I really believe with all my heart and I thought a lot about this, that before we can reach the world we have to leave it. And maybe that sounds paradoxical, but it really isn't. Before we reach the world we are going to have to leave the world. In John chapter 8, and you don't need to turn to it because I am going to mention several Scriptures to you. Jesus said, "Ye are from beneath, I am from above. Ye are of this world, I am not of this world. Jesus, even though he came into the world, reached the world from the vantage point above the world." The only way to really reach the world is to leave the world or to be from without the world, and to bring to the world a divine dimension.
In the 18th chapter of the gospel of John, in the 361h verse, Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world, if my kingdom were of this world then would my servants fight that I should not be delivered to the Jews, but now is my kingdom not from here." Again Jesus emphasizing that the vantage point from which he reached the world was not the world, but it was above the world. Seeing this in a theological sense we would need to look at Romans chapter 12 and listen to this, "I beseech you therefore brethren by the mercies of God that you present your body a living sacrifice, holy acceptable unto God which is your spiritual worship and be not conformed to this world but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind." Jesus reached the world from a vantage point beyond the world and The apostle Paul says that we are going to reach the world also when we are no longer of the world.
In Galatians chapter 1 in verse 4 the apostle further says, "the Lord Jesus Christ who gave himself for our sins that he might deliver us from this present evil world." And here is a hint at what we are talking about. Jesus' kingdom was not of this world, he reached the world from beyond the world. Paul says if you are going to reach the world, you are going to reach the world from beyond the world. And it all begins in Galatians 1:4, when you come to know Jesus Christ who delivers you from this present evil world. You know it is an interesting set of thoughts to think about, but this paradox runs all through the conversations that Jesus had with his disciples and elsewhere in the New Testament.
For example, Jesus said in his prayer To the Father in John 17, verse 5, "Father do not Take Them out of the world." In Matthew chapter 28, Jesus spoke to all of us and said, "Go in-to all the world and make disciples." Writing to Titus in chapter 2 in verse 12 the apostle Paul said, "Live soberly and righteously and godly in this present world." And in I John, chapter 4, verse 17 John reminds us that we are to live like Christ in The world.
Now isn't it interesting that you have allof those statements about being in the world, reaching the world, living as Christ in the world, living righteously in the world, and you have that whole other dimension of having to reach the world from out of the world. Or how are you going to resolve the paradox. How can I say that you have to reach the world from beyond the world when Jesus says go into the world? When John says, be Christ in the world, how can these two be brought together? It's very simple really? It isn't complicated. You know it already. It's simply this. Your inside lives in heaven and your outside lives here. That's all. And I really am convinced, I know you are, you who know and love Christ, and know His word. I know you are equally convinced that until a Christian in his heart and his soul and his mind has learned to live his spiritual life in the heavenlies he will never be able to touch the earth with the truth of God. It won't happen.
I was reading this week the memoirs of Robert Murray McShane which I periodically read when I frustrate myself with my own carnality, and this is what I was reading. I was reading about Robert Murray McShane as he was evaluated by some of the people who knew him and this is one man's comment, he said this of him: "The man of whom I speak seems to have got up to the full height and to have entered into the secret places of the holiness of God." Here was a man who knew Robert Murray McShane the great preacher. He seemed to have dwelt in the secret places of the holiness of God. The man went on, "when he preached the gospel you could see strong men, hard and stern, melt like wax before the fire. Their breasts would swell and heave as if they would burst and the whole place became a place of weepers."
Now there is a man who touched the world. There is a man who reached the world, and the commentof a man who observed was, the reason he reached the world was because he lived in the presence of God. Jesus did the same. We find, if he read carefully between the lines a little bit, and sometimes not between the lines, but right in the text, that every night Jesus would retreat, wouldn't he, to the Mount of Olives, because that was his real world really. That's where he communed with the Father. That's the place he had come from and the place to which he would go when his work was done. It was there that he lived and communed with God, and from that vantage point he went into the world. AS long as we are earth bound, as long as we are preoccupied with the world's system, as long as we are caught up with money and fame and trustees and popularity and fashion and education or whatever. As long as those of the things you love the most, and you can tell what you love the lost, as we saw last week by what you think about the most, as long as you do that you are earthy, and you will not reach the world with the gospel as God would want.
You know somehow I guess it gets down to the fact that we have to push ourselves away from the world, and we have to become bystanders and maybe that's what a presentation like this helps us to do. Somehow we have to have an objective look. We have to have a very uninvolved eye, so that we can at least begin to see The real poverty of soul, the real destitution of spirit, the real hopelessness, the real helplessness, the real loneliness in the world without Christ. And unfortunately I don't think we can ever see it in our own culture, because we are too much a part of our system we live in. You know I have been on enough mission fields around the world to know that I get very sentimental. I gel very spiritual. I get very concerned, I even get tears in my eyes when I see other cultures without Christ, but as soon as I come, home it's all over with, because I can't push my culture away to look at it objectively. I am too caught in it. I wish to God I could push it further away and really see it for what it is. I wish I could see the world the way Jesus sees it. I wish I could see Panorama City and Los Angeles and California and The United States the way Jesus does. But I am still in the process of having my transformation by the renewing of my mind. Every once in a while I get a little glimpse of it and I try to hang on to it, but boy, it's tough isn't it? And I can sit in my seat and I can watch this and I can get concerned, can't you? I can't be indifferent, it breaks my heart, and I have been there and I have seen it, and I have had those little beggars pull at my clothes, and I care. And then I come home and for some strange reason, because this is my system, and this is my culture I can't objectify it anymore. And somehow the Christians has got Go get to the place where he is able to do what Paul and all the great men of God throughout the ages were able to do. What Robert Murray McShane was able to do, and that's get out of a system and get into the presence of God so you can minister to this world.
When Paul said, "come out from among them and be ye separate," he wasn't just talking about personal holiness, he was talking about evangelism. There is no way you are going to touch the world until you get out of it, and see it's needs genuinely and honestly and realistically, see. In Ephesians, the apostle Paul tells us to leave the world. He tells us to take our hearts and our hopes and our thoughts and get them out of here. And you know how he does it? By telling us that everything we really want is up there anyway. He says for example, "and you have been blessed with all spiritual blessings," where, "in the heavenlies." He tells us in chapter 3, verse 10, that the angels are there in the heavenlies. He tells us in chapter 1, verse 20, that Christ is there in the heavenlies. He tells us in chapter 2, verse 6 in Ephesians that our position is there. We are seated with Christ in heavenly places. As if to say to us, "look, the blessings are there, the angels are there, the Lord is there, your seat is there, what are you doing messing around down here?" And that is really the message of Colossians chapter 3.
Let's look at it, verse 1 to 4. These verses are going to help us somehow to begin to think through this whole idea of getting out of the system in our hearts and minds, if not in our bodies until Jesus comes, at least in our hearts and minds so that we can minister to it. Colossians 3:1 says, "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sits on the right hand of God, set you affections on things above, not on things on the earth, for you are dead and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory."
Now there is a simple message in those verses and the message is this: get out of the system, divorce yourself from the world in terms of your spiritual attitude, in terms of your inner man. Now Paul has closed out the doctrinal section of the book of Colossians. It ended at the end of chapter 2, that great, great two chapters that we have studied in so much detail in the last few months. The doctrinal section is over and now having stated sound doctrine he makes some practical implications and doctrine always has practical implications.
The first great practical principle that he wants to tell us is, get out of the system. The only way you'll ever reach the world, the only way you'll ever touch the world is to ascend beyond the world into the presence of God. I kind of like to call these verses, "Living the Risen Life." You know when you think about it we have already experienced a dramatic change anyway. I mean we have already been divorced from the world in terms of the real issue.
Look with me at several Scriptures. Take your Bible, and I mentioned it earlier, and I want to point out to you Ephesians chapter 2, verse 6, and let's kind of set the setting for our Thoughts here. I don't know how far we'll get, but we'll see. Ephesians 2:6. Talking about The benefits of salvation, that which occurs when you come to Christ, Paul writes, "and has raised us up together and made us sit together in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus." In the Greek this is the past tense, an eros tense, something that already happened, past action. Whenever a Greek wanted to say something, that was already done, and absolutely irrevocable and couldn't be changed, he said it in the past and that is what it means The moment you came to Christ, when you were dead in sins, verse 5, when you were made alive together with Christ, when you were saved by grace, you were instantaneously raised up and given a place in the heavenlies in Christ. Spiritually speaking, you ascended. Your conscious mind is occupied with Christ. You entered as it were into the holy of Holies. The veil was ripped and you walked into the presence of God.
In Philippians chapter 3 we find the same thought in verse 20, where he says, "For our citizenship," or our manner of living, or our life if you will, or our existence, "is in heaven." You say, "Well what are you talking about, we are not there yet?" No, but though our bodies aren't there, that is to be the occupation of our mind, the heavenlies. Notice II Peter chapter 1, verse 3, "according as his divine power has given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue." Great statement about that fact that we have been granted everything we need for living the Christian life. Verse 4 opens it up a little bit, "by which are given unto us exceedingly great and precious promises that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature having already escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust."
When you were saved, now mark this, when you were saved, positionally you were taken out of the world. In the words of John, "who is he that has," what, "overcome the world." Or what is it that overcomes the world, "even bur faith." When you put your faith in Christ you overcame the world. When you received the divine power that came in salvation, the great and precious promises, when you were made a partaker of the divine nature you escaped the corruption that is in the world. You were transformed. You transcended the world. Your conversation, your manner of life is in the heavenlies. It's a great reality. So every oneof us as believers has entered into a genuine, spiritual, relationship with the God to the universe, the Christ that is right hand, the Holy Spirit in the heavenlies.
Now if this sounds kind of mystical, it is, but I want to see if I can give some feet to it if I can, because I am not much of a mystic as you know. And if I had to live with mysticism I'd be in bad shape, so I want to give some feet to it. But let me just clarify the point I am trying to make beginningly. We'll never the reach the world till we get out of the world. The world knows, so the moment you were saved you transcended the system. The moment you were saved, God granted to you the capacity to enter and to live consciously in his presence. Spirituality is then a heavenly kind of life. That means, as Paul says here in Colossians 3, it is a life that focuses on things above, not on earthly things. It is a preoccupation with the divine. It is the upward look if you will. We could talk about all kinds of Scriptures, relative to this. It is II Corinthians 3:18 if you want one for example. It is where you continually gaze on the glory of the Lord and are transformed by the Holy Spirit into his image. Well, how can you gaze on the glory of the Lord unless you have your mind in heaven, unless you are thinking about God, unless you are thinking about Christ, unless you are thinking about the spirit of God.
This chapter, this little section here that begins it is a call to true spirituality. And true spirituality is setting your affections on things above and not on things on the earth. It is getting divorced from the system, so that you can step away from the world, you can see the world, and you can reach the world from the vantage point of divine enablement. The key thing in missions is not seeing the need, that's a part of it all. The key thing in missions is not knowing all the Bible verses and what they mean relative to that. The key thing in mission is not finding the place to go, the key thing in missions is to be dwelling in the heavenlies so that you can come back to the world wherever it is from the vantage point of divine power and make an impact.
Now I want to look at, the section and I want us to consider several things. And I'll run them by you quickly. I'll start with r. #1 is the reminder. The reminder in verse 1, "If ye then be risen with Christ," stop right there. Now that is the if of reality, and it should probably be translated since, because it is already an accomplished fact. "Since you have been risen with Christ," is literally what the Greek would say. "Since you have been risen with Christ, and already accomplished reality."
Nowlisten to me, do you realize, think about it, that you have already died, right? We have seen that in Galatians, we've seen it in Romans. You died. When did you die? At salvation. You were crucified with Christ. So, you died when you were saved, you died to the world. Romans says in chapter 7, you died to, that former husband as it were, and then after that you rose from the dead and you took on what kind of life, eternal life. Eternal is not a quantity of life, it is a quality of life, it is heavenly life. So when you came alive in Christ, at the moment of your salvation, you came alive to the dimension of God's heaven. You literally, your mind was open to understand God and what God desires, and what God wills for your life.
Now you died with Christ and you rose with Christ. Don't forget that. Don't forget that from the moment of your salvation you entered into a new dimension of life. You are not living plain old bios, remember that? Biological life. You are not living zoe, that's real life. You are living eternal life, which is a quality in a dimension of life that only God can give. And so the moment you became a believer you were risen with Christ, You live his resurrection life, and that's why, as I read you earlier the apostle Paul says, "your manner of life," Philippians 3:20, "is in heaven." Listen, that's where we live folks, and if your mind is stuck in the things of the world then you are not living up to your position in Christ, are you?
We've talked it so many times the fact that the Christians life is basically becoming what you are, isn't it? This is what I am positionally, I better become like I am. I better live up to my position. Our position is in Christ. In Christ we have eternal life. Having eternal life takes us into the presence of God and when we live his kind of life, we breathe his kind of air.
Now if you will notice the first four verses, I'll show you something interesting. He says in verse 1 "with Christ," in verse 1, "where Christ," in verse 3 "with Christ," in verse 4 "when Christ who is our life shall appear, then shall you also appear," there it is again, "with him in glory." With Christ, where Christ, with Christ, with Christ, The emphasis is pretty clear. Having Christ is having everything. He is is the center of our resurrection life, and the conscious preoccupation of the believer is to be on Christ. That's what it means when it says, "seek the things that are above." Get your preoccupation on Christ, He is the center of your life. Remember chapter 2, spiritual intimidation? Don't let anybody come along and intimidate you with human philosophy. Christ is all. Don't let anybody come along and intimidate you with human rules and rituals and legalism. Christ is all. Don't let anybody come along and intimidate you with their angels and their visions and their ecstatic experiences, Christ is sufficient. Don't let anybody come along and intimidate you with their acts of self-styled fleshly self indulgence. Christ is all And Colossians 2:10 put it as well as it will ever be put. "Ye are complete in him." And that is what he is saying here. You have everything in having Christ. You don't need any of the world's systems of religions. You don't need to say Christ, plus human philosophy, Christ, plus legalism, Christ, plus mysticism, Christ, plus asceticism, all you need is Christ.
Nowifyou just get yourself up there where you belong, you wouldn't get bugged by the rest of that stuff. I think some Christians get intimidated because they don't spend enough time with Christ to find out that he is all they need. You know that? When somebody comes to me and says, "you know, have you had this experience?" You know what I say? "What for?" "Well, I was reading a book this week, if you haven't had this certain experience, you are incomplete, you haven't arrived." You know what my answer to that is, "Listen, I have Christ." A song writer said, "What want I more?" I live in the heavenlies. Marvin Ford may have gone there, but he came back. I am still there. So are you if you know the Lord Jesus and you are living the kind of life he designed for you to live. No wonder there are some Christians running around chasing people like that trying to find out how they can get that experience because they have never learned what it is to get in the heavenlies and enjoy the Christ who is there and see that he is all they need. I am not intimidated anymore. Hallelujah, that's a good place to be, because I know what it is. I have tasted and seen that the Lord is good and he has fulfilled every need I could ever have. Jesus Christ is sufficient. I have lived just enough in the heavenlies to know that, and so will you when you get up there and enjoy it a while. You see the whole issue is to live a Christ conscious life, and the basis of it all is this simple reminder, hey after all, you have been risen with Christ I mean the old life is gone, you are living the new life, the new eternal life, and as long as you are there positionally, just remember where your position is and start operating to get toward that in reality. Don't forget who you are.
There is a second here that I want you to see. Not only The reminder, but the responsibility. Since you have this reminder, he says, if you have been since you have been risen with Christ, seek those things which are above.
Now stop there for a minute. Seek those things which are above; literally, continually be seeking those things which are above. Make it the pattern of your life to be preoccupied with heaven.
Now Paul is not offering another kind of asceticism, he is not inviting us to be spaced out spiritually. He is not inviting us to walk around you know in a fog, he is not Telling us to sit in a corner like Buddhists and contemplate your naval until you wind up in Revana. That isn't the idea. The spirit of God is not telling us to do something weird and strange, he is simply saying, "let your preoccupation with heaven govern your earthly responses."
Now I am going to give you even more practice. You know what it means to think on heavenly things? You can't just think about heaven. You have to think about who is there, right? He is not saying, "just imagine yourself strolling down the golden streets and turning right and there is." you know, no no. Or imagine yourself polishing off one of the jewels and, no. Imagine yourself smiling into the pearl, no. That isn't the idea. The idea is not a preoccupation with what makes up the city, but the idea is to think heavenly thoughts is to be preoccupied with the one who reigns in the city, the Lord Jesus Christ. Since you have this reminder you have also a responsibility he says. Continue to seek the things that are above. You know what the world needs? You know what would really change this world? What would change this world would be a heavenly set of values, wouldn't it? We're in an election time in our country. Wouldn't it be fantastic if somebody could just take the New Testament and write out a whole platform for this nation. Boy, I'd love to do that. And then get elected, wouldn't it be fantastic? It would be absolutely fantastic to have a biblical set of values for our nation. That's what it needs. But listen, the only way you are going to be able to bring a heavenly set of values to the earth is to get up there and find out what it is.
Wouldn't it be great to see things and people and events the way Jesus sees them? We entered in the heavenlies when we were saved. But you know what happens? It happens to me, it happens to you. We just have a hard time shoving our hearts up, there, don't we? We get preoccupied with how much money we have, preoccupied with what our house looks like, what our clothes look like, whether we are keeping up with the society around us. Preoccupied with all the piddley, mundane stuff in our world, and so we can't really offer to the world anything about a heavenly dimension, because we are not too sure what it is yet. And then some joker comes along and intimidates us by telling us about some weird experience that you can reach out and get kind of spiritually spaced out, and we're the first ones to grab onto it because we really don't understand anything out there anyway. The verb here is to be constantly seeking. Jesus put it this way, "Seek ye first" what, "the kingdom of God and his righteousness," and what will happen, "all the other things will follow and be added." That's not a new principle. You can look in the Old Testament. Check out I Chronicles 22:19, you'll find it there too. What are the things above? See what it says; seek the things which are above." What are they? Well the spiritual values that are embedded in the heart of The glorified Christ, realities like tenderness, kindness, loveliness, meekness, long-suffering, patience, wisdom, forgiveness, most of all love. Those are the bounties of heaven. Those are the things that fill the hearts of Jesus, and those arethe things, that if you spend enough time with him, are going to fill your heart.
You know if I could make my Christian life reduce itself to a simple prayer, you know what it would be? Father, I want for me and for my brothers and sisters and for the whole world what Jesus wants for them, Isn't that it? Isn't that John 14, "if you ask anything," what, "in my name." Consistent with who he is. Father I want for myself and my brothers and sisters in Christ, and the world what Jesus wants. if I think about that long enough, there is an obvious second thought, and that is, I better find out, what, who Jesus was. How am I going to do that? Spend some time with him.
So Paul carries us to the heights in the heavenlies. He takes us to the other side of the grave. Puts us into the end of the spirit, where the Christian has new ideas and new desires and new resources and all heavenly and it kind of makes us feel like a skylark who flies higher and higher and higher and all the time singing. When a Christians begins to live in the heavenlies, when he begins to live in the Jerusalem from above as Paul calls it in Galatians. When he begins to find that city that really is the true home of God. And the true resting place of the believer then he begins to bring down to this world something this world desperately needs and that is a heavenly set of values.
Notice what he says in verse 2. Continuing the same Thought, he says, "Set your affections on things above not on things on the earth." And I want to show you something verysimple here. Verse 1 says, "seek," and verse 2, literally in the Greek says "keep on thinking the things above." That's a simple thing. You not only seek heaven, but you think heaven. In other words your mind ought to be on heaven. How are you going to seek heaven? How are you going to seek the things above? By thinking on the things above. That's a simple thought. Couldn't be any simpler. Seek, from one Greek verb, zeteo, and set your mind on, from another one, If you are to really seek the things above you have to program your mind to think on those things. These two terms are important in Paul's vocabulary. They had the idea of kind of a chosen orientation, like the needle of a compass seeks to find the line with the pull of God toward the heavenlies. And maybe the second term is the most important. To seek is one thing, but how to seek, set your mind. Set your mind. I really believe that this is the intellect, the mind. "Be transformed by the renewing of your what," what, "your mind." And I think we need to know the things that God wants us to know. I think we need to understand the thing that God feels and thinks and wills by knowing the revelation that he has given us.
Let me give you a practical thought. Somebody is saying by this time, "Well John, how do you get into the heavenlies as it were?" For me it comes always the same way. And this is just a very personal thing. For me, always it comes the same way. I always dwell in the heavenlies when my mind is preoccupied with the Scripture, because the only thing that I know of God and the only thing I know of Christ, and the only thing I know of the holy Spirit, and the only thing I know of their character and their values is what I have read here, right? And so it is only as I reiterate in my heart and my mind these truths that God is actualized in my thinking, that God becomes real to my conscience mind, and that the realness of God and the values of God are then translated into my action. So I say that until I leave the world I have nothing to offer. If ever there has been a time, and I hope there have been a few, when I have come in here and spoken to you as if it were heaven speaking it's because I am coming from that experience. The experience of spending a week with the mind of God, plants his thoughts in my mind, and I have a heavenly message to bring in an earthly vessel. Simple, but profound.
So the Christian.: who has risen with Christ, has a new focus. There is a new focal point. He has a new direction. Just like the compass needle is drawn to the north so his spirit is drawn to the heavenlies to be occupied with Jesus Christ. That's clear, because he says it in verse 2. Notice it again. "Set your affection," or set your mind, "on things above, not on things on the earth." And then backing up To verse 1, "Seek Those things which are above where Christ, sits." In other words the preoccupation is with Christ.
Let me give you a Third Thought. We have a reminder by Paul, we have a responsibility. I love this, and I just hinted at it, we have a resource, you might say, "Boy, you know I hope something happens when I get up there. I hope, if I spend the time to study the word and set my affections there and put my mind on it and seek those things, I hope there is somebody up there. That's a long trip if nobody is home." Well look at the end of verse 1, "Seek the things which are above where Christ, sits on the right hand of God." He is there and he is seen in sitting position and he is waiting in majesty and honor for us to enter his presence and claim his power. This is the resource people. The reminder, the responsibility and now the resource. The truth of Christ's coronation, the truth of his exaltation at the Father's right hand means that he is "the fountain of blessing for his children. Because he is there, because he is exalted, because he is at the Fathers right hand, the Father has said, you are honored, you are praised, you are glorified, I give you everything I have, and we go into his presence to receive it.
When we seek to obtain things above, we are not chasing phantoms. We are not like the Gnostics who tried by a superior knowledge to get a superior spiritual experience and never got anything but the pandering of their own flesh. I promise you something Christian, everything you seek is there, because he is there. Everything you seek is there. If you think about it, you know that don't you? Because when you needed something and you went there and it was there. In our new life then what do we have? A reminder. You have already been placed in the heavenlies positionally. A responsibility. Get your practical life up there and seek the things that are there by setting. Have the confidence to know that what you seek is there.
Fourthly he reiterates what was alluded to in verse 1, the reason. The reason, verse 3, look, "for you are dead." Dead to what? Well if you were to read Galatians chapter 6:14, you would read that you have been crucified to the, what, to the world. You are dead to the system, you are dead to the world, your life is hidden with Christ in God. The reason that you should follow this admonition is because that is where you are alive. You have an entirely new life and a new consciousness. I love the thought; your life is hidden with Christ, in God. People have talked a lot about what that means. What does it mean to have your life hidden with Christ in God. Well I thought of three things.
Number 1, it means I am all wrapped up with God. And Jesus Christ, My life is tangles up with their life. That's super. I mean he that is joined to the Lord is what, one spirit. The Father and the Son and plain old John MacArthur, we are all in this thing together.
Now when I go up there, they don't say, "Yes, let me see your card." They say, "Hi, where I have you been?" "We have been waiting for you, this is home you know, did you forget?" See? No, my life is all wrapped up with Jesus Christ and you know God doesn't see me apart from him and God doesn't see him apart from me. Is that staggering? God looks at Jesus Christ and sees John MacArthur. God looks at John MacArthur and sees Jesus Christ, That's what it means that my life is hidden with Christ in God. But it means something else too. I thought about this. It means that my life is hidden with Christ, in God and the idea of the hidden hit me. Do you know something? My new life is concealed from the world. They don't know it. They think I am just like everybody else. They don't know what I know and what you know. You know the world doesn't know about us. "The natural man," what, "understands not the things of God." Do you think they know you from anybody else" Do you think they understand what makes you tick? Do they know that you are a citizen of heaven living in the heavenly? They haven't got any idea. All the phony religionists and the eratist and the people beseeching the Colossians coming along and saying "you need this and you need that and you need this, or you'll never make it." What they didn't know was they had already made it. But it was concealed from their diluted minds.
And so when I think about my life being hidden-with Christ, in God that means I am all tied up with them and it also secondly means that I think maybe this is the primary point of the text here. My new life is concealed from the world, and I have to realize that they are not going to understand me, that this isn't my domain, that this isn't my playground, that this isn't the place I dwell. I am a stranger and a pilgrim. And there is a third thought that came to me, and it is this. If my life is hid with Christ, in God, that sounds to me like everlasting security. if my life is hid with Christ, in God, that's secure, there is a book that has been recently written in which a particular person admonishes Christians to watch out for demons, and he has a whole list at the end of all the demons you should look for, and watch out. And one of them he names is the demon of eternal security. You know for me that's blasphemous.
My life is hidden with Christ, from God and I think about the security that he gives me and when I read Romans 8 my heart is thrilled. What does it mean that my life is hidden with Christ, in God. I have a new life all wrapped up with him. It's concealed from the world but it is secure with him, and if all of that is mine I might as well get up there and enjoy it. That's the reason. Live in the heavenlies. It's going to be kind of fun when my spirit and my body gets up there with my mind.
Well, the religious may tell you that you are not making it. Somebody may try to intimidate you into thinking you are not going to gel the higher knowledge, deeper life, second blessing, true humility or whatever. But you are there. And you are hidden from them, but you are there, and you are secure and you might as well get up there and enjoy it. And finally, just to prove all this, I love this, there is the revelation. It is almost like God saying, "now world we are going to have an unveiling and see who really made it. When Christ, who is our life, verse 4, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. They may not recognize us now, they may not know that we live in the heavenlies, but some day they are going to know, because when he appears at his second coming, you can read it in Revelation 19, we will appear with him also. He comes back with, remember in the white robe riding a white horse with all those other while horses and the armies out of heaven and that's us folks, along with the angels. The verdict of eternity, I am afraid is going to reverse the verdicts of time. People are going to see who it was that really attained to God's presence. Do you like this phrase, when Christ, who is our life? Fabulous. He is our life. I've often said that Christ, doesn't give life, he is life. He gives himself. When he appears at his second coming, we will be manifest with him in glory.
Lightfoot says, and it is a beautiful statement, he says, "The veil which now shrouds your higher life from others, and even partly from yourselves, will then be withdrawn. The world which persecutes, despises, ignores now, will then be blinded with the dazzling glory of your revelation. I live by faith, soon I'll live by sight." What is he saying here? He is saying, what is the center of your life if the center of your life is to set your mind on Christ; you are going to live in the heavenlies. And from that vantage point you have a set of values and a power to give to the world. And then you can go out and reach people for Christ. And then you can touch life in the way it matters. And it all boils down to the fact, who is The center of your life?
Tolehmy taught that the center of the solar system was the earth and everything revolved around the earth. For 1300 years that theory went on until it was finally proved to be an illusion. Capernica said, the sun is the center and everything goes around that. You know I know some Christians who are still living under a Tolehmic illusion. They think the world is the center of their universe, but it isn't. The Son is. Christ, is everything. I hope he is the center of your life. I hope you are living in the heavenlies. It's the only vantage point from which you could touch the world.
Let me tell you about a man who lived in the heavenlies, before I close. His name was Hudson Taylor. He was so burdened with China, and you know what burdened him with China? His biographers tell us that he lived so much in the presence of Jesus Christthat he began to feel the great heartbeat of Jesus for the lost souls. And he himself says that the burden of Christ became my burden. You see he lived in the heavenlies so much that he began to feel like Jesus felt. This is what his biographer says. He found the self satisfying hymn singing congregation in Brighton, England intolerable. He looked around pew upon pew of prosperous bearded merchants, shop keepers, visitors, demure wives in bonnets and crinolines, scrubbed children trained to hide their impatience. The atmosphere of smug piety sickened him, he ceased his hat and left. And later said, "unable to bear the sight of a congregation of a thousand and more Christian people rejoicing in their own security while millions were perishing for lack of knowledge, I wandered out on the sands alone in great spiritual agony." There on the beach he prayed for God to give him 24 laborers to go to China.
I wonder we are that congregation in 1976, sitting in our security with smug piety and at the center of our universe is the earth and not the Son of righteousness. Hudson Taylor felt the way he felt because he lived with Jesus so long that the heart of Jesus became his heart. And so he left the world and dwelt with the Saviour so long that he could come back to the world from the divine vantage point. You know that even the Roman Catholic mass ends with the words ite mytha est, get out. The implication is, there is a world out there, get out and do something about it. And we have learned that first you must ascend into the presence of Christ and see it for what he sees.
Would you bow your heads with me? I have asked Paul to share a song with us, while your heads are bowed you listen as he sings; "Let me see this world dear Lord, as though I were looking Through your eyes, a world of men who don't want you Lord, yet a world for which you suffered and died. Let me be there with you in the garden, blurr my eyes with tears of agony, for if once I could see this world the way you see, I just know I'd serve you more faithfully. Let me see this world dear Lord through your eyes when man mocked your holy name. When they beat you and spat upon you dear Lord, let me love them as you loved them, just the same. Let me stand high above my petty problems, grieve for men, help out eternally, for if once, once I could see this world the way you see, I just know I'd serve you more faithfully. Let me see this world dear Lord, let me see."
While your heads are bowed and your eyes are closed for just a moment I know the prayer of your heart were certainly echoed in those words that Paul sung to us and that he lifted a prayer for us all I trust. In your own heart right now this probably would be a great time, maybe as great as any ever in your life to really face the issue. Are you living in the heavenlies, is the Son the center of your universe, or is the world? Do you know what it is to seek, to set your mind on him who is our life. Him, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Some of you perhaps have never come to know Jesus Christ. My, what a great time it would be right now for you to give him your heart. Most of you do know him, but maybe the reason you haven't been able to really make an impact on the world is because you have been trying to do it from in I he world. You have to leave the world.
Father thank you for tonight and for what we have shared. Thank you for all you mean to us, thank you for loving us, thank You for dying for us. Lord a lot of us tonight have taken a stand, and just publicly said, 'from now on I want it to be the way you want it to be, I want to set my mind on you.' Father help us get into the Word daily, so you can fill us with your thoughts. Father I get excited when I think of what this could mean if all this commitment really found legs and voices and hands. So I commit it to you in Jesus' name, Amen.