B.C.P. Easter Day Colossians 3:1-7
Col:3:1: If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2: Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3: For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4: When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. 5: Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: 6: For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: 7: In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.
On the first Easter Eve, Jesus was dead. On that first Easter morning he was alive. Never to die again.
In his letter to the Christians at Colossae Paul reminds them that they have died to their old, sinful way of life. A life where self comes first. We see examples of this now. Some shops will ignore the law and the wishes of their staff by opening today. Under the Sunday Trading Act it is illegal to open on Easter Sunday. But if they caught someone shoplifting they would expect the law to come to their rescue then ! The shop owners are covetous, they desire the money in people's pockets so much they will beak the law and use their employees. Their god is money. This is idolatrous.
Paul wrote that God's wrath will be felt by people who disobey his will. These people may be pillars of society, wealthy, influential, say they believe in God, even attend church, but their disobedience will result in God's righteous anger and just punishment because continuing and deliberate disobedience will be punished.
Did you realise that the people who are buried in our cemetery won't be shopping today. Why ? Because they are dead.
Christians have died to their former way of life where they were slaves to sin. We have died to sin. Therefore, it has lost its hold on us and we should not live a sinful life. Instead we have risen to a new life where we are free to follow God's ways. That doesn't mean that we will become perfect overnight, but it should mean that we should be getting better all the time, to pinch a line from a Beatles' song !
God the Holy Spirit gives Christians the power to crucify our sinful nature and to live a new life. A life free from sin so we can know God an so we can follow his perfect will. For us to continue in sin is a denial of our very nature.
God gave life to Jesus on that first Easter Sunday because He accepted the self-sacrifice that Jesus had offered on the cross. It is in God's nature to give life. We may be aware of this when, for example, a baby is born or when the first blooms of spring appear. We are reminded of this every Sunday when we remember the life that God the Father gave to Jesus, and, in turn, the life that Jesus can, therefore, give to his followers. Those who are united with him. Believers are united with Jesus, and because Jesus is in heaven, it follows that they and we are in heaven. Heaven is not a place but a state of being. Being in the presence of God the Father through the death and resurrection of God the Son by faith inspired by God the Holy Spirit.
This week newspapers have been carrying stories of David Beckham's alleged affair. We can imagine the distress that this must have caused his wife and children. David has denied this story so we cannot be sure if it is true.
People may try to hide their sins from others, but they cannot hide them from God who sees everything. But God will not see the sins of those who are united with Christ. Their sins were nailed to the cross with Jesus and, instead, God sees Jesus perfection in their place.
We are to rely upon God's Holy Spirit, who lives inside every Christian, to motivate us to follow God's ways and to give us the fruit that will make us more like Jesus. This has to involves us in making a conscious effort to follow God's ways.
Col:3:1: If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2: Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
My brother-in-law and family regularly come from Holland by car and ferry to visit his parents in Peterborough. When they drive off the boat at Harwich they have to drive differently. In Holland they drive on the right, in Britain we drive on the left. In Holland you give way to traffic coming onto a roundabout, in Britain you give way to traffic that is already on the roundabout.
When you move from one kingdom to another there will be changes, and Paul reminds Christians that they live in a new kingdom, with a new King. This should involve a conscious turning away from what is wrong and a deliberate seeking what is right.
The root of the word for 'seek' is to strain, to extract, showing the seriousness that is needed. The word translated 'affection' means to exercise one's mind, to be mentally disposed in a certain direction, to intensely interest oneself in something with obedience. The N.I.V. says, verse 2, 'Set your mind on things above...'
Following King Jesus has to involve intense effort and this will challenge the world and result in opposition from outside as well as within.
The mind and will of the Christian should work in tandem with the indwelling Holy Spirit to enable the believer to live a full life, lived in obedience to God's will. Jesus compared himself to the Good Shepherd and said , 'I have come so that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.' John 10:10
God's will is best for us, for everybody else, for the world and the universe. He is not a spoilsport. When God said 'You shall not commit adultery' it was because adultery hurts the spouses and the children of the adulterers and it goes against his plan. That sex should only be enjoyed within a loving, exclusive, life-long, public, heterosexual relationship, i.e. marriage. Obedience to God shows if Jesus really is our King and brings glory to God the Father.
As Christians we have to make a right choice. We are to continually put to death our sinful nature. We are to repent when we sin and seek to live a new life in the forgiveness that God gives. We are to persevere in the power of the Holy Spirit and in deliberate obedience to God's will. Then we can look forward on confidence to the day when Jesus' kingdom will be established on earth as it is in heaven.