Colossians 3:1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. 5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: 6 For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:
‘…For ye are dead…” Do you see, saints, that you are dead? Have you reckoned yourself dead to the old man, to the bondage of the world, to law of sin and death, to the pattern of this world? Paul, in speaking to Christians, says “Ye are dead.” We know physically they weren’t dead, but rather, were buried with Christ, with him in his death, that like as Christ was raised, so also we might walk in newness of life. Now our “life is hid with Christ in God.”
The Devil’s primary goal when attacking a Christian is to get him to reckon himself subject to something other than Christ, out of that place of hidden refuge and back into ourselves. In Christ we cannot be defeated. In Christ we are always victorious. That is why Christ urges us to abide in Him. Only in abiding in the safety of his death, burial, and resurrection are we able to walk as Christ walked.
As you continue to abide, you will find what we know to be true of Christ will supernaturally become true of us. The longer we abide on the vine, the more like the vine our fruit will be.
Colossians 2:1 For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh; 2 That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; 3 In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4 And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words. 5 For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ. 6 As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: 7 Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. 8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. 9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. 10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:
This beautiful passage in Colossians continues our discussion on abiding in Christ. We have seen that we must abide in Christ. We have seen that the devil will try to get us out of Christ. We have seen that the Holy Spirit teaches us how to abide in Him. Now look at the riches and blessing found in Him.
In Christ are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. In him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead. And in Him you are complete. The gospel of John says “in him was life, and that life was the light of men.”
If we draw a logical conclusion from our study we find that if I am in Christ, and Christ is in me, than in me dwells the fullness of God, in me are hid the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. In me is life and that life is the light of men. I am complete in Him.
Do you see why Paul urges the saints at Colosse, “as you have received Christ, so walk ye in Him,” and later “beware, lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” The world has a ten-step program or self-help model to get you through, but God has one answer for everything. CHRIST! He was God’s great answer to man kind’s need, and let me assure you, in Him, you will always, always, always, find your answer.
John 15:16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
We can easily exalt our free will to the place where we no longer have Christ’s selection of us in the equation of our Christian life. Foolishly, we say, “I, in my wisdom, chose God,” and we err. For though we surely have a choice to make regarding Christ, we must realize our choice is predicated on the fact that Christ chose us first.
When we realize that we are chosen of God in Christ, predestined to be conformed to His image, we find security and blessing in the Christian life. You were handpicked. You were uniquely sought out by your Maker. You have been purposely ordained by God to bear fruit.
No wonder the devil fights so hard against you. No wonder the world tries to mold you into something else. As I come to realize more and more how purposeful Christ was in setting His love on me, I cannot help but grow more and more confident in our relationship.
Yes, I chose Christ, but my ability to choose Him came from being first chosen by His love.
Why can we ask anything of he Father in His name, expecting to receive? Because Jesus chose and ordained us, and He never chooses poorly.
John 8: 31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” 33 They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will be made free’?” 34 Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. 35 And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. 36 Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.
John 15: 3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. 4Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 5I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. 6If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. 7If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
I want to present you with a brief excerpt from a book by Watchman Nee.
“How do we abide? ‘Of God are ye in Christ Jesus.’ (1Corinthians 1:30) It was the work of God to put you there and he has done it. Now stay there! Do not be moved back on to your ground. Never look at yourself as though you were not in Christ. Look at Christ, and see yourself in Him. Abide in Him. Rest in the fact that God has put you in His Son, and live in the expectation that he will complete his work in you. It is for him to make good the glorious promise that ‘sin shall not have dominion over you.'(Romans 6:14)”
Here is 1 Corinthians 1:30 (Amplified Bible) But it is from Him (God) that you have your life in Christ Jesus, Whom God made our Wisdom from God, [revealed to us a knowledge of the divine plan of salvation previously hidden, manifesting itself as] our Righteousness [thus making us upright and putting us in right standing with God], and our Consecration [making us pure and holy], and our Redemption [providing our ransom from eternal penalty for sin].
Abide! Do not let yourself be moved back into your flesh, from what God has made you to be, lest someone say to us as Paul said to the Galatians, “Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?” Rather let us say, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
Dear Christian, trust God. Let Him tend to the vine of your life. In every moment, recognize that ‘of God are ye in Christ.’ And because God has placed you there, He can keep you there.
John 15:1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
Have you been made a part of the true vine? Or have you been made a branch of a branch? Over the course of nearly two thousand years Christianity has transformed from being the way to being an organization, and we have succeeded more in bringing in members than we have in developing disciples of Jesus.
We have been well intentioned by bringing in people to our denominations, yet by making branches of branches we have failed to become like Christ. Instead we have succeeded in becoming like each other and the doctrines held by man, rather than those imparted by the Word. When we are a branch of a branch, we become subject to the limits of the branch. You will never be bigger, cleaner, more effective, more fruit bearing, or more sweet, than the branch to which you are attached.
But when we are attached to the True vine, rather than to a branch of the vine, we will become more accurately representative of the vine’s nature and of its fullness.
Every Christian, from every denomination, in every tongue, has this obligation: be grafted into the True vine. Our loyalty to Jesus should never be superseded by our loyalty to one of his ministers. Our willingness to believe the Word must never be usurped by exalting another man’s interpretation of the Word.
We must each examine ourselves. Do we identify more with a denomination than with Christ? Do we desire to know the Word above all? While we are urged to follow others as they follow Christ, we are never meant to be a branch of others as they are branches of Christ.
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Yesterday we looked at being ‘wholly’ committed to the Lord, that is, with our entire spirit, soul, and body. Here we see how the Word of God, which is alive and active, is able to divide between the soul and spirit. Why is this important?
While it impossible to condense the fullness of this concept into a brief segment I want to start with this question: Do you realized what happened at your ‘new birth’? Jesus said to Nicodemus, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh. That which is born of the spirit is spirit.” When old things passed away and all things were made new, where did the transformation take place? In your flesh? Surely not! In your mind? Not possible. Where else, but in your spirit? Your spirit is joined with the Lord, and you are one with Him. Can you see it?
So where does the soul come in? Your soul is the seat of your emotions, of your will, of your desire, of your mind.
So why divide between your spirit and soul? Because any spiritual activity for God, any spiritual growth, any progress in the Christian life, any experience worth remarking on, must be a spiritual experience. It cannot be born of the soul or born of the flesh. You must learn to live and walk in the Spirit.
Your soul naturally follows the tendencies of the flesh, and is opposed to the operation of the spirit. By abiding in Christ, and abiding in His Word, you are retraining yourself (that is, your soul) to deny the flesh and follow after the Spirit. Ask the Lord to show you the areas where you are in the flesh versus in the spirit.
1 Timothy 4: 15 Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.
1 Thessalonians 5: 23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
First we must, and I truly mean must, understand who we are wholly: a spirit, soul and body. We are a three-part man, created in the image of a Holy God. Look at 1 Thessalonians 5. We are supposed to be sanctified (set apart) wholly, that is, in our spirit, soul, and body. The realization of this composition changes the way we live our Christian life. For today, I want you to realize you are a living spirit, with a soul, dwelling in this body.
Next, I urge you as Paul urged Timothy, to give yourself wholly, (and now we know that this means with our entire spirit, soul, and body) to the Word of the Lord which you have been entrusted with. As you do, your profiting, or spiritual growth and maturity, will appear to all who see you.
A halfhearted committal to the Christian life is not a committal at all. That’s a trial period; as though you are going to test it and see if it works, and if you find it unsatisfactory, return it for your money back. Don’t think you will receive anything of the Lord this way.
COMMIT! And if you never see anything here in this life, so be it. The Word of God stands true, regardless. He is magnified and glorious, despite your experience. He is worthy of your living sacrifice, independent of your results.
Give yourself wholly to the Way. Lay down on the altar of self-sacrifice, willingly, never to climb off again.