FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH
309 East North St. Sidney, Ohio 45365
937-492-4909

Sunday School 9:15am

Sunday Worship Service 10:30am

Scripture: Colossians 3:1-4                                                                                                             November 28, 2021

Sermon: “Thinking Heavenly Thoughts”                                                          Pastor John Young

 

            In most every discipline of life people are discovering the power of the mind. 

            In the general discourse of life we know that person’s attitude affects the enjoyment or lack thereof that someone has.  It should be no surprise then that as Paul turns from the theological to the practical in Colossians; he focuses first on the mind.

            In the Bible, the terms ‘heart’ and ‘mind’ are often synonymous.  Proverbs 23:7 says, “…as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.”  The prophet Isaiah, in chapter 10:7, was speaking about the misunderstanding the Assyrians had about God when he wrote, “Howbeit he meaneth not so, neither doth his heart think so.”  Generally speaking, we understand with our minds and feel with our heart, but because these two are so closely connected, the Bible often interchanges them.

            In this passage of scripture today, Paul appeals to us to build our life and draw our emotions from a heavenly perspective.  Let’s give some consideration to his appeal.

I.         Why should we think heavenly thoughts?

A.  Paul gives us three reasons:

1.        First, he tells us in v-3, “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.”

a.   In other words, we should think about heavenly thoughts because our life is NOW bound with the life of Christ.  We died to self (our will and the slavery of fleshly desires) and are alive in Him!

2.  Secondly, we should think heavenly thoughts because (v-1), “Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.”

a.   The victory has been won!  The battle is really over!

b.   The more we look at Him the more we are reminded according to Romans 8:31, “If God be for us, who can be against us?”

c.   Think of it!  Look at Romans 8:35-39 (READ).  This is so powerful!

d.  He has overpowered all the foes.

3.  Thirdly, we should think heavenly thoughts because that’s where we are!

a.   This is implied in our text, but it is clearly expressed in Ephesians 2:6, “And hath raised up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:”

b.   Our term on earth could be over today!  But, our stay in heaven is eternal!!!

[These are three good reasons why we should think heavenly thoughts!  Amen?  But, the problem is not finding a reason…the problem is finding a way.]

 

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II.  How do we think on heavenly thoughts?

A.  Let’s first define what heavenly thinking is NOT:

1.  It’s not thinking about religion.

a.   We can discuss and debate about theories and doctrines without ever coming close to heavenly thinking.

2.  It’s not thinking about church.

a.   We can make plans for programs and upcoming events and meetings.  We can think about particular problems involved in, or surrounding the church and still not be close to heavenly thinking.

3.  It’s not introspective meditation.

a.   Although sometimes needful, and very beneficial at times, it is not the kind of thinking that leads to heavenly thoughts, because introspective means looking at ourselves; not heaven!

B.  So what IS heavenly thinking?

1.  In his commentary of Colossians, John MacArthur says it well, “The believer’s whole disposition should orient itself toward heaven, just as a compass needle orients itself toward the north.  To be preoccupied with heaven is to be preoccupied with the ONE who reigns there and His purpose, plan, provision and power.  It is also to view the things, people, and events of this world through HIS eyes and with an eternal perspective…it is to allow our preoccupation with heaven to govern our earthly response.”  [Pretty good, isn’t it?].

2.  Let’s face it though; this is not often our experience.

a.   We spend our energies fretting (or repairing) the things of earth.

b.   Our focus is on our next appointment, our next purchase, our next promotions, our physical bodies, our material possessions, our finances.

c.   We have it backwards…and this is why Paul gives us this command.

C.  Well, how do we accomplish thinking heavenly thoughts?

1.  Eternal vigilance!  Ha! We must continually decide to turn our minds and hearts toward heaven.

a.   When life doesn’t go according to our plan—instead of fretting, stewing, finagling, or rearranging…

b.   We must deliberately turn God’s way FIRST!

1)  As you all know, the Sarver family’s world was abruptly turned upside down when Vonda suffered a severe stroke.  The emotional roller coaster as they’ve repeatedly received positive news and then set backs takes its toll.  In times like these, we are more prone to judge God’s response or what we think may be His ‘lack’ of response.  However, when speaking with any family member, I have witnessed heavenly thinking!  After

 

    

 

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      updating me on Vonda’s condition, the conversation always ends with words like, “We know God has a plan” or “We are just trusting the Lord” or something like this.

We must always turn our minds and hearts towards heaven!

Whether in our surrender to His will, or:

2.  In pursuit of worldly desires (we must turn our minds and hearts towards heaven).

a.   Every time we adorn ourselves we must be reminded that nothing we do will make us more significant or valuable to God than we already are in Christ.  Humankind may look on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart!

b.   Every time we are tempted to compromise our ethics to make things comfortable we must remind ourselves that the impact of our action extends into eternity.

c.   Every time we are tempted to choose pleasure over obedience we must remember that we are offending the ONE who loves us with an everlasting love.

[So, we must turn our minds and heart towards heaven; we must learn to recognize and turn aside from worldly thinking, and:]

3.        We must make time to “LOOK UP!”

a.   Consistent Bible reading, prayer and meditation are among the best incentives to getting us to ‘look up.’

Conclusion:  Years ago I remember leaving a Sunday service in a state of spiritual ecstasy.  During the drive home I pondered, “If I could live the whole week in the mindset of that spiritual high, I’d have it made!”  Then it came to me—I was enjoying spiritual ecstasy because of the high concentration of Bible preaching, Christian fellowship, prayer and refection.  That day I made a decision that changed my life—I would take church with me every day!!!  I’d start the day with a focus on God’s Word, prayer and meditation.  I began to memorize verses in the Bible.  I developed a prayer booklet.  In essence, I ‘took church’ home with me.  Have you done this?  If not, why not make that decision today.

Let’s pray