Bible Book of the Month


Lesson #4

Preeminence of Christ
By Purity Of Life


 Text:  COLOSSIANS 3:1-9 
1.  Col. 1 --    the Preeminence of Christ  DECLARED 
     Col. 2 --    the Preeminence of Christ  DEFENDED 
                      (against 4 errors) 
     Col. 3 & 4  the Preeminence of Christ 
                     (in our lives) 
2.  In the final two chapters of Colossians, Paul moved into the
    practical application of the doctrines he had been teaching. 
    After all, it does little good if Christians DECLARE and
    DEFEND the truth, but fail to DEMONSTRATE it in their
    lives.  (Titus 1:16) 
3.  We must keen in mind that the pagan religions of Paul's day
    said little about personal morality.  A worshiper could bow
    before an idol, put his offering on the altar, and go back to
    live the same old life of sin.  What a person believed had no
    direct relationship with how he behaved . 
4.   The Gospel brought a new concept into Pagan society.  What
    WE BELIEVE has a definite connection with how we
5.  Our lesson today has two points.  In Col. 3:1-4 Paul says
             and then in 3:5-9 he says

I.  SEEK THE HEAVENLY    (COL. 3:1-4) 
1.  We died with Christ.  (3:3a)  (Rom. 6:3-5) 

2.  We live in Christ  (3:4)      (Phil. 1:21) 

  (Illustration)   Two sisters who enjoyed attending dances and
wild parties were converted and found new life in Christ.  They
received an invitation to a party and sent their RSVP in these
words:  "We regret that we cannot attend because we recently

3.  We are raised with Christ  (3:1) 

4.  We are hidden in Christ  (3:3) 
  Our sphere of life is notthis earth, but heaven; and the things
that attract us and excit us belong to heaven, not to earth. 

5.  We seek those things above  (3:1) 
  But how do we "seek those things which are above"?  The
secret is found in verse 2  "Habitually set your mind  [The
Greek word is in the tense of continuous action] --your
attention-- on things above, not on things on the earth."  Our
feet might be on earth, but our mind and heart must be in
heaven.  It means that the practical everyday affairs of life get
their direction from Christ who is in heaven. 

1.  We turn from the positive to the negative.  Some people do
not like the negative, they say  "Give us positive doctrines!" 
"Forget about negative warnings and admonition!"  But the
negative warnings and commands grow out of the positive truths
of the Gospel. 

  No amount of positive talk about health will cure a ruptured
appendix.  The doctor will have to "get negative" and take it out. 
2.  The word "mortify" means  "put to death".  Because we have
died with Christ (v.3) we are to slay the earthly, fleshly desires
that try to control us.  Jesus used the same idea when he said,
"And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out", (Matt. 5:29-30). 

  Neither Paul nor Jesus were talking about literal surgery.  Sin
does not come from the eye, hand, or foot, it comes from the
heart, the evil desires within. 

  Illustration:  Centuries ago in England, if a pickpocket was
convicted, his right hand was cut off.  If he was convicted a
second time, his left hand was amputated.  One pickpocket lost
both hands, and CONTINUED his "trade" by using his teeth! 
Physical surgery can never change the heart. 
3.  Not only was Paul negative in this paragraph, but he also
named sins; and some people do not like that.  These sins belong
to the old life and have no place in our new life in Christ. 
Furthermore, God's judgment falls on those who practice these
sins; and God is no respecter of persons.  God's wrath fell on the
Gentile world becasue of these sins (Rom.  1:18ff) and His
wrath will fall again, "Because of these, the wrath of God is
coming," Paul warned (Col.  3:6 NIV) and he was writing to
4.  FORNICATION refers to sexual immorality in general. 

5.  UNCLEANNESS means "lustful impurity that is connected
with luxury and loose living." 

6.  INORDINATE AFFECTION describes a strong passional
desire excited by sexual impurity.  The person who cultivates
this kind of appetite will always seek opportunity to satisfy it. 

7.  EVIL CONCUPISENCE means "base, evil desires."  It is
clear that desires lead to deeds, appetites lead to fulfillment.  If
we would purify our live then we must first purify our minds
and hearts. 
8.  After Paul named these sensual sins, he added, "... and
covetousness, which is idolatry."  (Col. 3:5b). 
COVETOUSNESS is the sin of always wanting more, whether
it be more things or more pleasures.  The covetous sperson is
never satisfied with what he has and he is usually envious of
what other people have.     This is IDOLATRY, for
covetousness put 'THINGS' in the place of God.  

  Do you mean, preacher, that Christians committ such sins? 
Unfortunately, they sometimes do.  Each of the New Testament
epistles sent to local churches makes mention of these sins and
warns against them. 

  (Illustration).  I am reminded of a minister who preached a
series of sermons against the sins of the saints.  A member of his
congregation challenged him one day and said that it would be
better if he preached those messages to the lost, "After all," said
the church member, "sin in the life of a Christian is different
from sin the lives of other people"   "Yes," replied the preacher,
"it's WORSE!" 
9.  After warning us against the sensual sins, (v. 5-6),  Paul then
pointed out the dangers of the social sins  (Col. 3:8-9).  Dr. G.
Campbell Morgan called these "the sins in good standing".  We
are so accustomed to anger, critical attitudes, lying, and coarse
humor among Christians that we are no longer upset or
convicted about these sins.  We are shocked when we see a
church member committ some sensual sins, but we will watch
him lose his temper and with foul language "tell a brother off"
and then call it "righteous indignation." 
10.  The picture in verse 9-10 is that of a person changing
clothes:  "put off ... put on".  This probably relates to the
resurrection of Jesus  (see v.1) for when He arose from the dead,
Jesus left the graveclothes behind (John 20:1-10). He had
entered into a glorious resurrected life and had no need for the
grave- clothes.  Likewise, when Lararus was raised from the
dead, Jesus instructed the people to "loose him, and let him go" 
(John 11:44). 
  The graveclothes represent the old life with its sinful deeds. 
Now that we have new life in Christ, we must walk "in newness
of life" by  putting off the old deeds and desires,  (Romans
6:4-5)  "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." 
11.  In speaking of these clothes we are to put off, Paul begins
with ANGER, WRATH,  and MALICE. 

  The word ANGER word describes habitual attitudes, while
WRATH  refers to the sudden outburt of anger. 

  BLASPHEMY describes speech that slanders others and tears
them down.  Ofen among Christians this kind of malicious
gossip masquarades as a spiritual concern; "I would never tell
you this about her, except that I know you'll want to pray about
it!"  Evil speaking is caused by malice (I Peter 2:1).  

  If you use  FILTHY COMMUNICATION is just that: foul
speech, coarse humor, obscene language.  For some reason some
thinstians thit is is mancho to use this kind of speech. 

  The final sin Paul names was LYING (v.9).  He wrote this
same warning to the Christians at Ephesus (Eph. 4:25.)  Satan
is a liar (John 8:44), while the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth 
(John 14:17; 15:26).  When a Christian lies, he is cooperating
with Satan; when he speaks the truth in love  (Eph. 4:15) he is
cooperating with the Spirit of God. 

  A lie is any misrepresentation of the truth, even if the words
are accurate.  The one of voice, the look on the face, or a gesture
of the hand can alter the meaning of a sentence.  So can the
motive of the heart.  Lying involves the intent to deceive for the
purpose of personal gain.  An old proverb says, "Half a fact is
a whole lie." 

  (Illustration.)  Warren A. Candler was preaching about the
lies of Annanias and Sapphira (Acts 5), and asked the
congregation,  "If God still struck people dead for lying, where
would I be?"  The congregation snickered a bit, but the smiles
disappeared when Candler shouted, "I'd be right here--

  Are you demonstrating by the way that you live that Jesus
Christ is PREEMINENT in all the affairs of your life? 

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