The Well-dressed Christian
The Well-Dressed Christian (Holy Things or Virtues to Put On)
Do you like to look good? Do you like to feel well-dressed and feeling like a million bucks? Have you ever gone into your closet and had the HARDER TIME finding just the right outfit, suit or that perfect pair of shoes to “set the look off just right? Even more, how many have tried to dress for success? ALL OF THESE THINGS ARE FOR THE WORLD!! YOU CAN BE DISAPPOINTED WHEN WHAT YOU THOUGHT WAS THE RIGHT OUTFIT WAS NOT!! Today, God is going to remind us how to be the “BEST DRESSED” Christian. We are going to talk about “the well-dressed Christian”. What does that mean – well-dressed Christian? I am glad you asked!! It’s not clothes or shoes, or accessories as you know it. We are talking about Holy things or virtues. Please stand and turn with me to the book of Colossians in the New testament to chapter 3:10-14 and we will hear God through Paul as Paul speaks to the practical, real character traits of a Christian in their walk in Christ.
We are talking virtues – Holy things. When we accept Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior of our life, our being and character should change to be more “CHRIST-LIKE”. I want you to know what Christians “put on” as virtues – those Holy things once we have accepted Christ. Because of the believer’s death with Christ, the Christian must regard himself as dead to the old sins and put them aside – DISCARD THEM LIKE OLD RAGS!! The apostle Paul states that because the believer is risen with Christ, he is to put off the old man and PUT ON the NEW MAN and grow in Christ through putting on Christ-like things or virtues. In this passage from the apostle Paul, he gives us nine things or virtues to “put on” as Christians, so let’s get “dressed!!
I. Putting on the Renewed Man (3:10-11)
Before we can even talk about eight of the nine things that Christians must put on, the 1st is putting on the RENEWED MAN. Because we have become a believer, risen with Christ, we put off the old man! We stripped naked of the past sins, removed the shackles of the evil one, peeled off the ways of the world, slipped out of the spiritual death, putting off ALL of that BAD coverings and PUT ON a renewed man. The old self is confined to the “closet of the past” with its passions and desires, its wants and its needs, its pride and self-centeredness. "Put on" in Greek is a verb meaning "to sink into (clothing), to put on, to clothe one's self." The interesting part here is that it is important to understand that you are commanded to do this, to “put on”, to clothe yourself with the new self.
ALL WE DID IS ACCEPT JESUS INTO OUR LIFE AND WHAT???!! – NEW STUFF! WE GET NEW HOLY THINGS!! But these Holy things –virtues, are necessary to “put on" to grow as Christians. You get to put off - undress “unholy” and dress holy because you have DIED with Christ, because you are BORN again, because GOD has made you His through the blood of Jesus. Now, as a Christian, with that new man on, God wants you to live as He wants you to live and be “dressed for heavenly success”. Because you have taken Christ into your hearts, you need to behave as though that were true – you need to “walk in the shoes of Jesus’.Understand in verse 11 that because of you being in that new man, you don’t look like the world! You don’t dress like the world! You don’t fit in the “fashionable” style of sin, of man’s law, of the evil one’s coverings. When you put on that new man in Christ, you have no worldly distinction – you just do not fit that world model! You are unique! A new creature. You are a child of the Most High God!
II. Putting on the Inner Holy Things or Virtues (3:12, 13)
Now that we have put on the new man, which once put on has no world distinction as we saw in verse 11, the next six Holy things or virtues to put on are shown in the verses 12 and 13. In verse 12, we get some more new stuff! As God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved by God, we get to dress up with (2) bowels of mercies or other words, compassion, with (3) kindness, with (4) humility, with (5) meekness (gentleness) and with (6) longsuffering or patience. The great part about this wardrobe is that, it’s available for all who trust in Jesus Christ. All of you can get it and look and feel fabulous! But wait! You have to take care with your new Holy things and take responsibility for how you present yourself. You are Christian – Christ-like – walking in HIS SHOES!! The way we make that happen is to be SO FULL of these inner qualities – these Holy things, that they can be seen on the outside, like well-fitting and attractive clothing.
How so? By showing compassion to those in need, by showing kindness to your brothers and sisters in Christ, showing humility toward leaders through humility, modesty, lack of arrogance, honestly assessing “self”, and being willing to submit, showing gentleness toward those who do us wrong, showing meekness, or refusing to give in to the temptation to strike back, showing longsuffering or patience to those who hurt or disappoint us.
Now in verse 13 we slip on (7) forbearing with one another, refusing to give up on our brothers and show GOD IN US – ON US!! The 8th item for the outfit is forgiveness or forgiving one another. A lot of us forget that we are wearing this one! We are to forgive because we now wear the forgiveness of Jesus, our Lord. You have an issue with your brother, then you must forgive. You have to forgive just as the Lord forgave you and He does it every time you ask Him to forgive you!! You must do the same for your brothers and sisters! You disagree with how they are or act? Forgive them and show Christ in you! You know someone that’s not the best in the church? Forgive and show love!
III. The Bond of Perfection (3:14)
The final Holy thing or 9th virtue to put on as a Christian is putting on the “bond of perfection” as it states in verse 14. Like a wonderful coat, over all the virtues, PUT ON LOVE, as this binds all the virtues together in perfect unity – the perfect outfit that NEVER GETS OLD!! The apostle Paul also gave us this saying, "the greatest of these is love", and Jesus HIMSELF taught us that the two GREATEST commandments are to LOVE God and LOVE ONE ANOTHER. The Greek word for love is agape, meaning good will or benevolence. Without love, none of the other virtues can last or better said, the outfit just is not complete!!
And because you are chosen of God, holy and beloved, respond to God's graciousness by PUTTING ON LOVE, which is the PERFECT BOND of unity. Unity means that within the body of Christ there is harmony. It glorifies God. Your love for Him and toward others, your forgiveness, and your goodness, should be your response to His love for you.
Conclusion: The Best-Dressed in Nine Holy things
To conclude my brothers and sisters, we are talking about some GREAT THINGS, HOLY THINGS – VIRTUES to clothe in. WE ARE COMMANDED TO DO SO BY GOD!! We must be “best-dressed” because we are ambassadors for Christ! We walk in HIS shoes. TOGETHER, THESE VIRTUES, THIS WARDROBE, DISPLAYS "THE CHARACTER OF CHRIST". Are they not the qualities of Jesus that endear us to Him? If we put on these virtues, then, we will be dressing ourselves with the "character of Christ"! Isn’t that a great thing? Wouldn't it be wonderful – AWESOME, if we could be more successful in "putting on" the character of Christ? Think of the churches that could have been spared divisions and grief! Think of the families that could have been saved, if more Christians had dressed themselves in Holiness!!
Brothers and sisters, Jesus bled, died, and was resurrected with all power of God because of a greater love than He – a greater love than us – to reconnect us to the love of the Father in Heaven. Get well-dressed. Dress yourself with the Holy things of God – the virtues of Christ – (1) the RENEWED MAN - (2) compassion, (3) kindness, (4) humility, (5) gentleness, (6) patience, (7) forbearing with one another, (8) forgiving one another, and the overcoat – (9) love. You will never have to worry about looking bad again! You will always be well-dressed to the Father in Heaven, and you will grow in your Christian walk, and you will be a well-dressed Christian.
Thank you and may God bless you all.