Colossians 3:5-11 (Week 12 – Jesus Plus Nothing Series)
Jason White



In this section, Paul begins the practical section of the letter by giving us a list of things not to do as new creations in Christ. These commands are not prescriptions to be a better Christian but rather descriptions of who we are as new creations in Christ.

Colossians 3:5-11… 5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.




Sermon Audio Transcript
Today we are in chapter three, we're going to be looking at verses five, through 11, Colossians, three, five through 11. And, and this is really where things begin to change in this letter. If you've been here with us, you know that we've been more kind of in a doctrinal section Paul has been given these vertical indicative is kind of sharing with us the spiritual truths about who Jesus is and who we are in Christ, the new creation that we become the moment that we say yes to him. But now we're shifting into this practical section, Paul is going to get very practical that how we live out the Christian life. And today, he's going to start this practical section by giving us a list of things not to do in the Christian life. And some of you, I'm sure are super excited that we get to a list today, because some of you are list kind of people. Any list people in here any rule followers. Yeah, I know you are out there. All right. So I know some of you are going yes, we finally get to some lists. And some things that we are going to get to do are things that we should try not to actually do. And for many of us who are rule followers, and who love these kinds of lists, we we love them because we want to please God. And we feel like if we avoid the things that we're not supposed to do, and we do the things that we're supposed to do, then they'll please God, we want him to be proud of us. Or maybe in a lot of ways we feel like we owe him right. I mean, after all, He gave His life for us. And so we should probably do something for him. And so we think, well, I should try to not do the things that he says I shouldn't do. That's my way of paying him back, if you will, for the things that he's done. For me, sometimes we follow the rules, and we try to work our way through the list in order to get things from God. We may not say that out loud, but it's ultimately what we're thinking and how we're living our lives that maybe I'm not being blessed right now, maybe things aren't going well in my life. Because I haven't been avoiding these things that Paul says that I should avoid, or I haven't been doing these things. And if I start to avoid those, and I start to do those things, and maybe I will start to get those blessings, maybe my life will turn around, I'll start making better grades, I'll get that job promotion, my marriage, we'll start to go better. You know, all of those things that we think of when it comes to our situations and circumstances. And so many of us look forward to the list. And we are going to do our best to try to avoid these things or do these things others of us not somuch. We hate the list, right?We've been there. We've done that we've tried to avoid the things we're supposed to avoid. We've tried to do the things that we're supposed to do, and we just can't seem to do them. We can't seem to avoid those things. And so we don't like the list, it reminds us of all the times that we failed. Whenever we've tried to avoid these things or do the things that we're supposed to do. We're met with guilt and frustration and shame. And so we don't like the list. We just ignore the list. We pretend the list aren't there right. Now, the thing about the rule followers is that you're really not following the rules altogether. You may be pretty good at doing a lot of them, most of them. But we certainly know you're not following all of them. We Ruffalo, we just get really good at covering up the things that we don't do so well. And we highlight all of the things that we're doing really well look at all these great things that I'm doing and just kind of ignore all the stuff that we're failing in, we all fail at these kinds of things. For some of us, when we come to the list, we tend to think maybe, maybe they're outdated. This was written a few 1000 years ago, do you really expect me in the year 2024? To follow all of these things? Those things may have been true, then. But surely, they're not true. Now, you can't expect me to avoid these things. Because we've progressed in society in everybody seems to think these things are right now. So how could they be wrong? If so many people think they're right. That's the way we approach a lot of these list. Others of us who may be here this morning, and maybe you don't even buy into this whole thing. Somebody just invited you, you're here because a neighbor invited you or a co worker invited you or your family of someone and you're just here today kind of checking this whole church thing out this whole Christianity thing out? Well, in your mind, maybe you think about these lists as being exactly what Christianity is. You've just always heard and assumed and thought, well, Christianity is just religion. It's learning to do things that you're supposed to do and avoiding things you're not supposed to do. And I guess if you kind of get good at those things, then maybe God will view you more favorably and that's how you'll experience eternal life. And so maybe that's the way you're viewing these lists if you're here to morning this morning. But how are we supposed to view These lists, what perspective are we supposed to come at them from? Well, the Apostle Paul's going to share that with us today as he gives the list. And so I'm going to just read through all of them, you'll see the list in this section, and then we'll come back and we'll talk about them a little bit more in detail. Paul starts off and says again, Colossians three, verse five, put to death. therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature, sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these things, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways in the life you want lived. But now, you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices, and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here, there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all and is in all. Now. If you were counting, and you were really paying attention to those lists, then you would have seen 11 things that Paul points out to not do. Matter of fact, I think there's 12, but it's more apparent that there's 11 in the list. We'll talk about that in a little while. But there are 11 things that really stand out as things that Paul is saying, We shouldn't really be doing these things. And maybe that's where all of your attention when and we are going to talk about those things. But my hope, and my prayer is that, above all, even the list or before you started thinking about that, that the very first thing that jumped out in your brain was that word right there that we read right off the bat. Because Paul says, Put to death, these things in the list, therefore, in other words, pointing back to something it is that he's said before. And so if we don't know what it is that he said before, and we just start with the list and say, Well, I'm not supposed to do all of these things, then we're stripping it out of its content, text, we don't really know exactly what he's pointing to here, we do have to remember that, once again, we are in chapter three, which means there's been two chapters worth of stuff that the apostle Paul has written already, we're jumping into the middle of a letter that therefore could be pointing back to everything that he said in the first two chapters. And this is the danger with just starting in the middle of the letter and reading them in this way. The other thing that we think about is even if we don't remember everything that Paul said, or go back and read the entire thing, before we try to apply it to here, we should always go well, what's the immediate context? What is the this therefore, right here? What are the things that he says just before this? And so we talked about this a lot last week. But I do want to just show you and talk about it a little bit, because I think we have to, we got to know the context in which Paul is saying, to avoid these things, and and why. All right, so here's what the Apostle Paul said in verses one through four. Since then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things for you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God, when Christ who is your life appears, then you will also appear with Him in glory. That is good news. All right, the thing that we've got to understand here is again, we pointed this out last week, and I went into way more detail. So if you missed last week, this is one I would certainly recommend you go back in either listen to or actually watch would be better because there were a lot of diagrams in it. But Paul says since then, alright, so since this is true, then you set your hearts on things above and you set your minds on things above what is it that was true, Paul says, since you've been raised with Christ already, since that's already happened, that's already a spiritual reality. You've already been raised up with Christ, not going to be raised up with Him one day, you've already been raised up then because that's true. set your hearts on things above Set your minds on things above and again, we talked about this a lot last week. But what we need to understand is kind of the image again, that he's talking about for how this plays out. Because when Paul comes in, in verse five, and then he's going to say there for like, avoid these things. Therefore, it's because of this truth. It's because of this spear. Virtual reality that we should be avoiding these things here. So let's make sure that we understand, once again, what it is that Paul was saying there. And I'm not going to go as detailed as we went last week. But I'm just going to quickly kind of remind you of some of the things that we talked about. So the Apostle Paul says, to keep your eyes fixed on Jesus, or Set your minds on things above, we talked about how Paul speaks in other places of there being kind of an eternal realm, thinking things eternally, and temporarily thinking of the unseen and the seen and how our focus should be here. So in the eternal realm of things, we talked about how God exists, right. But we also Paul mentioned, since you've already been raised with Christ, so since you've already been raised, you're already spiritually seated in heaven with God, then set your hearts and minds here. Now, you're still here to write, we said that you have a soul, and your soul is your emotions and your mind and your will. And we said that you have a body and so you still live here, but you're in. You're both here and there. Right? So Paul says, To Set your minds on things above why, because this is the new you, this is who you are. This is the new creation, that you have become in Christ in your spiritual union with Him, your holy, your righteous, you're blameless, you are completely forgiven, you have this new heart, you have a completely new nature, you don't have a sinful nature anymore, you have a godly nature. So Paul says, since this is true, since this is the spiritual reality, then set your things set your hearts and minds on things above. And then in verse five, again, he uses the word there for put to death, therefore, because this is true, what is it that we're saying, because you have new hearts, and you have new minds, and this is the new you then stop doing these things. Why? Because they're no longer a part of who you really are. They're no longer part of who you are, in Christ, the new creation, they don't fit with who you are. And even though we see this in the verses of beforehand, you even saw Paul kind of reference it in a few of the things that he said throughout the list. He says, You used to walk in these ways used to not anymore, right? The life that you once lived, that was your prior life, he says, You've taken off your old self with its practices, and you've put on the new self. So even if we didn't look back at the context, which we should always do, we even see him referencing those things about the old self and the new self. And since you've been already spiritually raised with Christ, then these are the things that you should avoid, because they're no longer true of you. Here's what I'm really trying to say.Lists of do's and don'ts in Scripture, are not prescriptive tons of things to do or not do, number one, to try to be justified, number two, to move closer to God or to get blessings from God or for any other reason. They are descriptions of who you are, and who you are not in Christ. And so when the Apostle Paul is going to tell us or we already read, he did these lists of things to avoid, then go the reason that he's doing this is because they're descriptions of who we are not now in Christ. And then when he gives us things to do, they're descriptions of who we are in Christ. And so when our hearts and minds are focused on Christ, and the Spirit of God is working in us and through us, He will work through us in ways that are consistent with who we are in Christ, and consistent with who we are now, not in Christ. And so that's the thing that I don't want you to miss is this perspective as we go into these list of things to avoid, and then later on, the things that we are to do to view them in this way that their descriptions of who you are, or who you are not. The other thing just quickly as Paul gives us an image which doesn't come out real clearly in our English translations, but you heard the language to take off or to get rid of in our English translation, the original Greek that Paul was using, those terms are almost always associated with clothes. Take off those clothes, get rid of those clothes. Now clothes are not who You are there external things. Now sometimes we dress out of the personality that we have on the inside to be a reflection of who we are. But in other words, Paul's saying when he's saying to avoid these things, he's saying to take them off their external things, they're no longer part of who you are. They're just dirty clothes. They don't match who you now are on the inside. And so those are the things that we need to see to just, again, view it from this perspective really quickly, again, is it the core, we are spirit, again, we are soul. And we are body in Scripture tells us that because of sin in our lives, that we were spiritually dead, that one time we did have a spiritual or a sinful nature, right. And so if we have a sinful nature that's going to produce sins, if we're dead, we're going to have to look to find life, if our needs were always meant to be met here at the core of our being in a union with the God of the universe, but he's not able to be there than we are going to have to try to get our needs met somewhere else. Well, what do I have, I've got my own resources, I've got my emotions, I've got the things that I think I've got the choices that I make, I've got my speech, and I've got my actions, and I've got my senses, and all of this stuff associated. So I'm gonna have to go to those things to get my needs met, whatever it is that I'm feeling, whatever it is that I'm thinking, I'm gonna put in my choices, get my needs met. And throughout this whole time, we are learning flesh patterns. We're learning to cope in this world with the things that are going on in our lives and out in this world, through our flesh in the things that are at our disposal, their coping mechanisms. They're how we try to get our needs met. Now, this is what happens in these are the dirty clothes that we're wearing on the outside, because they've been produced from a dirty heart, that we have a sinful heart. But if Christ has now forgiven us, and we are no longer spiritually dead, but we are spiritually, oops, alive in Christ, and all of our needs are now met here. We have abundant life, our needs are being met, than all of these external things, that we still go to these flesh patterns where we're operating independently of who we are in Christ, our flesh patterns, they're dirty clothes, they don't match who we are now on the inside. So Paul says to get rid of all these dirty external clothes that no longer line up with your new heart and your new nature and who you are in Christ. So let's talk about the lists. Put to death there for whatever belongs to your earthly nature, sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil, desires, greed. But now you must also rid yourselves of such things as these anger, rage, malice, slander, filthy, language, lying, all of that stuff. Those things are the dirty clothes that some of you are still wearing, that do not line up and match who you are. Now, on the inside, we'll let's talk about them, because Paul, specifically lists terms. So let's make sure that we're understanding because again, these were originally written in Greek, and now we're being translated into English. And so what are we really talking about as far as avoiding things again, because we need to know sexual immorality is a general term for sexual acts outside of marriage between one man and one woman, which is the biblical perspective and definition of marriage and God's designed for sex. In purity, moral uncleanness especially with regard to sexual sin, lust, strong sexual desire for someone again, outside of a marriage relationship between one man and one woman when he says evil desires hear, these are strong desires or impulses that are maybe in general evil, but because of the context it was written in most commentators believe that he's talking about evil sexual desires, things that are not consistent with those desires being found in a marriage union between one man and one woman. Now, this one seems to be out of place because all the other ones were kind of sexual in nature of things to avoid greed simply is the desire to acquire more and more and often we Think of that with stuff and material possessions. And that could be what Paul is saying here. But again, a lot of commentators believe because he lists them all in a group. And they were all the other ones were mostly sexual in nature, that what he's really talking about here in context is the desire for more and more sexual experiences. And pleasures, is a process to avoid all of those things again, why? Because he's a main god and doesn't want you to have any fun. No, because these are inconsistent with who you now are in Christ, you used to go to those things, to try to get your needs met to have abundant life, Satan deceived you into thinking that the life was ultimately found in sexual experiences through pornography, that he deceived you into thinking that that life was found in sexual experiences, outside of a marriage covenant relationship between a man and a woman, whether that's prior to marriage, or you are married and seeking sexual experiences outside of your marriage, or sexual experiences between those of the same gender. And so again, sometimes in this world that we live in, we're going to feel like that's the way to get our needs met, we're going to think that that's the right way to get our needs met, everybody else around us in our world is telling us that that's what is specifically true. But what you see Paul saying, here's these things are no longer part of your new nature. And so if he's defining them, as far as nature's, right, we're not talking about something that you just outgrow, because the time Oh, that's the year 2024. I know Paul mentioned that then, but those things don't apply. Now we live in a different day and age know, if they're no longer part of who you are. And Paul was saying, and that's who you become as a Christian. And he's saying those things are still true today. And remember, what we said in verses one through four, Paul said, to fix your mind on things above right, who you the new you is in Christ in the expression of that life of Christ being manifested through you, which in this particular area of, of this sexual sins that we're talking about would mean that he's going to lead you into the way that he designed it to be experienced best, because it's not bad. God created it, and he created it for us to enjoy, he's gonna say you're gonna enjoy it the most when it's in the context of a marriage relationship, because you're spiritually and solely joined together as one. So these are the dirty clothes, that we sometimes go to the flesh patterns to feel like we're getting our needs met to experience life. And we already have that life in Christ, we already have all of our needs met in Christ. These are old clothes, these are dirty clothes, just take them off, they're no longer part of who you are. The next ones, they list, or more relational, or some things that we deal with. So he says, get rid of also anger, which is kind of this chronic attitude of resentment and bitterness. You know, you're just you ever met people who are just just angry people.Maybe you're one of those people who are angry, a lot of time it stems from, and things just don't didn't go your way in life. They haven't gone your way in life. And so I'm just angry. Because if things would have gone differently, my life would be better. If other people would not have done those things to me, then my life would be better. So I'm just angry at them for the way that they treated me and the way my life ended up now, or, you know, I just can't seem to get these things, right. I'm always trying to do things the right way. Because I want to be justified in front of other people and feel like I matter in this world. And so I can't seem to do them. So I'm just gonna stay angry all the time. And then that burst out in rage, sudden bursts of rage, which is so mad, and then things don't go our way again, and we just get even more angry and rage or I'm trying to be perfect, I can't do it. And that says that I'm a terrible person, because these other people are better than me because they can do it and I can't so I've just got to let it out. Right and it's gone. It's you don't need to go there. Because you have all your needs met in Christ. Those things don't define you if you can't be perfect those situations and circumstances that happened to you don't define you, whatever those people did to you don't define you. I am your life. Jesus says and you have that life in me, these are dirty clothes that you're going to to try to feel like you're getting your needs met somehow through anger and rage. Right malice, this vicious and deliberate intention of harming others. I gotta hurt other people before they hurt me. Right? We feel like it's gonna happen. I gotta get my needs met. No, you don't slander the defamation of someone else's character. I need to put other people down and make sure that other people know they're not as good as they think they are. Because that makes me look not as good As I actually am, so I'm going to slander other people, because that's how I get my needs met, of making sure that other people know that I matter that I'm important, right you matter in Christ you have to do that filthy language, obscene speech speech that is considered poor and tasty just the way the world talks the way that kind of goes, well, I got, I got to talk that way to fit in, I gotta get my needs met through other people, or what other people gonna like me if I talk like that, they're gonna think I'm weird. If I don't you go, well, that's not a reflection of who you are in Christ. And no, you don't have to act out in that way. Lying, communicating false information with the intention of misleading others. Again, we feel like we got to cover I've got to lie about those things that I did. Those things that I'm doing right now. Because if people know that about me, then that are really put me down and they won't understand that I'm really a good person, I've got a lie about that, or about a lie about the other things that are going on that I'm doing right now. The thing is, is that these are the 11 things in the list that pulses are dirty clothes, their flesh patterns, there's things that you've gone to, to try to get your needs met or to experience life and you have your needs met, and you have life in Christ. So take them off their external, they're not part of who you are at the very core of your being. Now, let's set that think there are 12 because of this last verse, Now, it doesn't seem like it's part of a list, but the Apostle Paul says here, there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free. But Christ is all in his in all. I think, with the way that Paul is saying this here, even though it's not listed as one of the lists, he's saying, take off the dirty shirt of racism, right? I mean, everything that he says here and the way he says it is breaking down all of the racial and religious and cultural and social distinctions that we place on people in this world to define us in a better light. And we've got to make sure that people know there are different pockets of those things. And he's saying, no, no, we're all valuable in Christ, those things don't define who it is that we are, that's no longer part of who you are, you may used to feel like that was part of your flesh pattern, I had to go to those things. And I'm better than certain people in this world. That's how I've got to view this thing, because that's how I get my needs met. But again, all your needs are met in Christ. So you can take off this, it's a dirty shirt. Now, again, sometimes when we say these things, and you're going, man, that seems pretty simple. You know, like you're talking about this stuff, but I've been angry for a long time. Like, I've been lying, and it's a really bad habit. This is sexual immorality, and you're talking about pornography, and it's addiction are doing all of these other things. And you're saying kind of like, take it off? Because it's like a dirty shirt don't have to do a lot more work than that. Don't I really have to make sure that I'm working all the steps to make sure that I'm taking all of this stuff up? Can I even really do that? Right? Not gonna be perfect, am I? So we need to talk about how really quickly as we get ready to close out today? And I think the answer is what again, we saw the Apostle Paul say, already, he says, since you've taken off again, he talks about your old self. And now that there's a new self, and this new self, this new person who you are at the very core of your being is being renewed how in knowledge in the image of its Creator, you are new, you became new the moment you said yes to Jesus, if you put your faith and trust in Him. But did you know that then, did you even know that you were new? Maybe you didn't? Right? Or if you do know that you're new? Do you know how new you are? Do you know what's really true about you as a new creation in Christ, and so the Lord has to reveal that knowledge to us. The hidden Holy Spirit, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit reveals those truths to us who dwells in our lives, He illuminates those things that are true to us. And so whenever He illuminates those truths about who we are in Him, the more we begin to see all that we have in Christ, and that those dirty clothes are not actually part of who we are, the more we begin to look like the image of our Creator, we already are. But there will be an outward manifestation of those things where we're doing less and less of those things that are in our lives, and doing more and more of what it is that he'll say to do a little bit later on. Now, as we close this out, I think a lot of us tend to keep these dirty clothes on, that Paul describes in these lists for one of two reasons. The very first reason is again, because we tend to think a lot of times that these are part of who we really are All right. So once again, we know that at the core of our being, a lot of us think that we are both good and bad at the same time. And the reason we think that we're good, and we think that we're bad is because sometimes I feel good. Sometimes I feel bad. Sometimes I think good thoughts. And other times, I don't think such good thoughts. Sometimes I make good choices. And other times, I make bad choices, right? And then the same thing, sometimes I use bad speech, or I have bad actions, or I do good things. And so I must be both good and bad. Now, here's the thing, if that's actually true, and the Apostle Paul now says, to get rid of all of these dirty clothes that are associated with the bad, how is that possible? If it's who I am, at the very core of my being, how can I really stop doing all of the external bad things, no matter how hard I try to get rid of those things, if I'm bad at the core of my being, I'll never be able to stop doing those things. So when he talks about renewing our minds to the truth and the knowledge of who we are, one of the things that I think you were talking about here, is to make sure that we realize that we're not both good and bad any more at the very core of our being, we are just good. Why? Because we're in union with Jesus Christ. Jesus dwells in us, it's our lowercase s spirit with the capital S Holy Spirit. Is there anything bad about Jesus? No, he's never sinned. He's perfect. He's holy. And if I'm in union with Him, then how could I be bad if I'm in union with Jesus when Jesus isn't bad? So we've got to understand that truth. Because if we don't understand that, we can't take off the dirty clothes. But when you understand that truth, when you begin to understand that and really see it, and God reveals that to you, then when you start to think about how you're missing life, or you're feeling like you need life, or you're thinking that you need life through some kind of sexual experience, or through getting angry or lying, or slandering, or someone there, then you go, Oh, well, that's not part of who I am, no matter how strongly I feel it, no matter how much I'm thinking about, there's nothing in the very core of my being that's associated with Jesus that wants to do those things. Because he doesn't want to do those things. And now, it's like, oh, yeah,I can take that dirty shirt off, it doesn't match who it is, that I am, I can turn my attention and focus above, not below, and the things that I'm thinking or feeling and choosing, or sometimes things to do. And so I think a lot of us hold on to these dirty clothes, because we just didn't know that truth. Once we find that truth there, then a lot of times this becomes less and less of a struggle, no matter how much of a hold it's had on our lives. The second reason I think that we hold on to it is because we just don't understand how much life and how many blessings we actually have at the very core of our being, once again, because we feel like we're missing life, because we think that we're missing something every now and then. And we go well, that must be true, because I'm feeling it in because I'm thinking it, right. And so then we've got to go to those other external clothes and those dirty things to get the thing that we're feeling we're missing or we're thinking that we're missing. But again, when he reveals the truth to us of how much abundant life we actually have in Christ, and how all of our needs are met, the now those dirty clothes just kind of begin to fall away. The apostle Paul in Romans chapter six says that we're dead to sin. And since we're dead to sin six is no longer alive in you at the very core of your being than to reckon yourself, count yourself as actually dead to sin and alive to Christ, it can be true. But if you don't record it to be true in your life, you're never going to experience the truth, the reality of that you don't actually count it to being true, God, I'm bad, I'm bad, that you're gonna continue to experience all that stuff that's coming through. So I think when we see these lists, and we want to just go to the list all the time and all the bad things that you know, are associated with that, and we're terrible people because we can't do it or I'm trying to follow them to be a good person and prove who it is that I am to other people and to God, the Gospel his I sent Jesus to be sin for you, so that you can be forgiven so I can put Jesus who is good in you, and then have that expression of life being expressed through you. So you don't have to go to the dirty clothes anymore. You can try drop them off, and allow me to do what it is that I do is that conform you into the image of my son in an outwardly way I hope that helps when you come to these lists, and I think if there's things that you noticed in those lists that maybe have tended to have a little bit of a stronghold in your life, areas of struggle, that simply seeing them from a different perspective, and Jesus illuminating those truths about who you are in Christ and all that you have in Him, will now allow those things to fall away as you continue to keep your eyes fixed on things above