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Saturday, April 9, 2011

The New You (part 5, conclusion)

Part 5, conclusion

Text: Colossians 3:1-11

Look at the last part of verse 9 and verse 10: “…Since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.” I want you to notice that “you have taken off your old self” and “you have put on the new self.” We’ve talked about this before. This is not a command to keep but a truth to be claimed. It’s already been done. We are exhorted to stop doing certain things because we can stop. We are different therefore we must now act differently.

As we look inward, we realize that we are no longer what we once were. The new self has been put on and yet it is “being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.” We are created in the image of God but because of our sin, that image has been tainted or ruined.

God’s purpose is to restore His image in us. We must remember that although we were formed in God’s image, that image has been deformed by sin. But through Jesus Christ, we can be transformed into God’s image once again. We must take the responsibility of renewing our minds. Romans 12:2, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…”

That leads to the fourth and final aspect of breaking free from the past. We must look around and see others as Christ does. Notice verse 11: “Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.” The word “here” indicates that in Christ there should be no barriers of nationality, race, education, social standing, wealth, gender, religion, or power. The gospel breaks down the walls of ancient and modern prejudice.

Paul mentions four groupings that need to be dissolved in the church.

Racial distinctions. The spread of the Greek culture would have made a Greek person feel proud and privileged and therefore look down on Jews. A Jewish person would regard Gentiles as heathen and immoral, and outside of God’s grace.

The false teachers taught that circumcision was important to the spiritual life, but Paul made it clear that this act of surgery gave one no advantages in Christ.

The Greeks considered any non-Greek to be a barbarian and the Scythians were the lowest barbarians of all and were considered little better than beasts.

There has always been a huge cultural and economic gap between the slaves and those who were (are) free.

All of these human barriers belong to the “old man” and not the new one. Since Christ dwells in all believers, regardless of background or social status, we must make sure we are not allowing any division or prejudice to take root in our lives. The shame of being different must be loved away as we strive for unity within diversity. Christ is all and is in all.

Stop looking down. And stop searching for something that will never satisfy. Instead, seek Christ by looking up, and live Christ by looking out, looking in, and looking around.

This kind of dramatic change is not only possible, but it is commanded by God and prompted by the Holy Spirit. But it must all start with a choice on your part. You must choose to desire the things of God. And, you will not be able to make this choice until first you decide to divorce yourself from being fleshly-minded.

Where do we start? We can take the first step right now by asking...."God make your desires my desires. You know the desires of my heart, please line them up with yours."


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