Today’s selected reading continues in and concludes the epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were in Colossae. More specifically today’s passage begins with the eighteenth verse of the third chapter and continues through to the eighteenth verse of the fourth chapter. “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them. Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged. Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: and whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons” (Colossians 3:18-25).
“Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven” (Colossians 4:1).
“Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak. Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man” (Colossians 4:2-6).
“And all my state shall Tychius declare unto you, who is a beloved brother, and a faithful minister and fellowservant in the Lord: whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that he might know your estate, and comfort your hearts; with Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They shall make known unto you all things which are done here. Aristarchus my fellowprisoner saluteth you, and Marcus, sister’s son to Barnabas, (touching whom ye received commandments: if he come unto you, receive him) and Jesus, which is called Justus, who are of the circumcision. These only are my fellow workers unto the kingdom of God, which have been a comfort unto me. Epaphras , who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. For I bear him record, that he hath a great zeal for you, and them that are in Laodicea, and them in Heirapolis. Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you. Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house. And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea. And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it. The salutation by the hand of me, Paul. Remember my bonds. Grace be with you. Amen” (Colossians 4:7-18).
When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find the epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the Colossian saints drawing to a close. The epistle written unto these dear saints was only four chapters, however, it is incredibly similar in nature, context and language to the epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the Ephesian saints. It’s actually important for us to recognize and understand this for much of the same language that is found in the epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the Ephesians is once more found in the epistle written here unto the Colossian saints. I am convinced that in order to truly understand the language that is found in this particular section of Scripture we must first begin with the opening verses of the third chapter. If you turn and direct your attention to the words which are found here in the third chapter you will find the apostle Paul admonishing the Colossian saints to seek those things which are above—and not only those things which are above but also those things which are above where Christ sits on the right hand of God. Pause for a moment and ask yourself where your focus and your mind truly is. Stop and ask yourself what you truly do think about during the course of your day. The apostle Paul begins and opens this passage of Scripture with the admonition to seek those things which are above and directly links it to the reality of our being risen with Christ. Because we are indeed risen with Christ we must needs seek those things which are above where Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father—a reality which is directly linked to the words the apostle Paul wrote in the epistle written unto the Philippian saints as well as the words which the apostle Paul wrote unto the Ephesian saints.
As I sit here today thinking about and considering the words which are found in this passage of Scripture I can’t help but think about and consider the awesome and incredible reality of where our thoughts and focus truly are. Perhaps one of the most incredible thoughts I can’t help but think about is how we would respond if all our thoughts throughout the day were replayed for us at the end of the day before we fell asleep. What if before you laid your head upon your pill at night—or even once you laid your head upon your pillow—each and every thought you had throughout the day were replayed for you? What if you were forced to not only relive but also revisit each and every thought you had within each day before you fell asleep each night? Not only this but what would happen if at the end of each day each and every word which you spoke during the day was replayed for you to listen to. Imagine having to watch every thought you had throughout the day and listen to every word you spoke at the end of each day before you went to bed. I am reminded of the words which the psalmist prayed concerning the words of their mouth and the meditation of their heart being pleasing and acceptable in the sight of the living God. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the nineteenth chapter of the Old Testament book of Psalms beginning with the seventh verse:
“The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward. Who can understand his errors? Cleanse thou me from secret faults. Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression. Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer” (Psalm 19:7-14).
There is a great need for us to recognize and understand the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for the petition to let the words of one’s mouth and the meditation of one’s heart to be acceptable in the sight of the LORD was the Law of the LORD, the testimony of the LORD, the statutes of the LORD, the commandment of the LORD, the fear of the LORD, and the judgments of the LORD. Within this passage of Scripture David speaks of the conversion of the soul, the simple being made wise, the heart rejoicing, the eyes being enlightened and the fear of the Lord being clean and enduring forever as well as the judgments of the LORD being true and righteous. Directly on the heels of this is the psalmist declaring how these are more to be desired than gold, yea, much more than fine gold and sweeter than the honey and the honeycomb. The psalmist goes on to declare that by these elements and by this true the servant of the living God is warned and in keeping them there is great reward. What the psalmist does next is truly remarkable and astonishing when you take the time to think about it for the psalmist asks who can understand their errors. In addition to this the psalmist then goes on to ask the LORD to cleanse him from secret faults and keep him back from presumptuous sins and not to let them have dominion over him. Stop and consider the language that is found in this passage of Scripture for not only does the psalmist not only speaks of errors, but he also speaks of secret faults and presumptuous sins and asks the LORD that none of them have dominion over him. All of this is followed by the psalmist asking the LORD that the words of his mouth (that which he speaks) and the meditation of his heart (that which he thinks and feels) being acceptable in the sight of the living God.
It is absolutely necessary and imperative we recognize and understand this particular truth for when we come to the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew we find the scribes and Pharisees seeking to accuse and condemn the disciples. What’s more is that not only did they seek to accuse the disciples but they did so according to their own traditions—not even according to the actual Law of Moses itself. If you turn and direct your attention to the words which are found in the fifteenth chapter of this New Testament gospel you will find the scribes and the Pharisees approaching Jesus and asking Him point blank why His disciples violated the traditions of the elders by eating bread without washing their hands. This is something we must needs recognize and understand—not necessarily because of what the scribes and Pharisees asked Jesus but because of Jesus’ response to them. Not only this but we must also recognize and understand the words which Jesus spoke unto the disciples in response to that which the scribes and Pharisees had spoken unto Him and their offense with Him. With this being said I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the fifteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew:
“Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying, Why do thy disciples transgress the traditions of the elders? For they wash not their hands when they eat bread. But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? For God commanded, saying, honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the deadh. But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; and honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:1-9).
“And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand: not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man. Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying? But he answered and said, Every plant which my heavenly father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch. Then answered Peter and said unto him, Declare unto us this parable. And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding? Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man” (Matthew 15:10-20).
It is absolutely necessary and imperative we recognize the words and language which is found in this passage of Scripture for within it we find Jesus emphatically declaring that it is not that which goes into the mouth that defiles a man but that which proceeds out of the mouth that defiles a man. Jesus would go on to declare that out of the heart proceed evil thoughts thus suggesting that if we want to truly understand the condition of our heart we need look only at the words which proceed forth from our mouths. I have long been convinced that the truest and greatest barometer of the condition of our heart is and always has been the words which proceed forth out of our mouths. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for more often than not the truest revelation of the condition of our heart is the words which proceed forth from our mouths. What adds even more weight to this are the words which James the half-brother of the Lord Jesus wrote in the epistle which was written unto the saints of God during that first generation of the early Church. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the third chapter of this epistle beginning with the first verse of the chapter:
“My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation. For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. Behold, we put bits in the horses’ mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body. Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth. Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: but the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to so be. Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? Either a vine, figs? So can no foundation both yield salt water and fresh” (James 3:1-12).
Please don’t miss the importance of what James is saying in this passage for with these words James is emphatically declaring the tremendous difficulty in taming the tongue. With these words James is bringing us face to face with the awesome and wonderful truth surrounding the tongue and how incredibly difficult it is to tame it ourselves. This is in fact what I am convinced is so vital about the baptism of the Holy Spirit and their speaking with other tongues. One of the things my late father always said when preaching is that two of the greatest things to tame and truly have authority and control over by the living God are our tongues and our wallets. He would go on to say that if you wanted to truly know if the living and eternal God truly had dominion and authority in your life you need look only to your tongue and your wallet. I have to say that I completely and entirely agree with this thought for two of the greatest things to bring under the authority and dominion of the living God is indeed the tongue and our wallet. If you want to truly recognize and understand whether or not the Holy Spirit truly does have control, dominion and authority within your life you need to look at your tongue—and not only your tongue but also your heart for the two are intrinsically linked and connected. There is a great need within our hearts and our minds to recognize and understand whether or not the Holy Spirit does indeed have authority and control within our lives and specifically with our tongues and the words which proceed forth from our mouths. It is absolutely necessary and imperative for us to recognize and pay attention to this reality within our hearts and lives for it brings us face to face with the wonderful truth surrounding just how much control and authority the Holy Spirit has within our lives.
I presented the question of what you would do and how you would respond if at the end of each day before you went to sleep the Holy Spirit played before you each and every thought you had throughout the course of the day. What if at the end of each day the Holy Spirit played for and before you like a movie all the thoughts you had throughout that particular day? Would you be shocked and surprised at the thoughts that you actually had throughout that particular day? Would you find yourself weeping and lamenting and grieving over the thoughts you had within your heart and mind throughout the course of the day? If there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand is the words which Solomon son of David and king of Israel wrote in the Old Testament book of Proverbs. It is in the fourth chapter of this Old Testament book he instructed his son to guard his heart for out of it flowed the well-spring of life. Solomon recognized that all the matters of our lives flowed forth from our hearts and that the heart was at the very heart and center of everything we say and everything we think. What’s more is I have often heard the longest distance in the world is eighteen inches—the distance from your heart to your head. There are many who desperately need transformation—not only within their heart but also within their mind as well. Remember it was the apostle Paul who emphatically instructed and admonished the saints which were at Rome to be transformed by the renewing of their minds and no longer be conformed to the pattern of this world.
As I sit here this morning and consider the words which are found in this passage of Scripture I find myself encountering and coming face to face with the awesome and incredible truth surrounding the words which the apostle Paul wrote in the fourth chapter of the epistle written unto the Philippian saints. If you turn and direct your attention to the words which are found in the fourth chapter—particularly and especially beginning with the fourth verse—you will find the apostle Paul inviting and admonishing the Philippian saints to rejoice in the Lord always. The apostle Paul would then go on to again instruct and admonish them to rejoice and to let their moderation be known unto all men for the Lord was at hand. The apostle Paul also went on to instruct them to be careful for nothing but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving as they let their requests be made known unto the living God. He would go on to declare that the peace of God which passes all understand would keep their hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. What makes this so incredibly powerful is that not only did the apostle Paul declare that the peace of God which passes all understanding would keep their hearts but it would also keep their minds through Christ Jesus. How incredibly powerful it is to consider the words found in this passage of Scripture for within it we not only find mention of the peace of God passing any understanding we have within ourselves but we also find the peace of God keeping both our hearts and our minds. What’s more is that when you continue reading the words which are found in this passage you will find the apostle Paul speaking of those things which we are to think about. Consider if you will the following words which are found in this passage of Scripture beginning with the fourth verse of the fourth chapter:
“Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing: but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you” (Philippians 4:1-9).
Please don’t miss and lose sight of this particular truth for within it—not only do we find the apostle Paul speaking of the peace of God passing all our understanding and any understanding we think we have but he also speaks of the peace of God guarding our hearts and our minds. I can’t help but recall the words which Solomon son of David and king of Israel wrote in the Old Testament book of Proverbs in the third chapter. It is in the third chapter Solomon admonished his son to trust in the Lord with all his heart and to lean not on his own understanding but to acknowledge Him in all his ways and He would direct his paths. What incredibly wise and insightful words are actually found in this passage of Scripture for Solomon would deliberately and intentionally instruct his son to lean not on their own understanding. Directly linked and connected to this is trusting in the Lord which far surpasses and far supersedes any understanding we think we might possess within ourselves. Oh there is something we must needs recognize and understand because there is a great need to relinquish any understanding we think we have that we might take up the peace of God—and not only the peace of God but also our own trust in the Lord. I am absolutely convinced that both the peace of God and our own trusting in the Lord are intrinsically and incredibly linked to each other and cannot be separated from each other.
When you come to the fourth chapter of the epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the Philippian saints we find the apostle not only declaring of the peace of God that it passes all understanding but we also find the apostle declaring how it keeps both their heart and their minds through Christ Jesus. There is something incredibly unique and powerful about this particular truth for even more than this we find the peace of God seemingly being connected to our being careful for nothing but instead in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving letting our requests be made known unto God. There seems to be this incredibly powerful link between prayer and supplication and the peace of God which passes all our understanding as our hearts and minds are guarded through Christ Jesus. Not only this but when you read the words which are found in the fourth chapter of this epistle you will find the apostle Paul speaking of those things which are true, those things which are honest, those things which are just, those things which are pure, those things which are lovely and whatever things were of good report they were to think upon those things. This must needs be recognized and understood when reading the words which are found in the third chapter of the epistle written unto the Colossian saints for in the opening verse of this chapter we find the apostle speaking of their being risen with Christ and seeking those things which are above where Christ sits on the right hand of God. Not only this but the apostle Paul goes on to admonish them to set their affection on things above and not on things on the earth.
If you consider the words which are found in the third chapter of this epistle you will not only find the apostle Paul instructing them to seek those things which are above but also to set their affection on things which are above. In all reality I can’t help but see a powerful link and connection to the words which our Lord Jesus spoke in the Sermon on the Mount. Upon considering the words which are found in the fifth through seventh chapters of the gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew you will find our Lord speaking of those things which are above and not those things which are below. I am absolutely convinced that we needs consider the words which our Lord Jesus spoke in order to truly understand the words of Jesus for they serve as a foundation for the words which the apostle Paul wrote unto the Colossian saints. With this in mind I invite you to consider the words which our Lord spoke in this passage of Scripture found in the sixth chapter of the gospel written by the apostle Matthew:
“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth. Nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness” (Matthew 6:19-23).
“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot server God and mmon. Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking through can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: and yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? Or, what shall we drink? Or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof” (Matthew 6:24-34).
With these words the Lord Jesus Christ calls and invites His disciples and followers to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. What we must needs recognize and understand is that we do not seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness that all these things would be added unto us. It is absolutely necessary and imperative we recognize and understand how incredibly significant this is for intrinsically linked and connected to seeking first the kingdom of God is the righteousness of God. It is necessary for us to recognize that we cannot and must not make any attempt to separate the kingdom of God and seeking after it and the righteousness of God. What’s more is that it was in the book of Psalms we find out discover that righteousness and judgment are the foundation of His throne—something we have a great need to recognize and understand. There is something truly awesome and powerful about this particular truth for it calls and draws our attention to the wonderful truth of the righteousness of the living God and the kingdom of God. We as the saints of God have indeed been called into a place where we seek those things which are above and where we set our affection on things which are above where neither moth nor rust destroy and where thieves nor robbers steal, break in and destroy. Oh that we would be men and women who recognize and understand that our affections must not be upon those things which are upon the earth and must needs seek those things which are above and set our affection on things which are above. SEEKING AND SETTING OUR AFFECTION! SEEKING AND SETTING! Oh we as the saints of God must needs recognize the wonderful reality of the saints of God desperately needing to align their thinking, their pursuit, their desires and their affection on things which are above. In fact what helps us to understand this all the more is when we consider the following words which are found in the eleventh chapter of the New Testament epistle written unto the Hebrews:
“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, and heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city” (Hebrews 11:13-16).
“By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible” (Hebrews 11:24-27).
“And what shall I more say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: and others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: they were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (of whom the world was not worthy) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, in dens and caves of the earth. And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect” (Hebrews 11:32-40).
It is in the eleventh chapter of the epistle written unto the Hebrews we find the author speaking of those who saw the promises afar off and were persuaded of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. What’s more is the author of this epistle went on to declare that those who say and speak such things declare in plain and simply terms that they are seeking a country entirely and altogether separate from this present earth. What’s more is that those who seek such a country—if they were indeed mindful of that country which they came out—they might have had opportunity to return. What we find is that these men and women desire a better country—a heavenly country—and that God is not ashamed to be called their God and has prepared for them a city. On top of all this we find concerning Moses that he refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter and chose to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. As such Moses esteemed the reproach of Christ of greater riches than the treasures in Egypt for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward. Moses through faith forsook Egypt not fearing the wrath of the king for he endured seeing Him who was invisible. Oh that we would indeed be those who not only seeking a country that is invisible but are also seeking that One who is invisible—that One who is indeed the author and perfecter of our faith.
In the third chapter of the epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the Colossian saints we find him admonishing them to seek those things which are above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God and to set their affections on things above rather than things on the earth. The apostle Paul goes on to declare that we are dead and our lives are hid with Christ in God. What a truly awesome and powerful truth this actually is when you take the time to think about it for not only are we dead but our very life is hid with Christ in God. Stop and think about the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ is seated at the right hand of God in heaven and that our lives are hid with Him in God in those heavenly places. It is in the first and opening chapter of the epistle written unto the Ephesian saints the apostle Paul speaks of our being blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus and we must needs recognize and understand this within our hearts and our spirits. The apostle Paul wrote unto the Ephesian saints that we have been blessed in heavenly places and also writes and speaks of our being seated together with Christ in heavenly places. What great hope and encouragement is found in this passage of Scripture that not only have an inheritance and have been blessed in heavenly places but we have also been seated with Christ in heavenly places. How truly wonderful it is to think about and consider the fact that even though Christ is seated at the right hand of God in heaven we are not only seated with Him but are also hidden with Him.
The more I think about this reality the more I am brought face to face with the fact that even though the Lord Jesus ascended from the mount of Olives at sat down at the right hand of the living God He invited us to not only have our lives hidden with Him but also to be seated together with Him in heavenly places. The Lord Jesus Christ is indeed set down at the right hand of God, however, the truth of the matter is that although Jesus is indeed set down at the right hand of the Father in heaven our entire lives and every part of our being as the saints of God is not only seated together with him in those heavenly places but our very lives are hidden in Him with the living God. Having said this I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the New Testament epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Ephesus. Consider if you will the following words which are found in this New Testament epistle concerning these heavenly places and how our entire identity and inheritance is secured in heavenly places the Lord Jesus Christ. We as the saints of the most High God must needs recognize and understand that we have indeed been called to be those who not only recognize our inheritance but also our identity. There is a great need within our hearts and our minds to truly understand that we are indeed men and women who have an inheritance in heavenly places as well as an identity in heavenly places. What’s more is our inheritance is not merely a place which we are looking for but our inheritance is in fact a person. With this being said we must recognize that both our inheritance and our identity is indeed found in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Oh that we would indeed recognize that both our inheritance and our identity is secured in heavenly places but that both our inheritance and identity are found in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Consider now if you will the following words which are found in the New Testament epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Ephesus:
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: according as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: that in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: in whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: that we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:3-14).
“Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all” (Ephesians 1:15-23).
“And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:1-10).
“For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: how that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; and to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: in whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him. Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory. For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith: that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehended with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that yew might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us. Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen” (Ephesians 3:1-21).
There is a tremendous need within ourselves to recognize and understand the reality that we do indeed and do in fact have both an inheritance and identity in heavenly places—and not only in heavenly places but also in the Lord Jesus Christ. We as the saints of God must needs remember that our inheritance and our identity is more than just a place—regardless of whether we recognize that it is in heavenly places. Our inheritance and identity are entirely and altogether wrapped up and bound together in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. With this being said we must needs understand that with this comes the need to mortify the members of our physical bodies which are upon the earth—fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness which is idolatry. It is upon these things the wrath of God comes on the children of disobedience of whom we once walked for some time and even lived in them. When, however, we came to the Lord Jesus Christ we have put off all works of the flesh—anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of our mouths and the like. In addition to this we ought not to lie one to another seeing that we have put off the old man with hid deeds and have put on the new man which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created us. Oh that we would truly recognize and understand that we have indeed obtained a new man which is renewed in knowledge after the image of the Lord Jesus Christ who is seated at the right hand of the Father. IMAGE, INHERITANCE AND IDENTITY!
Oh if you take the time to read the epistle written unto the Colossian saints you will read of how the Lord Jesus Christ is the image of the invisible God. With this being said is that if the Lord Jesus is indeed the image of the invisible God and we are being renewed after the image of the Lord Jesus then we are being transformed and renewed after the image and likeness of the living God. When the LORD God took man from the dust of the earth and formed him into a shell upon the floor of the earth He not only formed and made him in His image and after His likeness but he also breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. When we come to the fourth chapter we find it written how Adam begat through Eve a child who was after his own image and likeness, thus indicating a disconnect from the image of the living God which was the original intention. It was in the fifth chapter of the epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Rome we find it written how there was indeed the first Adam by and through whom sin and death began to reign upon the earth. With this being said, however, there was also a second Adam who was the person of the Lord Jesus Christ who we know and understand is the image of the invisible God. What we find in the epistle written unto the Colossian saints is that we are being renewed after the image of the Lord Jesus Christ who we know is the image of the invisible God. If we are being renewed after the image of the Lord Jesus Christ. There is a great and present need within our hearts and spirits that we do indeed and do in fact have an identity and inheritance in heavenly places and that we have an image which we are to be transformed and renewed.
As I prepare to bring this writing to a close we must needs recognize that in the Lord Jesus Christ we not only have our inheritance, and we not only have our identity but we also have the image into which we are being transformed into. The saints of the most high God are daily being transformed and renewed according to the image of the Lord Jesus Christ day after day and it is something we must continually strive for. We are daily called to crucify and put to death our old man with its old nature, lusts, desires and passions that we put on the new man which is not only renewed and quickened but also renewed and quickened after the image and likeness of the Lord Jesus Christ. Directly linked and connected to this is the inheritance and identity we have in and with the Lord Jesus Christ who is the express image of the invisible God and in whom all the fulness of the Living God dwelt bodily. As a direct result of this we must needs recognize that we are to put on therefore—as the elect of God, holy and beloved—bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness and longsuffering. With this also comes the tremendous responsibility to forbear one another as we forgive one another if any one has a quarrel against another even as Christ forgave us. One of the greatest parts of this new man which is formed and fashioned after the image of the Lord Jesus Christ is forgiving others even as Christ forgave others and even asked the Father to forgive His accusers, those who blasphemed against Him, those who scourged and beat Him, and those who even mocked and ridiculed Him. From the cross upon which He was dying he cried out unto the Father and living God to forgive those before and all around Him for they knew not what they did.
I am absolutely and completely convinced we must recognize the image we have indeed been called to be renewed in which is directly and intrinsically linked to both our inheritance as well as our identity. There is a great need within ourselves to always strive after and pursue our inheritance and identity in the Lord Jesus Christ for we have indeed been called to something far greater and beyond that which is present here in the earth in this present age and present world. We have been called to be men and women who let the peace of God rule in our hearts to which we are called in one body and are to be thankful. We are to let the word of Christ dwell in us richly in all wisdom as we teach and admonish one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs as we sing with grace in our hearts unto the Lord. What’s more is that whatsoever we do in word and deed we are to do all in the name of the Lord Jesus giving thanks to God and the Father by Him. Oh that we would recognize and understand that our entire lives are to be completely and totally governed by the Lord Jesus Christ who is both our inheritance and our identity. Not only this but we have been called to be transformed, conformed, renewed and quickened in the image of the Lord Jesus who is the image of the invisible God. It is only in the Lord Jesus Christ is the original intention for man being created and formed in the image and after the likeness of the living God restored and manifested within our physical beings and lives. Oh that we would be men and women daily, regularly and continually give ourselves to the Lord Jesus Christ that we might be changed, transformed and quickened into his likeness and image day after day.