I Am Living Three Lives

Bible Book: Colossians  3
Subject: Joy; Thanksgiving; Christian Living
Introduction

This coming Thursday will be Thanksgiving Day. Did you hear the story about the young turkey who went bad and was put in jail? The mother turkey went down to the jail and visited the young gobbler. She is reported to have said, “Tom, how could you have done this? Your father, God rest his soul, would be so upset to see what you have become. In fact, if he knew right now about this, he would roll over in his gravy!”

I expect a lot of us be rolling in the gravy on Thursday. One man said he ate so much last Thanksgiving Day that the next week he had a rash on his tummy – actually it was from steering wheel burn. I hope we will avoid gluttony this week. And, I pray we will understand the importance of knowing that thanksgiving is more than a one day event in a Christian’s year. Paul addressed this in Colossians 3 and I want us to look at it today under the title: I Am Living Three Lives.

When I was a boy growing up in North Carolina, there was a television program that came on once a week and was a must see for our family. It was entitled, “I Led Three Lives.” It was based upon a true story involving a double agent-spy for the United States. The spy was leading foreign enemies to think he was spying for them. Actually, he was spying for the USA. In the meantime, he had a regular job and family, and was not supposed to tell his wife anything about his spy work. Thus, he was leading three lives. It was an adventure every week as the story followed the dangerous tight rope the spy had to walk.

You might find it interesting to know that the Christian is actually living three lives. We see this plainly in Colossians, chapter 3. I want you to look at it with me today because this will help us to know who we are and how we are supposed to live. To see the three lives that the Christian is living, we need to read some selected verses. Lets begin by looking at 'life' number one.

I. I Am Living A Hidden Life – My Position in Christ

Look with me at Colossians 3:1-4, "Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory."

Note that Paul states the Christian has a life that is hidden in Christ. We don't often think of the life we have in Christ as being a hidden life, yet that is exactly what it is called in this text.  There are some principles here which affect the status and service of the Christian life.

A. A Fixed Life

We can’t loose it, because He has it! It is not a salvation I have – it is Jesus that I have! My life is not hidden in salvation; my salvation is hidden in HIM! My life is hidden in Him. My life is not in church, or rituals or religion. My life is in Christ. It is so deep in Him that it is hidden. It is like a treasure which no one can steal or take away. It is a life fixed forever. In fact, the text before us suggests a double-lined protection. My life is WITH Christ and IN God. What thief will ever break into that secure vault? None!

B. A Focused Life

Since my life is in Him and He is in heaven, my focus is to be upward. My nature is to look upward because my nature was changed when Christ saved me and gave me His life. Since Christ is in heaven, my affection should be focused there and not on things in this life. How important this is for us to remember. We live in this world but we are not of this world. This world is passing but what I have in Christ is fixed, therefore, I must focus on that which is most important and that which is lasting!

C. A Future Life

Part of the life I have is yet to come. My destiny is hidden in Christ. Heaven is my home even though I have never been there. Most people think of home as the place where they have lived and long to return to again. But, the Christian longs for heaven, even though he has never been there. Why? We long for heaven because Jesus is there and our life is hidden there. I marvel at the thought of gates of purest pearl. I wonder at the thought of walking down streets of gold. My heart leaps to think of the music of the angels in glory. But what really thrills my heart about heaven is Jesus. The songwriter wrote about wanting to see the majesty of heaven but then climaxed with these words: “I want to see my Savior first of all.”

We have a life hidden in Jesus. The future is always bright for a believer. The moment of hardship can hold no pain or sorrow that diminishes our prospects. No collapse of the economy, no war on foreign fields, no illness of mammoth proportion can do anything but cause us to look up with greater anticipation because our life is hidden in Christ.

Look at 1 Peter 1:3-5, "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade-kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time."

II. I Am Living A Holy Life – My Performance Through Christ

Look with me at Colossians 3:3-11

Paul clearly states that we have died to the old life and that we are living a new life. In essence, we are living a holy life in this world through His strength and power in us. We are not living holy lives in order to be accepted by God – we are to live holy lives because we are accepted by God. We are told in this passage to mortify, destroy, or bury the old ways of life in order to live properly the new life we have in Christ.

A. Sensual Sins

Verses 5 and 6 speak about sins that affect our senses. These should be put to death – mortified – buried. Why? They should be mortified, destroyed, put to death, because we are living a new life in Christ.

B. Speaking Sins

In verses 7 through 10a reveal that we must live a life which buries sins of speech. We should avoid the sinful language of anger, slander, and lying. Our tongues are to be dedicated to God. We should bury conversation which is not wholesome and holy. Certainly our tongues are redeemed to honor Jesus, praise Him and to make Him known to the world.

C. Selfish Sins

Verses 10b through 15a tell us how we are to remove selfishness, envy, class warfare and pride. Love and peace are to rule in our hearts. Now understand something important – the old life will try to resurface. We are to mortify it. We are to put it to death. We are to come again and again to Christ and rededicate ourselves to the new life we have in Him.

III. I Am Living A Happy Life – My Praise For Christ

Colossians 3:15b-17

We are to be thankful. Our life is to be filled with thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is not a season for the Christian it is a way of life. Thanksgiving is not a holiday for the believer, it is an everyday occurrence.

A. It Must Be Internal

His Word in our minds and His Music in our hearts! The Word of God will make you thankful and cause you to break into song.

B. It Must Be External

Thanksgiving cannot remain silent – neither can genuine faith. It breaks out in spite of hindrances. The women in Afghanistan. They could not contain the joy and life of Christ in them. They did not mean to violate a law in that country but they could not help themselves. That is how we must be! Real life is animated. You cannot hide it. Try to act dead. We can see you breathing. We can watch your face and see your eyes move. A feather can touch your face and your lips will quiver. You cannot hide life. A Christian is alive in Christ. He cannot hide it. He must not try to hide it. If it isn’t showing, maybe you don't actually have it!

C. It Will Be Eternal

After all, giving Him praise here is just a warm-up for glory. We will praise Him forever there. The happy life for Christ is only possible when we are living a happy life in Jesus.

Conclusion

The photograph we may never forget is that of the Vietnamese girl running from the flames of a Napalm bomb in the Vietnam War. Her clothes burned off and her skin blackened and burned, she was running and screaming in pain. Her name is Kim Phuc, which means “Golden Happiness.” The photographers, who took the picture rushed to her, wrapped her body in a rain slicker, gave her water and took her to a hospital in their jeep. Seeing that she was dying there, they used their influence to have her transferred to a better hospital in Saigon.

After 14 months and 17 surgeries, she returned to her home hiding her scars under her clothing. Later she was forced to be the “poster girl” for the Communist government, the “show girl” for the evils of U.S. aggression. She did so to protect her family from government abuse.

Her experience made her dedicate herself to the study of medicine. While studying in a public library, she read the New Testament for the first time. She attended a Baptist Church with a family member, and she began to pray to find a Christian friend. Walking into the church worship area, she noticed a lady sitting alone. This was to be her special friend. After receiving Jesus Christ as her Savior, she said, “It was the fire of the bomb that burned my body, the skill of the doctors to mend my skin, but it took the power of God to heal my heart.

The story gets better. She went to medical school in Cuba, met her husband there and defected to Canada. Though doctors had told her she should never bear children, she has two beautiful children. A movie has been made about her life.

Here’s the highlight! Kim spoke at the Vietnam memorial in Washington, D.C. in 1996. To hundreds of veterans and uniformed soldiers she said, “I have suffered both from physical and emotional pain. Sometimes I thought I could not live, but God saved my life and give me faith and hope. If I could talk face to face with the pilot who dropped the bomb, I would tell him we cannot change history, but we should try to promote peace.” The pilot was present, they met in private, she embraced him in her scarred arms as he said, “I am sorry.” She replied, “It’s okay, I forgive!”

That is what Jesus has done for us. He forgave us. He embraces us with the scars our sins have caused. We must rejoice today – if indeed we are saved. We have a hidden life, a buried past and glorious future. Let us show our thanks with our worship, with our work and with our walk in this world for Him.