"Bringing Heaven To Earth"
(Colossians 2:29 - 3:14)
1. Back in the early 1980's during all the rise in terrorist activities, La Guardia Airport was almost shut down for over two hours as police and security people deal with a suspicious looking package that was ticking. Guess what was in the package? A clock! Two dynamics were at work here: a worst case scenario, and fear of the unknown.
2. It seems that this is the way that most people deal with the concept of holiness. They don't know what it is and if they did, it would be bad news for them. How to we feel about it: guilty, proud, what!?
3. In building Christian character holiness is crucial. Peter in quoting Leviticus 19:2 in 1 Peter 1:15-16 gives the idea that holiness is the link to the moral character of God..."be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy."
4. In dealing with holiness we need to take a look at what makes a person holy and why that matters - a concept of separation, set aside for a special purpose: to bring heaven (its moral system, and love) to earth. This is explained in Colossians 2:20 - 3:14.
I. What Holiness Is NOT - Colossians 2:20-23
A. Dying to Christ
1. Issue of living to God, not decrees.
2. Strange mix of gnosticism, Jewish legalism, and oriental philosophy gave people a strange idea of what the holy life was at Colossae!
B. Externals vs. internals - Matthew 15:1.20
1. God didn't want them to appear holy, but to be holy!
2. Reason why externals don't work: no value against fleshly indulgence (e.g. prison) you can lock a man up, but they only way you can change him is to change his thinking!
II. What Holiness Is - Colossians 3:1-14
A. Holy Thinking - verses 1-4
1. Concept of bringing heaven to earth: think on things above.
2. Fill in the blank: "for me to live is " (see Philippians 1:21).
3. Reference to Christ: Died with Christ; Live with Christ; Raised with Christ; Hidden in Christ; Glorified in Christ.
B. The Holy Life - verses 5-11
1. Surgery for the Soul: things a Christian can live without.
2. Need to change our appetites.
3. KEY: Putting off and putting on - verses 9-10 (see Matthew 12:43-45). This is done by: A RENEWAL (renovation) TO A TRUE KNOWLEDGE ACCORDING TO THE IMAGE OF GOD.
C. The Mark of Holiness - verses 12-14
1. A list of what holy people do...
2. Why: chosen of God
3. Holiness was internalizing what God was, not externalizing a few do's and don'ts.
Application: Mere externals don't make us holy. We need to preach on the aspects of a holy life, but if the heart is not holy, then watch out! People that make an emphasis on this are usually inconsistent in their practice! Holiness leads to love. In trying to be holy, are we growing in love for God and others? Holiness is trying to be like God. Are you trying to be like God?