YOUR NEW SELF
Colossians 3:1-11 Princeton Christian Church 18 October 2020
I would guess that if I asked each of you here today, you would all have something you would like to change about yourself. If we are going to experience the relationship Christ wants for us and that we desire, some things need to change.
Myself, I would like to lose 20 pounds. I would like to have a better memory. I would like to be retired.
But, we have to come to the realization that in order for change to come about in our lives, we must be willing to change something about ourselves. You have to actually change some things in your life!
For instance, if I want to lose weight, I have to change my eating habits. That means I need to give up my favorite food – ice cream. I need to develop regular exercise habits, along with my attitudes about food and exercise. Without changing these areas of my life, the weight will not come off. I will never find a miracle cure that will cause the pounds to drop off me. Nothing will change until I change something in my behavior or lifestyle.
Let us consider our life with Christ for a moment. How many of us are totally happy with where we are in our relationship with Jesus? I am guessing not many of us are totally satisfied where we are in our relationship with Jesus.
When we gave our lives to Christ, we heard about this new life we are now supposed to have in Him. Maybe we are sitting back just waiting for it to come to us. But, after a while we realized that it didn’t seem to be happening for us.
Why? Well, if we are going to have the life in Christ we want and the life He wants us to have, it is time for a change.
Today we are going to look at three areas that will need to change in order for us to have the healthy relationship with Jesus we are meant to have.
Read: Colossians 3:1-11
I. A NEW LIFE MUST HAVE A CHANGE OF DIRECTION- verse 5-7
In verses five through seven you will find that we are given a list of things we need to make sure we get rid of – wipe them out of our lives.
When you look at this list, you may think these don’t apply to you. But, as we examine what is at the root of the list you will see they do apply to all of us here today. We are to allow ourselves allow the old life in us to die.
1. In verse five we are told we are to consider the members of our earthly body as dead to the things listed there – immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, greed (idolatry).
2. We are to literally “put to death” these things. To consider dead means we are to hold these items in check, to restrain them. If we fail to do that, they will lead us in the wrong direction.
If you go back to verse 3, we are told we have died with Christ, but here, in verse 5 we are told that we must consider the members of our earthly body as dead.
We have died with Christ, BUT we still live in a fallen world and it is only through the power of the Holy Spirit that we can keep ourselves in check.
Remember, someone who is dead is no longer enticed and lured away by the world around them. This verse 5 reminds us that WE have a part to play in our walk with God.
WE need a change of direction!
We need to change our direction from self-gratification to pleasing God.
This list includes impurity, passion, evil desire and greed. All of these deal with getting what we want. Again, self-gratification. Pleasing ourselves. The root of all these issues is greed. Greed is the overmastering desire for what belongs to another; it includes the breaking of the laws of right and justice in order to obtain them for self.
It is the relentless urge to get more. This is really the root of the rest of the list of things we are to banish from our lives.
We must move in a direction of pleasing God rather than ourselves. God is not against sex, in fact He created it, but sex outside of marriage is wrong, no exceptions. As long as we live in a fallen world, we will struggle with these issues. The last part of verse five tells us that these things amount to idolatry.
When we reject or ignore the true God of the Bible, and His commands, we actually make up a god of our own imagination. And any god other than the one true God of the Bible, will allow us to make OUR desires, OUR appetites, and OUR lusts our god. Whatever we put ahead of God becomes our god. We may not have little statues that we worship in our homes, but what we have is worse when we give our lives over to them.
We left the old life because it does not get us where we want to go. The old way of life lead to destruction, it separated us from God and it opened us up to being subject to the wrath of God.
The old way of life had nothing good for us, it used us and tossed us aside. The things listed in verse five are to be a part of the OLD life. This is a reason for us to put sin to death in our lives. Our new direction is to walk with God.
When we sin, it is because we are doing what our flesh (the old man) wants instead of what God wants. When we are immersed into Christ, we are fully saved, our life then is about reflecting that position with Christ.
II. A NEW LIFE MUST HAVE A CHANGE OF ATTITUDE.
Verses 8-9 deal with issues of attitude. Because we laid aside the old life, we need to have a new attitude. We are told that we are in need of putting some old attitudes away.
To put aside means to take off - like taking off clothing. We are to disrobe from these sinful attitudes. If these attitudes are left in place in our lives, they will build upon one another.
Let’s look at the list in verses 8 and 9:
Anger Wrath Malice Slander Abusive Speech Lying
Anger is a deep smoldering bitterness. If we don’t eradicate it from our lives, it soon becomes wrath, which is a deep determined anger that manifests itself in outbursts of anger.
Wrath, then if left within us, leads to malice. Malice is being determined to cause injury to another person, either physically or to their reputation.
And, then Malice if kept, can lead to Slander and Abusive Speech.
If we are to be in Christ, we must rid ourselves of these things.
It is a reality that many Christians still, some after decades of seeming to be living in Christ, to this day struggle with these attitudes.
The Apostle Paul instructs us, in Ephesians 4:29 (NASB) “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.”
It is easy for us to focus on the evils of verse 5 and forget about the evils in verse 8. The issues of attitude in verse 8 may be more difficult for us to deal with because we can always rationalize our actions.
We all know that bad attitudes lead to bad actions.
Verse 9 encourages us not to lie to one another. When we harbor bad things in the heart, they will come out in our actions.
When you struggle with anger issues, we must not sweep it under the rug and we must not rationalize our anger. There is no justification for the Christian to live a life in anger.
Bad attitudes will lead to bad actions. Does anyone really think God will bless you if you refuse to acknowledge the sin of anger, malice, wrath, and abusive speech?
Our attitude toward others needs to be Christ-like. We are called and obligated to treat others in a Christ-like manner, even if they do not deserve it! That is something we leave at Jesus’ feet to judge and deal with. We have tossed aside the old self with its evil practices! The new attitude that we are to have is the same one Jesus has toward others!
III. A NEW LIFE MUST HAVE A CHANGE OF PURPOSE. (9-11)
We are to have a new purpose. If you want a change in direction and a change in attitude you need a change of purpose for your life.
1. We are called to be renewed to a true knowledge of Christ. We cannot be renewed to a true knowledge of Him if we do not know anything about Him.
Many of the world’s problems come from a lack of knowledge concerning God. Our ignorance of God and His word hold us back from being transformed from a person living in the flesh, and one living in the Spirit – transformed in the likeness of Christ. But, obviously, we cannot be transformed into an image we do not know. Learning about God is exciting, and it is transforming!
2. A true knowledge of Christ will lead us to new life. By obtaining knowledge of Christ and His will, our spiritual being is being changed into the likeness of Jesus.
We learn to feel, act, and think like Christ. Romans 12:2 (NASB) “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
So, what is our new purpose? Our new purpose is to be transformed into the image of Jesus!
2 Corinthians 3:18 (NASB) “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.”
That is your calling in Christ! It is all about trust; it is about trusting God with your life. It is about seeking Him in every area of your life. It is about letting God have you; it is about pursuing God’s agenda instead of your own.
Are you feeling less than enthusiastic about your faith? To have the faith and relationship you want, you will need to change some things. Then it is time for a change of direction, a change of attitude, and a change of purpose.
Moral of the story: Doing what you have always done will give you what you have always got.