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All Rise!

"Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory."
Good Morning Beloved,
Welcome to worship this Lord's Day.
Let us rejoice!
There are many people in our society searching for something. They know there’s got to be something more to life. Unfortunately, many of them will never find it. Because they don’t know what it is that they’re missing.
Spiritual transformation can only be achieved through faith in the working of God. The word working in Scripture translates from the Greek word "energeia," from which we get our English word energy. It refers to God's active power—the same power that raised Jesus from the dead. Those who believe that God raised Jesus from the dead will also be raised with Him. 
The death and resurrection of Jesus to many, is merely an objective fact concerning how the world was reconciled to God. While you can not be too emphatic about that fact, that is not the whole gospel. The gospel is intended to be personally received, it is intended to change lives, it is intended to become the living reality in the lives of those who believe and receive Jesus as their life. It is the foundational principle for truly living the Christian life.
Let us bow our heads.

Heavenly Father,

Father, we are so thankful for this magnificent portion of the Word. Such wonderful truth. Lord, we thank You for not only saving in Your plan of redemption, but for including us in the death and resurrection of Christ. And in that all the resources, all the riches, all the supply of heaven, all the virtues and all the truth in heaven is available to us. Help O Lord, to be faithful, to live in such a way that it brings glory to the One who redeemed us. Thank You for the heavenly hope that occupies our hearts and our minds. May we live in this truth, as we await to leave this world, to be in Your presence.
In the name of Christ we pray
Today's Message: All Rise!

The Resurrection is regarded in Scripture in three aspects- as a fact establishing our Lord’s Messiah-ship, as a prophecy of the believer’s rising from the dead, and as an enabling for the Christian life here and now. The last aspect is the one taught here. Scripture teaches that the believer is so joined with Jesus that he has died and risen with Him. What a beautiful promise and unshakeable, wonderful truth!

The only remedy for the indulgences of the flesh, is the believer’s new life in Jesus Christ. By our spiritual union with Christ in His death we can die to the world’s way of believing, thinking and acting. In the believer’s spiritual union with Christ in His resurrection the power to live a new life is found.
Open with me your Bibles to the third chapter of Colossians. Before we address the message in our text today, the Lord has laid upon my heart something that must be said, something I believe it very relevant.
As believers, I am sure that we are all aware of the Great Commission. We all understand that the mission of the church in the world, as given in Mark 16:15, is to "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation." I believe that we understand that we are to reach the world with the gospel message. We are to go out into all the world and bringing to them the gospel. And we are to teach them to observe everything the Lord has commanded them, and make disciples. 
We, as the church, have been left in the world, solely for the purposes of evangelism.
I believe, at least for the most part, that we understand the message is the gospel that Christ came into the world as the incarnate Son of God, that He lived a sinless life after having been born of a virgin, and that He died a substitutionary death. He came to be the sacrifice that would satisfy God. We understand the purpose of His death and resurrection, was to bring salvation to the unregenerate world. I mean, we get that, right?

However, what I believe the church seems to be having the most trouble with is the method. Rather than setting its mind on heaven, rather than seeking what is above, it seen to be that believers today, and even church leaders today, have become preoccupied with seeking things that are below. The world!

Sadly, the church seems to be earthbound. And beloved, that would be satanic strategy. A satanic strategy. We are called to heavenly things, and Satan would like nothing more than to trap us, as Christ's church, in earthly things. Has this not been the death of the church throughout church history? 

I believe that the modern church has become terribly, terribly confused. They been taken by the popular notion that in order to reach the world we have to become like the world. In order to attract people, we must give the people what they want. We must adapt to the current cultural styles and philosophies. We must remove anything that offends them, things like sin, righteousness, judgment, and wrath, eternal punishment, the things that convict, the things that indict, the things that condemn.
After all, it seems to draw the largest crowds, I mean, it works, therefore, it must be right. And in doing so, the church has become as much like the world as possible. That is the exact opposite of what the Bible teaches. Beloved, you will never find in the entire earthly ministry of our Lord in all of His interactions as recorded in the four Gospels, at any time, where He accommodated the world. In fact, He occupied Himself with trying to set worldly disorder back into order.
In John 8:23, Jesus says "You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world."
In effect, according to God’s Word, we have to leave the world to reach the world. In fact, later in John 18:36, Jesus said to Pilate, "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm."
In other words, If My kingdom was of this world, we would engage the world, fighting within the framework of the world. There was no human philosophies in His evangelism, no cultural reform, He didn't engage Himself in the politics of the culture, in fact, Jesus never tried to "fix the problems of the world." Jesus' strategy is to leave the world, to separate from the world, to abandon the world, to reach the world. In other words, to make the gospel believable, we have to be different from the world, we have to be other than the world. That's the whole point. I believe that the church, has lost sight of the fact that Jesus' strategy is exactly opposite what seems to be popular today.
Now, let’s look into our text and learn how we can appropriate the gospel, how you can live a life in the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. For living in the power of Jesus’ Resurrection enables Resurrection Living!
I would like to encourage you to follow along with me as I read, to set the text in our minds. 

"Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory."
We see the conviction of the apostle Paul was that the open tomb opened the way to a life of immense possibilities. He wanted the Colossians not only to believe in the power of Christ’s resurrection but to claim the victory of it as their own. So he taught them the secret of Resurrection Living. This victory can be realized through a conscious habitual pattern of thought in the mind and an attitude in heart. 
The victory of Christ’s resurrection.
We have previously learned, that the water baptism symbolizes our death and resurrection with Christ. This spiritual union with Christ in His death and resurrection is the "spiritual key" that unlocks the door to the power of Resurrection Living.
When we surrender our life to Christ we are incorporated into His death and life. When Christ comes to live within us, through the Holy Spirit, we experience a resurrection to a new life and can live under His guidance and power, if we will surrender the control of our life to Him. That is why Christ commands us to die to our old life, to our old self, to our fleshly nature which we can only do by appropriating, by claiming His death to sin as our death to sin.

This spiritual union with Christ gives us a new set of desires, and a new purpose, and a new perspective. The power of the Resurrection puts heaven in our hearts, however, it needs to be transmitted to our minds. The Colossians had accepted Christ and His salvation but it lay dormant, because they were engrossed with earthly things. Their earthly priorities were controlling  and directing their spiritual lives.

 I believe this is one of the greatest problems believers face today. When many of us came to Christ we never set aside our personal agendas of prosperity and personal success. We failed to die to our personal set of purposes, plans, and priorities. Scripture calls for a radical transformation of our attention and a reordering of our values. Until Christ is valued above all, He is not valued at all.

So, in other words, as we apply our union with Him in His death, we will die to the world and the flesh. If we apply our union with Him in His resurrection our born-again spirit will cause us to aspire in love, thought, desire and obedience, so that we focus on Jesus who is on His throne where He rules and blesses the souls whom through faith live the new life of heaven on earth.
Satan's strategy is to tell us that if we seek the things above we will miss out on the things below. That’s not necessarily true. God is the rightful owner of the earth and all it contains. "Seeking the things above,"  does not mean we abstain from the earthly things, but that we use earthly things for God’s glory. You can use and enjoy earthly things better when your not seeking your personal satisfaction from them but are seeking fulfillment from God. Taste, touch, and tabulate can never really satisfy. Position, popularity, and people don’t bring us security. However, if we fix our focus on them, they cause divided loyalties between Christ and our own agenda.
In verse 1, Paul commands us to center our life on Christ by seeking His virtues."Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.
If you have been raised with Christ in the power of His resurrection to a new life, seek the things above. And, if you haven’t, then keep seeking the things of earth. For one’s union with Christ is the only power that could enable us to seek the things above instead of focusing on earth.

Now, in addition to setting our hearts on Jesus, Paul commands us in verse 2, to concentrate and direct our thoughts to the eternal. "Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth."

In other words, concentrate your concerns on the eternal, not the temporal. In fact, II Corinthians 4:18 teaches us that "while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal."

The similarity of the two commands in Colossians 3:1-2, reinforces their impact. You must not only seek heaven you must think heaven. For in order to change you actions you must first change your heart and your mind, or thinking, then, in due course your actions will change. So give a larger place in your thought life to heaven than to earth.

Satan wants to keep you so preoccupied with the things of earth that he can block out the things of heaven. First, he wants to make you ineffective in Christ’s cause, then he wants to take away your light and saltiness.

I'm sure that most of you have seen, at some or another, a group on vultures sitting in the middle of the road, group of them can be seen sitting right on the roadway, tearing apart and devouring the carcass of some unfortunate creature. It certainly gives the impression that these birds are constantly on the lookout for what is loathsome and repulsive!

Some people are like that. Nothing seems to satisfy them more than feasting on what is sinful, corrupt, and immoral. The books and magazines they read; the movies and television programs they watch; the conversations they engage in, and the activities they pursue reveal a "vulture-like" appetite.

Far better is the spiritual diet of Scripture, as described in Philippians 4:8, "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, think about these things."

Our new birth creates a new appetite and therefore requires a new diet. Scripture emphasized that followers of Christ need to be heavenly-minded, not earthly-minded. However, God allows us the freedom to choose which it will be.

We can choose to succumb to selfish, earthbound thoughts, blurring our view of anything beyond the end of our noses. Or we can gaze through this sinful scene and fix our attention on things above, where Christ is seated at God's right hand and we with Him! Then, and only then, are we in a position to see what's most important in life. Only the mind that is set on things above can say no to sin and yes to Christlike holiness. Again, the choice is ours.

Although we who have trusted Christ as Savior have to live here in this world, we should not cling to material things that are in it. We must become so occupied with pleasing Him and working for the crowns of eternal rewards that we lose our preoccupation with digging in the muck and mire of this fleeting fallen world. 

Beloved, all the things above are found in Christ. All the splendors of eternity are in Christ. Love, mercy, grace, compassion, righteousness, holiness, wisdom, understanding, truth, creativity, humbleness, justice, courage, boldness, faith, hope, sound mind, light. Jesus Christ is the summing up of all the eternal treasure of God, of all the blessed things that are above. Praise, worship, thankfulness, virtue, honesty, good works, self-control, patience, integrity, contentment, healing, wonder.
Now that does not mean we need not be concerned with the things of the earth, but that they are not to be our priority, they are not what we strive for, they are not to be our goals and dreams, the master of our lives. We are to seek first the kingdom of heaven and His righteousness.
Matthew 6:33 says "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided to you."
The things of earth that are not evil in and of themselves are far more satisfying when they are of secondary instead of primary importance. When they are in their proper perspective, we control and use them, instead of them controlling and using us. Seek first the kingdom of God and your other aims as students, business men, parents, scientists, or anything else will be far more rewarding by subordinating them to the conscious aim of pleasing God. Beloved, this world is not our eternal home so stop living like it is by giving it undue attention. The only people who are truly happy on earth are those whose hearts are in heaven.

I am convinced from observing people and studying the Word, that the people who are truly content are those who constantly realize that this world is not where it’s at. On the other hand, those who try to find happiness here are continually frustrated. The material possessions they purchase are never quite what they were supposed to be, they're always wanting something more than what they currently have. The relationships they form are never as satisfying as they thought they would be, most often, they don't last. The dreams they pursue are never as fulfilling as they hoped they would be. Nothing is ever quite right until we realize, "Hey, what I'm truly searching for is not here on this earth!"

I believe this is why the Lord constantly tells us in the Word to set our hearts on things above. People are bogged down, with stomachs churning, brows furrowing, and hearts breaking because they are taking the things of earth far too seriously. When a person finally understands that heaven is where it’s at, he is then free to enjoy life. And it doesn’t matter what he has or where he lives. In other words, set your heart on things above. Live for heaven and you’ll enjoy life! 
Religion is just like floating down the stream, but resurrection living is swimming against the current, no matter how strong the tide set against you is. The unregenerate may like heaven better than hell, but they like this world the most of all. When death stares them in the face, then they think they would like to get to heaven. The true believer treasures heaven above everything else, and is always willing to give up the world. Everybody wants to enjoy heaven after they die, however, some don't want to live heavenly-minded while they're alive.
Beloved, we can only change our mind set, changes our priorities if we are united in Christ’s death. Paul tells us in verse 3, how we can set our minds on heaven. "For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God." 
The person who dies to sin by the power of Christ’s death, which destroyed the power of sin over us, this person’s life is hidden in Christ. There is something bold, defiant and jubilant about being dead to sin and the old life by our sharing in the death of Christ. The truth is that Christ has destroyed the power of sin. Now, because we share in the death of Christ, we reckon ourselves dead to sin, and are empowered to become what we potentially are, what we were recreated in the new birth to be. In His death we died to sin, the old man, and the world, so that even while we live in the body we have another life derived from Jesus.
The Apostle Paul boldly turned his back upon the old man in order that the new life that had come to dwell in him might have room for growth. Scripture is clear, that unless a person dies to flesh, self-will, to the world, he will never have a life that is worth calling life. The pre condition for all life and growth is death and for the believer it is daily death in order to live the resurrected life that springs from death. Jesus said, in John 12:24, "Truly, truly I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit." The door which leads to resurrection life is death, is dying to the world, the flesh, and the devil by calling upon the power of the death of Christ which He died for you and with you.

Here, the word hidden, implies both concealment and safety; both invisibility and security. We are not yet glorified, but we are secure and safe in Christ. In fact, Christ is our very life. If your life is hidden in Christ, it is hidden from the world which neither sees it, comprehends it, nor can sustain it.

In other words, you cannot lose any thing or your life if it is hidden in Christ. No hellish demon can break into the ark of Christ. What is hidden in Him is safe in Him. Your life is safe if it is in Christ. You can risk following Him for He is in you and He will watch over you. Yes, beloved, we are safe in Christ. We can have the confidence that He will keep us and bring us to our final destination. Our salvation is secure because it is God is doing the holding.

We all of us slip up as we walk along the Christian pathway. But we are held securely by the Lord, and we can be restored to close fellowship with Him when we confess our sins.

We who have died with Christ are also united in Christ’s resurrection. Verse 4 confides to us that the Resurrection life and the final resurrection belong together. "When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory."

I John 1:9 says, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous, so that He will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

When the Bible refers to "Christ, who is our life" in verse 4, it is making an astounding claim. The new life into which we enter by conversion is nothing else than the life of Christ Himself. For us to live is Christ. Our life is not only with Christ, it is Christ. Here is the radical claim that this new life is nothing less than a new creation and right now we can walk in the new life, the new power of the next world.

This means at least two things. One, death has no power over us. The risen and exalted Lord conquered death. We do not wait for eternal life; it is ours now! Risen with Christ, the glorious privilege of beginning now the life with Christ which will continue eternally is ours.

Sharing Christ’s risen life means another thing, the power which raised Jesus from the dead is also our power. We do not have to be the victims of sin. The hampering limitations of the present order need not overcome us. We have moved from the domain of the flesh into the realm of the Spirit. What a glorious truth!

I'd like you to listen again to the blessed hope those in Christ are anticipating in verse 4. "When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory."

This reference is to the second coming of Christ. As John put it in I John 3:2, "Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is." Believers will be glorified as He is glorified. 
So Paul is urging us to look up and remember who we are now, who we once were, and who we will be when Christ returns. He is adding a new direction to the believers’ focus of attention: not only should we look upward to Christ’s reign over us in heaven, we should look forward to His return for us in the clouds. Is not the Holy Spirit within groaning, longing to be clothed with Christ’s glory?
In Closing...

Beloved, we may all have the risen life for our life, if we will unite ourselves, in humble dependence and utter self-surrender, to Christ, the One who died for us that we might be dead to sin, and rose again that we might rise to righteousness. And if we have Him, in any deep and real sense, as the life of our lives, then we shall be blessed, amid all the divergent and sometimes conflicting nearer aims, which we have to pursue, by seeing clear above them Him who satisfies our need, who leads if He is followed, and who never disappoints. 
Although we live in the world, but we must not allow the world live in us.
May it be so...
And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name

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The Brian Monzon Ministries



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