What Is The Center of Your Life?
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Delivered By
Pastor Ed Dinkins
Delivered On
March 3, 2014
Central Passage
Colossians 3:1-17
First Sunday Service

The commentary for the sermon text is taken from the Life Application Study Bible:

"In chapter 2 (of Colossians), Paul exposed the wrong reasons for self-denial.  In chapter 3, he explains the true Christian behavior - putting on the new nature by accepting Christ and regarding the old nature as dead.  We change our moral and ethical behavior by letting Christ live within us, so that he can shape us into what we should be.

"For ye are dead" means we should have as little desire for this world as a dead person has.  The Christian's real home is where Christ lives (John 14:2,3).  This gives us a different perspective on our life here on earth.  To "set your affection on things above" means to look at life from God's perspective and to seek what he desires.  This is the antidote to materialism; we gain the proper perspective on material goods when we take God's view of them.  The more we regard the world around as God does, the more we will live in harmony with him.  We must not become too attached to what is only temporary.

Christ gives us power to live for him now, and he gives us hope for the future - he will return.  In the rest of this chapter Paul explains how Christians should act now in order to be prepared for Christ's return.

"Mortify therefore your members" means we should consider ourselves dead and unresponsive to evil desires: sexual sin, impurity, lustful desires, and materialism.  Just like diseased limbs of a tree, they must be cut off before they destroy us.  We must make a conscious, daily decision to remove anything that supports or feeds these desires and to rely on the Holy Spirit's power.

Paul's words to "put off" these sins can be translated, "lay aside the old self and put on the new".  This action was not so much mystical but practical and moral.  Be done with your old morals and commit yourself to those Christ teaches.  Paul was appealing to the commitment the believers had made in their baptism and urging them to remain true to their confession of faith.  They were to "put off" the old life and "put on" the new way of living given by Christ and guided by the Holy Spirit.  If you have made such a commitment, are you remaining true to it?

Lying to one another disrupts unity by destroying trust.  It tears down relationships and may lead to serious conflict in the church.

The Christian is in a continuing education program.  The more we know of Christ and his work, the more we are being changed to be like him.  Because this process is lifelong, we must never cease learning and obeying.  There is no justification for drifting along, but there is an incentive to find the rich treasures of growing in him.  It takes practice, review, patience, and concentration to keep in line with his will.  

The Christian church should have no barriers of nationality, race, education, social standing, wealth, religion, or power.  Christ breaks down all barriers and accepts all people who come to him.  Nothing should keep us from telling others about Christ or accepting into our fellowship any and all believers (Eph. 2: 14-15).  Christians should be in the business of building bridges, not walls.

Paul offers a strategy to help us live for God day to day:  1) Imitate Christ's merciful, forgiving attitude, 2) let love (charity) guide your life, 3) let the peace of God rule in your heart, 4) always be thankful, 5) keep God's word in you at all times, 6) lives as Jesus Christ's representative.

The key to forgiving others is remembering how much God has forgiven you.  Is it difficult for you to forgive someone who has wronged you a little when God has forgiven you much?  Realizing God's infinite love and forgiveness can help you love and forgive others.

Christians should live in perfect harmony ("perfectness").  This does not eliminate all differences in opinion, but loving Christians will work together, despite their differences.  Such love is not a feeling, but a decision to meet others' needs.  To live in love leads to peace between individuals and among the members of the body of believers.  Do problems in your relationship with other Christians cause open conflicts or mutual silence?  Consider wehat you can do to heal those relationships with love.

The word "rule" comes from the language of athletics: Paul tells us to let Christ's peace be umpire or referee in our heart.  Our heart is the center of conflict because there our feelings and desires clash - our fears and hopes, our distrust and trust, our jealousy and love.  How can we deal with these constant conflicts and live as God wants?  Paul explain that we must decide between conflicting elements by using the rule of peace.  Which choice will promote peace in our soul and in our churches?

As a Christian, you represent Christ at all times - whereever you go and whatever you say.  What impression do people have of Christ when they see or talk with you?"

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