Colossians: It’s All About Christ 3: Christ, My Life - Col 3Video Link
MS Word Link
Paul now begins the practical section of his letter to the Colossians. He begins with a summary of what the first two chapters we have studied.
Colossians 3:1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
In this opening to the how to live section of Paul’s epistle, he reminds the Colossians that Christ is their life and because Christ is their life, this is the life they should live.
To the pagans of Paul’s time the way you lived and the things you believed had no real relationship. You could make your offerings to an idol, leave the temple and no one expected you to live or act any differently. Certainly, morality, honesty or loyalty had nothing to do with your belief in the gods because the god of the Greeks and Romans had none of these qualities and did not require them of their believers.
But for the believer in Christ it was different. The followers of God were to be holy for God was holy. Their lives must be different, after they came to Christ because Christ was their life.
In this opening of the third Chapter Paul reminds them how much this is true. He says, We are raised in Christ in vs. 1a, we are hidden in Christ in vs. 3 and we are glorified in Christ in vs. 4.
Warren Wiesbe says, “Christ is our life. Eternal life is not some heavenly substance that God imparts when we, as sinners, trust the Saviour. Eternal life is Jesus Christ Himself. "He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life" - Bible Exposition Commentary - Be Complete (Colossians).
The old man we were and the old life we had are gone and now Christ is our life. Verse 4 read, “When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.” In the Greek there is no italicized words in vs. 4 it simply says, “Christ our life!” Now because we are no longer who we once were, now because we are raised with Christ, now because our life is hid with Christ, now because Christ is our life, then live our lives in the power of these truths. “Seek those things which are above, where Christ sits.”
Put Down – Colossians 3:5-7
5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: 6 For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: 7 In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.
First Paul says the believe must do some spiritual slaying. He must deal harshly with the most harmful, to our new lives, sins. These must be be put down, put to death or as the KJV says, “mortified.”
The word mortify is from nekrow, (nek-ro’-o ) and it means to make dead, to put to death, slay, to deprive of power, destroy the strength of.
Paul tells the Colossians and us to kill…
fornication: sexual sin
uncleanness: sinful lifestyle
inordinate affection: lust
covetousness, which is idolatry: sinful desire
These are all sensual sins. Sins that can be hidden but like a sickness deep inside us, they will poison us on the inside, until they erupt outside. These sins are killing your Christians life, so you must act to kill them.
Paul reminds us that God’s wrath comes upon the children of disobedience because of these things. They shouldn’t be in your because you are no longer those children of disobedience.
He says, you know this because you used to be just like them. These sins used to be your life, but now your life is Christ and you should no longer live under the power of sin, but in the power of Christ.
Conscientious Christian Culling
Christianity is a very positive lifestyle. I should be filled with an attitude of glory, praise and joy, but never accept the idea, that many are now preaching, that there is no negative aspects of living the Christian life. Paul just told you to get to killing some things. We don’t like to think about it, we don’t like to talk about it but nevertheless we have to deal with it. These sensual sins, hidden, deep in the dark corners of my heart sins, have no place in the Child of God’s life. I must slay them, put them down, mortify them, kill them, dig a hole, bury them and finally don’t stand there mourning them, walk away from the grave.
The child of God has died to sin and is now alive to Christ. I am no longer one of the children of disobedience, no longer under the wrath of God and those sins, faults, and failures which used to be my life and dominate me, need to be gone. I can’t set my mind on things above when its being polluted by hidden sin.
Paul writes more extensively later to the Romans about this same theme of overcoming sin in our lives.
Romans 6: 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7 For he that is dead is freed from sin. 8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: 9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. 10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. 11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. 12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. 13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
You’ve got to believe in your new life in Christ and the power you now have in that new life to overcome these sins. Put them down, without mercy. They are trying to kill you, kill them now.
You do this in the same way you came to salvation, by repentance and faith in Jesus Christ who took on sin and death and won. You must believe that the person you were, who was once dominated by sin, has been crucified with Christ, buried with Christ and risen a new man with Christ.
And now that new man is not dominated or controlled by his old sin, it is buried in the ground with the old man.
Our problem is one of faith, too many times we simply don’t act in the power of this truth. We are like the "Peanuts" comic strip, where Lucy asks Linus, "Do you think people ever really change?" "Sure," replies Linus, "I feel I’ve changed a lot this past year." Lucy says, "I meant for the better."
No, instead we should be more in tune with the word of Johan Arndt. Everything that is born of God is no shadowy work. God will not bring forth a dead fruit, a lifeless and powerless work, but a living, new man must be born from the living God. - Johann Arndt (1555-1621)
Illustration: Apaches living in old wickiups even though they had brand new houses.
I grew up near the San Carlos Apache Reservation in Arizona. We often drove through the reservation on our way to somewhere else. We would see the Apaches shopping, driving and living. My Dad would point out the houses that the Apaches lived in. There were mostly, if not all, government built block houses, actually nicer than the houses I lived in as a boy. Then he would also point out a little hut made of branches, sticks and mud that would be in the back of almost every new government house. It was called a wickiup. It was the traditional home the Apaches used to live in. Even though they had been given a brand-new home with running water, indoor bathrooms and electricity some of the old ones stilled preferred to live in the huts.
We can be just like that. God has given us a brand-new life, empowered by the Holy Spirit and we have Jesus Christ as our life, yet we still prefer the old hut our in the world.
Transition: Next Paul moves on to those things that must be put off.
Put Off – Colossians 3:8-11
8 But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. 9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; 10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: 11 Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.
The picture Paul gives us here is of a person changing clothes and discarding the old ones as rags not worthy of wearing of one whose life is Christ. First, we are do spiritual slaying and now we are do some spiritual stripping. Living the Christian life, the life of a child of God, requires a constant putting off of wrong actions and attitudes that will always crop up in our lives, due to our carnal, physical nature. Paul says, “Put them off..” strip these away from our lives …
Anger: This is the stronger, deeper word for the emotion, most times in the Bible it is translated wrath. God’s wrath is justified by His nature but in the child of God, wrath has no place. It has be replaced by the willingness to forgive.
Wrath: This is the Greek word thumos, Paul is using it here as a bitter, emotion that takes control of us and begins to rule our life and dominate our relationship with others.
Malice: This is when anger and wrath aren’t put off. Soon those emotions take on a life of their own and instead of just emotion, we begin to act, in hurtful, painful, backstabbing, malicious ways toward others.
Blasphemy: is slander, gossip which is false and hurtful.
Filthy Communication: uttering obscenity, using foul, inappropriate language.
Finally, Paul says, “Lie not to one another, seeing you have put off the old man.”
All of these sins are social sins, they are grouped together here because they are sins that can be seen in the way we deal with other people in our lives. These are sins that are on the outside of our life and that can have terrible effects on the lives of others.
Consistent Christian Character
Paul says we can put off the old because we have put on “The new man.” Vs. 10. It is possible to put down the sensual sins and put off the social sins because we have put on the new man. The new man who is renewed every day in knowledge after the image of Christ, can deal with these sins that try to come back into our life through our old nature.
In vs. 11 Paul says, this man is so new that even his nationality, race or station in life has be changed, in fact it no longer exists. “there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free”
All that counts, all that should exist, for us is Christ. Christ, our life! He is now our ultimate reality, our consuming passion and our overcoming power.
We must maintain a consistent Christian character and that kind of character is not static. Every day as the Holy Spirit reminds and focus us on the task at hand, we need kill the hidden sensual sins on the inside and make sure I put off the visible social sins of the outside.
The key is seeing ourselves as God does through the eyes of the Holy Spirit and then surrendering to the power of God’s Son, our life, who makes all things, at all times, new.
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
This is in the perfect active indicative and it means to have become new and now will stay that way. – AT Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament.
The stripping away of the old is by the power of knowing Christ.
It means you can take off the old rags daily and be renewed because you know Christ. “Colossians 3:10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:
Putting off the old in the power of the new man renewed in Christ, should be a true action, something that is part of my daily life. It should be real. It should be as real as the story of …
Illustration: From KKK to Bandages
The American Red Cross was gathering supplies, medicine, clothing, food and the like for the suffering people of Biafra. Inside one of the boxes that showed up at the collecting depot one day was a letter. It said, "We have recently been converted and because of our conversion we want to try to help. We won't ever need these again. Can you use them for something?" Inside the box were several Ku Klux Klan sheets. The sheets were cut down to strips and eventually used to bandage the wounds of black persons in Africa.
It could hardly be more dramatic--from symbols of hatred to bandages of love because of the new creation.- Maxie Dunnam, Commentary on Galatians.
It is not enough to stop certain things we must also begin some things. Next Paul continues in the power of the new man and tells the Colossians what things to “Put On.”
Put On – Colossians 3:12-17
12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; 13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. 14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. 15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
Spiritual Suiting Up
Now this is Spiritual Suiting Up, this is the positive, more powerful side of Christ as life. In the same way a child of God must be consistent and conscience of putting off the rags of his old nature, they must also be conscience of putting on the clothing that marks them as child of God.
Get rid of the sad rags and put on the glad rags. Here they are. Put on…
Bowels of mercies: (the seat of the emotions to the Greeks) clothe yourself a compassionate, caring heart.
Kindness: is compassion that acts, not just an emotion but a reaching out to others in acts of Christian kindness.
Humbleness of mind: we are to be clothed with humility, pride is the sad rag of the old nature, humility is the glad rags of a child of God.
Meekness: put on gentleness, a gentleness that comes from the real strength of one who know the God of eternity.
Longsuffering: put on the clothing of patience through the harsh, events and times.
Forbearance: the means we should be clothed with the patience towards the harsh people of our life. Put on forbearance and put up with the difficult people God has place in your life.
Forgiveness: this is to be clothed with the same clothing as that of Christ, who forgave us.
And finally, above all put on charity. Paul says this is the bond, the thing that unifies all of us, the thing that completes us. Put on agape, the self-sacrificing love which marks us as mature and complete in our relationship with others and our Lord.
Paul then gives them two last things that they must Let or submit to, if Christ is their life, The Peace of God and the Word of Christ.
In vs. 15 he tells them, Let the peace of God rule in your hearts. This is your umpire, your referee in dealing with all people, events and issues in our lives. Let the peace of God rule in you.
In vs 16 Paul says, “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly,” This means submitting to the teachings, examples, commands and admonitions of the Lord as the core of our lives.
What it doesn’t mean is what the Ethiopian emperor Menelik II, thought it meant. Whenever he got sick, he'd eat a few pages from the Bible, believed it would restore his health. You know “let the word of Christ dwell in you,” Well he got it wrong, because in 1913, he was so sick he just kept on eating trying to get well and finally he died after eating the entire book of 2 Kings. That is not what this verse is saying.
What it is saying is that the Word of Christ dwells in us when it results in our lives though all wisdom, teaching and admonish one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Doing all things in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and giving thanks to the Father by Him, Jesus Christ, our life.
Conscious Commitment to Christ-likeness
Here is my last application we should make a Conscious Commitment to Christ-likeness as we live our lives in this world, that so desperately needs to see a reflection of Christ in the people of God.
Let me give you an illustration, a working illustration. I worked for United Parcel Service for over a dozen years. In one of the dressing rooms where the drivers would change from their civies to their UPS browns there was a mirror, but it was not just a normal mirror. It was a UPS attitude mirror. As you looked into it, you would see question etched into the glass at the proper places corresponding to your refelection. At the top of the mirror was the question, “Hair combed?” just below that “Smile On?” then, “Clothes Ironed?” and at the bottom, “Shoes Polished?” The last thing every driver was to be aware of as he left the hub was, “How well do I reflect the company I work for?”
I think we could all benefit from a spiritual mirror that we look into each day, a spiritual mirror that asks, “How am I reflecting Jesus Christ today?”
Can I give you some scripture to dress by? like Matthew 5:14 Ye are the light of the world.16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Isaiah 60:1 Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. 2 For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. 3 And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.
Do you remember the story of how Elisha replaced Elijah?
It also had to do with putting off and putting on of clothing, in this case the mantle of Elijah. First of all, Elijah calls Elisha in 1 Kings 19:19 So he departed thence, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth: and Elijah passed by him, and cast his mantle upon him.
This signified Elisha was to put on the clothes of prophet and put off the clothes of a plowman.
Then on the way to Elijah’s being taken by the fiery chariot he strikes the water with the same mantle and it parts.
2 Kings 2:8 And Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped it together, and smote the waters, and they were divided hither and thither, so that they two went over on dry ground.
When Elijah is finally taken up his mantle falls to the earth, Elisha picks it up and goes to the water. Would he be able to wear the mantle of Elijah? Would he have the power and be the prophet of God that the mantle represents?
2 Kings 2:13 He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan; 14 And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, Where is the LORD God of Elijah? and when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither: and Elisha went over.
That is a great story and it is a great conclusion to this sermon. When we were saved, Christ cast his mantle over us. Jesus called us unto himself and made us His own. Now He is in heaven and the mantle has fallen to us. Will we take it up, put it on and show the world a new person in Jesus Christ?
Are we willing to show a lost world that truly, Christ is our life.