Our faith should be shown in our action, not just in our talk. People should be able to see that in us Christ Jesus is alive. We know who is really active in our life. Is Christ active in our lives or is it our sinful nature or the work of demons?
The book of Colossians is written to the church in Colosse. The primary problem of the church in Colosse. was Christ was loosing his supremacy. It was a Gentile church. Gentiles church means it had non-Jewish believers. So Christ was somehow losing his supremacy or his lordship in the church. So Paul deals it very strongly in Col.1. He talks about how Christ is every thing and Christ is the head of the church. Through Christ everything came and we all are there because of Christ, we all live together because of Christ. He just exalts Christ in an amazing way. And he also deals with some strange teaching that was going in the church, some rules that was not very helpful which are worldly rules. We are going to focus on chapter 3 it talks about how we need to be active Christians.
1. Remember our baptism
Paul keeps reminding the Gentile Christians about their baptism. There is a constant reminder about this baptism.
1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.
2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.
4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
When we have been raised with Christ? - at the time of baptism, but also it says you died, when did we die? - At the time of baptism because of our sins we died and we participated in the death burial and the resurrection at the time of baptism. So Paul is somehow reminding the Christians to remember the baptism. Remember that we died and our sinful life must be dead. So with all this, how are we supposed to be? We have to set our hearts on things above. Set our minds on things above not on earthly things. A mindset that determines the actions of our life.
What do we normally worry about? What is our mindset like, we are worried about our future; we are worried about our job. We are worried about our future how are we going to live on this earth. We are worried about earthly things. We are worried about our food. When our mindset is on the things of the earth, our actions will also be connected to the things of the earth.
We as a human being should constantly remind to think about our baptism. So often we get all clogged up in our day to day burdens, problems and worries and struggles and all entanglements of the earth and we have to be reminded. When we are active Christian some things die and certain things come alive. Certain things have to die we cannot be an active Christian with our old life resurfacing all the time and living according to it. Something has to go, something has to change and something renewed has to come alive.
2. Put Off
5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.
6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.
7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived.
The 5 things Paul mention sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed. You used to walk in these ways in the life you once lived. Paul is again reminding about the baptism, he is saying you used to walk in these ways you once lived. What is the life that you once lived? - Our sinful life.
8 But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.
9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices
10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.
11 Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.
Five things again Paul has a nice ways of putting things, 5 things at a time. 1st 5 things and next 5 things what are the 5 things anger, rage, malice, slander and filthy languages from your lips. What are these 5 things going to do - destroy our relationship.
What else it says circumcised and uncircumcised it doesn't matter. We are all same. That has nothing to do with our superiority. Barbarians, who are barbarians? They are non Greek-speaking gentiles. Greeks are Greek speaking gentiles. Scythians are non-Greek speaking gentiles at the lower end, they are like uncivilized people they are really rash and uncivilized, so in the church there is nothing called civilized and uncivilized. Once you become a Christian, Christ is in all and Christ is all. So whatever language, whatever cast, creed, whatever we belong to, once we become a Christian it doesn't matter.
3. Put On
What else Paul is saying finally we have to put on. So we have to remember our baptism. When we remember our baptism we have to get rid of something and also we have to put on something. Active Christianity is presentable. It is not some thing that we put on the dirty clothes and keep every body wondering whether you are Christian or not because you still seem to be putting on the old clothes. Everybody is looking forward for you to get rid of those old clothes and put on the new clothes. As an active Christian we are supposed to put on new clothes.
12 Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.
17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Five things, compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patient you know what it does - this promotes relationship. This makes us close to one another. This makes us happy as a family this makes us loving as a church, as a family. When we put on our old clothes and walk around expecting some thing great to happen. Nothing is going to happen unless we get rid of this and put this on.
Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues the 5 things he said what we are suppose to put, we are suppose to tie it with the belt, what is this belt over all these virtues put on love. Bind them together in perfect unity.