Wisdom goes to the heart. It sets us free from worshipping ourselves. Paul wrote to the Colossians about our position in Christ and of living out that reality. This can free us from idolatry and anger. We can put off the fleshly patterns. (Colossians 3:5-11)

Speaker: Justin Schaller
Sermon 12710
Date: 2024-05-01
Time: Wed 7:00 pm

P. Justin Schaller –

Hey good evening. How are we this evening? Hey. Great to be here. Praise the Lord! Can you say praise
the Lord? Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! We can barely get it out. It’s a Wednesday. Can
barely get it out. Praise the Lord! But we’re here.

I was a little last. P. Steve was, he was a little nervous. Took me a little longer getting around
the beltway from work, but I got here. That wasn’t me coming in with my shorts on. That wasn’t
me sneaking in 20 minutes late. I got my slacks on. I’m ready to go, but I’m here. Praise the
Lord!

Thank God, um, we’re going to just share not too long but just a good message from the book
of Colossians. We’ll go through a few verses together but before we do that, I just want to
preface it by just saying that Jesus and his ministry – do you know the first words that Jesus had
at the start of his ministry was not a command. It wasn’t a teaching, but it was a question that
Jesus asked. I believe it’s over 360 times in the Gospels he asked questions and he was asked
questions I think 150 or so times.

So, he actually asked more questions of human beings than human beings asked him. That’s an
amazing thing. When you’re omniscient and you know all things and it’s an amazing question
that he asked the disciples in the book of John, in John 1, and he asked James and John or
Andrew and John, what do you see? What an amazing question that is and the questions of
Jesus are very poignant.

They’re to the heart of what people are really living with and believing.
And if you go through those questions, and I like to ask myself just on a regular basis some of
those questions that Jesus asked the Pharisees and asked the disciples because a good teacher
will draw out the answer from the student. And the student will be able to answer the
questions thinking that they came up with it, but it was really initiated by a question. And Jesus
was a master at that and the New Testament is filled with these types of things that we need to
ponder and think on.

And I believe that question is one that we should always be thinking about in our lives because
really the point of it is, what am I really seeking in life? And there’s only two things that I can
seek. I can either seek the will of God or I can seek my own will. And we know that to seek first
the kingdom is really what we’re called to as Christians. That we need to have that question.
What am I seeking?

So, let’s open up a prayer and then we’ll look in the book of Colossians. Just a few verses.
(Prayer). In the book of Hebrews, it says that as believers we can be tripped up. Do you guys
know that? We can be easily tripped up. I had a client the other day. It was about one week
ago. Big, tall fellow. Maybe 6 feet four inches. Maybe in his early 70’s. Outdoorsman. And I
could tell he’s taking up golf ’cause he’s newly retired and so he's taking golf lessons.

And I could tell he was a little ginger on his right side. He’s a little sensitive and I asked him, I said, do you
have any ailments with your shoulder, your hip or your ribs? And he goes actually, I had an
accident. I said, really? I didn’t know that.

He said, yeah. Two years ago, I was riding my mountain bike in Deep Creek where he has a summer home and
he fell of the mountain bike. He went over the handlebar and flew about 20 yards. Just think,
he’s 6’4,” 220. Imagine that body flying through the air. He went over the handlebars, landed
on his side, broke all five ribs, messed up his shoulder, messed up his hip. And he was
unconscious on the side of this path. And I go, whoa! I said, what happened?

He goes, do you want to see it? And I go, do I want to see it? Of course. Who wouldn’t want to
see that. And he goes, I have it on video. And I go, really? Okay. This kind of sound strange like
how do you have this on video? Well, come to find out, the person who he fell of his bike in
front of their house, this man was filming video because there was a 400 black bear in his
backyard.

So, the black bear was in his backyard and his little 9-year-old daughter was with his, with her
dad and they were saying, whoa! Look at that one. That is a big black bear. And it was a massive
black bear. And as the black bear moved across the backyard, it decided to just kind of set up
shop on this bike path. And so, as he’s filming it and talking to his daughter’s little nine-year-old
daughter, look Judy! Look at that black bear. Isn’t he big? And yeah, dad. It’s big. Next thing you
know he goes, oh, no, no! There’s someone coming down the path and he starts shouting out.
There’s a bear in the path! It’s too late.

That 6’4’ body, 220 pound body hit that bear and he went flying over the handlebars about 20 yards down the path and landed on his right side and broke his ribs and messed up his shoulder and all of that. I go, wow! That is unbelievable.
So, the guy filmed the whole thing and he finds him unconscious and they call an ambulance.
He went to the hospital and he was in the hospital, he was in a, he was unconscious for two
days. And it took him 14 days before he could leave.

I go that is amazing! I said, can you send me that video ’cause no one is going to believe me. ‘Cause I wouldn’t believe you unless I saw it. And he’s just doing his morning stroll and unbeknownst to him, 400 pound black bear right in the
middle of the pat. I’m thinking, man. He had a warning but he just didn’t have enough time. He
wasn’t thinking that that was a possibility. He wasn’t thinking that he would ever come across a
black bear sitting there going 25 miles an hour down a hill on his mountain bike.

And I said, how could I relate that story to the Bible? And it’s this. It’s that wisdom has
foresight. Wisdom is the one that is crying out in the book of Proverbs saying I know if you
continue down that path what the end result is going to be. But the reality is that no one ever
things that the possibility of hitting a bear in the middle of the path will ever happen. Just like
we don’t think that if I continue living in habitual sin or evil that one day I will face the reaping
of whatever I sowed. We don’t think like that.

Because in Romans 1, the unregenerate man continues on sinning because he has done that for
50 years and nothing has happened or nothing has changed. And as believers, we can also be
deceived into thinking that we understand what sin is, but not really understand what wisdom
is trying to say to us so that we can deviate from the result of what it will bring in our life.
Now, we know as we’re, as we’re believers, we are saved.

We are justified. We are 100% righteous. There’s nothing that can change in the sense of the love that God has for us. We are eternally secure. We are going to be glorified in the future, but we live in this period of time
called sanctification. And sanctification can be a term that we can be very familiar with and we
can thinking two ways. One that it’s all up to God and there’s nothing based upon what I can do
to progress sanctification. We can have that idea that Jesus just take the wheel. It’s all you. I’m
just going to let go and let God.

Or you have the other side which says it’s all on man and his will and his ability and his
discipline and it can be very legalistic. But we fall right in the middle line because that’s where
the Apostle Paul fell. And he would say that it’s not I but it’s the grace of God in me. That
progresses my sanctification. But he does have to make a daily decision and when we find Paul
giving this command, we could say in Colossians 3 he has done it by first going through two chapters
of telling them who they are in Christ.

And if you look in Colossians 3 starting in vs. 5, the uses this word, “therefore.” That’s very much how
Paul lays out his letters. He’s going to give them the reasons for why they need to progress in
their sanctification and in their following Christ. He’ll say therefore.
So, he’s going through two chapters of positional truth and now in chapter 3 just like in the
book of Ephesians and just like in the book of Philippians, he is now going to say now take your
position and put it into practice. So, let’s look in vs. 1. He says if then you were raised with
Christ. He never uses “if then” like if it happened. But rather, he is saying I have proved to you
that you are raised with Christ.

So then if you have been raised with Christ, this is what your life will look like. If then you are
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 meaning that you have a new
mind. You have a new focus. You have a new agenda for what your life is all about.

The world is going to give you agenda and directions, but when you enter into the kingdom of God, you
enter into a completely new realm and that realm is in heaven. It’s a spiritual realm and Paul is
saying we now have the ability to set our mind in that place. In vs. 3, meaning that if you died
with Christ and you were raised with Christ into a new realm, your old life and your old habits
and your old motivations died when he died on the cross.

So, if you died with him and your life now is hidden, where is your life now hidden? It’s hidden
in heaven with him. So, if you want to know what your motivation is, if you want to know what
your direction is, you’re not going to find it in your own heart.

You’re not going to find it on YouTube. You’re not going to find it in a magazine. You’re going to find it straight from heaven. What is the will of God for my life? It’s in heaven and it’s been revealed to us through holy
Scripture. So, he said if you died and your life is hidden with Christ in God, when Christ is our
life appears then you also will appear with him in glory. So, if that’s true, you have to come to
that foundational Gospel truth. If that is true and you agree with it, therefore. And that is in vs.
5. So, this is what we call sanctification. Meaning that we can say I’m saved. I’m going to
heaven. The jobs is already over. I don’t have to do anything.

That is antithetical to what the New Testament tells us. When I am saved, I’m positionally saved
but now it is vs. 5. To put to death your members which are on the earth. And this is what I
want to look at and I want to build us up tonight and edify us. But this study for me has helped
me immensely to understand the thing that can so easily trip me up.

A lot of times, people think that their problems are things that they talk about on the surface
when really it is something that is in the heart. And Jesus with his words goes directly to the
heart and makes it very simple. Have you ever noticed that a lot of times if you’re around wise
people, they don’t have many words but their words are words that are choice words that get
straight to the point.

Like when Solomon had the two women in front of him and one rolled over and killed one of
the children and stole the other woman’s child, and they didn’t know how to resolve the
problem. They brought it to Solomon, and Solomon did not say let’s try to figure this out. Was
there any video camera? Let’s get some testimony. Is there someone who was there possibly?
Maybe we can have some sore of parental rights where you can have the baby for one week or
you can have the baby for another week. We know the story, right? I know I’m kind of jumping,
giving you a context, but I’m just assuming you know the story.

What did Solomon do? He said one sentence. Give me a sword and cut the baby in half. That
revealed the heart of the murderer and the thief because the mother whose child was stolen
and was alive loved the child so much that she said, I will sacrifice my time with that child just
so the child could live. And Solomon said, she’s the mother. The other woman, her heart was
revealed very simply because she said, kill the baby. Solomon didn’t need to be wordy. He got
straight to the heart of the matter. Why?

Because the wisdom he received was wisdom from Jesus Christ was the wisdom that was given
to Solomon and that is the same wisdom that speaks directly to our heart because we can talk.

Talk about a lot of surface things, but really if we can get to the heart of what the true problem
is, we can resolve it.

And this is what, this is what this text tells us. And now, just look at it in vs. 5. Now, there’s
going to be two lists of words starting in vs. 5 and then also in vs. 8. I just want to go through
these just briefly, but I think this will reinforce to us what Paul is trying to express to the
Colossians. He says this in vs. 5. Meaning your physical, the sin that is still in your physical body.
And he starts off with this word fornication. Then he says uncleanliness, passion, evil desire,
greed or covetousness which is idolatry.

So, we have a list of things that work this way from the outward acts to the inner motivation.
What’s the outward act? It’s fornication. And we know fornication is just immorality and really
any kind of immorality is just outside of what God’s parameters are. And we know that sex is
really – there’s only one parameter. It’s between a husband and a wife. Anything that is outside
of that parameter is outside of God’s reasoning for sex and fornication is just outside of those
parameters.

So, it’s a result – fornication is the act, but it’s a result of, it says uncleanliness. Uncleanliness.
Just meaning impurities. It’s the same word that Jesus uses in Mark 7:21 where he says that
which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man. It’s uncleanliness. It’s just dirty.
Fornication is coming from a place of dirtiness or uncleanly motivations. We can say it starts in
the mind. It’s never the act. The act is only the function of something that was long ago in the
mind.

And below that, you have this word which is passion. So, you have fornication which is the
outward act just like Jesus said in Matthew 7. Fornication is not just the act, but it’s actually
looking upon a woman and lusting after her. That is the same. Why? Because it’s coming from
an unclean mind and God is saying that is the same thing. But underneath uncleanliness is this
word passion. It’s describing something behind this impure thought. In the Greek, it’s deep
rumbling in our nature. Almost in the Greek it’s a passive term. It’s something that is latent
inside of us, but it’s a motivation. It’s an energy. It’s a, something that is going to inspire up this
uncleanly thinking that will ultimately bring out the act of the fornication.

The next one is evil desire. Evil desire is just desiring. In the Greek, there’s two words. It’s for
greed and then it’s also for covetousness. And greed is just taking something that doesn’t
belong to you. Greed is basically saying I think I desire that, so I’m going to take it.

If I’m greedy for money, in the end it will lead me to steal. If I am greedy for my own glory, it will lead me to
boast. If I am greedy for sex, it means that I am going to take someone that doesn’t belong to
me. Underneath all sin, it is motivated by that motivation which is greed because it’s the
foundational motivation that the devil had that he was going to take something that didn’t belong to him. He was saying that I want the throne of God. Therefore, I deserve it. I’m going to
take it.

In the Greek the word is PLEON EXIA. It’s two words. PLEON which means more and EXIA, to
have. The desire to have more than what you have. It is the opposite of contentment. It is this
insatiable desire that we have that we feel as though that we need more than what we have
and even though it’s not rightfully mine, I’m going to take it anyways. And the Greeks use this
word to describe this deep hole that was in man that it didn’t matter how much he took, it
would never satisfy the human heart.

And the Greeks said it was like trying to fill a bottomless bowl. So, if we have Pau’s list here, it’s
the outward act of fornication which we would say that’s a sin and it is, but God deals with it
from the point of motivation. What is it? Uncleanliness. Unclean thinking. It’s coming from a
deep rumbling or an energy called this passion and it’s coming from an evil desire of greed and
covetousness, of taking something that does not belong to me and we say are we at the
bottom? Is that the bottom motivation of what sin is really coming from? No, there’s one more.
What is it? Idolatry.

At the root of all sin is idolatry. And what is idolatry? It’s worshipping anything other than God.
And in this context, it’s worshipping yourself. If we make ourselves god’s, we will be greedy
gods that will take things that don’t belong to us just like David. He was a man who was a king
who felt as though that he deserved to take another man’s wife. He worshipped himself. But
God says this. Seek first your glory and your kingdom? Or seek first my kingdom?

When we are on the throne of self, we are saying God is not sovereign, I am sovereign. I’m not
content with what God has given me. I am sovereign. I’m going to take what I feel like is
rightfully mine just like Adam and Eve took something that didn’t belong to them on that tree.
They did it out of idolatry and what greed and who tempted them into it but the devil did
because he is the architect. He is the first one that brought this self-exaltation, this self-worship
and this greed into the human race so that it is a heavy thing that Paul tells us right there.
Your sin is not so much on the outside.

Your sin is that we are on the throne. We are saying I’m not going to seek first the kingdom of God because he does say if you seek first my kingdom, I will add what? All these things unto you. That’s the opposite of greed. It’s I’m content
worshipping him. I’m a worshipper in my heart of the true and living God and I will be satisfied
with whatever he gives me. Therefore, if I live that way Paul is saying I will not take another
man’s wife which is the fornication.

Do you see how that works? To me, that is astonishing to me because that’s so much more than
my idea of what sin is. Of like telling a fib or something like this. It’s getting to the root core of
no, Justin. You’re on the throne of your own life and that is why all sin leads to brokenness of relationship. If you look at any sin, if you have a person who is taking something that doesn’t
belong to him, he’s hurting another individual. Is he not?

All sin is a violation against God. Number one. But it’s also a violation against other people. And Paul is saying that still remains in all of us. That is a thing that can very easily trip us up.
Now, look at the second set. Are you guys following this with me? I know it’s a Wednesday
night. You guys. It’s a long day. We’re doing some teaching but just follow this with me, okay.
Because this is going to get good. We’ll get to the good part in vs. 8. He has this other list. Now
he’s going to reverse it. The first list he works from the outside of the sin back to the motivation
which is idolatry.

In the second list in vs. 8, he’s going to start from the motivation of anger and work on the
outside of the mouth. Vs. 8. And he starts off with anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy
language out of your mouth. Now, how do you relate – this is kind of my meditation these last
few days on this passage. How do you relate these two sections of lists?

I feel as though I could be wrong but I feel as though that this might be the connection at the
end of vs. 5. If am the idol and I’m worshipping myself, if anyone violates who I think I am as my
own sovereign god, what is my response? Anger. If you get offended, who do you think you
are? That you’re that big of a person that you can’t take someone’s offense. When we put
ourselves in such a high position in our own minds; if someone comes against us or crosses us,
what happens? We get angry. But anger is really below that is what is called fear.

Now, follow this with me. I have my little 5-year old boy in a parking lot at Home Depot. And
there’s someone driving too fast and he almost hits him. What is my response going to be.
Anger. Why? I’m afraid of losing the thing that’s most precious to me. Anger is always
connected to fear. Fear of what? Fear of losing something that is precious. If I am the most
precious thing in my own life, if anyone comes up against that, I will have a fear of losing that
position in my own mind.

So, what’s the result if you get angry and how does the list go? It becomes wrath. It becomes this insatiable in the Greek, an insatiable fire that is burning in your belly just like with Lucifer.
Lucifer is so upset that he has us, these little specks that were made out of the dust that are
going to rule and reign over the angels one day in heaven. How could that be? I am Lucifer.
Who is going should rise above God, the I AM’s.

He has his egotistical, narcissistic selfish self-worshipping pride that if anyone goes up against it, what’s his response? Anger. That’s why Paul says if we know his devices, he doesn’t like that one bit because he things he’s so much
greater than we are, but we also can have the same, can’t we?
So, look at the list. Anger and then wrath and then out of it comes malice. Then comes
blasphemy. Then comes filthy language out of your mouth. Out of the heart, the mouth what?

Speaks. Now, we’re all guilty of this, are we not? We are all guilty of it because we’re the best
complainers and we all know it even if other people don’t hear it. Because we learn to keep it
under our breath, but I think this is a key where Jesus says to us, who are you worshipping? And
it boils down to this.

When we think of worship, we think of singing songs and that is true. We think of reading the
Scripture. The highest form of worship is reading the Scripture. That is true. But it is also true in
the sense that I say I am not sovereign. I am not in control. You are. The Sovereign One. You
are the one I worship and I will be grateful for all things that come out of your hand. But we can
be rippin mad because we feel as though that God hasn’t given us what we deserve. So, we
take the place of God in our own heart and we worship ourselves. We can but you know what
the amazing thing of the Gospel is? We can be free from being our own gods cuz we are terrible
gods. He is the one who’s created all things. We are terrible gods.

Now, look at the last list. Then he says in vs. 9 “do not lie to one another.” Do you know that if I
am at the seat of my own life and I worship myself, and if someone violates who I think I am, I
get angry. But the end result of it in vs. 9 is that I lie. Why? What does a lie do? It covers up. I do
not want to be exposed for who I truly am.

Adam and Eve lied. Cain lied. Abraham lied. Isaac lied. Before we even get out of the book of
Genesis, we got all these liars. Why is that? Because it’s the end result of sin. Why? Because I
don’t want to be exposed as a sinner because it’s humiliating. But Jesus Christ coming and he’s
gentle and he’s meek. And even with his disciples, he was so gentle with him but he’s direct.
And he could say it’s like this, Peter. Are you the one who is in charge or am I in charge?

Peter goes, you’re in charge but I’m doing all of these things for you. Are you doing it for my
glory, Peter? Are you doing it for your glory? Because the devil does not want and the
unregenerate heart does not want and I could even say in our own sinful flesh, we do not want
God to get the glory. We want to get the glory ourselves.

But when Jesus comes and speaks truth to us and he says, stop lying. Problem is not your
parents or your relatives. The problem is not your friends. The problem is not your church.
Problem is not your husband or your wife. The problem is you. I need to hear that because that
is what the Gospel speaks and that is the most freeing thing. To be able to take off the garment
of lies and to be shown for who I truly am. Who is a person who wants to be worshipped and
for my own glory and for my own success. Call it whatever you want.

I know those are high terms but I’m just saying this. It’s my life and I want it my way. When we
take those clothes off and we are exposed and Christ says I have new garments for you and
those new garments are garments of my righteousness and I want to be the one who is sitting
on the throne in your life, can you worship me? When I see the tenderness of Jesus that is the only thing that can break me where I can confess. Yes, Lord. It’s not him. It’s not her. It’s not my
blasphemy or my malice or my anger. My anger is usually not the thing I’m talking about.

It’s something much deeper and when I come to Christ and I come clean, look at what he says in vs.
10. In vs. 9, he says, don’t lie anymore to one another since you have put off the old man with
his deeds. Paul uses this term like take off the clothes because in the early Christian church
when they would be baptized, they would take off their old pagan clothes. They’d be baptized
and they would be given when they came out of the water, new clean garments that
represented the righteousness of Christ.

It’s amazing that Paul is not talking to unbelievers here. He’s talking to us and he’s saying true
freedom lies when with not lying anymore about what your true motive is. Take those clothes
off because that old man has died. Therefore, your anger has died. Your malice has died. Your
blasphemy has died. Your self-worship has died. And you are now risen in a new life with new
garments serving the true and living God and not yourself.

Thank you, Jesus. The most miserable people are the ones seeking their own glory. The truest, freest people that
are saying I’m already dead so it doesn’t matter what people say. Doesn’t matter what glory I
get because all glory should be going to him anyways. Because if it was up to him, he could send
me away because it says in vs. 5 or verse 6, he says these things the wrath of God is coming on.
When I see that impulse in my own human flesh and I know that someone who is not in Christ
will be damned for all of eternity because of those same actions, but I could do the same thing
but I’m not going to lose my salvation, I go, wow!

That is unbelievable. That is unbelievable. That puts us all on the same playing surface. We are all this way and Paul is saying that to us and he’s saying it because it’s truth. Because the truth is the only thing that will set us free.
The Gospel now in these days is very man centered trying to make man feel good. But in the
book of Isaiah, it says that God is only looking for the one who is broken with a contrite heart,
because we know that we are this way. If we are true and not lying about it, but look at it in
closing. He says this in vs. 10-11. Wow! We could go another 20 minutes, but we’ll close there.
But that is an amazing thing. We are free. Let me just end with this. We are free from
worshipping ourselves.

That is the greatest thing that could ever be given to mankind because offenses are gone.
Forgiveness is easy. Grace is given. Life becomes simpler when people are not changing and we
think they should change because we think that we are in a position that we could change them
because we are God, but only God can change them. We go it’s not my work. It’s his work. I
don’t have to make judgments anymore. I don’t have to sit up at night and try to figure out why
they are the way they are. I’m not God. I can’t change them, so why am I even complaining
about it?

How about I just rest it at the feet of the sovereign God whom I worship and let him do the
changing and let me just be a vessel of grace and ministry and edification to that person. If
you’re a control person – some of us are – it’s harder to do than some, but we just have to say
I’m not in charge. You are. I’m not the one who’s worship, but I’m a worshipper of you on a
daily basis and that’s what changes everything in our Christian walk. Amen. Amen.

So, Lord we – I know that was a little, that was a little hot for a Wednesday night, but I think it’s
good. I didn’t say it. Paul said it. But it’s good for us. It’s good for me. We all – I need to hear
that every day. (Prayer)

 

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