“I don’t know what fleeting circumstance is making you struggle with an eternal perspective. It might be your role as a wife or a mom, your income, your back pain, your cancer, your social media, your car, your town, whatever temporary earthly circumstance it is. Whatever you feel defines you, look at this in light of what you read in Colossians—that this life is not all there is. You know that. We all know that. God has put eternity in man’s heart. But we have to do the hard work of remembering that our life is hidden with Christ in God.” — Gloria Furman
Date: June 15, 2018
Event: The Gospel Coalition 2018 Women’s Conference
Mentioned in this podcast: A Gospel Primer for Christians by Milton Vincent
The following is an uncorrected transcript generated by a transcription service. Before quoting in print, please check the corresponding audio for accuracy.
Gloria Furman: My name is Gloria Furman. I live in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on the Arabian Peninsula. My husband, Dave, is a church planter. He’s the pastor of Redeemer Church of Dubai. We’ve lived there for 10 years now. In August will be our 10-year sandaversary.
It’s wonderful to see what God is doing in the lives of people in the Middle East, especially as we see, in our global city, men, women and children coming in from other countries into the UAE and to hear about what God is doing in other parts of the world. I’m a little jet-lagged right now, a little more jet-lagged than my friend from Texas who, this morning, said she just had a hard time waking up. So bear with me.
This workshop is about having a heavenly focus in our everyday lives. So if that’s why you’re here, you’re in the right spot. If you’re not, it’s too late. The workshop description says, “While we live in the world, believers in Jesus long for eternal perspective—with eyes fixed on the horizon of eternity. Is it possible to be zealous now about what we will be zealous about 30 zillion years from now? Colossians gives us the perspective we need to live for eternity in the midst of our ordinary lives.”
So one of the primary reasons we come together to study God’s word is so that we can know God. This is extraordinary. This is not an assumption that other world religions have. In other world religions, the assumption is God is unknowable. You cannot know Him. He’s not interested in you and you cannot find Him. He is so far above your everyday life, he doesn’t seek you.
But the Bible gives us a different picture of who God is. God wants us to know Him. God wants us to know Him. He says to repentant exiles who long to know Him, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” So we should pray for God’s help to know Him.
Let’s pray. Father in heaven, we are your humble creatures. We know you have made us to live by every word that comes from your mouth, but we confess that we forget this truth all the time and we try to live apart from your word. Forgive us, God. Would your Holy Spirit cause our hearts to burn with zeal for your word. Only with your help can we understand your word.
Thank you for Colossians, for sustaining Paul as he wrote it, for preserving Titus as he traveled so far to deliver it and for the unexplainable grace you gave to so many brothers and sisters who’ve gone before us and treasured you through these words in Colossians also. We’re overflowing with gratitude to you for the sake of your son. Please help us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
I love Colossians. It’s the perfect place to go when you want to renew your mind and strengthen and sharpen your eternal perspective because it’s God’s word. So, my main goal this afternoon is to encourage you to dive into Colossians on your own later and let the word of God renew your mind.
Now I’m making an assumption. It’s a big assumption. I’m assuming that all of us in this room know that this life is not all there is, that you know sitting in your seat that there’s life after this life. There is eternity. And it’s safe for me to make this assumption because the Bible teaches us that everyone knows that this life isn’t all there is. We all know it. Your friends know.
We know this for a few reasons. We know because God has put eternity into man’s heart. That’s Ecclesiastes 3:11. And we know because what can be known about God is plain to all of us, because he’s shown it to us. His invisible attributes, like his eternal power and his divinity, have been clearly perceived ever since the creation of the world in the things that God has made. That’s Romans 1. It’s safe to assume that everyone here knows there is eternity. This life is not all there is.
Our hearts thrill with hope when we hear Jesus’ leading question when he says, “Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing?” And our hearts say, “Yes. Yes, it is.” But how hard is it for us to remember that? That’s why we want to have a strong, healthy, biblically-informed, Spirit-empowered, Christ-centered, God-glorifying, eternal perspective for our ordinary lives.
The primary text we’ll talk about is Colossians 3:1-4. If you will turn to Colossians 3:1-4, read with me. “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.”
So seek the things that are above. Set your minds on things that are above. What are you thinking about? What’s on your mind? What are you obsessed with? In his brilliance, God created us all so differently. For some of us, you’ve already told the person next to you exactly what’s on your mind. You told the ladies at lunch, you talked all about it, laid it bare, asked them to evaluate all the things that are on your mind.
For others of us, it’s not coming out. No one is going to get any answers about what’s on your mind. You’ll think about it. Maybe you’ll tell someone, but you’re keeping that one close to you. Whether you process your thoughts out loud or in writing or just internally, all of us have things on our mind.
And now I have to ask, when I read Colossians 3:1-4 just now, that we’re to set our minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, did any of you say in your heart, “What? Really? Paul, really?” This is another one of those things Paul says, you’re like, “Really?”
Set my mind on the things that are above and not on things that are on earth. The things on earth need to be tended to: the doorbell is ringing, the laundry buzzer is going off. There’s a deadline at work. The kids need to get picked up from practice. My split ends are out of control. What’s for dinner? Who has time for these things? And for the last few years, I’ve had this little piece of metal and plastic in my pocket that shakes and dings and commands my attention to see that my neighbor, who went to a birthday party, took a picture of the food they ate.
Set my mind on things that are above. The things that are on earth are so in your face and in your pocket. If that’s what you thought at first glance, that Paul wants us to check out of reality, I think you’ll be relieved to hear that we’re not being told to check out of reality. We’re told to see it rightly. We’re not being told to check out of reality. We’re told to see it rightly. It’s quite the opposite, actually.
The main point is that we need to be totally heavenly-minded so we can see the reality of our earthly lives. If you’re taking notes this afternoon, that is my main point. We need to be totally heavenly-minded so we can see the reality of our earthly lives. “How, Paul? Really?”
Well, Colossians is imminently useful for us and for our edification in this area. So we need context. You don’t just pluck a piece of scripture out of the context. The Colossians’ context, he’s writing this letter to address heresy that was threatening their faith. And the way he addresses heresy is by teaching doctrine. He does this here in Colossians. He does this in all of his other letters. He knows this is the best way to tackle heresy is to point people back to the firm foundation of the Gospel.
So in Chapter 1, Paul is answering huge questions with rich doctrine. Questions like “What is the relevance of the Gospel now that we’re saved, Paul?” In 1:6, he says, “The Gospel is bearing fruit and growing all over the world just as it has among you since the day you heard it and came to truly appreciate God’s grace.” “Okay, well, what’s a life that pleases the Lord?”
Chapter 1:10, and following, “That you walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God.” “Okay. But what do we do with our sin? We still have sin. How can God forgive us?” 1:14, “We find redemption and forgiveness for our sins in Christ.” “Yes, Paul. Thank you. But this life is really hard. Who’s in charge here? What’s it all for?”
1:15, Christ. It’s for Christ. And this Christ is so glorious, “But who are we, Paul?” At 1:21 and following, “We are former enemies of God who were alienated and hostile in our minds doing evil deeds. But now we’re reconciled in Christ’s body on the cross.” “This is amazing, Paul. Thank you. But isn’t there something else I need to do? What do I do now, now that I’m saved?”
1:23, “Continue in the faith and remain stable and steadfast in the faith and don’t shift away from the hope of the Gospel you heard.” “Thank you, Paul. Yes. This world is out of control and crazy. What in the cosmos is God doing right now?” 1:24 and following, “God is making known among the Gentiles the glorious wealth of His mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
These big, weighty doctrines are all crucial for us in understanding what it means to be totally heavenly-minded so we can see the reality of our earthly lives. And then further in Chapter 2, Paul is wearing his pastoral heart on his sleeve, so to speak. And he says he wants us to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ.
Why is he so eager and desperate for the church to know this? Because Jesus is the why behind everything he’s teaching them. He’s the why. Jesus is the reason. Like I said, I have four kids and it is within my motherly authority to tell them, “Kids, put your shoes on. We’re going.” Now, one might go that way. Another might go that way. One might say, “I don’t have shoes.” And another one might not answer at all. You just never know.
I don’t have to give a reason why. I could just say, “Get your shoes on. It’s time to go.” But what if I told them why? “Guys, get your shoes on. We’re going to Krispy Kreme.” One kid has got my car keys. Another kid is helping another kid. Somebody else started the car already, and they’re already out the door.
That’s why Paul needs us to know why we need to know Jesus. Our union with Jesus is the why behind all of these things he’s teaching us in Colossians. Do you struggle with the why of your Christian life? You find the reason here in Colossians. Why is Paul eager for the church to know who Jesus is? Practically speaking, Paul is not there. He’s not there. Paul is not there. Why is he not there? He’s in prison.
And second, Paul didn’t directly plant this church, so he hasn’t personally met all of these sheep. But through his ministry to Epaphras, a local guy who he taught the gospel to when he was in Ephesus, brought the good news back to his hometown Colossae. And here is a new church plan. And third, this young church is being threatened directly by false teachers. Eternal life and eternal death are at stake if they do not know the why of their Christian faith and why they need to see things with internal perspective.
The stuff that these false teachers have told them to believe and to live out directly threatens their faith, not just their perspective. It threatens their faith. False teachers are persuading the sheep that being placed in Christ is not enough. You need some extra stuff. You can’t reach all the riches of full assurance and understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery unless you buy whatever rubbish the false teachers are selling.
That’s what the false teachers are expounding to these people. And here’s the thing about false teachers. Paul says their deluded arguments were plausible, believable. They’re deluded arguments were believable. He says later in Chapter 2 that they had the appearance of wisdom. That’s so sneaky. How can you tell what is really wise and what just looks like wisdom? You need an eternal perspective.
So Paul reminds them, “In Christ are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” And he says, “I’m saying this so that you won’t be fooled by persuasive speech, enticing words, and smooth rhetoric and these crafty, plausible arguments.” So in Colossians 2:6-7, Paul says this, “Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him, and established in the faith just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.”
It is our union with Jesus, who we are in Christ, that we desperately need to know and understand so that we can have a heavenly-minded perspective to see the reality of our earthly lives. Do you understand yourself to be in Christ? Is that the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of your life?
To borrow a phrase from one of my favorite books, it has made a huge impact on my life. It’s called “The Gospel Primer” by Milton Vincent. Came to me at the perfect time, of course, as all of these things do. And he says, “Being in Christ is the one great permanent circumstance in your life. Being in Christ is the one great permanent circumstance of your life.” Who are you? Where are you from? What’s your name? What’s your story? Who do you think you are?
Funny story: we have a membership class at Redeemer. And anyone interested in becoming a member of the church or hearing more about what the church is about is welcome to come to the membership class. And the elders get up and they teach. And near the beginning, people are always given an opportunity to introduce themselves.
And it usually, in our global context, is “What’s your name and where are you from?” And that usually means my name is this and your country. “Oh, my name is This. I’m from Ivory Coast. I’m from Ghana. I’m from Philippines. I’m from Lebanon. I’m from Egypt.” Every once in a while we’ll get some westerners. “Oh, I’m from Scotland. I’m from Australia. I’m from the U.S.” But once or twice someone has stood up and said, “I’m from Texas, that great country.”
We all have places where we’re from. We all have roles to play, hats that we wear, jobs we have. Some of us think we have too many jobs, too many roles. Others of us are seeking, actively looking for places to plug in, roles to play, hats to wear, trying to find our roots or we’re trying to put down our roots. There are so many temporary circumstances in our lives.
Do you see that you are in Christ and that’s the one great permanent circumstance? What’s the primary, biggest, most important thing about you? It’s being in Christ. This is critically important to having an eternal perspective. So flip back over to Colossians 1:1-2. Colossians 1:1-2, “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God and Timothy, our brother, to the saints and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae.
“Grace to you and peace from God our Father.” Colossae is obviously a geographic location that you can look at and point to on a map. It’s a place you can go. And right now, sisters in Christ, you and I are in Christ at Ballroom 500, Indianapolis, Indiana, United States of America, North America, on the globe, hurtling through outer space at 67,000 miles an hour around the sun, in our solar system, in the Milky Way Galaxy and on and on.
If God has placed you in Christ, then that is where you will still be 30 zillion years from now. If he has placed you in Christ, that is where you will be forever. You would be just like these Colossian believers, in Christ at Colossae, in Christ at Abu Dhabi, in Christ at Malahide, in Christ at Durban, in Christ in Mindanao, in Christ wherever it is he’s placed you, but he’s placed you in Christ. At the moment of your conversion, you were altered at the very core of your being. You were taken out of Adam and placed in Christ.
Question, okay. How can you be in or out of someone? I know this is hard. It’s hard for us as individuals from individualistic cultures to wrap our minds around this. And since we’re all here in the western side of the world, I’m assuming that most of us primarily think of ourselves as an individual who are independent. And you know who you’re associated with, but you’re associated with them. You’re not in them. They’re just with you. And if you don’t want that association, you can just choose another one.
So here’s a quick refresher of being in or out of someone. Think of seeds. Seeds are neat. God made seeds so we could catch a glimpse of what it means to be placed in Christ. So in the beginning, God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind,” Genesis. Yes.
Seeds are incredibly complex. Did you know that we can make computers and Mars Rovers and put them on other planets and take pictures of other planets, but we can’t make seeds? Nobody can make a seed. It’s incredible. So you get a pomegranate and you open it and you think “Everybody else likes it. It’s kind of cool. I’ll try it,” and you eat it and then you realize “This is not what it’s all cracked up to be. And then now I have to floss my teeth.”
So you throw the seeds on the ground. And what comes out of the pomegranate seeds? Biology, what comes out of the pomegranate seeds? Pomegranate trees which beget more pomegranates, and then when they fall to the ground, they’re seeds beget more pomegranate trees and on and on. A pomegranate seed begets pomegranate trees, which begets pomegranate trees.
The Bible also teaches us that God created man in his own image. In the image of God, he created him, male and female, He created them and God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.” And what did Adam and Eve do next? We know. They disobeyed God and fell into sin. So now, everyone born of Adam is born spiritually dead, just like Adam was when he fell. We’re all born that way, spiritually dead.
1 Corinthians 15:21-22 puts it very succinctly. “For as by a man came death. By a man has come also the resurrection from the dead. For as in Adam, all die. So also in Christ shall all be made alive.” Theologian, Herman Ridderbos explains that Adam and Christ stand over and against each other as two great figures at the entrance of two worlds, two creations. In Adam’s and Christ’s actions and fate lies the decision for all who belonged to them, for all who are in them.
This is what it means to be in Adam or in Christ. You are one or the other. Everyone you meet is one or the other, in Adam or in Christ. And this is also where we get the idea that Adam is called the type of him who was to come, who was Christ.
In Adam comes death and in Adam, we’re all dead. But in Jesus, the last Adam, comes the resurrection of the dead and in him we’re alive. Christians are those who’ve been born again into Christ. We are born again, not of perishable seed from our mom and dad, but by imperishable seed, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
We cannot expect to think rightly about our ordinary lives, our days and nights, our jobs and roles, friends and family, health and sickness, suffering and joy and every other thing that we’re involved in. If we do not know the work of God and Him taking us out of Adam and placing us in Christ, we cannot expect to think rightly about our ordinary lives unless we start with this one great permanent reality of being in Christ and seeing everything that flows out of this.
So Paul puts this in his introduction because the Colossians and us, we need to be reminded how easy it is for us to forget that we are a new creation in Christ and identify ourselves with him and not with the world. How easy it is for us to only think of ourselves according to the flesh as Paul says elsewhere. To think primarily of ourselves in terms of our nationality or gender or role or job or where we’re currently sitting in traffic. How easy it is to only see these earthly things that he’s referring to in Colossians 3.
We need to stop living on autopilot. Do you want a heavenly perspective for your ordinary life? I do. I know I need it badly, but how? Paul, how? Of course, to answer our desperate, “Yes, I want that, but how?” Paul gives us the why. He points us back to Christ. Colossians 3:3. “For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”
Though we set our minds on things that are above because we have died to our old self, our sin nature, we’ve died to those things that held us in bondage in this world. It’s the lust of the flesh, the perversity of a broken mind, the course of this world that we were following like consumeristic animals, just buying more stuff and buying more stuff to fill ourselves to feel full.
We need to see ourselves in Christ. It may be that you feel empty. Maybe you feel empty in some way. You didn’t get to talk to somebody you wanted to talk to. Some plans you made didn’t pan out, or you look up in the mirror and you’re like, “Oh man.” You’re wondering about what’s going on at home. Or you know what’s going on at home and you can’t control it.
When you find yourself lacking in some way, what are you going to do about those thoughts? Will you find something on earth to try and stuff in that feeling of emptiness, some power idol, control idol, comfort idol? What do you put in the ache to make you feel better? It’s different for all of us, isn’t it? Or we could remember that our life is hidden with Christ in God.
So, context again, who is Christ? Remember who he is. When you wake up in the morning and you tell yourself, “I’m awake. Thank you, Jesus. The synapses in my brain are working, oxygen in my lungs are going. My heart is beating without me thinking about it. Praise you, God, for holding my life together with your very word. I’m placed in Christ,” and you tell yourself you are placed in Christ, who is this Christ?
Colossians 1:15-20, here is the Christ whom Paul is pointing the Colossians and us to. “Here is who you are in. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible. Whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities, all things were created through him and for him.
And he is before all things. And in him, all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. You’re placed in him. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent, for in him, all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him, to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, make peace by the blood of his cross.”
It is this Christ whom God has placed you in, believer, this Christ. You were circumcised in this Christ with a circumcision made without hands. You were buried with this Christ in baptism and you were raised together with this Christ through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you were dead in your sin, but God made you alive together with this Christ and forgave your sin.
The world might be spinning around the sun at 37,000 miles an hour and you can’t make it stand still to save your life. But thankfully, you don’t have to because the Bible says that your life is hidden with Christ in God. And if you are in Christ now, that is where you will be 30 zillion years from now. No one can change this. This is something God has done for you, not because you deserved it, not because you’ve done anything to keep it. This is grace.
You can, today, in the midst of your ordinary life, wherever you are in, and whatever roles, and circumstances, and pains, and aches, and joys, or prosperity in which God has placed you. Because you’re in Christ now, then you can be zealous about what you’re going to be zealous about 30 zillion years from now. And what are you going to be zealous about 30 zillion years from now is Jesus. You can be zealous about him now if you are placed in him.
Paul wants to Colossians and us to understand who Christ is and what it means that we are identified with Christ, associated with Christ, that we belong to Christ, that we are in Christ, that our life is hidden with Christ in God. If we understand who Jesus is, and what it means that we are in him, then we won’t be deluded with whatever persuasive arguments from false teachers that we’re hearing.
We won’t be taken captive through whatever empty deception we’re tempted to believe. And we won’t allow anyone to pass judgment on us or disqualify us. This is how he is arguing to the Colossians. Rather, we will be totally heavenly-minded so we can see the reality of our earthly lives. It is so tempting to see my life as something that is defined by earthly circumstances.
I live-tweet myself to myself. Do you ever do that? “I’m going to the store. Oh, yes. Don’t forget that. I don’t need to do this. I’ve got my list. This is where I’m going,” and I’ll narrate myself to myself, just to keep going, not forget, because I’m the type of person who walks in the room and forgets why they were there. But I’m holding like six coffee mugs in the laundry basket, like, “Where was I going? What is this?” And it takes a minute. That’s just what I do.
It’s so tempting to see my life as something that’s defined by earthly circumstances, temporary things that are going on. A heavier, weightier thing that’s a temporary circumstance in my life is my husband is disabled. He’s physically disabled. So day in and day out, we are living our ordinary everyday lives, struggling with his chronic pain and disability in his arms.
He has ulnar nerve dystrophy, lives in chronic pain, has, for a decade now, tried all of these things. And we’ve been so tempted to see our lives as defined by how that’s going. It’s the only life our kids have ever known. So this is, for them, something that they see as part of their lives. I remember what my husband’s life was like before he was disabled. So I have all of these pictures in my mind.
It’s very tempting to see that as the primary way to see myself and to see him and to see what’s going on in our lives. But it is a fleeting, temporary earthly circumstance. It’s not always going to be that way. But I need reminders because the everyday ins and outs are so in your face. I need this perspective from Colossians.
Who is this Christ I am placed in? What in the world is God doing? He’s putting all the cosmos back together and somehow these fleeting circumstances are part of his plan to hasten the day of his coming. And if that’s the case, can I find joy? Yes. I don’t know what it is for you. I don’t know what fleeting temporary earthly circumstance is making you struggle with an eternal perspective.
It might be your role as a wife or a mom, your income, your back pain, cancer, your social media, your car, your town, whatever temporary earthly circumstance it is. Whatever you feel defines you, look at this in light of what you read in Colossians, that this life is not all there is. You know that. We all know that. God has put eternity in man’s heart. But we have to do the hard work of remembering that our life is hidden with Christ in God. Your life is hidden with Christ in God.
Verse 4 in Colossians 3, verse 4, what does it say? “When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” Maybe you’re happy today, happier than you’ve ever been. You too, sister, even in your happiness now, you still haven’t seen the radiant glory of your life in Christ like it will be when he is revealed on that last day.
And friends who are suffering, the world definitely doesn’t see your victorious, brilliant, glorious life in Christ either. To the world, you look like a fool. You might’ve heard what Job’s wife said to him in his pain and suffering, “Curse God and die.”
This is what Job’s faithless wife said, and this is what the world says to you in your suffering. But the eternal perspective we see in Colossians tells us something different is going on, that our life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Be assured of this, the final day of resurrection is now 42 minutes closer than when I started talking. Praise God.
Furman: All the dead will hear his voice and those who’ve been raised spiritually with Christ already, will be raised totally together with one another to dwell with Christ forever, including the Colossians, by the way. That hasn’t happened for them yet either. We will be raised together with them in glory when Christ, who is our life appears.
If we’re going to live in this world with an eternal perspective, we need to know this Christ and we need to know the Christ in whom all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell and through whom we have been reconciled. We need to understand what it means to live in Christ now if we want to see our ordinary lives rightly.
What difference does this make? Throughout the rest of this letter, Paul is spelling out the difference that it makes very particularly. If you’ve been familiar with Colossians, or read it before, you know that what’s coming after chapter three is some nitty-gritty specific stuff. He gets down in our junk. No stone is left unturned.
We take this eternal perspective of being placed in Christ and looking forward to seeing our lives revealed with Christ when he appears in glory and he gets to talk about your job, your money issues, your relationships, your anger problem, sexuality issues, your words, your attitude, and your ministry. This is very practical application.
He takes what it means to be in Christ and he applies it to all of these ordinary circumstances for our ordinary lives. And he does this for not just you as individuals, but for all of you. Remember, Paul is writing to a local church. They use a plural.
The translation from Greek into Spanish is “Ustedes.” Into Farsi, it’s “Shumar,” French, “Vous.” In the southern U.S., it’s “All y’all.” When Christ who is all y’all’s life appears, then all y’all will also appear with him in glory together, raised together with Christ.
Jesus is renewing us into his image, a new humanity, a new man, Paul calls it. We don’t live the old way any longer. We don’t see our earthly circumstances in this way any longer. We see them rightly with an eternal perspective because that’s not who we are anymore. We’ve been taken out of Adam and placed in Christ forever. So we worship the Lord Jesus in spirit and in truth.
And Jesus says, “Behold, I am making all things new.” He’s making it new. And this new is coming true in the global church everywhere right now. You won’t read that in the news. You’ll read it and Colossians. So when you look at your life or the newsreel, your earthly life and the world around you, the explanation is this, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.
“The old has passed away. Behold the new has come.” Jesus walked out of his grave. He walked out of his grave, literally, physically, really. He walked out of his grave the first man in the new creation. So if you’re in him, in this Christ, you’re raised together with him. And you are not just like a new creation. You are a new creation. And new creations live out their ordinary lives with a heavenly perspective.
There’s a battle for our minds, a war. So we take captive every thought to the obedience of Christ and we do it together in our local churches. We do it by feasting on a steady diet of God’s word with all y’all, and slowly, slowly, slowly, ever so slowly. It seems sometimes we will live like people whose lives are hidden with Christ in God.
“If then you’ve been raised with Christ,” Paul says, “Seek the things that are above. Set your minds on things that are above.” Like I said at the beginning, my main goal in this workshop is to encourage you to dive into Colossians and let the word of God renew your mind slowly, slowly over time. Don’t walk away from this workshop and think, “Oh, I got Colossians in my pocket now.”
Go back into Colossians and spend significant time soaking in this eternal perspective Paul is giving us. Go home and study for yourself. Bring your sisters around you and pass it on. Colossians is a perfect place to go, to have our minds renewed so that we are totally heavenly-minded so we can see the reality of our earthly lives. Let’s pray and ask for God’s help to see things the way he sees them.
Father, thank you for your word, for creating us to be… We’re dependent creatures who live by every word that proceeds from your mouth. And I pray that the word of Christ would dwell in us richly, that we would teach to admonish one another in all wisdom, singing Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in our hearts to you.
And God, whatever we do in our earthly lives, in word or deed that we would do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus in whom you have hidden our lives and in whom our lives will appear with him in glory. God, we long for that day and pray that it would come soon. In Jesus’ name, we pray, Amen.