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Change Your Clothes

Our Exalted Christ  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  30:23
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Those in Christ behave differentlyfrom teh way they did when they were in and of the world.

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Whether it is a High School athlete signing a letter of intent to attend a college or it is a college athlete being drafted into the pro’s, one symbol of that transition is new apparel – a new cap and or a new Jersey for all the press photos.
The idea is that a new team involves a new allegiance and that allegiance is demonstrated in a new appearance.
Last week’s text warned the believer to not be bound by the human extra-biblical expectations of others. Today’s Text reveals that some changes are beneficial, no! they are necessary, when one is identified in Christ.
Transition: The Scripture starts by describing 4 realities of the person in Christ.

Genuine Christians Reveal a Heavenly Identity (Col 3:1-4)

Colossians 3:1–4 ESV:2016
1 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Heavenly Power (v.1)

1. We are raised with and (in one sense) seated with Christ above.
2. Christ is seated in the position of authority and honor. Due to His submission to the Father’s will in all things, even death on a cross…
Philippians 2:9–11 (ESV) — Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
3. Because we are seat in this place of authority, our estimation of the things around us need to reflect that power.

Heavenly Perspective (v.2)

1. Because we are seated with Christ, that perspective needs to frame our thoughts, attitudes and actions.
Chase County has a fine tradition of producing scholar-athletes. In order for these young people to excel in their various roles they need to get “get their head right” for the circumstance. During 6th hour she will not excel if her mind is on the 3rd quarter of the game that evening. As the seconds tick off the clock under the stadium lights, he will not make the play if his mind is processing a geometry proof.
2. The student who succeeds is the one who focuses on the assignment in front of him. The athlete who succeeds is the one who plays with confidence.
3. This clip from a short film make 2 years before I was born illustrates this verse
Play 47 second clip from - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yx9xO98kcBU
Transition: The person in Christ thinks and acts in light of Heavenly Power that is secured by…

Heavenly Protection (v.3)

After the stock market crash of 1929, I’m told there was a run on banks causing many to lose trust that their deposits were secure.
In 1933 a federal agency was created, and a sign was posted at every insured bank and savings association as a symbol of confidence for depositors. Perhaps you have noticed this sign.
1. With the speed money is printed and has been distributed the last 10 weeks, I’m not sure that sign instills the same confidence it once did.
2. However, v.3 states that our confidence is not in our faith, our religious intentions, or our frail attempts. Our confidence is secured in the resurrection of Christ and our protection is hidden with Christ in God Himself.

Heavenly Promise (v.4)

1. The security of the believer and protection of our future is secured with a promise.
2. Notice how v.4 begins: It starts with when, not if.
I know that a lot of ink has been spilled describing the mortality rate of the current pandemic; causing anxiety as if people think that, apart from Covid, they will never die. Regardless of if this virus is listed as your C.O.D., or if cancer gets you, or if the medical examiner writes “ordinary causes”, eternity is a reality we must each admit.
3. The graves that you decorate tomorrow will one day give up their contents. Every single one of us will either be raptured or resurrected.
4. Those resurrected apart from Christ have a very dismal future awaiting. Those resurrected in Christ have, what is labeled on the side of our shed on the south side of the gym, “Hope for Tomorrow.”
Transition: With these Heavenly realities firmly established in our minds, Paul continues to describe things we must put off.

Genuine Christians Execute Earthly Aversions (Col 3:5-9)

Colossians 3:5–9 ESV:2016
5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices
Since we live on the frontier, I will not ask “If you have ever…” but “When was the last time you worked so hard in the heat that your own body odor was offensive even to yourself?”
You know what I’m talking about. When your dirty clothes stink so bad you don’t even want to put them in the hamper for fear they will contaminate the other dirty clothes. Those times when every pore of your body is screaming out for a cool shower and a bar of soap.
· This section of 5 verses calls us to honestly admit that there are certain thoughts and deeds that must be repelled because they are so putrid.

Time Lapse

1. Present command (v.5) because of future event (v.6)
2. Once walked (v.7) & have put off (v.9) contrasted to Now put away (v.8)
3. Change and transformation are not only possible, they are expected!
As I have counseled people in abuse situations and interacted with the advice these victims had received from other sources. I identified that those who advocate from a purely human perspective often get caught in dead end thinking. That person will never truly change and so your only reasonable choice is to get as far away from that person as possible.
Yet, most mature adults will admit that they have changed from previous stages of immaturity, foolishness or rebellion. e.g. “that was my _____ stage”
Change and transformation are not only possible, they are expected.
4. As long as I believe in the resurrection power of Jesus, I cannot deny deathbed conversions or jail cell testimonies.
Former slave-trader and author of the hymn Amazing Grace John Newton said, “I am not what I ought to be, I am not what I want to be, I am not what I hope to be in another world; but still I am not what I once used to be, and by the grace of God I am what I am”
Transition: The reason these past behaviors are so putrid is that they are indicators of…

Idolatry

1. The first list of 5 in v.5 contains behaviors and attitudes that are both sexual and selfish and can be considered sins of the mind.
2. We think these behaviors and attitude give more pleasure than God does.
· Cf. Romans 1:25 (ESV) — because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator...
3. The second list of 5 in v.8 contains sins that proceed from a mindset of superiority and can be considered sins of the mouth.
· Cf. Matthew 15:18 (ESV) — But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person.
· Anger is an attitude that leads to wrathful outbursts. Malice is a reservoir that erupts in slander and obscene talk.
Since this weekend is Memorial Day when we remember those who have died on the battlefield in defense of our freedom, I’m reminded of the phrase “cuss like a sailor” The very words that were once considered unfit for the company of women and children, are now used openly by women and children without a second thought.
4. The problem with this language is that it is an indication of an unrestrained heart. Paul writes that if you have a new heart, it ought to be evident by new behaviors and a new demeanor.
· Whenever I speak about passages like this that call us to think about our vocabulary, the most frequent response is “what about substitute words? What about OMG, or Jeez or shoot?”
· I can only say, “do those expressions come from a heart controlled by Christ or a heart influenced by the old self?”
Transition: Since we have a Heavenly citizenship, and since we have cast off the old man along with its stench of sexual misbehavior, selfish words and superiority thinking, We conclude with renewed concentration.

Genuine Christians Cultivate Christward Focus (Col 3:10-11)

Wrong Application – ranking of Believers

1. This is NOT saying one person is “more Christian” than another.
a. The tendency was to claim that Christians “like me” are better than Christians who are “different from me”.
b. Our country’s history has not always promoted this truth. And our society still needs plenty of improvement in this area.
The fact that I am white, male, American does not make be any more Christian than a female Nigerian or a male Canadian or a female Latina.
5 short months ago Dr. Lois Evans (the wife of Tony Evans) was taken to the presence of Jesus. Just 5 days ago Dr. Ravi Zacharias met Jesus face to face. Neither their race, denomination, gender, nor station in life had anything to do with their reception in Heaven. They were both, just as I am confident I (and hopefully you) will one day be, welcomed into the loving arms of Jesus based solely upon His grace toward repentant sinners.
2. This is NOT saying all Christians are the same.
a. You don’t lose your race when you accept Christ
b. You don’t lose your culture when you accept Christ
3. The four categories that equalize at the foot of the Cross:
· Racial – Children of Abraham or not
· Denominational – Did converts adopt Jewish traditions or not?
· Cultural – an “uncivilized” was considered barbarian, and the Scythians were the lowest barbarians.
· Economic – Employer or employee?
4. Notice that gender is not even mentioned in this list, although it is mentioned in a similar list in Gal 3:28. I know that when we read this list, many of us want to synthesize Scripture with Scripture and come up with a general principle about sameness that defines leadership in the church. Since this text doesn’t bring up gender, I’m going to leave that discussion to another message.
5. The key to a proper understanding of this verse is that Paul is talking about what it means to be in Christ, or to use the wording of verse 10, to have put on the new self. He is not discussing the roles we perform in His Church.
The butcher isn’t greatly concerned if the beast was a cow or a steer, a Hereford or an Angus. For his purpose all that matters is, “is this animal beef, pork or mutton?”
6. To be found in Christ it matters not if you are:
· Red, yellow, dark or light;
· If you are Presbyterian, Methodist, Lutheran, Catholic, Baptist or non-Denominational;
· If you know what fork to use at a banquet, or if you can figure out when to use who and when to use whom;
· It matters not if you work for the company or own it.

Right Focus – One Savior(v.11b)

1. These last 7 words of v.11 refer back to what was established in the first chapter:
Colossians 1:16–18 ESV:2016
16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.

Conclusion:

Somewhere between the conflict of race, class, and culture and the delusion of uniformity, we find a heavenly reality:
God is redeeming for Himself through Christ a new people from all nations of the earth as His inheritance as He exchanges this fallen world with a new Heaven and New earth for all eternity.
As we prepare for that Heavenly reality, now is the time for each of us to receive Christ, to take off the old man and put on the new.

Song of Response ......... “Take My Life

Benediction:

Psalm 19:14 ESV:2016
14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
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