“If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.” Colossians 3:1.
There is a great difference between this letter to the Colossians and the one written to the Ephesians at the same time and delivered by the same messenger named Tychicus.
The difference between the two churches is worth noting, the Colossians were being led astray by certain heretical teachings instead of concentrating on Christ as head of the church.
As a result they are told to “seek those things which are above”, whereas the Ephesian church appears to have rejected outside heresies and grew in Christ, as will be seen in the next quote.
It should be added that the Apostle Paul, Timothy, and later the Apostle John all headquartered in Ephesus at different times, guaranteeing a lot of hands on guidance.
“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:4-7.
Still, Jesus had this to say in His letter to the Ephesian church about 90 A.D.
“To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, ‘These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands: I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place – unless you repent. But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.’” Revelation 2:1-7.
In just a few years from about 34 A.D. to around 90 A.D. the Ephesian church went from a church whose membership was seated in the heavenlies to a church which had lost its first love.
The question then is what was their first love?
And the answer is Christ; the Ephesian church was seated in the heavenlies with Christ, in their hearts.
In time though the things which they did automatically for Christ out of love, their labors, their patience, and perseverance, soon became part of being a Christian and then a duty, and a task; pretty joyless. They had lost their first love.
Christ Jesus’ remedy for the Ephesian church is in the above passage. Which is as follows, remember, repent, return. Unfortunately they failed to do these things and the church died out.
Things like these have and will continue to be what kills a church. Christ commends this church for its vigilance, their labors, patience and just plain hard work, but He tells them to repent because it had just become empty motions.
The modern churches thrive on demographic charts, attendance records, movies, programs, and keep them busy stuff. But where is the love for Christ and for one another?
What was lost may be gained back only by seeking:
“…those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God” Colossians 3:1b.
It is not just the church, but the individual who will benefit from this command.
“O God, You are my God; early will I seek You; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water. So I have looked for You in the sanctuary, to see Your power and Your glory. Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise You. Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name. My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness, and my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips. When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches. Because You have been my help, therefore in the shadow of Your wings [under God’s protection, Psalm 17:8, 36:7] I will rejoice. My soul follows close behind You; Your right hand upholds me.” Psalm 63:1-8.
“Your mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens, and Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds. Your righteousness is like the great mountains; Your judgments are a great deep; O Lord, You preserve man and beast. How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings.” Psalm 36:5-7.
“Keep [protect] me as the apple [pupil] of Your eye; hide me under the shadow of Your wings…” Psalm 17:8.
King David had to go to the sanctuary; the Christian can come boldly to the throne of Grace because Jesus Christ has made us a way by His blood.
“Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:14-16.
This place is available in times of need, comfort, or just to be seated before the God in whom all things are summed up.
There is so much to be learned simply by opening up your Bible in His quiet presence and asking questions. While unconfessed sin can hinder us from unbroken communication, with confession (to God, not to a man) and a humble heart the doors are opened wide.
“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:8-9.
Having confessed our known sins we can know that God hears us.
“Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:19-23.
Having died with Christ we are now risen with Christ to seek the things which are above, “where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.” If we are to do this, it will require a new mindset.
“Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:2-3.
Colossians 3:1 taken from godisrevealed.com posted on 2-2-14 updated on 4-8-20.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version, copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission, all rights reserved.