Colossians 3:5-17, July 14, 2019
Jesus Plus Nothing = Everything, Part 3
2:16-17 Legalism/Judgments. Food/Drink/Religious Festivals/New Moon/Sabbath Day plus Legalism was but a shadow. A shadow doesn’t exist in and of itself. We embrace the reality not the shadow, Jesus is the reality
2:18-19 False Teachers/Angel Worship. What they have seen was used to provide authority beyond Jesus. Angel worship always demotes Christ. They deny Christ as the head of the church who nourishes, unites, and increases the church.
2:20-23 Asceticism. Defined as the doctrine or practice or belief that a person can attain a high spiritual and moral state by practicing self-denial, self-mortification. It often partners with legalism in humanistic religion. Legalists and ascetics always emphasize that spirituality is measured by an absence of prescribed sins rather than the presence of positive virtues.
Basic Doctrinal Principles. 3:1 Setting our hearts on things above. Daily seeking of Christ while always acknowledging where He sits. 3:2-4 Setting our minds on things above. Jesus is central to our lives.
Christian Changes in Behavior with a focus in heavenly seeking and thinking
3:5-7 Therefore. Put to death five things. Sexual immorality – actual word is porneia, often translated as fornication, but more closely tied to the idea of selling bodies in prostitution. Impurity – in all forms, marked by a filthy mind as amplified in Ephesians 5:3-4 (NIV):
But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because there are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.
Lust (or passion) – uncontrolled desire as in 1 Thessalonians 4:4-5 (NIV)
Each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God
Evil desires – coveting what is not yours and seeking to make it yours. Greed – the idolatry of more, more, more, and still more – putting things and self-interest in the place of God.
People bring divine judgment on themselves if they practice any of these. That judgment is expressed as the wrath of God. The wrath of God will come especially for those who are children of the wrath as in Ephesians 2:3 KJV:
Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
Why, because they continue to walk in these sins instead of repenting and giving them up.
3:5-7 You must. The past has been described, now the future. Consider the contrast. You must put aside anger, rage (white hot anger), malice (personal animosity and malicious gossip), slander (abusive words meant to injure or hurt someone), and filthy language (disgraceful speech for the speaker and the listener).
3:8-11 Stop lying. Lying must be replaced by the telling of truth as in Ephesians 4:25 (KJV):
25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.
As believers we want not only to accept the grace of God, but also release from the power of the sin nature that causes us to sin. Christ provides both of these.
James 4:7 (NIV) tells us how this works:
Submit yourselves therefore to God. (Then) resist the devil. and he will flee from you
[I]s being renewed refers to a daily ongoing process of progressive sanctification; a process led by the Holy Spirit as we cannot do this ourselves. We must have the help of the Holy Spirit. As this process continues and our knowledge increases we begin to know Jesus in a deeper more intimate/intense way and is some ways become more like Him. Remember we are made in the image of God, but Jesus is the image. So as we know Him more and more, we become more like Him. As we become more like Him divisions fade away, this begins at the moment of our salvation.
3:12-14 New clothes new life. Because of our belief in Christ we become God’s chosen people, His holy people or saints – set apart from the world, and we are loved/beloved of God eternally. Compassion concern for the needs of others. Kindness grace in action. Humility recognizing ourselves as objects of divine grace. Gentleness courtesy and a spirit of quiet submission. Patience literally wrath that is put far away. Bearing with one another tolerating one another when our patience is tried or tested. Forgiving one another simply put granting grace (horizontally) as we were granted grace (vertically). Love holds all the rest together
1 Corinthians 13:1-8a (NIV):
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.
3:15-17 What directs our new life? The peace of Christ stems from its source so it is divine in nature and it is given control over our hearts – it rules and unifies making us members of one body.
Thankfulness acknowledging the working of the sovereign will of God in our lives and circumstances much like Psalm 18 which was given the name The Grateful Retrospect by Charles Spurgeon. The message of Christ dwells within us, is at home within us. Let it dwell in us richly as without it we are spiritually poor. There is a reason we find favorite verses to memorize or join bible studies – it is so God’s word may dwell in us richly.
This is necessary if we are to teach and/or admonish one another. Singing is to the Lord, not to entertain nor to impress. Whatever we do, we do it for the glory of God. Whatever we, as Christians do, we do it in the name of the Lord Jesus (see v23). We give thanks to God the Father through Jesus because without Him we would not be saved, we would be sinners condemned without Grace. After all, we are just sinners saved by Grace.