On Sunday the Sunset pastor continued our “Raised with Christ” series with a message, “Executing the Old Self.”   The text was from Colossians 3:5:  “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature….”

 The execution of our fallen, corrupt, earthly nature—our tendency to participate in sin—requires ruthless resolve to defeat the devil.

 The pastor made three points: (1) Our Two Natures; (2) The Conflict; (3) The New Self.

 (1) Our Two Natures.  V5, Paul:  “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature….”  Paul said in v3, “For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” 

 Someone might ask:  If we died, why does Paul then 2 verses later, say to “put to death whatever belongs to their earthly nature.”  The reason is that we all have two natures—an earthly nature and a heavenly nature.  Paul describes the earthly nature in vss5-9, but our heavenly identity is the reborn self, as Paul said [Philippians 3:20], “Our citizenship is in heaven.” 

 We live on the earth, but we are going to a higher, heavenly place.  We live in human bodies which have sinned and sometimes still sin, but we will receive new bodies which will be like Christ’s resurrection body. 

 On the earth, while we live in the old body, and still experience temptation to do wrong, Paul says, “You have died to sin.”  God sees you no longer as a sinner but as a saint, so:  walk in the new, redeemed way in which God sees you. 

 (2) The Conflict.  In vss5-9 he describes the earthly nature which we have died to, and he exhorts us to put it to death.  So, what is the earthly nature which still tempts us to go down the wrong path? 

 He lists:  “sexual immorality [King James translation:  fornication; also adultery, same-sex relating, which is not God’s design and not God’s will].  Paul puts this first because the First Century Roman world was out of control with sexual immorality, as 2017 America is as well.

 He says:  Get rid of “impurity, lust and evil desires.”  Impure thoughts and covetous desires for what one should not have are a battle in the mind.  God wants to cleanse, remake and rewire our minds and thoughts, getting rid of all that is impure. 

 In our day and in our culture, even in the churches, the lust industry is alive and well, with half of all the world’s pornography consumed in the U.S.  But pornography is damaging to one’s mind, to relationships and to children, not to mention the damage to one’s health from sexually transmitted diseases. 

Then:  “Greed [covetousness], which is idolatry” has to do with a desire to have something which would be wrong if you had it.  This is #10 of the Ten Commandments:  “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house, his wife, his ox or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” 

 “Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.”  God is not pleased with any of this. 

 V8:  “But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these:  anger [unjustified, smoldering resentment], rage [anger which is out of control], malice [hate], slander [making up stories about people], filthy language from your lips.” [filthy bad jokes, swears, gutter language]. 

 “Do not lie to each other.”  Politicians are not the only liars in the world.  If it’s not the truth, don’t tell it.

 We must make up our minds to live for God.  There is no such thing as a Christian who regularly lives in and practices the lower, earthly nature. 

 (3) The New Self.  V9: “Since you have taken off your old self with its practices [in your baptism], and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.”  God is daily renewing us by his word, and by our listening and following the Holy Spirit’s leading. 

Our song leader Sherry Whatley sang a beautiful special on Sunday, “Jesus Is the Lighthouse.”  Thank you Sherry. 

 “Know that the Lord is God.  It is he who made us, and we are his….”  [Psalm 100:4-5] 

May you know the Lord today in an intimate, personal way — our prayer for you from your friends at Sunset Christian Church.