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Watch 2022 online sermons » Dr. David Jeremiah » David Jeremiah - What It Means to Be "In Christ"

David Jeremiah - What It Means to Be "In Christ"

David Jeremiah - What It Means to Be In Christ
TOPICS: Christ Above All: The Book of Colossians

It was back in 1995. Astronomer Bob Williams wanted to point the Hubble Space Telescope at a patch of sky filled with absolutely nothing remarkable. He wanted to do it for 100 hours. It was a terrible idea, his colleagues told him, and a waste of valuable telescope time. "People would kill for that amount of time with the sharpest tool in the shed," they said. And besides, there's no way the distant galaxies Williams hoped to see would be bright enough for Hubble to detect them. But Williams, the director of the Space Telescope Science Institute, was undeterred. He had a certain amount of Hubble's time at his personal disposal, and he suspected the billion-light-year stare might uncover some of the faintest, farthest galaxies ever seen.

So with his job on the line, Williams did exactly what he had planned. For 100 hours between December 18 and 28, Hubble stared at a patch of sky near the Big Dipper's handle that was only about one-thirtieth as wide as the full moon. In total, the telescope took 342 pictures, each of which was exposed for between 25 and 45 minutes, and the images were then processed and combined and colored, and 17 days later, they were released to the public. It turned out that nothing was actually something. It was something stuffed with galaxies. More than 3,000 of them came spilling out, spiral, elliptical, and irregular, red and white and blue and yellow. The images cracked the universe in ways scientists never could have imagined, multiplying the estimated number of galaxies from 10 billion to 50 billion just by looking at the sky, never ever giving up for 100 hours.

His colleagues thought it was a terrible idea, but Bob Williams set his attention on the sky above him for 100 hours, and it transformed the way he understood the universe. I think we can learn a lesson from Bob. In a world that focuses all of our attention on earthly things, maybe our lives would be transformed a little bit if we just shifted our attention to heavenly things. As we jump into our text today, we're going to look at Colossians 3:1-11, and you will notice there's a shift in tone and a shift in subject matter. In chapter 3 of Colossians, Paul begins the practical application of the doctrines that he has been teaching us in chapters 1 and 2.

Now, I've explained to you that's how Paul writes. It's consistent in all of his letters. Here's what we believe, and because this is what we believe, this is how we're supposed to behave. How many of you know your behavior is based on what you believe? And Paul has been talking to us in Colossians about our belief in Christ, who is the resurrection and the life and he's the creator of the universe, and all of these things that we've learned. Now in chapter 3, he's gonna give us some instruction. Based upon what we know, this is what we should do. Based upon the doctrine, here's the duty. Once again, the key to it all is Jesus Christ, and he's mentioned four times in the first four verses of our text.

The title of our subject in the book of Colossians is "Christ Above All". And if you're not picking that up, you're not reading the same book I'm reading, because listen to this: "If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory".

What is the link between Christ and you? And what is the link between Christ and me? And why is that so important? In the first 11 verses of Colossians chapter 3, the Apostle Paul answers that question. He says, "Christ is everything". He ends the chapter by saying, "He's all in all". He is everything. And first of all, because Christ is in you, you are a new person. Let's unpack that for just a moment. Three times in this passage, Paul uses the phrase "with Christ," he uses the words "with," W-I-T-H. He describes our connection to Christ. Listen, in verse 1, he says, "You were raised with Christ". In verse 3, he says, "Your life is hidden with Christ". In verse 4, "You also will appear with Him in glory". I've highlighted the word "with" to show you how critical it is in this frame of thinking.

"With" is a word of connection, our lifeline to Christ. The Bible says when he died, we died with him. When he was buried, so were we. And when he was resurrected, we were resurrected with him. And now he is seated at the right hand of the Father, and the Bible says we're there too. So how could that be? Well, let me explain it. When Jesus went to the cross, he took all of our sins on him. So when he died, we were there. Everything that we've ever done or will do that's rotten and corrupt and anti-God and sinful and vulgar and just simply wrong, everything, all of it was on Jesus. When he died, we died with him. And when he was buried, we were buried with him. But thank God when he came out of the grave victorious over death, we were with him then. So we are resurrected in Jesus Christ. We're alive in Christ. That's what the text is saying.

I remember reading about the great Chinese preacher and writer; his name was Watchman Nee. I remember when I was in seminary and being fascinated with his writing. Back in 1927, he had been struggling with issues of temptation and sin. And one morning, he was sitting upstairs reading the book of Romans, and he came to the words, "Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Christ". And for Watchman Nee, it was as if the words had come to life on the page; he leapt out of his chair and he began dancing around and shouting. And he ran downstairs and he grabbed some kitchen worker by the hands and he said, "Brother, do you know that I have died"? The worker looked at him in puzzlement. Nee blurted out, "Do you not know that Christ has died? Do you not know that I died with him? Do you not know that my death is no less truly a fact than his death"?

It was all Watchman Nee could do to keep himself from running through the streets of Shanghai shouting that he was dead. But that day, his faith was confident and strong. His biographer wrote that it was impossible to say anything that could ever offend Watchman Nee. Why should he be offended? He was dead. Charles Spurgeon said it this way; he said, "I suppose that if you were to meet the old self, he would hardly know you. For you are so greatly altered, I daresay he would say to you, 'Come on, ole fella, let's go to the theater or turn into this beer shop. And let's go home and find some way of amusing ourselves.' And you would say to him, 'No, sir, I cut your acquaintance long time ago, and I do not mean to have anything further to do with you. So you may go about your business as soon as you like. I am not what I was, for I have been crucified with Christ, and I am dead. And my life is hid with Christ in God.'"

And one day Martin Luther was at home, and he was answering a knock at his door. And the person outside said, "Does Martin Luther live here"? "No," Luther said, "he died. Christ lives here now". That'll get rid of some of those people that pester you at your house. You give 'em that line, right? So I want you to understand the truth is just that radical: the old you is dead. It's in the grave. The new you is raised to walk in the newness of life and to live victoriously for Jesus Christ. Because of your connection with Christ, three things are true about you. First of all, your past has been changed. Colossians 3:1 and 3 says, "If then you were raised with Christ, you died". And the word "if" there is not a word of doubt. It's the word really should be translated "since".

Since you were raised with Christ, you died. First, you've been raised up. Second, you've died. Our identification with Christ and his cross has two aspects to it. First of all, our identity with his death cuts us off from our old life. Because we died with Christ, our old life is in the rearview mirror. Our identity with his resurrection connects us with our new life. In this verse, we know that the history of every Christ follower is we have been raised with Christ. Just as surely as Christ marched out of that tomb that first Easter Sunday, there was a day when David Jeremiah was spiritually resurrected through faith in Jesus Christ. And at that moment, the Bible says, "Old things passed away, and all things became new". Hallelujah.

Where before the moment I was dead toward God, after that moment, I was made alive to Christ. When you're dead toward God, nothing works. The old nature's running the show, and the old nature's not gonna take you in the right direction. Before you have Christ, you don't have any hope of doing the right thing regularly. Oh, you'll do some good things, but mostly they'll be done out of wrong motivations. But when Christ comes, now you have a new power that you didn't have before. Oh, yes, the old nature is still there. We're gonna see that. He doesn't take the old nature away, but he gives you a new nature that now can help you live in resurrection power. In all reality, these two things, Christ's resurrection and Christ's death, are the key to the passage we have before us today.

For in the next few verses, we're gonna be told to put on some things. Because we are connected with Christ in his resurrection, we'll be able to do that. Because we are connected with Christ in his death, we're going to be told to die to some things and put them off. Your past has been changed. You died with Christ, you resurrected with Christ. It's happened. You don't have to wait for it. You don't have to plan it. You don't have to hope for it. It's already happened. You're new because you died and you're alive. And then your present has been changed. Look at verse 3: "Your life is hidden with Christ in God". Now that you're a Christian, there's something different about you in the present. This is expressed in the words "hidden with Christ," which point to our secure relationship.

Listen to this; the Bible says we're with Christ and God. Let me show you how that is. If you're a Christian, you're in Christ, and Christ is in God. It's a double lock on your security. You're in Christ, Christ is in God. The Bible says, as a Christian who died and was raised again, your current state of affairs is your life is hidden with Christ in God. That is a statement concerning your present situation. If we are believers, the Bible says, we are hidden. It does not say seek to be hidden. It does not say pray that you might be hidden, try to hide yourself. No, it just says you are hidden. When you become a Christian, the Bible says you are hidden in Christ. The language here is taken from treasures which are hidden or concealed in a place of security, and the idea is that the eternal life that you have is a valuable jewel, so valuable that you are in the hand of Christ, and Christ has got his security in the hand of the Father. And let somebody come and try to take you away from that.

You know, I have a lot of friends who say that you can become a Christian and then lose your salvation. How does that work if, when you become a Christian, you end up in the hands of Christ, and Christ is in the hand of the Father? Nobody can take you out of that situation. Somebody says, "Oh, yes, but you can take yourself". Try it. You're in the hand of Christ and Christ is in the hand of the Father. You can't get out of that relationship. No, if you're saved, you're saved and you're secure. That's what this is all about. How many of you know that when you become a Christian, there's a part of you that's hidden from the rest of the world, and people don't understand it? They don't see you praying. They don't see you reading your Bible. They don't see you crying out to God, asking God to help you do this or that. That's all hidden.

How many of you know there's a hidden life as a Christian? The Bible says people don't understand it 'cause if you've never experienced, you can't understand it. There's a space in the middle of my life that's God in me, and it's not even available to anybody in my family. It's my hidden life with God. You have a hidden life in God too, if you're a Christian. The Bible tells us we should work hard to develop that hidden life. We should work hard to make sure it's strong, because when everything out here is coming unglued, it's what's in here that holds you together. Isn't that true? So you need to work hard on that hidden life. So your past has been changed, your present has been changed.

Notice, Paul goes on to tell you that not only is your past different and your present's different, but your future is different too. Colossians 3:4, "When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory". Philippians 2:10-11 says, "One day, every knee is going to bow to the Lord Jesus Christ, every knee in heaven, on earth, those under the earth, every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father". The Bible says that one day we're going to be with Christ. That's what Paul wrote, he said, "You will appear with him in glory". Now our life is hidden, but one day it's gonna appear. We're gonna appear with Christ in heaven. Here's what it says in 1 John 3:2, "Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed," watch this, "we shall be like Him".

Can you imagine that? I mean, take a look at yourself. Come on, now. One day, what you see is gonna be so radically changed that the only way to describe it is you will be like Jesus, for we shall see him as he is. In the present, we are hidden, but one day we will be revealed with Christ. All that is a secret to everyone now will be made known to everyone. We are in Christ. We are revealed with Christ. Listen to this, we are like Christ. That's your future. So it's true to say that if you're in Christ, you're a new person. Your past is different, your present is different, and your future is different. Now, Paul goes on to say, "Since you're a new person, you need to have a new perspective on life". So look at verses 1 and 2 again. "If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth".

When you become a Christian, your whole life has changed, and when your life has changed, your perspective has changed. Now your perspective is more upward than it is downward. Now you realize that if you seek those things which are above, that will help you function in a way that you could never function otherwise. Grammatically, these are commands. Paul did not say to us that if we would like to do so, "here's an option you have for your Christian life. You might want to try lookin' up". No, he says, do it. Look up. When we set our minds on something, what does that mean? We set our hearts on something, it motivates us, it changes us. It energizes us. It makes our eyes shine. It puts a spring in our step. It focuses all our divided attentions to a single laser-intense direction.

The Bible says that as Christians, we're to set our hearts on things above, not get so tangled up in all the stuff that goes on in the world around us, but to set our heart on things above. So in times like these, we have to look somewhere for answers. Psychologists tell us we should look within. Opportunists tell us we should look around. Optimists say we should look ahead. The pessimist says we should look out! But God says we should look up. Even when we feel down, we should look up. In the midst of the chaos of our generation, men and women, we are to seek a perspective that can come only from God. Just as the compass points north, our perspective should be trained so that it points toward the things of heaven. Remember, we're citizens of that place toward which we set our hearts.

Why should we set our hearts on heaven? Well, listen to this. "Our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ". You know, we're so mixed up, and one of the reasons we have a lot of trouble as Christians even negotiating life is because we let things get out of perspective. For instance, Christians are not citizens of the earth trying to get to heaven. They're citizens of heaven trying to figure out how to make their way through earth. Isn't that true? One of the reasons why we struggle sometimes on this earth is we weren't created for this place, we were created for heaven, and we're living in a foreign country. And doesn't it feel like that sometimes? And it's getting more foreign than it had ever been before. So not only are we to seek those things that are above, but then Paul goes on, he says it again. Secondly, we are to set our minds on things above.

The phrase "set your mind" means to focus your thoughts on something. In other words, it's the mental discipline of directing your thinking on things that aren't so earthy, on heaven and Christ and spiritual things. You have to work hard at that. When Paul wrote this statement, he used a verb tense that means "just keep on doing this, don't just do it once". Don't just focus on heaven on Sundays, but focus on heaven all the time. Now, that doesn't mean you walk around like some zombie looking up in the sky, wandering around and bumping into stuff. No, it just means change your perspective. What does God think about this? Let's think this, I wonder where God is in all of this? Start to think about things from a perspective of a Christian who belongs to Jesus Christ, whose citizenship is in heaven, who one day is gonna spend eternity there.

So maybe you should kind of check it out and let it influence what you do down here. It says, "Set your mind on things above, not on things on earth". Let me just mention that. Paul is telling us to set our minds on heaven, but he's not telling us to forego the physical challenges and chores of everyday life. God wants you to take care of earthly business. We live in this physical world, we should do everything including everyday responsibilities, and do it as unto the Lord. So it's okay to buy a car. It's okay to buy a house, certainly. It's okay to set your heart and mind on some things that you're looking forward to do, but don't let that be everything in your life. Don't let that become your God. Listen to the psalmist. You know, every once in a while you read a statement and you figure out, "Boy, he's got this together".

The psalmist went through some tough times, as you know. He made some pretty serious mistakes. But listen to what he says in Psalm 73:25. "Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon the earth that I desire beside You". David said, "Let me tell you what my heart is. Everything is in heaven, in my God. Who do I have in heaven besides You? And there's nobody on this earth that comes close to what you mean in my life". Along with these positive injunctions, we're given the corresponding negative injunction: not things on earth. Don't let that get you off course. You know, you run into some people who read a little bit of the scripture, but they don't read it all, and then they go off and they become weird.

Have you ever noticed that? They become weird. Somebody tells them, "You know, set your things on heaven," so they don't go to the grocery store anymore. They don't take a bath anymore. They don't wash anymore. They don't wear new clothes anymore. What are you doing? "Oh, I've got my eyes on heaven". Get a life. That's not what the Bible says, and it's not what it means. In fact, Paul goes out of his way to say that's not what it means. So don't take it out of context. Well, in Christ, you're a new person. In Christ, you have a new perspective. As you give your energy to the things above, your priorities are gonna change, and now we're gonna get into some serious discussion here, folks. It's almost like Paul knew what our world would be like when we would read his letter.

Now, he wrote the letter from Rome to the church in Colossae, and he knew what the church in Colossae was like because Epaphras had come and told him. And he was concerned that while they were worrying about all this false doctrine that was in the church, if they weren't careful, they would quit living the Christian life the way it was supposed to be lived. How many of you know you can get caught up in stuff like that? I know some people that spend their whole life studying this or that, and in the process, they don't take any time to live their Christian life. And they can become experts on something that it would be good for a Christian to know, but in the process, they lose their relationship with God. And we do that in our personal relationships, don't we?

We love our spouses. We love them to death. We married 'em for that reason. But if we're not careful, we can get caught up maybe in some project at work or something we have a real desire to do, and we can get so focused on that, our personal relationships suffer. Maybe you're in that process right now. Let me just say something to you: stop it. So in Christ, you have new priorities. He's gonna give us four groups, we'll go through them quickly, of things that should be true for us if we're believers now. Now that we've been buried with Christ and raised with Christ, we have a new perspective that we look at things above.

Now, he says, "Therefore there's a certain way you should live. Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth; fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming on the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them". The first thing he says is you gotta develop some sexual discipline. In the Greek language, the phrase "put to death" is very strong; in fact, in some translations, the phrase is rendered mortify, "Mortify, therefore, your members". And the word "mortify" is the word from which we get our English word "mortician". When it comes to the sins of the flesh, we need to be spiritual morticians and bury them in the ground.

So when Paul says we are to put our sins to death, he means to cease completely from activity with the implication of extreme measures taken to guarantee cessation, to stop completely, to cease completely, to stop doing it. We're to take off the garments of sin that linger when we become Christians and get rid of those garments and stop doing the old things that we used to do before Christ came to start the process of making us new. How many of you know when you get saved, everything doesn't immediately change for everybody? Sometimes there's a period of time when you have to grow in your faith. And little by little, they're like scales, they fall off of you. But Paul says, "You need to take note of the fact that when you become a Christian, if you're not careful," he actually mentions it here, "you can actually live as if you weren't a Christian".

You think that's true? I know lots of people who are that way. Do I think they're saved? Probably. Do I think they're happy? No, 'cause you can't be happy in Jesus when you're not following his instruction. In 1665, the Great Plague raged throughout the City of London, and those who could afford to leave the city, they left. And those who remained were living in terror because the people who remained in London did not know what caused the plague. The most elementary hygienic precautions thus were ignored. They didn't know what was causing it. And the city continued to send parcels of used clothing, often the property of the dead, to poorer relatives and relief agencies.

Listen to this: even clothes that were stripped off the bodies of the plague victims were collected and dispatched all over the country to help poor people who didn't have any clothing. So imagine a family getting this parcel and proudly and gratefully putting on clothes much better in quality and style to their usual everyday wear. They discovered that these attractive new garments had come from the plague houses. With what horror would they strip them off and consign them to the fire? It is with such horror that we should strip off the old man and his deeds. He has the plague. You don't want that in your life as a Christian. Just because Jesus has forgiven you all of your sins, that doesn't mean you don't have to deal with sin anymore. Can I get a witness? Everyone knows that. He's forgiven you of your sins, but some of those old things keep creeping back into your life. And if you're not careful, your whole Christian experience can be ruined because you don't deal with the things that Paul is talking about here.

In verses 5 through 7, he gives the Colossians a list of five things they were to ruthlessly eliminate from their lives, followed by one reason they were to put those things to death. Listen to this. Fornication refers to sexual immorality in general. The word "fornication" comes from the word "porneia," from which we get our word "pornography". Uncleanness means lustful impurity that is connected with luxury and loose living. Passion describes a state of mind that excites sexual impurity. The person who cultivates this kind of appetite can always find opportunity to satisfy it. Evil desires just mean that, base evil desires. And attached to this list of sins is this warning, listen to this; Paul said, "Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience".

What Paul is saying is this: when you do these things, you're doing the very things that put Christ on the cross. You're doing the very things that he came to die and save you from, and you're doing the very things that one day are gonna be punished when God comes to judge this world. He's gonna judge these things. Do you want to be in that category? Do you wanna be doing the things that put Christ on the cross? Do you wanna be doing the things that is causing him to come back, and with all of the judgment on this earth? You're a Christian! Why are these behaviors and desires to be put to death? Because they are the things that God hates, and they are the things that make him angry.

Paul reminds the Colossians of their past. He says, "You were once filled and dominated with all this junk. You once walked in all kinds of sin, but no longer. God has changed you". And he says, "Listen, as far as the position you have, you already are forgiven. You have died, you have been resurrected, you are new in Christ; that's your position". Here's something I learned some time ago that's really helped me with this. When I was growing up, when we'd have a testimony meeting on Sunday night, there was this one old lady who used to get up every time. She was a sweet woman, but she gave the same testimony every time she got up. Everybody, and when she got up, I saw little kids mouthing her testimony before she said it. "I am saved, I am sanctified, and I am satisfied, thank God". And she'd sit down. I knew what saved meant.

I thought I knew what satisfied meant, but I never knew what sanctified meant until I got to seminary and I found out what sanctified is. Sanctification, listen to me carefully, is becoming in practice what you already are in position. God says that as a Christian, you have died with Christ, you are buried with Christ, you have risen with Christ. You are a new risen believer. Now, sanctification is acting like it. Go out and live like who you are. You're a child of God. Don't let the sins of the flesh corrupt your testimony. Don't let sexual immorality get into your spirit and destroy you. I do not know one person who's ever done that, who ever truly, totally gets back to the place where they were before it happened. Oh, you'll be forgiven, and God restores. Thank him for that. But the best way for that to happen is not to ever let it happen. Guard yourself against it.

Paul says, "Put it to death. Take it out in the barn and shoot it. Don't ever let it happen again". It's interesting to me that in this passage, all of the other sins we're gonna talk about, we're told to put them off. This particular package of sins, we're told to put to death. You cannot fight with this. You cannot play with it. You cannot make deals with it. You have to be ruthless. In the New Testament, we're told to crucify the flesh. You know what it means to crucify something? It's personal, it's permanent, and it's pitiless. So that's what I'm saying. When you crucify the flesh, that's what you do. You go after it, and you put it to death.

You say, "Well, how do I do that"? You know what to do. If you're in a situation where you're likely to submit to some temptation, get out of that situation. Don't leave yourself vulnerable. You say, "Well, I can't". Yes, you can, and you would if you really were serious about doing what Paul says. Put it to death. Then there's mental discipline. He goes on to say in verse 5, "And covetousness, which is idolatry". Covetousness is subtle. Did you know that? Because it is violated totally in the mind. I read this week about a priest who said this. He said he'd been listening to confessions for over 50 years and not one person in 50 years had ever confessed covetousness.

Isn't that interesting? It's not something we confess. We probably don't even think it's a sin, but it is a sin and the invisible violation that no one else sees. You and I can have our act completely together on the outside but inside, we can be agonizing, lusting, being consumed by the desire to have what someone else has. Isn't it interesting that this is up next to the sexual sins? Because that's what sexual sin does. It causes somebody to covet another person's wife or husband, and then they get involved in immorality. Warren Wiersbe wrote this: "As Paul named these sensual sins, he added covetousness. Covetousness is the sin of always wanting more, whether it be more things or more pleasures. The covetous person is never satisfied with what he has, and he is usually envious of what other people have. Covetousness is an attitude".

And the Bible says in this text, it says it's idolatry. I mean, I was shocked when I read that again. I guess I didn't pick that up the first time around. The Bible says when you covet somebody else's stuff, that's idolatry. It's an attitude that is an enemy to the sufficiency of Christ. When you covet what somebody else has got, you're saying by that, "I don't think Christ is taking care of me, so I gotta go take care of myself and get something somebody else has got". It is idolatry because it raises a rival object of worship. The writer of Hebrews says that we're to replace coveting with contentment. "Let your conduct be without covetousness and be content with what you have". Coveting is idolatry, the worship of a false god. Contentment is praise, the worship of a true God. Sexual discipline, mental discipline, here's social discipline.

Paul goes on in the next verse to say, "But now you yourselves are to put all these things off". Take them off like they took off the clothes when they found out they were from the plague house. Put them off. And here's what you're supposed to put off: anger and wrath and malice. Anger is a feeling of emotion that boils below the surface. Wrath is a sudden outburst of emotion that flares up and burns with intensity. Malice refers to getting even. Malice is what you do when you don't deal with the first two. When you let anger and wrath take over in your life, the next thing you know, you're trying to figure out a way to hurt somebody who's done something to you that you don't like. That's really not compatible to be a Christian who was raised with Christ and has a new life and has a new, it's not compatible to be an angry person.

Do you know any angry Christians? You can't be angry and be filled with the Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit is not anger, it's joy and peace and love. Jonathan Edwards was the third president of Princeton University, and he is considered by most one of the greatest thinkers America ever produced. He had a daughter who was, she had a terrible, ungovernable temper. She was an angry, angry person. And as it is often the case, the problem was not known to people outside Edwards' house. Well, a young man fell in love with this daughter and came to Jonathan Edwards to ask permission to marry her. "You cannot have her," was the abrupt answer of Jonathan Edwards. "But I love her," the young man said. Again, Edwards said, "You can't have her". "Why"? asked the young man. "Because she's not worthy of you". He said, "Isn't she a Christian? I thought she was a Christian". He said, "She is a Christian, but the grace of God can live with some people no one else could ever live with".

Have you ever known people like that? The grace of God can live with them, but nobody else can live with them because they're angry people. They're full of wrath and malice. And what does Paul say about that? He said, "Okay, you Christians, you believers, you new in Christ, resurrected with Christ believers, put that stuff away. Take it off like a set of old, plague-filled clothes. Get rid of it. Go burn it. Don't let that be a part of your life". And then there's one last one, vocal discipline. Sexual discipline, verses 5 through 7. Mental discipline, verse 5. Social discipline, verse 8. And vocal discipline. Listen to this. "But now you yourselves are to put all these things off". Put 'em off, take 'em off. These are bad clothing. Take 'em off. "Blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds".

In other words, you've already accepted Christ, you're already a Christian; now start living like one. Don't let these old things that are part of your old life, the life that put Jesus on the cross and that's going to ultimately cause his wrath upon this world, don't let that stuff be a part of your life. Be embarrassed that that stuff is still a part of your life. I know a lot of Christians who they're struggling with this, they're working at it, and they're embarrassed that it still shows up. How many know what I'm talking about? You think you got this stuff all together, and all of a sudden, something happens you didn't expect, takes you off guard, and you respond like the old man. Paul says you gotta quit doing that. Blasphemy is defamation of character, slander. Don't slander other people.

You know, there's not very many good things about what's happening in social media right now, but it does give you pause before you slander somebody on social media and you want to keep your job, right? I don't like it. I don't think it's fair. I don't think it's right. And what's happening with people, a lot of people, is really wrong, but I'll tell you what, it causes you pause before you write something that could come back and hurt you while you're trying to hurt somebody else. So don't do that. Don't slander. Filthy language refers to vulgarity. In your Christian life, you don't want to slander people, and you don't want to be filled with vulgarity. And then it says, "Don't lie to one another". Those are three vocal disciplines we all need to develop as Christians.

Finally, in verses 10 and 11, you have a new purpose. And here's what it says in verse 10: "And you have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all in all". Here's what he says. Paul just gave us the number-one remedy to racism. Here's what he says: "Christians, live like Christians, and if you do, what will happen is racial barriers will be gone, Greek or Jew. Religious barriers will be gone, circumcised or uncircumcised. Cultural barriers will be gone, barbarians, Scythians. And social barriers will be gone, slave or free".

Paul says when we live the life that we're supposed to live as Christians, we can even have an impact on culture. You know, a lot of Christians are getting caught up in all this ugliness that's going on in our country right now. We don't need to be there. We need to be forceful, we need to be strong in our conviction, but we're to be filled with grace and truth as Jesus was, speak the truth in grace. And when we do that as believers, the Bible says we start breaking down barriers that have been built up around us, and all of a sudden, we're having an impact on culture.

Do you know if every Christian who's a Christian in America started living like a Christian, there'd be a whole different situation that we have in this nation than we have right now. Christians have been morphed into a world that they don't belong in. So let me just end it with this. Maybe your life is not the way it should be. Maybe you're a Christian, you know, you're a Christian, but you hear me today. And I've been a little bit, you know, back into that whole thing where if you're a pastor, you comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. And I've been doing a little affliction today, you know that.

I don't have any choice; I'm teaching this book, and this is what's in the book. I gotta teach it, but it's good for us. And it just reminds us that if we get caught up in that and we become impure or unclean or greedy or angry, controlled by anger, maybe we are lying about things, here's the point, listen to me. Christ does not do any of those things, and you are in Christ. Are you with me? Christ doesn't lie. He's not angry. He doesn't have wrath. He doesn't accuse people of things they have, Christ doesn't do that. And since you're in Christ, you don't have to do it either. That's what the whole thing is about.

You can take off all those habits and all those desires and instead, each day, you can dress yourself with the new man. You can focus all your effort, all your attention, on who you really are. You are a pure, clean, generous, patient, honest, believer in Jesus Christ. Now, just live like that. You can't do that in your own strength. You need Christ in you to do that, don't you? I can't do that by myself. I need the Holy Spirit. I need Christ in me. And as we end this sermon, we return to the beginning. In the first verses of chapter 3, we are reminded that we're with Christ, and Christ is in us.

Now, at the end of these verses, we're reminded, this is the last thing in the text, "Christ is all in all". You say, "Can I do that"? No, you can't do it, but Christ can. Why can he? Because he's everything. He's sufficient. That's what it means. He's enough. For everything you need to do in your life, he's enough. He will help you. There's no need to look elsewhere. He can save us from our sins, listen to me, and he can save us from ourselves, amen. And we need more of the second as believers than we do of the first. We need to be saved from ourselves. Receive him and love him and follow him and worship him and fellowship with him and share him with everyone. You know why? 'Cause he's above all, hallelujah.

And one day he is coming back, and he will get the credit he deserves when every knee bows and every tongue confesses that Jesus Christ is Lord. So the takeaway from all of this is simple. One day, he will be Lord over the universe. Right now, today in this place, he wants to be Lord over you. Don't get so caught up in his lordship over the universe that you forget what it means to let him be Lord over you. He doesn't want to be resident in your life. He wants to be president in your life. He wants to be Christ in you, the hope of glory.
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