It's Time for a Change

Bible Book: Colossians  3 : 1-17
Subject: Renewal; Christian Living; Commitment

[All scripture used in this sermon comes from the Kings James Version of the Bible.]

It was the morning of September 20, 2006. Jeff Markin recalls heading for work as usual. What he doesn’t remember is driving himself to the hospital. He had called his boss and told him he didn’t feel well. His boss was concerned and convinced Jeff to go to the emergency room. Somehow Jeff made it. Once he got there, he collapsed.

Dr. Chauncey Crandall was doing rounds in the intensive care unit that morning. He recalls, "An alert call came over the PA system that someone had arrived at the hospital with a massive deadly heart attack. Then a second call went out over the PA system and specifically asking for me because I was the cardiologist on that day. When I arrived there, it was like a war zone. It was chaos. Everyone there fighting to keep this man alive."

The ER staff worked on Jeff for 40 minutes. They shocked him a dozen times. Despite their efforts, there was no response.

Once Dr. Crandall decided the team had done everything medically possible, he called the time of death. Medically Jeff was dead, but he was still experiencing consciousness.

"I was standing in the back of a funeral home, and at that time, I determined that I had died," Jeff Markin says. "This funeral home was empty and was wondering where all my friends and family were."

While a nurse prepared Jeff’s body for the morgue, Dr. Crandall updated the charts.

"As soon as my note was completed, I walked out through the door to this emergency room and I heard this voice say, 'Turn around and pray for this man.' I wanted to ignore that voice because I said to myself, How can I pray for that man? He’s dead he’s gone. There’s no life in him, so I keep walking. The voice came back again and said, 'Turn around and pray for that man.'

I stopped and thought I need to honor the Lord. So I turned around at the doorway, and I walked to the side of the body.

"The nurse was on the other side of the body, and she’s looking at me like, 'What are you doing? Why are you here?' And I stood there next to the corpse and I opened my mouth and these words came out: 'Father God, I cry out for this man’s soul. If he does not know you as his Lord and Savior, Father, raise him from the dead now, in Jesus name.‘"

‘I remember staring at bright lights and they were swirling around," Jeff says. "Out of those bright lights came an image and he told me that he was there to look over me and make sure that everything was going to be fine."

Dr. Crandall continues, "The other doctor walked in the room and I pointed to him and said, 'Shock this man one more time.' He looked at me and said, 'Dr. Crandall, we can’t shock him. He’s dead. There’s no life in him. He’s gone.' I said, 'For me, shock him one more time.' That doctor out of respect and honor for me went over to that body with those defibrillator paddles and put his paddles on that patient and shocked him.

Immediately an instant heartbeat came back. Instant perfect, regular, which we’ve never seen before. Then suddenly this abdomen started moving and starting breathing and then a couple moments later, the fingers started twitching."

They immediately moved Jeff to the intensive care unit. Three days later, Jeff woke up with no evidence of brain or organ damage.

"Once I woke up, my daughter Jillian was there," Jeff says. "That’s when she told me what had happened."

Dr. Crandall says, "When I came in Monday morning, Jeff was sitting up in bed, and I said, 'Where were you that day that I prayed for you in the emergency room?' And he said, 'I was in total darkness and I was so disappointed.' I said, 'Jeff, what were you disappointed about?' He said, 'I was alone for eternity.'"

Jeff recalls, "He asked me at that time if I was willing to accept God into my life and into my heart and I did. I just opened my arms and accepted God. It was just a very emotional time and I remember crying in his arms."

Today Jeff is back at work and gets regular check-ups with Dr. Crandall.

"He still has no heart problems or residual complications from his brush with death," Dr. Crandall says.

"To know what I had gone through and to be fortunate... That’s been part of my daily battle is why me," Jeff ponders. "Why have I been so fortunate to have God shine on me? It’s been tremendous. I’ve been physically reborn. I’ve been spiritually reborn, and I’m just very grateful for that."

"This day that I prayed for Jeff was a day of very little faith. It wasn’t one of my big God days," Dr. Crandall says.” “I was so much in a rush with my work, and I didn’t have a lot of faith backing that prayer up that day. But the Lord asked me to do it, so I honored the Lord and prayed. That’s all we need. Just a spark of faith like that mustard seed, and when you cry out to the mighty Holy Spirit, He will take over. Miracles are real, and they’re real today." “Christian Broadcasting Network”

This story is illustrative of our lives as Christians, we were once on the brink of death, but the day we got saved, we got a new chance for life and living.

The sermon today will tell us how to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity that God has afforded us. We will be challenged to put off some things in our life and to put on some things in our life. We will be asked to severe the old lifestyle and to strengthen the new lifestyle.

I. The Change that we Experienced (1 – 4)

Colossians 3:1-4, “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.”

The emphasis here is that “if” we are Christians and have risen with Christ, then we have experienced significant change in our lives. Let us look at five aspects of this change.

A) Our Distinct Decision (1a)

The only way one can become a believer is to make a personal decision for Jesus. You do not just become a Christian; you do not just evolve into being a Christian. It is not even important that you can name a specific date or time, but there has to be a place. There must be a specified place where you decided personally to trust in Jesus Christ.

B) Our Deliberate Desires (1b – 2)

Our affections have changed, they will become more heavenly minded, instead of earthly minded. If you claim to be saved and still have the same old devilish leanings and desires, then you need to do a checkup.

C) Our Declared Deadness (3a)

The old man has been put to death; he has been rendered useless and powerless. Of course we still battle the old man, but he has lost his stinger, we have the power through Jesus Christ to overcome him. We should wake up daily with the idea that as believers in Jesus Christ we have been made alive and we have experienced a glorious change.

D) Our Dual Defenders (3b)

We are hidden in Christ and he is in God. The only way Satan can ever get to us is to go through Jesus, and the only way he can get to Jesus is to overthrow God. We are rendered as safe and secure through our dual defenders, Jesus and God.

E) Our Divine Destiny (4)

One of these days Jesus will return to get us and when he does we will be with him forever and ever.

1 Thessalonians 4:16-18, “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”

II. The Challenge’s that we Encounter (5 – 10)

As Christian Paul is exhorting us to mortify or to kill off those things that previously tried to rule over us.

A) Slaying the Old Members “Our Old Deeds” (5 – 9)

He will give us a list of things that would benefit each of us to eliminate from our Christian life.

Colossians 3:5-10, “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:”

1. Inward Sin’s “Sensually Hidden” (5)

These six things are hidden beneath the surface but they are deemed as harmful and physically dreadful.

a) Fornication (Sexual Impurity)

This would involve any form of sexual impurity of any kind.

b) Uncleanness (Impure Motives)

This impurity drives one’s motives and desires.

c) Inordinate Affection (Craving Depravity)

This is a physical drive to depraved passions and desires.

d) Evil Concupiscence (Lustful Depraved Desires)

A mental lust and depraved desire to do sinful things.

e) Covetousness (Greedy desire to have more)

Always wanting more, driven by greed and gain.

f) Idolatry (False worship)

The foolish worship of false Gods, or Gods we create.

2. Outward Sin’s “Socially Harmful” (8 – 9)

The six things we just mentioned were more on the inside, things that were driven by mental or physical passions. The next six things are more outward driven and socially wrong.

a) Anger (Violent raging outburst)

Sudden outburst of violent rage, hurtful and hazardous.

b) Wrath (Judgmental attitudes – Acting as God)

We place ourselves in the seat of God, judgmental attitude.

c) Malice (Ill will towards another – desirous to hurt)

Having ill will towards another, desiring to injure, harmful.

d) Blasphemy (Slandering speech – tearing down, gossip)

Usually in the form of gossip, to tear down, slander someone.

e) Filthy Communication (Foul speech, coarse humor)

(Obscene language)

The use of foul speech, coarse humor, obscenities.

f) Lying to one another (Deliberate falsehoods)

Lying is a tool of Satan, he is the father of liars.

B) Strengthening the New Man “Our New Dress” (10)

We are to put on the new man and to become more like the image of the one that created us.

III. The Characteristics that we Emphasize (12 – 17)

Colossians 3:12-17, “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”

The writer now gives us six characteristics that each one of us need to display in our lives.

A) Our New Life (12)

Our new life will display mercy, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, and longsuffering. This is a life that is driven by the fruit of the spirit.

B) Our New Liberty (13)

We have a new found liberty because we can forgo grudges, grievances and offer forgiveness. This is the new man! If you cannot forgive another Christian I truly wonder if you have been saved and have God’s love in your heart.

C) Our New Love (14)

We will be men and women that have the aroma of love. This is the defining characteristic of a real Christian. If you are not filled with love and overflowing with love, you need to check up.

D) Our New Living (15)

We will be men and women of peace; this unifies us into one family and one body. The church is not the place of uproar, backbiting, arguing, selfishness, my way or the highway. The church is to be a place of peace, a peace that prevails, a peace that promotes, a peace that provokes goodness and grace.

E) Our New Leading (16)

As new born again believers we are to be filled with the word of God. It will lead us in a way that is holy and highly pleasing to God. It will make us spiritually rich and offers us wisdom. It will help us to teach each other and affords us the opportunity to have peace and a reason to sing a spiritual song, a song of grace that’s springing up in our hearts.

You can tell those that are not filled with the word of God, instead of grace they are grumpy and growling. Instead of singing a spiritual song they would rather gripe and condemn someone or something inside the church. They have no idea of the concept of grace or mercy.

Colossians 3:16, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”

F) Our New Lordship (17)

If the Lord is in control we will watch what we do or say, knowing that the results need to be good enough that we can do them in his name. This will eliminate many useless words or useless deeds in our life.

Colossians 3:17, “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”