Welcome to The Daily Platform. Our program features sermons from chapel services at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. Every day, students are blessed by the preaching and teaching of the Bible from the University Chapel Platform. Today on The Daily Platform, we're continuing a study series entitled, Seeking Things Above, which is a study of the book of Colossians. This study explores and applies the timeless truth that Christ is our sufficiency in all relationships, responsibilities, and circumstances.
If you would like to follow along in the study booklet, you can order a printed copy from the Bob Jones store website, shop.bju.edu. Let's listen to today's message from chapter 3, verses 5 through 10, which says, This morning, we're looking in the book of Colossians, chapter 3, as we have been working through our series on seeking things above. And we're coming now to verse 5, where we've talked about our identity in Christ, the new life in Christ, and today and the idea of what it means to seek things above.
And that's more of a general picture. And now Paul becomes very, very specific by actually treating the opposite of what it means to seek things above. And he also tells us not to seek the things that are below. So let's look this morning at Colossians, chapter 3, and notice what he says in verse 5. He says, mortify therefore your members, which are upon the earth, fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry. For which things say that is because of these things, the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience and the which you also walk sometime when you lived in them. That is before your conversion. But now you also put off all these anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.
Lie not to one another, seeing that you have put off the old man with his deeds. The famous writer J.I. Packer wrote a book entitled The Most Important Words You Will Ever Know, 18 words specifically. One of those 18 words is the word sin. And he said, our first need in life is to learn about sin. Now, you learned it when you were a child, because somewhere between six months old and 14 months old, your parents taught you a very, very important two letter word.
What is that word? It's the word know, and you will hear the word know the rest of your life. Packer goes on and says, if you have not learned about sin, you cannot understand yourself. You cannot understand the people around you.
You can't understand the world you're living in. You cannot understand the Christian faith, and you cannot understand the Bible. Understanding sin is crucial to understanding our theme, because what is the theme is seeking things above. And because we're to seek things above, Paul is implying that there are things below that we should not be seeking. Look at what he says in Colossians three. If you then be risen with Christ, seek those things that are above. Set your affections on things above and not on the things of the earth. Mortify, therefore, your members, he says in verse five, which are upon the earth.
So what does that mean? We're talking about sin, and he's talking about not seeking the things that are down here. What are the things below? Well, obviously, it's things that they're not doing in heaven. In other words, he says we should pursue a lifestyle that is heavenly, and we should not pursue a lifestyle of things that are being done on the earth that they're not doing in heaven.
So what are those things? Well, in verse nine, we read this morning. He says that you have put off the old man with his deeds, and the old man is everything you are before you're saved.
And that old man has actions. The old man, that's what you are before you become a Christian. He says these are things that you do. And specifically, these are the choices, these are the actions, these are the reactions that you have in your life that come out of your own sinful desires. They come out of your own sinful heart. When a person gets saved, they become deeply aware not only of the bad choices they make, but also the bad desires that they have. They're sinful emotions. And so what Paul does in Colossians three is he identifies in a very straightforward, very clear manner.
You can't mistake what he's saying. He is identifying those very sins that are part of the old life, but he even goes further than that. And that is, he says that these things that these people are doing is actually the reason why God is bringing judgment on the world. Look at what he says in verse six. For which things sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience. He's saying that these are not just wrong things for believers to do, but God is actually reacting to these sins with his wrath. What do we mean by the wrath of God?
Well, the word wrath. How many of you have ever seen your father mad? How many have ever seen your mother mad?
That's even worse. Fire comes out of her eyes. You understand what I'm saying? Or you've had people get upset with you or you've got upset with others. That's called anger. Well, God, the Bible says, is angry with the wicked every day. But it's not the emotional reaction like we see in people, because it's also measured with God's patience and God's love. But yet the wrath of God is real. It is God's punishment for the sins that people commit.
And Paul is speaking specifically in a very unique way when he says, look at what he says in verse six. For which things sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience. That word cometh there is not in the past tense. That is, it's already come. It's not in the future tense.
It's going to come. It's actually written in the present tense. What does that mean? It means the wrath of God is being poured out on humanity right now. At the very moment that you and I are living today in 2021, God's judgment, God's wrath is being poured out upon mankind. You say, you say, how do you understand this?
How do you explain this? I want you to take your Bibles and turn with me to Romans chapter one, because in Romans chapter one, Paul explains how God's wrath is being revealed on Earth today, right now in 2021. Beginning as we read in verse 18, I'm going to read through the passage and I want you to take notice of how God brings judgment on humanity.
He says in verse 18, for the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who hold the truth and unrighteousness. Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them, for God had showed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power in Godhead, so that they are without excuse.
Let me just stop here. What is he saying? He's saying basically the people of the world recognize that there is a divine creator because they see creation. Creation says there has to be a creator, and he says God's wrath is being poured out on mankind because they reject the creator. Look at verse 21, because that when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were they thankful, but they came vain in their imaginations and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became his fools. They changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image. This is idolatry. It's the idolatry of Paul's day.
It's the same idolatry of today. Look at verse 24. As a result, what happens? What does God do? He reveals his wrath.
And I want you to notice what he does. He reveals the wrath of God by removing the moral restraints that are within human society. Do you know that when we are restrained from doing what our heart wants to do, that's actually a good thing. How many of you have ever gotten angry while you were driving your car at another driver? How many have ever heard of road rage? Now, if everybody operated on the anger of their heart in road rage, how many people would get killed on a regular basis in Greville, South Carolina? So what happens is we are restrained from doing what our natural heart wants to do.
That's actually good. And what Paul is saying is the wrath of God, God's judgment is being revealed because he is removing those moral restraints. Notice what he says in verse 24. Wherefore, God also gave them up to unclean us through the lust of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies among themselves.
What is this all about? This is all about the the unrestrained sexual activity that is going on in the world today. And that is God has created sex out of out of his kindness and goodness to mankind. But where this is unrestrained is actually God's judgment. Look at what he says in verse 26. For this cause, God gave them up unto vile affections for even the women to change the natural use into that, which is against nature. This is speaking of lesbians. And likewise, also the men leaving the natural use of the woman burned in their lust one toward another, men with men working that which is unseemly and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error, which was meat or which was fitting. Here he's talking about homosexuality. And then notice what he says in verse 28. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, that is, they were mentally pushing God out of their minds. God gave them over to a reprobate mind. So actually, three times it says God gave them up. Number one, to unrestrained sexual activity. Number two, inordinate homosexual acts.
And then number three, basically societal disruption, because that's what happens when you keep reading on past verse 28, a breakdown in society. Now, let me ask you a question. Is God's wrath being revealed today in the United States of America?
Yes or no? Absolutely. Because we're living in a society today that's unrestrained in sexual activity, that is filled with inordinate homosexual acts. And we're living in a society today that instead of becoming strong is becoming weaker through societal disruption. And the presence of these sinful actions in society is a manifestation of the present current judgment of God on the world today. So here Paul is writing to the people of his day in the city of Colossae who are experiencing the judgment of God. The judgment of God is not just what he did yesterday.
It's not just what he's doing tomorrow, but what's going on right now. And what Paul is saying here in Colossians to the believers is that you are to seek the things that are above and not the things that are below. You have been saved and you have been delivered from God's wrath. Christ bore your sins on the cross. You are now dead to sin and alive unto Christ. So as you seek the things that are above, then you deny the things that are below. That's the essence of what he is saying. And then what he does is he gives two specific types of sins that we are to not pursue after.
What's the first one? It's found in verse five, where he talks, first of all, about sexual sins. He says, mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth. Then he gives a list fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence. And what he's saying here is this, that sexuality lies at the very core of our human creation. And it's at the very core of our social culture. When God created you and I, he created us with strong sexual desires. There are natural attractions.
It goes on on the campus of Bob Jones 24-7. It's normal. It's the way God made us. And he also created the means to satisfy those sexual desires.
And how are those desires satisfied? He tells us, he says in Hebrews 13-4, marriage is honorable and the bed is undefiled. God never said that the sexual experience was sinful. It's not dirty.
It's clean because it was made by God and it was a part of creation before the fall. And everything that God made, he said, was good. The Garden of Eden was the perfect environment where sex was experienced guilt free in the covenant of marriage. God is always intended for sex to be that kind of experience. One that actually enhances marriage. It blesses marriage.
Why? Because you experience together something that is enjoyable and something that is pleasurable. But with the fall of man, sexual desires became enslaved to our fallen human nature.
And we're all this way. That's why there's always a struggle with sexual tension, especially in the lives of college students at this point in your life before you're married. And what was one of God's greatest gifts, which was reserved for for the commitment in marriage, has now been turned into a self-centered desire that flows out of our own hearts. And that's what Jesus said when he said for for from within, out of the heart of men, precede evil faults. And out of that comes our adulteries and our immoralities. We all understand that the battle against immorality is a fault life issue. It comes from within.
Why? Because we're born sinful and out of a defiled heart comes the desires to fulfill our sexual appetites, regardless of the laws of God or even the person themselves. And this is deeply infected our culture in which we live, because in many ways, the culture that we live in, our social culture is a sensual culture. Sex sells. All you have to do is look at a billboard.
All you have to do is watch a commercial on television. All you have to do is watch a story, because there's always the tension with sensuality in our social culture. And this is the tension point for us as believers. This is the struggle that we face because we live in human society and we're supposed to live here. We're supposed to interact.
We're supposed to connect, especially for the sake of the gospel. However, we are all called to be set apart. We're not to seek the things that are below. We are not to, if I could say it this way, be a part of the expressions of human culture that emphasizes sensuality.
And another word for sensuality is the word sexy. So Christians should not be viewed as being sexy. And that is a part of our fallen culture. So as believers, we live in the world, but we're not to be a part of the fallen sensuality of our world. And that should be in every aspect of culture.
So, for example, that would include our language, our conversation, what we talk about. That should be in our entertainment. That should be in our art form.
So here at Bob Jones, we have multiple art forms, whether it's drama or whether it's music or whether it's cinema or whatever we're doing, the art department, whether it's the fashion design department or the graphic design department. There are thousands of ways that we can express art without having to be sensual. And Christians should not seek the things that are below. And so what does Paul say our attitude should be? And he uses a very graphic word. What is the word?
Look at what he says in verse five. He says, mortify, therefore your members which are upon the earth. What does it mean to mortify? It means to put it to death, like a mortician or a mortuary. It's a death term. What happens when somebody dies? Life is over. There's been a separation.
What Paul is saying is this, that as believers, we should put to death a death blow to the immorality that is within our heart, our thoughts, and our actions. And let me just say this, that obviously this is a battle. It's not like, oh, this is easy to do. What have you been doing all day long? Oh, piece of cake, I've been killing myself. It's just not the way we are. It's a struggle. And it's a struggle with your own desires. Really, there's not going to be real spiritual surrender to God until you surrender your sexuality. There are a lot of things we'll say we'll give to God, but we're not going to give that to God.
Part of surrender to God is a surrender of your sexuality. And what does he say? He says you can only deal with it one way. You have to put it to death. Jesus said it this way. If your hand offends you, what do you do? You cut it off.
He didn't say you take it to the bathroom and wash your hands. He says you take a radical step. And Paul uses all these different words, typical words we don't use. We don't use words like evil concupiscence. Hey, how you doing? Pray for me. I'm struggling with being concupiscent. You know, what in the world does that mean? Pray for me. I'm struggling with inordinate affections.
That might be a little closer. But essentially, what he's dealing with is he's dealing with the desires of the heart. He's dealing with coming into contact with that which is immoral or corrupt. He's dealing with fornication, which is basically sex.
Males to male, female to female, male to female. These are all the issues that he's addressing here. And what he is saying is that we are to put these things to death.
Because what do they come out of? They come out of a greedy heart. And that's why he uses the word covetousness. And we're all by nature covetous.
We all have these desires. And we are to put to death these things. In our current promiscuous society, sexual liberty is promoted. It's even being promoted by churches. The more liberal a church becomes, the more they promote sexual liberty.
For example, right here in Greenville, South Carolina. In 2015, in May, the Southern Baptist Convention magazine for the upstate of South Carolina called The Courier had an article. This is what it said. They wrote it.
We didn't write it. It said, in May, First Baptist Church of Greenville, already known as a more liberal church, took a step even more to the left when it agreed on a non-discriminatory policy that would allow gays, lesbians, bisexual, and transgender people not only to be members of the church, but to be ordained into the ministry. The consensus statement of the church reads as follows, in all facets of the life and ministry of our church, including but not limited to membership, baptism, ordination, marriage, teaching, and committee organizational leadership, First Baptist of Greenville will not discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
Liberalism always promotes a form of sexual freedom that is not actually freedom, but it's actually bondage. True biblical Christianity always leads us to deny the sinful aspects of our nature, to bring them under constraint to God's way, God's plan, and that is loving each other in marriage. Because what does marriage picture? If you've ever been to a Christian wedding, you always hear this, that when a young man and a young lady get married together, they are picturing something. They are a metaphor.
And what are they a picture of? They are a picture of Christ and his church. And what is Christ doing with the church? He has purified us through his blood. He is sanctifying us through his blood so that one day we will stand before him as a pure church, as a virgin bride.
And he is actually purifying the sins out of our lives so that when we stand before him, we stand before him in wholeness and impurity and in ultimate joy. I'm privileged to be a part of many weddings. I've done lots of weddings. And I'll tell you what, there is nothing more joyful than to be in a Christian wedding when here's a Christian young man and a Christian young lady who have essentially guarded their purity and they've entered into marriage with a good conscience and a commitment to one another. And I've watched that marriage thrive and grow. And the sad thing is I've seen people who are involved in sex before marriage get married.
And all of a sudden, as time goes along, they begin to have a disintegration in their relationship because they never, ever denied themselves and love the other because true love waits and true lust wants. And so God has called us to put to death these sins. Our time has run out.
I've got another point. I'll pick it up next Monday as we continue to understand how it is we deal with sin in our life. May we pray. Lord, thank you for your word. Help us to grow in the grace and the knowledge of the Lord.
In Jesus' name. Amen. I'd like to thank you for listening to The Daily Platform. I hope that you've enjoyed it. I hope it's been a blessing and encouragement to you.
We're living in very unusual times. And this is just such a crucial time for all of us as believers to walk closely with the Lord. So I hope you'll take the opportunity to follow us up on these other things that we have at bju.edu and find out what it is that God is doing in through the ministry of Bob Jones University with our 2,500 students who are coming here to get a biblical worldview and see life from God's lenses and then go out with an accredited first-class education and go out into the world and make an impact for Jesus Christ in the workplace as they go out and serve in local churches not only here in the United States but our students are globally in-demand Christ-centered servants who are trying to serve the Lord throughout the world for the sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ. So thank you again for listening. I encourage your friends to listen and to be nourished and strengthened through God's Word. God bless you. You've been listening to a sermon from the study series in the book of Colossians by Dr. Steve Pettit, president of Bob Jones University. For more information on Dr. Pettit's series, visit the Bob Jones University store website shop.bju.edu where you can get a copy of Steve's study booklet entitled, Seeking Things Above. Thanks for listening and join us again next week as we continue the study in Colossians on The Daily Platform.
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