Dealing With the Baggage of Your Past
1. Paul has made his case for the believer walking WORTHY of his calling.
a. Col.1:9-10a – Paul prayed that they would have the knowledge of God’s will and spiritual understanding THAT they might walk worthy of the Lord.
• Col. 3:1, 4 – Paul then reminds them of their glorious heavenly calling… because of which they are to walk worthy. A heavenly calling, a heavenly citizenship, and a heavenly position DEMAND a heavenly walk! Nothing less is a worthy walk!
• Col. 3:5 – then he makes his exhortation BASED upon his prayer… based upon God’s will… and based upon their position in Christ. PUT TO DEATH the sexual sins listed.
b. Col. 3:7 – then after PRAYING for their worthy walk… EXHORTING them to a worthy walk… he reminds them of their former walk.
• Now contrast here is between our former walk and a worthy walk.
God’s Wrath on the Uncleanness of the World (vs. 6)
A. Children of Disobedience
1. Lit: sons of disobedience.
2. Disobedience: ?pe??e?a
a. Strong’s: obstinate opposition to the will of God.
b. Zodhiates: unwillingness to be persuaded.
c. It is disobedience in this sense: it is a refusal to be persuaded… even by evidence or the Holy Spirit.
d. It is disobedience to the command of God: Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved!
e. Hence, it is virtually the same as unbelief…
3. This speaks of the unsaved… unbelievers.
a. It is the expression used of Paul in Eph. 2:2 – enslaved by sin, Satan, and the world.
b. This is the way EVERYONE walks… except the believer in Christ… whether he acknowledges it or not.
c. The whole world has rejected God’s light, and chose to walk in darkness… blindly following the system established by Satan.
d. Thus, because they REFUSED to be persuaded by light, they are blinded, under the power of darkness, and are spiritually DEAD in their sins.
e. Cf. Acts 26:18 – they NEED to be TURNED from that position.
f. Acts 17:30 – God at one time winked at the ignorance of the gentiles, but now has COMMANDED all men everywhere to REPENT.
g. God has called the whole world to repent… to change their mind… from obstinacy and unbelief to FAITH in Christ Jesus.
h. However, very FEW respond. Most choose to remain as sons of disobedience… refusing to be persuaded by the overwhelming evidence of the light from creation, the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the inspired Scriptures, fulfilled prophecy, and 2000 years of Christian testimony of changed lives.
i. John 16:7-8 – But most importantly, such men are sons of disobedience because they refused to be persuaded by the Holy Spirit… who convicts the WORLD of sin, righteousness, and judgment.
4. The lifestyle of the children of disobedience:
a. Paul states here that the sins listed in vs. 5 characterized the lifestyle of the sons of disobedience… of unbelievers.
b. It is the way of the world… the way of those who refuse to come to the light… it is a lifestyle characterized by moral and spiritual darkness… and the sins of the flesh.
c. Vs. 5 is the way the unsaved world LIVES.
d. Some might strongly object to Paul’s statement here. For many folks in the world have NOT committed sexual sins… have never committed adultery… have never had an illicit sexual relationship.
e. Matt. 5:28 – Jesus stated that LUST in the heart is the same sin as the act of adultery! No one can claim innocence here.
f. Jas. 2:10 – James teaches us that in one sense, it doesn’t matter WHICH point of the law is violated. The one who violates the law is a lawbreaker… and thus guilty of ALL! You broke the LAW!
g. The children of disobedience speaks of the WHOLE WORLD of unbelievers.
• Every last one of which walked in the FLESH and pleased the FLESH.
• They were not born of the Spirit…
• They did not walk in faith and thus could not please God.
• Their lifestyle was characterized by satisfying the flesh without regard to the truth of God’s Word.
• Light came into the world and these men loved darkness rather than light.
5. Summary: the children of disobedience is an expression used of the unbelieving world… the world that rejects the convicting work of the Holy Spirit… refuses to be persuaded by the light of creation, and the preaching of the gospel message.
a. They are unbelievers… unsaved… dead in their sins… unwittingly following the godless world system established by Satan… the course of this world… and condemned to an eternity in the Lake of Fire.
b. The children of disobedience will be forever condemned apart from being SAVED from that awful predicament by the SAVIOR, Jesus Christ… the Savior of the world… offered to the world… and for the most part, rejected by the world.
B. God’s Wrath
1. Paul states that the wrath of God is coming for these men and women.
2. Wrath: God’s anger, indignation; it also speaks of God’s punishment which will be poured out upon the wicked… judgment. It is God’s outrage and indignation against sin and all unrighteousness.
3. Cometh: present tense… = is coming…
a. God’s wrath… His judgment against sin… is coming for the sons of disobedience.
b. John 3:36 – His wrath presently abides over them continually… and will remain there unless they believe on Christ and get saved.
c. But in addition to having God’s wrath hovering over their heads every moment of every day… one day the day of God’s wrath will COME…
d. As the truth rejecter continues to live in unbelief, he is treasuring up wrath against the day of wrath… in which he will be judged according to his evil works. (Rom. 2:5)
e. At the Second Coming, God’s wrath is poured out upon a Christ rejecting world.
f. II Thess. 1:8-10 – in that day Christ will return to earth and those who OBEY NOT the gospel (refuse to be persuaded by the gospel) will face His wrath and will be punished with everlasting destruction!
4. God’s wrath will one day be executed against the children of disobedience…
a. Those whose lives are characterized by the sins of the flesh… whether the outward acts or the inward impulses…
b. They WALKED in the flesh…
c. Eph. 5:3-6—same context—fornicators, those who are unclean in their minds or bodies, those whose minds are filthy, tell and listen to foolish jesting (dirty jokes), whoremongers, etc… God’s wrath comes upon those children of disobedience!
d. And lest we begin to think that this refers only to the Hitlers and Stalins of the world, consider the following…
• Eph. 2:1-3 – EVERY believer in Ephesus was included in the group (children of disobedience) before their salvation.
• From the prostitute and the sweet little old lady who made cookies for the neighborhood kids… it goes for the religious and irreligious… the moral and the immoral man…
• ANYONE who refused to be persuaded by the gospel and is thus not born again is in this group!
• Don’t say, “That doesn’t apply to me. I got saved in the third grade! I haven’t committed such sins!
• Let’s not think like the Pharisees whose evil hearts were exposed by Jesus. They said, “I thank God that I am not like other men: extortioners, unjust, adulterers!”
• Jesus said that that the sin of lust of the same sin as the act. We are ALL like other men!
e. Apart from the new birth, we were ALL enslaved by the Satanic world system, dead in our sins, and walked in such a way so as to fulfill the lusts of the flesh… and thus were children of disobedience… and children of wrath!
• It doesn’t matter which side of the track you grew up on; it doesn’t matter who your father was; it doesn’t matter whether you ended up on skid row or whether you got saved in your third grade Sunday school class…
• BEFORE we were saved, we ALL lived to fulfill the desires of the flesh… to one degree or another… and were all children of disobedience!
f. God’s wrath will one day be executed against all children of disobedience.
• The believer will not face that future day of wrath. We have been saved from the day of wrath.
• However, the believer who continues to live in sexual sin WILL be chastened… not the wrath of a Judge, but from the broken heart of a loving father. (Heb. 12:6)
• God hates sexual impurity in the world. It is FAR WORSE for a believer to commit such sins. We are sinning against greater light…
5. FOR: “for which things sake the wrath of God cometh…”
a. Paul mentions the wrath of God as a REASON WHY the believers in Colossae should PUT TO DEATH the sins of the flesh.
b. Put them to death FOR God hates them! God’s wrath is coming against them! Therefore, put them away!
Your Former Walk (vs. 7)
A. You and I Lived and Walked in Such Sins Before Salvation
1. In the which ye also walked.
a. In the which refers back to the sexual sins of vs. 5.
b. Paul stated that the unsaved world walks in the sins of the flesh… fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind.
c. Then Paul states that the Christians in Colossae (and Salem for that matter) weren’t any better than the unsaved! They too walked in the very same sins.
d. We are all cut from the same sinful mold… the same fallen flesh… and we too walked in the same sinful desires.
e. We WALKED in such sins of the flesh… it characterized our daily lives…
f. And as we walked in that spiritual darkness, along with countless other children of disobedience, it didn’t seem so bad… everyone’s doing it… we thought nothing of it!
g. This is especially so of young people in the world today. Sexual sins are more common than ever…
h. People who come to know Christ as Savior today will be coming into the church with a LOT of baggage from their past…
• Well, there’s good news for such folks:
i. Forgiveness and grace extend to ANY kind of sin! Sexual sin is not the unpardonable sin.
• And it IS possible to MORTIFY the deeds of the flesh… and to WALK in newness of life.
• Salvation in Christ means FREEDOM from slavery to sin… any sin!
• And if you have been involved in such sins, and wondered whether God would ever save you, there’s good news for you too! He turns none away who come to him in faith.
• I Cor. 6:9-11 – Consider the types of people God saves: The list included fornicators, adulterers, and homosexuals!
• They were justified, washed, and sanctified through Christ!
j. Paul states that their FORMER lifestyle can be PUT TO DEATH!
• In fact, it MUST be put to death.
• This is a command, not a suggestion!
• Paul said, “Such WERE some of you… but NOW ye are washed.”
• They WERE involved in gross sins, but when they came to Christ, they put it away.
• After a person comes to Christ, he is expected to PUT TO DEATH his former sinful lifestyle!
• The filthy baggage has to go…
• There can be no thought whatsoever of a “gay church”… though some have been promoting such an idea. That’s like a church for practicing thieves, or a church for practicing liars.
• God saves the sinner FROM his sin. He doesn’t save the sinner so that he can continue IN his sin.
• Rom. 6:1 – shall we continue in sin? God forbid! We are now DEAD to sin!
B. Such a Lifestyle Is Inconsistent With Your Position in Christ
1. In context, Paul’s point is that our former lifestyle is completely inconsistent with who we are NOW in Christ…
a. We WERE sons of disobedience, but are now sons of God!
b. We WERE dead in trespasses and sins, but we now have eternal life.
c. We WERE alive in the world and dead to God; now we are alive unto God and dead to the world.
d. We WERE children of darkness, but now we are children of light.
e. We WERE children of wrath; now—no condemnation.
f. We WERE children of the world system, unwittingly following the course set by Satan, the god of this world; but now we are citizens of heaven, united to Christ our Head… following Christ as sheep follow a Shepherd.
2. I Pet. 4:3-5 – A new creature is to have a new lifestyle!
a. We are no longer to live in the flesh to the lusts of men.
b. That lifestyle is not acceptable but is understandable for those who live in darkness… but NOT for those who know the Lord!
c. Vs. 4 – God expects that we RUN NOT with them any more! We have a new life and a new lifestyle!
d. Eph. 4:17 – walk NOT as other gentiles… and as you USED to walk! It doesn’t matter if everyone in the world does it!
3. Once again, Paul is giving the Colossians (and us!) a REASON to put to death the sins of the flesh.
a. We should mortify the deeds of the flesh because they characterized our OLD MAN… and he is dead.
b. Therefore, we should put off his dirty, old clothes!
c. Therefore, we should put to death our former lifestyle… because we are NEW creations in Christ.
d. The former lifestyle is unbecoming one who is now a saint; child of light; one’s whose new life is hidden with Christ in God; seated in heavenly places!
Practical Ways to Put to Death Your Former Walk (vs. 5)
There are some practical things we can DO to avoid sexual sins. We have MIGHTY SPIRITUAL WEAPONS which are able to tear down the strongholds established by the flesh. (Nip it at the bud; cast down imaginations; etc.)
1. Walk in the Spirit – Spirit Filling.
a. We have the indwelling Holy Spirit… who enables us to plug up that dam…
b. Gal. 5:19 – sexual sins are the works/fruit of the flesh.
c. Gal. 5:23 – self control is the work/fruit of the Spirit
d. Gal. 5:17 – the flesh and Spirit are in a continual battle for control of us… of our minds, hearts, and bodies. There is constant opposition. Get used to it. The Christian life IS a battle… warfare.
e. Gal. 5:16 – but if we WALK in the Spirit, the flesh is powerless!
• Our weapons and source of power are SUPERIOR!
• Victory is ours any time we CHOOSE it… and walk by faith.
• We can never say, “The devil made me do it.” Or “I couldn’t help myself!” Yes we can!
• Are we willing to present our bodies a living sacrifice to God?
• Walk in the Spirit and you will NOT FULFILL the lusts of the flesh.
• That is a promise to be believed and PRACTICED.
• God always keeps His promises.
• Failure is never because of a lack of power… it is never the fault of the Spirit, but of our flesh. We CHOOSE to walk in the flesh…
• Failure is due to a lack of faith… a refusal to BELIEVE God’s promise.
• If we in faith, trusting God, CHOOSE to mortify the deeds of the flesh, God’s power will be more than sufficient!
f. But this only begs the question: HOW do we CHOOSE to mortify the deeds of the flesh?
• Rom. 7:18 – for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. We can all relate to Paul’s dilemma!
• Nevertheless, we are COMMANDED to put those deeds to death… to MORTIFY fornication, uncleanness, etc.
• It boils down to a matter of a yielded heart… surrendered to God… our bodies presented as a living sacrifice… yoked together with Christ… not my will but thine be done!
• If the heart is yielded and surrendered to God and we are filled with the Spirit… the body will be characterized by self control.
2. Col. 3:6 – develop a fear of God: the wrath of God is executed against the children of disobedience.
a. Fear is a legitimate emotion. It is God given.
b. God’s wrath CONTINUALLY comes (is coming…) on the children of disobedience. (unbelievers)
c. This is a revelation of who God is… and His infinite hatred for sin… and in particular these sexual sins.
d. Since God’s wrath is upon those sins, put them to death!
e. The believer should want nothing to do with that which brings down God’s wrath.
f. The wrath of God is meant to evoke a FEAR of God.
g. Prov. 16:6 – by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.?
h. Hence, when we get to know who God is… as we learn of His wrath toward sin, His infinite hatred of sin, and fear Him for it, we will depart from it!
3. Develop a fear of the consequences of sin.
a. Adultery is like taking burning clothes in your bosom. You WILL get burned eventually!
b. Fear chastening.
• Fear is a legitimate emotion. Fear displeasing God.
• It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of a living God!
• Fear the Father’s chastening hand. It can be SEVERE!
c. Fear the consequences of sexual sins:
• Prov. 5:8-12 – lost honor; lost wealth; irreversible regret; body consumed.
• Prov. 6:32-34 – he destroys his own soul… dealing with the regret and broken pieces of one’s life… broken families… wound and dishonor that will not be wiped away… rage of third party!
• Prov. 7:22-23 – to the slaughter… stocks… a dart through his liver…
• The consequences of sexual sins should cause us to FEAR getting involved in it.
• Fear bringing a life into the world illegitimately.
• Fear aids and other sexually transmitted diseases.
• This fear is legitimate before God.
• Eph. 5:6 – Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise!
» Paul warns the Ephesians about believing people who would say to them that there are no consequences to sexual sins. There ARE!
» Men tried convincing believers of this in the first century… and they are still up to it today!
» Today men argue that ancient religious forbade fornication because they didn’t have birth control, but it’s ok today!
» Men argue that sex is OK if it is consensual… or if it is safe… as long as nobody gets hurt.
» Whether someone gets hurt or not is not the point. It is wrong because God—the Author of Life—the Moral Standard of the Universe—said so! It’s wrong because it is disobedience to Him!
» And there ARE serious consequences… not just earthly… God’s wrath stands against such sins.
• God told the Jews to go into the Promised land and PUT TO DEATH all the Canaanites. If they did not put them to death (but hid them away in a far valley) they would come back to haunt them… and to be thorns in their sides!
4. Think rationally and thoughtfully about what sexual sin really is for the Christian.
a. I Cor. 6:18 – The horror of what sexual sin means for the believer.
b. As Christians, WE are members of the spiritual Body of Christ… the church. WE (bodies, souls and spirits) are members of the Body of Christ… and UNITED with Christ Himself.
c. This is an AWESOME privilege!
d. Sexual sin UNITES the two people involved. It is not a marriage union, but it is a union.
e. Sexual union unites the whole person… not just the body.
• Being male or female involves the whole person, not just the body. (thinking; emotions; attitudes; viewpoints; desires; etc.)
• Sex does not merely join one BODY to another body; it joins a male and female PERSON to each other… a union of body, soul, emotions, heart, mind…
• It is in a real sense a UNION of BOTH parties involved.
• Therefore, for a believer to join his body to a harlot for a few moments of sexual pleasure… ought to be UNTHINKABLE!
f. It is a union that involves MORE than his body. It involves his whole PERSON to that harlot… and since he is a member of Christ, it joins CHRIST to that harlot!
• Paul says that that believer is joining a member of Christ’s Body to a harlot!
• Sexual sin in some sense involves bringing the Lord into an illicit union.
• How much MORE hideous and unthinkable is such a sin!
• It is like joining Christ Himself to an harlot.
• It does not taint His character or His person, but it does taint His reputation and testimony!
• It profanes and disgraces HIM! It is the ultimate act of irreverence and disrespect; an utter disregard for the Person of Christ.
g. Sexual sin is FAR WORSE for a believer than for an unbeliever.
• The thought ought to be so REPULSIVE to a believer that it would never occur. It ought to send shivers of HORROR down our spines…
• Those thoughts of holy horror will be more effective in removing lustful thoughts than a cold shower!
• THINKING about what sexual sin is in God’s sight is an effective means of turning away from it.
h. Vs. 18 b – It is sinning against one’s own body.
• Most sins involve that which is without (outside the body). (Stealing, idolatry, murder, etc.)
• But sexual sin arises from within the body… and comes right out of the body.
• Illicit sexual activity is a degradation or a corruption of the body… it is using the body for something it was never intended to be used for.
• I Cor. 6:13 – the body is NOT for fornication (illicit sex), but was created FOR the Lord… for His honor and glory.
• It is sinning against one’s own body… a corruption of the body’s God-given purpose.
• I Cor. 6:19-20 – As a Christian, our bodies are not our own.
» Our bodies were created by God; redeemed or purchased by God; and indwelt by God; and for God.
» Thus, God OWNS our bodies, souls, and spirits.
» Hence, we cannot do with them as we please.
» He owns them and dwells in them… as His temple.
» The body is a holy Temple. Joining it to a harlot is like the sin of profaning the Temple of God!
» It is like turning the holy Temple of God into a house of ill repute. It should be unthinkable!
» We are to GLORIFY God in our bodies… and committing sexual sins does not glorify God.
i. Tempted? THINK about what you are about to do… and you just might change your mind!
j. Vs. 18a – When a believer THINKS about what this kind of sin means, he should FLEE fornication!
5. Rom. 13:14 – make no provision for the flesh.
a. This principle implies that the believer is AWARE of how easily his sinful flesh can be stirred up.
b. The alcoholic who wants to make no provision for his flesh will go the extra mile to avoid temptation. He will walk an extra five blocks to avoid having to smell the barrooms.
c. The glutton will not hang around the bakery… but will avoid situations that will stir up his appetite.
d. The believer will do whatever it takes to avoid the temptation of sexual sins too… he will avoid that which stirs up his sexual appetite.
• This speaks of a whole lifestyle.
• Computers are part of daily life in the 21st century. I use it to study the Bible and prepare sermons. It is a great tool.
• But the danger is that it puts every one of us just a mouse click away from the most defiling forms of pornography…
• If you are having a problem with pornography on the computer: make no provision for the flesh! Put in a filter… or get rid of the computer if you have to!
• If you watch TV—use the remote often… mute the ungodly music and turn off the wicked pictures.
• If it is an old illicit relationship that continually stirs up your flesh AVOID that person. Burn the bridges.
• And ladies, be sensitive to the fact that your bodies stir up the flesh in men. Be careful about what you wear… and the way you carry yourself!
• Avoid PLACES that stir up the flesh… avoid MUSIC that stirs up the flesh… avoid ANYTHING that stirs up the flesh!
• You know yourself. You know your limits. You know what stirs up your flesh. Make no provision for it!
» Story: little boy bringing his fishing pole to Sunday school.
• We too make provision for the flesh. God’s Word says, MORITIFY it… put it to death… don’t hide it under the seat… or bury it under a tree… or put it on the back burner. Put it to death! And make no provision for the flesh.
6. And if you find yourself in a situation that you know puts you in a compromising situation… facing temptation, God has another tool to use: RUN!
a. Flee fornication! (I Cor. 6:18)
b. Flee youthful lusts! (II Tim.2:21)
c. Gen. 39:7-13 – Consider the example of Joseph and Potiphar’s wife. He ran because he was afraid of what might happen!
d. He knew how easily his flesh could get stirred up. He didn’t have time to think… no time to plan something clever to say… he just ran!
e. Was he demonstrating that he was a weak man in running? Yes… an honest man who KNEW of his weakness. Hence, he ran. And in running… in acknowledging the weakness of his flesh, he demonstrated spiritual STRENGTH! (II Cor. 12:10)
7. Another powerful weapon against fornication given to the believer is MARRIAGE! (I Cor. 7:2)
a. To avoid fornication, get married!
b. It is better to marry than to burn in lust! (vs. 9)
c. This is the God given outlet for a very normal and natural desire.
d. In the bonds of marriage, the sexual relationship is honorable and pure… (Heb. 13:4)
e. Outside of marriage, it is dishonorable, impure, and worthy of divine judgment!
f. Marriage is God’s means to AVOID fornication… illicit sexual contact.
g. Marriage legitimizes the sexual union.