reason for existence. It is for His glory that we are even still here. If not for the responsibility to represent Him we could just be whisked away at salvation. Wouldn’t that be a testimony to the world. That the moment a person believed in Christ they were taken away and in effect we are because our natures are changed and we are now hidden with Christ in God - and yet we are still here. Why? To represent Him. To demonstrate for the world what the changed nature, what the changed life of the Christian looks like.
    It is sad that many today do not represent their savior well. It is sad to see the rhetoric that is thrown around inside of the church regarding incidents that take place. It is of no surprise when heathens perform actions like burning down churches because they are heathens and that’s what they do - they hate the church and the Savior that it stands for. But when so called Christians point fingers at their brothers and sisters and say that it is their fault that this animosity exists it is a sad testament to the new life that we are purported to have. It is deplorable the actions of one individual who burned down those churches in Louisiana but it is equally deplorable those who would seize on this event to try and push an agenda that simply shouldn’t exist within the church.
    We should love everyone - just as Christ did. This doesn’t mean that we should leave them in their sins because He never did that. We are called to speak the truth in love - but to speak the truth none the less. But if we’re called to love everyone - to love our neighbor as ourselves - then shouldn’t we most demonstrate our new life in Christ by loving those closest to us? Even the world loves those closest to them in their own way.
    And why should we do this? Because we have the promise that one day not only will Christ appear but that we will also appear with Him in glory. What a beautiful promise this is. No matter what we face in this life - no matter what diagnosis, no matter what heartache, no matter what pain we can be assured of that the One who bore our sins on the cross is experiencing every moment with us, is experiencing every pain with us and that one day He will return to catch all of us - those who believe in Him - up to be with Him in Heaven. You see - if we are hidden with Him and if He is our life then we do not experience anything in this life but that it also affects Him.
    Beloved - He may seem far away now and you may look around and wonder where He is - but look up. Seek the things that are above, set your mind on the things that are above and you will see Him.


    Paul is reminding the Colossians and he is reminding us today that we have hope. That while there may be those who attack us with false systems and try to bully us into doing it their way that Christ is still seated at the right hand of God, that we are hidden with Him and that He will one day return to reclaim those who are His own in glory.
    If you’re here this morning and you’ve never submitted your life to Him let me say this to you again - one day you will stand before Him and you will either stand before God hidden behind Christ’s blood our you will stand before Him naked in your sins. Those are the only two options. You wont be able to point to anyone else or to blame anyone else on that day. You alone will have to account for what you have done in this life. But there is hope for you today. Christ has come, He went to the cross and He shed His blood making atonement or payment for your sins once and for all enabling you to be redeemed and to have a right relationship with God. The offer is open to you - repent and find Him while it is still there.
    Maybe you’re here this morning and you’re wavering in your faith. You don’t feel like God is near and you’re wondering why you’re suffering through this alone. If that is you know that you do not suffer alone. If you have placed your faith in Christ you are a part of His body, He is your very life and you do not suffer except that He suffers with you. So the question must be asked why do I not feel Him. The answer is where are your eyes? Are they on yourself or are they on Him? Say the words of Psalm 43:5 along with David
    Psalm 43:5 CSB
    Why, my soul, are you so dejected? Why are you in such turmoil? Put your hope in God, for I will still praise him, my Savior and my God.
    Know that you have a Saviour who sees your pain and is there with you.
    Maybe you’re here and you need the reminder that He is your life - not just in church or in the private of your own home but in every aspect of life. Whether you’re a blue collar, white collar or no collar worker - He is there with you. In your studies in school - He is your life. As a stay at home mom - He is glorified in what you do no matter what the world says about you. If you are a Christian you represent the Lord Jesus Christ in everything that you do - we need to remember that and we need to live that life.
      • Colossians 3:1–4CSB

      • Colossians 3:1–2CSB

      • 2 Timothy 4:4–5CSB

      • Luke 19:10CSB

      • Deuteronomy 6:4–5CSB

      • Mark 12:30CSB

      • Hebrews 1:3CSB

      • Hebrews 9:24–28CSB

      • Colossians 3:3CSB

      • Colossians 2:11–12CSB

      • John 10:28CSB

      • 2 Timothy 3:12CSB

      • Colossians 3:4CSB

      • John 14:1–3CSB

      • Philippians 1:21CSB

      • John 15:5CSB

      • Psalm 43:5CSB

  • Above All
      • 1 Thessalonians 5:23CSB

      • Colossians 3:11CSB

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