21 November 2011

Put To Death What Is Earthly In You (Part 1)




Col 3:5-11

There’s a story about Raynald III, a fourteenth-century duke in what is now Belgium. Grossly overweight, Raynald was commonly called by his Latin nickname, Crassus, which means “fat.” After a violent quarrel, Raynald’s younger brother Edward led a successful revolt against him. Edward captured Raynald but did not kill him. Instead, he built a room around Raynald in the castle and promised him he could regain his title and property as soon as he was able to leave the room. This would not have been difficult for most people since the room had several windows and a door of normal size, and none of the windows or the door was locked or barred. The problem was Raynald’s size. To regain his freedom, he needed to lose weight. But Edward knew his older brother, and each day he sent a variety of delicious foods. Instead of dieting his way out of prison, Raynald grew fatter. When Duke Edward was accused of cruelty, he had a ready answer: “My brother is not a prisoner. He may leave when he so wills.” .....History tells us that Raynald stayed in that room for ten years and wasn’t released until after Edward died in battle. By then his health was so ruined he died within a year. . . a prisoner of his own appetite.

This may sound comical, but it's a sad reminder to the reality of so many people today....they love their sin so much they are clueless to the tragic outcome that lies ahead, a world that is blinded by the sin that binds their hands in Hell! Steve Farrar sums up the terrible price of sin "Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you're willing to pay.” Church family sin is so powerful ...it has the power to destroy families, marriages, churches and many nations. This is why it’s important to understand the truth that Paul is telling us in the letter! The world wants to suck you back in...but Christ is sanctifying you not to! [like a tug of war].....because of His finishing work on the cross, the genuine Christian has freedom and victory over the tug of war of sin! “knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.” Rom 6:6.

This doesn’t mean we are exempt from the temptation or the reality of sin in our lives ...Positionally we are no longer slaves to sin according to Romans chapter six; but this must be worked out in the believer’s practical living from the point of conversion. As John MacArthur said “there can be no holiness or maturity in a life where sin runs unchecked.” and Paul gives a pretty clear in your face detailed list of things that should be dead or not evident in the life of the believer! From the point of your conversion in Christ these are the things that should not be evident in your life! Look at what Paul writes in (v5) He’s opening sentence is giving us an understanding to the importance of what’s about to be said.......“put off” this literally means “kill” or “to put to death” some translations say “consider the members of your earthly body as dead...”We are to kill [put to death] the sin..... by bringing ourselves under submission to the Spirit-filled new character found in the Gospel. Jesus spoke very clearly on this issue [meaning sin] “If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. Matt 5:29-30. This doesn’t mean we literally start cutting parts from bodies! Thinking that this will stop the sin! Centuries ago in England if a Pick-pocket was caught and convicted, his or her right hand was cut off. If that person was caught again, their left hand would suffer the same fate. There was once a pickpocket who lost both hands and continued his occupation with his teeth! Physical dismemberment cannot change the heart! Sin pierces the heart as Jesus and Paul says here in this portion of scripture! We are to discard evil practices as literally cutting them off from our lives. BUT! Realizing, the battle of sin is common for all believers! As Paul wrote chapter 7 to the Roman believers, “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.” Rom 7:24-25. Sin is a continuous battle we all face on a day by day....minute by minute basis....but we don’t need to feel defeated! Why? Paul knew where his life was hidden.....were he found grace, peace and victory! This why he started with the word “therefore” referring to what was previously said in (v1-v4) Therefore since you have been purchased...declared righteous and set apart by the Gospel we are to cut the ties of our sinful patterns that we formally lived according to (v5-v11). Paul groups these sinful practices into THREE CATEGORIES!

THE FIRST CATAGORY (V5) – SINS OF A SEXUAL NATURE:

1. Sexual immorality – Greek word “porneia” from which we get the English word “pornography”. Every kind of sexual sin, prostitution; images; any sexual relations whither visual or physical!

2. Impurity – indecent- explicit imagination, speech, a deed of a sensual heart or filthy mind

3. Lust - unrestrained appetite for sexual things; passion that makes you do foolish things...e.g. internet, adult magazines, night clubs and so on.....

4. Evil desires - desire for something that is forbidden to you, self serving and self satisfying or a gluttonous lust. A prime example of this nature is found in Paul’s letter to the Romans! “For this reason God gave them up to dishonourable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.” Rom 1:26-28

5. Greed - the desire to have more, but it is almost always used in connection with someone in a position of power using their position to get sex from someone. Boss/ co-worker etc. And all of these were IDOLATROUS, which would have been a big deal for the hearers because all Christians – whether from a Jewish background or Gentile – knew that God has no toleration for idolatry! Remember when you’re fulfilling the desires of your flesh....what you’re ultimately doing is.... committing idolatry on the very One [the Saviour] who told you and me to put these things to death [to kill it]! Why? As John MacArthur said .....”When people sin, it is at its basis their doing what they desire. Rather than what God desires. That is, in essence, to worship themselves instead of God, and that is idolatry.”

The Apostle Paul is telling the church that we must kill these passions of the flesh that world so desperately want you to embrace with open arms! This is a command not a request! Why do I say that....but what we read in (v6-v7) Paul wrote these sobering words  in Rom 2:5 “But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God's righteous judgment will be revealed.”

THE SECOND CATAGORY (V8-V9) COMES TO THE SINS OF ANGER:

Paul says “Put off” instead of put to death! It’s like taking off your dirty cloths at the end of a busy or hard day at work! We are to discard the filthy, tattered rags of their old life! What are we to discard....?

• Anger – literally wrath, but a wrath that has the intent of bringing public judgment on others or a resentful bitterness that has an unsettled heart of an anger person.

• Rage – a quick temper; responding badly, unexpectedly...sudden outburst of anger......There is no place for this in the life of Christian! James wrote we are to be “slow to anger...for the anger of a man does not achieve righteousness of God.” James 1:19-20

• Malice – spitefulness; being ill-willed toward someone; doing what you can to hurt them...unkind words!

• Slander – slandering someone; wilfully destroying their character...talking about person or persons behind their back with someone else.

• Filthy language – abusive speech; made up word that means “filthy talk.” It is the kind of talk that leads to filthy action against someone

• Do not lie – don’t lie; literally, “STOP lying” What is Paul saying!.......When a believer lies they are imitating Satan [the father of lies] , and not their Heavenly Father!

AND FINALLY THE THIRD CATAGORY THE SINS OF DISCRIMINATION (V11)

• Greek or Jew: both thought everyone else was a different race of people and both looked down their noses at all of the people that were clearly of a different race.

• Circumcised or uncircumcised: the distinction that was the most obvious between these two groups

• Barbarian: the Greek name for everyone that didn’t speak Greek.

• Scythian: the rowdiest, smelliest, most dangerous of hillbilly types

• Slave: 1/3 of all people were slaves/ freedom was what all slaves wanted and could earn through years of hard labor and favor from their masters

• Free: many freed slaves looked down their noses at slaves hoping to earn their freedom.

You have a new life in Christ, so live like it! Pursue God and LIVE DIFFERENT! Christ Jesus came to sinners.....wretched lost people! NOT good people. No one is good in this room, outside this room.... apart from Christ and His sustaining grace found in the Gospel. Christ knows you are going to fail on your own. Christ knows the power of sin over His creation. Christ knows the battle you're going to face each and every day....That’s why He went to the cross to save the perishing....to save the dying! We are full in Him and we are to put to death the flesh that wants to continue in the passions before you were saved. The chains have been broken....we can put these things to death by kicking it to the curb!

As Paul writes we are to put on the “new man” who is renewed! “Renewed” describes a new quality of that never before existed...just as a baby is born complete but immature without understanding. We are new [born again] babies who are capable of growing in the knowledge of Him as He conforms us more and more into the image of His blessed Son (v10). But in order to grow we have to put to death the passions and the desires of our old nature! As Peter said as new born babies desiring the pure milk of the word!

So how do we have victory over these kinds of sins that plague our fleshly desires? The simple answer to that question is..........Stop feeding it....starve it to death and you can leave those prison walls! Do not feed anger or resentment....do not cater to sexual lust or covetousness...When you discard something you need to fill it with something else! So Fill or saturate your life in the living water found in the Word of God! As Paul said “......whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Phil 4:8. Put to death those things that lead to death and eternal torment and embrace the truth found in forgiving blood of Jesus Christ! My only question for you this morning is and it ties in with last week! Are you still embracing the things that lead to His righteous wrath? Or are you embraced the unlimited grace that flows from Emmanuel’s veins Put to death this world and begin living for Him as a new creation found in the Gospel that saves to the uttermost! SDG

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