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Living on Earth While Aiming at Heaven - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
The Truth Network Radio
April 12, 2023 6:00 am

Living on Earth While Aiming at Heaven - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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April 12, 2023 6:00 am

Like a garden, a healthy Christian life requires the removal of certain weeds that threaten the vibrancy and fruitfulness of the believer. In the message "Living on Earth While Aiming at Heaven," Skip shares about the firm steps you can take to live fruitfully on earth.

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Theology is not an ivory tower where people sit around and discuss heavenly truths.

We have lives to live and kids to feed and spouses to nurture and people to relate to, jobs to go to. So we need a healthy balance of being heavenly minded but also responsible on earth. Like a garden, any healthy Christian life is going to require the removal of certain weeds that threaten the vibrancy and fruitfulness of the believer. And today on Connect with Skip Heiting, Skip shares about the firm steps every Christian needs to take to live here on earth while aiming at heaven. But first, did you know that you can help more people around the world begin their journey with Jesus as you share God's word with more people through this ministry?

That's why we share these Bible teachings. And right now, you can help others experience that same God-empowered life through your support to connect more people to Jesus. So please call now to help share God's truth through your generosity. Just call 800-922-1888 to give today. That's 800-922-1888. Or visit slash donate.

That's slash donate. Thank you. Now, let's turn to Colossians 3 as Skip begins today's teaching. There's a man who died and went to heaven. Now, this man was a flat earther. You know what that is? It's somebody who believes the earth is flat and that the idea of a round earth is a conspiracy. Ever met somebody like that?

So I hope you're not one. But anyway, so he died. He goes to heaven. And Peter welcomes the man at the gate because Peter's in all these dumb jokes. And so Peter said, welcome to heaven.

And the guy's so excited. It's like, this is heaven. This is heaven.

Then I've dreamed about this place and thought about heaven all my life. I'm so excited to finally be here and to get to meet you, Peter, face to face, put his hand out, gave him a big handshake. And then before he went into the gates, he said, but Peter, I just have one question. The earth, is it flat or is it round? And Peter laughed and said, dude, it's round. It's always been round. And the man was shocked, stood there in silence and finally said, oh, I see how it is.

The conspiracy goes even higher than I thought. Now, last week we focused on heaven in the first four verses of chapter three, where the apostle says, seek those things which are above. Now he brings us back down to earth in verse five. Notice how it begins, therefore put to death your members, which are on the earth.

And that's what we want to look at this week. You'll notice, if you look at the title of this message, it looks very similar to last week's title, except it's just a little bit tweaked. Last week, the title was aiming at heaven while living on earth. This week it's living on earth while aiming at heaven.

And that's because it happens to be two sides of the same coin. You are living on this earth, even though you're on your journey to heaven, your minds may be up there and they should be, as we discussed last time, but your feet are on the earth. So if you're only heavenly minded, that's going to be a problem. If you're only always heavenly minded, you're going to be off in a corner in La La Land, you're going to have trouble doing daily tasks, you're going to have trouble getting people to trust you, you're going to have problems having normal relationships with people. But on the other hand, if you are only earthly minded, you're going to be an angry person, you're going to have a sour disposition, you're going to be pretty hopeless and miserable to be around.

So you and I, we need a balance. Heavenly minded, earthly responsibility. And the way I see it is a good heavenly mentality will create a healthy earthly responsibility, the balance of both. So we mentioned something last week, and last week we said that heaven is more than a destination, heaven is a motivation.

Today we discover what we're motivated to do. And that takes us to verse five, and you'll notice what is the first word in verse five? Therefore. And what he is doing is pointing back to the first four verses, which was last week's message all about heaven. Because this is true, because you're eventually going to be glorified, because Christ is at the right hand of the Father, heaven, heaven, heaven.

Therefore. That's the practical part of Paul. Do you know that in the Christian life there's always a therefore? And Paul does this a lot. He lays down these great swaths of theological truth, but he always says, therefore, makes it personal, makes it applicable.

So I like that. Theology is not an ivory tower where people sit around and discuss heavenly truths. We have lives to live and kids to feed and spouses to nurture and people to relate to, jobs to go to. So we need a healthy balance of being heavenly minded but also responsible on earth.

The way I look at it, it's this way. Good theology will turn into good be-ology. You'll become a better person because of what you know and believe.

D.L. Moody used to put it this way, every Bible should be bound in shoe leather. That's living out what you know to be true. Now let me give you a warning. We haven't even read our verses yet, but I'll give you a warning. I'll give you a warning that these verses are appearing to be much more negative than the previous verses. So last week was all positive. Heaven, glory, awesome, awesome. Now he goes from positive thoughts about heaven to what some would say are negative thoughts about earth.

And I just want to warn you and I want to tell you why. Paul believed in the power of negative thinking. I know you've never heard that. He said, no, no, no, it's the power of positive thinking.

That's good too. But he also believed in the power of negative thinking. You see the Christian life is sort of like growing a garden. No amount of lecturing on the beauty of a garden is going to produce flowers. The gardener is going to have to get in the garden at some point and pull out some weeds.

That's the negative part of growing a garden. Or think of it like going to a doctor. You go to a doctor and before the doctor gets positive with you he may or she may get very negative with you as he or she announces a diagnosis that is not favorable. He says, well, I've run the tests and you've got this. Well, I didn't want to hear that. That's not positive.

Yeah, but I'm going to get you to positive, but you have to understand there's a negative to get there. So let's say you have a ruptured appendix for an example. Would it be okay if your doctor just said, just go home and think about health and you'll be okay? That wouldn't be good enough for you.

At some point you want that doctor to cut you open and do a surgery which is going to feel very negative temporarily until you get to health. So what we're going to look at in verses 3 through 11, that's the paragraph before us, are three firm steps that every heavenly citizen must take while living on earth. Three firm steps every heavenly citizen must take while living on earth.

And here's the first step. Kill off sensuality. Kill off sensuality. Verse 5, Therefore, here it is, put to death your members which are on the earth, fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Sounds pretty negative. Because of these things, the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience.

Sounds pretty negative. In which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them. Now you'll notice in what we just read, there's a list here.

It's a list of sins of impurity, sins of sensuality, what one commentator calls sins of perverted love. But I want you to notice something. Look back for a moment. Go back to verse 3, where we were last week, if you were here. In verse 3, it begins by saying, For you died.

That's a fact. You died. But now in verse 5, he says, Therefore, put to death. So I have a question. Why do you need to kill something that's already dead?

And the answer is this. You're dead, but sometimes you forget that you're dead. You're dead, but you find yourself having to stuff your old man back in the casket, because he keeps wanting to resurrect itself. So it's like, reminder, you're dead. Therefore, put to death.

Both of those things are true. Paul calls this in another place, reckoning. Reckoning. This is Romans, chapter 6, verse 11. Therefore, reckon yourselves to be dead, to sin, but alive to God. So what this tells me is that in my Christian growth, that I can never say something as lame as, Why you just let go and let God? That won't cut it. Letting go and letting God.

What is that? It's just some dumb little saying. What this tells me is that in my growth, my sanctification, there is an element of personal control.

Personal control. I cooperate with God's power. John Stott used to say, Sin is inevitable, but it is never necessary. Okay, we're all sinners.

We're all going to blow it. We're all redeemed by the blood of the lamb, but imperfect yet we're all dead. It's imperfect, yet though it's inevitable, it is not necessary.

You don't have to do it. So there are five things, and we'll brush through them pretty quickly, five things that we should kill. And these five things dominated the culture in which Paul wrote this letter. The Greco-Roman culture was dominated by these sensual sins.

And I would add, and I'm guessing you would agree, culture is also dominated by these things. First on the list is fornication. Fornication is the word porneia in Greek. Porneia sounds like an English word.

What would that word be? Pornography. We get our word pornography from the Greek word porneia. Fornication is translated here. It is a broad general term for all sexual immorality. Though originally it referred to prostitution, it's a word that came to mean any form of illicit sex whatsoever, be it adultery, be it sex before marriage, be it homosexuality, any form of illicit sex not outlined in Scripture.

That's fornication, broad term. Second word here, put that to death, but he says uncleanness. Uncleanness refers to the sensuality of your thought life, thought life. Evil behavior always begins with evil thoughts. This is why the battle always begins with the mind, and I would say especially in the area of sexual sin. And I would even go a step further and say, especially for men in the area of sexual sin.

I know I'm painting with a broad brush here, not exclusively to men, but largely to men. It's the uncleanness or the sensuality in the thought life. Jesus said, whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. So we have fornication, broad term.

We have uncleanness, the thought life. Look at the next two words, passion and evil desire. And these are so similar in meaning that I'm not going to differentiate.

Maybe one just is like the other one, but more so. Passion and evil desire simply describes somebody driven by lust, driven by lust. Again, that marked the ancient culture. To a large degree, that marks modern American culture, driven by lust. Malcolm Muggeridge said that sex is the substitute religion of our century, the substitute religion of our century. He went on to say, the orgasm has replaced the cross as the focus of longing and fulfillment.

People are just driven by passion and lust. I don't know if you ever read the newspaper, but I read a couple of newspapers every day, and I like the section called Dear Abby. Any of you guys remember or read Dear Abby? So Dear Abby started, get this, 1956.

So I was a year old when it first came out. Abigail Van Buren, I haven't been reading it that long, by the way. I couldn't read it one. But so Abigail Van Buren, that was just her pen name. That wasn't her real name. But she just decided, let's have a column, and it was syndicated all over.

People can write in questions, I'll give an answer. And it was homespin wisdom, and it was really good stuff. And I really enjoy reading.

The column still exists to this day. So somebody wrote in, and here it is, Dear Abby, I am in love, and I am having an affair with two different women. I can't marry them both.

Please tell me what to do. But don't give me any of that morality stuff. That was the question in the paper. And I love the response. Dear sir, the only difference between humans and animals is morality.

Please consult a veterinarian. You want to live like an animal, yo? Go ahead.

But you don't have to do that. As human beings, we can have a different level. So the sexual impulse is given by God. And because it's given by God, it should be guided by God.

It should be directed by Him. And the reason that we should kill these things off, very strong language, kill it, mortify it, put it to death, the reason we should kill off the inordinate use of sexuality, if you don't kill it off, you know what's going to happen? It's going to kill you off.

It'll destroy, it has destroyed so many lives and marriages. See, if you read a sign that says, do not enter, your first impulse is to ask, why does it say that? Because I want to see what's on the other side, right?

That's human nature. Don't enter. I'm going to go see what's in there. But keep reading the sign. It might say, do not enter, explosives are on the premises. Well, now you have a positive reason for the negative command. And the positive reason is, we really don't want you to get blown up to smithereens.

So please, don't enter. So anytime you read a commandment in the Bible like, thou shalt not, thou shalt not, thou shalt not, it's not like God trying to cramp your style. It's God trying to keep you from getting blown up. So there's a positive reason for the negative command. And sex is like fire, which is awesome in the fireplace. But put it on the carpet, not so much.

It starts spreading and destroying your house, it'll burn your life down. So kill off sensuality. So we have this list, fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire. But notice this, and covetousness.

Whoa. Why does he put covetousness wanting something in the same list of gnarly, sensual sins? Want to know the answer? The answer is because it's the root of all those other sins. It's the root of all those other sins.

It's the root. Covetousness is the root of the fruit of sensuality. Did you know that covetousness is the root of all sin? You know it's in the Ten Commandments. It's the tenth of the Ten Commandments. Don't kill, don't steal, don't lie, don't covet. Because covetousness is the root of all the other problems.

William Barclay explains it this way. If it's the desire for money, it leads to theft. If it's the desire for prestige, it leads to evil ambition.

If it's the desire for power, it leads to sadistic tyranny. If it's the desire for a person, it leads to sexual sin. Covetousness.

But he doesn't stop there. He lists that and he says, and covetousness which is idolatry. Now get this, idolatry is a pretty heavy word in the Old Testament.

That was like the cardinal sin. Why does he say that covetousness is idolatry? Simply because I am placing myself above God. I am placing my wants over God's will. And when I place my desires over God's desires, that's self-worship. I'm saying I am more important, the gratification of me is more important than doing anything to honor God.

That essentially is self-worship or idolatry. So he says, kill off sensuality. Now here's what I love about the Bible. It doesn't just say, you know what, get rid of that stuff. It tells you why.

There's two good reasons why you should get rid of it. Reason number one, God will judge the world for it. Look at verse six. Because of these things, the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience.

Why? Why would God judge the world for that? Understand this, God's judgment is rooted in God's character.

God's essential character is he is holy. God can't wink and sin. God can't just look the other way and ignore it. He has to deal with it.

He has to punish it. And that's why we are so happy today that God did our punishment on Jesus Christ so that we can have the mercy of God. The cross proved that God must judge sin. Now here's the lie of all sin. Sin promises to do something for you but never delivers on the promise. So sin promises, part of the temptation is do this and you'll feel happy, do this and you'll feel fulfilled, do this and you'll be satisfied. Is that the reality?

It's not the reality. It promises that, doesn't deliver on the promise. So when you do the sin, you actually become unsatisfied, you actually lose joy, you become dissatisfied, and you incur the wrath of God. Good reason to stay away from it.

If God's going to judge the world for it, why do I want to get involved in it? Simple logic. That's one reason. There's another reason. The second reason is all of these things that Paul lists, they describe the old you, not the new you.

That's your old identity, not your new identity. Verse 7, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them. I have a question for you. Why did you come to Christ in the first place? I have a hunch for many of you it's because you hated that lifestyle. It did not fulfill you. It did not deliver on its promise and you wanted to be delivered from it. So why would you go back to it if you wanted to be delivered from it?

That's the old you, not the new you. So kill off sensuality. That's the first step. Second step every heavenly citizen must make while living on earth is cut off hostility. Cut off hostility. That's verse 8. But now you yourselves are to put off all these anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth.

Verse 9, do not lie to one another since you have put off the old man with his deeds. Now we have another list, but a very different list. First was a list of sensuality. This is a list of hostility. In the second list, we have five plus one, a list of five things plus one.

And I'll go through these very, very quickly. Anger refers to inward resentment that grows until it reaches a boiling point. It's not lashing out at anybody yet. Anger is this seething feeling that you get when you're around that person, that resentment inside of you.

You haven't voiced anything yet, but it's there. Now here's what you need to know. Anger is like acid. That is, it often does more damage to the container that holds it than it ever does to anything that gets spilled on later on. And if you're holding in anger and resentment, that's what it's doing to you. It's eating away at you. It's destroying you.

That's anger all inward. That concludes Skip Heitzig's message from his series, Always Only Jesus. Find the full message as well as books, booklets, and full teaching series at Right now, we want to share about a special resource that will help you understand and follow God's will. For those who knew Jesus while he walked this earth, the road to discovering and believing that Jesus was resurrected started in disheartening confusion, but it ended in decisive confirmation. And we're excited to send you a special set of resurrection resources by Skip that include five of his finest Easter messages for digital download or CD and a full video titled, On the Road by Skip. Now behold, two of them were traveling that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was seven miles from Jerusalem. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. So it was while they conversed and reasoned that Jesus himself drew near and went with them. With your gift of support of $50 or more, we'll send you a copy of this hope-filled package of five audio messages for download or on CD and the full video, On the Road, as thanks for your gift to expand Connect with Skip Heitzig to reach more people in major US cities. So request your resource when you give and take a walk with Christ on the road to Emmaus.

Just call 800-922-1888 or visit slash offer. We hope you'll come back tomorrow as Skip concludes his message, Living on Earth while Aiming at Heaven. Here's the best defense in spiritual warfare. The best defense is a good offense. The best way to deprive your old nature is to cultivate your new nature. . Connect with Skip Heitzig is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-12 04:56:07 / 2023-04-12 05:05:21 / 9

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