Set Your Affections
Rev. Jim Bogle, given January 7, 2007
Colossians 3:1, 2
1: If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
2: Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
Last week we asked the question, "How can we better serve Christ in 2007?" We shared from Luke 2 about the life of Simeon:
o his faithfulness;
o his prayer life;
o his honesty and integrity;
o his love for God; and
o his vigilance in looking every day for the coming of the Messiah.
He was a man obedient to God’s Word and to the leading of the Holy Spirit! And, because of his faithfulness, God answered his prayer, allowing him not only to see the Messiah, but also to hold the Messiah of God in his arms.
Simeon's life, we suggested, is a wonderful pattern to emulate if we desire to serve Christ better in the New Year.
This morning, I want to share with you from the New Testament Book of Colossians 3, where Paul gives us more excellent advice on how to better serve Christ in the New Year.
Paul says: “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.” Paul says to “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.”
And as we live today in that time in which Paul writes:
…that, knowing the time…it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.
The Word of God helps us to see clearly that the days of the child of God upon this earth are numbered. We have the warnings of the Old Testament prophets and the warnings of the New Testament writers inspired by God. We are without excuse to say that we know not the time.
Paul says the time is nearer than when we first believed. It seems absolutely essential that we focus our attention, in the year 2007, upon the promised coming of the Lord Jesus Christ!
Simeon was a blessed man, not because he was rich, nor because he was a favorite in his community; he was blessed because his heart’s affections were set on the blessed things above, not on things of the earth.
Paul said, “set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” Let me give you two examples of setting your affections on the things of this earth.
The first example I want to share with you, we find in:
13: And one of the company said unto him, Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me.
14: And he said unto him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you?
15: And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.
This man was hoping that Christ would intervene on his behalf with his brother so that he could gain more of this world’s goods. Like so many others today, writes Warren Wiersbe, "He wanted Jesus to serve him, but not save him." This man wasn’t interested in the things of God, nor in the things of Heaven, but his mind was fixed upon this world — money, and the things it could buy. A new car, a new home, a swimming pool for the home, nice furniture, and the wants go on and on with the flesh never being completely satisfied with anything, but for a short period of time.
And Jesus says to you and me, "Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth."
16: And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:
17: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?
18: And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.
19: And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.
20: But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?
21: So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.
And so we see that this man’s heart and affections were set upon the things of this world and not upon the things of Christ. He will never find peace, nor ever know complete satisfaction in this world.
Now turn with me to Matthew, Chapter 19 for my second example of settings one’s affections on things of this world.
16: And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
Mark tells us the man came running and knelt down before Christ. He had obviously learned that there was a whole new kingdom to be gained through what Christ had been teaching — and he was anxious to lay hold to his share of that kingdom!
Note the question: “What good thing shall I do?” Well Christ made it clear right away that goodness was an exclusive trait and character of God only. You and I can never be good enough to go to heaven.
But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
But this man thought that there was some good thing
that he could do that would entitle him to enter the
17: And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
18: He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,
19: Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
20: The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?
This man prided himself on outward devotion to the law, but Christ was looking upon the heart.
21: Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
Christ put aside everything for the sake of you and me. Paul put aside everything for the sake of the gospel of Christ. The Disciples of Christ put aside everything to follow Christ.
This man wanted to enter heaven on his own terms, but God’s terms were too great! His riches were more important to him than following Christ.
22: But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.
Jesus was looking upon the heart of this man. He
lived in the best home, on the nicest street, in the richest neighborhood. He
was the picture of worldly success, but he was far from the
Now let me share with you and example of setting one’s heart and affections upon the heavenly
41: And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.
42: And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.
43: And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury:
44: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.
This woman’s heart, her love and her devotion for God were expressed in her gift! She cast in all of her living. She was a poor widow, but she was rich in spiritual treasure. She caught the attention of her LORD and Savior, and I’ll guarantee you this woman's needs were met seven-fold.
Just as God saw the heart of the man seeking a portion of his brother’s inheritance,
Just as God saw the heart of the rich man sold out to his riches, and
Just as God saw the heart of the poor widow woman who gave to God all her living,
God sees every heart, and he knows where every heart’s affections lie.
The man serving Christ in hopes of worldly gain is setting his affection on things of this world and is a hypocrite. The man wishing to serve Christ as long as it doesn’t interfere with his own personal plans and his worldly possessions is, likewise, a hypocrite. But the one who serves the LORD first and puts all other affections second is the one who will hear Christ say one day,
Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
Today is a new day that the Lord hath made, we will rejoice and be glad in it! Today is also the first day of the rest of our lives. Today we can rededicate our hearts to Christ.
We can make a new year's resolution that, beginning today, we’re going to set our affections on things above, not on things of the earth.