Reference: Colossians 3:5-14
Well, in case you hadn’t noticed, today is Father’s Day (we’ll get to the headlines in a minute) and I think it’s a somewhat unprecedented Father’s Day – Father’s Day is not, of course, a Biblical celebration, it’s one that came about after Mother’s Day was intended just as an appreciation of mothers, some years later it was suggested also to have a Father’s Day. Who would have thought that Father’s Day would become controversial? Have you heard during this week, some people are thinking about changing it to “Significant Person’s Day”? “Do away with Mother’s and Father’s Day” 🙂 – because we want to do away with the image – it’s a very serious and important issue, of course. And then, FreeTV Australia, the lawyers for that industry group, pulled the ad for Dads4Kids which they’ve been running for 15 years – although they have made reference to opposition to gay marriage in the past, this ad had nothing to do with that – but it’s seen as being a “political statement”.
I think we are still in the majority as fathers in family relationships, although many many of course, outside of the gay scene, there’s also many broken families. But, while still in the majority, fatherhood of that concept is being threatened by the redefinition. I read some articles, a really interesting article that some of you have passed around on facebook, even Mark Latham, from a Labor background, has come out and said we should be voting No – even though he supports gay marriage as a concept, because, he said, the politicians haven’t thought through the consequence of definitions of gender change. He pointed out that there’s something like 247 different gender definitions.
We’re in a crazy world, folks. We’re in a world that wants to throw off any Christian heritage. It wants to go back to its pagan past, and throw off the encumbrance of Christian morality and definitions. Now, I’m not going to get into a political speech on that today – that’s not what my purpose is.
How do we live, in such times? When what you are is the very antithesis of what society wants. I believe it’s a time that calls for a degree of maturity beyond anything that we may have seen before – a degree of maturity in Christ that shines as lights in a dark world. See, don’t forget, and don’t be intimidated, don’t be bullied into thinking ‘woah, we’re under threat’. Yes, there will be threats, yes, there will be persecutions. Look at the two women who were placed on the ad – it’s interesting, tolerance is a relative term, isn’t it. The great speech of why it should be a “Yes” vote was that homosexuals and their children may go through very challenging, difficult times because of the “hate” speech. Where is the hate speech coming from?
Now, we need to be different. Some have taken the course of hate speech, and that’s inappropriate. We need to be a people who are transformed by what Christ has done in our lives. How did the early church live in such times? By the way, the church was born into that kind of pagan belief – that kind of grotesque sexual immorality. That’s what many of the people to whom Paul was writing have just come out of. I praise the Lord that even today — you see, when you feel intimidated you think God is somehow failing – God isn’t failing, he told us these times would come, and he is even drawing a people unto himself, out of that very same darkness — There was a lady being interviewed (I forget her name now), she had grown up as a child of a lesbian relationship. Speaking very well (Andrew Hastie also spoke very well, without being distracted from the main issues) about what it was like to grow up under those circumstances. The interviewer drew out that she had become a Christian. She said, yes, she became a Christian during high school, had no Christian background, and it changed, it transformed her thinking on this whole subject. She spoke to the fact that the world says ‘let adults have their right to decide’ but, she said, what about the rights of the child who wants a mother and a father?
Let’s come to our passage. Our subject is “Putting on the New”. Dads, if you got any socks (last year, I remember Jeff, you had a tie that the family had made for you, and you proudly wore it) some of you might have some new socks on today or something like that; we are going to put on the New. Let’s look at Colossians 3:5-14.
Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them. But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him – a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all.
So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. (Colossians 3:5-14, NASB)
Listen to the rest of this sermon here:
Neil Ward, Foothills Church of Christ, Sunday 3 September 2017