Colossians 3:1-17 gives us the
building blocks we need in order to develop Christ-like character. This
passage teaches us how to build Bible character.
When one is
baptized into Christ he is “raised with Christ” by the power of God
from the death of sin into newness of life (Col. 3:1; 2:12; Rom. 6:4). To
build Bible character, once a person has become a Christian, he must (1)
Seek things that are above, Col. 3:1; (2) Set his mind on
heavenly things, Col. 3:2; and (3) Sustain a faithful life with
Christ, Col. 3:3.
approach to sin is necessary in order to build a new character in
Christ: sin must be put to death (Col. 3:5-11). We cannot continue to live
in past sins and expect God to bless us. We must cease sin, whether it is
the sensual desires of the flesh (3:5-7) or the attitudes and actions that
hurt others (3:8-9); we must put off the old man of sin and put on the new
man that is like Christ (3:10-11).
A new heart
is necessary in order to develop this new approach to sin (Col. 3:12-15).
Just as in Proverbs 23:7, the gospel teaches, “a good man out of the good
treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the
evil treasure brings forth evil things” (Matt. 12:35). Only as we put on
a new heart will we also put off sin. Character building involves rebuilding
our heart so that we think and feel and act like Christ.
A new message
must dwell in one’s heart to truly build a new heart (Col. 3:16). The word
of Christ must be implanted deeply within one’s heart in order to build a
character that is like Christ (Jas. 1:21-25).
authority must be respected and honored in all we say and do in order to
let the word of Christ dwell in our heart. “And whatever you do in word
or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the
Father through Him” (Col. 3:17).
character will help us choose to have new conduct in all of our
relationships with others (Col. 3:18-4:2).
Here then, are
the building blocks of Bible character: The authority of Christ expressed in
the word of Christ, along with a new heart that forms a new approach toward
sin and righteousness in our life. When the authority of Christ is respected
and His word is obeyed in all things, the heart is renewed after the image
of Christ and sin will be consistently and consciously put away from one’s
life. Stated another way, as we grow and mature in Christ we will be
building godly character that pleases God.
More on Bible Character
Joe R. Price
The world needs men and women of
character; youth and aged who are not afraid to live their faith in the face
of a faithless society.
people generally have some idea of and appreciation for personal character.
Christians are not the only people who regard such character traits as
honor, integrity, and fairness. But, like so many other things, man’s
definition of character falls far short of the divine ideal.
character rises above the world’s accepted norms. For example, while the
world admires the benefits of love, it rarely advocates the love of one’s
enemies (Matt. 5:43). Only when we allow the Bible, the word of God, to
define and explain character will we be able to build the kind of character
that pleases God.
The English word
“character” comes from Latin, “mark, distinctive quality” and Greek, “to
scratch, engrave” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary; Online Etymology Dictionary).
So, one’s character consists of the distinctive marks or traits that are
etched or engraved on a person’s heart. Character includes the morals and
ethics that define a person. The Bible puts it this way: “For as he
thinks in his heart, so is he” (Prov. 23:7).
Character Defines the Person
A person’s words
and actions express his character. It has been said that character is not
what a person does but who a person is. More precisely, character is whom a
person is (or chooses to be) when no one is watching! D. L. Moody aptly
observed that “character is what a man is in the dark.”
We are reminded
of the teenager Joseph who, although being violently removed from every
familiar surrounding of his young life (family and friends), consistently
kept his faith in God and would not sin – even when it cost him his job, his
reputation and his freedom (Gen. 37 and 39). Joseph was a young man of
character. He knew that God was always watching and seeing how he lived. His
desire was to please God, not man (2 Cor. 5:9).
3:1-12 a wise father gave guidance and instruction to his son about the
importance and blessings of godly character. Notice how many times he talked
about the heart in this passage. This constant emphasis on the heart reminds
us that unless we mold our heart into what God wants it to be our attempt to
build Bible character will be pointless. The heart is the place we must
start if we wish to succeed in building Bible character.
Jesus is Our
Model for Bible Character
Jesus is our ultimate model for
building Bible character. “A disciple is not above his teacher, but
everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher” (Lk. 6:40).
The goal of every disciple is to learn and live the will of his Master.
Every Christian should desire his character to be like Christ. The gospel
forms Christ in us, and we have a sure “hope of glory” (Gal. 4:19;
Begins with Conversion to Christ
To speak of
Christ being “in” a person, as well as of that person being “in Christ,” is
to describe the relationship that is established when a sinner is saved from
his sins. “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on
Christ” (Gal. 3:27). When a lost believer repents and is baptized into
Christ he is saved from his sins and enters a saved relationship with
Christ. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; old
things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Cor.
5:17). Being in this new relationship with Christ, the Christian is a
disciple of Christ (a learner and follower of Jesus). Now that he is “in
Christ” he is no longer to live in sin and for sin, but “in Christ”
and for Christ (Rom. 6:1-11).
character begins with becoming a Christian. Disciples train themselves to be
like their Master. Since it is Christians who are disciples of Jesus, one
must first be a Christian in order to develop character that is like the
Master (Acts 11:26; Lk. 6:40). If you want to build Bible character, begin
by becoming a Christian, a disciple of Christ.
Endurance of Bible Character
character is a sign of strength, not weakness. It is the inner strength of
faith that stands fast in the face of adversity, trial and temptation. The
apostle Paul assures us that when a Christian’s faith is tested and he
patiently endures, “approved character” results (Rom. 5:3-4).
When your faith
is put to the test, whether at school, at home, on the job or any other
setting, remember these words from the wise man Solomon: “The integrity
of the upright will guide them, but the perversity of the unfaithful will
destroy them” (Prov. 11:3).
Qualities and Results of
Comes from the
Mercy & truth, 3:3
Faith in God, 3:5
Consider God, 3:6
Depart evil, 3:7
Honor God, 3:9
Accept divine discipline, 3:11
Life and peace, 3:2
Favor and good understanding, 3:4
Divine guidance, 3:6
God’s love, 3:12
You can find the
complete outline of this sermon at
Salvation is on the Other Side of the Water
Scripture Reading: Psalm 106:1-12
1. Two historic errors about
grace and salvation.
2. A consistent, guiding principle in God’s dealings with mankind: Faith
coupled with obedience brings salvation by grace, Eph. 2:8-9; Titus 2:11-12.
I. NOAH AND THE FLOOD.
A. God’s Grace Saved Noah,
B. Noah’s Personal
Responsibility Required, 6:13-21, 22; 7:5.
C. Noah’s Obedient Faith
was the Means through which God Granted His Grace, Heb. 11:7 (Gen. 7:1); 1
II. ISRAEL AT THE RED SEA,
A. God’s Grace Saved Israel,
Exo. 14:30; Psa. 106:6-12.
Responsibility, Exo. 14:15-16, 26.
C. Israel’s Obedient Faith
was the Means through which God Granted His Grace, He 11:29
III. NAAMAN & HIS LEPROSY,
2 Kgs. 5:1-14.
A. God’s Grace Cleansed
Naaman, Lk. 4:27 (5:15)
B. Naaman’s Personal
Responsibility Required, 5:9-14.
C. Naaman’s Obedient Faith
was the Means through which God Granted His Grace, 5:10, 14.
IV. THE MAN BORN BLIND,
A. God’s Grace Gave Him His
Sight, 9:14-15 (17), 21, 26, 30.
B. Man’s Personal
Responsibility Required, 9:7.
C. Man’s Obedient Faith
was the Means through which God Granted His Grace, 9:15, 25.
V. THE SINNER AND HIS
SALVATION TODAY, Rom. 3:23-26.
A. God’s Grace Saves Man from
Sin, Eph. 2:5, 8.
B. Our Personal
Responsibility is Required in Order to Receive it, Eph. 2:8; Heb. 5:9; Matt.
C. Our Obedient Faith is
the Means through which God Grants His Grace, Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1
Pet. 3:21 (Rom. 6:3-4).
Conclusion Acts 2:38,
(Current events in the
light of Scripture)
Wrong Side of Brain Operated On
Joe R. Price
man in Providence, R.I. has now died after a surgeon operated on the wrong
side of his head last month to treat bleeding in his brain. According to a
report issued by state health authorities, a nurse practitioner did not
record which side of the man’s brain needed surgery. Instead of consulting a
CT chart, the surgeon, Dr. Frederick Harrington, relied on his memory and
started operating on the wrong side. When he discovered the error during the
surgery he operated on the correct side. (Last September Dr. Harrington
operated on the wrong side of another patient.) Authorities are
investigating whether the error contributed to the man’s death.
the surgical team’s haste to treat the patient, it didn’t follow proper
procedures, said Dr. Mary Reich Cooper, vice president and chief quality
officer for Lifespan, the parent company of Rhode Island Hospital.” (“Man
Dies After Surgeon Operates on Wrong Side of Head,” FoxNews.com, August
This tragedy reminds us that
well-intended error leading to spiritual death. “There is a way that
seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” (Prov. 14:12)
1. Be careful to
consult and follow the Bible. Don’t rely on your memory, your past
experiences or on somebody else. The Bible is the truth and teaches us how
to be saved. Educated people may tell you that salvation is by “faith only,”
but they are wrong. The Bible says, “He who believes and is baptized will
be saved” is the truth (Mk. 16:16); Sinners are not saved “by faith
only” (Jas. 2:24; see verses 14-26). Don’t follow this surgeon’s
example; follow what the Bible says, not what you think is right
because you feel it is true.
2. Haste makes
waste. Do not take short cuts with your soul. Follow the words of Jesus
and obtain spiritual life from sin’s death (Jno. 8:31-36; 12:48-50; 14:6).
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