¡°SPIRITUAL IN EVERDAY LIFE¡± By Pastor YAU
Text: Colossians 3:5-11 August 10, 2014 2014
1) Definition of being spiritual: ¡°Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly (carnal)--merely infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you are not ready for that. You are worldly because there is jealousy and quarreling among you. Are you not acting like carnal men? One said I follow Paul, and another said, I follow Apollos. Are you not mere men?(1 Cor. 3:1-4) Paul defines Christians with little or low spiritual qualities in this passage, including:
a) Lacking spiritual appetite in the word of God;
b) Lacking godly love, but full of sinful nature in action;
c) Lacking the desire of unity in God's church.
2) The reality of the sinful nature: We may be surprised to read that living a risen life involves putting death to the sinful nature. Although Paul said that ¡°our old nature was crucified with Christ and our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin.¡± (Rom 6:6) That reality however must be worked out in the believer's practical living each day while we are still here in the world. There can be no maturity or holiness in our life where our sinful nature continues to run unchecked.
3) The power of the sinful nature: When we believed in Jesus Christ, we were forgiven of our sins and we died to the penalty of sin; but the power of sin still can be strong and our fresh can still be weak, as it was with the disciples of Jesus. (Matt 26:41) That is why we must continually put the sinful nature to death by yielding to the Holy Spirit. (Rom. 8:31) The power of sinful nature is still potent and the success against it demands the power of the Holy Spirit. The principle of Zachariah 4:6 applies in victory over the sinful nature: ¡°It is not by might nor by power (of man), but by the Spirit of God.¡±
SOME FOUNDATIONAL PREREQUISITES:
1) It is for a victorious living: The adverb ¡°therefore¡± in 3:5 would be lot clearer if it is rendered ¡°for this reason,¡± as it is related to 3:1-4. Paul constantly links doctrine and practice in his writing. Since believer of Christ share in the death and resurrection of Christ, and have their life hidden with him, and will one day be revealed in glory with him, (3:1-4) they must not continue to live in the old body of death, the sinful nature. Believers of Christ need to cut tie totally and completely forever with the sinful nature and the sinful pattern of their former life. By definition, Christians just cannot continue to allow the sinful nature to control their life and live in sin.
2) It is a battle of life and death: ¡°Consider...as death.¡± (3:5) ¡°Death¡±, nekroo, literally means ¡°to kill¡± or ¡°to put to death.¡± Believer of Christ must make a decisive resolution to put the sinful nature to death, never allow it to have any breath or potential of surviving. The battle of sin is a common struggle to all believers, even Paul (cf Rom 7:14-25) The desire of the new inner man to live a life pleasing to God is often held back by the old sinful fresh. Although we are new creation on the inside, but the new creation still lives in the old bodies. These old bodies can either be instruments for righteousness or for iniquity. That is the reason why Paul, after giving details on how to be born again in Christ, he urged believers ¡°to present your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is a spiritual worship. And do not be conformed to this (sinful) world, but to be transformed by the renewing of your mind.¡± (Rom 12:1-2) There shouldn't be any wavering on both sides in Christians living. Either we live in the spirit for God, or we still live in the sinful nature of this world for selfish purpose.
3) It is inclusive, not exclusive: ¡°Put members of your earthly body to death.¡± (3:5) Paul uses a figure of speech known as metonymy in this case. When he speaks of ¡°members of our earthly body¡±, he actually referring to the sins associated with the members of our body. As to the ¡°body of death¡± Paul urges us not just consider them, but ¡°put them to death.¡± Members of the bodies of Christians should be holy, under the control of the redeemed spirit. The body does what the inner spirit compels it to do, so, a spirit-controlled body must do what is good and godly. Paul uses the plural number on the ¡°members¡± to include all parts of our life. We will see the details of sins the members of the earthly body can do later on, here, we see that we need to yield all members of our body to the control of the Holy Spirit.
SINS RELATED TO THE BODY: ¡°Immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed which amounts to idolatry.¡± (3:5b) These are sins related to our sinful body we see their power still gripping many of God's children:
1) Immorality: Porneia is prostitution. When it is combined with graphe, writing description of sexual sins, it becomes pornography. This is cardinal of all sins and it is listed on top of all other sins. Sexual immorality happened in the early church as Paul rebuked the sinners in the Corinthian church, (1 Cor. 5:1) it still happens in today church. Sexual sins include all improper thought and acts and illicit relationships for the gratification of our sinful body.
2) Impurity: The Greek word katharsia, clean, when alpha is added as a prefix, it means unclean or filthiness. This is beyond the acts of immoral sins, it includes all lustful thoughts, intentions on a deeper level. When Jesus said, ¡°Everyone who looks on a woman to lust for her has committed adultery with her in his heart,¡± (Matt 5:28) because ¡°from within the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornication and adulteries.¡± (Mark7:21) Impurity is one of the sins of the sinful body. Evil deeds come from evil thoughts. Therefore the battle against all sin, particularly sexual sin, begin in a clean mind.
3) Passion and evil desire: Passion, pathos, nature of the body, from that we have pathology, the science of the body but here it refers to sexual passion set loose in the body. ¡°Evil desire¡± certainly refers sexual desires created in the mind. So, when passion and evil desire appear together, it means lustful desire of the mind and sexual passion in body go hand in hand. Paul used the graphic description of nature of sexual sins including the mind and the body to give us a clear picture what we need to see and to put it to death.
4) Greed and idolatry: Greed comes from two Greek words pleon, more, and exo, to have, in the case here, it means to ¡°have more sinful sexual thought and act,¡± although greed is not limited to sex but many other things. Reason of greed and idolatry appear together is because sex or prostitution in idol worship in Greek culture had permeated the early churches when believers didn't pay enough attention of the danger of their old ways of life.
SINS RELATED TO THE EMOTION: ¡°But now you must rid yourselves of all such as these: anger, rage, malice.¡± (3:8a)
1) Sin of anger: Anger, orge in Greek, is a deep, smoldering, resentful bitter-ness. It is the settled heart attitude of an angry person. Provocation doesn't create anger, but it creates a target for the angry person. Christians need to be very careful not to allow anger control his life. James warned believers to ¡°slow to anger, for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.¡± (James 1:19-20) Anger can only show the immaturity of the angry person and damage the relationship with whom you are angry of. Anger does not achieve any positive purpose in all our dealing with others.
2) Sin of wrath: In contrast to anger, orge, wrath, thumos, refers to a sudden explosion of deep seated boiling emotional resentment. The best example might be the wrath Cain had against his brother Abel. Cain was angry that God didn't accept his offering, and he held on the resentment until he argued with Abel, then he snapped and killed his brother. This is a clear warning that we shouldn't allow resentment to keep on building up. Some most hideous crimes were committed at the breaking point of wrath.
3) Sin of malice: Malice, kakia in Greek, is some hidden evil emotion aims at doing harm to others. This is the evil intend in our hearts against someone we hate for whatever reason. Anger, wrath and malice are all in the same boat of our emotion. God wants to see that we have a clean heart and calm emotion.
SINS RELATED TO OUR LIPS: (3:8b)
1) Sin of slander: The word translated slander is blasphemia, from which we have blasphemy, which means to bring insult or disparaging remarks on God or people. The penalty on words that blaspheme God in most cases is death. Most of us do not put slander in the category of sin together with immorality or impurity. But God sees it as serious as that. We are not to say words that will degrade the dignity and honor of another person because he was created in the image of God. James said that we should never allow ¡°from the same mouth comes both blessing and cursing, these things ought not to be that way.¡± (James 3:10) Most of slanderous words were said behind the back of other, and in many cases, they are not the truth or all the truth. It is a sin to slander others; it is also a sin to listen and believe slanderous words as well.
2) Sin of abusive speech: Part of expressing anger, wrath and malice is the use of abusive speech. The term refers to obscene and derogatory speech on others. Ephesians 5:4, ¡°There must no filthiness and silly talking, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting.¡± Our Lord warned that ¡°every careless word that men shall speak, they shall render account for it in the day of judgment.¡± (Matt 12:36)
3) Sin of lying: ¡°Do not lie to one another.¡± (3:9a) Paul warns against a final sin on the list: Do not lie to one another. Lies started early in human history: Satan lied to Eve. Cain lied to God after he murdered Abel. Abraham lied to the Philistines that Sarah was his sister, in fact his wife. Rebecca and Jacob lied to Isaac in their conspiracy to defraud Esau of his birthright. The list goes on and on that lying has been an integral part of the sinful nature of man. To lie is to cheat on others as well as demolishing our own integrity and honor. No one may count the hurts, wounds and damages caused on both the liar and the lied to in human environment.
REASONS FOR PUTTING SIN TO DEATH:
1) Sin brings God's discipline: ¡°For it is on account of these things that the wrath of God will come.¡± (3:6) Our God is a holy God and he won't allow us as his children continue to live in sin of the old nature. All unbelievers will endure the full force of God's punishment on that day. But all believers will face God's disciplinary action as a means to cleansing, molding and change. God promised his discipline to all willful offenders his cleansing action to bring about the best of the life we received from the Lord. Believers of Jesus shouldn't have anything to do with the sins mentioned above. Hebrews 12:5 says: ¡°My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.¡±
2) We can't live in the old nature: ¡°And in them you also once walked, when you were living in them.¡± (3:7) Paul gives us a second reason for putting sin to death, saying in effect, ¡°You know to some degree how it was to live in sin. You hate that and you had come to Jesus for a new life, to be delivered from your former ways of life. Peter warned us like this: ¡°It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. Of them, the proverbs are true: A dog returns to his vomit,¡± Proverbs 26:11) and ¡°A sow that is washed clean goes back to her wallowing in the mud.¡± This is we contradict ourselves if we turn around to live in sin after we have accepted the forgiveness of sin from our Lord on our repentance.
3) We bear the image of God: ¡°Who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the Lord who created him.¡± (3:10) Possession of the new life does bring the believer a new life, but not instant spiritual maturity. The fresh still dangle the garments of the old self. The battle against the old life will continue throughout our whole life to complete. The secret to win over the old life is to be renewed to a true knowledge. The importance is on the willingness of ¡°being renewed¡± by the ¡°true knowledge.¡± Believers need to have the will power to submit himself to the renewing work of God. He also must be diligent in learning and obeying the ¡°true knowledge¡±, the word of God. The ultimate purpose of this renewing and learning is to match with the image of God in us. Do we reflect the glorious image of God depends on how much we are willing to allow God to renew us and how much are we willing to obey the word of God in our everyday life.
If you are a believer, show it: In conclusion of all the sins of our old nature, Paul gave serious warning in Ephesians 5:3-4, ¡°But among you, there must not be even a hilt of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because they are improper for God's holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are not of place.¡± People in the world don't care what we know or say, but they care how we live and prove to be real. If you can't lead anyone to Christ by witnessing in words, you always can witness to them by deeds. Remember: We are the light of this world so they may see God.