SERMON – NOVEMBER 20, 2016
Colossians 3:1-4 – Look to the Things Above (mp3)
Having exhorted the Colossians to not look to regulations and asceticism to aid them in putting to death sin, Paul turns now to the positive: they are to look at the things which are above. The problem, however, is that it is not clear what “the things above” are, or how they are to help Christians avoid “the indulgence of the flesh.” Today, we will try to explain this passage through the use of an allegory, built off of the image of sin as a slave-owner in Romans 6.
1. The Allegory
Sin owns you, and you are his slave. You have always been so, the fetters and chains were fit to you from the time you were born. When Sin is finally through with you, he will turn you over that you might receive your wages for your service: death. But, prior to your death, word comes that your wages have been taken by Another. Your chains now severed, you can go to the far Country that you have read of, filled with hope, peace, comfort, and love. Bur there are pitfalls along the way.
2. Resist worrying about the locks
Many who have their chains cut still notice the locks intact. They realize that the fullness of freedom has not been given yet, and spend their time trying to free themselves from the locks, instead of progressing toward the far Country, and life. These will die in the earth, never coming into the fullness of the Kingdom. See Galatians 5:2-4.
3. Resist longing for things below
Others, knowing their freedom, will instead look to the things that surround them, and the relative good they see others have. Some have better lives, have better rages to wear, food that is two steps above horrible, and roofs over their heads. These, although free, do not leave, for their minds are consumed with the poor things they cannot have here, instead of the glorious things they can have in the far Country. They, like those who are concerned over the locks, die in the earth. See Luke 16:19-31; Matthew 6:1-6.
This, hopefully, is not our fate. Looking to what is above, we let go the things of the earth. In Philippians 4:10-13 Paul gives us a glimpse of what “seeking the things that are above” looks like. If Paul longed for the peace, hope, comfort, security, and blessing of the world, he would be without hope. But because he looks to those things which are above, he can endure with the comfort of Christ. We are no different. If we look to the things of the world for comfort, we will find that we have to pursue the things of the world to find them. But if our comfort comes from above, if our eyes are fixed there, then we can endure the difficult things of this world without falling into sin.