Died to the Old, Alive to the New
Series: Stand-Alone Sermons
Guest preacher Chris Andino shows us how in Christ we are dead to the old, alive to the new, and how we can now live in accordance with that.
Already, Not Yet: How to Live in the Last Days, David Briones
Intro: Today, many across the world will make new year’s resolutions. Some will make promises like; trying to lose weight. Many will try to read more books, and if you’re Christian, you promise to get past Exodus in your one-year Bible reading plan. But all of these new year’s resolutions have a theme. They all are about becoming a new you. They all point to the future of what you hope to accomplish or be. Now, I am not here to tell you that making new year’s resolutions means that you are not a Christian or that you are sinning against God or that the apostle Paul made new year’s resolutions, or that the Bible is telling you to do so. But the question is why does the world do it? They do it because they are not satisfied with themselves. The world is always trying to improve itself through self-help mechanisms. Now I am not saying that losing weight is a bad thing or that saying that you are going to read the bible in a year is bad. But what is your motivation? A recent study shows that “43% of all people expect to fail before February, and almost one out of four quit within the first week of setting their New Year’s resolution. Most people quit before the end of January, and only 9% see their resolutions through until succession. 9% successfully keep their New Year’s resolutions.” But why? Because self-help mechanisms don’t work. They don’t work for the world and they don’t work for us Christians. We need Christ and him alone to live the Christian life. The problem is not new to us today.
In the book of Colossians, the apostle Paul is writing to Christians who are facing pressure from Jewish philosophers to add to their Christianity. They were not denying that Christ died and rose from the dead but that his sacrifice was not sufficient. They wanted the Christians of Colosse to add to their Christianity. By adding OT Jewish rituals they would become more accepted by God. they needed to add OT ceremonial law to the work of Christ. Paul in combating this false teaching said that Christ is sufficient. That what the Christians in Colosse needed was Christ only and him alone, not OT ceremonial laws. They have all that they need. But instead what the apostle Paul challenges believers in Colosse is to grow in their maturity in Christ. Paul points out that the reason why you are able to grow in your mature in Christ is that you are already are mature in Christ (Col.1:22-23) and in verse 28, Paul reminds them that they are “filled in him” (Col.2:10). They are already a new person, therefore they don’t need to strive to be is already what they are in Christ. To tie to our time and what I said before, there is no need to make new year’s resolutions. Because you are the person that God needs you to be IN CHRIST! I am going to prove this in three ways first, I am going to talk about “who are you” by looking at verses 1-4, second “who you are not” by looking at verses 5-9 and finally, “who you should be” by looking at verses 10-17.
Who are you? .v1-4.
Paul uses the conditional clause “if” the better translation is “therefore.” What is Paul referring to here? Therefore refers back to Paul’s main point in (Col.2:16-23). But I want to read to you Verse, 23. That all of these rules and regulations do nothing to stop the indulgence of the flesh. Nothing we do apart from Christ will make us live holy. So where does Paul point to make us holy? Paul is referring to being risen with Christ. Paul is grounding our holiness on the resurrection of Christ. This is important because when we think about the resurrection we often times think of it in the past (our justification) and in the future (our glorification) but very rarely do we think of it in the present. What does Christ’s resurrection mean for me today? Paul is telling us here that Christ’s resurrection has begun now spiritually in this age and will be consummated physically at Christ’s final coming. So there is an “already and not yet” aspect to this verse. What is the “already and not yet”? The “already and not yet” is living with a future reality in the present. These truths are true today and will be realized in the age to come. David Borines says, “these things are true of you now, but they are not yet fully experienced.” Although we have not yet experienced the fullness of the resurrection, we live as though we have been fully resurrected. This is why Paul can tell us “to seek the things that are above.” He tells us because of what Christ has done for us. If you read Romans 6 you will get a more clear picture of this. But for the sake of time, I must move on. What Paul is telling us as believers is that we have died with Christ and have risen with him. That means, You have died to your old nature and risen to a new one. (Col.2:11-12, 14). therefore Paul tells the believers of Colosse that they have died to the old world (Col.2:20a). In a similar fashion, we have died to the influence and philosophy of this world. Now I am not saying that making new year’s resolutions is wrong, or that you are not a Christian if you do. But, it is not tied to your true identity. The world does it because the world does not experience this. Only the Christian does. The world is never satisfied with whom they are. They are always true new things and new ways to improve themselves. But not the Christian, the Christian is satisfied with whom they are because the Christian is in Christ, and as Galtiaons 2:20 says “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Paul is using resurrection to help us understand our Christian life. Paul wants us to look at our resurrection in the present. But how? Because we have been raised with Christ, we now have been united with Christ. This union helps us to fulfill Pauls’s command by “seeking the things above.” This here is imperative. It is a command, that follows the classic indicative-imperative pattern. Greg Beal says, “because the Colossians have come into union with Christ’s resurrection, they now have the resurrection power to obey God’s commands (keep seeking the things above).” Because we have been united to Christ through his death and resurrection we now have the ability to live holy and for God. The resurrection freed us from the dominion of sin. Since this is true about you Paul then commands us to change our thinking. He tells us to seek some translation and have it as set our hearts on the things above.
Set your heart on the things above
Because of our union with Christ, the apostle Paul calls us to change our affections. By changing our affections we should change our thinking. We should move away from the thinking of this world to a different world. We are no longer citizens of this world. Therefore, our way of living should be different. When Paul says to “set our mind on the things above.” He is talking about lifestyle and a way of living. We are to conduct ourselves in a way that shows that we are not of this world. Why should Christians set their minds “on the things above?” Paul gives us the answer. Because that’s where Christ is seated.
Paul is allotted to Psa. 110:1. “The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool.”
Paul has in mind the exalted Christ. The Christ who has conquered death, the one when he says in (Col.2:15) “disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.” Christ is the fulfillment of Psalms 110:1. David who wrote Psalms 110 was pointing to a new and better king. Just like David came to defeat the enemies of Israel. Christ came to defeat the enemies of believers. As king. He has overcome all of God’s enemies. That enemy was death, Satan, and the world. Christ has overcome them all. But not only did Christ come to defeat our enemies but he also came as a priest. The phrase to seat at the right hand of God has a Priestly language. Christ came as a priest to offer himself as a sacrifice to us. And as a priest, he goes on our behalf to God. He represents man to God. he intercedes for us. And by interceding for us He has given us access to the Father. Christ, therefore, is a better David and prest-king. Therefore, since Christ is seated at the right hand of God we live under the lordship of Christ. Christ is our master. We live and obey him. We live under his authority. This is the problem of mankind. They are rebellious. They do not want to live under the Lordship of Christ. They seek to live life according to themselves. 2 Tim. 3:2-5 “For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.” But a Christian no longer lives like that. They do as Peter tells us in 1 Pet. 4:2 “so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God.” This is possible because Christ suffered in the flesh for us, therefore we are able to also suffer in the flesh and cease from sin.
The reason why we should do this is that our life is no longer ours but Christ’s.
Our life is hidden in Christ. (Col. 3:3) “For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” So my life, my true life is in union with Christ’s resurrected life.
To have your life hidden in Christ has a few applications. It can be applied to our life on this side of heaven. But I believe Paul is pointing to something in the future or as we theologians would say eschatological. I believe that the apostle Paul is making pointing to a teaching that is often associated with reformed theology, “the perseverance of the saints.” I believe this because of what he says at the end of verse 4, “then you also will appear with him in glory.” Glory is a referring to our glorified state. Where we will be with God in heaven. The doctrine of “the perseverance of the saints” boils down to this, it is God persevering his chosen people for the coming of the Lord. it is God guarding and keeping his people until Christ returns. Your life is under the protection and care of God. He cares for you and he will be with you in every circumstance whether good or bad. God will make sure that you make it to the finish line. This is our hope that Christ will return and we will be with him. This should not discourage us but motivate us. This should motivate us to live holy (1 John 3:2-3) “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.”
Which brings me to my second point “who you are not?”
- “who you are not?” V.5 “put to death”
You are not your old person. You must consider yourself dead to that old person which is dead to sin. Paul is giving us commands to then put to death sin. It means do not give it no time or energy, John Owens says “be killing sin, or sin be killing you.” Don’t entertain sin, do not let sin enter and rest in your mind. Paul describes a list of sins that you once practiced, “sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” He goes on in verse 8 “you must put them all away: ranger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.” 1 Cor. 6:11 says this, “And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” You are not yourself, you are a new person. Your life is hidden with Christ. Therefore, I move to my last point, “who you should be” V10 “and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.”
- “Who you should be.”
Paul tells us to put in a new self. Paul is telling us to strip off our old clothes for new ones. What are the new clothes Paul tells us to put on? Paul tells us in Rom.13:14 “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.” In other words, stop acting like your old self. Start living like your new self. Began to walk like you have been resurrected spiritually. Walk in the image of Christ. Walk as though you belong to Christ. Therefore put on the characteristics of Christ, v.12 “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” Because we have put on Christ, which means that we are now united to Christ, we have the ability to do what Paul just finished describing. This ability does not come from our strength but through the strength of the Lord. We call this grace. It is God’s undeserved favor and this undeserved favor is a free gift of God given to us. It is given to us because of Christ. Grace is an acting of God that works in us to change our capacities for work and obedience. This grace produces real, practical outcomes in people’s lives, like being sufficient for good deeds or enduring the thorn in the flesh. This favor overflows in powerful, practical helpfulness from God in your daily life where you most need it
As a new you. Live like your new person. Live as you belong to Christ. Ask God to help you live your resurrected life.