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Colossians
Colossians 1:19-29
Colossians 2:6-23
Colossians 3:5-25
Colossians 4:2-18

 

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Colossians 3:5-25

 

“Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:  for which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:  in the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.  But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.  Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:  where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free:  but Christ is all, and in all.  Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any:  even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.  And above all these things put on charity [agape’], which is the bond of perfectness.  And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.  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.  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.  Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.  Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.  Children, obey your parents in all things:  for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.  Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.  Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God:  and whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance:  for ye serve the Lord Christ.  But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done:  and there is no respect of persons.” 

 

Put To Death Your Carnal Cravings And Activities

 

“Colossians chapter 3, I’m going to begin from verse 1, even though we’ve gone through the first four verses, get a running start at where we are.  It says, “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.  Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.  For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.  When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.”  And the class condition is “As you are, since you are risen with Christ…” remember back in chapter 2, verse 12, he said ‘you were buried with him in baptism, wherein also you are risen with him through faith, which is the operation of God.’  So then, if ye be risen with Christ, continually seek those things which are above, where Christ sits at the right hand of God…that are seeking,’ should continually be in a spiritual direction.  ‘Continually set your affections or your mind on things above, not on things of the earth.’  That’s very difficult, because the earth is pulling on us all day, every day, we have to be responsible and eek a living out of this world, and take care of the God-given responsibilities we have, and yet it says that our affections should be attached to heaven, “for” reason being, “you are dead”, and of course if you’re dead, you can’t be very attracted to this world if you’re dead.  “you are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.  And when Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall you also appear with him in glory.” (verse 4)  So what a day that will be, coming back through the sky with the Saviour and Lord and a multitude of angels.  Verse 5 now picks up, it says, “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth;” now it’s not telling us to humiliate the Body of Christ, I’ll explain.  “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:  for which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:” (verses 5-6)  So, “Mortify therefore” is the same phrase “to put to death.”  ‘To murder, to put to death your carnal cravings and activities.’  Now it’s interesting, because he already said ‘You are dead.’  And yet now he’s saying ‘put to death.’  ‘You are dead, your life is hid in Christ with God.’  That’s judicial.  As far as God [the Father] is concerned, that’s truth.  You accepted Christ as your Saviour, you have entered into Christ, Christ has entered into you, as far as God is concerned in regards to righteousness and eternity, you are dead and you life is hid in Christ with God.  [see, http://www.unityinchrist.com/corinthians/1st%20Corinthians.htm and read the paragraph titled ‘What is Sanctification?’]  And Paul is now saying, ‘OK now, you therefore mortify therefore your members, your physical members, the carnal part of your nature that is attracted to this world,’ and it’s in the middle voice [grammatically speaking], which means, ‘God is doing it, but expecting your cooperation, you’re to be part of the process.’  So, “Mortify therefore” because your life is hid in Christ with God, because the Lord has secured your eternity, ‘mortify therefore your members, your physical being, your flesh, your frame which are upon the earth, fornication, sexual sin, uncleanness…’  What’s uncleanness?  That’s everything else, no excuses, ‘Well we did everything BUT…’  Well, it doesn’t matter, because ‘but fornication and everything else’ is uncleanness.  Don’t tell me ‘We did everything but,’ because that’s covered.  You know, we talk to a young couple, ‘We’re struggling, we need to…’ Yeah, yeah, everybody on earth is struggling.  ‘Well we did everything but.’   Well, I’m impressed.  I wouldn’t be impressed if it was my daughter, you know.  “fornication, uncleanness,” that’s everything else, ok?  “inordinate affection,” that is “out of the ordinary, inordinate, evil cravings, dark stuff.  “evil concupiscence,” some of you are doing that and you don’t even know it, because you don’t know what that is.  ‘Oh no, more concupiscence, I know it.’  Ah, again, that’s the same thing, it’s just evil cravings, evil desires.  You know, and look, this is the first generation that’s fed by MTV, Internet pornography.  How much is available to us?  You know, when I want to watch a football game, when I turn on a football game, and I have to turn off the commercials because they’re advertising orgies on the commercial.  I mean, I want to watch full-grown men brutalize each other on the football field, but I don’t want to watch that other stuff.  You know what I mean?  I mean, we’re the first generation with this stuff washing over us continually, that encourages this traitor that lives within us.  [I remember as a young boy, preteens, early teens, us boys had to go to Frizzle’s Barber shop to the magazine rack he had, and look behind the normal magazines where he had a warn-out, dog-eared Playboy hidden there.  That’s the entire pornography in town we had access to.  And that Playboy magazine was tame compared to what’s out there now, all over the Internet.]  So, “evil concupiscence, covetousness, which is” take note, “idolatry.”  Covetousness is idolatry.  ‘Well this is what I want, and I’m miserable because I didn’t get it.’  Well that’s because you’re worshipping at the wrong altar.  Because if you make something else your god, and it doesn’t pan out, you’re miserable.  If God is your God, and something doesn’t pan out, nobody’s taken your God away.  “covetousness which is idolatry:  for which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:” (verses 5c-6)  “Cometh,” eth, is coming, has come, shall come, is the idea, the wrath of God comes.  That’s all I need to hear to be on my toes.  “in the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.” (verse 7)  There was a time in your life, before you were saved, when these things were the way we lived, ah, before we got saved, we conducted ourselves that way.  Paul is dealing with another problem in Colossi, because the Gnostics, Gnosticism was strong there.  Gnosticism taught that because the flesh was carnal, and it wasn’t related to spiritual things, that even though it was evil, you could sin in the flesh, and it had no effect on your spiritual condition.  And some people in the Church, ridiculously believe that today.  Paul is combating that, he’s saying, ‘Look, your life is hid in Christ with God,’ you have that hope, we’re waiting for Jesus Christ to come, and he could come at any moment, he’s paid the price for us, he’s secured our future.  What he asks of us now is, ‘put to death those carnal activities that used to be the way we lived.’  Oh, we were righteous weren’t we?  If we sold somebody drugs, we always gave them a full count, or we slept with a girl we loved, only punched somebody in the nose if they deserved it.  I mean, we were righteous, you know.  Mortify those things, put them to death, they have no place in the life of a Christian.  That’s outward. 

 

Now The Inward Sins, Put These Off Too

 

Verse 8, he says this, “But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.”  Now he’s going to deal with inner things.  He dealt with outer things.  What he’s doing is he’s making an analogy with putting off and putting on, and it’s ‘to strip off, to put off’ in a sense like you’re taking off old clothes, and you’re putting on something new.  You know when Lazarus came out of the tomb, they took those grave-clothes off of him.  Well when we came out of the tomb with Christ, those old clothes need to come off.  You take dirty clothes off at the end of the day.  And how is it that we leave dirty clothes on our heart?  We care about the way people think the way we dress.  You know, you have to wear a certain hat, certain pair of jeans, and a certain kind of shirt, and smell a certain way.  I remember when my son was in sixth grade, he asked me for Nautica Cologne.  I said, ‘I still got Old Spice I bought twenty years ago, you’re outa your mind.  You don’t need to smell good to a girl in sixth grade.  You need to smell bad for about the next ten years, as a matter of fact.’  [laughter]  But all of that pressure is out there.  We care what we look like, we care about the kind of clothes we have on.  And Paul’s making this analogy, ‘You’re in Christ, we should be wiling to participate in this process of taking off the filthy clothes and the filthy garments that we were clothed in when we were in the world.’  Not just the outward things, because, we can be stoic, we can be in a monastery and do that, but the inward things too.  You can be self-righteous in just the letter of the law and not in the spirit of the law.  [see, he’s saying the law’s not done away, not by a longshot, not in the believers life.]  You can not do something [in obeying the outward commandments of God] and still hate somebody on the inside.  That doesn’t reflect Christ or what he wants to do in our hearts at all.  We can say ‘I’m really doing good, I didn’t punch him,’ and the whole time you want to murder him.  ‘I ground my teeth to powder but I didn’t punch him.’  But Paul goes to the inside.  “Now ye” he says, “put off all these; anger,” like you’re taking something dirty off, it’s “orgai it speaks of a settled attitude [of anger].  You know people like that, they are just angry people.  The fruit of the Spirit is love [agape-love].  I was angry when I got saved.  I had an anger problem.  And if I was pushed past a point, I only saw blood.  It took a lot to push me there, but when I crossed the line, you didn’t want to be around.  And there were people I hated when I grew up.  As a teenager, not even believing in God, there were people in my family I asked God to kill.  And Christ can put love in our hearts.  [read Laura Hilderbrand’s “Unbroken:  A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption”, available on http://www.amazon.com, I suggest ordering it as a used book, hardcover.  Talk about loving someone you hated, a person that spent two years trying to kill you.  And then, God.  And then hatred turns to love and forgiveness.]  He changes us.  He sets us free from that.  He’s not asking you to do this on your own strength, we have a new nature.  We have the power of the Holy Spirit.  He’s asking us to agree with this, to cooperate with it, to participate with it.  Not to do it all on your own strength, it will never happen.  But he’s saying to us now, we have to think about these things, “anger” orgie, is a settled angry attitude, “wrath” thumos, is the lashing out.  And that’s what I would do, I would cook for awhile, and then the thumos would come.  And then you’re patching up holes in sheetrock walls, gluing furniture back together.  I can’t imagine Jesus sitting around with the Elmer’s Glue putting a chair back together, you know.  Anger and wrath speak of attitude and action that’s not Christlike.  And look, you have James and John, the sons of thunder, they wanted to call down fire from heaven and burn people up that didn’t want to listen to the Gospel.  But he ends up being the “apostle of love,” John.  God wants to change us.  “put off all of these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.”  (verse 8)  “Malice” is a wrong attitude, an injurious attitude towards other people.  “Blasphemy”, the context here seems to be not so much against God, but deriding the character of other human beings [ie cussing them out].  “Filthy communication out of your mouth”, if that applies anywhere, if the shoe fits, wear it.  You know, you don’t have to say unclean things to me, first of all, I might be tempted to laugh at it.  Second of all, Christ is being formed in me, and he doesn’t think that’s funny.  And that’s what I need help with, Christ being formed in me, not my old carnal nature being re-enforced in some stupid joke or thing.  ‘Put off these, anger, wrath, malice,’ these are attitudes within.  ‘blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.’  “Lie not one to another,” boy the Lord knows us, doesn’t he, “Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off” stripped off, to take away, “the old man with his deeds;” and these are with the once and for all action, but it’s middle voice, is something you’re supposed to be part of…

 

It’s First A Putting Off, And Then A Putting On, That Demonstrates Our Change In Christ

 

“and have put on the new man, which is renewed” which is constantly in the process of “being renewed”, “in knowledge after the image of him that created him:”  (verses 9-10)  It’s not just putting off, it isn’t just ‘I don’t do this anymore, I don’t do that anymore, well I don’t do this anymore, and I don’t do that anymore.’  Well I still don’t know who you are.  All I know is what you don’t do.  I don’t know who you are until I know what you do.  If I know what you don’t do, I don’t know anything about you.  ‘I don’t chop off fingers, ah, I don’t put my cat in the microwave,’ well I still don’t know who you are.  You’re just telling me what you don’t do.  And Christianity isn’t enough just to put off, it isn’t enough that we get saved and we stop doing things that we’re doing, that’s not regeneration.  Regeneration is something new born within us, that then becomes the dominant force in our lives, and there’s something attached to that.  So it’s putting off, and then putting on, that demonstrates the change that Christ should have in our lives.  He says, ‘and have put on the new man, which is constantly in the process of being renewed,’ there’s a process, God is regenerating, working in us, changing us, fixing us…

 

Class Distinctions That Should Not Exist Amongst God’s People

 

“in knowledge after the image of him that created him:  where there is neitherwhere there can not be, this is interesting, “there can not be” and he’s going to go through a list of class distinctions that should not exist amongst God’s people.  The first one is racial, that’s the world.  In the Church there is to be no racial distinction.  [That is why I really believe Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson was a real believer.  Every time he got paid, he sent half his military wages to a Black evangelical church.  Didn’t know that, did you?]  The world is filled with injustice.  In the Church there should not be racial distinction.  Then he goes to religious distinctions.  In Christ, how can there be religious distinction.  If you’re a Baptist and you love Jesus, and I go to Calvary Chapel and I love Jesus, we’re brothers and sisters in Christ.  You have the same Holy Spirit I have, you have the same Bible I have, you have the same God that I have.  Social class, he goes down to Barbarian and Scythian [that is still somewhat racial.  The Barbarians were a race, nationality, and so were the Scythians, whom some trace to one or two of the ten tribes of Israel], bond and free [now that’s social class], that is social strata, there shouldn’t be, we shouldn’t look down on anyone because they’re poor or look up to someone because they’re rich (cf. James 2:1-9).  He goes through these, ‘these can not be, in Christ.’  “where there is neither”, literally it is “where there can not be Greek nor Jew”, that’s racial, “circumcision nor uncircumcision,” no religious distinction, as it were, in Christ, “Barbarian, Scythian,” Barbarian was just anyone in the Roman Empire that didn’t talk Greek, and it became anyone who was not one of the Roman Mediterranean system.  And a Scythian was a person on the lowest rung of Barbarian, they subdivided Barbarian.  [You know why?  The Scythian Empire, to the northeast and east of the Roman Empire was never able to be conquered by Rome.  The Scythians actually forced Rome to the peace table, and Rome never wanted to go to war against the Scythian Empire.  Scythians actually helped sack Rome during it’s fall in 476AD.  Since most of western history comes from Rome, and Scythia was an enemy, not much was recorded or passed down to us, because they were enemies of Rome.  Scythians were feared by Rome.  And within their own empire they were not low class at all, and they were mostly free men, having more freedoms than Roman citizens.]  “bond nor free,” [now that’s social distinction, bond and free, slave and free] “but Christ is all and in all.” (verse 11) 

 

What We’re To Put On Now

 

“Put on therefore, as the elect of God,” you’re a Jew, you’re a Greek, you’re circumcised, you’re not circumcised, Barbarian, Scythian, bond or free, you’re the elect of God, “holy and beloved,” put on therefore “bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;”  “bowels of mercy”, well that sounds exciting, doesn’t it?  It was the culture.  They believed that the greatest emotion came from the deepest place.  They didn’t believe the greatest emotion came from your heart.  They used the term of heart to speak of the inner man, but when it says “bowels of mercies” it means with the deepest kind of feeling, it’s a genuineness.  You know, you said to your wife in those days, ‘I love you with all my bowels.’  [laughter]  On the Valentines day card there was no heart, there was a small image of a large intestine on the cover, ‘Honey, I love you.’  Don’t believe me, there wasn’t a Valentines day then, I’m just giving you the idea here, visual image to help remember the lesson there that goes along there.  “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies,” if you’re putting off all of this other stuff, you should have genuine concern for others, “kindness,” which should be your attitude, “humbleness of mind,” that’s a proper evaluation of yourself, “meekness,” it’s not weakness, it’s meekness, “longsuffering;” that’s not loudsuffering, that’s what we used to do, this is “longsuffering,” it’s relative to human beings to suffer long with them, “forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any:  ever as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.” (verses 12-13)  You may have a Gloss, it says “a complaint against any.”  Imagine that, someone in the Body of Christ with a complaint against someone else.  Am I glad that doesn’t happen here, I’ll tell you.  Look what it says, “forgiving one another, if any man have a complaint against any,” what it’s saying is, if you have a complaint against someone else, chances are, the first source of that problem is unforgiveness.  “Forgiving one another, if any have a complaint”, what it’s saying is that ‘forgiveness removes that attitude of complaining and whining and picking on someone else.’  And if you maintain that, maybe the problem isn’t the person you’re complaining about, maybe the problem is you’re not Christlike, and what there needs to be in your life, instead of an attitude where you’re chewing somebody out, there needs to be rather, forgiveness.  Can’t go wrong.  Not a bad chance to take.  You know, I look at these things and I think, imagine this, a whole group of people, you know, there’s 1,800 of us, 2,000 of us here tonight, imagine if everybody in this room loved people from the deepest part of their being, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering, forbearing one another and forgiving one another, if any man has a complaint against someone else.  You know, if you saw USA Today last week and the article about the mega-churches on the cover, mega-churches.  ‘And mega-churches are a problem’, they had John Courson’s son on the cover.  Any of you guys see that?  John Courson left his church in Applegate, and right after he left they did the article, his son took over, and he’s on the cover of USA Today saying he has a problem.  And they were saying, these huge churches, they don’t pay real-estate tax, ‘Coffee shops, they’re not just churches,’ and they sited some big churches in Texas that have health clubs, and one of them has a McDonald’s on the grounds, ‘These mega-churches, they’re a problem.  The people in the neighbourhood can’t park, and they’re a problem!’  ‘Imagine that, with thousands of people, with bowels of mercy, kindness, humbleness, meekness, longsuffering, forbearing one another, we don’t want a lot of that stuff around here!  We’d rather have small mean groups.’  [laughter]  Isn’t it ridiculous?  “forbearing one another, forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any:  even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.” (verse 13)  Look, “even as,” in the same way that Christ has forgiven you.  He had a complaint against you.  He had to go to the cross and die because of your sin.  The Romans didn’t nail him to the cross, and the Jews didn’t nail him to the cross, I did, and you did.  And it says here that we should forgive one another even as Christ has forgiven us.  ‘Well I’ll forgive him, but I won’t forget.’  Na-aa, that’s not Biblical forgiveness.  He says he removes our sins as far as the East is from the West.  He chooses to remember our sin no more.  God can’t forget, because he’s God, because he knows everything at once.  But he can choose not to remember.  And he remembers not our sins and our transgressions.  Forgive one another the way Christ forgave you.  ‘Well they don’t deserve it.’  Well guess what?  Neither did we, that’s how we got saved, we didn’t deserve to get forgiven, we didn’t deserve to be loved, we didn’t deserve his longsuffering, that’s what Grace is.  And we should be gracious, with longsuffering, even as Christ forgave you.  We forget sometimes, don’t we?  “so also do ye.” 

 

‘And Above All These Things, Put On Agape’

 

“And above all these things” I’m tired Paul, the list is long enough here.  Here’s the “above all”, “And above all these things put on charity [agape’], which is the bond of perfectness.” (verse 14)  “perfectness”, maturity, completeness, put on agape, that’s the superglue, that’s the bond.  That’s the advertisement where the guy glues his hardhat to the beam and hangs in the air, ‘above all put on charity, agape.’  That’s the anyway love, the no matter what you’ve done love, the “I love you anyway” love, “though you don’t deserved to be loved” love.  Above everything else put on agape.  That’s not a feeling, it’s a decision.  ‘Lord, this person is a jerk, and they deserve to get smoked, but so do I, and you love me, so I am going to love them with the same kind of love you love me with.’  It is a decision, not a feeling.  Sometimes feelings fall in line.  But agape is intelligent, it’s purposeful, and we choose.  He’s asking us to do these things, ‘above all these things, put on’ middle voice, you do this also, ‘charity’ [Greek Agape’], which is the bond of completeness, maturity.’ [The main things that Paul is telling these Colossians and the Church in general to put on are the fruits of God’s agape-love. So Paul’s message is balanced.  It has the “don’t do this” part of God’s moral law, and also the essential “but while you’re not doing all this bad stuff, be doing this, be bearing the fruits of God’s agape-love toward one another, and toward those on the outside too.”  To learn more about that, see: http://www.unityinchrist.com/Agape/Agape%20I.htm.  Also an essential subject of forgiving one another is contained in this series at:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/wwcofg/reconciliation/MinistryOfReconciliation1.htm]   

 

‘Let The Peace Of God Umpire In Your Hearts’

 

“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.” (verse 15)  “Let”, your choice, middle voice, “allow,” he’s saying “let this happen,” “let the peace of God rule in your hearts,”  ‘Well I don’t have any peace, this guy’s…I’ve lost all my peace.’  Well then, let the peace of God, “rule” is the word “umpire.”  ‘Let the peace of God make the call.’  ‘Lord, I’m loosing all my peace, I just want to strangle the guy!’  ‘Talk to the Umpire.  Let the peace of God make the call, let the peace of God umpire in your hearts.  You sit back quietly and listen, and the Lord will speak to you.  And he’s just saying ‘chill out, I’ll handle this.  I’m God, you’re not.’  ‘Oh, right, I remember now.’  And look, the peace of God, great compass, I think, after the Word of God, one of the great things that helps us decide God’s will for our lives is the peace of God.  Never make a decision, first of all, that contradicts the Word of God, that will never be God’s will.  The Holy Spirit’s not saying ‘You know, I inspired these guys to write this stuff a long time ago, but the culture’s changed, society’s changed, I wish I could do an abridged addition, and updated addition, you know, just kind of bring the Word of God up to speed,’  no, no, the Word of God is eternal, it stands outside of time, it’s relative to every age.  ‘Well it’s more of an Eastern culture…’ don’t ever buy into that Eastern-Western lie.  The Word of God is for human beings in every age, and the Word of God is eternal, and it divides into our being between that which is soulish and spiritual, and it doesn’t have any problem, it’s alive and powerful.  “Let the peace of God umpire in your hearts.  To which also ye are called in one body, and be ye thankful.” (verse 15) 

 

Don’t Ever Violate Your Peace

 

Look, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom;” again, this is middle voice, exhortation, ‘allow the Word of Christ, the Word of God to dwell in you richly’ to dwell means to settle down and to be at home, to settle down and be at home.  Remember the Beverly Hillbillies, set awhile, take your shoes off, set awhile.  You know, that’s to settle down, be at home.  ‘Let the Word of God settle down and dwell in you richly.’  Well it can’t happen if you’re filled with malice, and envy and anger, if you’re living in fornication. It says, no, look, your life is hid in Christ with God, he’s given you the power of his Spirit, the things that you long for and that you hunger for, one day when we appear with Christ, all that knawing of the human nature is really for restoration face to face with God, what Adam enjoyed with God in the Garden, it’s all going to be replaced in a hundred-fold.  So for now, God’s done everything, he’s asking for your participation, put off these things, mortify the flesh, fornication, uncleanness, evil concupiscence, all of this stuff, deal with that.  Because the wrath of God is coming upon the children of disobedience for these things.  Also put away the attitudes that these things are born from, the inward things of anger, lashing out, and malice and these things.  Put those things away, and rather put on the new nature that you have in Christ through the power of the Spirit.  It’s like taking off dirty clothes.  You wouldn’t go out somewhere with dirty, smelly clothes on.  How can we allow ourselves to have a dirty, smelly attitude?  Put on the new life, forgiveness, love, longsuffering, forbearing one another.  Let agape’ be the hallmark of your character.  Well I haven’t arrived yet, but I’m saying Amen to all of this.  ‘Let the peace of God be the umpire in your heart in difficult situations, and’ “let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly,” be at home, “in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” (verse 16)  And verse 17 kind of sums up our journey so far, “And whatsoever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”  Now remember, Paul’s in prison while he’s giving all this advice, “giving thanks to God the Father by him.”  Do all unto the Lord, that’s how you should live your life.  So, the Word of God, the written Word of God, certainly our central compass, direction, faith and practice.  ‘But I’m moving, and I have a job offer in Texas, and I have a job offer in Baltimore, and I looked through all of Deuteronomy and Leviticus and I couldn’t find Baltimore and I couldn’t find,’  well then, look, then you seek the Lord, and you get before him in your heart.  Wisdom from above is pure, it’s peaceable, it’s easily entreated, it works out easily.  Don’t ever make a decision, you’re in the Word of God, your on safe ground, if you have to make a decision beyond that, God will let you do that, you seek him for his will, don’t ever violate your peace.  Now maybe that’s not a rule for you, that’s a rule for me.  If I don’t have the peace about it, I’m not gonna do it.  Because if I wait long enough, all of the other alternatives kind of fall down, and there’s one left.  In fact I say to the Lord, when I have to make that kind of decision, because I know the routine.  OK, there’s a new job offer, a new thing, and you’re about to say ‘Yes’, and all of a sudden two other one’s pop up on either side of it.  Man, I hate it when that happens.  ‘OK Lord, I’m going to sit here, I am not going to move until you build a fire underneath of me, and you blow up every alternative.  What I want is an environment I can’t stay in, and one bridge that leads to one door, I just want your will.’  And it means the ball’s in his court, he is looking for those whose hearts are perfect towards him, that he might show himself strong on their behalf.  If our hearts are there, ‘You lead, I don’t have an agenda here,’ he will give you peace, I believe that, and you let the peace of God then umpire in your hearts.  And finally you can say, ‘You know, I really have a peace about this.’  You know, God’s not gonna get you if you make the other decision, but we want his best.  I want his best.  Let the peace of God umpire, let the Word of God dwell in you richly, and if that’s happening it’ll be psalms, hymns, spiritual songs, Old Testament Psalms [some denominations have put music to the Psalms and use them as their hymns, totally Biblical], some of the great hymns, I love some of the depths of some of the lyrics of the great hymns of the Church, spiritual songs, “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.” 

 

Paul’s Teaching For Wives and Husbands

 

Now, wives, I didn’t write this, wives.  [laughter]  Get the tapes on Ephesians 5, we spent some time there.  “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.”  The “S” word is there, you see that.  That’s also in the middle voice, if you read a translation from the Greek it normally says “Wives, subject yourselves,” and all the wives are saying, ‘that’s what we feel like, we’re subjected, we feel like that,’ no, “Wives, subject yourselves unto your own husbands, as is fit [it’sproper”] in the Lord.” (verse 18)  Not in sin.  ‘Well me husband wants me to watch pornography,’ you don’t have to do that, the Bible doesn’t uphold that.  ‘He wants me to lie.’  No, it is “as is fit in the Lord.”  1st Corinthians 11, the head of Christ is God, there’s an order in the Kingdom, not a democracy.  The head of Christ is God [the Father], Christ is submitted, he has a head, he has a covering it says there.  He is God the Son, equal to God the Father, that in function the head of Christ is God.  The head of the man is Christ, and the head of the wife is the husband.  Wives who are fighting with their husbands for that position of leadership, are fighting with Christ for His position in the husband’s life, they’re not fighting with the husband.  They’re fighting with Jesus, trying to take Jesus’ position in the husband’s life.  “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.” (verse 18), as is proper, in the Lord.  I know we should move right along here, I dislike that sound, inaudible, that says ‘You’re gonna die if you don’t just move along now,’ ok, here we go.  “Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.” (verse 19)  And this is one of the places where we’re glad there’s an insertion.  See that word “your” that’s in italics?  That helps us understand the text, it doesn’t say ‘Husbands, love wives, ‘ it’s “Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.” (verse 19), because they didn’t read verse 18.  Ah, “Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter” or harsh towards “them.”  The husband is male not just by biology but by spirit [i.e. the spirit-in-man], by emotion.  The woman is female, not just by biology, but by spirit, by emotion.  The husband, in his insecurity, the husband needs from the wife, I mean, it’s hard enough for me to be the spiritual leader in a family.  It’s hard enough for me, if I pray, and say ‘I think we’re supposed to do this,’ and she says, ‘You’re sure?’  ‘Well I was until I talked to you, I’ll go back and pray some more.’  [laughter]  You know, it’s hard enough, because you want to do the right thing, ‘Honey, I’m not out robbing banks, I’m not out selling drugs, I’m a pastor, I want to do what’s right, cut me some slack here, you know.’  And the husband needs that support.  The wife needs love.  [To see how this should all play out, see the article “His Needs, Her Needs” at http://www.HOWMARRIAGEWORKS.COM]  He doesn’t have to tell the wife to love the husband, that’s a value system she already has, but the husband needs to be attentive to love his wife the way Christ loved the Church, to agape her, to love her selflessly, and not to treat her harshly or to be bitter.  ‘You heard Pastor Joe, you’re trying to take Christ’s place in my life!  The head of Christ is God, the head of the man is Christ, and the HEAD OF THE WOMAN IS THE HUSBAND, ARE YOU DEAF?’ ‘I mean, look, under you there’s kids, there’s dogs and there’s goldfish, what do you want!?’ [I could just hear Archie Bunker saying this to Edith J ]  Hey, men can be like that.  Don’t be bitter against them, they want to help.  Wives, remember, you make a lousy Holy Ghost.  Let the Holy Ghost be the Holy Ghost.  I know you want to change your husbands, and we need to be changed.  But God has undertaken the same task, believe me, and he’s committed to complete that work, until the day of Christ.  So he’s begun a good work, and he’s changing us, and you can be an addendum to that.  But, husbands, don’t be bitter at your wives, they are trying to help in their role in all of this also.   

 

Paul’s Teaching For Children

 

OK, let’s move on to the kids, we can all pick on them together.  “Children, obey your parents in all things:” now of course, that’s not in sin again, “for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.” (verse 20)  Ah, there’s only about four verses from Genesis to Revelation, written to children, directly to children.  There’s lot of instruction to parents about raising children.  But as far as verses actually written to children, I think there’s only four.  You can double-check, read through the Bible next week and let me know.  Ah, in Exodus 20, “Honour your mother and father,” and of course that’s reiterated.  In Ephesians 6, here, I mean, all of those places it’s “children, obey your parents,” or “children, honour your parents.”  That’s all God asks from a kid, little kid, ‘Obey your parents.’  That’s all you gotta know.  As you get older you need to know more, I understand that.  But as a little kid.  You don’t have to understand eschatology [Bible 2nd coming prophecy], you know, your five-year-old doesn’t have to understand the difference between pre-Trib, mid-Trib and post-Trib, they just need to understand to obey.  It will shape their will.  They don’t have to understand theology.  You know, you say to your little kid, ‘Christ is the door,’ well if he’s three-years old he’s going to be looking at the door.  ‘Well, I mean, Christ it the Light.’  [so your little kid is looking at the lightbulb J ]  Again, I remember Joshua, when he was two-and-a-half, three years old, we were flying home from Los Angeles, and he was sitting next to me on the plane.  Next to me was between Kathy and I, because that’s where he needed to be seated.  And I was looking out the window, and if you’ve flown, sometimes you’ll see the clouds like they’re in rank and file, they look like whole ordered rows of them, and it’s so beautiful, and I think they are ordered, by the way.  So, I said to Josh, ‘Look at that!  Josh, look at those clouds over there, God’s got them all lined up in ranks there, like soldiers,’ and he’s looking, you know, and he said, ‘We’re up in the sky, right?’  I said, ‘Yup,’ he said, ‘Jesus is up in the sky, right?’  I said, ‘Yeah,’  he said, ‘We gonna hit him?’  [loud laughter]  ‘Never mind, it was just a cloud thing, do what you’re doing there.’  Can’t expect great theological things from your little kid.  They just need to obey.  Now, there’s a problem.  They start to grow up.  They turn into junior-higher’s and senior higher’s, and a change takes place.  Before the age of reason, the Bible doesn’t use that phrase anywhere, I understand that, Deuteronomy, Jonah, David with the baby that died, ‘unless you become as little children,’ Paul, ‘when I was a child I thought as a child, when I became a man I put away childish things,’ there’s a line drawn in the Scripture between a small child and a young man or woman who starts to reason.  God says, ‘Come let us reason together, though your sins be as scarlet.’  So there is a point in time when your 12-year-old, 13-year-old, 14-year-old is no longer just your kid, but they’re your brother in Christ or your sister in Christ, moms and dads.  And if God is honoring their ability to reason and to choose, then the parent has to make that transition, and it’s difficult sometimes.  Because for ten years you’ve been saying, ‘Why?’  ‘Because if you don’t, I’ll kill ya, 240 lbs and you’re a skirt, that’s why, this is simple.’  ‘Oh, okay.’  But all of a sudden, when God begins to honor their ability to reason, then they say ‘Why?’  ‘What do you mean, why?  Go get the CD, let’s read the lyrics together.’  You can’t at that point be saying, ‘I’ll kill ya’ anymore.  Because (if you do) the walls start to go up, and things start to, it’s wrong.  If God is honoring their ability to think, then you reason and you pray with them, and before them, it’s a tough transition to make, because now they’re your brothers in Christ or your sisters in Christ.  There’s a thing we have to watch out for, and I’m convinced of it, because I see it in the church.  Because kids will say, when they grow up in a Christian environment, and you try to put some restriction on them, ‘Well, what do you want!?  I don’t do sex and I don’t do drugs!  What else do you want!?’  Like, those are the two measuring lines, ‘Okay, I got  a kid who don’t do sex and don’t do drugs, everything else should be free then.’  And there’s this attitude (within them) that is still rebellion.  And rebellion is the seed of it (sin) anyway.  That’s where the sex comes from and that’s where the drugs comes from, the seed of that is rebellion.  And there can still be an attitude in the life of a junior-high kid or a teenager, in a Christian home, because he says ‘I don’t do nothing, I don’t go out, I don’t have sex, I don’t take drugs, I’m not drinking, what do you want!?’  No, no, look there’s an attitude there that is ungodly, that is not prescribed by the Lord, and rebellion is like the sin of witchcraft.  You have godly parents, they love you, they want the best for you, there is nothing in the Scripture that gives license for that [i.e. rebellion].  Because I have parents that come to me that say, ‘Well, what do you want, my kid don’t, my kid’s a virgin, doesn’t do this,’ that’s not the measure, that’s part of the measure, that’s good.  That should be the fruit of the Holy Spirit working in their lives.  But beyond that there’s an attitude, ‘forbearing,’ that is expected of them as they turn into adults too, ‘forgiving one another, longsuffering.’  You know, there is a place too, for a kid to realize ‘These are the parents that God gave me,’ or, ‘This is the single mom that God gave me.  Jesus you were raised with a single mom, show me.  You understand my heart and my struggle.’  Or by this dad, ‘Show me, Lord, you’re a father, you’re the best father, show me how to relate in this.’  There is a place where attitude supercedes just actions.  So it isn’t enough just to say ‘I don’t do this anymore, I don’t do nothing.’  Now look, I understand that, that’s great.  But man, if you have parents that love Christ, you should get on your knees every day and thank God.  And if you don’t believe me, I’ll introduce you to 500 people here that’ll tell you the same thing, who grew up in abusive situations, with parents who couldn’t have cared about their life at all.  And to have somebody who wants your best, and cares, you’d better thank God every day. 

 

Paul’s Teaching For Fathers

 

Ok, now the parents.  “Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.” (verse 21)  Okay, parents, on the other side of this coin.  There is that place to me, as, you know, it says that raising children, it’s like releasing an arrow.  And I don’t like anybody messing with my aim, don’t get me wrong.  You know, I have a 19-year old, I don’t have anymore, but when I’m in the process of having a 16, 17, 18, 19-year-old, my older ones are 21 and 23, but you know, you’re at that point like you’re releasing them, you’ve taken years, you’ve aimed them, and just as you’re getting ready to release them, is when all kinds of things come, you don’t want anybody messing with your aim.  But on the other side of the coin, releasing them is part of the process, and starting to give them the option to make decisions, and know which ones to give them to make.  Very important, very important.  And they can’t grow, if all they hear is the negative.  ‘You got what on your report card!?  You got A’s in everything and a C in History!?  You’re not my kid, that’s your mother’s gene pool, that’s not me.’  You know, look, if all they hear is the negative, you’re going to kill them.  They need affirmation.  They need encouragement.  And God has made every one of them different.  I mean, my son went through four years in high school, I don’t know what he did.  It was wonderful, I never saw a page of homework, I never saw a book report, I have no idea what he did in high school, he got 3.7, 3.8 point average all the way through, but I have no idea what he did.  I wish they were all like that, but they’re not.  You have others that every day you have to know what they’re doing.  I mean, I’m having to look at Algebra, you understand, this is torturous to me, I got to get in Miss Bailey’s class and re-familiarize, it really wouldn’t be re-familiarizing myself with Algebra, because I didn’t pay attention in high school, because I wasn’t saved, it would be ‘learn Algebra.’  And you have another one where you say, and we have four of them, they’re all different, I say, ‘Look, you can get C’s.  I understand academics is not something you’re excited about, and God did not make you that way [watch him turn out to be a pastor J], you have tremendous social skills.  But you can get C’s.  We pay money to send you to school, you can get C’s.’  But they’re all different.  And to demand, to set one set of rules, and try to have them all live by them, that’s wrong.  My grandmother, whose in heaven now, God bless her, when my mom had a twin brother, and then another sister born 14 months later, 3 and 14 months, imagine in those days, you had to boil the bottles and wash the diapers, 3 and 14 months, and maybe that’s why my grandmother got crazy, I’m not sure.  But when one of them did something wrong, she would beat all of them.  [laughter]  She said, ‘We’re 12 and 13 years old and one of us does something wrong, and here she is chasing us around the table with a wooden spoon, and she beats all of us.  She doesn’t want to know who did it, she doesn’t want to know why, we all get beat.  Because she thinks that we’re going to have a pow-wow, ‘Don’t do that, if you do that, we’ll all get beat.’  ‘You know, she thought that we were going to work it all out.’  Well to me that was completely wrong.  She knows now, she’s in heaven, that was not godly, wasn’t the way it should have happened, because they’re all different.  God doesn’t beat us for what the guy next door did, I mean, it doesn’t happen that way.  They’re all different.  There are certain standards in our home no one crosses.  But then because God gives each person idiosyncrasies and certain characteristics that lend themselves ultimately to his calling, there is leeway for individuality.  And I think it is very important, it is very important.  I couldn’t even read Cliff Notes in high school.  Now I wasn’t saved, so don’t any of you teenagers say ‘Pastor Joe said we don’t have to read…’ no I didn’t, I wasn’t saved, I didn’t have the Holy Spirit convicting me.  But my point is, you know, I got A in geometry, an A in German, I got A in physics, I got E in math, E in English, you know, I wasn’t in gear, you know, just in certain classes I never got in gear.  I did my best, but it was not good enough, but God made me a certain way.  So fathers, “provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged”, don’t discourage them, encourage them.  Don’t provoke them, don’t give them only negatives, affirm them, build them up. 

 

Paul’s Teaching For Employees

 

“Servants”, OK we’re down to, this would be “employees” “obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God.” (verse 22)  “Obey your master,” of course this is in the Lord again, we get that in Ephesians.  “According to the flesh”, you know, you have a job, you go to work, it’s called a job, and it’s called work, because it’s your job and it’s where you work.  Now that’s a mystery to some people, I know that.  They go to a place called “work” and really don’t want to do a job when they get there, and they’re there to change their boss, and change the corporation, and straighten everybody out.  That’s not what the Bible says.  It says “obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers;” not buttering up to everybody as menpleasers, “but in singleness of heart, fearing God.”  You go to work, ‘I have eyes, I have ears, I can walk, I can work, I can earn a buck, I’m going to be the best employee I can be, not because I’m serving this guy, but because I’m serving you Lord.  This is what you want from me.’  And there’s no difference between the sacred and the secular, Jesus Christ comes to the Jordan to be baptized by John and a voice speaks from heaven saying ‘This is my beloved Son, in whom I am already well-pleased,’ he’d never done a miracle, never preached a sermon, had been a carpenter for 30 years, and the Father says, ‘I am well-pleased.’  Blue-collar worker, nobody saw.  It means every door jam he put in was right, the voice said ‘This is my beloved Son,’ you know, ‘ninety-nine percent of what he does makes me happy.’  That’s not what the voice said.  ‘You’ve been a good son, except remember that one window you put in for that…’ no, ‘my beloved Son in whom I am already well-pleased.’  Because what he did was sacred, he understood that.  Not as menpleasers, but with a right heart, fearing God.  “Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;” (verse 23)  You know, some people, they have one speed, mosey, you know, you think ‘What are they doing?  They get paid by the hour, they get paid a lot to walk down the hallway there.’  Whatever you do, do it heartily, do it with zest, do it with some life, pretend your heart’s beating and there’s blood circulating through your veins and you’re breathing oxygen, just pretend all of that’s really going on, do it heartily, whatever you do, “as unto the Lord, not unto men; knowingand here is the anchor, and we’re back to verses 1 to 4, “knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance:  for ye serve the Lord Christ.” (verse 24)  You’re a carpenter, you’re sitting behind a computer, you’re an elder in the church, whatever you’re doing, wherever your station is in life, you do that with all of your heart, you do it heartily, you do it unto the Lord. You know, ‘What does the best employee look like?  How do I be the best steward over the ability you’ve given me, to think, to breathe and to walk and to see and to earn a living, how do I be a witness without opening my mouth, at the place that I work here, Lord?  Because I’m serving you and I want it to be a testimony unto you.’  And if you are completely miserable where you are, and you can’t stand it, maybe God’s moving you out.  But remember, wherever you go, it’s called “a job,” and it’s called “work.”  It started in Genesis.  If it wasn’t for that Eve [laughter], and God said after that, ‘by the sweat of thy brow you’re gonna eek a living outa the ground.’  And that’s the way it’s been for every generation.  I just saw this whole info-mmercial now on how important it is to sweat, because it detoxes your body, and it gets all that stuff out, so work hard, do it heartily.  “But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done:  and there is no respect of persons.” (verse 25)

 

Paul’s Teaching For Employers

 

“Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven. (Colossians 4:1)  Masters, this is where we’ll end, employers, give unto your servants that which is just and equal.  If you run a business, if you have people working for you, be gracious, be generous, be considerate.  In fact, I’ll tell you what to be.  Be kind, be humble, be meek, be longsuffering, be forbearing, put on those things.  If you have employees, people working for you, take care of them.  Find out who they are, find out what their middle name is, find out how many kids they have.  Find out what’s wrong with their attitude.  Talk to them.  “give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye have a Master in heaven.”  You also have someone who you are given to, in your lives…[transcript of a connective expository sermon on Colossians 3:5-25 and Colossians 4:1, given by Pastor Joe Focht, Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia, 13500 Philmont Avenue, Philadelphia, PA  19116]

 

related links:

 

The Bible teaches that there are two kinds of Sanctification.  See,

http://www.unityinchrist.com/corinthians/1st%20Corinthians.htm

 

We’re to put on God’s agape-love.  See,

http://www.unityinchrist.com/Agape/Agape%20I.htm

 

What Husbands Need to Know, see,

http://www.HOWMARRIAGEWORKS.COM

 

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