Emotions In Check
A series of decisions based on commitment to Christ eventuates in a character that is geared to heaven’s standards.
Alright thank you very much. And hello again dear radio friends, how in the world are you?
Yes this is your good friend Dr. Cook an yes I do wait for you to answer back, although we don’t have two way communication I have a kind of spiritual radar that tells me whether or not some folks are, are answering. It’s a fact, I can feel whether or not you’re with me, and I know that you are and I’m grateful.
Well, we’re having what I call some random wrap up thoughts from Colossians. We finished our verse by verse discussion and now, just by way of wrapping up our whole study, I’ve been just uh working with you on some special wrap up thoughts that…that help to identify the…the…uh…truth as we found it.
Look now at chapter three for a bit of wrap up review.
The verbs…the verbs that…uh…Paul uses in that chapter give you the key to what he’s telling us to do.
The verb in…uh…chapter three verse one is ‘seek’.
“If ye then be risen with Christ seek those things which are above.” The matter of…of…vigorously pursuing a spiritual dimension to your life.
Now, it’s a pity but many believers pay no attention whatsoever to the dimensions of their day by day and hour by hour life and it ends up being thoroughly secular, so much so that, as a Pastor, when I would call on my members, oftentimes I would find them vaguely embarrassed to talk about the things of God.
It’s not that they were against them, it was, that they just hadn’t been paying any attention to them in a work-a-day world and they were just vaguely uneasy and embarrassed about it.
This happened so often that it became a…apparent to me that the pattern for many a believer is a secular lifestyle punctuated by episodes of religious activity.
Now, he [Paul] says, you work on a heavenly dimension to your life. “Seek those things which are above where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God”
The key to a spiritual and a heavenly dimension to your earthly life is the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Make him Lord of your life and you’ll have a heavenly component, a heavenly factor, a heavenly dimension-to change the figures of speech slightly-to your life.
You want to think and pray about that? He says work at, work at, ‘seek’ means work at it. Work at having a heavenly dimension to your earthly life, and that doesn’t mean that you’re going around being pious about everything.
My little “Cookism” proverb on that is, “If you see a man who’s always pious you have to watch him because he’s apt to lie about other things too.”
You can be a normal human being, my friend, eh…and just…uh…enjoy a good laugh and “weep with those who weep and rejoice with those that rejoice” Paul said.
You can be a normal, helpful human being and, at the same time, you can be full of the Spirit of God. The key to that, according to Colossians three one is the Lordship of Christ.
“Christ sitteth at the right hand of God.”
Get a heavenly dimension to your earthly life. Don’t let it be a secular life style punctuated, now and then, by some religious episode, but let it be full of the atmosphere of heaven all the time.
Verse two has another verb. It says, “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.”
This has to do, then, with your emotions. “Set your affections” says ‘let your emotions be controlled by heavenly stimuli.’
Let your emotions be controlled by heavenly stimuli.
Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
Well, now, we live in a, in a ‘work-a-day’ world. And, it’s not possible to drop everything in order to be…uh…’heavenly’. I said that a moment ago in discussing verse one.
Uh, it’s true that some people are so heavenly minded that they’re no earthly good. And, uh, (small chuckle) the tendency, the tendency to be religious instead of being productive on the job is a failing that many a professing Christian has.
“Pat” Zondervan who founded, with his brother, the publishing company, observed there were some people who were not getting their work done but they did have a habit of…of praying a lot right at their desks or with other people, which is a good thing.
But he came around, hard-nosed Dutchman that he is, practical, he came around one day and he noticed that their work wasn’t getting done, and he said “Fellas,” he said, “You oughtn’t to pray so much on company time.” (Hearty laugh)
Now, that sounds a little irreverent but he hit the nail right on the head, didn’t he?
Yes, God doesn’t require you to be useless in order to be spiritual. You follow me?
So, he says, “You work at, set your affection on things above.” You work at making sure that your emotional life is responding to heavenly stimuli. How does that come about? It comes about through the blessed Holy Spirit.
Jesus said, “He shall bring all things to your remembrance; whatsoever I have said unto you.” He’s [the Holy Spirit] the Comforter. Parakletos is the Greek word means “one called alongside to help”.
He’s the one that brings Jesus, and all the things of eternity, into reality in your own life including, then, your mind, and your emotions and your will.
Well, then, what I’m doing, for somebody who just tuned in late, this is a wrap up session for the third chapter of Colossians and we’re looking at the verbs that Paul uses.
Then he has, in verse five, “…mortify your members which are upon the earth.” That is the part of your ordinary, earthly life as a fallen son or daughter of Adam, as a member of a sinful human race. That’s what he means when he says “your members upon the earth.”
Then he lists a number of things. 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 which ye also lived some time…when ye also walked some time when ye lived in them.”
Mortify, it says. Now, that word means “put it to death”.
I have to tell you that, to be spiritually effective, there must come to you and to me a point where we face things which we know to be wrong in the sight of God, and we say, “That’s it. I’ve had it. It’s all over. It’s not right with God and I’m not going to do it or say it or think it, or whatever it is, any more.” To put it to death, by faith.
Now, you say, “Well, Brother Cook, I can’t help it!” I say, “Join the group.”
How often, facing my own shortcomings, I’ve said, “My God, I can’t help this.” Well, He can! That’s the answer. He can! Oh, I have to face this truth every day and so, indeed, must you beloved.
Where you know that it’s wrong, where you know that it’s against the will of God. And he lists a number of things that have to do with our relationships with other human beings.
The use of our minds, a connection with other humans that is not in the will of God and then, the slavery of things, “covetousness”, the slavery of things. He says that’s equal to idolatry. You’re putting things before God.
He lists them and he says, ‘Now, you face that and say, “That’s it.” Put it to death. Now how do you do it? By faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul said, “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I,” not the old Saul of Tarsus with murder in his heart. The proud and successful, religiously successful, Saul of Tarsus, with murder in his heart. “Not I!” Not the old Saul of Tarsus, “…but Christ liveth in me and the life which I now live (in this human body) I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me!”
How do you do this? How do you face something that’s wrong in your life and end it? You do it with the Lord Jesus in control. By faith you take that area of your life and you turn it over to Him and then you keep on turning it over to Him.
For one point action decision does not change a character. A character is formed by a series of decisions, and so you start by turning it over to the Lord, and then, step by step, every time you’re tested, every time you’re tempted, every time you feel your own defenses giving way, you turn again in faith to the Lord Jesus Christ and you remind Him in prayer and in faith that He is in control of that area of your life as well as all the rest.
And so, a series of decisions based on commitment to Christ eventuates in a character that is geared to heaven’s standards.
That’s great truth, isn’t it?
Well, then, verse eight.
Now he said, “Ye also put off all of these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth, lying…” ”…lie not one to another…” Put off.
Well, what do you do about that? This is to say that there are certain areas of your life that you work on, not…not that they are so, uh, gross that they are identified immediately as being of the old life, but that they are human shortcomings that you need to work on, and you put them off like you take off an overcoat.
You take ‘em off like you take off an outer garment. Anger. “Be angry,” says Paul, “and sin not.” Ninety-nine percent of the times, when you lose your temper, you are also out of the will of God.
Righteous indignation doesn’t happen near so often as personal frustration and peak that lead to losing one’s temper. Wrath is anger with a hammer in its hand. Malice is anger that wishes ill to the other person. Blasphemy- you know what that is, swearing and using minced oaths and all the rest.
Filthy communication; dirty stories.
Lie not. Lying. Do Christians lie? Yes, I’m afraid they do from time to time. You need to work at telling the truth. I used to tell the young men in Youth for Christ, “Fellas, tell the truth. Then you don’t have to try to remember what you said last.”
Work at putting off the shortcomings with which people normally live quite comfortably because they are used to them. Jesus is Lord. Make Him Lord of your failings and your shortcomings and your mistakes. Amen?
Oh, that’s great truth. We’ll get at some more of it the next time we get together.
Dear Father, today, may we be people with a heavenly mindset, with our emotions responding to heaven’s call. In Jesus’ name I ask this. Amen and amen. God bless you dear friend.
Well, ‘til we meet once again by way of radio, walk with the King today, and be a blessing!
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