Summary: A sermon based on Colossians 3:5-10 challengeing personal agendas. (Preached as a very first sermon at the commencement of a new church ministry).
Barbarians, Sythians, and other dead People
Personal Intro –
Thank you for the welcome my family and I have received from many of you. I have had opportunity to meet a lot of people and learn names. That will take some time and I thank you for your patience as we get to know each other.
According to a middle-eastern fable, a merchant from Baghdad once asked his servant to run an errand. While at the markets, the servant went around a corner and saw ‘Lady Death’. She terrified him so much that he returned to his master in a great rush. “I am terrified,” said the servant. “I want to take the fastest horse and ride towards Samarra.”
Seeing how absolutely terrified his servant was, the master granted the request.
Later that afternoon, the merchant visited the markets himself and he too met Lady Death. He asked, “Why do you startle my servant?”
Lady Death answered, Frankly, it was I who was startled. I couldn’t understand why your servant was in Baghdad, because I have an appointment with him tonight in Samarra.”
When considering a topic for my very first sermon at Stafford Heights Baptist Church I thought, “well what should I do.” I mean the obvious thing to do in some instances is to do something testimonial. Take a scripture that reflects my journey with God and preach on that so you get a chance to know me better. But I’ve got to tell you that as I have commenced in my role here in the Youth/Young Adults and Discipleship portfolios of SHBC, I have been praying that God would give me a vision. I have been seeking him to try and determine just what it is that He wants to achieve through me in the life of this church over the next 6 months. Perhaps I may be here longer, but the compelling issue for me at the moment is the impending 6 months and what God wants to do in that time. So as I’ve been praying and as I’ve been observing in my first 3 weeks in the church I came to the conclusion that death would be the perfect topic. Not death as the middle eastern fable portrays, another death – one that as Christians I think we struggle with, more than physical death. And it is something that I think it is vital for us to grasp as the church is at a pivotal point at this time. I really believe that. Without knowing too much history of what has gone on here in the past I have enough of a sense that this is a time where the Stafford Heights Baptist Church is standing at the crossroads. What is this death I am talking about?
Colossians 3:5Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.7You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.
There is a call for us to put to death the things of the flesh, the things of the earthly nature. Inward sins and outwards sins. Sins of the flesh and sins of the heart. It is not very often that we see the sexual sins and lusts in the life of the church, most times these are hidden in peoples hearts but occasionally the church must deal with these things publicly. I am not wanting to dismiss these sins but rather to highlight the fact that the sins we often see as not as bad are listed in the same category as these hidden sins. Anger, rage, malice slander, hurtful language, lies. To this we can add gossip and others. Sin is crippling for us as individuals and crippling for us as a church. Why do we struggle to put to death these sins so often? One reason is the fact that the church is made up of a real mixed bunch of people. People who ordinarily would not get together. I had the privilege of my first youth group experience on Friday night, and I’ve got to tell you they are one of the most rag-tag, odd, unusual groups of people I’ve seen in a while - and that’s just the leader’s I’m talking about! But it is true, we have young and old, employed and unemployed, dark skin and light skin, there are numerous differences and sometimes those differences really get on our nerves.