Spiritual Stripping

Colossians 3:5-11

So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. Because of these sins, the anger of God is coming. You used to do these things when your life was still part of this world. But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. 10 Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. 11 In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.

INTRODUCTION

Life is about giving up things or having them stripped from you. If you don’t know this now-you will know eventually. It is best that we lay some of these things aside without having them taken. Paul challenges us to treat the flesh and it’s habits as dirty clothes, take them off and don’t put them back on. I am thankful that God is gracious and that He has a lot of patience with us. I love the NLT, it is so clear; note Paul’s introduction to this passage, So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you.” That makes it crystal clear.

TRANSITION

What are some to the things we are to take off, lay aside?

  1. Paul begins his list with SEXUAL IMMORALITY. The AV translates the Greek word porneia as fornication but the word covers all elicit sex: fornication, adultery, homosexuality and all others. Any sexual sin you can name is covered by this word. Are you shocked that Paul would mention this first? It was a huge problem in the ancient world, especially among the Gentiles or as Williams translates “the heathens.” It remains the number one problem today and the internet has not helped. All porn is wrong and offensive but child porn is heartbreaking and it has increase 1500% since 1997. Until the late 80’s and early 90’s porn images were not available on the net in mass, then some anonymous inventers came up with ways to transmit images clearly and since then it has been Katie bar the door. One pedophile was arrested in Great Britain who had 450,000 child porn images in his possession. I could say more but it is too hard to stomach. I read all I wanted to in five minutes. Some say that 37% of internets sites are porn; others say it is more like one in four. Regardless to who is right and who is wrong, it is too many. Some sites are pay-per-view and 90% of their hits come from men. Williams translates 1 Corinthians 6:18…”Keep on running from sexual immorality.” Note two things: it is a continual battle “Keep on running” and we are to run ‘from’ it, not to it.
  2. Second on Paul’s list is IMPURITY. The AV translates it Uncleanness. It refers to either spiritual or physical uncleanness. It is the closest thing to the off quotes “Godliness is next to cleanliness,” which is not in the bible.
  3. Third on Paul’s list is PASSION [Greek is pathos]. The AV translates it INORDINATE AFFECTION, the NIV translates it ‘lust’ and the CEV ‘wrong desires.’ Actually this word pathos can be used in a good or bad sense. Pathos is a deep feeling which occupies our mind and motivates our actions for good or bad.
  4. Number four is EVIL DESIRES. The AV translates this as ‘Evil Craving’…It is a desire for the forbidden. The old “Don’t walk on grass” or “Wet paint, don’t touch” principle.
  5. Five is GREED which is translated ‘Covetousness’ in the AV. Paul said that greed is synonymous with idolatry.
    • Idolatry is driven by selfishness–People form gods in their own image to conform to their desires. The pagan had combined worship with the first four things on Paul’s list: Sexual immorality, impurity, passion and evil desires.
    • Idolatry is the worship of self-will…”I want what I want.”
    • Materialism becomes Idolatry when we covet wealth more than God…Wealth becomes our god.
    • Greed has never been limited to the wealthy, or the immoral. Both the poor and the religious are subject to greed.
    • Greed is a subtle and destructive trap–it can destroy life and legacy. I read a quote the other day, “Misers are no fund to hang out with but they make good ancestors.”
    • There are two sins you’ll never hear a Baptist confess: Greed and Jealously.
    • At this point, Paul does an aside, “Because of these sins, the anger of God is coming.” I don’t know how to reconcile accountability with grace but Paul said twice [Romans 14:10] Why do you look down on another believer? Remember, we will all stand before the judgment seat of God.  For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body. [2 Cor. 5:10]. One thing is sure: we are accountable to God for the choices we make.
    • Paul starts a second list in verse in verse 8 with this introduction…BUT NOW IS THE TIME TO GET RID OF…the word rid means to lay aside or store away like a garment. So in essence, we are still stripping.
  6. Get rid of ANGER [orge]. This is a slow burn fire that goes deep, a smoldering fire that refuses to go out. When I was 16 years old, I accidently burned down the family barn and it was full of hair and corn. Inside the barn and around was layers and layers of dried manure and it burns for weeks. I don’t mean days, I mean weeks. We usually associate orge with sexual immorality and it is related but it also speaks of a hidden anger. Whatever is eating at you inside, you need to deal with it and get rid of it. When humans are not designed to carry fire.
  7. Number seven on Paul’s list is TEMPER and this is a very familiar Greek word ‘thumos’. But it does not mean to keep hot, it means to blaze with anger, it is not hidden anger but an outburst of anger. One characteristic of a foolish person is to brag about their ‘thumos’, their outburst of anger. Proverbs 16:32 reads…”Better to be patient than powerful; better to have self-control than to conquer a city.” Self-control trumps brute force.
  8. Number 8 is MALICE. Malice is a vicious word that indicates a persons intent to injure. Some people are careless with their tongues and say dumb things that hurt others but they have no idea that their words injured. They were speaking in ignorance. Then there are words that are intended to harm, to discourage, to destroy and these are malicious words. We have to account for all misspoken words but Malice carries a much stiffer fine because it is not done in ignorance.
  9. Number nine is SLANDER. The Greek word for slander is ‘innuendo’…I am kidding, the Greek word is ‘blasphemia’ and it speak of lies about another person. Slander is extreme malice with the intent not just to harm but to destroy. I mention innuendo, an allusive or oblique remark or hint, typically a suggestive or disparaging comment relating to another’s character, because some folks SLANDER SUBTLY by using innuendo. It is not so much what they actually say as what they suggest. They use this subtle form of slander because it makes it much harder to hold them accountable.
  10. Number ten of all things is FOUL TALK. The AV renders this filthy communication and it refers to obscenity and suggestive language often times whispered so everyone cannot hear. When I think about foul talk, I recall those who cursed and talked filth for all to hear. I have to confess that this became a habit in my youth. God convicted me strongly and delivered me instantly. This is the only bad habit in which God removed in this fashion, at least that I recall. The others have been long battles. Note: THE LAST THREE SINS ON PAULS LIST HAVE TO DO WITH THE TONGUE.
  11. I don’t know about you but I’ve about had all I can take in one sermon but Paul is not finished; not quite. Number is eleven is DON’T LIE TO EACH OTHER. My first thought is of preachers and their tendency to exaggerate. Bro. Inman use to say, “Preaches don’t exaggerate, they just magnify it up so you can see it.” But that is really not what Paul is talking about here: he is talking about our tendency to hid our sin and to pretend that everything is OK when it is not OK. I read a story yesterday about a new convert who attended church for his first time after someone had shared Christ with him. The preacher did something highly unusual. He read 1 Corinthians 6:9-11…Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God…and then he said, “If one or more of these sins are in your background, I want you to stand.” At first no one stood and the new convert thought, “Oh no, I’m in the wrong place.” But then one by one, people began to stand until the new Creation in Christ felt at home. I have to admit when I read the story, my first impulse was, I don’t want to be associated with this list…just look at it…but LORD began to convict and He started with sexual sin and before He was through, I could identify with practically every sin on the list. I had the most chilling thought: what if this guy had come to our church, do we have anyone honest enough to stand and confess? Only God knows, I don’t.

CONCLUSION

No one is their right mind wants to be left naked. Stripping is one thing but going naked is another. The good news is that we put on Christ [New Nature]…Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. [v.10] In this way Christ becomes our all in all. He is our shoes, socks, pants, undergarments, shirt, coat, tie, hat, whatever. Actually it can be summed up in one word “Robe.” Isaiah 61:10 reads…

I will greatly rejoice in the LORD,
My soul shall be joyful in my God;
For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation,
He has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
As a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments,
And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
By the way, Jesus was disrobed in our behalf in order that He could robe us…And they stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him. Jesus was stripped for our sins and robed in scarlet for our transgression so that He could give us a white robe of righteousness. Hallelujah, what a SAVIOR!
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