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Sermon3 Col3 Guide

Updated: Apr 9, 2023

Colossians 3:1-17, recitation verse Col 3:10

The praise and honor and glory be to our heavenly Father who seeks worshipers who worship with spirit and truth.

In the postmodern era, relativism due to advances in knowledge and pluralism due to the pursuit of diversity are great threats to the modern church and its members. However, this relativism and pluralism seem to be problems for the church in Colossae in the first century too. So Paul, writing to the church in Colossae, exhorted them to follow Jesus Christ in order to be built up into a complete person, not only because he is superior to any creature in the world, but also because he is the source of true wisdom as the power of the resurrection drives the Christian life to put off the old man and to put on new man. So today, in Easter Sunday, I hope, looking into Colossians 3:1-17, we would like to learn the meaning and power of Jesus' resurrection for us as we strive to become more like Him in the here and now.

1) Today's passage comes from the Epistle of Colossians, a letter written by Paul to the church in Colossae when he was detained in Rome, around 60-62 AD, after hearing that secular teachings such as philosophy (Gnosticism), legalism, and angel worship were infiltrating the church in Colossae, which he had planted during his second mission trip, and were stunting their growth, to exhort them to be filled with the word of Christ, doing everything in word and deed in the name of Christ to be perfect in the Lord, for in Him are hidden all true wisdom and knowledge, and the power of the resurrection.

2) Here Jesus’ resurrection has threefold significance: a) It constituted a declaration of the Father that the last enemy had been vanquished, the penalty paid, and the condition on which life was promised, met. b) It is evidence of Jesus' innocence and by His resurrection, He as declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness (Rom 1: 4), c) It symbolized what was destined to happen to the members of Christ’s mystical body in their justification, spiritual birth, and future blessed resurrection, Rom. 6:4, 5, 9; 8:11; 1 Cor. 6:14; 15:20–22; 2 Cor. 4:10, 11, 14; Col. 2:12; 1 Thess. 4:14, and also is also connected instrumentally with their justification, regeneration, and final resurrection, Rom. 4:25; 5:10; Eph. 1:20; Phil. 3:10; 1 Pet. 1:3, as His humanity was not only restored to its original power and perfection in the flesh, but was also exalted.[1]

3) In particular, in today's text, Col. 3: 1-17, Paul writes to the Colossians, who worshiped angels, pursuing philosophy, the elementary disciplines of the world, and striving to keep religious observances, saying that these things appear to be wise through human-made religion, fake humility, and vain asceticism, but they are of no value in stopping the greed of the flesh of the flesh, i.e., the old man (the members of the earth), whereas Jesus Christ is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation, far more preeminent above every creature in heaven and on earth, and worthy to be worshipped; and in Him alone are hidden all the treasures of true wisdom and knowledge; and in Him alone is found all that is necessary for the justification and sanctification, so that we have to follow Him.

4) Moreover, when believers are united to Jesus Christ through baptism, not only a change in their legal status, justification, but also, a change inward and in behavior, sanctification, is accompanied by. This process is described in today's passage as the dying-away of the old self, i.e., to put to death what is earthly in them: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire and covetousness and to put off the deeds of the old man, i.e., anger, wrath, malice, slander, shameful words of the mouth, and lies, and then the rising-to-life of the new, i.e., with the character of compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, resulting in bearing with one another, forgiving one another with life of love, peace, and thanksgiving.

5) And today's passage says that the foundation and power to live such a life comes from the fact that, through baptism, we not only died with Christ in his death (2:20), but also were raised with Him in His resurrection (3:1), so that our true life is hidden with Him in God (3:3) and will finally be glorifed at His return. In other words, through baptism, our old self was crucified with Christ, and we were raised with Christ to be born again into a new self.

6) Here It is important to understand that when we say that the old self is crucified, we do not mean that the old self died once for all. Just as the crucified died only after all the blood and water have been poured out from them, our old self, after being crucified, goes through a gradual process of dying, which John Owen calls "mortification," so that we should not provide water and blood to the crucified old self during this process, by fight them to the point of blood, whenever the lusts of the old self and its deeds tempt us, rather we must fill our hearts with faith in Christ and the grace of the Holy Spirit so that the new self who has been born again can grow. So in verse 10, "have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator”, the word for new self is used with the Greek ‘neos’, which means "new in time," and then the word for "renewed" is used with the Greek ‘kainos’, which means "new in quality," meaning that the believer has put on the new man once for all, but as a result of that, he or she must be renewed day by day, becoming more and more like Christ. And also Paul used the definitive past tense (aorist) to express the words "putting off" of the old man and "putting on" the new man as a once-for-all event when we believe, and then using the present tense in v.10 "being renewed in knowledge” to explain that as the continual renewal process, i.e., the sanctification process to become more like Jesus is a gradual process.

7) There are a couple of things we would like to take as our lessons. First, His resurrection is not only a symbol and ground for justification, regeneration, and the future resurrection of the body, as Bavinck said in his book “The Wonderful t Works of God," that “If the death of the cross is the fulfillment of redemption, then the resurrection is the application and distribution of redemption," but also it is the foundation and power for our sanctification. As His resurrection is not merely resurrecting of our mortal body and reuniting again with the soul, but the perfection and even raising to a higher level of His humanity, we should rejoice and hope in the resurrection of Jesus, not only because it means the resurrection of the body at His return, but also because it is the ground and power of our sanctification, whereby we are born again as a new self and become more and more like Jesus toward the perfection and even elevation to the higher level.

8) Second, the character of the new self, who has been chosen by God, set apart and loved by God, is of compassion, mercy, humility, meekness, and patience (v.12), and results in the life of bearing with difficult people in the community, forgiving one another even when there happens conflict, to live life of love, peace, and thanksgiving, For we have been forgiven by the Lord and accepted as we are, and therefore, as people who know the joy and freedom of being thus forgiven, we should live such a life of tolerating and forgiving others whom the Lord has already forgiven.

9) Third, the meaning of verse 10 that we are the one "to put on the new self" and the one who "are being renewed in the image of God to the knowledge of God," is that our renewal, i.e., the sanctification, comes through true "knowledge," in the word of the Lord, so we should make best effort to to make it our own by diligently reading and meditating on the Scriptures, as v.16 says "let the word of Christ dwell in you richly."

10) And finally, as Paul says in verse 17, "And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him," where the meaning of doing things in the name of the Lord Jesus is that we have to talk and do as we are representing the Lord with authority given. So, we should check in our words and deeds “Would I really say or do this asif I were representing the Lord Jesus?".

Key Questions as Small Group Activity

Q1 Today's text teaches us that we are to be conformed to the image of God and grow in knowledge - in the knowledge of God's will (1:9) and in the knowledge of God (1:10). Therefore, it is imperative that we not only read, meditate, and memorize Christ's words - the Bible - but also that we apply and review them to our lives to learn the wisdom and knowledge in them. I hope you may share with your team members what you learn and any idea how to apply today’s learning to your life.

Q2 And we learned in v17 that whatever we do, in word or deed, we are to do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, which means that we are given that authority by the Lord and have to represent Him in our words and deeds. So as looking at our words and deeds, I hope you may share how you check that and how you may improve that with your team members.

Love you. Thank you. God bless you.

Prayer Note

( ) God ( ) !

Thanks for ( )

Praise, gratitude and glory be to You, Lord!

Today, I realized my sin (pains) that ( ),

please forgive (heal) me and help me not to ( ).

I learned that ( )

Please help me (or someone) to ( )

I pray in ( ) Jesus’ name. Amen.

[1] Berkhof, L. (1938). Systematic theology (pp. 346–347). Wm. B. Eerdmans publishing co.


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