Colossians 2:11-15 “A Heart Freed by Christ” Sermon Tim Black
Red-tailed hawk & rehabilitation program. For a time during high school I wanted to become a wildlife biologist, and study God’s amazing creatures in the wild. Because of this interest I had the privilege of accompanying a woman who rehabilitated injured wild animals on the day when she released a red-tailed hawk back into the wild. The hawk had been found with a broken wing, she had rehabilitated it, and now it was ready to be released. We drove to the top of a hill behind the town where I grew up, set the hawk’s cage among the wheat stubble some distance from the road, opened the door of the cage, and stepped back to watch it go free. The hawk stayed inside the cage for a minute, then stepped to the door of the cage, and realizing that the door was open and it was free to leave, the hawk spread its wings and flew to freedom. Now it was free again to live the way God made it to live. It was not made to live in a cage. It was made to fly.
In salvation, God frees you from captivity to sin, and frees you to live the way He made you to live. A heart held captive to sin is like the hawk in the cage – it is held captive by an internal principle of sin like the hawk’s broken wing, by the legal guilt of sin like the laws that permitted the hawk to be kept in captivity, and the spiritual power of sin like the cage the held the hawk captive.
The hawk was injured, and just like the hawk was injured, legally held captive, and kept in a cage, so you are held captive by the internal principle of sin, by the guilt of sin, and by the power of sin.
Do not be taken captive by a worldview that is according to the world
Its method of capture: “philosophy and empty deception”
Its source of knowledge: “traditions of men”
Its ultimate basis: “basic principles of the world”
But rather, have a worldview that is according to Christ
Its ultimate basis: “in Him the fullness of deity dwells bodily”
Its source of knowledge: “you have been filled in Him”
Its method of freeing you: “who is the head of all rule and authority”
Col. 2:11-23 says that you now have...
A Heart Freed by Christ 11-15
A Mind Freed by Christ 16-19
A Life Freed by Christ 20-23
So Col. 3:1-4 tells you to...
Seek Christ with your heart 1
Seek Christ with your mind 2
Seek Christ with your life 3-4
Summary of main points: A heart freed by Christ is a heart freed from the principle, the guilt, and the power of sin.
Colossians 1:15-20 “Jesus Christ Is Lord” Sermon ESV Text Tim Black
Tow truck operator
“I have earned millions by catching deals at the right place, at the right time.”
A: “You should know better than I do that everything we have is a gift from God.” (No! “Dumb luck.”)
“I’ve cheated casinos of tens of thousands to send aid to hurricane victims.”
A: “It was still wrong to cheat.” (No! “It ended in a good result.”)
“No one owns me.”
A: “No one owns any of us (Yes!), except God.” (No!)
“God couldn’t forgive me for where I’ve been, for what I’ve done.”
A: “God can forgive you.” (No!)
“I’m dying of diabetes and cancer, and when it’s my time to go, I’m going to end my life with my .38. No one has a right to play God by prolonging my death.”
“Only God can play God. You’re playing God by rushing your death.” (No!)
“Jesus was a man who died to be a martyr. No one can fight a martyr, a ghost.”
A: “But Jesus is more than just a martyr who died. He is God, He rose from the dead and is alive.” (No! “Jesus was just a man.”)
This man had a small view of
God’s providential care
God’s moral authority
God’s right of ownership
God’s Son, Jesus Christ.
And his mind, heart, and life were captivated by
by playing God
by being his own savior.
He has a philosophy that is according to the basic principles of the world, and is not according to Christ.
Principle: If you have a small view of Christ, you will capitulate to the life-philosophy of this world.
Principle: If your mind is captivated with Christ, it will not be taken captive by the things of this world.
“Jesus is Lord”
Who then is this Christ from whom our religion derives its name? Who is He, and what bearing does He have on how I need to view this world?
The early church knew without a shadow of a doubt that this Jesus Christ...“is Lord.” They knew that what it meant to be a Christian was to fully affirm the statement that “Jesus Christ is Lord.” They knew He had to be worshiped, because He died for our sins, because He rose from the dead, because He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father, because He would come again to judge the living and the dead. They drew the words of this confession from many passages like Romans 10:9:
Romans 10:9 “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
But it was not until the 300’s AD that they came to a clear formulation of the doctrinal implications of this confession. A controversy arose over whether Jesus was fully God, was only partially God, was a lesser God than the Father, or was merely a man. Arius argued that Jesus was not fully divine. Alexander of Alexandria, and Athanasius after him, argued from the passage before us today, that Jesus was fully divine, “being of one substance with the Father.” Athanasius and the truth of scripture won the day, and was written down in the Nicene Creed in 325 and 381 AD.1
In this passage today, Paul wants you to confess without a shadow of a doubt that “Jesus is Lord,” and to know all of what that means for who Christ is, and for how you should view this world.
1In brief, the church's controversies over the deity of Christ and the unity and diversity between the Father and the Son were:
a. 325 Nicea – same substance, decided in Council but not in whole church
b. 381 Constantinople – same substance, decided in whole church
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 “Will You Be With The Lord?” Sermon NAS text Tim Black
There is hardly a more vexing question for the unbeliever, than “What will happen to me when I die?” My mother went to a funeral of an unbeliever once and came back disgusted with what the pastor had said...the pastor had said, “This man who died is in a better place now, perhaps. He is enjoying the bliss of heaven with God the Father, perhaps! He is no longer in pain and suffering, perhaps!” The pastor could not bring himself to state the stark truth—that this unbeliever who had died was not in heaven, was not with the Lord, was not in a better place now. He was suffering in hell. Because this pastor would not speak of the absolute certainty of the torment in Hell which awaits all who do not believe on Christ for salvation, neither did this pastor extend the absolute certainty of the eternal blessedness which awaits those who believe on Jesus Christ. In fact, he was allowing those present at the funeral to grieve like unbelievers must, who have no certain hope.
You see, if you ask the unbelievers around you this question -- “What will happen to you after you die?” they have no satisfactory answer. Some will claim they will go to heaven, perhaps on the basis of their good works, perhaps on the basis of God’s kind generosity. But this is a false hope; while God certainly delights to forgive our sins, He will by no means forgive a sin which He has not punished in Christ, and Christ only laid down His life for His own sheep—not to spare the lives of the goats. He laid down His life for those whom He has elected to save, and not for those whom He has destined for wrath. If you ask other people this question -- “What will happen to you after you die?” they will answer that they just don’t know what will happen. After all, has anyone ever died and lived to tell about it?! : ) Others, more honest, might tell you an answer much closer to the truth—they don’t know much about what will happen after death, butthey fear it. Death scares them. They’re afraid that they might be punished for all their sins, punished even in the pains of hell forever. And in truth every unbeliever, whether they admit it or not, knows this one fact—that God’s wrath is coming on their sins. Romans 1:18, 19 says that
the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.
They know they are guilty, they know that they deserve God’s wrath and that it is coming on them in the end, and for this reason Hebrews 2:15 tells us that unbelievers are in slavery to the fear of death all their lives.
It is this kind of fear that can grip you when you face the fact that you will die, you will face the Lord on the judgment day, when He will send some to everlasting life in communion with Him in glory, and banish the rest to everlasting punishment. What will happen to you when you die? Will you be with the Lord, or will you be cast out of His blessed presence forever?
God tells you in this passage today that he does not want you to be ignorant and grieve like those who have no hope. Paul says in 1 Thess. 4:13,
13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope.
You see, it is so easy in this world to think about death with the eyes of unbelief. The unbeliever looks at death and remains ignorant; he is uninformed about how he can be saved from this terrible curse of death. He can only expect wrath, and judgment, and condemnation, something fearful on the other side of death. And if he sugarcoats his fear by telling himself that there remains something good, something pleasant, for him on the other side of death, the unbeliever can have no certainty that his pleasant hopes will come to fruition. In fact, he has no hope--no real hope of God’s blessing in the life to come. And so because he is ignorant, because he has no hope, he grieves. He says to himself at a funeral, “Oh, look at what a terrible thing has happened to my grandfather! He’s died, and I don’t know where he has gone! I’ll never see him again, and there is nothing I can do about it. And one day this terrible thing is going to happen to me.” What a horrible, unrelenting grief this is to those who do not have the Christian hope. They are without knowledge, without hope, without comfort. They do not have the knowledge of the resurrection, and so they do not have the hope of the resurrection, and so they do not have the comfort of the resurrection.
But Paul tells you today,
we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope.
If you believe on Jesus Christ for your salvation, then you are not uninformed, because you have the knowledge of the resurrection. And you are not like the rest who have no hope, because you have the hope of the resurrection. And so you need not grieve like they do, because you have the comfort of the resurrection. So we will consider these 3 points this evening: first, The Knowledge of the Resurrection (13-14), second, The Hope of the Resurrection (15-17), and third, The Comfort of the Resurrection (18).
Colossians 3:5-7 “Put Evil Desires to Death” Sermon Tim Black
Christian Character. In the book of Colossians Paul teaches you how to be a Christian. In chapter 1 he directs your attention to Christ your Savior. In chapter 2 he warns you against taking on the world’s non-Christian worldview and lifestyle. And now in Colossians 3 Paul teaches you how to have a Christian character. How to be distinctively Christian in who you are and how you behave. He gives you the proper ground of Christian character in 3:1-5, and then teaches you to put off the old man of non-Christian character and put on the new man of Christian character. What characterizes the old man is a love of self on the inside, and a hatred of your fellow man on the outside. And what characterizes the new man is selfless love on the inside, and thankful blessing on the outside. In our passage today Paul teaches you to put to death your love of self on the inside. And centrally, he exhorts you to put evil desires to death.
This is square one of having a Christian character. If you aren’t doing this, you shouldn’t claim to be a Christian. And if you don’t do this, in the end you will not go to heaven. Our passage implies this last point in v. 6. But Paul makes this point perfectly explicit in Ephesians 5:3-5, where he says:
Ephesians 5:3-5 3 But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. 4 Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. 5 For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
You cannot live unrepentantly in any sin, and expect to go to heaven. And so it is absolutely vital that if you claim to be a Christian, you follow Paul’s exhortation today to put evil desires to death.
Sermon Outline. We will examine this passage under the following headings.
What you should put to death: Evil Desires v. 5
Why you should put them to death: God’s Evaluation and Response v. 6
How you should put them to death: In Your Walk and Your Life v. 7