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If you turn your Bible to Colossians 3 — I’ll give you a minute to turn there. We’ll be talking to you today — I’ve been studying it this week and I even shared some of the verses with the youth group on Wednesday night. And to be honest with you, I had all different plans as to how I was going to preach this and I thought, “Lord this is what you want me to have.” In Colossians Paul was talking about and presenting to the Colossians that Christ is supreme, Christ is preeminent. He is all in all – verse eleven, you see that Christ is all in all and I thought, “that’s the way I want to present this Lord, That’s what I want to do,” and as I begin to put my outline together and read it more, Lord said, “Nope. I’ve got another idea for you.”
So bare with me this morning as He showed me some things that I want to share with you that I found in Colossians chapter three. We’ll begin reading in verse one “If He then be risen in Christ, seeks those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth. For you are dead and your life is hid with the Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall you also appear with him in glory. Mortify therefore your members, which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:
For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcised, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.”
Let’s go to the Lord in prayer, “Father, we thank you for your word. We thank you for your Holy Spirit to lead us or to direct me in the way that you would have me to go. Lord, give me the words you’d have me to say. Lord, help us to understand and to be doers of your word today. Lord, just be with us in this moment as we study the truths of your word; Lord, just reveal them to us. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”
As I said I begin to study this and I wanted to go a whole different direction with this but the –I’ll show you in a minute. You know, you that know me know that I’m not a hard kind of preacher a lot of times, I can’t be. But there are some difficult verses in here that as I studied this and looked at this it really made me search my own heart and search my own actions and search what I do and to evaluate myself. And as I begin this – you know I always try to put a title on my message so I can refer back to it or know what I preached on down the road and I put on it “Christ is all in all” that’s my title. But as Lord lead me, the title became “Examine Yourself”. And it’s going to be an uplifting message, just hold on, don’t everybody run out door and go to the fair. It’s going to be good. But I think it’s important for us every now and then to examine ourselves and to look at what we’re doing. I mean, they teach you in church and all to evaluate what you’re doing, why are you doing what you’re doing? Is it effective? Are you reaching? Are you doing what you should do? You should do this in all of your life; why do you do what you do? I think it was Einstein that said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results”. So I think it’s good for us to evaluate and to examine ourselves in every area and maybe in our church and things that we do.
Let me give you a little bit of history and tell you why Paul wrote this book or this letter to the Colossians or the people in Colossi. He never visited there; he was never actually in that church that we know of but he wrote this letter to him and how did this come about? Well, when he was in Ephesus in his ministry there was two people that were saved under his ministry and in Ephesus or the Book of the Ephesians, if you understand it. And these people were saved i. Ephesus and they were named… I’m having a terrible time of words. There were big words everywhere through all this. But Epaphras in Philemon; and you’re more familiar with Philemon from the book of Philemon. So these were his friends, they were people who were saved under Paul’s ministry in Ephesus, and in the book of Philemon we read about a guy name Onesimus; another tough one, why couldn’t just be John or Jane, Sam or something? But, Onesimus, and what Onesimus was was a runaway slave from Philemon. Paul, when he writes this letter he’s in Rome in prison and he meets Onesimus, Onesimus tells him his story what’s going on and guess what? Paul leads Onesimus to the Lord. Onesimus get saved. He wants to turn from his wrong doings all the rest; he knows that he should go back to his master, Phiilemon, because he was a runaway slave.
And so, the book of Philemon is written. Philemon is a good friend of Paul’s who is saved in Ephesus. Yu see how all this is just tie in together? And he writes this letter, Philemon, he says, “Take my fellow brother in Christ, a new born Christian in Christ; take him back. And if there’s anything, any debt that he owes you, put it on my account. Ooh, what a great message in Philemon. What Jesus told the Father, he said, “If there’s anything that they owe you, put it on my account.” I could preach that, but Lord has something else. But that’s what the book of Philemon is about. And so Paul knew Philemon and this other guy with a hard name. And he with prominent — probably the founder of the church here in Colossi. While in his work and his in ministry he had gone to Rome and now he’s met up with Paul and he’s asking Paul, “I need help.” He actually meets Paul in prison because he’s in prison for preaching the gospel just like Paul is. And while they’re there he says, “I need help. There’s things that are going terribly wrong in Colossi; there are false teachings and these people have come in and said that God is way up there and He has nothing to do with us because all of creation is evil. They’ve got a big long word for them, too, those people that are in the know and know everything — agnostics. You know, they know everything. And they were teaching this false and saying, “The only way to God is if you will live by this ridged strict life and if you will eat these certain things…” They sort of incorporated all the eastern customs a little bit of Christianity and a little bit of Judaism and they put it all in one religion and said, “If you’ll do this, then you can also be in the presence of God.” We know that’s not true; we know that we’re in God’s presence by Jesus Christ; not by anything that I do. And God is near us, and all of creation is not evil. God created and He said all things are good. What’s evil is the heart of man. If our human body was evil I don’t think Jesus would have came and possessed one. He wouldn’t have got one if the body was evil. What’s evil is the heart, and the thoughts of man are evil continually — not his body.
So there’s another story there for you, but all this was going and these were the problems, these were the teachings and they were leading the people in Colossi astray. And Paul writes this letter and he says, “You know what, guys? The answer is this… Christ is enough.” Verse eleven is the theme of chapter of the book Colossians; Christ is all and in all. And that’s what I really wanted to preach but God said, “Let me show you something else.”
So he gives him this answer and he says — Chapter 1:20 he says “Christ settled the sin Problem,” chapter 2:15, “Christ has completely defeated Satan,” Chapter 2:14-17 he put the end of the legal demands of the Law. And chapter 1:18, “Christ alone is preeminent.” Christ alone is enough, is the theme of this book, and that all believers need Jesus now. We know that. That’s the good news. That’s the great part. To summarize the letter we look in Chapter one as I told you that Paul declares the preeminent, the supremacy of Christ, he declares is the good news of the gospel message, he declares redemption and the meaning of it, that God is in creation, that Jesus is the head of the church and he is head of Paul’s ministry — he does it in chapter one. Chapter two, he says beware of empty philosophies, beware of religious legalism and beware of man’s made discipline. Now we see a lot of that, don’t we? “Oh, you got saved, brother? That’s great, now cut your hair.” Got told Sampson not to cut his hair, as far as I see. So we want to come up with all the rules. See, there’s a lot of legalism out there that say, “you know, if you want to be God’s favor, cut your hair. If you want this, if you want that, you got to do this, you better do that. Well, those might be good, maybe all that’s good for you but God told Samson to have long hair. I believe Jesus had long hair so now what are you going to do? Man made Legalism, he says beware of these kind of things. I think it’s in the mind and in the heart is where the problem is. Then we go to chapter three, Christ is supreme in demonstrating his personal purity. Christ supremacy in Christian Fellowship, Christ supremacy in the home, Christ supremacy at work. [Inaudible 12:28] you don’t know the coworkers, they’re so lazy. I have to do all the work. I got it, just listen, Christ supremacy in Christian witness, Christ is supreme in our Christian service, Christ is all and in all.
Look back at verse one. Let’s just break this down a little bit here “Therefore if you have been raised with Christ…” This is another version, but the version that we read says, “If ye read then be risen with Christ,” What is he talking about? What is He telling us there? He is saying if you have accepted Jesus as your personal savior is just as if you were crucified with Christ. We do this at baptism; it is just a picture of us being crucified with Christ buried with him and raised to newness of life. And when you get baptize you say this is what I believe, this is what I’m professing; it doesn’t save you, it’s your first step of obedience and an outward testimony that I am trusting Jesus as my personal savior. So he’s saying that we are buried with Christ, we are raised from the dead and we should seek things above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. That’s what verse one is saying. You are a new creature if you have been born again is what he’s saying and he goes on down to the other verses — says in verse one we ought to continually seek Him, not earthly things which are temporary. As believers we have died to this world and we’re created to a new life in Christ. Do you understand that? A new life in Christ. See, the way I used to think, the desires that I used to want — I still have those desires to tempt me, I still have those things “Oh, I’d love to have that,” but in Christ means that, “Lord, I’d like to have that, is that what you want for me?” I have a new way of thinking; it’s not just all about me and what I want I want I want, it’s lord what do you want? As a new creature, that ought to be my mind set. I’m not saying desires and goals and all that are wrong but if you leave Christ out, they’re probably not so right. He should be first. You are a new creation in him. As believers we have died to this world. So if we died with Christ we also live with Christ. See this is the good; this is the fun of our passage that we read today “oh, yeah, Brother Kenny, I’ve been saved. I believe Jesus died on the cross for my sins, He raised again and He sits at the right hand of the father and as a born again Christian I have died to my old ways and I’m living for Him and everything’s grand.” See that’s the fun part of salvation, that’s the easy part. That’s what I wanted to preach, that’s all I wanted to say today but the Lord changed my mind. See, we want to hear all the positives.
There’s people who wrote books and books and books you could fill this building with books. The Power of Positive Thinking, we all want to think positive and there’s nothing wrong with that. I love to be around positive people who think positive and aren’t always… There’s something to be said about that but there’s also a downside, there’s also something that takes a little bit of work, that takes a commitment it’s like if we have an illness and I go the doctor and “Kenny, you have an illness.” “But hold on” doctor says “it can be cured” “Yeah!” “But you got to have surgery and it’s going to take six months of recovery.” See, there’s a cure for our sin and it’s Jesus Christ. Yeah. I. Got one yeah. There’s a cure for our sin and it’s Jesus Christ and we accept Him as our personal Savior, great, great great. But you know, with that takes a change mind, takes a change heart; I no longer think like I do, I no longer act like I do. One, because the Holy Spirit now indwells me and convicts me and shows me of my wrong, shows me what I should do but is that the it? Well, I know I did that but the Holy Spirit didn’t tell me anything. He didn’t tell me nothing so I did it; don’t think that’s how it work, people. I think salvation is a free gift… I know salvation is a free gift – let me correct myself, but Paul says in another letter to work out your own salvation. So what does it mean? I’ve got to work to get to heaven? Absolutely not. Salvation to be a Christian where he says that whatever you do, do it as unto the Lord. It takes a conscious effort on my part. And then he goes into this other part, this is our illness of being separated for God was settled on the cross, but we still have this old man, this old nature that keeps creeping back in. And he comes on with these verses, these later verses and he said we need to separate ourselves or deny ourselves of evil that’s in your flesh, that’s in your mind, it’s in your heart. It’s got to be a conscious effort on your part. We always must because conscious. You say, “Well, I don’t know about that. I do. Don’t know about you but everyday I have to check myself. “No, Kenny, that’s not right way to treat that.” Now, I shouldn’t talk to that person that way. “Yeah, I know they gave me twenty five cents too much of my change back — their loss.”