Our Earthly Home in Its Heavenly Context
1. Going verse by verse… and especially when we spend a month or two on one verse has its advantages. It also has its disadvantages.
2. Sometimes, by going through a book this slowly, we forget the context.
3. It’s my job to keep on reminding us of the context… so as to put every passage IN its proper context.
4. The next section deals with the Christian household: wives, husbands, children, and servants.
a. Everyday life lived by ordinary people in an everyday setting: home.
b. We all know the problems that can arise in the home setting on a daily basis.
c. Weariness; conflicts; disagreements; disappointments; failures; unending work; never-ending chores; financial struggles; fatigue; attitude problems; frustration; anger; bitterness, resentment…
d. Of course, there is a lot of JOY at home too: a new baby; children growing up and maturing; love; blessings of all types;
e. Paul gives us three exhortations in areas where we DO often struggle… wives, submit; husbands, love; children and servants, obey.
f. These are listed that we might put our responsibilities at home in a proper context:
5. Before we dig into the details of the next section, and each of the various exhortations, in the coming weeks, we would do well to remind ourselves of the truths that preceded this section. It will help put our home lives in perspective.
6. Remember, Christianity isn’t a set of ceremonies and rules to be conducted at church. Christianity is not a religion; it’s a LIFE… a life to be lived at home too!
A HEAVENLY POSITION LIVED IN THE HOME (VS.1-4)
A. Paul’s Teachings on Position
1. We have spent about 2 ½ years studying through the book of Colossians.
2. For many weeks we have been considering our glorious risen Savior… and our exalted heavenly position in Him.
a. Paul has repeatedly mentioned our identification with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection.
b. 2:20 – we died with Christ… to sin, self, and the world.
c. 3:1 – we are raised with Christ… and are seated with Him before the throne of God in heaven. We have entered a whole new sphere.
d. 3:3 – we died to this world system and our new life is hidden away in heaven with Christ.
3. I KNOW that some folks aren’t quite ready for all that kind of talk.
a. It probably sounds a bit too ethereal, nebulous, other-worldly, and not very down-to-earth, or practical for real life.
b. I’m sure some were thinking, “Talking about our identification with Christ in His death and resurrection, and our position in Christ in the heavenlies doesn’t really help me to live my life down here on earth! What has all that got to do with my daily routine?
c. All that heavenly talk is no earthly good.
d. It doesn’t help me pay my bills. It doesn’t help me to get along with my wife. It doesn’t help me to get along with my cranky father… or deal with the in laws…
e. It doesn’t help me deal with all the hurt feelings at home…
f. I could not disagree more! YES it does!
4. Paul’s teachings on our identification with Christ are the BASIS or the foundation upon which our Christian lives are to be lived.
a. An understanding of our new life (hidden away in heaven) and our new position (In Christ) will change the way we view life down here on earth.
b. A heavenly perspective will make us even MORE thoughtful and careful about the details of our lives here on earth.
c. The heavenly-minded believer will see every aspect of his life on earth from eternity’s perspective.
d. He will see the spiritual significance of all he does on earth… because it is all going to be evaluated.
e. Eternal reward will motivate us and turn the earthly doldrums into that which is meaningful… Eternal rewards are worth the daily grind… the ongoing battles.
f. He will see the VALUE of his life on earth from a new perspective: from heaven’s vantage point.
g. Everyday life will suddenly be invigorated with new meaning and purpose.
h. The better we understand our position IN Christ, the more diligence we will put into our earthly lives.
B. Practical Applications to the Home
1. My home is no different than yours.
a. We spent the last two weeks camping out in our house while I sanded the floors.
b. What I envisioned as a 3-day project with minor inconveniences turned into two weeks with much more inconvenience…
c. Three humans and a dog living in a tiny kitchen for a week…
d. All the rest of the furniture was put down cellar… and then it rained for a week and flooded.
e. Then the rain stopped and the cellar dried out and the boiler broke… and poured water all over the place in the cellar… again.
f. Then we moved furniture out of the kitchen… and the piano gouged the floor…
g. Then the dining room floor was stained only to discover 10,000 tiny circles left from the rotary sander… which required 11 additional hours of sanding to fix…
h. Not to mention the sawdust that came from 33 hours of non-stop sanding… throughout the house for my wife to deal with… and the laundry piled up because of no access to the washer.
i. Then the dryer broke which complicated doing the mountains of laundry that couldn’t get done earlier because there was no access to the washer…
j. And a broken computer so my daughter couldn’t chat with her friends… and no TV to watch the game…
k. And the week wouldn’t be complete without a flat tire…
l. You can get a little testy living in such tight quarters for 10 days or so…
m. We had a whole range of tests this past week and a half…
n. Things don’t always go the way we want them to down here on earth. This is real life.
o. Being a Christian and dwelling in heavenly places does not exempt us from the ordinary struggles and frustrations of life in a cursed earth.
p. My house is no different from your house.
q. We all have to deal with frustration… things breaking… costing more… taking longer… tempers flaring… attitudes that need adjustments…
2. Living life in our earthly homes is to be directly LINKED to our position in heavenly places in Christ.
a. This position in Christ is NOT something extraneous, unrelated, irrelevant, or disconnected to life.
b. Paul’s point is that we are to be cognizant, mindful, aware, fully conscious of our heavenly position all throughout our daily lives.
c. It isn’t just a nice subject for a theology class… or an intellectual distraction from the mundane… it is TRUTH.
d. It is to be part and parcel of our daily routine… an integral part of our daily thought patterns… incorporated into EVERYTHING we do or say…
e. And this is especially so in the home.
f. Our home life is to be as seamlessly connected to Christ as our church life.
g. That is exactly what we see in this text: the passage on the Christian home (vs.18-25) flows OUT OF the context of being raised and hidden away with Christ in heaven.
h. Remember there are no secular or sacred parts of our lives as believer/priests. Our whole lives are to be living sacrifices… everything we do or say is to be in the name of Christ…
i. We are to DWELL in the heavenlies… not just think about it on occasion. The heavenly realm is our real HOME… our eternal dwelling place… where we are safe… hidden away with Christ.
j. Col. 3:1 – we HAVE been raised up into heavenly places in Christ. (Cf. Eph. 2:6 – raised and seated with Christ.)
3. If we genuinely BELIEVE what these passages say about our glorious position in Christ, then what could possibly be more helpful in our home life?
a. Christ is our life. We are positionally IN HIM.
• This is the truth elaborated upon in the first half of the chapter…
• We are to ABIDE in Christ… Christ IS our position… we are to abide in our position… dwell there… be conscious of Him… our relationship to Him.
• As we abide in Him, spiritual fruit is borne…
• Spiritual fruit is exactly what our homes need: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, self control…
• LET this truth bear fruit in your home…
• Abiding in Christ the Vine (dwelling in our position) is what yields this kind of fruit.
• Give it time… let it grow… cultivate it in your home.
b. We died with Christ and are dead to sin and therefore are no longer a slave to sin.
• So husbands, when you come home from work after a very stressful day, and you’re tired and just need to relax… and as soon as you enter the house your wife lays into you for this that and the other thing that you did wrong…
• On other similar occasions, that’s all it took to cause you to fly off the handle… explode… say hurtful things back to her… maybe swear… or even throw something at the wall…
• The next time that happens, try this: Remember your position. Your old man died. You’re a new creature in Christ now.
• You don’t HAVE to behave the way you used to.
• And if your emotions get the best of you, and you feel like you’re going to explode… walk out the back door to cool off…
• And in the back yard, all by yourself, cry out to the Lord. “Lord, Your Word says that I died with Christ. I believe your Word. I am trusting in you to work in me… I cannot control my anger… Lord, I want to experience the reality of this truth in my life.
• Lord, please help me to understand in a deeper way—an experiential way—teach me what it means to be dead to sin. I need the power of the resurrection!”
• The Lord will help you in that. He delights when we come to the end of our own resources and cast ourselves upon His mercy!
• Your identification with Christ in His death is extremely practical in the home!
• Men, God wants us to know and believe that we really did die with Christ don’t have to blow up and live with the awful consequences of constantly blowing up.
• Home is where we really need to put these truths into practice.
• Identification with Christ’s death is PRACTICAL at home!
c. We are raised up with Christ and seated at the Father’s right hand.
• That’s where we are to dwell day by day…
• Our heart affection is to be there all day long… we are to THINK on things above…
• We are to live down here on earth as if we were already IN our heavenly abiding place!
• And ladies, you might have to deal with frustration, disillusionment, or disappointment when it comes to your earthly home.
• Perhaps things are breaking around the house… and there are no finances to fix them up.
• Perhaps there is a long list of things that need serious attention around the house… and your husband doesn’t have time to get to it… or perhaps doesn’t want to because it isn’t important to him.
• Perhaps there is some jealousy when you see the nice homes of others… and yours is a bit dilapidated.
• Wives have to deal with a whole other set of issues than men do… and they can be just as frustrating… anger provoking… and cause stress and anxiety.
• You could try to hold it all in until you explode… and cause constant strife in the home…
• OR you could remember your position in Christ… your new life hidden away with Him… think on it… dwell on it… read about it… talk about it… delight in it… your real home is in heaven.
• We are strangers and pilgrims… our earthly homes are but a tent.
• Keep on setting your affection on things above… not on things of the earth… until earthly THINGS grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.
• Remember, you are a NEW creature now. You are raised into heavenly places and are thus ABLE to walk in newness of life—even if your emotions tell you otherwise. You don’t have to fall apart… you can continue to walk with poise through any storm…
• This CAN be a reality in your lives ladies.
• But it only becomes a reality through faith: as we BELIEVE what God says about our position in Christ.
CHRISTLIKENESS IN THE HOME (VS. 5-14)
1. Leading up to the section on the home, Paul speaks of putting off and putting on of Christlike character.
a. This is something that is needed everywhere, but especially in the home.
2. This is all linked to the fact that we died with Christ… therefore, we should put off the old qualities that characterized our old lives (vs. 5, 8, 9)
a. What could be more practical and helpful in the home?
b. This all stems from KNOWING our position: the old man and is dead and buried!
c. BUT… his nature is ALIVE: anger, wrath, malice, ill will, will continually try to enter our homes… like a roaring lion.
d. But when they do, RECOGNIZE them for what they are: manifestations of the old sin nature… things have no place in our homes.
e. Fornication and uncleanness: (vs. 5) – Nothing will do more damage to a Christian home than these sins… They are to be put to death!
f. Blasphemy (vs. 8 – evil speaking) and filthy communication are all to be put off. Don’t tolerate that in your home. Establish a Christian home. They don’t belong there.
g. Lying doesn’t belong there either.
• Lies ruin the atmosphere in a home.
• When a husband isn’t honest with his wife… or vice versa… when kids lie to their parents.
• It erodes trust… which is so important for a healthy relationship to thrive.
h. These old characteristics DO appear in Christian homes on occasion… but they are SIN.
i. When they crop up in your home, confess it to the Lord as sin… AND apologize to those you have hurt… and bring about a full reconciliation… right away! Let not the sun go down upon your wrath.
j. “Putting off” old habits and sin is like pulling the weeds out of a garden. But a garden needs much more than weeds pulled out. It needs good plants to be planted with good fruit!
3. So, in your home, PUT ON the Christlike qualities listed here. (vs. 12-14)
a. Vs. 13 – Forbearing one another – putting up with the quirks and shortcomings of each other. We all have them… we all need to be forbearing of the foibles of others.
b. Vs. 13 – Forgiving one another: Home is ground zero for this truth.
• Home is where we say and do the most hurtful things to the people we love the most.
• Home is where we most often offend and get offended.
• Home is where we need to practice forgiveness more than anywhere else on earth.
• Kids can say very mean things to each other… and to their parents… and hurt feelings.
• At home, husbands and wives verbally stab each other and lash out with the tongue…
• Home is where we need to perfect the grace of forgiveness…
• AS Christ forgave you… so forgive others at home!
• He forgave us when we didn’t deserve it; He remembers our sins no more; He doesn’t bring up our old sins and rub them in our faces; He forgives us daily as we confess to Him; with God there is no final straw. His grace is broader and deeper than all our sin.
• And wouldn’t that kind of forgiveness be refreshing in the home?
• If parents didn’t constantly remind their kids of all their past failures… but forgave them…
• Wouldn’t it be great if husbands and wives refused to bring up all their past arguments in every present disagreement?
• Put ON forgiveness… AS Christ forgave you.
• Forgiveness keeps the air fresh in the home.
c. Vs. 14 – Put on love – this is the bond of perfectness or maturity.
• A mature relationship will be full of love.
• Love is a BOND… it holds a marriage together.
• Agape love is not a feeling or an emotion. Emotions are fragile and can disappear into thin air.
• Agape love is an act of the will… a choice to put others before self… sacrifice self for others.
• Home is the #1 place to sacrifice self and practice agape love.
• Home offers the most opportunities to do so… especially if there are kids involved.
• And parents, don’t expect your kids to appreciate the sacrifices for them… they are too immature to notice.
• They won’t realize what you’ve done for them until they have their own kids.
d. This is the NORMAL behavior for the new creature in Christ… one who reckons self to be dead… and ALIVE unto God… for the one who BELIEVES that he really is ABLE to walk and keep on walking in newness of life.
e. Are you CONSCIOUSLY practicing this on a daily basis? This is not dry theology; nor is it irrelevant ivory tower concepts. This is to be PRACTICED daily.
f. If you are not practicing this, don’t blame me if your roof caves in! A happy home takes EFFORT… work… energy.
4. The section on the home in 3:18-4:1 is not an afterthought with Paul.
a. In a sense, it is what he has been leading up to.
b. The context of our heavenly position is to be applied to our earthly home life.
c. Our real life is hidden away in heaven with Christ (vs. 4), but that real life is lived out on earth.
d. We are citizens of heaven already… safe and secure in the arms of Christ. BUT our feet are upon the earth… and we still have to get up and go to work in the morning…
e. Over time, as our minds, hearts, and affections are increasingly more focused on things above, (our heavenly position), our earthly condition will gradually be transformed.
f. As we behold the glory of the Lord, we are transformed into that same image, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
g. This transforms our individual lives as believers… but it transforms the home life as well. (Are you beholding His glory daily?)
h. The branch that abides in the Vine is transformed into something quite fruitful… always… no exceptions.
i. When we abide in our position… DWELL there by faith… believe it… set our affections there… live there… then we too will be transformed and fruitful.
j. II Cor. 3:18 – this transformation takes a LIFETIME.
• It is painfully slow and gradual…
• It requires us to be forbearing of one another in that painfully slow process of transformation…
• It requires years and years of being willing to forgive… which in itself is part of the transformation process…
• But we want it NOW… we want our kids and our spouse to be a full-grown image of Christ now… and it just doesn’t happen that way.
• Those expectations are way out of whack with spiritual reality.
• Perhaps your expectations of home life are not realistic. Growth takes time… the rest of your life…
• Stop trying to be God. Leave the growth to him. You can’t MAKE your family grow… that’s God’s job.
• Concentrate on your own heart… and let God be God in your home.
• Stop picking, nagging, complaining, finger pointing, and criticizing every little infraction of others… and let God change them…
k. That is what our homes need… God to be God. Then we can leave our frustrations in His care…
l. We are to abide above… as we live down here below.
m. M. Stanford coined the saying, Keep looking down.
n. That will transform your home… into a foretaste of glory divine… a taste of heaven on earth.
A FULL HEART IN THE HOME (VS. 15-16)
A. The peace of God ruling in the heart (vs. 15)
1. Jesus said, “My peace I give unto you”… (The Lord Jesus gives the peace). (John 14:27)
2. Eph. 2:14 states that Christ IS our peace! Isaiah refers to Him as the Prince of Peace!
3. He dwells in us… and His peace is CONSTANTLY available by faith… if we trust Him… as we abide in Him… we can have peace like a river flowing through our homes… even peace in the midst of a storm!
4. We are told to LET the peace of God rule in our hearts.
a. It is OUR responsibility to allow God’s peace to rule in our hearts.
b. Rule: control, umpire, be in charge…
• This is a command to SUBMIT to the reign of Christ who IS our peace… submit to the rule of Christ the Head… submit to God who governs and rules His Body in peace.
• Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven. He is not disturbed by the chaos on earth. He dwells in the perfect, undisturbed bliss of heaven.
• As we submit to Christ and yield to Him… His peace rules in our hearts…
• We can experience that heavenly peace of God while we live our daily lives on earth… regardless of the turmoil going on around us.
c. We can’t make it rule in anyone else’s heart, but we CAN in our own.
d. Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. (Isa. 26:3)
e. In other words, set your affection and your mind on things above… where Christ is. Be looking unto Jesus… and peace rules!
f. Instead of spending all your time putting out all the fires of controversy at home, or trying to psychoanalyze one another, or trying to deal with problems in some other way, God says to simply let HIS peace rule in our hearts.
g. Forget about trying to win the conflict with your wife… or your husband… or your parents… or kids or anyone!
h. Let God’s peace rule in YOUR heart… and even if the other party still wants to fight and argue… NOTHING can disturb the peace of God when it takes root.
i. If they want to fight and argue and behave foolishly—let them! Don’t YOU fall prey to their behavior; YOU are to enjoy Christ… and let His peace rule in your heart…
j. We LOSE that peace when we are no longer submitted to Christ… when WE try to control events… when WE try to be God… when WE try to be lord…
k. We allow God’s peace to rule when we come to an END OF SELF and let God be God…
l. As long as WE are in charge, we will worry… be frustrated… frazzled… stressed out… full of anxiety… and much more likely to blow up… and create havoc in the home.
m. Once we relinquish our GRIP on things in this life to God… we can rest in Him… and experience His PEACE ruling in our hearts.
n. Francis Scott Key: Things that once were wild alarms, cannot now disturb my rest!
o. Remember, our life is hidden away up there with Christ. Nothing down here can disturb the bliss of that dwelling place… and that heavenly bliss can dwell in our hearts.
p. My how that would transform homes if we would simply DO what God said: let His peace rule!
q. That’s what our homes need: HEARTS that are ruled by God’s peace; solid, firm, stable, steady, unmovable, unwavering hearts… that refuse to be shaken by the storms of life… and defy the flames of controversy… a heart where God’s peace rules.
r. And when God’s peace is ruling in everyone’s heart – home is REALLY a taste of heaven on earth.
s. Abiding in our position… staying connected to our heavenly position drastically affects our earthly home for the good!
B. The Word of Christ dwelling richly (vs. 16)
1. Our hearts are to be filled with the peace of God. Our hearts are also to be filled with the Word of Christ.
2. The Word of Christ should DWELL (be at home) in our hearts at home!
a. The Bible… the knowledge of Christ should feel right at home in your home.
b. Red Sox fans feel free to talk about Red Sox nation in their homes.
c. How much more should we feel free to talk about Christ in a Christian home?
3. When Christ and His Word are at home in our hearts, then our earthly home life will be transformed.
a. Remember that the parallel passage in Eph. 5:18 and following speaks of the same issues, only it stems from a heart filled with the Spirit.
• Results: singing (vs. 19), thanksgiving (vs. 20), submission (vs. 21). (Wouldn’t that transform your home!)
b. A heart filled with the Spirit and a heart filled with the Word of Christ PRODUCES exactly what is needed for a happy home… Christlikeness… a submissive spirit.
c. Joyful, thankful hearts… gladly, freely, willingly submitting one to another in the fear of God.
d. This is what the $100.00 an hour counselors don’t want you to know! You don’t need them. You need Christ… right in the center of your heart… and we need His Word richly dwelling in our hearts.
e. If you have a problem or a controversy in your home, fixing the problem… changing the environment or the outward circumstances won’t last very long.
f. The counselors, even the Christian counselors spend all their time focusing on the problem… and trying to fix it.
g. We are told to spend our time focusing on Christ… and PREVENTING the problems!
h. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
• God doesn’t want us to waste all our days putting out the fires. He wants us to learn how to keep them from flaring up in the first place…
j. Create a spiritual atmosphere in your home that makes it less likely for fires to flare up. (Not a tense, dry, tinderbox: spontaneous combustion!)
k. All problems in the home that tear couples and families apart are spiritual problems that arise in the heart.
l. If we would put the time, energy, and effort into guarding our hearts as we should… what happy homes we could have!
m. Concentrate on Christ… filling your heart, mind, affections with Him and with things above… and the things of earth will grow strangely dim.
n. The answer to problems in the home is not to be found in winning megabucks; improving circumstances, or in changing your spouse. It lies in changing SELF.
4. God’s answer to the problems in the home is the CROSS!
a. To have a heart FILLED with the Spirit and FILLED with the Word… self needs to be dealt with.
• God’s method of dealing with self is the cross.
• Apart from the cross, our hearts will be full of self: self will; self’s ambitions; self’s goal and dreams.
• Our old self life needs to be nailed to the cross…
• That’s God’s estimation of our old man; he was worthy to be crucified… and by faith KEEP him on the cross.
• As long as we keep the old self life on the cross by faith… the new man empowered by the Holy Spirit will be FREE to manifest the indwelling Christ and His life and character…
• And wouldn’t Christ’s character be refreshing in the home?
b. That old man:
• Wants his own way; insists on winning the argument.
• He says, “I’m not going to let my spouse walk all over me like a doormat… she’s just using me… and I’m not going to take it any more.”
• The word says the opposite: “Turn the other cheek…—“suffer yourselves to be defrauded…”—to “esteem others better than themselves.”
• But we don’t like that word to richly dwelling in our hearts.
• Too often SELF is richly dwelling in his heart… seated comfortably on the throne… instead of the word of Christ which is all about the CROSS.
• When will we realize that our old man will ruin your home life.
» Sometimes God allows us to experience huge failures that we might LEARN not to trust in our own understanding or to rely on our own strength… but to learn to lean on Him… and walk by faith.
» Paul’s cry, “O wretched man that I am” led him to realize that his life is to be lived THROUGH Jesus Christ the Lord.
» Until we realize how wretched, pitiful, helpless and hopeless the flesh is (no good thing)… we will never have the kind of home God intended.
» If you want a happy home, the old self life MUST be dealt with God’s way.
» Failure is good if it leads us to the cross…
• Deal with the old man God’s way: not with Prozac or valium, but the CROSS… and by a heart filled with the Spirit and the Word of Christ.
• What Christian homes need more than anything is the power of the resurrection… and that is never experienced until we reckon ourselves to be dead. No death = no resurrection power.
DO ALL THINGS IN THE NAME OF CHRIST IN THE HOME (VS. 17)
1. We looked at this thought last week.
a. The entire life of a believer is a sacred ministry to the Lord… done in His name… as His representative… for His glory.
b. Whether doing the dishes… mowing the lawn… painting the fence… leading family devotions… playing baseball… in HIS NAME… as conscious of His presence as when we pray IN HIS NAME…
c. This ought to be the NORMAL Christian life, but it is RARELY experienced.
d. This means that our entire LIVES are lived as a believer/priest… dwelling in the heavenlies… looking unto Jesus our Great High Priest… yielded to His will moment by moment…
e. A life that revolves around Christ… around His Body, the local church… a selfless life… a life lived for the Lord…
2. What Paul uses as an introduction (of sorts) to the section on home life is not a quick fix, but a LIFESTYLE.
a. Thinking on things above… setting your affections on things above… putting on and putting off… letting the Word richly dwell in your heart is NOT what we are to do when the roof caves in… or when a problem arises in the home.
b. It is to be our daily lifestyle… our daily routine… our attitude moment by moment… we should be “constantly abiding… moment by moment by death reckoned mine…
c. Christianity isn’t a pill you take when you are sick. It is a life to be lived every moment of every day.
d. The Christian life as described in Col. 3 always results in a HEALTHY spiritual life… which translates into a spiritually healthy home life.
e. Christianity works. It transforms individuals and it transforms homes.
f. Stay healthy. Practice Col. 3. Don’t just try it out when you get into a jam, but LIVE it.
g. Everything Paul said about our heavenly position and our new life in Christ is to be incorporated into real life in our homes. That’s the next section!