Colossians 3:1-4 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.
This morning we are going to take a new look at the results of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. We have spent a lot of time over the years looking at the physical aspects of his resurrection. Now we need to look at the rewards of his resurrection. There is no way that I could share with you all of the rewards he has for us. I don’t even know what they all are and will not know until I have joined with the uncounted number of those who stand before his throne. At that point, I believe I will be so caught up in those rewards that I won’t be concerned about knowing all of them. Let’s see what we can see now.
Many of the benefits of Christ’s resurrection are already being distributed to those who have placed their faith in him. And yet many times we do not even see what God has done for us when Jesus died on the cross the Bible says that he took us with him there. When he died, symbolically, we died as well. His death on the cross was imputed to us just as Adam’s sin was imputed to Jesus. He had no sin of his own. This is very good news! God sees us as being guilty of Adam’s sin. In the same way God sees us, in Christ Jesus, having our sins paid for through Jesus’ obedience on the cross. So when we died with him we also were buried with him. When Jesus died on the cross God the Father put our sins on Christ. Therefore…
Christian believers are raised with him. Let’s look at Paul’s statement in Colossians 2:12. Having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead.
Since we have been buried, symbolically, with him in baptism then we are able to recognize that we are also raised with him through faith and the powerful working of God. When God raised Jesus from the dead, or when Jesus took his life back, we receive the benefits by believing in the Lord Jesus Christ. It is as if the Holy Spirit reproduces Jesus’ death and resurrection in our lives. God counts us who believe in Christ as having died with him on the cross and having been raised with him from the grave.
More than that, we are now seated with Christ. Ephesians chapter 2 begins by proclaiming that we were dead in the trespasses and sins that we once lived in. Being dead, we had no ability to do anything good for ourselves. So let’s look ahead to Ephesians 2:4-7. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
God’s abundant mercy is poured out on us who place our faith in him. Knowing that we were dead, and unable to respond spiritually, God the Father bound us together with Christ and took our sins to the cross and imputed Jesus’ life to us. Then, God went one step further by binding us to Jesus in heaven. According to Scripture the old rebellious person that we were was crucified in Christ, buried, and a new person was born, raised, and ascended into heaven. That’s why the term “born again” is used. Don’t worry about how you feel just think of what God’s word teaches! He has raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly places. In that sense he has already glorified us. These things being true…
We should join with Paul’s focus. Let’s look at the apostle’s words in Philippians 3:14. I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
We are all progressively becoming more and more like Christ, if we cooperate with him in our spiritual growth! Paul’s goal is the upward call of God in Christ Jesus and it should be ours as well. We are not already perfect but we are being perfected. Therefore…
We must remember to whom we belong. Look ahead to Philippians 3:20-21. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.
You see, though we are very much a part of this world our true citizenship is in heaven. While we are still in this body we wait for a change that will come when our Lord Jesus Christ returns for his own. When he does, our lowly bodies will be changed to be like his. Later, John the apostle would write, “when he appears we shall be like him” (1 John 3:2).
Jesus’ resurrection body is the same body that he walked on earth in but it is now made perfect. This is the kind of body we will have when Christ returns and we are raised from the dead. The resurrection body is imperishable, glorious and powerful. Jesus showed his disciples his body and spoke of it as being flesh and blood after his resurrection. Jesus was not then and never will be a disembodied spirit.
Not only are we physically citizens of Earth we are spiritually citizens of heaven. As a result of that condition…
We need to have the right mind-set. Let’s look at Romans 8:5-8. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
When we are born, dead in our trespasses and sins, we continue in that condition by having our minds set on the things of the flesh. When we become believers in the Lord Jesus Christ we need to set our minds on the things of the Spirit. We should no longer live according to the flesh. Instead, we are to live according to the Spirit.
In our Christian lives, as citizens of heaven, it is very important that we depend on the Holy Spirit’s direction and power. The Holy Spirit is received by faith in the beginning of the Christian life (Galatians 3:2) and continues to work in our life according to our faith. We are to live according to the guidance of the Holy Spirit and set our minds on the things of the Spirit. Everything we do should, in some way or another, be recognized as being directed by God. As Jesus said, in the Sermon on the Mount, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33) We are strangers to this earth which explains the struggle we have, as Christians, living in the world culture. Most of the time we do not recognize that…
We have died along with him. Yet the Scripture is very clear. Let’s look at Romans 6:3-5. Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.
Jesus’ resurrection becomes a part of our lives as we put our faith in him. That is one of the reasons why we baptize by immersion. Having died with Christ, we are buried with him, symbolically, in the water and raised up to live a new kind of life.
When he died on the cross we were united with him in the mind of God. Now, we are united with him through the Spirit’s presence in living our life day to day. It is not easy to live the Christian life — in fact, it is impossible in our own strength — so God added to the verses we’ve already read one of the greatest promises in Scripture.
Verse 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.
This verse does not say sin should not rule over us it says that “sin will have no dominion over you,” the grace of God is come into our life and will finally do its work of shaping us in his image of the Lord Jesus because…
Jesus is our life. Let’s look at his words found in John 11:25-26. Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
Martha came out to meet Jesus while grieving the death of her brother, Lazarus. Four days had passed but the pain of separation was very clear. As soon as she saw Jesus she spoke her pain to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” (John 11:21) While he was on earth Jesus was light and life. (John 1:4) In explaining himself to his disciples Jesus later said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.” (John 14:6) He is our life! Jesus is not just raised up he is the resurrection! When we place our faith in him those things become ours.
Martha, and later Mary, would see that Jesus had held off coming to their aid. He had told the disciples, on the way there, that for their sakes he was glad he was not there. This allowed them to see something they needed to strengthen their faith. They had seen Jesus call others back to life. Never had they seen a person called out of the grave. Lazarus’ healing from death was one step closer to what would happen to Jesus after he was beaten, crucified and buried.
All of the resurrections that Jesus had participated in were temporary. Every one of those people would die again. I wonder sometimes how much they remembered about their temporary stay on the other side of the veil. Did God mercifully wipe it from their mind or did he allow them to remember! I don’t know. Perhaps it is not at all important, if it were, surely God would have told us.
We have a new citizenship if we are believers in the Lord Jesus Christ and we have a new life which is “Christ in us the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27)
The reward of Jesus’ resurrection is many things. The power of his resurrection allows us to be raised along with him to a new life. The power of his resurrection allows us to be seated with him in heavenly places. As a result of this work in our life we need to refocus our attention and remember to whom we belong. We need to have the right mind-set.
We have died with him and therefore we have the possibility of being set free from our sinful human nature. Remember, Romans 6:14 promises us that sin will not have dominion over us. I claim that verse for myself and encourage you to claim it for yourself. No matter how many times we struggle to be set free from sin, and it seems to rule over us, God promises us that it will not rule over us. Along with the promise of deliverance from prevailing sin is the promise that…
When he comes he will bring us. Assuming we have gone into heaven already let’s read 1 Thessalonians 4:14-16. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.
At the second coming of Christ there will be a great army accompanying him. Those who have died in faith will be blessed to be with him. If, on the other hand, Jesus returns while we are still alive — and he certainly can after all he’s in charge — we will be changed instantly and rise up to meet them in the air.
The power of Jesus’ resurrection promises us that we too will rise. There is a lot that we do not know about that resurrection but we have God’s promise and that’s all we need.
There are many things that come into our life as a result of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. If the rulers of this world had really understood what would happen they would’ve never crucified the Lord of glory. Jesus had become flesh and blood in order that he might destroy the enemy we all face. In doing so he is able to deliver us from the fear of death and the lifelong slavery such fear imposes upon us. Praise God! He did triumph over death and hell and in the power of his resurrection he frees all those who put their faith in him. I hope you have committed your life to him. If not, today can be the day of your salvation.
All scriptures quotes are from: The Holy Bible: English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.