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 COLOSSIANS 3:5-7

"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."

 

 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
II Timothy 2:15

 

THIS IS ONE OF PAUL'S INSPIRED LISTS! IT'S A CATALOGUE OF SINS TO BE AVOIDED BY EVERY BELIEVER.

LESSON 1:

Here's how Paul ends the Paragraph, "In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them." Colossians 3:7

Yes, the saints of God have some astounding backgrounds!

Perhaps the Apostle's best known statement about the past lives of Christians is found in 1st Corinthians 6:11, "And such were some of you."

That's what Believers are, just sinners saved by Grace! Paul, after having been saved for many years still said of himself, "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief." 1st Timothy 1:15

Glancing back at the Colossians 3:7 Text, notice how Paul equates one's "walk" with one's "life." The verb "walk" or "peripateo" is a blend of two other Greek words. Its prefix "peri" means "around" or "all around" something. And "pateo" means "to tread or stomp or trample!" The word pictures one's coming and going in daily life. His or her conduct, general behavior, manner of life!

Then the verb "lived" is used. "Zao" means "to be alive, to breathe," with the emphasis being on the quality of life available!

These Colossian Christians, Gentiles with a heathen background, had been guilty of sins such as "fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness and idolatry!"

Then God saved them!

And lest any of us get a "holier than thou" attitude, we were not spotless either! Here's our collective testimony: "And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, by grace ye are saved; and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." Ephesians 2:1-6

Someone reading here today has such a past!

In fact, we all do ... to one degree or another.

"As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God." Romans 3:10-11

"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23

Indeed, we became "new creatures" in Christ Jesus!

Old things have passed away!

Yes, dear Colossians, "In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them." 

But it appears that some of those old sins at times tried to reappear. And when they did, Paul recommended ruthless treatment!

Do away with them!

Mortify them!

Put them to death!

And that's why we have this list of former transgressions.

To educate us!

To motivate us!

To warn us!

We shall, Lord willing, study these wicked deeds, all of them! Some are not surprising at all! Others are quite enlightening! All are part of God's inspired revelation to His children in our day!

"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." Colossians 3:5-7

Tomorrow we begin.

                                                                          --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 2:

One of the main thrusts in our current Bible Study Text, Colossians 3:5-7, is encapsulated by these words, "and covetousness, which is idolatry."

This is one of Paul's many amazing statements, perhaps even astounding!

"Covetousness is idolatry!"

Of course, since this little clause sits within a context, an inspired wider setting, we must study it all together.

"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." Colossians 3:5-7

Now "covetousness" is one of those sins that has assumed a degree of respectability, especially in the West.

After all, isn't a man to better himself?

Doesn't everyone want, and need, a raise? Even if you have to "step" on somebody getting it!

A man's desires, the material ones, can be realized even if he's "broke" now! Ever heard of credit cards?

Each of these foregoing questions can easily be linked to the sin of covetousness!

But listen to what God says, "Covetousness is idolatry!"

Also notice that covetousness is placed right alongside a host of other sins too, most of them pretty repulsive!

Does God see "covetousness" to be as socially and spiritually unacceptable as "fornication?"

Apparently so!

And all of them, all six of them, are so dangerous that Paul, writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit Himself, says they are to be "mortified!"

This Greek verb, "nekroo," is here an imperative, expressing a stark command from God! It means "to make dead, to put to death, to slay!" Even in Latin, "mortify" uses as its root "mortus," meaning death!

Slay those tendencies and proclivities to fornication and uncleanness and concupiscence! They must go!

But also, and apparently on the same level, are two more sins. Covetousness and idolatry!

Kill them too!

How?

With the "Sword of the Spirit," I suspect!

With the Word of God!

How does one mortify covetousness?

A fuller answer tomorrow, Lord willing.

But let this much be said now. The dear Holy Spirit and the Word of God team up together to help us "slay" such rebellious sins!

Here's proof. Lord, "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee." Psalm119:11

Amen!

                                                                       --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 3:

The "ability" to sin will never leave us, will never leave us Christians! Not as long as we inhabit this earth and dwell in frail human bodies!

"Sinlessness" indeed awaits the children of God, but after we've received our glorified bodies.

Watch how John the Apostle handles this delicate issue in his First Epistle. Here's the first verse in his second chapter there. "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not." Pretty plain! But then, knowing our weakness, he adds in the very same verse, "And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous."

Do not sin, at least not habitually in the same area time and time again! Yet when you do sin, come to Jesus! He is our Advocate, our Comforter, during such times! And don't forget that John has just written this also: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1st John 1:9

All this being true, Paul still twice teaches us to "mortify" certain sins in our lives. Bible Truth must be "balanced" or one will veer too far one way or another.

While we still have an old sin nature, we must fight and conquer, "kill" even, the sins of the flesh!

Here are Paul's two statements. "Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry." Colossians 3:5

Then, "For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live." Romans 8:13

The first "mortify" centers around the Lord Jesus Christ, our Victor anyway! "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." It's Jesus, Jesus, Jesus in Colossians 3:1-4. Then, "Mortify therefore" those sins!

In Paul's second instance, the Romans 8:13 statement, it's the Holy Spirit Who is specified! Again, ""For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live." Romans 8:13

Conquer the flesh!

How?

Jesus!

And the Holy Spirit of God!

Short Lesson today, but worth every second you've invested!

Oh, inferentially at least, there are other ways to defeat those pesky little sins in our lives!

"For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith." It's faith in 1st John 5:4.

And let's not forget Psalm 119:11 either. "Thy Word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee." Oh, the mighty power of the Word of God!

Amen!

                                                                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 4:

Every word in the Bible is inspired. The Holy Spirit chose each part of speech carefully, even to verb tenses and noun cases.

For example, Paul's command in Colossians 3:5, where he writes: "Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth ...." This sounds rather harsh! Especially when you remember that the noun "melos," Greek for "members," usually means one's body parts!

To slay, kill, exterminate, eradicate! That's exactly what "mortify" means!

How does one do such a thing ... to his or her own body?

Listen to Jesus. "And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell." Matthew 5:29-30 clearly illustrates what a "member" is! Here it's a man's eye or hand!

Now listen to James as he makes the tongue a body part, a "member" of one's physical entity. "Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!" James 3:5

So when Paul identifies our body's "members" with certain sins, dangerous sins, he asks that we deal harshly with the offending culprit!

Elsewhere the Apostle says that many give their body parts, or "members" to sin! "They have yielded their members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity."

While the saints of God do the opposite! "Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God." Yes, Romans 6:13 is right!

What Paul is saying is that certain bodily "members" are culpable in certain areas, with specific sins!

The "eyes" with lust!

The "hands" with theft!

The "tongue" with lying!

The "feet" with retreating!

The "heart" with unbelief!

Here's the list we are currently studying. Without being too specific in this Lesson, figure the bodily "members" that would likely offend in a certain area. Here they are in order: "fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, covetousness, and idolatry."

Once you determined the source, deal with it!

Control your eyes! Job did! "I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?" Job 31:1

Make you hands do good things! "Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth." Ephesians 4:28

The tongue too! "Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer." Psalm 19:14

Look at the body parts in this list! Then get ready to do some mortifying! "These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: a proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, an heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, a false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren." Proverbs 6:16-19 involves the eyes, tongue, hands, heart and feet! Some of them twice, the tongue and heart!

Living for Jesus!

What discipline it involves!

Oh, discipline,  that's related to our word "disciples" I believe!

Amen!

                                                                               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 5:

The sin is an absolutely forbidden one, at least for the Christian!

Both its literal act and any emotional or spiritual look-alikes are taboo for the saint of God!

What sin?

"Fornication," that's the way it is presented in Colossians 3:5. "Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, covetousness, idolatry..."

As you can see, this particular sin is at the very "top" of Paul's "most dangerous sins" list! It's number one of the six sins that need to be "mortified" or slain or decimated by the Believer in Jesus Christ.

"Fornication" is spelled "porneia" in Greek. In that little word see our English word "pornography" and its derivatives. Its "root" or "stem" word is actually "porne" which is linked to a verb, "pernemi," meaning "to sell!" In ancient Greek culture it was used particularly in the slave trade, to sell human beings! Most objects of pornography, women usually, were really just that, bought slaves! Bought for sexual reasons! One Lexicon even says the basic meaning of the word group is "harlot for hire!"

In Paul's time fornication was common in two ways. Actual physical sexual relationship between individuals was most prominent. Then came "cultic" prostitution, various acts of immorality performed physically under the auspices of some god or goddess in the Greek or Roman pantheon. These people were nearly all polytheistic.

When the great Apostle wrote Colossians 3:5, he circumscribes "fornication" and all its related deeds. He of course, under Inspiration, is writing to the new Christians at Colossee.

No sexual relationships outside of marriage! Plainly, "Thou shalt not commit adultery!" And for the younger Believers, no pre-marital sexual escapades either!

And certainly no visits to the temple priestesses, religious prostitutes really, as well!

These all must be things of the past!

Oh yes, they had once fallen into such sins. "In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them," Paul writes two verses later.

But these kinds of sins are gone now! Under the Blood of Jesus! Forgiven! Buried! Not to be repeated!

Also the word came to mean no sexual liaisons with members of one's own sex. This excludes "unnatural" acts like homosexuality and lesbianism and bestiality too.

I read years ago where a prominent Bible Scholar said that the most remarkable social change that Christianity introduced to the world was just this, moral purity!

A man was to remain faithful and in exclusive relationship with his wife! For a whole lifetime!

No girlfriends!

No concubines!

No harlots!

And, according to Jesus, no suspicious thoughts along those lines either!

Such chaste living was astounding, unthinkable really, to the ancient mind!

In the Churches Paul founded the Preachers named sin!

Specifically!

What a sermon Colossians chapter three would have been! Here are its points: Avoid "fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, covetousness, idolatry, then more ... anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication, plus lying!"

Instead add, with the Holy Spirit's Help, "mercy, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering, forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, and above all these things put on charity."

What a transformation Jesus makes in a human life!

In closing, for Christians in today's so-called "modern" world, actually "post-modern" we are now told, mortifying any vestiges of fornication is as binding as ever!

Even to this point, says Paul typically to the Ephesians, "But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints!" Ephesians 5:3, not once!

None of it!

In action!

In thought!

In one's emotional leanings!

In video form!

In print!

On-line!

Even sympathetically!

Kill it, spiritually speaking!

Paul could have made it no plainer!

                                                                        --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 6:

The word is "uncleanness."

It's one of those unmentionable sins for the Christian, not to be named among us at all!

It's so dangerous that Paul the Apostle commands that we "mortify" or "kill" it. He consequently uses a powerful Greek imperative.

"Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness ..." plus four more specific sins to follow!

The word for "uncleanness" is spelled "akatharsia," a noun meaning "that which is impure."

Its historical development is fairly easy to follow, unlike many other Biblical words. Originally "akatharsia" just meant "dirt." Like the dirt on the kitchen floor that must be swept away with the broom. Then it came to mean "ceremonial impurity." That which could keep a Jewish man or woman from going to the Temple and worshipping God. If he had touched a dead body that day or she had been hemorrhaging recently, they were legally and religiously unclean and could not approach God until proper remedies had been effected. Then, thirdly, the noun "akatharsia" came to mean "sin," just outright "sin!" Spiritual filth!

And the lexicographers now tell us that it was most often associated with sexual transgressions in Paul's day!

Sounds like God wants "clean" people! Any way you look at it, from every area of life, clean!

In Matthew 23:27 Jesus used our word to describe that which rests inside a dead man's tomb, his remains and all the accompanying decomposition! What a picture!

In five of its ten New Testament appearances, "akatharsia" is used in a context of sensuality! That's half the time!

The Believer in Jesus Christ, especially when it comes to things like lust and illicit sexual desire must be untainted! Not a spot!

He must truly "Abstain from all appearance of evil." 1st Thessalonians 5:22

Here's our word again used by Paul, but this time on a more spiritual level, dealing with our sanctification, "For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness." However be aware 1st Thessalonians 4:7 is in a context that initially dealt with sensuality!

Once Paul linked "akatharsia" or "uncleanness" with "anomia," meaning "no" use for the "law!" Lawlessness, rebellion against God! "I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness." Romans 6:19 here translates "anomia" as "iniquity."

Now for a view of the very "opposite" of "akatharsia," Paul in Ephesians 5:27 writes of the Church, "That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish." Now that's clean!

May God help us to live such lives, "clean" for His Honour and Glory!

                                                                             --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 7:

The term is "inordinate affection."

It's one of the sins we Christians are to especially hate. In fact, we are to crucify it in our lives. To use Paul's very word, "mortify" it!

"Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection ...." Colossians 3:5

In English the adjective "inordinate" has a Latin background. "In" means "not" in the Roman tongue, while "ordinare" means "to set in order." Something that's "inordinate" is "not in order" or "out of order" or vastly excessive!

Then "affection," also Latin, means "a tender feeling towards another, fondness, even love!"

So "inordinate affection" is a feeling of love that is out of control! Unbalanced! Obsessive!

The Greek noun for "inordinate affection" is simply spelled "pathos." It usually means "passion," very strong passion!

It here obviously means "lustful passion," in this context.

The word is only used two other times in the whole New Testament! Watch the Holy Spirit work! "For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature." Romans 1:16

Then, "That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God." 1st Thessalonians 4:4-5

It's commendable to have a "passion" for God's Word!

And for the Lord Jesus Christ!

To be passionate about the things of God is expected for the Christian!

But "passion" must be governed carefully!

It just can't rush unadvisedly into the sensual areas of life!

That quickly would become "inordinate affection" and absolutely will invoke God's Wrath, for sure!

How do we know that?

After Paul gives us his six-point list of sins, he adds this: "For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience." Colossians 3:6

Passion!

Point it in the right direction!

Keep it bridled otherwise!

The things of the world, the magnetism of the flesh, can be very strong! Addictive even!

They easily arouse one's passion!

Therefore in Deuteronomy 6:5 Scripture commands us to "Love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might." Now that's passion!

Jesus put it this way: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind." Matthew 22:37

Pure passion!

Holy unto God!

All our love!

That's what the Lord Jesus Christ deserves!

                                                                             --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 8:

The King James Version of the Bible is so beautiful, its wording so majestic. Classical English! Even when negative terms are used, there's a certain ease of memory associated with them. For example, Paul writing in Colossians 3:5, forbids for the Christian: "fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry."

Look at the words, now called archaic by many, "evil concupiscence." Whatever this is, there's no place for it in the lives of Believers!

It is indeed to be "mortified" says the Holy Spirit through Paul! Killed! Slain! Colloquially, "made into a corpse!"

The two words in Greek are spelled "kakos epithumia." Both are rather common words in the New Testament, occurring 51 and 38 times respectively. Maybe better said, they are not rare at all.

In fact, "epithumia," here "concupiscence," is used by our Lord Himself!

Let's define this noun first in English. The infinitive "cupere" in Latin means "to desire." Add the prefix "com" and you merely intensify the thought! Strong desire, usually in the sensual realm! So say the dictionaries.

The Greek word, "epithumia" again, is most often translated "lust" in the New Testament, 31 or 32 times. "Thumos" means something "boiling up," anything from anger to passion to jealousy! Again, "epi" fortifies the basic meaning. Three times it's translated "desire" in Scripture.

Listen to Jesus, using "epithumia" and its verbal cognate. "And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer." Luke 22:15 here gives proof that the word is not always used in an evil sense. The Lord's longing here is not wrong at all! It's perfectly noble and pure!

Then earlier in His Ministry, in John 8:44, Jesus uses the word and links it to the devil! "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do." Strong!

So, our Colossians Text qualifies the forbidden emotion by adding "evil" in front of "concupiscence." This little adjective, "kakos," means "of a bad nature." Or, "not such as it ought to be." Also, "worthless" and "good-for-nothing!"

Not as powerful as its synonym "poneros," nonetheless "kakos" packs a punch for the wrong side! "Poneros" is active evil, spreading and infecting its poison as it works. While "kakos" is more resident, inherent, even milder. "Intrinsic" say the lexicons. But of course evil is evil however it's packaged!

And "good-for-nothing desires" must be squelched in the Spirit-filled life!

This today should preach to all of us!

Here's "epithumia" elsewhere linked with some of the same sins mentioned in Colossians 3:5. Paul is writing. "God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts." Romans 1:24

Yet somehow it barely missed this standard list: "The works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like." Probably "emulations" or "zelos" serves in its stead here, a synonym. Burning hot desire! Galatians 5:19-21

Today we've seen again that actions are preceded by desires!

Motions are the results of motives!

Behavior comes from belief!

How one feels determines how one acts, at least by the standards of the world. Jesus said it this way: "For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." Matthew 12:34

Watch those desires!

"Neither give place to the devil," warned Paul in Ephesians 4:27.

And, "But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof." Romans 13:14

By the Power of the Holy Spirit transform those fleshly desires. They can be mortified! Then you'll have something like this: "One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple." David in Psalm 27:4

Desiring one thing, the Lord!

Amen!

                                                                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 9:

Today's Lesson illustrates the importance of "context" in Bible Study.

The "context" of a Passage means the material that surrounds a particular verse or two. That which is "woven" into its very literary setting.

For example, in Colossians 3:5, the context obviously deals with sins of a sexual nature. "Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and ...." Some of these four sins more than others have a grammatical bend toward the sensual, by very definition! Obviously, fornication does! The other three often do too!

Probably Paul has just that in mind, sins of the flesh!

Then comes a fifth "sin."

"Covetousness!"

It too must be avoided.

It should be treated like the others.

Mortify it!

But exactly what is the implication of this kind of "covetousness?"

First to define the word.

It is spelled "pleonexia" in Greek.

It is formed by blending two words. "Pleion" means "more!" And "echo" means "to have or to hold!" Its definition then is "to have more!" To get more and more and more! Ever acquiring! Never satisfied!

In English it means "an extreme desire to own or possess!" In Latin the infinitive "cupere" means just that, "to desire!" This is the "root" of our word "covet."

Now, having defined the word, we must establish what it is likely to mean. There are two viable options.

It can here mean "to desire more" in a sensual way. More sexual pleasure, more satisfaction in a carnal manner! For the eyes and ears and other parts of the physical body! This certainly fits the context! And God Himself uses the idea that way in Exodus 20:17. "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife ..." That wife coveting thing is sexual and lewd!

However, just grammatically, "pleonexia" can mean to lust for things material, things that might be very non-sexual in nature.

A new car!

A finer house!

More money!

In fact, since the rest of the verse, Colossians 3:5, connects "covetousness" with "idolatry" ... this may be the basic meaning for sure! Even in an otherwise sexual setting.

Thus we get, "Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry."

More about covetousness and idolatry tomorrow, the Lord willing.

Until then, Amnon's coveting Tamar was wrong! That sin ruined many lives, all in King David's family!

Of course David got it started, coveting Bathsheba like he did!

And when Dinah took her ill-advised stroll into town one day, Shechem's sensual covetousness caused a virtual war!

Not to mention Judah's covetousness for a women he thought was a prostitute, only to later discover he had propositioned his own daughter-in-law Tamar.

Herod's covetousness for Herodias was deadly too!

All these quick examples, five of them, are sexual in nature, each with monumental consequences!

Needless to say, the Children of God are not to live in such a way!

Their desires are not to be sexual, other than toward one's husband or wife. "The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife." 1st Corinthians 7:4

Then, certainly, the other kind of covetousness is not allowed either. Like this, "For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows." 1st Timothy 6:10

In Exodus 20:17 "Thou shalt not covet" sure says a lot!

By the way, in closing, that Hebrew verb "covet" is "chamad" and means not only "to desire or to lust" after something, but also to even "delight" in that thing!

Here's one example of desire becoming sin. Jesus taught us this one. "Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart."

Saint of God, be careful!

Train your "desires" rightly!

Paul did! "Having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ," he wrote from prison one day!

If the Lord is our Desire, our Portion, our Reward, we shall never lack a thing! "Thou art my portion, O LORD." Psalm 119:57

He wants to be! "The word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward." No room for coveting here!

If you have Jesus, you have everything!

                                                                                --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 10:

Paul called it "idolatry!"

His very words: "Covetousness, which is idolatry." Colossians 3:5

The noun idolatry, spelled "eidololatria," means blind or  excessive devotion to something. Its composite stems indicate both something "seen," something with a shape or appearance ("eidos" in Greek) and some kind of "religious service," especially as in acts of worship ("latreia"in Greek). In other words, adoring and venerating and honoring a person or thing, something visible, rather than the Living God, invisible in His Nature.

Anything a person serves with religious devotion, thereby ignoring the True and Living God, has become an idol!

Often idols are considered in terms of hewn rocks or carved tree trunks or maybe golden and silver images.

But Paul has something else in mind.

Obsession with things sensual can become idolatry, in a hurry too! The human body, explicit literature, dirty movies, vulgar friends, all can have a "pull" on the human soul, a downward pull in this case!

In fact, one might go so far as to say that anything, sensual or not, that so captivates a man's mind and heart and soul that it dominates his life ... that thing has become an idol!

"Covetousness, which is idolatry."

Wanting things, just simple inanimate things, to the exclusion or even diminishing of the Lord Jesus Christ is a sin, a serious one!

Idolatry!

Anything or anyone whom we love more than the Lord!

Be careful little heart what you want!

Maybe this is why Paul affirmed, "For I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content." Philippians 4:11

May God grant us all that spirit!

Remember, "Godliness with contentment is great gain." 1st Timothy 6:6

To so crave anything more than Jesus is an insult to God!

Jesus could truthfully say to His Father, "Thou art my Lord: My goodness extendeth not to Thee." That is, Psalm 16:2 is advancing this thought: "O God, all My pleasure and goodness and delight come from one Source. And that Source is You! Goodness in life is Thy Gift! It can be found nowhere else!"

That's a cure for covetousness!

"O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is." Psalm 16:1

If you have God, as Saviour and Lord and Provider and Protector, what else could be wanted?

                                                                                 --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 11:

"So what?"

That's the question many now ask about the consequences of sin!

Or does sin have any consequences anymore?

Paul believes so.

"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." Colossians 3:5-6

Notice the specific sins here: "fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, covetousness and idolatry," a total of six.

Then notice the proper response to such failures: "Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth." Slay those wicked desires!

Then notice the penalty those sins bring: "the wrath of God!"

Today's whole Verse reads: "For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience." Colossians 3:6

The "things" mentioned here are those wicked deeds!

The verb "cometh" is "erchomai" in Greek, here expressed in the present tense. Such sins invite God's Wrath upon the transgressor. On-going wrath! In fact, apart from salvation, everlasting wrath!

And that word for "wrath" is spelled "orge," pronounced or-gay' in English. It's Greek for the kind of anger that is slow in rising, but once aroused, is very long-lasting in nature! While another Greek noun, "thumos," represents anger that is more sudden in coming and generally shorter in duration.

God is indeed angry at sin! For instance, "These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: a proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, an heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, a false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren." Proverbs 6:16-19

And God is also angry at the sinner who will not repent! This often neglected Gospel Verse illustrates the point well. "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him." John 3:18 is quite plain!

Avoid God's Wrath!

Jesus is the Tower of Safety!

"The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe." Proverbs 18:10

Good news, Christian friend, Jesus has already delivered us from the wrath to come! See 1st Thessalonians 1:10, which says, "And to wait for his Son from heaven, Whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come."

But yet, "God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.

It's Bible!

                                                                        --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

Afterthoughts can be so wonderful! Here's an exact example of a whole population who perfectly illustrate the terrible truth of today's Bible Study. First the promise: "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." Colossians 3:5-6 says, "God's Wrath is coming!"

Then the note from history: "Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire." Jude Verse 7 says, "It has come!"

 

 

LESSON 12:

Bible Texts, once studied carefully, often "spawn" other Bible Texts! Scripture interprets itself!

The major clause in Colossians 3:5-7, at least that which first drew my attention, was "Covetousness, which is idolatry."

In Genesis 31, when Jacob had taken his family and started that long journey back home, from Padanaram to Canaan, Rachel had "stolen" some idols from her extended family! "Rachel had stolen the images that were her father's." Laban, Jacob's Father-in-law, chased after Jacob and his entourage, catching them near Mount Gilead. Then the question! "Wherefore hast thou stolen my gods?" Truth is, Jacob did not know about any gods, any idols at all! That's why he said, "With whomsoever thou findest thy gods, let him not live: before our brethren discern thou what is thine with me, and take it to thee."

Look at this!

Jacob had idols in his very possession, but due to ignorance or carelessness or something, did not know it!

That's the shape in which many professing Christians find themselves today!

There is idolatry among us! And we don't even know!

Paul has gone so far as to say that our very covetousness is idolatry!

The things I want, intensely desire, refusing to be content without them, have become gods!

Shame on us if this is so!

Maybe that's why John the Apostle ends his great First Epistles as he does, "Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen."

Here's another kindred Text too. The Old Testament Books of Wisdom are just full of them! For example, Proverbs 30:8-9. "Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain." See the danger of riches? 

And maybe Job has the premier Text of all, concerning money and wealth and idolatry. "If I have made gold my hope, or have said to the fine gold, Thou art my confidence; if I rejoiced because my wealth was great, and because mine hand had gotten much; if I beheld the sun when it shined, or the moon walking in brightness; and my heart hath been secretly enticed, or my mouth hath kissed my hand: this also were an iniquity to be punished by the judge: for I should have denied the God that is above." Job 31:24-28

Then, "The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe. The rich man's wealth is his strong city, and as an high wall in his own conceit." See Proverbs 18:10-11 here. It presents a choice! Either the Lord ... or a man's wealth. One or the other is a person's Security!

And when Jesus preached on money, which He often did, many warnings were given! "Mammon" in Jesus' vocabulary is a code word for wealth, treasure, riches. "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon." Matthew 6:24 needs little explanation.

Folks, the danger is real!

The song writer, simply echoing the sentiments of Scripture, was right. Let it be the testimony of every true child of God. "I'd rather have Jesus than silver or gold. I rather be His than have riches untold. I'd rather have Jesus than houses or lands. I'd rather be led by His nail pierced Hand!"

Amen!

                                                                               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

This concludes our Study of Colossians 3:5-7.

 

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