Summary: A series in Colossians: Putting off the old man and old nature and walking in new ways as a new creation in Christ
Putting On a New Wardrobe
Primary Purpose: To live for God and to put off the old man and to put on the new man in Christ.
Paul has just finished his section on why we should not allow ourselves to be ensnared by legalism or judging our relationship with God by external appearances. Having told us what not to do, now he will tell us what to do.
Paul has spent the first two chapters talking about how Christ is preeminent in creation, redemption, the head of the church and salvation. Now he will tell us to place him first in our own lives. To make him preeminent, of first importance.
All of which has to do with our new identity in Christ. To Paul, at salvation our old nature was placed on the cross with Christ. Now, as a believer, a new man is living and we make a conscious choice to do the works of that new person. Before I was dead in my trespasses and sin, but now I have been made alive in Christ. I now have a choice.Paul encourages the Colossae believers to:
1. Watch the direction you are going- v.3-4. We will all have our hearts and minds set on something. Sometimes these things will be of temporal value. The priority for the believer to consider things from a eternal perspective.
William Barlcay says that the new man in Christ has new values. “Things which the world thought important, he will no longer worry about. Ambitions which dominated the world, will be powerless to touch him. He will go on
using the things of the world, but he will use them in a new way. He will, for instance, set giving above getting, serving above ruling, forgiving above avenging. The Christian’s standards of values will be God’s not men’s.”
Paul tells us to set our hearts and minds on Christ. Jesus told us in the book of Matthew “seek first HIs kingdom and his righteousness.” It’s about how I view what is happening in life and trying to make a eternal impact on the lives of others. How about you? What have you done this week that you would say has made a eternal impact? What lives have you touched? Is there anyone who is a stronger believer this week because of something you said or did? You can’t take any of the things of this world with you when you leave it, you can only take the souls you impact for Christ.
2. Put to death fleshly desires. v.5-9 J.Vernon McGee tells us that the way most Christians treat sin is like a mother hears her son in the kitchen. She calls out to him “Where are you?” He is in the pantry with the cookie jar in his hands. “I’m in the kitchen” he replies. She then asks “What are you doing?” He says, “I’m fighting temptation.” Alot of Christians do this. They play with sin not realizing it is like playing with fire. Scripture tells us to Flee from things that are evil. Our focus is not to be on sin Paul is telling us but on Christ. The writer of Hebrews tells us “Let us also lay aside every encumbrance , and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us runw ith endurance the race set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Heb 12:1-2
One writer I was reading compares it to the graveclothes of Lazarus. When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead he came out with grave clothes on, wrappings. Jesus told him to unwrap him and let him go. I don’t image Lazarus going back and trying to put on grave clothes again do you. At least not by choice. When we go back to sinful ways, we go back to what leads to spiritual death and decay. Paul tells us there is a better way. An abundant way. We are to seek God and His way. Not to go back to what will alienate us from God and hurt our relationship with him and others. Paul says that we have died with Christ. The old nautre has died and a new creation has been born.
Sometimes the devil likes to confront us and tell us that we will never conquer a sin. It reminds me of the day Joe Thiesman broke his leg. Joe was a quarterback for the NFL Washington Redskins. When he broke his leg it was obviously broken. It was difficult to watch. The NFL commentators showed the pictures again and again. It was on news programs for days. God has put something like that instant replay in your mind. The ability to recall events from the past. Some people have a hard time getting over things in their past. The devil uses this instant replay to try to convince us we can’t overcome something that has beat us before. But, God never designed the instant replay in your mind to continue to replay over and over the fractures of your life. Because you are now a new person in Christ and that came at a high price. You need to remember that the sins of the past have been paid for. You’ve been given a fresh start and a new place in the heavens. Your sins have been thrown as far as the east is from the west. Through the cross it is gone. 2:15 says, he triumphed over them by the cross.