...thoughts expressed here are not necessarily final.

The Glory that is Yours

You are God the Father, God the Son
You are God the Spirit, You are One
And in your presence we are undone
Due to the Glory that is Yours.

Oh Father work your sovereign plan
All good things come from your right hand
Delight we under your command
To show the Glory that is Yours.

Oh Son, because you have obeyed
And so God’s glory have displayed
You rose from the tomb where You were laid
Raised by the Glory that is Yours.

Oh Spirit you convince us now
You light our hearts and show us how
To live in Glory as we bow
Unto the Glory that is Yours.

So Father rule and reign o’er all
As the Son answers your call
And the Spirit points us all
To view the Glory that is Yours.

You are God the Father, God the Son
You are God the Spirit, You are One
And in your presence we are undone
Due to the Glory that is Yours.

Anthony Foster
October 2, 2005

Every Thought Captive

I set my mind on things above
On mercy, goodness, and your love
So purify my heart and mind
Of any sinful thought you find.

May the meditations of my heart be acceptable to You
My the thoughts I think come in line with what is True
I’ll take every thought captive , I’ll make them your slave
You nail them to the cross You take them to the grave

I’ll covenant with my two eyes
To turn my gaze away from lies
I’ll reckon Your Truth to be true
And reject deceits that cloud my view

My mind’s a battlefield at times and I show no valor there
My thought life doesn’t measure up to the life that I declare
But Lord I have no secrets that you have not discerned
There is no hidden motive that you have not overturned.

I’ll take every thought captive to the Cause of My christ
For the cross where you killed sin has more than sufficed
I’ll reckon Your reality, and reject the reign of sin
And render myself unto you as a righteous instrument.

Colossians 3, Romans 6
Anthony Foster
October 3, 2005

October 03, 2005 Last night's sermon

I preached last night at church, and was unanimously approved to be licensed by my home church to preach the gospel as we are sent out on mission. I was fearful and trembling and probably made a few technical mistakes. My voice was getting squeaky by the time I finished and I forgot my water bottle. At least I didn't ramble too much and the Lord used it and we had one person respond with a profession of faith. God is so good and He is SO in control.

By God's providence, our Pastor had included this passage as a section of his message in the morning service, and the worship leader had programmed "Garments of Praise" as part of the evening service in response to that! Therefore, my first choice of what would have been good was in actuality the song that preceded the message- and I didn't do anything to work this out in advance.

Colossians 3 –Dressed for Glory

Read Colossians 3:1-14. Pray.

The Glory of God and the Gospel

The 20th century has been called the century of the self. It did not end in year 2000. Check out any bookstore, even a Christian one. Look at all the workshops on self fulfillment available. In our own day and time the presentation of the gospel has become so “soft sell” that it is very easy for people to believe that it is just about God sending his Son so sinners could sin and be forgiven, rather than knowing that God sent His son so that sin could be remedied.

The big problem of the universe is that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God- Romans 3:23. We tend to focus on our falling short, but as important as that is, the remedy will not come from that focus. God’s glory is vindicated in the Gospel. The gospel offers deliverance from the dominion of sin, but it does it by the mighty power of the honor and glory of God becoming the treasure you would die for and live for. In the gospel, the work of Christ makes it possible for fallen man to find entry back into the presence of the Living God. But if you do not treasure God's glory, you will not die for it. You will certainly not live for it.

Most Christians spend more time planning their vacations than their godliness. This passage tells us that we who have been clothed with the righteousness of Christ must do something to walk worthy of the Lord. How can I bring honor to the name of the Lord today? Paul tells us in this passage.

In the book of Colossians, Paul has been setting the scene in the first two chapters by declaring his desires for the Colossian church in 1:9-10. READ Our passage today will flesh this thought out. That text tells us there is something we must do to walk worthy of the Lord.

Then he breaks into a doxology of praise to Christ in 1:15 in one of the great sections of teaching on incomparable Christ. Then in 1:27 he makes an incredibly awesome two way assertion- Christ IN YOU- the hope of Glory. In chapter 2, Paul exhorts them to realize who they are IN CHRIST and the ramifications of that fact. Doctrine always deals in facts.

That brings us to our text- here like in so many places we see a therefore- that typically links a great doctrinal/theological section to a practical application section. I'm not going to go into the specific Greek tenses- just note that there are differences- there is past tense and aorist tense- some things that have past action but ongoing results, and future events spoken of here.

3:1 Therefore, if you have been raised(aorist) with Christ, keep seeking(emphatic) the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.
3:2 Keep thinking (emphatic) about things above, not things on the earth,
3:3 for you have died (past) and your life is hid (once for all) with Christ in God
3:4 for When Christ, who is your life appears, then you too will be revealed (future)in glory with him.

So we start with therefore, if, and that is where I want to come full circle and end with tonight as well. What Paul is going to say is to the saved.

Exhortation Paraphrased: Keep seeking, keep thinking (set your mind), for you have died and have been raised with Christ. Your life is hidden with Christ in God and you will be revealed in glory with Him.

v. 1 So what are the things above? Heaven itself is defined as the place where God dwells. This is the Philippians 4:8 "whatsoever things are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good repute, of excellence, worthy of praise- dwell on these things…Who is it in heaven who is most true? Most lovely? Do you delight to meditate on God Himself? Are you drinking from the fountain of living waters that flows from the throne of God or drinking from the broken cisterns of this world. Where do you find the things that you delight in, your treasure?

Someone (John Piper) has said that the mind is the lackey of the affections, and I think that is true, but God has given us Himself to meditate on- this is where the affections and will can come together in perfect delight! We can taste and see that the Lord is good. As we apprehend the Lord in the beauty of Holiness, we will be changed.

We have a vital link to the unseen reality because the Holy Spirit of God indwells us as believers. So the things above- the very throne of grace- is immediately accessible to us because we are In Christ. Hebrews 4 says we are to stand boldly before the throne. That is the place where God in His glory dwells.

We pray, "our Father who art in heaven hallowed be thy name". But how can we hallow His name each day? We have the power to honor God or dishonor him in this life. I want us NOT to lose this sense- that the issue of sin is not the heart of humans- that is secondary- sin is essentially about God’s character and nature- He is the one being violated by sin. Evil is thinking or feeling or acting in a way that treats God as anything less than infinitely valuable and infinitely satisfying.

But who among us loves the glory of God anything like what the glory of God is worth? How many of us have dishonored God in word or deed or in attitude. How many of us prefer football to worship? How many would rather watch TV than to delight in the Word of God? There is an old adage that one can be so heavenly minded that they are no earthly good. I say this is a lie. If your mind is being renewed by the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ Jesus, you will be more effective than you ever dreamed possible, because your treasure is where your heart is. Lord, give us more heavenly minded saints!

v. 2 reiterates the importance of verse 1. Keep thinking about things above.

When God’s children, who are “seated with Christ in the heavenlies,” give their affection and attention to a world that is passing away, they lose the upward look. Their perspective becomes distorted, and they fail to bask in heaven’s sunlight. Taken up with the baubles of this world, they become defeated, delinquent Christians. Buttons, pins, and pennies, but no treasures laid up in heaven. Not to treasure that which is of greatest worth in the universe- to devalue the glory of God, is a sin worthy of death. As C. S. Lewis said, it’s not that our desires are to great- but that they are far too small.

v. 3: verse 3 reiterates a verse from Colossians 2 :20 and Galatians 2:20. Our life is now hid with Christ in God. Can there be any more secure place in the universe? We are going to see that this has practical ramifications in a few verses.

v. 4 when Christ who is our life appears we shall be revealed in glory with Him. We are partakers of glory now in part and we well one day be like Him for we shall see Him as He is. Everyone who has this hope purifies himself, just as he is pure. 1 John 3:2-3.

The witness of scripture is that seeing Christ as He is and treasuring Him for all he is worth necessarily transforms us.

Reckon, Reject, Render

In Romans 6:1-14 we have a parallel passage. After relating the provision and facts of the New Life In Christ, it gives us similar principles-in verses 6-10 the Old man is crucified, the Inner man is transformed, and the New man is liberated.

It ends with an exhortation of what the pattern of the New Life In Christ is to be- how we exercise the power of Grace:

a. v. 11 Reckon the reality, logizomai -count yourself as righteous-reckoning is faith in action. the word deals with reality- if I logizomai that my bank account has 25 dollars in it, it does.

We have just been reckoning what God says about Himself and us to be true. There is nothing truer about you than what God says is true about You!

b. vv 12-13a reject the reign of sin

that is what we are going to see in the next section

c. and v. 13b render yourselves as righteous instruments to be used of God.

In the final section of the text we will look at this aspect.

What follows are not suggestions, but commands.

I want to look at verses 5-15 in three sections. A negative and a positive and a hinge that the two swing on. Verses 5-8 which are and exhortation to turn from, verses 12-14 which are positve things to turn to, and the middle verses,( 9-11) that affirm the point of it all.

Glorifying God by Taking off the old Life-style (vv. 5-9)

Paul shifts his focus and teaching to an analogy. For us to be able to do that, we need to do some spiritual undressing.. we have to remove the things from our new life that are not in keeping with who we have become.

3:5 So put to death whatever in your nature belongs to the earth: sexual immorality, impurity, shameful passion, evil desire, and greed which is idolatry.
3:6 Because of these things the wrath of God is coming on the sons of disobedience.
3:7 You too lived your lives in this way at one time, when you used to live among them.
3:8 But now, put off all such things as anger, rage, malice, slander, abusive language from your mouth.
3:9 Do not lie to one another...

We have a list here, but so much more than a list. I am not going to exposit the meaning of every word, as important as they are. Just know that these are things that separate one from God. These are things that God responds to in wrath, because they are an affrontery to his nature. Such is ALL sin- so you can substitute your own pet sin here. Not everyone here will get an STD, but a hard heart can and does kill much more effectively.

Note the first things (vv 5-7) that are listed deal with sexual sin and illicit desire. I think that is for a reason, given the context of Colossians, which uses the word "image" as we have seen and will see. God could have had us spring forth from the cabbage patch. I believe that God delights in creating humans, and his delights in making us participants in creating new humans- new "image-of-God-persons" -that is what he intends humans to be. He made it a wondrous and pleasurable and holy thing to procreate. That is why violating God's plan for this is so terrible. All these other sins defame God as well. Idolatry is worshipping something after the image of man, not the image of God. Wanting what is not yours shows a lack of trust that God gives us what is good.

The second part seems to relate to our mouths. That I think is because we tend to glorify in two ways, declaration and demonstration. If what characterizes your speech is declarations from anger, rage, malice, slander, abusive language, You can not HOPE to glorify God.

How can you get rid of those sins? There are two ways to start, and one that works: One, starve them. Don't feed your mind with trash. Second, crowd sin out with positive graces. Pour into your mind the Word of God and things that are good and right (Phil. 4:8).

These are commandments of scripture and efficacious. BUT ultimately, the way that works is in this passage- count it dead- the cross of Christ is the only ultimate answer to sin. “It (sin) yields to nothing less than the death of the cross. It is altogether too tough to be killed by abusing the body or starving the affections” (A.W. Tozer).

I hear it all the time- I cannot overcome my sin. Beloved, that is exactly right --you cannot. But I want you to look now upon the Cross. You know what happened there- 2 Cor 5:21:He who knew no sin became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. Sin was put to death on that cross, His blood shed for the remission of sins. You must reckon your sin to be put to death there when the Son became God forsaken- and though I will admit it is mysterious, if He was not forsaken we are not forgiven. You are in Christ and He is in you.

We need to know what to do. We must reject the reign of Sin. We are not passive, sitting back and saying, Oh Lord change me! We have to put to death, to put off, to put on, accept that we have a responsibility. Romans 8:13 says we are to do this by the Spirit who dwells in us.

It is hard to be renewed. Look at the language Paul used in the earlier part of the passage- put to death- these are executioners terms. Put to death what attitudes and thought patterns that belong to your past sinful nature. In verse 8 he says you must rid yourself of all such things- so it is possible. Then in verse 12, clothe yourself. He is saying that there is something we do.

2. The next thing this passage tells me is that sin needs to be amputated, not coddled. Radical surgery is in order, not some kind of therapy. In fact the Greek here is that strong- Put to death means just that. Amputation is a scary thought. Amputation is so drastic and so final.

I shared a work studio in college with a student who was Kentucky State champion fiddler and a remarkably talented potter. One day he was preparing canvases for a professor by cutting redwood stretchers and cut off two of his fingers and mangled another. The doctor was able to reattach the fingers and he was given assurances that they would live. Yet they were worse than useless- they impeded what he could do in a worse way than if they were gone once and for all. So, he chose to have the crippled fingers removed again because they were detrimental to his playing the fiddle and working the clay. They served to defeat his purposes.

He went on to become a successful ceramicist and college professor. But he had to make a hard choice. Sin is like that- at the fall, we were cut off from what we could be- masters of creation and productivity. We try to fix ourselves by the world's devices, but we just cannot be what we were in the garden. At salvation, we are separated from our remedies- God cuts them off from us and we go back and try to reattach ourselves to it, but is never quite works that way. It binds and hinders what our life could be without it.

Now Paul changes gears…and reckons the reality again in this doctrinal passage.

3:9b since you have put off the old man with its practices
3:10 and have been clothed with the new man that is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of the one who created it.
3:11 Here there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all and in all.

1. If we are to live for God in this world we have to know our identity (vv 9-10). Notice three things about our identity:

a. We are made new in Christ. ("have put off", v. 9b, "have been clothed" v. 10) If any one is in Christ he is a new creature

b. I am totally new in Christ- but I’m not completely new! ("is being renewed" v. 10) You must put on the new self which is being renewed. There is a new creation, but that renewal is being progressively being manifested in all of my life.

So this is a progressive thing. Did you ever think that when Lazarus came out of the tomb he came bound with all the grave clothes on. When Christ came out he came with all the grave clothes neatly left behind. Jesus said “Unwrap him and let him go!” Our life here is a life of unwrapping and being set free. We need each other in the church for encouragement and we need the exhortation of scripture and of course the enabling of the Spirit.

c. I am being renewed in a direction- did you notice? I am "being renewed in knowledge according to the image of the (creator)" v. 10- progressively being changed towards Christlikeness. Knowing God is only possible because we bear the image of God- we can never escape being made in God's image. That's why we are without excuse as Paul says in Romans 1.

So, we need to know our identity. It is found IN Christ.

2. If we are to live for God in this world we need to understand our purpose (v. 10)

At this point I want to compare and contrast the specifics of the negative and positive lists Paul gives us. They are not arbitrary- these things are not just lists. How do I glorify the One in whom all glory dwells? By declaration and by demonstration in practical ways empowered by the Holy Spirit. Verses 10 and 11 form a sort of hinge that the rest of the passage swings on.
It's not about us, we are image bearers.

Romans 8:29 tells us God’s purpose for us is that we are to be conformed to the likeness of his Son. Beloved that is why sin in the life of the believer is so obscene- it brings dishonor and takes glory away from God whom we are created in the image of!

Glorifying God by Putting on a New Life-style (vv12-14)

Recall what I said about the parallel passage in Romans 6:13b render yourselves as righteous instruments to be used of God.

In the final section of the text we will look at this aspect.

When I say render I am using it as in "render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and render unto God the things that are God’s". The Greek here means (paristemi) present yourselves to God. Stop presenting yourself to sin and present your self to God. Your greatest need wherever you are is to be presenting yourself to God. To be “presentable” means “fit to be seen”. Only God can fit us for heaven.

Romans 6:24 we were buried with him by baptism in death that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father even so we also should walk in newness of life!

Again we have had a doctrinal section to be followed by a practical section connected with a "therefore":

3:12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and dearly loved, (our identity restated)
clothe yourselves with a heart of mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience,
3:13 bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if someone happens to have a complaint against anyone else. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you too forgive others.
3:14 And to all these virtues add love, which is the perfect bond.

Paul is telling us to think of things we need to put on-intentionally-about how to live a holy life in the world.

1. Compassion-The King James Version here refers to the "bowels of mercies." (My favorite Greek word.) (splagchnon in Greek- I always liked the sound of that) In Hebrew thinking, the bowels, or visceral area, were understood to be the seat of compassion and sympathy
2. Kindness- The word in the Greek marches in two directions- first it mean to do what is useful- what meets needs. Also it is used as mellowness- for instance wine was said to be kind when it lost its bite.
3. Humility- This is the antidote to self-love.
4. Gentleness
5. Patience
(sounds like the fruit of the Spirit.)

Putting on godly qualities is not a once for all decision- it is as daily as dressing up. So every day I must give as much care to my spiritual being as I would give to my physical being.

Practicing the attitudes listed in Colossians 3:12 make possible the actions listed in verse 13:

1. Bearing with one another-
2. Forgiving each other

v. 14 According to the Apostle Paul in Colossians 3:14, we will never experience the attitudes or actions listed above until we love one another.

When we bend the knee and confess, agree with God that Christ is the Lord of our lives and live accordingly, the Father gets glory Philippians 2:11.

Jesus said in Matthew 5:16 "When men see the good works the Father calls us (and empowers us) to do, they will give glory to your father in heaven." The converse of that is true as well. We dishonor God when we live like the devil.

Finally I want us to notice that the scriptures did not end with the negative- in verse 9. Sometimes Christians are known by their list of things they do not do rather than what we do.
As long as we live our lives just abstaining from sin instead of embracing righteousness we will go back to the old life. There is a great difference in looking at the cross and saying “On that cross He was crucified for me” and realizing “On that cross I was crucified with Him. The one aspect brings us deliverance from sin’s condemnation. The other brings deliverance from sin’s power. Deliverance from sin's presence is accomplished by a day by day putting off and putting on, reckoning, rejecting, rendering until we are one day in the presence of the Lord forever. But as Colossians 2 says, we are complete in Christ already. So live to bring honor and glory to the Lord- that is our reason to be- our purpose, our high calling. Ask yourself- what can I do today to bring honor to the name of the Lord?

To end, let me remind you that verse one started with “if”- that is a first class conditional clause. If you are not risen with Christ, you cannot keep seeking. You cannot set you mind on things above. You are not being renewed in righteousness. Without faith you cannot please God. My message to you is simple- stop trying to be good and cast yourself on the Glory of the Grace of God in the face of Christ Jesus- let Him be your righteousness. Come to him today.

The Romance of Faith

A joyous journey I would undertake
To the wildness of wonder I will awake
I will yield control to this spell that I’m under
And be lost in its awe and it’s amazing wonder.

I will revel in righteousness, delight in its fruit
And purity’s poetic passionate pursuit,
For pleasures beyond measure now are made plain
They beggar description and baffle my brain.

I’ll feast at the table and drink from the well
Rejoicing with joy of my Treasure to tell
To live Life abundant, astonished, amazed
Set free indeed by the romance of faith!

The laughter of heaven is too loud to hear
So I’ll shout to this world and I’ll make it clear
How to live with abandon and awestruck delight
Making merry as I carry this radiant light.

May the mad mirth of heaven be my reality
To join with the heavenly host’s jubilee
For there’s no hesitation in heaven above
So I’ll exult in exalting the God that I love

I’ll marvel at the magic of mystery revealed
To the Life of divine frantic energy yield
In holy humility I will delight to dance
And revel in the reign of faith’s romance.

Anthony Foster
October 4, 2005


Comments? Questions? Respond on the form below.

When you hit submit your browser will display a message that requires approval
for the e-mail being sent. It's OK. Really.


E-mail address:



From the personal weblog of Anthony Foster @http://anthonyfoster.com/blog/