“Great Issues Of Life” Series #5
TEXT: Col. 3:1-21
INTRO: How important is good management?
ILLUS: During world war II on a bombing run over a German city one of the ally’s B-17’s was struck by fire from a 20 millimeter gun ... but they completed their mission and made it back to base. When they landed the pilot was shocked to learn that a 20 millimeter shell had hit their fuel tank ... but no explosion. While finding this incredible, the pilot the next day went down to get the shell that hadn't exploded in their fuel tank as a souvenir of great luck ... then the story really got crazy! Not only had their plane taken one 20 millimeter shell in their fuel tank without exploding, it had taken 11 unexploded shells without exploding ... all 11 in the fuel tanks of the plane! He of course had to wait until the shells had been defused before keeping them as souvenirs ... and when they finally came, with them came this astounding story. When opened most of the shells were found to be empty ... but one contained a piece of paper with Czech writing on it. When they found someone who could read it, this is what it said, "THIS IS ALL WE CAN DO FOR YOU NOW!" Poor management of supplies and production weaknesses with great demands had caused the Czech factory that produced the shells to be made without explosive charges ... so they sent them empty because of the German demands ... management and supply had been the problem! – Source Unknown
PROP. SENT: There are 3 great areas of life that require careful management in order for our life to be what God would desire it to be ... sloppy management in any of these will cause us to experience less than God's best!
I. HEART Col. 3:1-14
A. Responsibility Col. 3:1-11
1. "Set your heart" ... language of action and will!
2. While God gives us a new heart ... keeping it healthy requires some discipline on our part also!
3. We are responsible for the choices we make!
a. We can make poor ones ... or good ones, whichever we make will impact the spiritual quality of our walk with God.
b. Commitment to Christ needs to be complete, or total! Anything less than a total commitment will set us up for compromises that could hurt us later.
ILLUS: A Haitian pastor shared this parable one day with his congregation about the need of total commitment to Christ: A man wanted to sell his house for $2,000 and finally found a man who wanted to buy it, but the man was too poor and so could only come up with $1,000. Finally the owner agreed to sell for $1,000, but with one stipulation, a single nail sticking out above the front door would remain as his property ... this would be the one part of the house he would retain ownership of. The other man agreed. Years later the original owner of the house wanted it back, but the new owner refused to sell the house back to him at any price! The first owner therefore, went out and found the carcass of a dead dog and hung it on the nail he still owned ... soon the house became unlivable and the family was forced to sell the home back to the owner of the nail. The Haitian Pastor's point: "If we leave the Devil with even one peg in our life, he will return to hang his rotting garbage on it ... making our life miserable and unfit for Christ's habitation! – Source Unknown
4. Why does Paul launch into such a strong barrage of warnings about sin ... and on being responsible enough to focus on eternal things, not just earthly things?
a. Paul knows the drive of the sinful nature in man!
b. Without a constant effort to keep focus, our sinful nature can take over and control our lives
c. Sin is an insatiable appetite!
ILLUS: Paul Harvey told this story on radio about how Eskimo's deal with wolves they have trouble with: First an Eskimo coats a very sharp knife with animal blood, allowing that layer to freeze. He will recoat and allow many layers to freeze until the knife is completely concealed by frozen blood. Next they will take the knife and insert it in the ground blade up. When a wolf follows his sensitive nose to the source he licks the frozen blood, his carnivorous nature kicks in ... and that carnivorous appetite takes over ... he licks faster and more feverishly ... until of course the frozen blood is gone, but by now his passion for blood has aroused a frenzy of licking ... the sharp blade does it's work by cutting the wolf's tongue, but all the wolf tastes is fresh blood ... arousing more intense licking ... by morning it will be dead ... it's own driven nature making it a victim of his own appetite! – Source Unknown
5. No wonder the language Paul uses here is to "PUT TO DEATH WHATEVER BELONGS TO OUR EARTHLY NATURE."
a. Those earthly drives are often contrary to those of the Spirit!
b. It is important we learn to manage our HEART in walking with God!
c. It is a critical responsibility and discipline to learn!
B. Restoration! Col. 3:12-14
1. What about our relationship to others ... how do we manage our heart when it comes to others?
2. The answer is:
3. Heavenly dynamics require us to restore earthly fall-outs!
4. To the level we learn to forgive we learn the power of Spirituality!
5. We cannot manage to live with others without learning to manage forgiveness!
6. We need to learn to let go of anger and resentment ... real forgiveness includes the release of anger ... but it seeks restoration, not retaliation!
ILLUS: Farmers in southern Alabama years ago planted year after year cotton crops. They managed to live fairly well on cotton profits until one year the boll weevil struck ... all the cotton farmers were wiped out that year. The next year in order to plant their cotton crops many of the farmers mortgaged out their homes and farms hoping for a good crop that next year ... at first the crops grew well ... then another boll weevil attack ... all was lost, most went out of business and lost everything. The few farmers who were still hanging on the third year decided to try something risky ... they planted something new ... peanuts! Peanuts proved to be so hardy and the market proved to be so ravenous that the first year the profits were so great that those who planted peanuts were able to completely pay off all their debts and still make great profits ... all within one year! The next year those same farmers spent some of their new wealth to erect in the town square a monument ... to the boll weevil! They reasoned that if it hadn't been for the boll weevil they would never have discovered peanuts ... and a better life, they lost the anger and anguish and learned that out of great disaster there can be great delight! It might sound nuts ... but they won out over anger by managing to deal with it! – Source Unknown
7. It is no fun to get hurt or to be wronged!
8. But it does no good to hang onto the hurt and continue to be angry ... FORGIVE!
9. There is much more to be gained from forgiveness than from unforgiveness!
a. Col. 3:14 in the Greek can mean "forgive yourself" also ...
b. Not only forgive others ... but include forgiving self!
10. This is how we our hearts are restored and manage to continue!
II. HAPPINESS Col. 3:15-17
A. Responsibility Col. 3:15a
1. “Let the peace...”
2. We are responsible for allowing happiness into our hearts!
a. We must be willing to allow it in!
b. We are not zapped with happiness automatically, like a plant’s needs, we are responsible to nurture and water it along until its fruit appears!
3. We will reap what we sow:
a. If we sow unhappiness ... we will reap unhappiness!
b. What we give is what we receive!
ILLUS: Sir Robert Watson Watt invented radar ... several years after inventing radar he was arrested in Canada for speeding ... caught in a radar trap! He wrote this poem: “Pity Sir Robert Watson Watt, Strange target of his radar plot, and this, with others I could mention, a victim of his own invention!” -- Source Unknown
B. Respect Col. 3:15b
1. "...since as members of one body..."
2. Happiness does not come from living alone!
3. Recognition of other’s needs and rights ... respect is important to find real happiness!
4. Hence the addition at the end of this verse "AND BE THANKFUL."
5. Ungratefulness towards others is disrespectful ... and leads to unhappiness!
6. Grateful and Thankful people are almost always happy people!
7. Happy people bring PEACE within a group!
8. Unhappy and unsatisfied people bring contention into a group, whatever the group!
9. That doesn't mean no criticism is acceptable ... it means it is constructive and respectful, with a goal to restore and heal.
C. Relationships Col. 3:16-17
1. Sharing comes from relationships ... and there is much to share, many good things:
a. The Word of God
b. Teaching each other
e. Singing & music
2. The mutual benefits of blessing and being blessed occur within relationships!
3. The burden of relationships is placed on people in both directions!
ILLUS: God loves everyone and desires none to perish ... but if we choose NOT to have a relationship with Christ we will not share heaven with Him! – Source Unknown
III. HOME Col. 3:18-21
1. The home is of primary concern to God ... we need to understand the importance of managing our home life ... it impacts all of society!
ILLUS: A newspaper columnist and pastor, George Crane told how a wife came to him full of hatred toward her husband. She said, "I do not only want to get rid of him, I want to get even! Before I divorce him, I want to hurt him as much as he has hurt me!" Dr. Crane suggested the following plan for this woman: "Go home and act as if you really love your husband, tell him how much he means to you and praise him for everything you can think of that is a decent trait in him. Be as kind, considerate, and generous as possible. Spare no effort to please him, to enjoy him. Make him believe you, love him, and after you have convinced him of your undying love and that you cannot live without him, then drop the bomb! Tell him you’re getting a divorce ... that will really hurt him!" With revenge in her eyes she smiled and exclaimed, "Beautiful ... beautiful, will he ever be surprised!" And she did it with enthusiasm! For 2 months she did it all. When she didn't return Dr. Crane called and asked, "Are you ready now to go through with the divorce?" "DIVORCE!" she exclaimed, "Never! I discovered I really do love him." She managed her emotions, and this affected her MOTIONS! The result of her accepting responsibility to manage her emotions brought healing in to her heart and home! – Source Unknown
2. Where there is no responsibility there will be no RESPONSE or ABILITY!
B. Roles Col. 3:18-21
1. Wives submit to your husband (not men in general) ... idea is not slavery!
2. Husbands are to love their wife ... and are not to be harsh to them! So much for slavery!
3. Children are to obey their parents ... this pleases the Lord!
4. Dads are not to embitter their children ... by being too harsh or treatment of being unfair!
5. Taken together these roles are all well-balanced and create a healthy home!
6. These roles maximize the management of a healthy home with healthy relationships!
7. Without roles we tend to live for ourselves! Selfishness never brings happiness! Good management recognizes the need for others!
CONCLUSION: The secret to managing life is found in how we handle our heart, our happiness, and our home! Good management of these areas are not automatic, it is a matter of some effort and discipline, along with God’s empowerment. How well are you managing your life?