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If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.
12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Questions to Consider:
1. Remember the “therefore” rule we learned in lesson 4 (link above)? “If, then…” in verse 1 serves the same function as “therefore” and should be treated the same way. Go back and quickly refresh your memory of chapter 2 (especially verses 13-14, 20-23). Because of what Paul said in chapter 2, what is he now saying the church should do? (1-2)
2. How do verses 1-4 echo what Paul taught in chapter 2 with regard to a) focusing on temporal, earthly things (2:16, 21-22) versus focusing on Christ and eternal things, and b) what we die to and live to? What are the “things that are above” (1-2) and why are we to set our minds on them (3)? Does verse 2 support or refute the old cliché, “You’re too heavenly minded to be any earthly good.”? How does being heavenly minded make us better at earthly things?
3. Paul has talked a lot in chapters 2 and 3 about what Christians are to live to and die to. Which phrases in verses 5,8, and 9 reinforce the idea of dying to something? Which phrases in verses 7,10,12, and 14 reinforce the idea of living to something? List the things we are to die to, or put off, and the things we are to live to, or put on. Examine the dichotomies of live to/die to, put on/put off, earthly things/heavenly things, and compare these to 2 Corinthians 5:17. How would you sum up this whole general concept in one or two sentences? How does your life before and after salvation measure up to this biblical principle that Jesus is the dividing line between the old life and the new?
4. Compare verse 11 to Galatians 3:28. What do these verses mean? How does the idea expressed in verse 11 serve as the reason (notice the word “then” in verse 12) for what Paul goes on to say in verses 12-17? What can we learn about Christian unity from this passage?
5. Paul talks about giving thanks or being thankful in verses 15, 16, and 17. Considering the persecution and problems of the first century church, why would Paul emphasize being thankful? What did the Colossian church have to be thankful for? Why is it important today for us, as individuals and as churches, to be thankful? How does giving thanks to God set our minds “on things that are above, not on things that are on earth”?
Re-read verse 16. During your quiet time this week, sing a “psalm, hymn, or spiritual song with thankfulness in your heart to God” every day.