CHRIST OUR GUIDE TO HEAVEN AND HOME
Welcome and Prayer
Leader: The Lord be with you.
People: And also with you.
Leader: Let us pray.
Our gracious God and heavenly Father, we come to you asking for your grace in our living, your wisdom for our understanding, and your love in our brokenness. We confess that we often fail to see your desires for us that will lead us to a more joyful walk with you. May your Holy Spirit be our guide as we open our hearts to receive the gift of your presence. We give you thanks in the name of your blessed Son, Jesus. Amen.
Overview of the SessionPerhaps you have seen the television add: A person or team has just won a major event or champion-ship. The question rings out: What are you going to do now? “We’re going to Disneyland!” Paul had that idea here. There has been a death followed by victorious resurrection. And he shouts out the question: What are you going to do now? “We’re going to heaven!” A little worn, but it gets across the point. The Apostle is saying we have someone in heaven, watching and waiting for us to join him. And that’s the truth! Arrange your living, he says, so that anyone observing you will know your destination.
Sharing our storiesIn high school, did you have definite ideas about what kind of job you wanted, where you wanted to live or what kind of spouse you were looking for? How did it go? Did all your dreams come true or were there significant changes of direction? Tell us about it.
Reflection from personal studyIn our prior sessions, we have seen Jesus pictured at the center of creation, the church, and the individual believer. Paul opens this section by pointing out that Christ will have the central position in heaven as well. So, Paul writes, you’re going to heaven where Jesus holds the key position of honor and power. Keep your eye and heart on that goal as you live out your faith.
In this passage, we read that there should be some outcomes from our being “in Christ.” Some are negative (things we should not do) and others are positive. For your consideration, what is the impact on others who know us as Christians if we don’t live a life that shows we’re going to heaven? For example, what’s the message if we are always greedy? How do others see us if we don’t make allowance for other’s faults?
| Colossians 3:1-17|
1 Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits at God’s right hand in the place of honor and power. 2 Let heaven fill your thoughts. Do not think only about things down here on earth.
3 For you died when Christ died, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 And when Christ, who is your real life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.
5 So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual sin, impurity, lust, and shameful desires. Don’t be greedy for the good things of this life, for that is idolatry. 6 God’s terrible anger will come upon those who do such things. 7 You used to do them when your life was still part of this world. 8 But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. 9 Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old evil nature and all its wicked deeds. 10 In its place you have clothed yourselves with a brand-new nature that is continu-ally being renewed as you learn more and more about Christ, who created this new nature within you.
11 In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us. 12 Since God chose you to be the holy people whom he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.
13 You must make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive the person who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.
14 And the most important piece of clothing you must wear is love. Love is what binds us all together in perfect harmony.
15 And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.
16 Let the words of Christ, in all their richness, live in your hearts and make you wise. Use his words to teach and counsel each other. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. 17 And whatever you do or say, let it be as a representative of the Lord Jesus, all the while giving thanks through him to God the Father.
|1.In vv. 1-4, what does Paul say it means for us that we have been raised to new life?
2. What do you think he means in saying “your real life is hidden with Christ in God?” Vr. 3.
3. By implication, what happens in our living if the “sinful, earthly things” (vv. 5-7) are alive and well in us?
4. In vv. 8 and 9, Paul adds a different category--other things we should try to get rid of. How are we seen if these things flourish in our lives?
5. What help is available for the Christian? (v. 10)
6. Lest there be any question of some kind of double standard between Jews and this Gentile church, how does Paul clarify Christian conduct in verse 11? (There are no second class Christians!)
7. Starting in verse 12, Paul makes a transition. He has spoken to what should be “put off.” Now he lists some things to “put on” for positive and practical Christian living. What kind of person, home, church, community and country would we be by living out these qualities? Take a few minutes to describe each.
8. The Apostle Peter writes, “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” (I Peter 4:8). In the prayer Jesus taught us, we say, “And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” From vv. 12 - 14, can you identify one area of your life that could be changed under these guidelines? Can you share that?
9. How can we link up verse 15 with the first four verses of this chapter? For example, where is our “real life?”
10. What benefit do we receive from reading, studying and meditating on Christ’s word (the Scriptures)?
11. From verse 17, what would you say is the trademark of a representative of Jesus?
Let heaven fill your thoughts When Christ is revealed Learn more about Christ
Clothe yourselves Love is what binds us Live in peace
section. It may have been a request for a “list” of things “to do” and “not to do” for Christian living. The New Testament does not have such a catalogue of things. It would take a very large book to create answers for every contingency. However, there are prin-ciples that are provided that form a basis for Christian living. The items that Paul gives here stem from those principles. Perhaps the strongest statement for us is found in verse 17: “Whatever you do or say, let it be as a representative of the Lord Jesus, all the while giving thanks through him to God the Father.” Those are powerful words and are inclusive of any contingency that arises. Thus, the actions Paul itemizes either in negative or positive terms fit under the umbrella of this verse.
In the opening verses of this book Paul highlighted that he was praying for them regularly. In the closing chapter he requests that those in the Lycus Valley pray for him. He wanted them to see we are in this together and that we should support each other through prayer. To help us do this, those who would like, share any request for prayer you have. Others in the group will write your request in the space to the right. It is our intention that we will pray for each other during the coming week.
Ephesians. 6:18 “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”
My Prayer Partners: They’ve Asked Prayer for: