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Setting Our Affections on The Things Above

INTRODUCTION

We are living in a time in the age of the world when there are many things competing for our affections. Many people are seeking pleasure, competition, power, prestige, riches, popularity, and all sorts of things such as unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness, envy of every kind, hatred, murder, strife, deceit,evil-mindedness, the praise of men, and the destruction of godliness and anyone who believes in the true and the living God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent. In short, as the Apostle Paul reveals in Romans Chapter One verse 18 through 32, there are people who are actually inventors of evil things! What are you seeking?

When the great Apostle wrote to the Church at Colosse, he stated to those Christians the passage which is set forth above from the 3rd Chapter of his letter to the Church at Colosse. In short, he called on those who had been “raised with Christ" to seek those things which “are above where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God.” He also called on Christians to set their “affection on things above and not on the things of the earth.” Are you praying and seeking and asking that the Lord God will help you to seek those things which are above where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God and to set your mind or affection on things above and not on the things of the earth?

Many are simply going along with the crowd and looking for that which gives them pleasure and occupies their time. It is my hope and prayer that a brief look at these Holy Scriptures will help you in your walk with Christ to seek those things which are above where Christ sits on the right hand of the Father, as well as, to set your affection on things above and not on the things of the earth.

 

I.    ETERNAL LIFE

In the 17th chapter of the Gospel of John, the Lord Jesus Christ tells us what eternal life is. There, Christ states, “and this is eternal life that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” (John 17:3) Actually, this statement is part of what is called the high priestly prayer of the Lord Jesus Christ which is found in the 17th Chapter of the Gospel of John. Thus, we see that eternal life is “to know the only true God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent.” The Lord Jesus, when asked what is the first and greatest commandment, had responded by saying: “the first and greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind and all your strength; the second is like unto it, to love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:3 and 31) This statement by the Lord Jesus Christ recognizes what is found in the Ten Commandments which God gave to Moses and can be found in the 20th Chapter of the Book of Exodus. The Ten Commandments are commonly referred to as having “two tables of the law";  the first table setting out our responsibility and relationship to the Lord our God; the second table setting out our relationship to our fellow men. Hence, Christ stated both the correct order and the correct relationship. First, is our relationship to God, for He is the Lord our God and we shall have no other Gods before Him or even in His presence. Second, we must honor our father and mother and our relationships with all others of mankind.

Thus, if you have been raised with Christ, you are to seek those things which are above where Christ sits on the right hand of God the Father. That comes first. Then you are to set your affections on things above, for we are citizens of heaven (Philippians 3:20) Therefore, we are not to set our affection on things on the earth. The Apostle John states essentially the same thing in his first Epistle where he says, “love not the world, neither the things of the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – is not of the Father but is of the world.    (1 John 2:15 and 16)

Therefore, ask yourselves these questions why is the world as it is today? Why can't mankind seem to get along? Why is there so much violence in the world? Why is it that so many people seem to be obsessing, and setting their affection on so many different things? The answer, of course, is found right here in these scriptures. We see first in Genesis that mankind is in the mess and the muddle that it is in today because of sin. Everyone who is in the world who has not been raised with Christ is actually dead in their trespasses and sins. (Ephesians 2:1 – 10) They are all obsessively seeking something to make them “happy". They are obsessively setting their affection on various and sundry different things “on the earth” and not “on the things above”. They are either not citizens of heaven – or they do not know that God has made them citizens of heaven, and they don't understand the Lord's direction to those who have been “risen with Christ"!

 

II.    THE GOD OF THE LIVING

Not everyone is a child of God. God is the God of the living – not the God of the dead. “All those who do not know the Lord Jesus Christ are dead in their trespasses and sins.” (Ephesians 2) God, however, is the God of the living; the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He has given His children everlasting life. The Apostle Paul, in writing to his “son” in the faith, Timothy, stated it this way: "this is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptations that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. How be it, I have obtained mercy that in me first, Jesus Christ might show forth all long-suffering as a pattern to those who will hereafter believe on Him for everlasting life." (1 Timothy 2:15 and 16)

“God did not send His only begotten Son into the world to condemn the world. Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners and to give them everlasting life. Those who do not believe in the Lord Jesus Christ are condemned already” (John 3)  Those who believe on the name of the only begotten Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, are not condemned but have everlasting life. The Apostle Paul, in his letter to the church at Rome tells them the following: “for all have sinned and have come short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God has set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God has passed over former sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be both just and the justifier of those who have faith in Christ Jesus.”(Romans 3:23 – 26)

Paul goes on to state to the church at Rome, “therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God by our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom also we have access into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God." (Romans 5:1 and 2) Furthermore, he tells the Church at Rome, and us, that having received the Lord Jesus Christ we were buried with Him through baptism unto death and, when Christ was raised from the dead we were also raised from the dead and we should walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:3 and 4) Indeed, the great Apostle told the Church at Rome and us that therefore we must not let sin reign in our mortal bodies to obey it, but we are to present ourselves to God as being alive from the dead and our members as instruments of righteousness to God. He states the reason there, “for sin shall not have dominion over you, for you're not under law but under grace" (Romans 6:12 -14)

Thus, we see conclusively that God is not the God of the dead but the God of the living. He has made us alive in Christ Jesus that we may fulfill the righteousness of the law and live as a saved man ought to live. (Romans 8:4) We are to seek those things which are above where Christ sits on the right hand of the Father, and set our affection on things above and not on the things of the earth.

 

III.    NOT THE GOD OF THE PHILOSOPHERS

As the great apostle wrote to the church at Colosse, God is not the God of philosophy! Paul stated to the church there, “beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and vain deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and that you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power. (Colossians 2:8 – 10)

Blaise Pascal ,who was a French mathematician physicist, inventor, writer and Catholic theologian, who died in 1662, said that “God is the God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, not of the philosophers and scholars. God of Abraham, God of Isaac God of Jacob, not of the philosophers and the scholars. I will not forget thy word. Amen." Thus, God's Word tells us through the Apostle Paul: “now this I say lest anyone should deceive you with persuasive words. For though I am absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the steadfast notice of your faith in Christ. As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with Thanksgiving." (Colossians 2:4- 7)

Having been raised with Christ and made alive in him, we are no longer dead in our trespasses and sins, but have joined the family of God. He has adopted us into his family and made us heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ. God is not the God of the dead but of the living, of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He is not the God of the philosophers. He is not the God of theories. He calls us to seek those things which are above where Christ sits on the right hand of the father and to set our affection on things above and not on the things of the earth.

We can know him, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom he has sent and have everlasting life in Christ Jesus. Christ himself bore our sin in his own body on the cross that we should be dead unto sin and alive unto righteousness and with His stripes we are healed. (1 Peter 2:24) Sin no longer has dominion over us! We are freed to live as becomes the gospel of Christ! In Christ alone we take our stand and seek those things which are above where Christ sits on the right hand of the father and set our affection on things above and not on the things of the earth.

 

CONCLUSION.

It is my earnest expectation and hope that you have been raised with Christ and that you will seek those things which are above where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God and set your affection on things above and not on the things of the earth. This is difficult, however, we are united to Christ. He is our strength and our redeemer. He is our righteousness. He is our helper. The word of God and the Holy Spirit of God make intercession for us in praying for us when we know not how to pray as we ought. Please pray that God would grant men all over this nation to preach and teach His Holy Truth and the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ which is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes, both to the Jew first and also to the Gentile. Pray for all of those who are in authority over us that we might lead quiet and peaceable lives. Pray that God would grant a great awakening and a great revival in this nation and would remove the ungodly and unrighteous, and those who suppress the truth in unrighteousness from positions of authority over us.

Now unto Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to God our Savior, who alone is wise, the glory and majesty and dominion and power, both now and forever more Amen!

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