Summary: When we focus on Jesus, it changes how we see every other part of our lives - ourselves, our future, our past, our attitudes and our relationships.
June 1, 2003 Colossians 3:4-11
Once we get our focus on Jesus and heavenly things – that’s the “Look up” part, it changes our perspective on every part of our lives. It’s time we took a second look at parts of our lives that we thought we had seen accurately before. We might be surprised at what we find.
1. Look inside. (vs. 5)
It can be scary and uncomfortable thing to look inside. Many of us have a false idea about our own righteousness and purity before God. But the closer that we get to God and the more that we let the light of His Word shine into our hearts, the more that we will see ourselves the way that He sees us. Paul was near the end of his life and closer to God than he had ever been before when he wrote these words: (1 Tim 1:15) …Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners--of whom I am the worst. If that’s what Paul saw within himself, what will we find when we look inside. Let’s take a look at what might be there. And as we go through these things, don’t try to fool yourself or others into thinking that you don’t have a problem with any of these things. Paul assumed that the Christians he was writing to were struggling with them. We are no better than they were.
The word that is translated “sexual immorality” is the Greek word “porneia”. It is used to speak of any form of sex outside the biblical standards for proper sexual expression. What does God say should be our relation to such practices? (Gal 5:19) The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity… (Eph 5:3) But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. (1 Th 4:3) It is God’s will that you should…avoid sexual immorality; (1 Cor 6:18-20) Flee from sexual immorality (just as Joseph did). Then He tells why. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.
Even in the sound of the word “porneia”, you can hear another word – pornography.
. Pornography is a $13 billion dollar a year industry....
. In 1999 web-site revenues [from pornography] were 1.2 billion
. There are 100,000 porn sites on the web - with an estimated 200
new sites everyday.
. Currently more than 50% of requests on search engines are for porn
. 10,160 porn movies were released in 1999 alone
. There are 450 porn magazines being published today
. There are more porn outlets today than there are McDonalds
. More than 300 million x-rated videos are distributed each year.
Chuck Colson has called Internet pornography “Spiritual Crack Cocaine,” because of how quickly people can become addicted to it and because of how destructive it is to the human soul.
“Impurity” here means “filthiness” or “uncleanness”. It deals with evil thoughts and intentions. It is “marked by a mind, that is filled with sensually suggestive thoughts that reads sex into even the most wholesome situations.” – Brian Bill (1 Th 4:7) For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. (Mat 5:8) Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. “Evil behavior begins with evil thoughts. Therefore the battle against all sin, especially sexual sin begins in the mind.” – John MacArthur
“Lust” speaks of a spirit that “seeks quick fulfillment and always wants more…it focuses only on the senses.” – Brian Bill. (Mark 7:21-22) For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, … adultery, [and] greed… (Mat 5:28) But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. A lustful person is a one who is controlled by feelings not rational thought and certainly not love. They act out on whatever their desire might be, and the fulfillment of that desire becomes their driving force.
Desires are given to us by God are therefore good. They become evil when we allow them to be “motivated by sinful nature and executed for evil ends.” – MacArthur Desires that are acted out for the wrong reasons and in the wrong context are evil desires.
The word for greed is “pleovexia”. It comes from two words – “pleon” meaning “more” and “echo” which means “to have”. Greed is the insatiable desire to have more. It is the idea that what someone else has or what is forbidden for you to have is better than what you have right now. (James 4:2) You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. People who get involved in pornography or immorality do so because of greed – a dissatisfaction with what God has given them right now and an impatience for God to meet their needs in his timing and His way. In going beyond God’s boundaries for sexual expression, they think that their needs will be met. But the more times that they go into that forbidden territory, they begin to discover that what once satisfied their curiosity and their desires no longer does. They find it necessary to go deeper and deeper because they need greater thrills to satisfy their greed.