We can live as if all that matters is what is done on the ‘first floor.’ It ignores all that is above. But if we seek the things above and deny ourselves, we discover the secret to right relationships at home and outside of it. We do things unto the Lord with all our hearts and souls. (Colossians 3:1, 18-22)
Speaker(s): Pastor Thomas Schaller
Sermon # 11373
11:00 AM on 11/26/2017
I am very thankful for many reasons. Many of you know what it’s like to live a life that is somehow protected by God. Do you believe that? Yeah, you do? In the Book of Job, when Satan came before God – do you know the text?
Job 1:8-11, do you know that the world is more than what you can see? There are spirits. There is the devil. There are angels and there is God. The devil knew who Job was. I want to put into the story without violating it, this idea Satan could say I have tried to touch his stuff but can’t because you have put a hedge. I tried five years ago, in the summer, in the winter, but I can’t because you have put a hedge about him. Ask your neighbor, how much stuff do you have? How much stuff do we have? Do you have a house? Car? Job? Friends? Listen to this one: Children. And how many did Job have? Ten. You have put a hedge around them. I cannot touch his property. If I could get at his property, he would change his principle. He would deny you. He believes in you because you are protecting him. But you take his stuff away and he will curse you. That’s there written, isn’t it?
It says that in verse 11. If the devil ever talks to God nowadays, that the Lord won’t bring up my name! Right. Have you considered my servant – put in your name! You have put a hedge around my stuff and I feel that. I don’t know about you, which side of the story you are on here. There has been long periods of time where there’s been a hedge where God has helped us, visited us, protected us that way. In our diagram we use in the church, we use this picture a lot. Life is the first floor of the house but God has made us to live in the whole house, with the context of absolute truth. In the philosophical world of today, it is ridiculous but it isn’t. Absolute truth, the very foundation of the universe, the reality of God in time and place, the absolutes of God, the nature of God are fundamental in our life. Without God, I live a natural man’s life on the first floor. I eat, drink, move about, can believe in God, be religious, moral, but I need God in my life. Jesus Christ came so I can see God and touch him and handle him and he would speak to us. He would say verily, verily I say to you. This phrase. Without context, it cannot be challenged. This is reality. He’s not wondering or questioning or speculating or hypothesizing, not suggesting or saying maybe, but I am telling you this is the way it is. Unless you are born again, you cannot enter into the full house, the kingdom of God. That is more than this earth. It’s the very nature of God. We are in Christ. We are born of God. God is our Father. We are anointed of God so we can see the unseen.
2 Cor 4:18. We are looking at what is not seen in faith. Jesus came into this world and now we have faith that comes from him. We trust and are born of God and we have faith in him. That faith is like a little hole. A mustard seed is enough for God to go in. I don’t need much faith. I simply need to believe this is somehow true. God is real and he cares about us. We care about the world of unbelievers. They are limited to this one room. It’s not enough. The first floor of the house, it’s not satisfying. I want to know more. I want to know what the point is. I’m searching, looking, and when we come to Christ by faith we are capable of living in the whole house.
We are going to speak from Col 3:18-25. This text is in the context of the words preceding it. You can start from 3:1. If, since then. It’s in the context of the previous verses. The work is finished at the Cross. We have died with Christ and are risen with Christ.
vs. 1. When you seek, you can look for something you know what it is and there are people looking for something but don’t know what it is. We lost our car keys and once we find them, we say I found them.
When you are born again, God finds you and you know his voice, Jn 10:10. When you lose him, you don’t really lose him, just live on the first floor of the house. Paycheck, God, food, family, entertainment, literature, sins, guilt, condemnation, fear. Life. That’s how people live. If we are risen with Christ, we should seek something more. We are seeking that which is above. When you find it, you know what it is. You know what freedom is, holiness and joy. I enjoy life. Say that with me and really mean it. I think it’s amazing. I love life. I do. How do you love life? It’s not just the first floor of the house. It’s if we are risen with Christ, the things above are eternal and don’t pass away or get old. We are connected to life that doesn’t age, that’s eternal. We are connected now. It’s not one day I die and go to heaven. We have already died and raised with him and seek those things we can’t see. We are escaping problems, well corruption. In everything give thanks.
1 Thes. 5:18 a drunken driver goes head on into a car and someone is killed. Am I thankful for that? I am not. There is a mistake at the hospital and someone dies. Am I thankful for that? I’m not. There is a dictator ruling over millions and stealing from them and not feeding them. Am I thankful for that? I’m not thankful for evil and pain and suffering. But in it. Why? In this world there is that stuff. It is here. But in it, I am thankful to God that he has put me in such a world and he is with me in this world. In everything I will go through, not a hair of my head is miscalculated by my heavenly Father. Not an ounce of pain or trouble is overlooked by my heavenly Father. There are no accidents in this life. My life is more than what I see. Our life is connected with God and God does not make mistakes. He is perfect and his ways are perfect. Why is there evil and pain? I don’t know. I’m called by God to be in a spirit of thanksgiving in a midst of a terrible world. How can you do that then? I can’t. It’s God who has come here into this world and hasn’t left it. He’s here with the same grace and character. If he was hanging on the cross today, he isn’t but in one sense he is because he’s still treated the same way. And he’s still considered to be an enemy of the people and a deceiver and cheated and demon. In that you see the nature of God. God is saying I am God and I want you to live by faith in me. In everything the Spirit of God is a spirit of thanksgiving. I am here and I will uphold you.
I want to read something here: “One by one God took them from me, all the things I valued most, till I was empty handed. Every glittering toy was lost, and I walked earth’s highways grieving in my rags and poverty until I heard his voice inviting lift those empty hands to me. And I turned my hands toward heaven and he filled them with a store of his own transcendent riches till they could contain no more. And at last I comprehended with my stupid mind and dull, that God could not pour his riches into hands already full.”
Maybe my pain is for me to turn to God who is the Comforter. Maybe my happy life, like Job had 10 children and big Thanksgiving dinner, I am sure. When he lost it all, and the second floor of the house visited him and he understood God better. Even though the world has this element of evil, my God is not evil. My God will fill me and supply me and help me and give to me.
I have this piece about Abraham Lincoln. He lost a lot of loved ones. In Kentucky where he was a little boy, there was a poisonous plant the cows ate and it produced bad milk. That’s how his sister died and then his mother died. And then later in life, one of his sons died. Then in 1862 in the Civil War, his 11 year old son died. He had a lot of heartache. Some think because of the pain he became more than a president. He was pastoring people. He would go to a hospital where the Confederate soldiers were and visit them because they were just people. “Regarding his sense of humor a friend said I’ve heard men say they had laughed at his stories until they almost shaken all their ribs loose. I heard cases where men had been suffering for years from some bodily ailment could get no relief but had gone a couple of evenings and listened to Lincoln and laughed their ailments away… Giving Lincoln credit of being their healer.” I think I might of missed one. “It was because Abraham Lincoln was most human of human beings he is loved…loved as no other man has been loved. He said a good story has the same effect on me I think as a good drink of whiskey as the old roper. It puts new life into me. Good for both the physical and mental digestion. If it were not for these stories, jokes, jest, I should die. They give vent, are the vents of my moods…” As he heard so much bad news from the battlefield.
If we can live by faith and the Spirit does this, it will help us in our relationships in Col 3:18-25. Seeking the things that are above and how we live in our attitude.
vs. 18. Wives, husbands, fathers, servants, employees, masters, employers. If you were to give instruction in a family and say only a few words about these categories, what would you say? Wives, and what would you say? You could write a book. Here only a few words are said. It’s very simple. How come it’s so simple? The whole house makes life simple. What should I do God? God says to the woman, submit yourself. In our culture, we may say it’s 50/50. Equality. No, you are going to be abused or he will take advantage of you and such kind of ideas. That is not the reality. God has designed us and that submission is part of life. The Son of God submitted to the Father. It was divine order. The Son received from the Father and was on the earth and had a ministry. The man is submitted to God. Eve is submitted to Adam. This is divine order. You say no, we are in a modern age. It should be that way. There is something beautiful about submission. It helps the man to be supported by love. It helps a man to be encouraged by someone beside him who is not fighting him or arguing but gladly in her place helping and they are in a way that is hard to explain. In the mind of the man an amazing sense of encouragement and support by a woman who is there to help him to be part of his life. The Spirit of God teaches this to us. We are different in our way of thinking because of the second floor of the house, and the Holy Spirit is our teacher.
vs. 18. We don’t know what that means. As it is appropriate in the Lord. Let’s do the opposite. There is something not appropriate. Criminal activity. The husband becomes or was a criminal. Now he says you have to be with me in the life I’m living. She is saying I can’t be part of that. I don’t want to go to jail and I have to stand before God one day. I love you, I married you, and I’m with you in so many ways. I cannot be part of that. In one case the woman said her husband was taking the Bible away. When she bought a new Bible, he would throw it away. She came to me for counsel. He doesn’t want me to go to church either. We talked about how long it was happening. Maybe he doesn’t want it to become serious. One approach is reassure him if you allow me to be a worshipper of God, it will bring a blessing on our family. If you allow me to go to church, I’ll be a better wife. We cannot participate in these things. A man can drag a woman down. A woman could drag a man down, also.
If we seek the things above, even one party seeks to bring a blessing on the family in 1 Cor 7. I’m not saying we have any guarantees here in the first floor. There’s a hedge but one day it could be gone. It happened to Jesus Christ. Jesus had the hedge until Gethsemane. The wicked one comes and I have nothing to do with him. The prince of the world took him and crucified him. I’m not saying if you do A, B, C, everything will be beautiful. If we have been raised with him, let’s seek those things that will not fail us, that are sure, that are eternal, those things that visit us in the night and comfort us in the heart. Those things that are true like Bible knowledge. The knowledge of God in the Bible.
vs. 19. If you had one thing to say to a husband, what would you say? What would God say? Love your wives. And be not bitter against them. Harsh. When you can’t watch the football game, don’t be harsh against them. When you can’t go fishing but have to go to the mall, God forbid, do not harbor bitterness in your heart and say something that is so painful and hurtful and unnecessary and helps nobody. Like some stupid comment of some kind that is first floor that you learned at the barber shop…look at the disaster of broken up families and hurting people. Our first floor is a lot about our feelings and rights and our lives. We are lovers of our own selves. What does that do for us? How much happens? How many broken hearts, knee jerking reactions. What does it do for us to be lovers of our own selves? Just get my way. It says denying ourselves. Hardly do we ever hear anything about denying our feelings. I wouldn’t know what to deny except God tells me. God is instructing me and leading us and guiding us. Husbands are to learn love not based on feeling but faith. One of the words is will. I will love the Lord, the psalmist said. I will love my wife. I will love the brethren. I decide. What about your feelings? Feelings can be an indicator of something but not the total picture. I can have a feeling but it may not be the total picture. I play football and bruise my leg. I might not be hurt. Not really. Get out there and play the game. You’re feeling the pain and that’s not the whole picture. Same in the soul of a person. Why is there that symptom? What’s the whole picture? Our need to be fellowshipping with a living God that visits us in our trouble and says I am the solution.
You need truth in inner man in Ps. 51: 6. When a woman is loved by her husband, she listens. It helps her and she is supporting him. You have an amazing thing that is satisfying. It didn’t happen on the first floor of the house. God helped us. God showed us. We learned. That’s one of the testimonies of the church at large is the unity called a family. When it’s happening from God, it’s very satisfying. Some of us maybe haven’t had that blessing but simply to say in every area whether married or not, I need to find this way above to escape from hell below.
vs. 20. Obey your parents, children. You mean the parents are 100 percent right? Nope. The best thing for children to do is be obedient. Many times the parents are wise, and it will work out fine. You can always find exceptions because the first floor is the first floor. The answer for children is to be obedient. They are a covering for it and it results in something awesome for them.
vs. 21. I told a story that an elderly man talked to me as a friend. He said when I was 15, I did something wrong and his father was so tough he penalized him. He’s 75 telling me this. When I was 15, there was a pause and it hurt him. It was the beginning of summer vacation and for the penalty I could not go out of the house all summer. He said it was way too much penalty.
vs. 21. Fathers, don’t do that to your children. You are provoking them to anger and they can be discouraged. How does a father know how to handle raising his children? I was on my knees many times. I’d feel the need to say something or do something. I couldn’t figure it out as a dad with four children. I am saying, repeating over and over again, the whole house is what is needed. It is the counsel for the family. Seek the things that are above. Know that God is the God that will help us in these things.
I read a piece. I couldn’t help but share it with you today. It’s Martin Luther had his colleague Philipp Melanchthon he was dying. Luther said you shall not die. Luther said I have need of you and God’s cause has need of you. As my name is Luther, you shall not die. The doctor said he will die. Luther went down on his knees and he began to tug at death and said drop him. I want him. No, said death. He is my prey. I will take him. Down with him, said Luther. Down with him, Death. I will wrestle with you. And he seemed to take hold of the monster, Death, and hurl him to the ground and he came off victorious up from the shades of death, up from prayer he had delivered his colleague from death through prayer.”
Drop him! Drop him! I’m not going to give up on my family. I’m not giving up on my church. I’m not giving up on world missions. I want to own my calling. I can’t just say I’m a pastor. I do church meetings. I want God in our meeting and be where he wants me to be and pray for me that would happen. We would take this stuff seriously about what we are called into. People need us. You might say in a church that is stable and fun loving and growing and moving, you might say I’m not needed. No, you are needed. We cannot do this without you. When you are invested in, you turn to the next. My work is my ministry. I have words, love, the Spirit.
There are people that need us. These young people in the city of Baltimore need us. One young man made in the image of God that needs love. Needs to be prayed for. Needs our humor like Lincoln would do.
vs. 22. Ever painted a kitchen and instead of pulling the frig out, you cheated? You know what I’m talking about. She will never know! The kitchen is painted. But not behind the refrigerator. Now they’re on wheels so I don’t have to cheat anymore. Eye service. How many do things because someone is watching? What would I do if nobody knew? If nobody discovered what was in my heart. People go to work and do the things only when people are watching or when it’s recorded. In my heart, I’m doing it before God. I want to do it heartily.
I love life because there is something more to live than this stuff on the first floor. God is with me. God has given this as a gift to me. I can paint behind the frig because I have the strength and heart for it and my reward is unto God. I hear stories about someone visiting someone and no one knows about it. They did it because it’s in their heart.
vs. 22-23. In the soul you’re doing it as to the Lord and not until men.
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