Life in the Spirit, Life Against the Flesh (Pt 2)
October 7 2018
“In April, 1983, Robert Vierling of Winchester, Missouri was found in his bed, crushed to death by his sixteen-foot, one hundred pound, pet Burmese python. Vierling’s wife said he had complete trust in the snake and often played with it on the bed.” [Whitney, Simplify Your Spiritual Life]
I am curious about many things — but playing with a python in my bed — or anywhere else — is not anything I’ve ever considered. Yet as Whitney also points out, “Each of us lives with many unseen snakes, all more deadly than a Burmese python. These snakes, which are constantly with us, are called ‘sins’ in the Bible. The process of killing them is called mortification.”
How do you keep from getting killed by a python? Don’t get a pet python. And if you have one, kill it before it kills you. How do you keep from being killed by your sin? Don’t get a pet sin. And if you have one, kill it before it kills you. That is the theme of Romans 8:12-13, which can be simply stated as —
To live in the Spirit is to live aggressively against the flesh.
Or to be alive in the Spirit is to live opposed to every manifestation of the flesh in our lives. This is essential, because as A. W. Tozer noted, “But the terrible part about crucifying the flesh is that the flesh is you. When the Lord says mortify the flesh, He doesn’t mean abuse your body by starving it or lying on beds of nails. He means put yourself on the cross. That is what people do not want to do.…But I do say this: You had better mortify your flesh, or your flesh will do something terrible to you.” [The Radical Cross]
While Paul calls us to mortify the flesh in 8:12-13, he only hints at the process of mortification in the surrounding context and subsequent chapters. However, he does give more extensive explanation of how to mortify the flesh in Colossians 3, which is where we want to turn today and next Sunday.
In this passage we will find five ingredients of a life that is mortifying the flesh.
- Seek God as Your Primary Desire (v. 1)
- Change the Way You Think About God (vv. 2-4)
- Be so heavenly minded you will be of earthly good (v. 2)
- Consider your life in Christ and as Christ (vv. 3-4)
- Change the Way You Think About Sin (vv. 5-9)
- Identify sin for what it is (vv. 5-8)
- Consider your new position (v. 9)
- Change the Way You Think About Obedience (vv. 10-14)
- Be Controlled by the Holy Spirit (vv. 15-17)
Download the rest of this sermon on Colossians 3.
The audio will be posted on the GBC website by tomorrow.