"RAISED TO PUT OFF FILTHY RAGS"
(A Series in Colossians)
Westgate Chapel 9/9/93 a.m. Colossians 3:5-11
PROPOSITION: The resurrection principle at work in the life of every born again believer provides the power of the Holy Spirit within to put off those characteristics of the old self life that have been crucified with Christ and will bring the wrath of God.
- YOU and I are living in the post-Christian period of the history of America.
* GOD is dead.
* THE Bible is a myth.
* THE Church has no relevance.
* MAN is basically good.
* WE are our own masters, answerable to no one for our actions.
* EDUCATION is the answer to all of the evils of society.
* AND sin is simply the result of a bad environment.
- AND in this prevailing philosophy of life no one is responsible for their actions. Since man is basically good, then there is a logical explanation for all of his problems.
* Riots and civil disobedience are the result of an oppressive society.
* When Dan White gunned down the mayor of San Francisco, he blamed an addiction to junk food that made him crazy.
* A judge recently charged with threatening a former girl friend says that he was a victim of a sexual addiction.
- PEOPLE are lined up in America to blame their deviant behavior on everything from MTV to Vietnam, to their diet, to their parents. They are helpless, they say....innocent victims of their environment.
- IT is nothing new. Adam tried that defense when God asked him why he had sinned in the garden. He said,
"That woman you put here with me...she gave me some fruit from the tree and I ate it." (Genesis 3:12)
- I AM not minimizing the role our environment plays in predisposing us to certain kinds of behavior.....but the Bible allows no excuses for sin nor does it provide any escape from personal responsibility for our actions.
- EZEKIEL 18 describes a hypothetical series of generations who alternately chose a lifestyle of sin and righteousness.....no generation being allowed to blame the other.
- AND in verse 20 Ezekiel writes,
"The soul who sins is the one who will die.The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous man will be credited to him, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against him."
- IT was precisely because you and I are responsible for our actions, and will face the judgment seat of God without excuse, that God sent His Son as a substitute to die in our place for our sins.
- SO this popular philosophy of the world runs 180 degrees in opposition to the Gospel of Christ.
- WHEN you make sin a sickness....with someone else to blame then you have effectively removed the need for repentance and forgiveness. And the cross of Christ is a waste of effort on God’s part.
- THE Colossians lived in a world very much like ours.
* The influence of the Greek philosophers, like Aristotle, was that man was basically good and with enlightenment could solve all of his problems.
* Life was cheap. Children were disposable.
* Crime was unchecked.
* People lived to please themselves.
* Morality was viewed as an unnecessary and restrictive burden on society.
- SO Paul, in Colossians 3, spells out some of the ramifications of being raised with Christ.
- AND in verse 1 he says,
"Since then you have been raised with Christ....."
- AND what follows in the chapter are some practical results of living in resurrection power.
- AND what it means to be raised with Christ is….
* …Death no longer has dominion over you.....when you die that resurrection principle goes to work instantly and you are ushered into the presence of the Lord to live with Him for all eternity.
* …The penalty of sin has been removed from your life.....the resurrection principle has canceled the debt that you would have had to pay for your sin. And the price would have been eternal death and torment for you.
* …The death of your old sinful nature severed the link that you had with this world order. The resurrection power of Jesus in you established the link with the new heavenly order.
* …The power of sin over your life now has been broken.....the resurrection principle releases you from the tyranny of sin and you are free to live righteously in the power of the Holy Spirit.
* …The purposelessness of life has been canceled...the resurrection principle has brought you into the kingdom of God and you now live for Him and spend your life on things that are eternal.
* …The hopelessness of life on earth has been replaced by a guarantee of eternal life...regardless of your circumstances because of the resurrection principle of Jesus at work in you.
- THAT is why Paul says in Colossians 3:1,
"Since then you have been raised with Christ....."
ii. put to death what belongs to the flesh
- BECAUSE you have this resurrection power at work in you there are certain things that have to do with your old life that must be reckoned as dead.
- DEATH and LIFE cannot coexist. They are as opposite as you can get.
- LET'S read verse 5,
"Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature….”
- THAT is, because that is not who you are any more. You are no longer defined by your earthly nature when you are raised with Christ.
- THEN Paul gives you a list of what is to be put to death.
“…sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry."
- SINCE you are living in resurrection power, and are a new creature in Christ Jesus.....
- SINCE the old has passed away and the new has come, when you accepted Jesus.....
- THEN put to death those things that have death all over them because they are not who you are now.
- AND because the resurrection power of God is at work in you and sin’s power over you is broken....then make a clean break with those things that have death all over them.
- SEXUAL IMMORALITY
- THIS phrase comes from the Greek word porneia which literally means "harlot for hire."
- BUT the basic understanding of this word is broader than prostitution and includes all forms of sexual activity outside of God's prescribed sanctuary of a monogamous marriage relationship.
- ADULTERY can be included in this word.
- HOMOSEXUALITY can be included.
- IN fact the word, porneia, is the basis of our English word, pornography. And that would certainly fit with Jesus' own injunction against looking at a woman with sex in mind.
- I HEARD a statistic last week that 70% of girls graduating from high school have been sexually active.....and it is starting as young as 11 and 12 years of age.
- WE have a sexual epidemic that is being fed by the media and the entertainment industry.
- WHEN we sell blue jeans or toothpaste we use sex to sell the products.
- YOU cannot watch one evening of TV in your home without viewing multiple sexual encounters of the immoral and base kind.
- WE are slowly hollowing out our very soul.
- EVERY time you give yourself away sexually you give an emotional and spiritual part of yourself to your partner that you are never able to retrieve (Dr. Anchell...a non-Christian physician and psychiatrist.)
- THEREFORE the more sexual partners that you have the more emotionally and spiritually bankrupt you will become.....not to mention the epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases out there.
- GOD created the gift of sex to be enjoyed in the context of marriage where the gift you give your partner is kept in safe keeping for the duration of your life together.
- SATAN has used sex down through the ages to bruise the heel of whole populations (Dean Sherman on the disease riddled masses of Canaanite peoples that God ordered destroyed.)
- ILLICIT sex is so enticing and so exciting and so gratifying and so destructive....that Paul says that since we live in resurrection power we are to put it to death.
- THIS word, impurity, is also usually connected with sexual sin in the Bible.
- THE word, impurity, covers those things that are unnatural sexual perversions.....from homosexuality to sado-masochism and bestiality.
- THIS is the ultimate demonic purpose behind all pornography, from Playboy to the hard stuff.....and there are more testimonials than Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahlmer that their lust for murder started with pornography.
- BUT the press does its best to silence those kinds of confessions because they make their profits on sexual exploitation.
- PAUL says, put these things to death in your life....be ruthless about it because there is a different principle working in you now.
- YOU are not facing these temptations on your own...you have the resurrection principle at work in you.
- LUST is that inner well-spring of passion that fuels all immoral actions.
- LUST will turn you into a slave of your passions, whatever they are.
- LUST is the process of the mind whereby you allow a tempting thought in and play with it...like the Tiger and the Python.
- THIS is just a personal conviction, but I believe that you can chart the temperature of your spiritual life by the number of hours a day or week you spend in front of a TV set or renting videos.
- I BELIEVE that TV is the number one thief of spiritual fire and love for God in the life of Christians in America.
- TV fuels your lust in so many ways.
- PAUL says, put lust to death...don't feed it....and the sooner the better.
- EVIL DESIRE
- EVIL desire is the heart being set on the wrong things.
* Wrong relationships, when God's Word says that we are not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers.
* Wrong goals, when they are focused totally on what you want instead of what God wants.
* Wrong possessions.
- PAUL says to put these desires to death.
- THIS is the drive of our selfishness to always want more.
- WHAT we have is never enough. We want more.
- IT makes us jealous of those around us and what they have.
- IT makes us grumblers and complainers because God has not given us more.
- THIS sin of it is that it is idolatry. We end up worshipping things and success and people.
- PAUL says to put it to death.
- LOOK at verse 6 with me,
"Because of these, the wrath of God is coming."
- THE verb in that verse is present tense. The wrath of God against these sins is not just some future judgment. Paul said that God's wrath is coming now against these sins.
- VERSE 7,
"You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived."
- BUT now you have been raised with Christ, so put these things to death.
iii.rid yourself of the bitter ways of the world
- LET'S go back to verse 1,
"Since, then, you have been raised with Christ...."
- VERSES 8&9,
"....you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices..."
- WE are back to the theme of how we are to live since we have been raised with Christ.
- PAUL changes metaphor from putting to death to being "rid of some things" and "taking off your old self."
- HERE is the list,
- ANGER - is a long lasting, slow burning attitude that refuses to be pacified and gives place to the devil (Ephesians 4:26-29).
- RAGE - is uncontrolled outburst that flash like a fire in a haystack and then go out and Proverbs says will bring ruin.
- MALICE - is the desire to bring injury to someone. It is deep-seated meanness or spitefulness that destroys fellowship.
- SLANDER - is a derogatory statement about another person that accuses and is abusive and unkind.
- FILTHY LANGUAGE - is all obscenity, dirty jokes, innuendo or suggestive language that reveals underlying impurity.
- LYING - is deliberate untruth, half-truth, or exaggeration.
- PAUL says that you have ceased to be what you were before when all of these activities were standard procedure.....so put them off now, like the dirty clothes of the Prodigal son, because they have nothing in common with who you are now.
- VERSES 9b-11,
".....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. Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all."
- DOESN'T verse 11 seem out of place?
- WHAT do Greeks, Jews, barbarians, or Scythians have to do with anger, rage, or slander?
- BECAUSE the list of sins in verses 8 and 9 attack the unity of the Church of Jesus.....and that is why they must be removed like you would a foul pollutant.
- PAUL says,
* HERE there is no Greek or Jew.....no racial division.
* HERE there is no circumcised or uncircumcised....no religious division.
* HERE there is no barbarian.....no cultural division.
* HERE there is no Scythian.....no national animosity or division, the Scythians had conquered this region some time back.
* HERE there is no slave or free...no economic or social division.
- BUT Christ is all, and is in all.
- AND all that anger, rage, malice, slander, filthy language, and lies do is divide what Jesus died to make one...His Church.
- SO get rid of it, says Paul.
- THESE things are sin.
- WE are responsible for them if we engage in them.
- THE wages of sin is death.
- GOD'S wrath is coming even now against these activities.
- THEY have death all over them and have no place in the life of the believer who has been raised with Christ.
- SO...put them to death.
- RID yourself of them.
- TAKE them off like old dirty rags.
- YOU have a different wardrobe that you have been given.
* The kiss of the Father's acceptance.....the removal of public shame by His public acceptance of you.
* The best robe...of distinction from your father's own wardrobe.
* The signet ring of authority....the weight of the whole family is behind you now.
* The sandals of a son are on your feet...a slave went barefoot.
- SO why allow those filthy rags to hang on your shoulders?
- GET rid of them by the power of the resurrection of Jesus within you today.