Summary: When we understand who we are in Christ, we will live out of who we were and into who we are.
Title: Who We Were Is Not Who We Are
Text: Colossians 3:5-9 (3:1-15)
Thesis: When we understand who we are in Christ, we will live out of who we were and into who we are.
Series: How to treat people at home and at church: How to walk hand in hand when you do not see eye to eye.
When we become followers of Christ we receive what our text describes as “new life with Christ.” In II Corinthians 5:17 the experience is described like this: “Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun.” We might liken this experience to that of immigrants who come to this country...
Several years ago I read a most memorable book by Mela Meisner Lindsay titled The White Lamb. It was her story… the story of her life as a young girl from the Russian Volga Region and the difficulties of her migrating to Trego County, Kansas. She was just one of many Germans from Russia who settled in western Kansas in the late 1800’s. It is a wonderful read and is still in print but a bit hard to come by. A new hardcover copy sell for $133, paperback copies (3 in stock at Amazon) are $25.44 and Kindle editions are $15.92.
When they arrived in New York Harbor, immigrants were transferred to smaller boats and transported to Ellis Island for processing. It was not like the Ellis Island we can visit today…. today it is 9 times larger than it was originally. When they were digging the tunnels for the NY subway system all the dirt and rocks were dumped on Ellis Island. So it is much larger now than then. But everyone passed through the Great Hall where they stood in a long line… While in the line and as they climbed the long flight of stairs, medical teams examined them quickly, running through a checklist of 60 symptoms that might prohibit their being cleared to go on to the mainland.
Immigrants were greeted with pointed fingers, hand-gestures and unintelligible commands. They were interviewed to determine their name (Many of the immigrants did not know how to spell their names so officials wrote down how the name sounded or gave them a new name.), nationality, destination, who had paid their fare, and if they had any money. And if they passed muster they were able to exchange currencies they were taken to the train station to purchase a ticket to their destination. Others waited for relatives to come and claim them… usually bringing with them American style clothes. Many old world garments were discarded at Ellis Island.
Most immigrants left all but some personal luggage to begin their new life in America. Similarly, when we become followers of Christ we leave our old lives and begin a new life. For those of us who have a lot of baggage that’s a very good thing.
Our text today is about some of those things from the old life we need to leave behind.
I. Things to put to death, 5-7
So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you… Colossians 3:5
Put to death or mortify the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Earthly or earthen may refer to things like pottery as in made from clay. Earthly can refer to the earth as in soil. It may also refer to things under the earth or underground and to things that are down deep as in deeply rooted.
Dandelions. We live in an HOA and sometimes you just have to take things into your own hands if the association does not do things to your liking. We were concerned about the little plot of grass we think of as our lawn. So we had it power raked, aerated, fertilized and mowed early in the season. We spread some of that grass seed stuff in some areas where the grass was thin and we started watering by hand. In addition, I went out and bought one of those long-handled dandelion thingies that are supposed to dig dandelions out by the roots… I have found that dandelions are deeply rooted. You can mow over them, chop them up, pull at them… but unless you get the root they will just keep coming back and coming back.
That is the image we are to have of things in our lives that we need to put to death or be rid of or stop doing. We are to kill those things that are deeply rooted that are inhibiting our ability to live Christ-like lives.
One of my objectives in the next few weeks is to clearly define those things that are part of our human nature, old nature or sinful nature that need to be put to death and rooted out for good.