Andrew Fountain - Defeating Temptation with a New Identity and Destiny

Sermon notes - Defeating Temptation with a New Identity and Destiny

Boston Cream

Boston Cream

Image source: Vanessa Ravencroft

0. Intro

  • Sins of instant physical gratification
    • An example would be eating too many donuts at Tim Hortons
    • My favourite is a Boston Cream
      • Mmmm, chocolatey outside and yellow sweet creamy middle
      • Best enjoyed with a cup of coffee or tea, to wash the mouth clean between bites, so as to get the full impact of the flavour in the next bite
  • Now how could I persuade you against this?
    • I could shout very loudly about them! (as some preachers do)
      • this may have a temporary effect particularly if I was frothing at the mouth, you might get scared
    • I could plead with you and weep, and try and put emotional pressure on you
      • How could you have eaten those 15 donuts Chris, it grieves me so much, after all the time we spent trying to deal with this issue you let me down!
    • I could terrify you with threats of judgement to come
      • I could go on and on trying to play with your imagination till you were scared
    • I could move you with some tragic stories of the effects of sin
      • The terrible tale of Mr. Tim Horton who couldn’t resist his own donuts and exploded in one of his own restaurants
    • I could try and logically reason you out of sin
      • Those donuts actually have very little food value, and each one takes 1 week off your life
  • We’ll return to the donuts in a moment…

0. The Story so far

  • There are some damaging errors creeping into the churches in this area
  • Instead of answering them 1 by 1, Paul’s responds by making sure they understand the truth
  • He gives a beautifully compact and exquisitely constructed presentation of Jesus and salvation
  • He wrote it for more than just the Colossians —at the end he says “pass the letter on”.

Tree and Roots

  • The first half is the roots
    • Comes together in the trunk
    • and the second half spreads out and brings fruit






2:8–19 Fulness: Union with Jesus, victory through him

1:24–2:7 Development: treasure hidden, now revealed

1:9b-23 Essence: Jesus, high over all, has made a new creation

1:1–9a Foundation: Truth is what brings fruit and power

  • Last week I spoke about Union with Christ

There is no truth that has such ability
to give us joy, strength and victory,
and to produce the finest fruit in our lives,
as that of being united with Jesus Christ.

If we really grasp this truth,
really get it,
it will transform us.

  • The section ends with Paul arguing that if you are united with Christ, why do you need any of the physical stuff to make you closer to God
  • There were all kinds of superstitions coming into the church, like there are today
    • Prayer shawls with Hebrew words embroidered into them
  • The second half of the book spreads out from this truth like ripples in a pond:

Ripples in a pond

Ripples in a pond

1. Overview of the Passage

There’s a useful way of categorizing temptation

  • Several places in the Bible divide temptation into three categories:
    1. Desires of our physical bodies (Sometimes translated “lusts of the flesh”)
    2. Desires of the eyes
    3. Pride and Power
  1. Desires of our physical bodies: sins connected with the fact we have physical bodies
    • Indulging in food
    • Sexual sins
    • Sensual pleasure & thrills
    • Drunkeness and drug addictions
    • Almost always instant gratification, giving a quick “high”
  2. Desires of the eyes: all about posessions, wanting to have things
    • Advertising usually appeals to this (unless it is food)
    • these first two are addressed in this section
  3. Pride and Power: (the sin of Satan)
    • Status, recognition and prestige
    • Influence and control in society
    • Respect and praise
    • Mostly to do with our relationships—the outer rings

2. The Passage

  • Show the passage:

Colossians 3:1–7

Link to the passage

  • In this part of Colossians, Paul is particularly focussing on the first two
    • “Desires of our physical bodies” and “the desire for things”
      • see [3:5]
    • This is because both of these relate closely to our existence in the physical world
    • He will go on to talk about relationships in the next two sections
  • So think of the five ways of disuading you from sin I just mentioned
    • Loud shouting
    • Emotional pleading
    • Terrifying detain about hell
    • Tragic stories
    • Logical reasoning about the bad effects
      • Actually, none of them!
  • Let us look at the passage
    • The image in this section is the implications of dying and being raised with Christ
    • [3:1] —raised with Christ [3:4] in Glory with Christ
  • This is distinct from the next section where the image is of “taking off” the old (like clothes)
    • and “putting on” Christ
  • The Structure of the passage
  • [3:1–3] Postive motivation to live right
  • [3:4–7] Motivation not to sin
  • v.6 is not primarily a motivation, but it is a fact
    • This world will be destroyed, and there is only one safe place, and that’s to be hidden in Christ
    • If you are not sure you are united with Christ, then you need to know this is a free gift
      • But you have to trust him with your life. (I would love to talk to you about this/)
  • Written with care and artistry – so that when we read it, we’ll say “That has a beauty that grasps my heart”.

3. Application

  • Going back to the donut illustration
    • I heard a very interesting contrast between people who are dieting and vegetarians
    • Vegetarians very rarely break their rules because they define themselves at that
      • We always live out of our identity—I’m a vegetarian
      • So a couple of years ago I lost quite a bit of weight simply by defining myself as a low-carb eater.
  • So how does it work with our lives?
  • Immigrating to Canada
    • How many here?
    • We did, 25 years ago. Buy new things? Car...
    • Define yourself as united with Christ
  • I suggest two things from this passage
    • A sense of destiny, who you are and where you are heading
    • Relationship with Jesus, whom you know really hates the sort of evil behaviours described
    • Good mental practices about these two things
  • Examples
    • Diet magazine, full of gorgeous pictures of chocolate cake?
      • no, of slim people who have succeeded
    • Cycling magazine
      • Pictures of the world’s most spectacular cycling trails
      • motivation to get fit
  • Think about Jesus
    • He loves you....
  • Think about your future
    • Try and visualize it—that is what Paul is trying to get us to do
  • Everybody stand and we will pray

Updated on 2016-11-01 by Andrew Fountain