Getting A New Wardrobe
Text: Col. 3:5-11
1. Illustration: Ten months ago, I had a life changing even; I had bariatric surgery. As of today I have lost 133 lbs. As a result, I have had to have an entirely new wardrobe (several times). I can't wear the clothes I used to wear, and so I needed to get new ones.
2. This morning I want to use my weight loss as an illustration of what needs to happen when we become a Christian. Just as I can no longer wear the clothes I used to wear, we can no longer be the people we used to be either.
3. Paul tells us that the new life is about...
A. Slaying The Dragon
B. Losing The Attitude
C. Putting On The New Life
4. Would you stand with me this morning as we read from Col. 3:5-11.
Proposition: We need to take off our old life and put on our new one.
Transition: This morning I would like us to join King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, because a part of the new life involves...
I. Slaying The Dragon (5-6).
A. Put To Death
1. Illustration: Bruce Wilkinson, author of Prayer of Jabez, said:
Sexual immorality is a threshold sin. On one side of the threshold is immorality and on the other is purity. On one side are guilt, lying, deceit, addiction, and shame, an on the other side are freedom, honesty, transparency, liberty, and a clear conscience. Believers who are in bondage to immorality find that unless they experience victory in this area, they cannot grow in holiness or serve the Lord with passion and power (Victory Over Temptation).
2. Sexually immorality was a major problem in Paul's day. He dealt with extensively in his first letter to the Corinthians, and he deals with it here in Colossians. Sadly, it is also a major issue in the church today.
3. We would do well to head the words of Paul to the Colossian church, where he says, "So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world."
A. In principle the Colossians had, in becoming Christians, died with Christ. Now they are charged to make this death to the old life real in everyday practice.
B. The verb meaning literally "to make dead," is very strong. It suggests that we are not simply to suppress or control evil acts and attitudes. We are to wipe them out, completely exterminate the old way of life.
C. One commentator said, it's like a man who while working at a machine gets his fingers caught between rollers or caught in the belting. "Another minute and he will be flattened to a shapeless bloody mass. He picks up an axe lying by and with his own arm hacks off his own hand at the wrist.... It is not easy nor pleasant, but it is the only alternative to a horrible death" (Klien, The Expositor's Bible Commentary: Volume 11: Ephesians through Philemon, 211).
D. First in the list of things to put to death in our lives is sexual immorality. This refers to any form of illicit sexual relationship.
E. The term serves to spotlight forbidden sexual behavior between people or indirect participation as an audience. We derive our term "pornography" from this Greek word.
F. In contrast to the loose morals of the ancient Greek world, believers ought to show self-discipline and obedience to God in this area.
G. Next Paul deals with eliminating impurity. Moral uncleanness. Perhaps no sexual act has taken place, but the person exhibits a crudeness or insensitivity in sexual matters. This would include dirty jokes, sexual inuendo and suggestive posts on social media!
H. Although sometimes used of physical impurity, here has a moral connotation. Including uncleanness in thought, word, and act.
I. Then Paul deals with the concept of lust. Evil sexual passion that leads to excessive sexual immorality and perversion. In the NT, where it always has a bad sense, it means uncontrolled desire.
J. Matthew 5:27-28 (NLT2)
27 “You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery.’
28 But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
K. Next Paul talks about doing away with evil desires. Wanting something that is sinister and vile in order to satisfy one's desires.
L. Closely related to evil desires is greed. Relentless urge to get more for oneself.
M. In this context, Paul may have been focusing on greed for satisfying evil desires and for sexual immorality.
N. The greed is described as idolatry because its focus is on filling desires rather than on God (Barton, Life Application New Testament Commentary, 882).
4. Paul then gives reason for putting these things to death in v. 6, where he says, " Because of these sins, the anger of God is coming."
A. Some understand the "anger of God" as referring to a general principle in life - that is, we reap what we sow and can never escape the consequences of our sin.
B. It is better, however, to interpret Paul's term as meaning the end of time wrath of God.
C. "Is coming, may represent God's judgment upon sin as already on the way, but more likely it illustrates more vividly the certainty with which God's judgment will fall on those who practice these sins. (Klien, 212).
D. God does not reveal his wrath arbitrarily; his perfect moral nature will not permit sin and wickedness to go unpunished.
E. People may try to get around it, but there is punishment for evil for those who have not believed in Christ as Savior (Barton, 882).
B. Cut It Off
1. Illustration: How does a worm get inside an apple? Perhaps you think the worm burrows in from the outside. No, scientists have discovered that the worm comes from inside. But how does he get in there? Simple! An insect lays an egg in the apple blossom. Sometime later, the worm hatches in the heart of the apple, then eats his way out. Sin, like the worm, begins in the heart and works out through a person's thoughts, words, and actions (Heaven and Home Hour Radio Bulletin).
2. If there is something in your life that is keeping you from growing closer to God and living a life of holiness GET RID OF IT!!!
A. Matthew 5:29-30 (NLT2)
29 So if your eye—even your good eye—causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.
30 And if your hand—even your stronger hand—causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.
B. Going back to the illustration about the guy with his hand caught in the machine who decides to chop his own arm off to save his life. While this might sound like a gruesome idea, it is better to lose something, even something as vital as an arm, then to lose your entire life.
C. That's what Jesus is saying here. He is not advocating going out and ripping your eye out, but rather if something is causing you to fall into sin get rid of it!
D. It's better to go through life without something, even something good, if it is keeping you from God.
E. It's better to go without something if it's causing you to lust after a member of the opposite sex to whom you are not married.
F. It's better to go without something you want if it's causing you to be filled with greed.
G. It's better to do without someone if they are causing you to fall away from God.
H. Young people, if you are in a relationship with someone who is not a Christian, break it off! Your values as a believer are not in line with theirs, and not matter how much you think you love them, they will eventually lead you away from God.
I. If you are considering a relationship with someone the first question you should ask is, "are you a Christian?" If the answer is no, then they are not the one for you!
J. It's better to do without all of these things than to spend an eternity in hell!
Transition: In addition to slaying the dragon, getting a new wardrobe is about...
II. Losing The Attitude (7-9).
A. Get Rid Of
1. The first list of vices that Paul instructs the Colossians, and us, has to do with sexuality, but the second deals with the attitude of our hearts.
2. In vv. 7-8 Paul says, "You used to do these things when your life was still part of this world. 8 But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language."
A. The Colossian believers used to do the actions described above. They had been dead in their sins (2:13), but that all changed when they came to know Christ.
B. Because of their new life in Christ, the believers were to get rid of those things listed above and others listed below. "Get rid of" means to put off or disrobe.
C. The old, filthy clothes must be taken off before the new clothes can be put on.
D. The believer "removes" the old life of sin and "puts on" the new life of Christ.
E. The Colossian believers had experienced this; Paul asked that they act it out in their lives.
F. Not only did they need to deal with sexual immorality in all its variations, they also needed to deal with misused anger that often spilled over into evil speech.
G. Anger. A continuous attitude of hatred that remains bottled up within. This could refer to what is under the surface...Anger would destroy the harmony and unity Paul called for among the believers.
H. Rage. Outbursts of anger or quick temper for selfish reasons. This could mean continual and uncontrolled behavior.
I. Malicious behavior. Doing evil despite the good that has been received. This word is a general term referring to an evil force that destroys relationships. It can mean anything from trouble to wickedness. It is a deliberate attempt to harm another person. "I don't get mad, I get even!"
J. Slander. Destroying another person's good reputation by lies, gossip, spreading rumors, etc. Malice often manifests itself through slander.
K. Dirty language. Crude talk, abrasive language, expletives. Paul admonished the believers that such language must be caught and stopped before it escapes their mouths.
L. Foul language is the sign of a lazy mind! Just because it enters your mind doesn’t' mean it needs to cross your lips! This includes "alternatives," like "freaking," "crap," ect.
M. These behaviors have no place in any Christian or in any church. These are part of the "old life" before knowing Christ. Christians must resolutely "put off" these repulsive sins of anger and speech so that they can "put on" Christ's attitudes and actions (Barton, 882-883).
3. Another thing that Paul tells them to get rid of if lying. In v. 9, he says, "Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds."
A. Because Jesus Christ is "the truth" (John 14:6), believers ought to practice truth in all areas of life.
B. They should not lie to each other. Lying to others disrupts unity by destroying trust. It tears down relationships and may lead to serious conflict in a church.
C. Lying can take place in words said as well as words left unsaid. Believers should not exaggerate statistics, pass on rumors or gossip, or say things to build up their own image at others' expense.
D. Instead, because they have stripped off the old evil nature and all its wicked deeds, they should be committed to telling the truth (Barton, 883).
B. Heart Condition
1. Illustration: Anger is its own worst enemy. Some people criticize the Bible and reject it as a bunch of dos and don'ts. The Bible is a common sense book that is given for our good. Anger is one such example. It causes high blood pressure, sleeplessness, stomach problems, and headaches. Years ago I picked up a cartoon that illustrates this principle. In this cartoon Beetle Bailey steals Sarge’s candy bar. Sarge says: "I want to talk to you, Beetle." (As he talks, he kicks him in the seat of the pants.) Beetle says: "About what?" Sarge says: "You saw me buy a candy bar at the PX, didn't you?" (while continuing to kick him in the seat of his pants) Beetle says: "Yes."Sarge says: "Okay, where did you put it?" (while continuing to kick) Beetle says: "In my back pants pocket." If God wants you to control your anger it is because He has your best interest at heart. If God wants you to control your lust it is because He has your best interest at heart.
2. Controlling our anger is not merely a matter of self-control, it's a matter of the heart.
A. Luke 6:45 (NLT2)
45 A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.
B. The Christian life is all about transformation, change in heart, change in mind and behavior.
C. That transformation is a process, and as long as you're making progress in the process then you're in good shape.
D. In order to get rid of the stuff in our lives that Paul is talking about we need to first of all give the Holy Spirit control in our lives. We need to give him permission to change us from the inside out.
E. Romans 8:8-9 (NLT2)
8 That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.
9 But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.)
F. We also need to re-program our minds. We need to begin to think as God thinks, and that begins and ends in the Word of God.
G. Romans 12:2 (NLT2)
2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
H. Once you give the Holy Spirit room to change your hear, and the Word of God to change your mind, you will begin to see miracles of transformation in your life.
Transformation: Slaying the dragon and changing our attitude is a part of the process of...
III. Putting On New Life (10-11).
A. Put On The New Nature
1. One day I went out to the garage to carry in a case of water. At the time I was wearing a pair of sleep pants that were too big, and a pair of underwear that were too big. Let's just say by the time I got back in the house it wasn't a pretty sight! (Oh yes they call him the streak)
2. It became obvious that those clothes were no longer going to work and I had to put on something more appropriate to my new size.
3. That's what Paul is saying here in v. 10, "Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him."
A. The "old nature" was each person before he or she came to know Christ.
B. The person was enslaved to sin, bound to the earth, without hope.
C. But believers have clothed themselves with a brand-new nature that is continually being renewed.
D. The "new nature" from Christ frees us from sin, sets our hearts on "things above" (3:1), and gives us the hope of eternity.
E. Paul was appealing to the commitment the believers had made, urging them to remain true to their confession of faith.
F. Every Christian is in a continuing education program. Renewal is constantly needed in the believer's battle against sin and the old nature.
G. What we learn is personal knowledge of Christ who created this new nature within us.
H. The goal of the learning is Christlikeness. The more believers know of Christ and his work, the more they are being changed to be like him. Because this process is lifelong, we must never stop learning and obeying (Barton, 883).
4. Paul concludes this section by telling us what really matters. He says, "In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us."
A. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us. The Colossian church was probably made up of all kinds of people.
B. No believer should allow prejudices from pre-Christian days to be carried into the church. Christ broke down all barriers; he accepts all who come to him. Believers, as Christ's body, must do the same.
C. Nothing should divide believers; nothing should keep them from experiencing unity.
D. Each believer is responsible to get rid of the sinful practices of whatever life he or she led and become a new person in Christ.
E. Then, as part of God's body of believers on earth, each person should work as part of the whole to advance God's Kingdom (Barton, 883).
B. New Set Of Clothes
1. Illustration: These old pants simply won't work for me anymore. I need to take them off and get rid of them!
2. We need to take off our old life, like a set of old clothes, and put on the new life!
A. Ephesians 4:23-24 (NLT2)
23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.
24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.
B. Take off sexual immorality, lust, immorality, and put on purity, holiness and self-control.
C. Take off anger, rage, slander, dirty language, and put on love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and self-control.
D. Take off greed and idolatry and put on generosity and hospitality.
E. Put off all those things that you used to do before you came to Christ and put on the nature that you received from Him.
F. Put off the things of this world and put on the things of God's Kingdom.
G. This world is coming to an end, but the one who does the will of God will live forever!
1. Paul tells us that the new life is about...
A. Slaying The Dragon
B. Losing The Attitude
C. Putting On The New Life
2. THREE THINGS TO REMEMBER...
A. COMMIT YOUR BODIES TO GOD IN HOLINESS AND SELF-CONTROL.
B. COMMIT YOUR HEART TO GOD IN LOVE, JOY AND PEACE.
C. LET THE WORLD SEE WHAT JESUS HAS DONE IN YOU!