5 March 2018

Hello, and welcome to a new week of Foundations Daily. My name is Liam and I’m part of the staff team here at STC. It is an absolute privilege to get to share a short thought from the Bible with you each day. As a team, we really hope these podcasts are encouraging you to live out the Jesus life.

We are currently looking at St Paul’s letter to the Colossians. Two weeks ago, my colleague James reminded us again of that fundamental truth that it’s all about grace. We receive God’s unmerited favour. We can’t earn it, we don’t deserve it but despite all that, God’s love for us is constant and unchanging. Last week, Mick then spoke about change. Is it possible to change? Yes, because Jesus is the change agent! His Spirit at work within us changes us from the inside out and it has the power to bring about Godly change in our communities and in our society.

And so to this week and the next part of Paul’s letter to the Colossians. I have loved digging into Colossians. It’s a wonderful letter, packed full of amazing truths about Christ. The central message being this – that when we receive Christ into our lives and decide to follow him, we throw off our old self and put on our new self. That through faith in Jesus, we die to our old life and rise to the new life he has for us.

With all this mind, this week we ask the question what does this changed life, this new life, that Jesus offers us, look like? What are some of the hallmarks of a life changed by Jesus and what does it look like to live that out each day?

REFLECTION

Today’s passage is Colossians Ch 2:20- 3:4. Let’s look at verse 1 together.

‘Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.’

The context behind today’s focus verse is that the believers in Colassae had begun to stop living the new life Christ had won for them and moved towards living a life that was centred on something else. Paul writes in verse 20: ‘Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules.’ The church in Colassae had gone a bit off track. People were teaching that you had to worship angels in order to protect yourself from evil spirits and that you had to adopt all manner of strict disciplines. All of which weren’t the Gospel and all of which meant the believers weren’t living in the fullness of this new life that God had for them.

And so Paul reiterates the call for the people of Colossae to again look to Jesus – and to set their hearts on things above where Christ is.

Why? Because when you look to where Christ is, Paul is saying, you remember that it’s through Christ that you have a new life, that you’re a new creation. And that the old way of doing things, has gone. Paul writes in verse 1 that Christ is seated at the right hand of God. It’s a picture of Jesus having complete authority over all things. That he died so that you might be free.

Paul says to the Colossians: Look to Jesus. Look to the source of the new life! Look to the one who has complete authority. The old way of doing things no longer has any power over you. You can’t earn your salvation with God, Paul says, by eating the right foods, by observing particular festivals or earn protection through praying to certain angels. It’s all about grace. It’s all about Jesus. And when you look to him, Paul says, when you ‘set your heart on the things above’ – you are reminded again that you are to live a new life, a changed life.

The challenge to the Colossians, is in essence the same challenge to us today – Look to Jesus!

I’ve heard it put like this, that we as believers, are to walk into this new day with our heads held high and our eyes fixed on Jesus and not down at our bootstraps.

What a great reminder for us all at the start of this new week that whatever it holds – mock exams at school. assignments due in, difficult meetings or conversations at work, challenges at home, or simply the challenge of being a believer, a hope filled person, when many around us simply aren’t living that way – Paul says this: Look to Jesus. ‘Set your heart things above where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.’ And in doing so, we are reminded again that Jesus has a new life for us. As Mick spoke about last week: Christ is in us, the hope of glory.

PRAYER

Jesus, as we start this new week we look to you. Whatever it is set before us this week, we know that you came to give us new life, a changed life. Jesus, fill me with your spirit again this day. Help me to live out this new life you have for me, and may I continue to discover more of this new life you have for me as I read your word this week. Amen.

READING: COLOSSIANS 2:20-3:4

Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.