Colossians - Lesson 5

By Stafford North

What We Die To

Colossians 3:3-11

Background Information for the Teacher


  1. The student can describe the process of our being buried and raised up to a new life.
  2. The student can tell what implications Paul gives from our having gone through this process.
  3. The student can draw a picture of how God plans for our desires to be fulfilled within the limits He gives.
  4. The student can list some sins which lie beyond God's limits.


  1. Have the worksheets ready.
  2. Have access to a chalkboard of marker board.
  3. Students will need Bibles.


Because we have been buried with Christ and raised to a new life, we are to lay aside activities that God has said lie beyond the limits we should respect.

Lesson Plan for Teaching the Class

Introduction: (10 minutes)

  1. Call the roll, greet guests, make announcements.
  2. Review the last lesson. We studied two kingdoms or two realms. What do you remember about each Christ, light, and eternal life characterize one and Satan, darkness, and eternal separation from God characterize the other.

Learning Experiences: (30 minutes)

  1. Read 3:1-4. Q: What reasons does Paul give on which he bases his appeal for the Colossian Christians to make a change? A: "Since you have been raised with Christ." "For you died and your life is hid with Christ in God." "When Christ, who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory." Q: To what does Paul refer when he speaks of our having died and been raised? A: Our baptism. But more than that. He means the spiritual change that comes with baptism. In our baptism we are buried because we have died to the life we lived before and in baptism we are raised with a determination to change. Q: What does it mean to "set your hearts on things above?" A: To realign your priorities, to make going to heaven your highest priority, to put laying up treasures in heaven above laying up treasures on the earth. Q: What part does repentance play in this process? A: With repentance we make a commitment to change. This means we want to die to sin. Then the old life of sin is buried and we are raised free from sin and, with our eyes fixed on heaven, we are ready to start again. Q: In what different ways is this new start pictured in scripture? A: A death and resurrection (Romans 6:4); a new birth (John 3:5); a cleansing (Acts22:16); putting on the new clothes which is putting on Christ (Gal. 3:27); being baptized "into Christ," which means we are now in His body where we associate with other Christians who are members of the body and we accept Christ as our new head.
  2. Q: Based on these reasons, what does Paul call on these Christians to do? Read Col. 3:1-4. A: To "set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God." To "set your minds on things above, not on earthly things." Q: What is the difference between "things above" and "earthly things." A: Earthly and heavenly. Good and bad. Beneficial and hurtful. (Teacher: on the board, draw the figure below. Leave room for a list under each side. First put up the two lines and the word "limit" and ask the class what this might mean. Then put in the words "approved" and "disapproved." Then write the word "possessions" to the left of the whole drawing, and ask what ways God has approved of our getting "possessions" and what ways he has forbidden (work vs. stealing, for example). Then try "social approval." Then use the word "sex" and ask what God has approved and not approved. Then ask the question of why God has placed some things on the "approved side" and other things on the"disapproved side." The answer is that the ways one might seek to fulfill the need that will eventually hurt the person and others are on the disapproved side. God did not arbitrarily say "fornication" is wrong. It is wrong because God knows it hurts people in the long run. Ask the class if they know of any examples. (Tiger Woods, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Anthony Weiner, and many other public figures would be examples.)  
  3. Read Col. 3:1-10. Q: What activities does Paul say we should list on the disapproved side and where on the chart shall we put them? A: Sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, greed, anger, rage, malice, slander, filthy language, lying.
  4. Let's look at each of these briefly. Q: What is an example of some specific situation in which we might be tempted to turn to each of these? A: Sexual immorality-getting in a place and a situation when we would be tempted to go beyond the limit. (Teacher: As you discuss this keep using the expression "beyond the limit" so you can drive this point home.) Q: What is a way we can avoid falling into this trap? A: Place some boundaries beyond which we will not go in terms of situations, places, actions, and maybe, people. (Teacher: Go through each on sin on the list in a similar fashion. "Impurity" would be a good place to discuss pornography. "Lust" really means "the desire to go beyond the limits" and so can apply to any area of activity in which I am tempted to go too far. You might note that the first sins listed are sins of action, then come sins of the heart, and finally sins of the tongue. Force the class to be very specific in noting situations in which these sins are likely to happen and to be specific in noting what people can do to avoid them.


  1. Q: In one sentence, can you sum up the lesson today. A: Since I have been washed clean in baptism, I need to respect God's limits both for my good and the good of the body of Christ.
  2. Q: What are sins we have discussed today are we most likely to fall for and how can we stay out of such sins? A: Sexual sins-place some absolute boundaries and determine to live within them; greed-clearly understand the right place of possession in our lives and that God gives possessions to us to be used for His glory. Etc.


  1. Memorize Col. 3:1a-"Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above."
  2. Draw the chart and re-consider its meaning.


  1. Next lesson, you will be asked to draw the chart and to put on it a need with something that is approved and something that is not approved.

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