To Whom Do You Yield

8 06 2020

McKee Road Baptist – May 31, 2020 Sunday Worship – Coronavirus Emailed

Introduction: We have seen who Christ is, and what He has done. We have seen
that as believers we share in all that Christ is and has done. Since this is true, Paul
declares that you are no longer to live in the way you used to. The command to the
believer is that we are to “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the
earth.” Our union with Christ is the heart and soul of Paul’s gospel. Believer, since
you have been united to Christ, live like it! Or to put it simply: Be who you are in
Christ!

Colossians 3:5-7 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication,
uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is
idolatry: (6) For which thing’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of
disobedience: (7) In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.

“Therefore” on the basis of your position in Christ (1:1-3:4), “Mortify therefore your
members which are up the earth.” Paul is saying to kill the members of your earthly
body (not just to consider them as dead). Did you know that life of the believer involves
putting sin to death?

Colossians 2:20 Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world,
why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,

“Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ,” or since we have died with Christ. At the moment
we believed, God finally and forever forgave our sins by the death of Christ. Our
position before God is perfect forever. The death Christ died He died to sin.

Romans 6:10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth
unto God.

You died with Christ; therefore, you died to sin as well. Sin has no more power over you
than it has over Christ! So why, then, does Paul tell believers to put sin to death?
Because our positional reality must be worked out in our practical living.

Paul has just spent two chapters telling believers who they are in Christ, talking about
the permanent, perfect position they possess in Christ. Now he tells those same
believers to “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth.” As believers,
we are responsible to deal with sin. We are responsible to put it to death.

We are to kill the members of this body. The word “members” is the Greek word melos,
which means: “a limb or part of the body.” It is used of the literal parts of a body:

Matthew 5:29-30 And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for
it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole
body should be cast into hell. (30) And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it
from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that
thy whole body should be cast into hell.

We see here that melos is used of the eyes and hands; parts of the body.
People have often misinterpreted Jesus’ words here in much the same way as they do
Paul’s words in Colossians 3:5. Taking those passages literally, many have physically
injured themselves.

When Paul speaks of killing bodily parts or members, Paul is actually referring to the
sins associated with those members. We are not to put to death our hands and eyes
and tongue. Notice what he says:

Colossians 3:5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication,
uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is
idolatry:

The members they are to put to death are fornication and other sins.
“Mortify” means: “to cease completely from activity, to stop completely.” The phrase
suggests decisive and urgent action. Kill them, as you would weeds or rodents that
carry disease which spread and destroy, or as you would kill an enemy who fights
against you seeking to destroy you. This is a call for practical holiness. God’s purpose
for our lives is that we live holy:

1 Peter 1:15-16 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of
conversation; (16) As it is written, Be ye holy: for I am holy.

We are to be holy in our daily conduct:

1 Thessalonians 4:3-7 For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye
should abstain from fornication: (4) That every one of you should know how to possess
his vessel in sanctification and honour: (5) Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the
Gentiles which know not God: (6) That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in
any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have
forewarned you and testified. (7) For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto
holiness.

This is God’s will for our lives: practical sanctification, holiness.
Note, in that day, other religions said little or nothing about personal holiness. (Much like
other religions of our day.) A person could bring sacrifices, say prayers, and go away
from the altar to commit terrible sins, and nobody would think he or she was
inconsistent. Not so with Christianity! The new life within demands a new life without.
Since we have died with Christ, we should put sin to death.

Paul’s call for believers to “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth” is
a call for practical sanctification, practical holiness. Your practical holiness will become a reality through three basic steps. Those steps are laid out for us in a parallel passage in Romans 6.

They are: knowing, considering, and yielding. We looked at Romans 6 when we were studying Colossians 2. Just as we got insight into Paul’s meaning of Colossians 2:11-12 from Romans 6:1-10, we get insight into what Paul means by “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body” by looking at Romans 6:1-13. In this text we see three steps to dealing with sin:

1. Knowing – This is the theme of the first 10 verses in Romans 6. The thing we are to
know is the doctrine of our union with Christ. We are identified with Christ. We share all
He is and has.

Romans 6:6-7 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin
might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. (7) For he that is dead is
freed from sin.

“Knowing this” The question is, how do we know this? We only know it because the
Scripture teaches it. The “old man” is the man that I used to be in Adam. The word
“crucified” is a compound verb meaning: was crucified with, Christ. That man that was
joined to Adam was crucified together with Christ. Because of our union with Christ in
his crucifixion, we are dead to sin; we have been set free from sin. We are no longer
slaves of sin. We must know this!

2. Consider – Consider means: “to regard something as true.” We must keep on
counting as true that we are dead to sin and alive to God. We are “in Christ,” and
because of this, we share his righteousness.

Romans 6:11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive
unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Let me illustrate this truth. In 1982 an unusual thing happened on the island of Guam.
A Japanese soldier came out of the jungle. He had been living in the jungle for 37 years
after the end of world war II. Why? Because when the news came at the end of the war,
he could not believe that Japan had surrendered, and the war was over. For 37 years,
he lived in the jungle.

Let me ask you a question. During those 37 years, was he free? Absolutely.

At any time, from 1945 until 1982, he was completely free to come out of the jungle. He was
completely free, on a theoretical basis. But because he did not believe it, he lived in
self-imposed bondage in the jungle for 37 years.

Was he free? Yes. Did he experience his freedom? No, because he chose to stay in bondage, in hiding, in fear in the jungle.

Many Christians are still living in the jungle of sin. The war is over, Christ has won, but
they refuse to believe it. They live in self-imposed bondage to sin. They are still in the
jungle spiritually, because they refuse to believe that Christ has set them free.

3. Yielding – This is the third principle in putting sin to death. Know deals with
understanding the truth, consider deals with believing it, and yield deals with the will,
acting on what we know and believe.

Verse 12 of Romans 6 brings us to the practical application of the doctrine Paul has
been expounding in the first 11 verses of chapter 6, just like verse 5 of Colossians 3
does.

Romans 6:12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in
the lusts thereof.

The word “reign” is from the Greek verb basileuo, which means: “to exercise kingly
power, or to exercise uncontrolled authority.” The word “reign” is simply the word for
“king” in a verbal form. Paul is saying, stop allowing sin to reign as king in your mortal
body.

When Paul writes, “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body,” He is addressing
believers. It would be pointless to tell this to unbelievers. What does this tell us? It tells
us that sin can reign in the life of a believer if permitted to. Sin wants to reign in your
mortal body. As long as we live in the physical realm, we will battle with sin.

Paul goes on to say, “that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.” It is through the desires
of the body that sin wants to take control. The desires of the body are conceived as
demanding obedience.

Practical sanctification is a process, we will never be rid of sin, while we are in these
physical bodies. The life of the believer is a constant battle, while we are in the physical
body. We, as believers, are not to permit sin to reign in our bodies through its desires.

Why are we not to let sin reign? The word “therefore” at the beginning of verse 12
answers that question. The prohibition (the action of forbidding something, especially by
law.) in verse 12 is based upon all that Paul has been saying from Romans 5:12 – 6:11
that deals with our position in Christ. Paul is saying, “Because of your position in Christ,
do not let sin reign as king in your body.”

Our position in Christ is that we are dead to sin and alive to God. We are to consider
this as true, because it is true. Contrary to our experience, we are dead to sin. Now on
the basis of our position, we are not to allow sin to reign in our body.
How do we stop sin from reigning? Verse 13 gives us some help in answering that
question.

Romans 6:13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto
sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your
members as instruments of righteousness unto God.

The word “yield” is the Greek word paristemi, which means:” to put at one’s disposal.”
We are not to place ourselves at the disposal of sin or unrighteousness. We are to place
ourselves at the disposal of God.

Practical holiness becomes a reality through the three steps of: knowing, considering,
and yielding. We must know the truth about ourselves, then we must believe it. Once we
know it and believe it, we are to act upon it. This command to yield deals with our will.

The Nature of the Human Will. The will is the basis of choice, it is the immediate cause of all action. You think about something, and then you do it.

In every act of the will there is a preference; the desiring of one thing rather than another. To will is to choose, and to choose is to decide between two or more alternatives. But there is something else which influences the choice. The will does not decide the choice, something causes it to choose. What is it that determines the will? What is it that causes you to make a choice?

Let me illustrate. Say that your boss comes to you and says, “You are going to
California. You do not have a choice.” But he says, “Would you like to drive or fly?” He
is giving you a choice.

What determines which option you choose? What determines your choice is the strongest motive power which is brought to bear upon it. For one person, it may be the logic of reason, If I drive, they say, it will take me five days, and if I fly, it will only take me about five hours so, I choose to fly.

With another person, it may be the impulse of emotion. You think there are a lot of plane crashes and I am not ready to die, so choose to drive. What you think, causes you to will.

Whichever of these presents the strongest motive power and exerts the greatest influence upon us is that which impels (the driving force) the will to act. On a normal Sunday morning, you have to make a choice: will I sleep in or will I get up and go to church? Your choice was made by what exerted the greatest influence upon you, your desire to worship or sleep.

In other words, the action of the will is determined by the mind. The will is not free but is
in bondage to the heart. The Word of God teaches that the heart is the dominating
center of our being:

Proverbs 4:23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.

Our choices are determined by our desires. When we have conflicting desires,
whichever desire is greater at the time of decision is the desire I will choose.
Question. What causes a teenager to take drugs? Remember, your thinking will
determine your choice. The Bible tells us that Daniel “purposed” in his heart not to defile
himself with the King’s meat. Daniel had made a conscientious decision beforehand not
to eat the king’s meat.

If a teenager desires to honor and obey God and his parents, and if he believes that
drugs are wrong, he will say, “No” to drugs. But if he is really undecided if drugs are
wrong, and he wants to please his friends, he will say, “Yes.” This is why we are to train
up our children, and this is why we are to guard our thinking. The condition of our
hearts will determine our choices. Jonathan Edwards defined the will as: “The mind
choosing.”

This is why practical sanctification starts in the mind, know who you are. If you believe
that it is normal for a believer to sin all the time, how are you ever going to stop sin from
reigning in your life? We must know and believe that we are dead to sin.
How do we stop sin from reigning in our bodies?

Romans 6:13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto
sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your
members as instruments of righteousness unto God.

We are told in this verse to “Neither yield ye your members as instruments of
unrighteousness unto sin.” The “members” are part of your mortal body. They are the
various parts of the body; the eyes, ears, hands, feet, tongue, mind, and emotions. This
is the same Greek word melos that Paul used in Colossians 3:5. These members
become instruments of unrighteousness when we put them at the disposal of sin.
The word “instruments” is the Greek word hoplon. This word is only used six times in
the New Testament; twice in this verse and four other times. In the other four uses it is
translated “armour” or “weapons.”

John 18:3 Judas then, having received a band of men and officers from the chief
priests and Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons.

Believers, your bodily members are weapons. Are you putting them at the disposal of
righteousness or sin? Your tongue can be used to speak the truth of God, or sing
praises to Him, or to build up another believer. But it can also be used to back-bite,
gossip, slander, and cause division and strife. The tongue is a weapon that is often
used to beat our spouses or children and attack others. Look at how Peter used his
tongue:

Matthew 16:16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou are the Christ, the Son of
the living God.

Here Peter is using his tongue to bring honor and glory to the Lord Jesus Christ. Then a
few moments later, when Jesus begins to talk about his death, Peter uses his tongue to
rebuke the Lord:

Matthew 16:21-23 From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how
that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests
and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. (22) The Peter took him,
and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.
(23) But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me Satan: thou art an offence
unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.

When we put our members at the disposal of sin, they become weapons of
unrighteousness; and as they become weapons of unrighteousness, sin moves in to
rule and reign as king in our body.

Paul is telling the Roman Christians and us, to stop presenting your members to be
used for unrighteousness. The basis for me not presenting my members to sin is my
position in Christ, my identity, who I am.

It is not that we do not like sin, because we do. But we understand and believe our
position in Christ, and on the basis of who I am, I do not present my members to sin.

By way of illustration: Suppose someone from China immigrates to the United States,
and he becomes an American citizen. He is a scientist, and in a few years, he works his
way to a high position in the U.S. government’s field of science.

Then suppose an undercover agent of the Chinese government approaches him and asks him to function as a spy for China. This man must make a choice. Suppose he decides not to let his former government rule over him, and he will not put his talents and abilities at the disposal of China. Why should he not allow the Chinese government to rule over him?

Some might say because he loves America, but the fact may be that he loves China
more than America. He was raised there, his family is there, and he has many fond
memories of China. If his love determines his decision, he might become a spy. But his
basis for not letting China rule over him is his position.

He is a citizen of the United States of America, and he will not put his talents and abilities at the disposal of China. This is a similar situation of the believer. We once lived in the kingdom of darkness, and sin ruled over us, it was our master. But we were translated into the kingdom of God.

Now sin still wants to rule in your body, you know that. But we are not to permit it to
reign or to let it use our members. Why not? It is not because we do not like sin. The
basis for our opposition to sin is our position in Christ, our identity. As we understand
our position in Christ, we will by God’s grace say, “NO” to sin.

In verse 13, he first gives us the negative and then the positive:

Romans 6:13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto
sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your
members as instruments of righteousness unto God.

“But” here is the positive side: we are to present ourselves and our members as
instruments of righteousness. The word “yield,” is the Greek word paristemi, is a once and for all action; a completed action. A one-time presentation. Therefore, verse 13a it says, “Neither yield.” And 13b is saying, “But yield yourselves unto God.” This would be as a husband and a wife does when they take their marriage vows.

The believer is to put himself and all that he is at the disposal of God. Why? Again, it is
because of our position. This is emphasized in the phrase, “as those that are alive from
the dead.” This is our position, and based upon our position, we are to yield ourselves to
God. Before you can follow the exhortation of verses 12 and 13, you must understand
verses 1-11. You must understand your identity before you can yield.

The word “yield” means, to put at the disposal of God your members are to be used for
righteousness sake. This includes your tongue, eyes, ears, mind, hands, and feet. We
do not do this in our own strength but in dependence upon God, as Paul put it in:
Romans 8:13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do
mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

It is “through the Spirit” that we are to put to death the deeds of the body. This means
that we do it in dependence upon the Lord. In Daniel chapter 3, we have the story of how king Nebuchadnezzar tried to get the Hebrew children to present their bodies in the worship of an idol. When they refused, he threatens their lives. Look how they responded:

Daniel 3:16-18 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O
Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. (17) If it be so, our
God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning firey furnace, and he will
deliver us out of thine hand, O king. (18) But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that
we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

Notice that they call God, “our God.” That is identity, they knew who they belonged to,
and they knew that their purpose in life was to worship Him, so they were willing to be
burned alive rather than dishonor their God. Nebuchadnezzar responded to this by
throwing them into the furnace, but the fire did not hurt them. Notice Nebuchadnezzar’s
response:

Daniel 3:28 Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach,
Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that
trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they
might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God.

Notice carefully what he says, “his servants that trusted in Him,” and because of that,
they “yielded their bodies.” They would not allow their bodies to be used as weapons of unrighteousness. They presented their bodies to be used of God even if it meant their
death.

David yielded his body to be used as a weapon of righteousness when he went out to
fight Goliath. Then later in his life, he yielded his body as a weapon of unrighteousness
when he committed adultery with Bathsheba and killed her husband, Uriah. We do this
same thing. At times, we are using our members as weapons of righteousness, and at
others, we are using them as weapons of unrighteousness.

Let me illustrate. A ship with a very rich cargo sets sail. While the ship is at sea, the
owners of that ship discover that the captain is a crook, and he has plans of stealing the
cargo. The owners get a message to the ship saying that the captain is to be removed,
and the first mate is to be put in charge.

As a crew member, you have two options; you can submit to the captain or the first
mate. What will influence your decision? Will it be your like or dislike of the captain or
first mate? Or their position?

The crew is employed by the owners of the ship, they are paid by the owners. Their position is that they are employees of the owners. As the crew reflects upon their position, they must refuse the captain any right of rule over them, and they will do that by refusing to put at his disposal their strengths and abilities.

On the other hand, they shall acknowledge the right of the first mate, and put at
his disposal all of their time and talents and abilities. They will do that on the basis of
their position. They will make a negative and positive decision.

When God makes your position in Christ clear to you and gives you the faith to believe
it, you will present yourself to God and not present your members to sin. Believer, do you know who you are? You are; a saint; a son of God. All Christ is and has, you are and have. You are dead to sin and alive to God.

Practical sanctification comes as we stop yielding to sin and start yielding to God. As we
do this, we put to death our earthly members. How about your eyes: Have you been
looking at things this week that you should not be looking at?

What about your ears: Have you been listening to gossip, slander, filthy talk and coarse humor? How about your lips: Have you used your lips this week for swearing, for anger, slander for bitterness? Are your lips yielded to God? What about your hands? Are your hands yielded to God, or do you use your hands to grasp more of the goods of this world?
What about your feet? Are your feet yielded to God, or are they constantly taking you
where you should not go? Are all your members yielded to God, or are you using them
for sin?

The only way we will be able to put to death our members is to:
1. Know your position in Christ.
2. Believe what God says about you.
3. Do not yield your members to be used for unrighteousness, but yield them to be used
for righteousness.

Pastor Don Thomason


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