If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, Paul, writing concerning baptism, said that we were buried with Christ in the waters of baptism. So the water, actually, represents the grave and the old life, governed by our flesh, was buried in baptism. But coming up out of the water, is like Jesus coming out of the grave into the newness of life. And so we have been risen with Christ.
Paul said, even in the likeness of Christ’s resurrection, so are we raised in a new life in Jesus. The life that we have now in Jesus is a life that is governed by the Spirit. And so if and since you are risen with Christ, seek those things which are above. Seek the Spiritual things. Seek the heavenly things.
And he describes, things, which are above as where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
2Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. Have you noticed how easy it is for us to get so involved in material things? You know, it seems like a new car, a new anything, can just absorb us for a time, material things that are going to pass away.
But we are to set our affections, our hearts, our love, on the things that are above, not on the things of the earth.
The Bible says (1 John 2:15-17), love not the world neither the things that are in the world. For if you have the love of the world in your heart, you really don’t have the love of the Father. And then he defines what he is talking about when he says, wherewith all that is of the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. These are of the world. They’re not of God. Don’t set your affection on these things.
3For, he said, ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. In writing to the Romans (Romans 5:20-6:2), of the glorious grace of God, as far as offering as the forgiveness of our sins, he declared where sin did abound, grace did much more abound! He said, shall we then sin freely that the grace of God may abound? And he responds, God forbid! How can we who are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
Now there is a glorious truth as far as God’s grace is concerned. His grace for us who are the children of God. And if we sin, we have an advocate with the Father, even Jesus Christ the righteous. And where sin abounds, grace overflows!
But that isn’t a licensee to say, well, I have a license to sin. Grace is my license. And so we just pull out the license every time the Holy Spirit try to say, hey I’ve got a license here, you know.
No, Paul is saying there is a principle. You are dead with Christ! Therefore you are dead unto sin! How can we who are dead unto sin, live any longer therein? But this is a position of faith. It is something that we have to reckon. Reckon ye (Romans 6:11), therefore, the old man to be dead, to be crucified with Christ. That the body of sin may not rule over you any longer. But the very fact that he says, reckon it, means that this is a position that I take by faith. And it is something that I account to be even as God accounts me to be righteous through my faith in Jesus Christ, so I must account myself to be dead unto sin that I might be alive unto God. Reckon the old man to be dead!
Now, if I didn’t have any desires of the flesh, if I were not still in this body of flesh, there would be no need of reckoning. But because I am in this body of flesh and as long I am in it, I’m going to be having desires of the flesh, fleshly desires. But they are not to rule over me and I have victory by reckoning that to be dead. I don’t have to be ruled over by my old nature or by my flashily nature any longer. I reckon that to be dead. And when the temptations of the flesh come, that is when the process of reckoning is very important. I don’t have to yield to that. I reckon that to be dead. That was crucified with Christ. I buried that! That’s the old life. And I’m now risen with Christ. I seek those things, which are above.
Death by crucifixion is not an instant death. It’s a slow, painful death. And the old body and these desires of the body, they die very slowly and often in a painful process. But how wonderful it is when you’ve gone through this reckoning process with an issue in your life, where maybe your flesh is weak. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. And you have gone through this. And then suddenly you realize God has given you victory over this area where you really didn’t have control and recognized you didn’t.
I used to have a violent temper, extremely. I think I shared with you the thing that would trigger it most would be self-inflicted pain. I would get so angry. And I can remember when I was working in construction. I was framing barracks, actually at El Toro marine base. I hit my thumb with a hammer—self-inflicted pain. And that would just fire off. And I threw the hammer just as far as I could. And I had to retrieve it. And as I was walking across the field to retrieve my hammer, I could hear the guys snickering. Because I had been witnessing to them about Jesus. And talk about guilt feelings! I blew it! I blew my witness. And I was feeling just absolutely miserable and horrible as I was retrieving that hammer out of the field. In my soul and my spirit I was crying out to God, first of all for forgiveness for destroying my witness to these guys. Then I was crying out to God to help me. I had no control over this. Before I would even think, I would react. I would respond. I’d flare. I’d blow. And I pleaded with God. Help me!
About five years later, I was framing a partition on the platform of a church I was pastoring in Tucson. Nels Lillyguard, a beautiful Norwegian man, was helping me frame. And we had framed up this wall and were ready to set it in place. So he was holding the wall up while I was going to cleat it to the floor. And I set my nail and I was holding the floor plate on the line. I decided to show off a little bit for Nels because I had been framing and with that old sixteen ounce framing hammer. You know, I could set the thing and then I could just wham it down. And so I set the nail and I whammed! And the hammer slipped off the nail and came down on my thumb that was holding the plate. It split open! My thumbnail is still traumatized from that and that was fifty years ago, almost. But the nail, you can just still see where it was traumatized. It never recovered from that one.
I looked up at Nels who had a very quizzical look on his face, like what’s he going to do? And I said, Nels, do you realize what’s happened? He said, yes, I think I do. I said, no you don’t! I said, I didn’t have any urge to throw my hammer! I didn’t feel any explosion inside! Oh, I did feel pain in my thumb, but I was so excited to realize that God had given me victory in this area! And I hadn’t even realized it. And as I stopped to think, going back over the previous five years to the hammer throw incident, I hadn’t had any more of those violent explosions within.
Now it was a victory not of my counting ten. I didn’t learn to count ten. I would never get that far. But it was removing from the inside the steam that used to be generated! The steam wasn’t being generated. And that’s real victory in Jesus! It’s a process of whenever this issue comes up. I have to make the choice—do I yield to the flesh or do I reckon that to be dead, crucified with Christ?
And it isn’t over in just a day. It’s a process. But oh, what a glorious day it is when you recognize how God has transformed from within! But as long as we are in these bodies, we are going to subject to the desires of the body. And that is why Paul writes in Romans, chapter eight (Romans 8:23), and we and all creation groans and travails together until now as we are waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God to whit, the redemption of our bodies.
You will never come to a time in your life where you won’t be tempted to yield to the flesh. The temptation will be there. You don’t have to yield to the flesh, but the temptation will be there. But then you make your choice. I am crucified with Christ. I am dead to that. I’m alive unto God! I’m alive unto God. I’ve been risen with Christ! And I don’t have to be mastered by my flesh any longer. For you are dead! Dead to that old nature in life. And you are, now this is again, is positionally, a position of faith and your life is hid with Christ in God.
And 4When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. One of these days Jesus is coming again! The Scripture says, behold He comes with ten thousands of His saints. Christ, our life! He is my life! I desire no life apart from Him, outside of Him! And when He appears, we shall appear with Him in glory.
John said (1 John 3:2), beloved, now are we the sons of God. It doesn’t yet appear what we are going to be. We know that when He appears, we shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is! So when Christ, who is our life appears, we will appear with Him in glory.
5Mortify (or put to death) therefore your members (which is your body—the various parts of the body) which are upon the earth; (and he lists them) fornication, uncleanness, (that would be moral uncleanness) inordinate affection, (and that’s for sexual things) evil concupiscence, (concupiscence is strong desire and connected with evil, is a strong desire for evil things) and covetousness, which is idolatry: 6For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: So you are dead. Now he tells you, put to death these things that are a temptation, that are part of a flesh life, because he said, these are the very things that are going to bring the wrath of God upon the earth. Man’s inordinate sexual desires, perverse sexual desires, the desires for someone else other than your own husband or your own wife. For this cause the wrath of God is coming upon the earth. So, put them to death. Don’t let them rule over you.
7In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. We’ve all been guilty, he said.
8But now (let’s go a step further. These are the very obvious sins that bring God’s wrath. Let’s go further. But now) ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication (Shaded stories, dirty jokes that have to do with usually body parts and so forth. Put off these! In other words, let’s go beyond just the fornication and that kind of stuff. Let’s get down to what we are prone to often excuse—anger and wrath and malice and blasphemy, filthy communication.) out of your mouth.
9Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; (Now this, lie not one to another is sort of tied to say that, your neighbor has lawnmower that he wants to sell and you need a lawnmower. And so you go over to talk to him. He’s got it up for sale. He’s got a sign on it. It’s out there in his driveway. And you say, how much do you want for that lawnmower? And he gives you a price. And you say, oh my, how long have you had that thing? I mean, it’s pretty—look at this and it looks like the muffler is about ready to come off and, you know, you start deprecating the thing. You say, maybe he’s asking $50. You say, I’ll give you twenty-five. Well, you’ve run the thing down so much, he’s sort of happy to get the twenty-five, you know.
It’s like when you go to trade a car in. You know, the used car guys, who come out to appraise your car. Then, they’ll say, well, you know, this, you know, I mean, we can’t give you much for this car. Oh my, it’s going to need this and it’s going to need that. It’s going to need this and maybe they make you a ridiculously low offer for your car. All we can possibly give you is five hundred dollars for this. And then you hear that they sold it the very next day for a thousand bucks, you know.
Well, Proverbs (Proverbs 20:14), speaks about this. It is nothing, it is nothing saith the buyer, and then when he goes away, he boast what a deal I got! And that’s really what he’s saying, lie not one to another, you’ve put off that old man.
10And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: The glorious thing about the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, is that He is working in us to conform us into the image of Jesus Christ.
Writing to the Corinthians (2 Cor. 3:18), Paul said, we all of us with unveiled faces, as we behold the glory of the Lord, are being changed from glory to glory, into the same image by His Spirit that is working in us. And the purpose of God’s Spirit in your life is that of conforming you into the image of Jesus Christ. This new man is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him.
So Paul the apostle, writing to the Ephesians (Eph. 4:11-13), said, that God has placed in the church the various ministries, the evangelists, the prophets, the pastor-teachers, and all, for the perfecting of the saints for the work of the ministry, the building up of the body of Christ, until we all come into full maturity unto the measure of the stature of the image of Christ.
A lot of times we wonder, Lord, what are You doing? Maybe we’re going through a painful experience, something that we don’t quite understand. We are prone to cry out, God what are You doing? Why did You allow this? Did You have to do that? He’s just chipping off rough edges. He is conforming you into the image of Jesus.
The glorious thing that God is working in our lives, all we have to do is to look at the model that the Holy Spirit is using and we know what He intends to do with us. He intends to make us like Jesus, the model. Jesus is the model from which he is fashioning us. And so when I come up against experiences that I don’t understand, I realize this is just a part of the process of conforming me unto the image of Jesus, bringing me to that full commitment of my life to the Lord.
As Peter said (1 Peter 4:19), if any of you suffer, according to the will of God, just commit the keeping of your soul unto Him as unto a faithful creator. God is faithful. He is working in you. He wants you to be perfect. And He is molding, shaping, forming you into the image of His Son. The image of Him that created us and in this image, which He is bringing us to, is not physical, it’s a Spiritual image. And he will start talking about the characteristics of this new image in just a moment.
But in this new life, after Christ, 11Where there is neither Greek nor Jew (No racial distinction), circumcision nor uncircumcision (Religious division.), There is neither Barbarian, Scythian (No class division), bond nor free (Again, class distinction): but Christ is all, and in all. Conformed into the image of Jesus. And we are all, He is it! The pre-eminence of Christ! He is in all. He is all and He is in all!
Therefore, there are a lot of therefores. I mean he is following a pattern of thought here. And the therefores are tying the thoughts together. And he is building, therefore, put off the things of the flesh that once dominated your life.
12Put on therefore, Put on this new life, after the image of Christ.
Therefore, as the elect of God, (chosen by God. God’s people, the elect of God. And the elect of God is a term that is used for God’s people.)
holy and beloved, Holy and beloved by God.
Put on bowels of mercies, Now in those days, in that culture, they believed that the deepest emotions were not in the heart.
You know we have Valentines and hearts and you know, I love you, in a heart kind of a thing. And we think that the deepest emotions are in the heart of man.
They felt that the deepest emotions were in the stomach. And as the prophet would speak of people bent over, like they were in labor because the deepest emotions, they felt, came from deeper than just the heart. They were in the area of the stomach, the region of the stomach. And thus, terms that to us, really, you know, don’t mean that much. Bowels of mercy, mean mercy in the deepest part of your being! From the deepest part of your being.
But look at the characteristics that God wants us to have. Now we saw the characteristics that He doesn’t want us to have. He doesn’t want us to be given over to sexuality. He doesn’t want us to be given over to anger, to the wrath and the malice and the covetousness that often breeds on these things. But He wants us to first of all to be merciful. These are characteristics that God wants to develop in you.
kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; 13Forbearing one another, As we forbear one another, that is, we put up with one another.
and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. 14And above all these things put on charity (love), which is the bond of perfectness (completeness, perfectness, maturity).
15And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Can you fault these? As we read these things, can you really fault them?
You know, I’m amazed that how people are so often antagonistic towards Christianity. They are antagonistic towards Jesus Christ. They are antagonistic towards the church, like it’s some horrible thing.
But look what the Lord is asking you to be? Merciful, kind, forgiving, humble, meek, patient, forbearing, loving. Now I don’t know about you, maybe those characteristics sort of upset you. You may say, I don’t want them! But as I go down this list, I say oh, God, help me. I want this! I want to be like this! I want to be like Jesus! And you find that each one of these is a description of Jesus. As we said, He is the model! And each of these characteristics were manifested by Jesus. And so as God is working in you, this is what He is wanting to develop in you. These are the characteristics that God wants to be manifested through your life. And finally thankfulness. It’s one body. Loving one another. And above all, just that thankfulness that God has called us to be a part of the body of Christ, His kingdom.
And then, 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; That’s why we are here tonight. That the Word of Jesus Christ might dwell in us. That’s why we study the Word, that we might become rich in our understanding and in our knowledge of God. Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom.
teaching and admonishing (or encouraging) one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. Now, unfortunately for a period of time, the church went through a phase in its music. Not all of them have yet been delivered from that. Where you know, the choirs get up and they sing these songs that you can’t really understand the words, but they’re just repetitions of phrases. And you know, the sopranos will do it, then the basses, and then the tenors and you know, it’s just going over just the praise…. And praise is all they are singing. And it’s really isn’t that moving, or stirring or inspiring.
Psalms, hymns, spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. That’s what we intend to do! Singing with grace in our hearts to the Lord, meaningful songs, worshipful songs. Songs, that can express our love, our thanksgiving. Songs, that can declare the greatness of God and the wonders of God. And it’s a beautiful way to relate to God and it’s a beautiful way to learn the Scriptures as we were singing some of Psalms tonight. To get it sort of planted in our heart because of the melody and the tune and you find yourself whistling some of these unconsciously and then the words will begin to come into your mind and it’s a great way to worship the Lord.
17And whatsoever ye do (And this now, he just broadens out.) in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. You know a great way to make a miserable task, pleasant, is to do it for Jesus! You know, whatever you do, do it for Him! Do it as unto Him, which means I do it as best I can and I do it without murmuring or complaining, because I’m doing it for the Lord!
And this was something that I had to learn. I am very concerned how the church grounds look. I oftentimes go through the parking lot picking up the cups and the McDonald’s bags and all that the high school kids leave after school. And for a time, it was “those trashy kids”. How inconsiderate, how trashy to just drop the big cups in the parking lots and the bags. I mean, it’s not as though we didn’t have trashcans around the place. But when you do it as unto the Lord, you know, they’ve given me a job to do for the Lord! It’s an opportunity to serve the Lord, to keep the grounds looking neat and clean. Whatever you do, whether in your words or in your deeds, do it in the name of the Lord Jesus as we give thanks to God and the Father by Him.
Now he gets into the personal and interpersonal relationships as he did with the letter to the church in Ephesus. He pretty much gives them the same instructions that he gave to the church in Ephesus as he first of all, exhorts the wives, then the husbands and the children, then the fathers, then the servants. So he sort of covers all the bases.
As far as wives, 18Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. Fit, or necessary in the Lord. When God said that, He knew the nature of the man, that macho nature, that we have to feel that we are in control and that we are capable of doing it. In other words, God sort of built that in. I mean, you know, from the more primitive cultures where the man goes out and kills the meat for dinner and brings it back.
My wife gets after me so often for going in front of her. She said, you ought to be walking, don’t you go out in front of me. And I said, well it’s just my native instinct. I’m going through the bush. There might be a tiger or something, you know, I’m just trying to watch out. But you see we like to feel like, I’m the protector. I’m, you know, the provider. We need the wives to sort of bolster us in that position.
19Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them. When God said that, He knew that the woman’s greatest need was the sense of security that comes from knowing that she is loved. Watch against bitterness, bitter remarks, bitter retorts. Love them!
20Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. In Ephesians, he said, children obey your parents in the Lord. Here in all things, but yet it is assumed that the things are godly things. And as long as it isn’t a violation of a moral issue or a Godly issue, then children are to be obedient to parents, for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. Order, God loves order. He’s laying out the order of the family.
21Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged. Don’t make unreasonable demands on them. Be willing to sit down and explain to them, why they can’t go out in the car tonight. And just don’t make demands that just are, well, I’m the dad. I said it. And that’s the way it is, you know—provoking anger.
So often, I think that we want our children to be an improvement over us. We make unreasonable demands upon them, which they can’t live up to. We have unreasonable expectations, which frustrate them. It brings them to a place of anger or wrath. And they get discouraged. They can’t do that.
22Servants, (and this is the employee) obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; or your bosses, in this day and age.
not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; That is, you are not buttering up.
but in singleness of heart, fearing God: With sincerity and honesty.
23And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, Now, that’s just good advice! Whatever you do, do it heartily!
You know, it’s an amazing thing. Even in a task, like doing dishes, it can be a very disgusting kind of a task. And you are washing dishes, you think, oh ugh—dishes, I can’t get this off. You just slam the thing down on the drain. You’re just churning inside. I hate doing the dishes. I can’t stand it. And it just makes the task so much more difficult.
Whereas if you just do it heartily, well, it’s got to be done. I might as well do it, you know. Heartily, you know. It’s so much better! And the attitude of my heart and my mind in these things, yes they may be routine. Yes, they may be kind of, you know, over and over type of things, but do it heartily!
Whatever you do, do it heartily as to the Lord, Lord, You like clean plates! All right!
and not unto men; Again, the idea, if you think that I’m doing this as unto men, if I think that I doing this as unto men. If I think that I’m doing this because of the sloppy, careless, high school kids, I can get upset. But, if I do it as unto the Lord, how can you get upset with the Lord?
24Knowing that (and this is the key) of the Lord ye shall receive the reward Now, I’m not going to get any reward for picking up the papers, because I told you I do it. So you say, oh, is that wonderful. The pastor picks up the papers in the parking lot. So, okay, give it to me. I’ll take my rewards, you know. When I get to heaven, I can’t say, Lord, don’t You remember all of those papers I picked up? Oh, yes, you got your reward for that.
Knowing that of the Lord you shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. Actually, bottom line, we serve the Lord Jesus Christ. That’s the bottom line. My life is His. I serve Him. And in whatever I do, is unto Him and for Him!
In contrast to this, 25But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong If I do it unto the Lord, the Lord is going to reward me. But if you are doing wrong, if you are doing evil, then the Lord also will judge you.
He that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong, which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons. Because with God, He has no respect of person! He doesn’t esteem anyone higher than another. When we stand before God, we all stand on the same level. He is no respecter of person. I like that!
Father, we thank You for Your Word and for these excellent exhortations. Let us take them to heart. Help us, Lord, that we might indeed mortify the deeds of the flesh. May we not be ruled by our fleshly desires. But may we be ruled by Your Spirit. And Lord, bring forth in our lives those characteristics of Jesus Christ, that our lives might be a witness for You. And help us, Lord, in our interpersonal relationship within our family, Lord. Bless. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Transcribed from “The Word For Today”, Pastor Chuck Smith, Tape #8182, (KJ Version)