Text: COLOSSIANS 3:1-9 Introduction 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 DEMONSTRATED (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 BEHAVE. 5. Our lesson today has two points. In Col. 3:1-4 Paul says SEEK THE HEAVENLY and then in 3:5-9 he says SLAY THE EARTHLY. 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 died." 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. II. SLAY THE EARTHLY (COL. 3:5-9) 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 Christians! 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-- PREACHING TO AN EMPTY CHURCH!" Conclusion: Are you demonstrating by the way that you live that Jesus Christ is PREEMINENT in all the affairs of your life?