I'm giving this short talk at a prayer meeting tonight
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. (Colossians 3:1-4)
Well America has sent their man to the seat of power. They have chosen their representative and he is going to the White House to rule on their behalf. Barack Obama said in his acceptance speech that he is committed to being the President not only for those who voted for him, but for those who haven't. A man will sit in the highest office, representing his people, ruling on their behalf.
More money has been spent on this presidential campaign than any other. More people have turned out to vote than ever before. Because the people want to be a part of this process. They want representation in the highest office. They want to send their man to the seat of power.
Many people will be thrilled about Barack Obama's win. Many will be disappointed. But whether Obama will be a good or bad president, there is another perspective on these issues.
Notice verse 1 - 'set your hearts on things above'
Notice verse 2 - 'set your minds on things above, not on earthly things'
Why? Does Paul want us to be ignorant of world affairs?
No, but he does want us to get some perspective.
What does he want us to see?
Verse 1: Christ, seated at the right hand of God.
Now, in the Bible, the right hand of the king was where the king's appointed ruler sat, heard petitions, passed judgements, and gave orders. The king's right hand man was his beloved servant through whom the king ruled. The right hand, is the place of honour and authority. And Jesus of Nazareth, our Brother and Friend, is seated on God's throne of power. Paul says - think about that
Our Man, our Representative, One the bible calls our merciful and faithful High Priest, He has gone to the seat of power. Jesus became one of us, He lived for us, died for us, rose for us and 40 days later ascended for us into heaven. That's where He is right now - seated on the throne of the universe - God's right hand Man. And He has gone as our representative. Our Man has gone to the seat of power.
Many Obama supporters will be saying today "we won". "We won." And what they mean is Obama won, and we're with him, we're associated with him - He's our man. His victory is our victory. He won, so we won.
Now that's even more true for we who are associated with King Jesus. In fact we are united to Christ so strongly that everything that happened to Him has happened to us. Christ's victory is really and truly ours. Look at verse 1.
Paul says 'you have been raised with Christ.' Then in v3 he says 'you have died'. Jesus died, therefore we died with Him. Jesus rose, therefore we rose with Him. My life, my identity, my history are so united to Jesus that His death is my death and His resurrection is my resurrection, His ascension is my ascension. Jesus does everything He does, conquers everything He conquers, gains everything He gains FOR YOU.
Paul says it again in a different way in verses 3 and 4: 'your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, you will appear with Him in glory.'
We are Very closely united to Jesus. Christ IS your life. Your life is hidden with Christ in God. Our Man has gone to the seat of power and we are IN Him - united to Him in the closest possible way. So now when God looks for you, He finds you IN Jesus, at His right hand - the place of honour.
On the radio this morning they were talking about foreign presidents and prime ministers queueing up to see Obama. They said that foreign ambassadors in Washington would be falling over each other trying to get invited to the White House. Everyone wants to get close to Obama now.
But we know the true Man, our true Representative - He is our Brother! And He has gone to the highest seat of power imaginable and we have gone there with Him and in Him. The incredible thing is, we don't have to queue up to see the King of Kings. We're not pounding on the door requesting an audience. We have the ear of the Lord Almighty. We don't just have access to the throne room of heaven - we are there! Actually there. Already. Right now!
And so Paul says 'set your heart and set your mind on these things.' They are true whether we're mindful of them or not. But now that we know they are true, think about it. Remember it. Dwell on it. Revel in it. Enjoy it. Speak about it. Sing about it. Take advantage of it. You have the ear of the LORD of heaven. Set your heart and mind on that. And when you do, that's when prayer gets off the ground.
Because I am hidden in Christ at the right hand of the Father I know that my words do not ascend to heaven. Do you ever fire up prayers to the Father and you wonder, 'have they made it?', 'are they reverent enough?', 'were they in the right form of words?', 'did I mean them enough?', 'was I in a spiritual enough place to generate the power to get my words to the throne room?' Well all that is rubbish. It's not that our prayers ascend to heaven - Christ has ascended. My prayers don't go from earth to heaven, they go from heaven to heaven. I don't yell up to the Father to be heard, I'm at His right hand, whispering in His ear.
I don't have access to Obama. I don't have access to his power. I can't shape his rule. I have no input to his reign.
I have something so much better. I have a greater Man with greater power and I have greater access than any lobbyist dare dream of. So let's take advantage of our position.
"Let us approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." (Heb 4:16)
For more on Ascension and getting our Man into the seat of power, listen to this excellent talk by Paul Blackham