Summary: Paul calls us to allow Christ to nail down the lose parts of our life so we can be more effective for Jesus
Nailing Down the Christian Life
April 29, 2007
This message was adapted from materials in SpringLife disrtibuted by Wesleyan Church World Headquarters
Soon after Augustine’s conversion, he was walking down the street in Milan, Italy. There he accosted a prostitute whom he had known most intimately. She called but he would not answer. He kept right on walking. "Augustine," she called again. "It is I!" Without slowing down, but with assurance of Christ in his heart, he testified, "Yes, but it is no longer I."
You will never experience victory over the power of sin until you resist it. You will never find freedom until you resist the temptations that you face.
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.
Recap from last week
Paul described what had already been accomplished for the believer.
• Saved: Our salvation has been done through the work of Christ
• You died: When we accepted Christ we took an active part in the crucifixion
• You are raised: We have been given new life
Paul now describes those things that can be ours but are part of our choice
• Mature: Done through your will and the power of the Holy Spirit
• Put to death: The behaviors of the old life have to die
• Put off and put on: The new way of living
The fact that we have already died with Christ makes us examine our lives in a different light. The old life is gone with all of it’s problems and passions. The new life we have flows out of the death and resurrection of Jesus. If this is the case, the beghaviors of the old life must also be put to death.
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Galatians 5:24
This is where our choice comes into play. The work of salvation was already done and so our participation in the death and resurrection of Jesus was a matter of acceptance. The pursuit of maturity is a matter of will and obedience.
The earthly nature that Paul mentions here must die within us. Just as we have been crucified spiritually we must also crucify the patterns of our old life. Each area that we struggle with needs to be surrendered over to Christ. The moment you give those struggles over to Christ, those issues are nailed to the cross. Our biggest problem in living for Christ is that we never “nail down” the old life to the cross.
What does Paul want us to put to death?
Sexual imorality The Greek word here is porneia, which is where we get our word pornography. This referes to any illicit sexual behavior. It also refers to not only those who participate but also those who act as an audience. The ancient wolrd had incredibly loose morals, especially in the area of sexuality. Not that much different from today. Loose sexuality has become the norm.
Pornography is one of the biggest struggles for Christian men. Why?
1.) It is easily kept hidden
2.) It is easily accessible
3.) It has become an accepted matter in society
Impurity: Being morally unclean. This is not usually a sexual act but having a perverse attitude toward sexuality. This could include crudeness or insensitivity toward sexual matters
Lust: Evil passion that leads to sexual immorality. It may begin with something that seems innocent, like looking too long at someone of the opposite sex. Lust invades the thought life and shannels your way of thinking toward sexual behavior. Paul makes it clear that thoughts are the basis for our lifestyle.
Evil Desire: Nothing more than wanting that which is evil to satisfy our desires. our human nature is corrupted by sin and has fallen from where God wants us to be. Our nature wants evil things. These evil desires will take control of a person’s life
Greed (which is idolatry): Greed is nothing more than a relentless urge for more. It is never being satisifed with what you already possess. This is a personal longing to satisy our desires. Greed is desiring something to the point of unhealthy obsession. It is allowing that desire to control your life.