Colossians 3:1-4 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
The Scriptures teach us to put God first in our life. Even under the Old Testament law God gave command regarding the importance of placing Him first. The 1st of the ten commandments was, “You shall have no other gods before me.” In the sermon that Jesus preached on the mount, he said, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you.” Over in Matthew 22 a scribe came to Jesus asking what was the commandment. Jesus told him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment.”
Here in Colossians the apostle Paul makes another statement about how important God should be in our lives. The church at Colossae had gone through a number of doctrinal problems. Some didn’t believe in Jehovah and others didn’t believe in the law. Philosophies ran rampant throughout the city. In spite of all these difficulties, the church at Colossae survived. In chapter 3 Paul is encouraging them to remain strong and faithful.
Take note of Paul’s first comment in verse 1, “if ye then be risen with Christ.” We are raised with Christ in baptism. IF we have been baptized, then we ought to put our thoughts on things above, heavenly things. In verse 2 we’re told to put our minds on things above. Verse 2 is a command. Then, in verse 3 he tells us that we are dead to this life. Christians must die to the pull that this life has on people. Dying to this life might be the most difficult command of all.
There are two worlds and it’s impossible for us to have both. We must choose between one world or the other. On one hand there is the materialistic world. It looks enticing and exciting. It’s full of pleasure. Someday it will pass away. If we live long enough we’ll begin to see it decay. When the Lord returns this world and all that is in it will be burned up. It will cease to exist.
Paul says that if we’ve been raised up with Christ in baptism, then the heavenly world is what we ought to be pursuing. Our goals should be higher than this material world. In verse 4 Paul says that when the Lord returns we want to make sure we’re with Him in glory. If we’ve placed the heavenly world first in our hearts, then the Lord will take us to glory. We’ve got to make sure we place THAT world above this present world.
Christ must be first in our life, even above our families. The Lord said there will be some occasions where we’ll have to put Him above our father, or mother, or son, or daughter, or brother or sister.
We all have to make a decision. Which world will we serve? Will we serve this world and be eternally destroyed along with it…or will we serve God and go to glory?
Over in the book of Matthew Jesus explained that his second coming would be like in the days of Noah. Jesus recalled a time, during the days of Noah, when people were eating, drinking, marrying and giving in marriage until the very day that Noah entered the ark. They didn’t recognize the impending doom of the flood. They were caught up in this present world. They were busy doing all the things that people do in this life. They didn’t notice that a man named Noah had been preaching for 120 years urging them to repent and prepare for the flood.
Today’s world isn’t any different. People today are still ignoring the preaching of the Truth. People are still busy doing the things they’ve always done in this world. They’re chasing dreams of wealth and prosperity. They’re busy living their material-based lives. They’re looking right past the Gospel and when the end comes – they’ll be just as shocked as the people in Noah’s day.
The apostle Paul is urging the Colossians to consider the 2 choices and make the right choice. Paul clearly taught that our minds should be set on heavenly things, not earthly things.
If we consider these four verses and take the thoughts a bit further to the subject of church attendance, we’ll see how important it is to assemble with the saints. For many years preachers and local teachers have urged members to faithfully attend the services. Yet, members still stay away from the services in droves. Why is that? It’s really very simple. They don’t attend because they don’t want to.
We can control what we do. We can decide to be more devoted to God or we can decide to be more devoted to this present world. It’s a choice we can all make. In the matter of church attendance, we can decide to attend or we can decide to stay away.
Why should we be faithful in our attendance?
One, we ought to be faithful to attend worship because we want to worship God. That’s the number one reason. There should be joy when we assemble with the saints. There should be joy to show honor and glory to God.
Two, we ought to attend because of the joy that we have in meeting with our brothers and sisters in Christ. The people that we assemble with are important people in our lives. They share our faith. Our fellowship with each other and with God are very important to our spiritual welfare.
Third, we ought to attend because of the influence we have on others, especially on the children in our lives. Young people need the proper example set before them. By placing other things above church attendance, we show others that the Lord’s Church is not that important. If we permit school activities, sports, entertainment or something else to come before the public worship services – we’ve robbed our children of the value of the Church.
Parents must take a strong stand with teenage children. Parents owe it to their children to teach them to put God first. If that upsets the teenager, so be it. Too few, even in the Church have the attitude and spirit of Joshua, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Fathers, set the example before your children. Be the leader in church attendance and in putting God first.
Faithful attendance finally comes down to whether or not we want to put Christ first in our lives. When it comes to our commitment to Christ, Paul is saying that it must be total. This world will defeat us if we allow it.
The encouragement of the apostle Paul for the brethren at Colossae to never give up is sound advice for us still. Put the kingdom of God first in your life above everything else. Attend every service of the church. Be diligent in your service to God and in the end, share glory with Jesus.
Please make your decisions based on eternity. Be at every service of the Church.