“Its Time for Elevation-Set Your Mind on Things Above”
I. God is the Rock Who is Higher Than…
To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments. Of David. Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy.
As we learned last week, Gideon was told to place his offering on a rock (sela-crag, cliff, rock) and when he obeyed the rock became a refuge (tsur). Jesus is our rock of refuge and when we give our offerings to Him we discover the Refuge He already is. It is time for Elevation in every area of our lives. We need to lift up…99 times in the KJV we see the phrase lift up.
II. Elevation in our Thinking
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
A. It is important that we actively seek the things that are above. We cannot be passive about Jesus or His Kingdom. We are to pray that His Kingdom come and His will be done on earth as it is in heaven (above). We need to be aware of what is happening above and what God has determined in His Heart so that we can be effective ambassadors for Him on the earth. (2 Corinthians 5:20)
B. Where Christ is seated at the right hand of God
Knowing and understanding what is taking place in the throne room of heaven is not just a fanciful, theoretical supposition, but it is to be a disciplined, worthy activity we should engage in regularly so that we can be changed as we behold His glory. (2 Corinthians 3:8)
C. Set your Minds on things that are above
This phrase would probably be better translated exercise your thinking or mind on things that are above. In other words, give time, attention, and effort in your mental capacity on the matters that are taking place in heaven. The old adage “You’re so heavenly-minded: you’re no earthly good”, doesn’t line up with scripture. On the contrary it would be better said “If you’re so earthly-minded you can’t be used of heaven”.
III. Elevation in our Understanding
A. The passages preceding chapter 3 give us insight and understanding of why we need to elevate our thinking. In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him. Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God. If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations– “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” (referring to things that all perish as they are used)–according to human precepts and teachings? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.
B. You have been raised with Christ so that you are no longer subject to the futility of self-righteousness; because…News-flash you cannot make yourself righteous! No matter how much you attempt to disengage your members from certain pleasures or observe special occasions giving them priority in your life or attempt to be knowledgeable through tangential spirituality these things are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.
C. We need to remember that we have been crucified with Christ and have been buried with Him through baptism and raised together with Him into new life. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ–by grace you have been saved– and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
IV. Elevation in our Actions
A. The Gospel of the Kingdom is never simply a spiritual or religious thesis. It’s always practical and works its way into and through daily living. James 2:26 puts it this way “…so faith without works is dead also.”
B. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.
C. Since we have “died” with Christ and been buried with Him in baptism. We should put off (take off, lay aside) the old clothing of the works of the flesh with the new clothing of a renewed image gained by knowing and exercising our mind and affections on the things above where Christ is seated.
V.Oswald Chambers December 24th entry from My Utmost For His Highest…The Spirit of God testifies to and confirms the simple, but almighty, security of the life that “is hidden with Christ in God.” Paul continually brought this out in his New Testament letters. We talk as if living a sanctified life were the most uncertain and insecure thing we could do. Yet it is the most secure thing possible, because it has Almighty God in and behind it. The most dangerous and unsure thing is to try to live without God. For one who is born again, it is easier to live in a right-standing relationship with God than it is to go wrong, provided we heed God’s warnings and “walk in the light” (1 John 1:7).When we think of being delivered from sin, being “filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18), and “walk[ing] in the light,” we picture the peak of a great mountain. We see it as very high and wonderful, but we say, “Oh, I could never live up there!” However, when we do get there through God’s grace, we find it is not a mountain peak at all, but a plateau with plenty of room to live and to grow. “You enlarged my path under me, so my feet did not slip” (Psalm 18:36).When you really see Jesus, I defy you to doubt Him. If you see Him when He says, “Let not your heart be troubled . . .” (John 14:27), I defy you to worry. It is virtually impossible to doubt when He is there. Every time you are in personal contact with Jesus, His words are real to you. “My peace I give to you . . .” (John 14:27)— a peace which brings an unconstrained confidence and covers you completely, from the top of your head to the soles of your feet. “. . . your life is hidden with Christ in God,” and the peace of Jesus Christ that cannot be disturbed has been imparted to you.