Colossians 3:5-9 pt1

Steve Viars November 5, 1994 Colossians 3:5-9

- this is an exciting day for me in that we're coming to one of the most
  important and helpful sections of Scripture in all of the Bible.
- let me invite you to open your Bible to Col. 3:5.

- you'll notice that this verse begins with a "therefore,"
    - and that gives us a good occasion to think through the argument
       Paul has been developing up to this point.

    - remember, we said when we started this series that one of our goals
       would be to understand the overall flow of thought through the
       entire book.
    - we don't do that as often as we should.
       - the Bible is a book--and it ought to read as a book.
       - when you read a book, you don't only study this paragraph or
            that paragraph -- your goal is to get the writer's overall
            theme, or thrust, or main point.

- let's try, in a very brief way, to do that this morning:

- Paul has never met these folks--but he has received a report about them
   from their pastor Epahpras.

1) I'm thankful for your faith, hope, love, and your fruitfulness
    (vv 1:1-8).

    - Paul says in verse 6 -- that kind of thing is happening around the
        known world.
        - that’s exactly the way it ought to be!
        - so, "I don't know you folks personally, but I sure am thankful
                for you."

- then he goes on and says--and let me tell you how I pray for you.
    - let me tell you what I'm asking God for on your behalf.

2) I pray that you might be filled with spiritual knowledge and wisdom so
    that you will walk worthy of Christ and be pleasing to Him (vv. 1:9-
    14).

- now, hopefully--that would prick their ears up.
   - a) because for one thing, if the apostle Paul thought that was the
         most important thing to be praying for on their behalf--then
         they needed to ask how important that was to them.
   - b) hopefully--they would say--"that’s the desire of our hearts, also.
         - we're hungering and thirsting after righteousness.
         - what you're praying for us is what we want also.

         - I think that many of the Colossians, when they read those
            words, moved to the front of their seats
              - and in effect said, Paul if you're going to tell us how
                 we can progress to toward that goal, we're all ears.
              - we'll study this and study this and wring every truth out
                 of it we possibly can

                 - because what you're praying for us is what we
                    desperately want.
                    - how do we get there?

- Paul's answer is very clear:
3) You must be convinced about the preeminence of Christ--and seek to
    live in a way that is consistent with that great truth (1:15-2:15).

    - we've seen this theme over and over
        1:15
        1:16
        1:17
        1:18
        1:19
        2:3
        2:9
        2:10

- a question every one of us has to ask--am I convinced about the
   preeminence of Christ?
- of course the question that raises is, how would I know if I am?

4) Don't be intimidated by those who try to undermine Christ's
    preeminence (vv. 2:18-2:23).

    a) legalists
    b) mystics
    c) ascetics

  - it's so important for us to see that that’s the world in which we live
     - there are so many folks out there who, knowingly or unknowingly,
        are seeking to undermine your belief in the sufficiency of Christ

     1) whether we're talking about legalistic people who want you to
        add their lists of rules and standards to the Word and say--
        You're not spiritual (and maybe not even saved) if you don't keep
        our list.
           - (living for Jesus Christ based on His Word is not enough)

     2) whether we're talking about our psychologized society--which
        wants you to believe that for the deep issues of life--you need
        more than a growing relationship with Christ and the sufficient
        Word of God.
           - (Jesus Christ is not enough)

     3) whether we're talking about all the attractions of the world that
         would seek to build discontentment in your soul
          - you've got to have this to be happy
          - you need this to be satisfied
             - (all the while seeking to undermine the truth that you are
                complete in Christ, and if you're not satisfied in Jesus
                Christ, you won't be satisfied with anything or anybody).

- of course, that leads to the question of -- How do I know if I'm really
   convinced about the preeminence of Christ?

5) Evaluate what you're "going after," and what you're setting your mind
    upon.

    - you can tell if a person is convinced that they're complete in
       Christ by whether they're seeking the things which are above...
            - where Christ sits at the right hand of God
        - and if they're setting their minds on the things above...and
            not on the things of the earth.

    - if what motivates a person, and what charges them up, and what
       pre-occupies their thinking and attention...is what the heavenly
       Father wants to see accomplished....
        - with that moment, or that day, or that thought, or that action,
           or that word...
            - then that person has been convinced in their heart and soul
              that they find they completeness and satisfaction in
              Christ.

- but some folks don't really care much about what's happening where
   Christ is sitting at the right hand of the throne of God
     - they don't care much about the things of heaven
     - they don't care much in a given day with what a sovereign God
        wants accomplished with their life
          - because they're too busy scratching around trying to get some
             things of the earth.

- Paul's about to give us another answer to the question--How do I know
   if I'm really convinced about the preeminence of Christ?
     - the answer is--it depends on what you're willing to kill
     - it depends on how much spiritual murder you're willing to commit.

- here's what we mean: - READ 3:5-9

- we're going to stop there because that's as far we'll be able to get
   today.
     - but we need to say that what we're studying this morning is only
        the first half of God's method for our change and growth.
     - INPUT - the NT principle for change/growth is what? (put off/put
         on)
           - the principle of replacement
           - When's a liar no longer a liar? (develop)

    - so I can't change by JUST doing what we're talking about this
       morning
        - but what we're talking about this morning is a critical part of
           the equation.

I. Here's What We Must Put To Death

    - this passage breaks down in an interesting way.
    - in verse 5 he gives a list of things that must be put to death
    - then he gives some reasons why we should put them to death
    - then he gives another list
       - so we've structured our outline to follow that flow of thought.

    - so Paul is saying--here's what you have to kill.
       - here's what you have to put to death.

    - the NASB isn't as strong as it should be.
       - in the original, the first word is "nekro-sate"
          - I mention that because we know a word in English that might
             help us remember this concept.

       - what does that word "nekro-sate" sound like?
         - necrophilia -- an abnormal fascination with death, or things
             that are dead.

       - "nekro" is death
           - and Paul is talking about something that you and I have to
              kill.

- now you might say, I thought we already died in Christ?
   - that’s true--in what sense (INPUT?)

   - positionally--we studied that last week.

     - when we trusted Christ, we were brought into union with His death.

        - that means we died to sin--in the sense that we are no longer
            slaves to it.
        - we died to self in the sense that we are no longer running the
            show.

- but our new creation resides in a body that has been habituated to sin
   in so many ways
     - and we are constantly in the process of working out practically
         what is already true of us positionally.

- the overall point is--if you want to see how convinced a person is
   about the preeminence of Christ, look at how aggressively they are
   seeking to put to death sinful habits that don't please Christ.

- Richard Baxter wrote; "Use sin as it will use you; spare it not, for it
    will not spare you; it is your murderer, and the murderer of the
    world: use it therefore as a murderer should be used. Kill it before
    it kills you; and though it bring you to the grave, as it did you
    Head, it shall not be able to keep you there."

- now, let's look at some of the things Paul says we should kill.
   - of course this list isn't intended to be exhaustive, but it's surely
       very important.

    A. Fornication (NASB - Immorality)

        - the word is porneia - from which we get the word pornography
        - in Bible times it was used in a very general way to speak about
            any form of illicit sex outside of marriage.

        - the Bible is filled with warnings about fornication and
           immorality.

           - in contrast to our world which thinks fornication is
             acceptable, or even necessary--or at least extremely funny
               - Paul told the Corinthians to run away from it (I Cor.
                  6:18)

               - my, how contemporary believers need to hear that.
               - Paul told the Thessalonians, "This is the will of God,
                  your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from
                  sexual immorality." (I Thess. 4:3)

        - that’s one way you can tell if someone believes in the
           preeminence of Christ.
             - are they actively seeking to kill any behavior that in any
                 way could be called immoral.
                 - we're talking about killing it, putting it to death...
                    - instead of watching it on TV
                    - or renting it down at the local video place
                    - or laughing about it at work
                    - or listening to some person sing about it in your
                        ears
                    - or fantasizing about it in one's mind
        - see, are you putting fornication to death?
- now, we can't spend that much time on each word in the verse, but:
    1) you see the point
    2) and there's a lot of overlap in the words

    B. Uncleanness (NASB - Impurity)

        - this is an interesting word
        - "akatharsia"

           - we know the word "catharsis" - cleansing
           - when you put the alpha privitive in front--it negates the
              meaning

           - so akatharsia is exactly the way the KJV translated it--
              uncleaness.

           - this one is talking not just about actions, but about
              thoughts.
           - you and I must seek to kill, put to death, thoughts that are
               unclean.

    C. Inordinate affection (passion)

        - sexual passion set loose in the body

        - what excites us sexually is completely determined by our will.
        - that’s why, in other cultures, people are stimulated by the
           sight of a woman's feet, for example.

        - when a person chooses a homosexual lifestyle--they have done
            just that---they chose it.

        - when a person chooses to have an affair--they have done just
           that--they have chosen it.

        - please don't ever say--I just don't love that person anymore.
           - no, you've chosen not to love that person anymore.

           - now, the "feelings" may be gone--but the reason the feelings
             are gone is because you redirected your affections (your
             desires) long ago.

           - sexual affection//passion is to be reserved for the person
               you married.

           - you might say--"well, what do I do with the
              affection//passion I have for someone else?" (he/she really
               turns me on)

           - what does the verse say?  KILL IT.

- the same is true of:

    D. Evil Concupiscence (NASB - Desire)

        - if it's evil and outside of the will of God, it has to be put
            to death.

- it's very important to note that Paul moves from those words to the
    word:

    E. Covetousness (NASB - Greed)
- we might be tempted to think that Paul has switched subjects--but he
   hasn't.
- everything in this list is a result of covetousness, or greed.
   - the perverted and insatiable desire to have more, to have that which
       is forbidden.

    - covetousness is a compound word -
       - pleon - more
       - exo - to have

    - it's the exact opposite of what this book is teaching
     - are you complete in Christ, or do you think you have to have more?

     - we need to be instructed in the fact that often times that desire
        to have more is going to show up in sexual issues.
        - people not being satisfied with their spouses
        - people believing the lie that the grass is greener on the other
           side of the fence.

        - like the Country and Western singer croons--it just feels
            better if I cheat."

- of course, Paul concludes the list by saying, Do you realize that that
   kind of thinking and behavior is:

    F. Idolatry

        - when you and I fail to put these kinds of things to death,
          we're talking about worshipping ourselves, or worshipping
          things---instead of worshipping God.
            - we're talking about idolatry -- the essence of sin.

        - go over Stephen Charnock quote

- Paul goes on and gives two strong reasons why we should put these
   kinds of habits to death:

II. Here's Why We Should Put Them Off

    A. These things bring wrath on those who don't know Christ.

        - now, the Scripture teaches that you and I have been delivered
          from the wrath to come (I Thes. 1:10) and that we will never
          experience God's full wrath (I Thess. 5:9).

        - but, we surely ought to hate the things that will bring God's
            wrath on unbelievers.

        - we also ought to know that God will chasten His children who
           are not growing Heb. 12:5-6.

        - if you and I are not actively and aggressively seeking to put
            these things to death--it may reveal that we need a healthy
            dose of the fear of God.

    B. That’s the way you used to walk

        - Spurgeon quote - (Mac. p. 142-143)

Steve Viars

B.S. - Bible, Baptist Bible College
M.Div. - Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min. - Westminster Theological Seminary

Pastor Steve Viars has served at Faith Church since 1987. He and his wife Kris were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and two grandchildren. Pastor Viars’ gifted teaching ministry, enthusiasm for the Word of God, and organizational skills are instrumental in equipping Faith Church. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith ministries and serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

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