Colossians 3:1-17 Study Guide

Thanks for joining us this weekend for week four of “Unrivaled” as Pastor Doug shared from Colossians 3:1–17. In this message, we discovered what our new life in Christ is all about and what it looks like practically.

Dive deeper into this teaching on your own, with your family, or in your group! Check out expanded notes and summaries from the teaching, small group questions, and get informed on some of the great resources available to you.

Click here to watch this past weekend’s message in its entirety.


Below you’ll find a recap of the key discussion points from Pastor Doug’s message and a few questions to reflect on and consider with your family, your circle of friends, or in your group.

Ice-Breaker: Describe a season of life that brought about new and exciting changes for you (i.e. you moved to a new city or country, switched jobs or schools, or got married). What did/do you enjoy the most about this new life?

Key Verses: Colossians 3:1–4 (NIV)
Main Thought: Our New Life Takes Us Above the Fray

Discussion Point: In this first set of verses, Paul instructs us to set our hearts “on things above, where Christ is.” The Greek word for set/seek is zéteó. It’s the same word used by Jesus in Matthew 6:33 (NIV) when He said, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” These two verses instruct us to pursue the heart of heaven and adjust the way we think to mirror the mind of Christ. He’s exhorting us to live right now like the people we will one day be when Christ, “who is [our] life, appears.”

So, how do we set our hearts on things above? By seeking intimacy each day in our relationship with Jesus! By fixing our eyes on Jesus through prayer and devotion to His Word as we learn to live, think, act, and speak like Him and not like the world. And here’s the beautiful thing: Because our lives are covered by Christ in God, we can be sure that if we do set our hearts on Him and His kingdom, we will experience growth progressively and learn to live above the fray, because “he who began a good work in [us] will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6 NIV), the day when we appear with Him in glory!

Discussion Question 1: How do you set your heart on things above?

Key Verses: Colossians 3:5–10 (NIV)
Main Thought: Our New Life Demands a Change

Discussion Point: As we set our hearts and minds on Christ and His kingdom, there are things we must cast off and “put to death” in order to live in pursuit of Him . . . the things that belong to our “earthly nature.” Examine the behaviors and lifestyle choices Paul lists here . . . sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, greed, anger, rage, malice, slander, filthy language, and lies. And then he reminds us, “you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.”

Because of these things, God’s wrath is coming, but Christ was crucified for our sins to satisfy God’s righteous wrath. And in the same way He was put to death to bring an end to the power of sin in this world, we must put to death the power of sin in us by pursuing Christ, His kingdom, His truth, His heart, mind, character, nature, and will, and allow ourselves to be renewed in the image of our Creator and Redeemer, Jesus Christ! This is the change our new life—which we were born again into when we died to our old life—demands!

Discussion Question 2: What simple steps can you begin to take in order to cast off the things of this world? 

Key Verses: Colossians 3:11
Main Thought: Our New Life Transcends Every Other Identity and Allegiance

Discussion Point: The gospel transcends humanity’s rules, labels, categories, qualifiers, and identifiers. Paul isn’t naive about the differences; instead, he’s proclaiming a powerful truth that renders identities such as Greek or Jew, male or female, and slave or free as far less important and defining than the identity we have in Christ. And so, as those in Christ, we must evaluate every other identity through the lens of the gospel and remember, “Here there is no” . . . Democrat or Republican, conservative or liberal, black or white or Latino, male or female, American or immigrant, Gen-Z or Millennial or Boomer . . . “but Christ is all, and is in all.”

Discussion Question 3: How does Jesus challenge our other allegiances? 

Key Verses: Colossians 3:12–15 (NIV)
Main Thought: Our New Life Is Characterized by Love

Discussion Point: In these verses, Paul talks about the character of a saved person in Christ. He calls them according to their new identity as chosen, holy, and beloved, but he also goes on to say that this new identity should result in character transformation. As we continue to pursue Christ, living for Him and through His grace, we’ll put on the attributes Paul mentions: compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, and forgiveness. However, after listing these things, Paul expresses that above them all, we must “put on love” because it’s the perfect bond of unity.

To be clear, Paul is not saying that as long as you have love, those other characteristics are not necessary. Paul is saying that love is the most important because it’s the basis for how we can grow in those other areas. Love “binds them all together.”

Discussion Question 4: In what ways can you show love to those around you during this season? What about toward those who are difficult or bitter? How can you bring the love of God into their lives?

Key Verses: Colossians 3:16–17(NIV)
Main Thought: Our New Life Gives Us Passion and Purpose

Discussion Point: Here, Paul says, “Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” We’re to have a passion for His Word, a passion for His mission and His Church, a passion for people, and a passion for the calling and purposes He’s placed on us!

This passion stems from what Christ has done in us—it’s driven by the power of our new lives and is fueled by deep gratitude! Remember, the gracious love of God made a way for us to not only be forgiven of our sins but also be given a clean slate, a new life! In view of this, gratitude must fill our hearts and guide our steps alongside the love of Christ as we seek to live out our calling and mission.

Here are five takeaways to reflect on as we approach the United States elections.

1. Jesus is our sovereign king! On November 4, regardless of who holds the office of president, Jesus is still King, and we’re called to pray for whoever is elected.

2. Our primary identity and allegiance is to Christ and His Church (prophetic presence).

3. The Church should never sell out to power (prophetic distance).

4. Read your Bible, develop convictions, and vote your conscience. Trust God (Romans 14).

5. Jesus’ greatest desire during this election is that we would love one another (Colossians 3:16).

Action Step: Purpose to love someone this week who sees the world differently.
Action Point: Invite someone to church next weekend so they can hear about REAL LIFE!


Parents, here are a few questions to go over with your kids around the dinner table or during dedicated family times.

1. What do you think it means for a person to think about things in heaven instead of things on earth? (Hint: Look at Philippians 4:8 for help with this!)

2. Do you sometimes do things you shouldn’t? Things like saying bad words, lying, or getting really angry and yelling at someone? How can you replace those bad things with good things?

3. As a Christian, why do you think it’s important for Jesus to be the most important thing in your life? Is there something in your life that is more important than Jesus?

4. Name one thing you can do this week to show someone love. Write down someone’s name and what you can do for them!


Go deeper as you follow along with our six-week Colossians series by subscribing to our verse-by-verse commentary and devotional plan on the YouVersion Bible app. To subscribe, click here.


This weekend, we’ll continue our “Unrivaled” series as Pastor Chris Baselice of our Plantation campus shares from Colossians 3:18–4:1. In this message, we’ll find out how the gospel influences and affects our real lives. We’ll also learn what kind of impact our faith has on our marriage, work, and parenting as well as see why no part of human existence remains untouched by the loving and liberating lordship of Jesus.

We look forward to spending another awesome week with you!

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About the Author

Danny Saavedra

Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.