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Lesson 3 -- Chapter 3

We Are Risen With Christ!

Colossians 3:1-4:"Since, then, you have been raised with Christ,
set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.
Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.
When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory
. "

We are so earthly minded.
Most of the time our attention is centered on the things right around us.
It's natural for us to think about our jobs, our material possessions, our finances, our health,
and the people who are important to us.

Many Christians live their entire lives without ever understanding who they are in Christ
and the provisions they have in Christ.
Paul is reminding us of who we are in Christ and of how important it is to see ourselves
from that perspective.
He's showing us that how we live our lives on earth depends on our having
a heavenly perspective.

A New Identity
"Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above,
where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.
Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.
When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory."
(Colossians. 3:1-4 NIV)

So many Christians do not understand exactly who they are in Christ.
Our understanding must come from the Bible.
In other words, we are who God says we are, and we have what God says we have.

His word is the determining factor, not our feelings, or what someone else has said about us.
The beginning point of understanding our new identity is the infallible word of God.
It tells us the truth about us.

And we learn from the Bible that we have a new identity in Christ.
Our text tells us that two important things have happened to us–– we died
and we rose from the dead.
According to the Scripture, when Christ died on the Cross for our sin,
we died there with Him in a spiritual sense.
Christ died as our substitute, in our place.
But we entered into that death vicariously.
That means that when He died, we died with Him.
We died to sin.

We have been set free from the penalty of sin and the power of sin.
In theological terms, this is called the substitutionary atoning death of Christ.
And then, when He rose from the dead, we rose with him in a spiritual sense.
Because of his resurrection, we have been raised to a new life of the Spirit.
The Bible calls this "being born again".

We have been born from above by the power of the Spirit to live an abundant life
in a new spiritual dimension.
According to our text, we dwell spiritually with Christ in a heavenly realm.
The old you has been put to death and the new you has been made alive.
You are now a new creation in Christ.

We are identified with Jesus and He with us.
As Christians, we should never see ourselves apart from Christ.
Our lives are hidden with Christ in God.
We are thoroughly identified with Christ.
He is our life.

We are one with him.
We dwell with him.
We're not simply earth dwellers.
We are heaven dwellers.
Now, it is easy to say these things.
It is much more difficult to see those things.
But we must see them, even though we may be dealing with all of the problems
we face in this physical dimension.
That is the point.

The point is that if I see this new reality, it will change how I feel about my current reality.
If I see myself as dwelling with Christ, it makes all the difference in how I deal
with the affairs of this life.
It makes all the difference in how I see myself, and my self worth.
That is why Paul reminds us that we have a new identity in Christ
and we should never see ourselves apart from Him.

We have a new focus

"Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above,
where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.
Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.
When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory
."
(Colossians. 3:1-4 NIV)

In order for us to appreciate our new identity, we must develop a new focus.
We must learn to concentrate our attention on eternal realities.
Take a look at the things on which we focus.
We focus on money.
And we allow money to define who we are and how we see ourselves.

This is also true concerning our material possessions.
The kind of house we live in or the kind of car we drive portrays a certain image.
The kind of work we do defines us as well.
We identify ourselves as an engineer, or lawyer, or doctor, or contractor,
or businessman, or steelworker.
Now that may be what we do, but is that who we are?

Family heritage is important to some.
The level of education attained is important to others.
Even our associations, and their level of importance can be used to define
who we are and our level of importance.
We allow these things to define us, but we shouldn't.

The problem with all these things is that they are not secure, and neither is our security.
None of these earthly things will last.
They are all temporal.

These things are not fulfilling.
They do give us pleasure.
But they do not bring the fulfillment that provides real security and true peace.
You see, you can have all these things and more.
But it is all just window dressing.

Underneath, you are still there;– the real you.
We must see who we are in Christ.
We have been made part of His family.

Do you know what that means?
Do you know about your privileges?
Do you know the promises of God that are effective on your behalf?
Do you know how God views you?

Our text says that "your life is now hidden with Christ in God."
Already, we are dwelling in heavenly places in Christ.
We are citizens of heaven.
This world is not our home.
Our true dwelling place is with Christ in God.

Twice Paul says: "set your hearts on things above; set your minds on things above."
In other words, concentrate your attention on eternal realities.
Don't simply look at what's happening around you.
You have a new focus.

Focus on those things that are eternal.
These "things above" that we are to seek are our spiritual blessings in Christ.
They are the spiritual blessings that enable us to live Christ-like lives.

The fruit of the spirit found in Galatians 5:22-23 should be visible in our lives:
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
"

By spending time with Jesus everyday in prayer and meditation upon His word,
we will develop a strong sense His presence
And we should begin to look and act like Him.
When we focus on His grace and His mercy, we will become more gracious
and merciful ourselves.
When we focus on His love and humility we will become more loving and humble ourselves.
"Christ... is our life."
That should change how we see everything.

One more thing.
When he comes to take us home, we "will appear with him in glory."
1 John 3:2-3: "Beloved, now are we the sons of God,
and it doth not yet appear what we shall be:
but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him;
for we shall see him as he is.
And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure
."

We are seated with Christ in the heavenlies.
Jesus has received us and keeps us, and provides our needs.
We are loved.
We are accepted.
We can boldly proclaim that we are his children.
And that is what we need to see.
That must be our focus.

Open our eyes Lord!
We want to see Jesus!

Then Paul teaches us how to dress.

Colossians 3:5-14 says,
"Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature:
sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.

Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.
You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived.

But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander,
and filthy language from your lips.
Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices
and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.

Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian,
slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.
Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion,
kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.
Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
"
(Colossians 3:5-14 NIV)

It is true that clothes do make a difference.
They make a difference in how others perceive us.
They even make a difference in how we feel about ourselves.
People who are depressed often let their appearance go.
People who feel good about themselves want to look as good as they feel.
Everyone has a certain sense of what is appropriate in a particular situation.
We all have our own understanding of a dress code.

In our text today, the apostle Paul uses this idea of dress to emphasize
how we are to live as Christians.
He links the idea of clothing to certain attitudes and behaviors,
and he reminds us that certain things don't go together.

If we're going to be live the Christian life the way..., then we need to know
what to take off and what to put on.
We need to learn how to clothe ourselves in those attitudes and behaviors.
In our text today, Paul defines what we need as essential and appropriate Christian attire.
We see here that, to dress in the Christian life...

There are some things we must "put off".
"Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature:
sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.
Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.

You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived.
But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice,
slander, and filthy language from your lips.

Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices
and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.

Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian,
slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.
" (Colossians 3:5-11 NIV)

As Christians we must show the world not only what we believe, but also how we behave.
Certain attitudes and actions must be put off and others put on.
Those attitudes and actions that are destructive to the Christian life must be put off.
These are the ways in which you used to walk and that characterized the life you once lived.

Now that you have come to Christ, the old has been replaced by the new,
and the old, when it seeks to reassert itself, must be dealt with in a very decisive way.
In fact, Paul uses some very ruthless language in describing exactly
how we are to handle these old destructive ways of thinking and living.
He tells us that they are to be put to death.
In other words, these things are so dangerous to our current walk with Christ
that they must be destroyed.

In our text Paul gives us two lists.
The first list you might call sins of counterfeit love.
The second list are sins of selfish pride.

Look the sins of counterfeit love.
This is the kind of behavior that characterize people
who are looking for love in all the wrong places.
These are behaviors that substitute for real love in the lives of many people.

The first thing he mentions is "sexual immorality".
The Greek word for that is "porneia".
You will recognize that this word is the basis for our word pornography,

This in its itself is a combination word that means a picture (lit.writing) about sexual acts.
What is intended here is any sexual activity outside of marriage.
For Christians, the only proper context for sex is within marriage.

"Impurity"is next on the list.
The word in Greek is akatharsia, from which we get our word catharsis.
Catharsis means "cleansing", but as used here is in the negative,
implying a dirty, or filthy, or unclean attitude of heart.

The next item on the list is 'lust', which is a translation of the Greek 'pathos', meaning passion.
In this context, it means sexual passion or desire that is selfish and self-centered.
That describes lust.
Lust is a selfish desire to possess for oneself without regard for the welfare of the other person.

Then, there is "greed".
The word in the Greek translated here is a combination word that literally means,
"to have more."

And that is really describes greed.
Greed is a desire to have more.
It really doesn't matter how much you have either.
Poor and rich alike can be greedy.

And the problem with greed is that it consumes you.
It is interesting to note in our text that greed is equated with idolatry.
The message is that idolatry is wanting anything more than God.
This is the end result of greed.

And greed leads to idolatry because it substitutes things for God.
When anything takes the place of God, it is idolatry.
God does not want simply a place in our life, even an important place.
He wants first place.

He does not want to be a priority.
He wants to be the priority.
He does not want prominence.
He wants preeminence.

Now let's turn our attention to what we can describe as sins of "selfish pride".
If you look at the list of these sins, you see that the common thread running throughout
is self-centeredness.
The reason why we behave in the ways described is because we picture ourselves
with an over exaggerated sense of self-importance.

Anger leads this list.
Anger is expressed here as a deep bitterness of heart.
This is an anger that has taken root within our very being.
This is a description of the inner emotional state of the individual.
You would say, "That is an angry person."

Second on the list is rage.
Rage is the result of being an angry person.
Rage is described as the outburst of anger, the explosion of anger.
And all of us have had to contend with both anger and rage at one time or another in our lives.
In fact, you may have had to contend with one or the other of these this past week.

The next sin of selfish pride mentioned is malice.
This is descriptive of an inner attitude.
Malice can be defined as an evil intent to do harm to another person.
It is a hateful and vindictive attitude that not only wants to get even,
but also wants to injure and hurt.

Slander is next.
In the Greek, the word used here is "blasphemia".
We you recognize it as the word, blaspheme.

When it is used regarding God, it is translated in this literal sense.
When it is used regarding what we say about another person, it is translated as slander.
It simply means to speak evil of, or to demean another person.

We are also exhorted not to allow filthy language.
The literal translation from the Greek is "abuse out of your mouth."
What is describe here is not so much cursing as a foul-mouthed abuse of another person.
Of course, we shouldn't be speaking any words that are filthy or foul.

The Scriptures teach us that we will give an account for every word that we speak.
That is the sobering reality that should keep us aware of what we say.
We should be speaking words that are positive, not negative–– words that build up,
not words that destroy and tear down.

Finally, we are told, "Do not lie to each other...."
Again, this is a behavior that has to do with relationships.
When we lie to someone else, we are disrespecting them.
In other words, we don't have enough respect for them to tell them the truth.

All of these sins have to do with our relationships with other people.
The reason why we engage in these destructive behaviors is because we have
a selfish pride that tells us we are more important than others.

Who do they think they are?
Don't they know who I am?

These are not questions the truly humble would ask.
These are questions for the arrogant, prideful person with an exaggerated opinion of himself.
We are told that these are the behaviors in which we used to walk.
These behaviors are a part of our old way of life.
They're not characteristic of the new life in Christ we have been given.
We need to put these off like a set of old dirty clothes.

In fact, we need to put off these behaviors.
We need to destroy them.
We need to kill them outright.
They have no place in the Christian's life.
They were a part of the old you.
They have no part in the new you.

Notice that our text says that you and I have put on the new self,
which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.
We are being conformed into the image of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
We are being changed from the inside out.

And our Scripture passage indicates that this change comes to everyone who comes to Christ,
regardless of his or her race, religious background, or station in life.
Christ is all.
And Christ is in all who are a part of his family.

Then, there are some things we must put on.
" Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion,
kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.
Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
"
(Colossians 3:12-14 NIV)

Just as there are some things that we must put off, so there are some things
that we must put on.
Our Lord did not leave us with a vacuum.
He always replaces what He takes away with something even better.
Before we look at what we put on, however, look at how we are described in our text.

We are called God's chosen people.
Often, people mistakenly believe that salvation is their act because of their own choice,
God saves them.

But the truth is that even before any of our choosing, God has already chosen us.
He loved us before we loved Him and chose us before the foundation of the world.
How does it make you feel to know that He chose you?

We are also called holy.
When God received us to himself through Christ, He declared us "holy".
We are holy because we have been set apart for Him, because we belong to Him.

And now the challenge for us is to live up to who we are in Christ.
We are challenged to live a holy life, because we have been declared holy.

And finally, we are called dearly loved.
The reason that Jesus came to this earth was because of the love of God.
It was because God so loved, that he sent Jesus.
We are the objects of God's love.

But God doesn't just love humanity in general.
He loves you in particular.
God dearly loves you!
How does that make you feel?

Now let's turn our attention to what we are to put on.
The first thing mentioned is compassion.

This is a heartfelt concern for others.
This is the capacity to enter into their particular situation and feel genuine concern for them.

But not only should compassion characterize you as a believer, so should kindness.
To be kind is the opposite of being harsh.
It is the capacity to show grace in a loving way.

This is followed by humility.
A humble person is not a prideful person.
Humility is the exact opposite of pride.

The prideful person is in love with himself and thinks that he is better than anyone else.
The humble person has a right view of himself and sees that he is no better than anyone else.
He may be better off, but he is no better.
Our demeanor should reflect humility.

And then there is gentleness.
I have heard gentleness described as a willingness to suffer injury rather than inflicting it.
A gentle person is concerned for the suffering of the other person.
A gentle person is not soft, but has a soft touch in dealing with people.

Patience comes next.
We are generally not a very patient people–– especially here ...
We are always in a hurry.
We are busy.
We are late.
And we have little tolerance for people who slow us down.

As Christians patience is an essential character trait.
We desperately need patience because we are dealing with people.
As a matter of fact, if we do not have patience, we cannot do what He calls us to do next.
We are told that we must bear with each other and forgive.
Without patience we will certainly never bear with each other.
We will end up losing our temper and saying things we will regret later.

And we will certainly not forgive.
But we are called to do both.
In fact, we are told to forgive as the Lord forgave us.
And how did He do that?
He forgave us when we deserved His wrath, when we didn't deserve forgiveness.
And that is how we are to forgive one another.

The key to all of this is mentioned next.
Over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
The key to everything is love.

Having the kind of love that God has is essential.
Love alone will empower us to treat other people in the ways we have been discussing.
Love is the chief virtue of the new life we have in Christ.
This is how we dress for success.
We put off the old and put on the new.
And this process continues our entire Christian life.

Someone has compared it to the way we walk.
In order to walk, we first take one step and then we take another.
Then we do it again, and again, and again.

As we walk with Christ, we will find ourselves putting off the old and putting on the new
until Jesus comes, and we are perfected in holiness as we are received into eternal glory.
There we will be clothed in robes of righteousness as we receive our eternal reward.
That's how we should dress! 

Then there are keys to living thankfully.
Colossians 3:15-17:
"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body
you were called to peace.
And be thankful.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom,
and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through him.
" (Colossians 3:15-17 NIV)

One of the chief characteristics of Christian living is thanksgiving.
As Christians, we of all people ought to be the most thankful in the world.
After all, we know Christ.
We have a living relationship with the living Son of God.
What could be more wonderful than that?
In addition, we have received all of the benefits that come with knowing Christ.
Think about what he has given us.

We have received forgiveness through him.
Every sin that we have ever committed has been completely forgiven.
Our record has been expunged.
We no longer have to face the penalty for our sin.

We are the recipients of God's amazing grace.
God blesses us in so many ways every day.
God gives us everything we need for this life.

We have realized His provision in a multitude of ways.
He has blessed us physically, financially, emotionally, and spiritually.
He has blessed us with a family, friends, employment, and a thousand other things.

We certainly should be living in thanksgiving, considering all God has done for us.
As Christians, we should be displaying an attitude of gratitude.
Unfortunately, all too often, we do not.

I must confess that, far too often, I find myself focusing on things
that make me want to criticize and complain.
And that is so easy to do.
If we want to find things about which to complain, we will.

But to focus on those things tends to make us negative people,
and nobody wants to be around negative people.
And as Christians, we should desire to show people that there is a better way,
the way of thanksgiving.
In our text today, we find an emphasis on thanksgiving.
Our text instructs us on three essentials of the new life in Christ.

The three verses of our focus here covers the peace of Christ, the word of Christ,
and the name of Christ.
And in each verse, we also find an emphasis on giving thanks.
It seems that as we apply the truth concerning His peace, word, and name,
we will also find ourselves manifesting the fruit of a thankful heart.

We must also allow His peace to regulate us.

"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body
you were called to peace. And be thankful.
" (Colossians 3:15 NIV)

The first key to thankful living concerns our relationship to the peace of Christ.
We are exhorted to allow His peace to regulate us.

Just how does this happen?
How is it that the peace of Christ can regulate our lives?
The Scriptures speak of two kinds of peace.

The first is peace with God.
Peace with God is the result of the atoning work of Christ on the Cross.
When Jesus Christ died on the Cross, by paying the penalty for our sin,
He restored our relationship with God.
Before that, our lives were in direct conflict with God.
Our sins had separated us from God.
But through Christ's death, we have been put right with God.
The conflict has ended.
The war is over.

Because we have made peace with God, we can now experience
the peace of God.

The peace of God is a fruit of the Spirit.
It is an outgrowth of Christ's presence in our lives.
His presence enables us to experience peace that is not dependent upon our circumstances.
This is the kind of peace that transcends our circumstances.
We are told to let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts.
T
The word "rule" can also be translated "act as an arbiter."
This is the only place in the New Testament that this word is used.
Another alternate translation is "act as an umpire."
The connotation is that the peace of Christ should regulate our lives in terms
of our relationships with God and with one another.
God's peace will guide us.

The presence of His peace in our lives indicates that we are traveling in the right direction.
When we make the wrong turn, we experience the loss of His peace.
This is a sign that something is wrong.
We need to stop what we are doing and get back on track.
God also uses His peace to harmonize us with Him and with His body, the church.

Our text says that as members of one body we were called to peace.
For healthy relationships to thrive, we must dwell with one another in peace.
Because God desires that we come together in Christian community, peace is essential.

We read in Ephesians 4:3:
"Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace."
Another important passage of Scripture is Philippians 4:4-7 which speaks
of the role of peace in guarding our hearts and minds.

"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition,
with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts
and your minds in Christ Jesus."
(Philippians 4:4-7)

The peace of Christ is a gift to us.
We must allow it to rule in our hearts, to regulate our behavior, to guide us.
When strife prevails, peace is lost.
This is a sign. In fact, it is a stop sign.
It tells us to stop what we are doing immediately and seek the Lord.

We need to stop and back off.
We need to calm down and pray.
We need to ask ourselves what Jesus would do in this situation.
And then,we need to focus on Him and what He wants us to do.
And as we do this, His peace will return and we will be back on track.

Then, we must allow His Word to saturate us.

"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another
with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs
with gratitude in your hearts to God.
" (Colossians 3:16 NIV)

As Christians, we are committed to walk in God's word.
The word of God, the Bible, is what gives us the knowledge of His will.
And so we are exhorted to let the Word of Christ "dwell in you richly."
This means that we must allow His Word to saturate us.
This assumes that we know His Word in the first place.

His Word certainly cannot dwell in us richly if we do not know that Word in the first place.
Assuming that people know the Word of God is an assumption, especially in our day.
We live in a day when more people have access to the Bible than ever before in history,
but having access does not mean that they read it.

Having a Bible on your bookshelf or bedside table does not mean
that you have any of it in your mind or heart.
We must have more than a casual acquaintance with the Bible.
God's Word is to dwell in us richly– it is to saturate us.
It must become part of our very being, transforming the way we think and act.
To use an illustration from the area of computer technology,
it must be the program always running that controls everything else.
Everything depends on it.
But in order for God's Word to saturate us, we must begin to deal with it on several levels.

First we must read it.
Everyone should have a daily time of reading God's Word.

But then we must also study it.
This is where we dig deeper by utilizing study guides and commentaries
to assist us in understanding.

Further, we must then meditate upon what God is saying to us through His Word.
We must spend some quality time thinking about how to apply God's Word to our lives.

We should also spend time memorizing the Word of God.
As we commit Bible passages to memory, we will find that they will began to fill our minds.

We need to spend time discussing God's Word with others in Bible studies.

And finally, but most importantly, we need to step out in faith and obey God's Word.
We need to put His Word into practice in our lives.
Our text tells us that we should also be able to teach others.
Indeed, it assumes that we will be teaching when it says,
"as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom."

This is why we must read and study.
If we are going to be able to teach, we must be more knowledgeable than our students.
We must at least be one step ahead.
We also see here that to be filled with God's word is to be filled with joy.

We are portrayed as singing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude.
We are singing in celebration.
It is a joyful song of praise to God.
Psalms refer to the book of the Bible by that name.
This book was the first songbook in the church.

Hymns refer to human compositions of praise to God.
Remember, however, none of the hymns we have in our modern hymnal today
were being sung when Paul wrote these words.
The hymns like Amazing Grace, and A Mighty Fortress had not been written.

Spiritual songs may refer to spontaneous songs of praise sung by various members
of the congregation during worship.
There is an interesting parallel found in Ephesians 5:18-20.
There we are told of the importance of being filled with the Spirit.
This filling, it seems, produces the same kind of joy filled singing
that being filled with God's word produces.
"Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery.
Instead, be filled with the Spirit.

Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.
Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father
for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."
(Ephesians 5:18-20)
To be that is to be filled with God's Word and that means that we will be filled with God's Spirit.

Then, we must allow His Name to dominate us.

"And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through him.
" (Colossians 3:17 NIV)

We must allow His peace to regulate us.
We must allow His word to saturate us. .
And we must also allow His name to dominate us.
But what does this mean?
That simply means that in all we do we ask this simple question: "What would Jesus say?"

Notice that it says "whatever you do, whether in word or deed,
do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus
."
This covers everything.
Everything that we do or say should be done or said according to His will.
That's what it means to do something in His Name.
It means that it reflects Jesus.

So we must evaluate everything we do and say by that standard.
Is this something that I can do in His name?
Is this something that I would say in His name?
Would I be doing this if Jesus were here standing right beside me?
Would I be saying this if Jesus were standing here listening to me?

Remember, He is here because He lives within us!
His Name should dominate and control our behavior as Christians.
We bear His Name.
We are called Christians.
Our lives should reflect the Name we bear.

What we do in deed should bring praise to His Name.
What we say in word should reflect His nature and character.
This is a real challenge, especially in the area of controlling our words.
Often, we will find that it is far easier to avoid sins of behavior than sins of speech.

The Bible teaches us that the tongue is a sharp and deadly instrument.
It can do a great deal of damage when it is used to criticize and complain against,
and slander and impugn other people.
We may have successfully avoided committing murder, but if we have engaged
in speaking evil of our brothers and sisters in Christ,
we have committed an equally horrific sin.

I remember reading of an episode in the life of a truly great man of God.
His name was John Hyde.
He was a man of prayer and because of that received the nickname "Praying Hyde."
He was a man whose life was dedicated to prayer, and when he prayed, God listened.

On one occasion, he was praying concerning a certain minister who was not living up to his calling.
This situation was not pleasing to John Hyde, and he found himself praying against
what this minister was doing and failing to do.
It was a rather negative prayer.

As he was praying, John Hyde sensed God rebuking him for the way he was praying.
God began to speak to John Hyde that he should not pray this way concerning this minister.
This man, for all his faults, was still God's child and still dearly loved by God.

Having been thoroughly corrected, John Hyde began to pray that God
would bless this minister, not blast him.
He began to pray that God would fill this man with his Spirit, put His words in his mouth,
and make Him useful in His service.
And God began to answer his prayers, as he prayed for, not against this man.

God does not want us complaining about his children, even to Him!
If we are concerned about someone, we certainly shouldn't speak against them,
or pray against them, but rather we should pray for them.
God is well able to deal with His children.

We must be careful not to sin in deed or in word.
We must live our lives in light of our God who we represent.
We bear His holy name.
And our words and deeds reflect upon the God we claim to serve.

Our words and deeds should speak to people about the mercy, grace, love, forgiveness,
and goodness of God.
When people see how we live, they should be encouraged to seek the God we serve.
They should see in our behavior as evidence of His existence.

And they will see it, if we begin to evaluate our behavior by the standard of His name.
As we live in light of who He is, we will also discover who we are in Him.
We must have His name dominate our behavior.

Remember, there is power in the Name of Jesus.
At the name of Jesus, every knee shall bow.
At the name of Jesus, demons tremble.
The Bible teaches that there is no other name under heaven by which we can be saved.

There is power in that name.
There is grace in that name.
That name opens the gates of Heaven.
We live by that name.
And in that name, we find eternal life and abundant life.

So, as you allow His peace to regulate us by harmonizing us with God and with one another,
and as we allow His word to saturate us by filling us with His wisdom and knowledge,
and as we allow His name to dominate us by controlling what we do and what we say,
we will find ourselves living in thanksgiving.

Our lives will reflect Jesus, as He lives His life in and through us.
Pray that His peace, His word, and His name rule will rule and reign in our lives! 

We must have relationships that honor God.

Colossians 3:18-4:1 says
" Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.
Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.
Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.

Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you
and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men,
since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.
It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for his wrong, and there is no favoritism.
Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair, because you know
that you also have a Master in heaven.
" (Colossians 3:18-4:1 NIV)

Christianity is founded on great theological concepts.
When you think about Christianity, you think about things like the grace, the love of God,
redemption, the sacrificial death of Christ, and His resurrection from the dead.
These, and the many more great and high doctrines of Christianity are enough to occupy
our thinking for many lifetimes.

Can you ever really understand grace?
Will you ever be able to know the depth of the love of God?
Do you understand the miracle of the new birth?
We could study our entire lifetime and still never be able to do much more
than scratch the surface of these great and central truths of Christianity.

Even so, these things need to be studied diligently.
The more we come to understand about these truths, the more satisfying
our relationship will be to Jesus Christ.

There is another side to Christianity.
While we need to do everything in our power to understand more about Christianity,
we must also do everything in our power to live our Christianity in practical ways.
Christianity is not merely a philosophy; it is a way of life.
We must live our Christianity.

Now we will study from the practical section of the book.
Paul is presenting three areas we have opportunities to show the difference
Christianity has made in our lives.
These are areas almost all of us have to deal with: our marriage, our home, and our work.
As we look at these areas, we need to ask ourselves some important questions.

Does our relationship with Christ make a difference in these relationships?
If so, what difference does it make?
Paul gives us some practical instructions that will enable us
to have relationships that honor God.

We must honor God in our marriage.

"Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.
" (Colossians 3:18-19 NIV)

Have you noticed how marriage has been disparaged in our society?
It has been and continues to be.
Many are saying that marriage is no longer a viable institution
for our contemporary cultural patterns of living.
When you look at the statistics that show that half of all marriages end in divorce,
you may be tempted to think that they are right.

Something certainly has gone wrong in marriage.
Yet, people still get married!
People get married because marriage fulfills a need in our lives.
We have a need for companionship.
God made know this need in the Garden of Eden.
He said that was it was not good that man should be alone, and so he created a woman for the man.

We need to remember that God instituted marriage.
God performed the first wedding ceremony.
God gave the first bride away.
Marriage is God's idea.
God gave us our spouse for a reason.

And God has given us instructions for marriage.
Usually we are not willing to take God's advice.
Instead of doing things God's way, we do things our way, and then we usually mess them up.

The first instruction here is given to wives.
Wives are told to "submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord."

There are many today, even in the church, who do not like this passage.
Can you imagine reading this verse to a group of radical feminists?
You would probably be shouted down.
But whether they like it or not, there it is, in the inspired Word of God.
The question we really need to ask is one of definition.
So, what does this mean?

Many people have misread this passage of Scripture, interpreting it to mean
that husbands have a right to run roughshod over their wives and to treat them as less than equals.
Paul's counsel on the relations between husband and wife is interpreted
by some to mean that the wife must knuckle under and do homage to her husband,
who ascends some kind of marital throne.

This kind of relationship was lampooned on the legendary Archie Bunker television series.
In one episode, Edith thought that she would experiment with fancier cuisine
and fixed her husband a soufflé instead of his regular bacon and eggs.

Needless to say, Archie turned up his nose at something he couldn't pronounce
and demanded his bacon and eggs.
Their daughter Gloria watched with disbelief as her mother dumped the soufflé in the garbage
and scurried back and forth trying to appease her husband's wrath.

Gloria snarled indignantly: "Submitting to him... that's what she is doing.
Submitting to her ruler... her lord and master.
"
Archie responds, "Ain't that a nice way of putting it?"

It should be obvious that Archie's idea of submission is not what is being taught here.
The Bible never teaches that a husband has the right to boss his wife around
and treat her like she is some sort of servant.

We need to notice two important things about this passage.
The first should be obvious.
It is addressed to the wives.
It is not addressed to the husbands.
This is significant.

What usually happens is that the husband reads the instruction addressed to his wife
and reminds her when she is not living up to it (in his view).
Is it illegal to read someone else's mail?
Well, it should be illegal in this case.
Husbands, this is not written to you.

The second thing we should notice is that submission here is a voluntary thing.
In other words, it must come from the one doing the submitting.
Submission cannot be forced.
If it is, it is not submission –– it is slavery.
What God is saying is that wives need to make a choice to allow their husbands
to be the spiritual leader that God desires him to be.

When wives submit to the godly leadership of their husbands,
they become the support and encouragement that he needs to be the man,
the husband, and the father that God created him to be.

Husbands are addressed next.
To you husbands, God instructs you to "love your wives and do not be harsh with them."

This is the part that is addressed to husbands.
Again, this is not addressed to the wives.
It is not their mail.
It is for the husbands.
This is their responsibility regarding their marriage.
It is interesting that what God is saying to husbands probably came as a surprise
to many in that culture.
Because we live in a different cultural situation today, it is hard for us to understand
how different the status of women were when this letter was written.

William Barclay gives us some insight on this matter:
"Under Jewish law a woman was a thing, the possession of her husband,
just as much as his house or his flocks or his material goods.
She had no legal rights whatever.

For instance, under Jewish law, a husband could divorce his wife or any cause,
while a wife had no rights whatever in the initiation of divorce;
and the only grounds on which a divorce might be awarded her were if her husband
developed leprosy, became an apostate or ravished a virgin.

In Greek society, a respectable woman lived a life of entire seclusion.
She never appeared on the streets alone, not even to go marketing.
She lived in the women's apartments and did not join her men folk even for meals.
From her there was demanded complete servitude and chastity;
but her husband could go out as much as he chose and could enter into
as many relationships outside marriage as he liked without incurring any stigma.

Under both Jewish and Greek laws and custom all the privileges belong to the husband
and all the duties to the wife.
"
[William Barclay, The Letters to the Philippians, Colossians,
and Thessalonians
, rev. ed. (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1975), p. 161]

This was the plight of women in that society.
And if, as Barclay states, "all the privileges belong to the husband and all the duties to the wife,"
then husbands were not used to hearing about their duties in the marriage relationship.
That is why this instruction would come as a surprise to some husbands.

Yet, the command is crystal clear.
The husbands are to love their wives.
They are to treat them with gentleness, not harshness.
These commands were given for a very good reason.
Marriage was and is a picture of the relationship of Christ and the church.

We see this in a similar passage in Ephesians 5:22-33 (NIV):
"Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.
For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body,
of which he is the Savior.

Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her
to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word,
and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish,
but holy and blameless.

In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies.
He who loves his wife loves himself.
After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it,
just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body.

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife,
and the two will become one flesh.
"

"This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.
However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself,
and the wife must respect her husband.
"

The way that we relate to one another in marriage is the way that the church relates to Christ
and Christ to the church.
This is why wives are told to submit to their husbands and husbands are told to love their wives.
And as for husbands, the responsibility goes far deeper, as we see in Ephesians.
There husbands are told to love their wives just as Christ loved the church
and gave Himself up for her.

This is a deep love, a true love, a complete love, and a sacrificial love.
When a husband loves his wife like this, he will have a wife who desires to submit to him.
Remember, what you should do.
And then do it.
The question is this: "Who will start first?"
Here's the answer.
You must start!

Then Paul speaks about the home.

"Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.
Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.
"
(Colossians 3:20-21 NIV)

The following words were written by Dr. James Dobson that tells of a young man
who didn't receive Christian parenting, but he received just the opposite.

And I quote:
"He began his life with all the classic handicaps and disadvantages.
His mother was a powerfully built, dominating woman who found it difficult to love anyone.
She had been married three times, and her second husband divorced her
because she beat him up regularly.

The father of the child I'm describing [the writer is Dr. James Dobson] was her third husband;
he died of a heart attack a few months before the child's birth.
As a consequence the mother had to work long hours from his earliest childhood.
She gave him no affection, no love, no discipline, and no training during those early years.
She even forbade him to call her at work.

Other children had little to do with him, so he was alone most of the time.
He was absolutely rejected from his earliest childhood.
When he was thirteen years old a school psychologist commented that
he probably didn't even know the meaning of the word love.

During adolescence, the girls would have nothing to do with him and he fought with the boys.
Despite a high IQ, he failed academically, and finally dropped out
during his third year of high school.
He thought he might find acceptance in the Marine Corps; they reportedly built men,
and he wanted to be one.

But his problems went with him.
The other Marines laughed at him and ridiculed him.
He fought back, resisted authority, and was court-martialed and thrown out of the Marines
with a dishonorable discharge.

So there he was–– a young man in his early twenties, absolutely friendless.
He was small and scrawny in stature.
He had an adolescent squeak in his voice.
He was balding.
He had no talent, no skill, and no sense of worthiness.
Once again, he thought he tried to run from his problems, so he went to live in a foreign country.
But he was rejected there also.
While he was there, he married a girl who had been an illegitimate child,
and brought her back to America with him.

Soon she began to develop the same contempt for him that everyone else displayed.
She bore him two children, but he never enjoyed the status and respect a father should have.
His marriage continued to crumble.
His wife demanded more and more things that he could not provide.

Instead of being his ally against the bitter world, as he hoped,
she became his most vicious opponent.
She could out fight him, and she learned to bully him.
On one occasion, she locked him in the bathroom as punishment.
Finally she forced him to leave.
He tried to make it on his own, but he was terribly lonely.
After days of solitude, he went home and literally begged her to take him back.
He surrendered all pride.

Despite his meager salary, he brought her $78.00 as a gift, asking her to take it
and spend it any way she wished.
But she belittled his feeble attempt to supply the family's needs.
She ridiculed his failure.
At one point he fell on his knees and wept bitterly as the darkness
of his private nightmare enveloped him.

Finally, in silence he pleaded no more.
No one wanted him.
No one had ever wanted him.
The next day, he was a strangely, different man.
He arose, went to the garage, and took down a rifle that he had hidden there.
He carried it with him to his newly acquired job at a book storage building in Dallas, Texas.

And from a window on the third-floor that building, shortly after noon, on November 22, 1963,
he shot two shells that exploded into the head of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy.
Lee Harvey Oswald, a rejected, unlovable failure, killed a man who, more than any other man
on earth, embodied all the success, beauty, wealth, and family affection which he lacked.

In firing that rifle, he utilized the one skill he had learned in his entire, miserable lifetime.
[This is from James Dobson, Hide or Seek (Old Tappan, NJ: Revell, 1974]

Relationships with our children are much more important than we could ever imagine.
In the home we lay a foundation for all of life.
We need to lay a good foundation that will serve our children well throughout their whole lives.
There are two primary needs in the home – love and discipline.
Both go together.
One without the other will not do.

Children are told to obey their parents.
The connotation of the word in the original Greek is to "listen under."
In other words, children need to learn to listen, really listen, to their parents
in order to know how to obey them.

It is through that obedience they will gain wisdom, guidance, and knowledge.
It is through that obedience that they will learn responsibility and be protected from the pitfalls
their parents can help them avoid.

Now the parents, although addressed to fathers, are admonished not to embitter
their children lest they become discouraged.
In other words, we need to avoid being unreasonable, fault finding, and inconsistent
in our dealing with our children.
These are the kinds of things that frustrate them.

Rather, we must show love to them and encourage them in every way possible.
Our discipline must function in the context of our love.

Then Paul deals with our work.

"Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it,
not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart
and reverence for the Lord.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men,
since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.
It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for his wrong, and there is no favoritism.

Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair, because you know
that you also have a Master in heaven.
" (Colossians 3:22-4:1 NIV)

Perhaps the best way in which we can apply this passage is to address our lives at work.
Paul addressed the issue of slaves and masters because it was a reality
that he could neither change nor ignore.
In fact, most working people were slaves or servants of some sort,
and the remainder were masters.
It is estimated by some that there were 60 million slaves in the Roman Empire.
Some historians have concluded that approximately half of the entire population
was slaves or servants.

A person could become a slave or a servant in a number of ways.
A conquered people became slaves.
People who may have acquired a debt became servants in order to work off the debt.

Almost all work was carried out by slaves or servants.
Some of the jobs in our society that are carried out by our most educated and respected people,
were carried out by slaves in that society.
They were the doctors and teachers in that day.

As we apply this passage to our work, we see that we all fall in the two categories
Paul addresses–– employee and employer, or worker and supervisor.

Here are his instructions to us?
As one who works for another, we are to do our work "not only when their eye is on you
and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord
."

In other words, we are not to be people pleasers.
And we are not to slack off in our work when no one is around.
We are to work hard all the time.
We are also told that "whatever you do, work at it with all your heart,
as working for the Lord, not for men
."

Even in our jobs, we are serving the Lord.
We are not merely serving our earthly supervisors. –
We are serving our Lord Jesus Christ

When we work with this attitude, we will not only be good workers,
we will be a testimony for Christ, and to our employers of the honesty, integrity, character,
and value of a Christian employee.

We read in Titus 2:9-10 (NIV): "Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything,
to try to please them, not to talk back to them, and not to steal from them,
but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make
the teaching about God our Savior attractive
."

If we are an employer or supervisor, we are to deal with our employees in a manner
that is right and fair.
The reason for this is that we also have a Master in heaven.
One day we will stand before Him and give an account of how we treated those
under our supervision.

The key to winning at work is to remember the Lord.
Remember we are working for the Lord in all that we do.
Whether we are an employee or an employer, whether we are a worker
or a supervisor, or both, we are doing what we do knowing that the eye of your Lord
in heaven is upon us.
In our relationships in our marriage, in our home, and in our work, we are to honor God.

This is practical stuff, but it is the stuff of life.
This is where serving the Lord becomes real and it is the place of our greatest influence for Christ. 

End of chapter 3 -- Lesson 3