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Summary: As we continue in our series entitled The Liberated Life, based on the New Testament letter we call the Book of Colossians… we continue with the apostle Paul declaring Christ as the liberating new presence that reclaims and restores who we were meant to b

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Embodying A New Life

Series: The Liberated Life (Colossians)

Brad Bailey – May 24, 2009

Intro

An edition of Sports Illustrated a few years ago noted a tragic but telling story... It was the story of Rico Leroy Marshall, an eighteen-year-old senior at Forestville High School in Glenarden, Maryland. It seems that Rico had everything going his way -- a scholarship to the University of South Carolina, a first place award in the school’s talent contest, popularity among his peers. Rico was driving home from a school basketball game one Friday night when he was stopped by a county patrol car. On the seat beside him lay a bag containing several chunks of crack, a highly concentrated form of cocaine. To avoid arrest, he swallowed the drugs. Later that night he went into convulsions and his parents rushed him to the hospital. Early Saturday morning Rico Marshall died.

It was found that on the wall of Rico’s bedroom was a poster of his hero -- a basketball star named Len Bias. Len was the star of the University of Maryland basketball team who was drafted #1 in the NBA draft by the Boston Celtics. The night he was drafted, Len died of an overdose of cocaine. Rico’s model was Len Bias. He looked at that poster every day. In fact, if Rico was like most teenagers, that poster was the first thing he saw in the morning and the last thing he saw at night.

This morning… I believe God wants to ask us… ‘Whose on your wall?’ Who has your heart and mind? Because what we worship we become.

As we continue in our series entitled The Liberated Life, based on the New Testament letter we call the Book of Colossians… we continue with the apostle Paul declaring Christ as the liberating new presence that reclaims and restores who we were meant to be. He has been expounding upon how Christ is above and beyond all other powers… he is the supreme revealer of God… the supreme ruler of Creation… and redeemer of life. Now he brings this great truth to bear upon our own lives and liberation.

TEXT:

Colossians 3:1-11 (NIV) 1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. 5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

(Note: Scythian - a member of an ancient nomadic people inhabiting Scythia… considered the most uncivilized.)

Paul is declaring the great truth about Christ-centered spiritual formation.

It’s very important to grasp what is and is not being said. I think it has become common to hear these words in a way that gets skewed. Many of us may hear something of the following…

‘Change your behavior and you can be accepted. If you’re really a good religious person, get rid of every negative desire and drive within you… to prove you really are different.

After all…it’s as simple as changing clothes.’

As was engaged last week from previous section, Paul had just been challenging our need to guard against the emptiness of religious rules and regulations… so it’s vital we hear that which is dynamically different.

The church at Colossae had been visited by false teachers who tried to convince them that religious rules and regulations could change them. They tried to convince them that a strict life style would make them moral. But Paul wrote and explained that “such regulations … lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence." (Colossians 2:23) In other words, rules and regulations couldn’t change you. Rules and regulations can’t make you a better person.

Lets try something… ask each of us to take a moment and NOT think of a pink elephant….

> Not very effective. I think religion of morality can tend to work that way… we have desires that we are somehow simply to ignore. Being told that a desire is bad doesn’t do much to remove it.

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