Tame the Beast - Part 1
The following is a summary of my sermon preached on Sunday, November 20. It is based on Colossians 3:1-17.
The Bible describes two ways to live:
Verses 5-9 is the ugly lifestyle. The beast inside is tearing us up.
Verses 12-17 is the beautiful lifestyle. The beast inside is tamed.
What makes the difference? The difference is FOCUS!
The Colossians were stuck in the ugly lifestyle BECAUSE their focus was ON THE WRONG THINGS. For example: ANGELS. Not on Jesus. Not on God.
They'd been taught that angels were in charge. So, they had to take care of the angels. Which didn't work. Angels can't make us godly. They can't help us change. They can't tame the beast within.
To tame the beast so you can live the beautiful life, you need to focus on something far higher than angels:
Verse 1: seek (focus) the things that are above;
Verse 2: set your minds (think) on things that are above.
This is saying: focus your mind on the heavenly Jesus. The heavenly Jesus is glorious. Colossians 1 and 2 portray Christ as:
The foundation, the center, and the capstone of the universe.
Head over it all.
Sustaining it all.
The purpose for it all.
Victorious over sin and Satan.
Risen, ruling, King.
First over everything.
The rest of the Bible teaches us that heavenly Jesus is:
Blazing in splendor.
Holy, holy, holy Lord
He has a voice like Niagara Falls.
His cross has been replaced by a crown.
The Kingdom and the power and the glory are his alone!
He comes out to conquer and the angel armies fall down before him.
This is how you tame the beast: Look to the heavenly Jesus. Do not focus on yourself. That doesn’t help you change anything. Jesus is our change-maker. Nothing resists his supreme person and power. Someone wrote: don’t tell Jesus how big your problems are. Tell your problems how big Jesus is.
Two life-shaping experiences happen when we focus on the heavenly Jesus …
A. WE FIND THE CONVICTION THAT CHANGE IS NEEDED.
Let’s just take one behavior in that list of the ugly lifestyle: verse 8, anger. There’s all sorts of reasons we might want to stay angry. I might think: "I'm angry for good reason. If you knew what she did to me." Or I might think sub-consciously: "When I get angry, it gets me what I want." So, we might not have the motivation to change our behavior.
The biggest problem with those kinds of rationalization is this: Jesus says: STOP IT! And he isn’t impressed by our excuses. Jesus tells us: “I’ve raised you to a new life! The old must go!”
So … what’s going to shake us up enough to move and to change? ANSWER: JESUS! Focus on the risen and ruling Jesus. He’ll give you all the motivation you need. You’ll be begging for change. Look what happened to people who encountered him:
Job: "I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; 6 therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes." - Job 42:5-6
Isaiah: "And I said: "Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!"" - Isaiah 6:5
Peter saw beyond carpenter Jesus: "But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord." - Luke 5:8
A clear vision of Jesus shakes us out of complacency and comfort. Yes Jesus. Whatever you say Jesus. No problem Jesus. Have it your way Jesus. Don’t kill me Jesus.
There’s a second life-shaping experience when we focus on heavenly Jesus …
B. WE FIND THE COURAGE TO CHANGE NOW.
Here's how this works: when we focus on the risen and ruling Jesus, we see all that Jesus is and all that Jesus has done and all that Jesus is doing for us. The key here is the phrase: "Your life is hidden with Christ in God "- verse 3.
That means: By your spiritual union with Jesus ...
All that Christ has done - you have done.
When he died to sin. You died.
When he rose to new life. You rose.
Where Christ is seated - that's where you are seated = with authority over enemies.
All the resources of Christ are yours.
His power is yours. His victory is yours. His godliness is yours. His glory will be yours.
You look at blazing, glorious, King Jesus and realize, I am in him and he is in me. He is fighting for me. He’s on my side. Chris Tomlin wrote: “I know who goes before me. I know who stands behind. The God of angel armies is always by my side.”
In Christ, we have whatever we need to live the beautiful life. We have no reason to surrender to our inner beast. Step out boldly into your new lifestyle - your beautiful purpose - in Christ.
Here is your bold affirmation - based on Ephesians 3:20:
Jesus is "able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us." - Ephesians 3:20
Don't limit what Jesus is doing in you, through you, for you.
Something I’ve learned is that: ”I can't" is actually "I won’t." I mostly don’t try and fail. I mostly don’t try at all. I make excuses. I blame others. I don't want to disturb my comfort. But that's not the way to a beautiful life. That is not life in Christ.
Get your focus off of yourself. Your weakness. Your failures. Your IQ. Your age. Your past. Your gender. Your color. Your limits.
Get your mind off the situation. Don’t focus on people, events, or obstacles in your way.
Get your mind onto Jesus. The risen, conquering King. Lord of heaven’s armies. The ruler of the kingdoms of this world. The head over all things. Supreme.
Picture him blazing in glory. Hear his thundering waterfall voice say to you: “If I am for you, who can be against you?” Hear him reassure you: “You are more than a conqueror. I have made you a champion.”
Tame that beast!
Make that change!
Live the beautiful life!