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Discipleship Fashion

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You can tell a lot about a person by the way they dress.
Coat tails and baton - conductor
White t-shirt and red swim shorts - lifeguard
Yellow reflective vest - construction worker
White lab coat - doctor
Salvation Army Uniform - airplane pilot
Now, I’m not one to give fashion advice since I normally wear the same thing most days.
But the way we dress, the way we appear on the outside, can often give certain impressions.
It’s said that it only takes 7 seconds after meeting someone for the first time to make your first impressions.
Sometimes that can be good, sometimes not so much.
As followers of Christ, we set an impression on others based on our appearance.
I’m not talking about how you dress, but I’m talking about our character and attitude.
When people look at our character and attitude, does it reflect the character and attitude of Christ or do they see something quite different?
We’ve been talking about moving forward as we follow Christ’s call to discipleship.
That response - moving forward - means we need to have a wardrobe change.
Turn to
Last week, we talked about how we need to put to death or put away anything that is contrary to the nature of Christ. So let me say this one more time just so we see the connection to the next part of the passage.

You have to take something off before you put something on.

You have to take something off before you put something on.
Imagine that you’re at home and get a phone call from someone who has invited you to come over for dinner at their mansion. This person, whoever it is, is well known, is very prestigious, and has high-quality taste. That person has invited you to come for dinner! After you lift your jaw up from the floor, what do you do? You get ready! Let’s say you’ve been working in the yard all day. You’re sweaty and stinky. Would you go wearing that? No! You’d shower, grab your nicest clothes, freshen everything up, and make sure you’re looking dashing! But what if you decided, “Well, the clothes I was wearing outside aren’t that bad. What if I just put my nice suit or dress over my work clothes.” No! I hope you would never do that!
This is what we looked at last week.
Colossians 3:5 ESV
Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.
Colossians 3:5–9 ESV
Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices
Colossians 3:5
Colossians 3:8 ESV
But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.
In order for us to put on what God wants us to put on, we have to take off the filth that we’ve been wearing for too long.
We can’t layer the clean over the filth because the clean won’t stay clean very long.
That’s why we need to rid ourselves of the old self - so that we can put on the new self.
Sometimes we can be like that person who looks at the nasty work clothes and says, “These aren’t so bad.”
Maybe we look at coveting - wanting what someone else has - and say, “That’s not so bad.”
Maybe we look at our anger against others and say, “That’s not so bad.”
Maybe we think about our slander - talking bad about others, often behind their back - and say, “That’s not so bad.”
Maybe we think about the lies we’ve told and say, “That’s not so bad.”
But they’re not the fashion - they’re not the clothes a disciple wears.
Sometimes we need to go through our closets and purge the old, dirty clothes.
We need to do the same in our spiritual life - we need to go through and purge the old, dirty things of our old self in order to make room for the new stuff.
What are some of those old clothes that you need to take off or get rid of?

Our appearance changes because we are chosen by, set apart for, and loved by God.

Here’s another thing - as followers of Christ, our appearance changes because we are chosen by, set apart for, and loved by God.
Look at the first part of verse 12:
Colossians 3:12 ESV
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,
Because of God, our appearance should change.

Chosen By

First, we are chosen by God.
Now, this phrase is often used to talk about the Jewish people - God’s chosen ones - his chosen nation.
Some of us may
The word used here for “chosen one’s” is the same word from which we get the word “elect”.
We are welcomed into that fold of God’s chosen people because of what Paul said in verse 11 - “
Now, some of us might get a bit nervous when people start throwing the word “elect” around, but have no fear.
Sometimes we think of the “elect” as very exclusive or elite. God does have a chosen people, but it’s not by doing eeny meeny miny moe.
Those that are part of God’s chosen ones are those who follow Christ in obedience. So if we’re obediently following Jesus Christ, we’re welcomed into the fold of God’s chosen ones.
But if we’re part of that group, of all the followers of Christ throughout history, you can imagine there’re some high standards.

Set Apart For

We’re set apart - we’re holy. We’re set aside for him.
I heard one pastor illustrate being set apart this way:
Chopping salad for dinner
Phone rings and you’re distracted
Nick your finger
Answer the phone - spouse calling - bringing some co-workers for dinner
Hang up phone - wonder how to make salad stretch
You notice something in your salad - mixed among the ingredients
When you were distracted by the phone, you cut off the end of your finger
You say to yourself, “I have cut my finger. In fact, the cut on my finger is such that the end of my finger is separate. In fact, it is set apart. In fact, the end of my finger is wholly other. In fact, it is totally distinct.
Don’t read to much into that illustration.
We are set apart, meaning that we are distinct from others. That’s why we should appear differently to others.
Have you ever seen someone who’s outfit is really out there? You may say that they are quite set apart from the norm of fashion.
We are to be different than the norm. As God’s holy people, we need to stand out as different from this world.
Sometimes that’s a high standard and not something particularly easy to do.

Loved By

But the great thing is is that we’re loved by God.
God’s love of us should change our appearance.
When God’s love fills us, it’s evident in what we do and how we act.
Our appearance should change because we are chosen by, set apart for, and loved by God.
Do these things make a difference in your life?

Our character and attitude demonstrate who we are.

Lastly, our character and attitude demonstrate who we are.
This is what Paul tells us we need to put on.
Colossians 3:12–14 ESV
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
Colossians 3:
Let’s look at a few of these.

Compassionate Hearts

What’s a compassionate heart?
Well, compassion is a love and care for others when they’re hurting or suffering.
It’s when our heart breaks when others are hurt.
Many people, even non-believers, have compassionate hearts, but what makes us different is that we act on our compassionate hearts.
We see needs and hurt and do something about it.
As Christ’s followers, we don’t just say “Bless their heart” and go about our business. We talk to the person, we find out how we can be of help, and we do it!
Do you have compassion for others when they’re hurting?


We are to be people of kindness.
Man at Meijer
Sits and says “God bless you” to customers when they leave
There to show kindness
If you know the person I’m talking about, do you say anything in response?
How can you demonstrate kindness to the people around you?
How can you show kindness to the people you regularly interact with?
Do you demonstrate kindness to all or only to the people you know?


We need to be humble.
Humility is something we need to value more.
We need to be willing to lower ourselves for the sake of others.
We live in a “me” saturated society.
Never think that you’re too lofty for something.
We can often let our ego get in the way of true service.


Meekness, which could also be called gentleness, is a character of a disciple.
Is your character gentle or do others perceive you as harsh?
When we show gentleness to others, people feel welcomed and loved.


Patience - we don’t have time for this one, we’ll skip over it.
We need to be patient people.
Can I be candid? I’m not always the most patient person.
When I’m driving and I get behind someone going 39 in a 40 MPH zone, I’m not too patient.
When the line at the drive-thru takes forever, I’m not too patient.
My patience always seems to be tested when I’m actually in a hurry or running late for a meeting. I think that’s God’s way of saying - “Blake, it’s okay, you’ll still make it there.”
How have you held up when your patience has been tested?
Are you quick to complain?
Are you the type that feverishly checks your watch ever 30-seconds?
Patience is probably a virtue we could all be working on.
When people see us being patient, they will know something’s different because it’s distinct from the rest of the world.


We need to forgive.
Paul writes that we need to forgive as Christ has forgiven us.
Guess what, when you slip up, does Christ stop forgiving? No!
When the people in your life wrong you in some way, do you cease to forgive them?
If someone has hurt you so badly, it just makes you warm and red in the face to think about it, you begin to clench your teeth when you think about that person - can you still forgive them? Have you forgiven them?
We have sinned against God himself, yet he forgives us? So, too, we must forgive others.
That can be a characteristic that turns heads.


Lastly, we are to be a people of love.
That’s what brings it all together - everything we do, everything we say, is to be done in love.
We love others because of God’s love in our life.
Remember what was said a few minutes ago, that our appearance changes because we’re loved by God?
His love can fill us and enable us to have perfect love.
When we live lives of love, people can see the difference.
That doesn’t mean we love those who love us, because that’s too easy.
We love those who are even mean and nasty to us - that’s God’s great love enabling us to love others, even our enemies.
When we do these things, when we live as people who are set apart, when we have that discipleship fashion, we demonstrate to others who we really are as followers of Jesus Christ.


What’s the impression people have when they see you?
Are you dressed as a disciple would be?
Are you still wearing some of those filthy garments, trying to hide them with the clean clothes?
Has your appearance been changed by being chosen by, set apart for, and loved by God?
Does your attitude and character demonstrate that you’re set apart?
What do you need to put on today?
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