Colossians #13: Colossians 3: 5-9

 


Colossians #13:  Colossians 3: 5-9

 We are 13 lessons into our study of Colossians.  In our letter, Paul is going to give us some handles on what it means to live the resurrection life.  In gratitude for God’s saving grace that He lavished upon you when you acknowledged that you were living a dead-end life, relationships messed up, chasing after happiness that did not satisfy, and then believed the good news of the Message, the gospel that Jesus will change your life, you made a commitment to be Jesus’s disciple and then you asked God to accept your faith, in gratitude, there is a new way you are to live your life (1 John 3:1-3).  Everyone who asks God to save them, having acknowledged the need, believed that Jesus met that need, and committed to following Jesus, is expected to live the resurrection life.  Let's see what that entails.

 If you have never asked God to save you, ask God to reveal to you His truth.  When He does there is only one response and you will know in your heart what to do.  If you decide that everything you need is to be found in God, let me know.  I want to welcome you into the Kingdom that will never end.

 For those who call themselves Christian, those living the resurrection life, Paul writes:

 Colossians  3:5-9 (MSG)

And that means killing off everything connected with that way of death: sexual promiscuity, impurity, lust, doing whatever you feel like whenever you feel like it, and grabbing whatever attracts your fancy. That's a life shaped by things and feelings instead of by God. It's because of this kind of thing that God is about to explode in anger. It wasn't long ago that you were doing all that stuff and not knowing any better. But you know better now, so make sure it's all gone for good: bad temper, irritability, meanness, profanity, dirty talk.

 9 Don't lie to one another. You're done with that old life. It's like a filthy set of ill-fitting clothes you've stripped off and put in the fire.

 The resurrection life makes you God’s ambassador.  As an ambassador of the Kingdom of God to this world, there is a code of conduct.  There are ethical demands that you agree to adhere to when you bent your knee in faith to the Savor of your life.  The Gnostics taught that once saved it doesn’t matter what you do with your body, what you do in the material world, if you have the secret knowledge then your spiritual eternity is set.  The Judaizes taught:  perform the rituals and keep the Law and you will be saved, it doesn’t matter what kind of person you are inside.  Paul teaches that what you do matters.  Who you are, manifests in the things you do. 

 We most likely are going to step on some cultural toes.  If you get stepped on, if the Holy Spirit shines a light on some error in behavior, it is an invitation to change.  Misbehavior doesn’t make you a bad person, but rationalizing the behavior, blaming it on others, refusing to change, destroys your testimony and can eventually disqualify you from the benefits of being a child of God (1 Corinthians 9:27) There are a whole host of negative consequences that act as warnings from God that you are on the wrong path. 

 The misbehavior Paul highlights include sexual promiscuity, impurity, lust, bad temper, irritability, meanness, profanity, dirty talk, and lying.  There are bunches more behaviors that are inconsistent with discipleship that can be summarized as “doing whatever you feel like.”  It would not be too farfetched to assume that these are some of the behaviors occurring within the congregation.  Let’s consider what these things are and then how you go kill them off.

 Sexual promiscuity: sexual intercourse, et.al., outside the ordained bounds of the marriage of one man and one woman.  Few things are more controversial than your sexual behavior in the eyes of God.  [1 Corinthians 6:9; 7:2; Leviticus 18:8-23; Matthew 5:28] The resurrection life is a call to fidelity.

 Impurity: virtues and vices are mixed in one's thoughts and deeds.  The Apostle James asks, “Can both fresh water and saltwater flow from the same spring” (James 3:11)?  The answer of course is no.  The resurrection life is a call to purity.

 Lust:  consumed by desire, most often sexual (Matthew 5:28), but one can lust for anything and you are determined to obtain it no matter what.  Almost synonymous with lust is coveting.  (Deuteronomy 5:21)  To covet something means to crave something so much that you are compelled to take it for yourself.  The resurrection life is a call to contentment.

 Bad temper:  persistent anger, a short fuse, like a volcano that suddenly explodes.  The resurrection life is a call to be slow to anger (James 1:19-20; Proverbs 15:18)

 Irritability: not taking things in stride, always annoyed, holding on to grievances. The resurrection life is a call to longsuffering.

 Meanness: being spiteful, cruel, unkind, in attitude and action. The resurrection life is a call to being kind (Ephesians 4:32)

 Profanity:  making the sacred, secular, calling what is good evil, being disrespectful.  Profanity is the attempt to use God to get what you want (Exodus 20:7).  The resurrection life is a call to be a giver of blessing.

 Dirty talk:  speaking obscenities, vulgar words (Proverbs 4:24; James 1:26).  One of the sad situations in our day is that people are so habituated to using foul language they don’t even realize that they are.  The resurrection life is a call to speaking the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15, 25; 5:4)

 Lying: hiding the truth, the lack of integrity and honesty (Exodus 20:16.  If it is not true, not necessary, or not kind, don’t say it.  The resurrection life is a call to trustworthiness (Proverbs 12:22).

 “It wasn't long ago that you were doing all that stuff and not knowing any better” (Colossians 3:7).  Paul urges us to kill the old ways.  The old ways are all consist of egoism’s insatiable hunger for self-gratification. 

 The world offers happiness to you in every way imaginable.  If you win the lotto you’ll be happy, if you marry the right person you will be happy, if you drive the right car you’ll be happy, and on and on the promises go.  This salary will make you happy, this address will make you happy, shopping here will make you happy.  Please, happiness is an inside job, can’t find it in externals.  But happiness is what the world promises.  It is an empty promise that leaves you empty.  You get the dopamine high and it feels great, but the newness and novelty wear off quickly, and the happiness you thought would carry you deserts you. 

The way you kill off the old ways involves identification and replacement and a whole lot of Holy Spirit empowerment, time, and hard work.   Identification is naming the old way that has to be killed off.  You need to confess to yourself and God what old way has become a stumbling block.  You need to be very specific. 

 Once you have specified the old way pray for deliverance.  I have heard the testimony of instantaneous deliverance.  God takes away the habit, the attachment, the addiction, and even the desire in a moment.  It’s glorious.  Pray for deliverance.  In my own life, I have not been so blessed, old ways die hard for me.  So along with prayers for deliverance, forgiveness, and for power to overcome the old way, self-denial is required: continually saying no to the old way.  Sometimes, continually saying no requires a spiritual confidant, someone who will lovingly hold you accountable, someone who will pray for you and encourage you.  Like what an AA sponsor does for a person seeking to overcome alcoholism.  You may also need to be more public in your pursuit of deliverance by becoming an active member is a support group.  Celebrate Recovery is a program that offers such kind of support.  Speak with Mike Pratt for a referral, he’s got a good one, sponsored by Sea Coast Grace in Cypress. 

 To kill an old way off that is inconsistent with discipleship you need to identify the issue. Pray for deliverance, do the hard work of self-denial, accountability, and give yourself time, yes deliverance can happen in a moment, then again, getting free can take time. It can be a war with battle after battle. So don’t put a time limit expectation on this killing off of the old way.  Keep working the plan.

 One additional thing you will need to do.  When you kill off an old way, it creates a vacuum, and nature just loves to fill vacuums.  Best you fill the void with something positive.  You most likely will need a replacement behavior that when tempted by the old way, you go to the new way instead.  Maybe you replace being overly stressed with some sort of exercise.  Maybe you replace entertaining yourself with porn by picking up your Bible and reading scripture.  Maybe you work too much, too many hours at the job, so you replace those excessive hours with a hobby.  Trade a shopping problem with a service venture.  Replace gossip with prayer.  Too much Streaming, TikTok, Instagram, watching sports, then why not replace it with the practice of the 7 habits of a disciple?  Fill the vacuum left behind by a dead old way with a life-giving new way. Get in step and stay in step with the Spirit.

 Galatians 5:16 (MSG)

 Live freely, animated, and motivated by God's Spirit. Then you won't feed the compulsions of selfishness.

 The old ways, doing “whatever you feel like whenever you feel like it, and grabbing whatever attracts your fancy,” Paul likens to “a filthy set of ill-fitting clothes you've stripped off and put in the fire.”  Suppose you are moving from an old house to a new one cross country.  Movers are charging $8 a pound to cart your stuff.  As you are packing up you find a closet in the basement.  Maybe an eclipse of moths escapes the confines of the closet when you open that creaking door. Because it’s dark and damp you can smell the mold and mildew emanating from old clothes, your old clothes.  They are rotting on their hangers.  Wow, you recognize Gucci, Prada, Armani, apparel from Bloomingdales, Saks, you loved that stuff back in the day.  Now they are out of style and rotting on their hangers.  What are you going to do with them?   

 Do you have a spiritual basement closet?  A dark place where filthy spiritual rags, double-mindedness, half-heartedness, or secret rebellion dwell.  Molding away in your soul is there some kind of moral corruption like the things Paul has written of: sexual promiscuity, impurity, lust, bad temper, irritability, meanness, profanity, dirty talk, or lying?  Is a part of your soul mildewing with guilt, shame, regret or unforgiveness, or self-rejection?  What are you going to do with them?

 Because of the atonement, Jesus made for you, every sin can be forgiven (1 John 1:9).  You drag it out of the darkness into the light through confession. You kill it through repentance, in some cases by making restitution.  Often you need to confess to a spiritual mentor, to hold you accountable for a change, but also to hear from another human being that you are forgiven.  In this, you will find healing and in the healing freedom.

 In this teaching, we’ve examined some typical human vices that are inconsistent with following Jesus.  These vices are rags of the old way of life you wore.  Once God has accepted your faith, you have the power to take off those old ways and burn them, get rid of them forever.  Now you can put on the virtues of Christ (Revelation 6:11), your new clothes of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Gal 5:22-23 (NLT).

 You get dressed from the inside out.  We’re talking about a change of heart (Ezekiel 36:26).  When you appear in public, people will see your style is patient and kind. There is not a stitch of jealousy or boasting or pride or rudeness. Respect for others, forgiving others and being congenial to others always make you fashionable.   Your tailored new clothes don’t demand others to do what you want while standing up for justice and truth.  Where ever you are you’re always going to be chic. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).

 Take this to heart.  Once you have bent your knee to God, there is work to be done.  At the moment when your faith became life, God declared you to be righteous.  In the courts of heaven, you were identified as one of His own.  Righteous means rightly related, like Jesus is rightly related to the One He called Father.  You are declared holy.  That declaration makes it true of you.  With that declaration comes the power to become the person you have been declared to be.  Legally you are made right.  Morally the work begins.  You partner with the Holy Spirit to be the person God declared you to be.

 2 Corinthians 3:18 (NLT)

And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like Him as we are changed into his glorious image.

 We have a name for this partnership of empowerment.  It’s called sanctifying grace.  There is a grace gift that declared us to be righteous, and there is a grace gift that empowers us to grow deep, grow up, and grow fruit, to become like Jesus.

 If you are not changing, not growing, and are not becoming more like Jesus, you need to ask yourself why.  A good place to start your inquiry is with any old ways of doing life that you have dragged into your new life with Christ.  Find that old way and kill it.  Replace the old rag with something that keeps you in step with the Holy Spirit.

You look marvelous in love.

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