Col 3_12_ Part 2 New Life In Christ
Text: Colossians 3:12-15
Title: New Life in Christ (Part 2) “The Christians Clothing”
Theme of the book of Colossians: Jesus Christ: The preeminent and all-sufficient Savior
Theme of Text: Eliminating sin is not enough; sin must be replaced with Christ like qualities.
Proposition: Clothe yourself in Christ like qualities.
Today we are going to be talking about something that all of the ladies will love! We are going to be talking about “clothes.” I know, I know, don’t get so excited. Most of you are so thrilled that we will finally be talking about something you like instead of something I like- such as baseball and Chein Mien Wang. Well, imagine with me that you are going shopping for a colorful dress. When you are looking for the dress, you notice the whole garment. You look at the whole thing, but you don’t really look at the individual threads and intricate details that really make up the garment. You are not so concerned about the little thread, but the maker of the garment was very interested in the thread and intricate details. The small details of the garment are vitally important to the maker, but the buyer or wearer of the garment may not really be too concerned with the small details. However, without the individual pieces, you would not have a complete dress or outfit. Today we are going to be looking at the details of the “Christians clothing” or “Christian characteristics.” We need all of these, not just a few of them. These characteristics should describe every Christian.
In the previous verses, Paul says that a person that has been “raised with Christ” must put off sin from their life. He emphasizes that sin must be put to death by the Christian. Christians must replace the sins that trouble them with the Christ like characteristics that are give in Colossians 3:12-15. Paul uses the illustration of a garment. He says “put off” or “take off” sin, and “put on” these Christian characteristics. This list of “Christian Clothing” has many parallels in Paul’s writings. (Ephesians 4:1-3, 24-25; Galatians 5:22-24; Romans 8:11-14) Although conquering sin and putting on these things may be difficult, God gives us the power to do so through His Spirit. A new character demands new characteristics! We must clothe our life with these Christ like qualities.
Trans: First, before we look at the Christ like qualities, let’s look at the new person who should be putting on these qualities.
1. The New Person v. 12
Three things in verse 12 describe a new person in Christ. These initial descriptions, elect/chosen, holy, and beloved, are all terms that God used to describe the nation of Israel and then Jesus Christ. Now, these truths describe every believer!
First, the believer is described by the word “chosen” or “elect.” The word here in the text means the “chose of God.” If you are a Christian, God chose you “before the foundation of the world” as Ephesians 1:4 states. Many want to deny it, hide it, or run from it, but the doctrine of election is taught in the Bible and all Christians should embrace it. This is one of the most beautiful doctrines in all of Scripture and it is taught in many places. (Romans 9; 11:4-5; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 1:8-9; John 15:16; Rom. 8:33; 2 Tim. 2:10; Titus 1:1; 1 Pet. 1:1) Why is it so beautiful? Because it takes away the pride and haughtiness of man, and it makes believers give all the glory of salvation to God alone. Election does not take away the fact that men must repent of their sin and turn to God. God offers salvation to all men; all that reject God’s offer are responsible for their foolish action.
Illustration: Chosen Before Birth ~An old woman, hearing of some preachers who dwelt on the doctrine of election, said: “Ah, I have long settled that point, for if God had not chosen me before I was born. I am sure He would have seen nothing in me to have chosen me afterward.”—United Presbyterian 7700 Ill. We did nothing to deserve God’s grace.
A new person in Christ has been “set apart” from the world to God. We belong to God! God declares us righteous and holy. There is no possibility for us to make ourselves holy! God does that by applying Christ’s righteousness to your life. (Ephesians 1:3-6)
Believers are the object of God’s undeserved and incomprehensible love. This is one of the most endearing terms of scripture. When a Christian really begins to understand this concept, it will transform their life! God loves you more than you can ever love him, more than you can love another person, and more than you can even love yourself. To me, that is amazing! God loves me more than I love myself! If I truly believe this, I will follow my God who loves me so much! I will trust him to guide me in my life since he loves me more than I love myself. I should trust him for He knows what is best for me!
Trans: Second, let’s look at the Christ like qualities that should be worn by the beloved of God.
2. The New Garments v. 12-13
A great translation is a “heart of compassion.” This also can mean pity, mercy, or sympathy. This is simply seeing someone in need and helping them out. Many would categorize this as a “social” responsibility. App: People think that we should only be compassionate when there is a disaster or some natural catastrophe. Christians should want to show this towards any person, whether in need or not. Most of the world has a great need! – Christ! Christians should display compassion towards one another and towards the unsaved. (Philippians 2:1)
Kindness and goodness are very closely related. Kindness is very closely related to compassion as well. It is a desire to recognize and meet the needs of others for their happiness. Ephesians 2:10 states that we were created for good works. Good works do not save us, but we should obey God by doing good works. Christians are saved by faith, but good works out of kindness show our faith. This kind person is as concerned about others good as he is about his own good. (Ephesians 2:7; 4:32; Titus 3:4)
Appl: How can you show kindness to others? Start at home. Men, we really struggle with this, so you can begin by doing something kind for your wife or children such as washing the dishes or doing the laundry. WHAT! No way! Ok, so you don’t have to do it every day, but do it sometimes out of kindness to your family. They do those things for you all the time. Help your child study. Give them some of your attention. Give your spouse a back massage or foot massage. Be kind! It will help your life and your marriage!
I believe this is one of the most important characteristics that a believer can have, but I also believe it is the one that is the absolute hardest to have. A believer must not be filled with pride or self-exaltations, but instead, one should be filled with humility as Christ showed towards others. Christ showed humility to everyone that he met. His life was one that was filled with humility from the beginning until the end. Every day of his life, every situation, every conflict, every trial, every sermon, and every moment on earth was filled with humility. This is such a contrast to man! We are full of pride and self-promotion. Our desire is to satisfy the pleasures of #1 (ourselves). (Phil. 2; Romans 12:3, 10; Isaiah 66:1-2, 57:15)
~Why did I say that this is the hardest characteristic to have? I believe because Satan fell because of the sin of pride, so he wants men to fall from the sin of pride. Lucifer said, “I want to be like the Most High!” He wanted to be like God! Satan will try to tempt men into thinking that they are something great or even someone that can be their own God. Humility is the opposite of pride. You can only begin to understand humility when you understand your place before the almighty God! He is the creator; we are the creation! Humble yourself before the Creator- God!
Appl: How do we be humble? Start to put other people first. At the store, let another person go in front of you. At home, be the one to do the dirtiest or most undesirable job. However, here is the catch to doing those; do those things when no one is around or at home to see you do it! Then, don’t take any credit or great praise for those jobs! Don’t desire yourself to be promoted! Don’t even desire for people to look at your amazing humility, that is a type of pride called “False Humility.”
Meekness is not weakness or powerlessness, but instead it is power that is under control. Meekness suffers injury and insult instead of giving out such things. Meekness is closely related with gentleness. These two qualities will allow one to be insulted, but will respond with a mild and meek tone. This quality treats a disobedient child in a soft and gentle manner. It knows that disobedience has happened, so it corrects the problem in a careful manner. (Matt 5:5)
This is the opposite of wrath and quick anger. Part of the idea of patience involves “enduring abuse.” It is the idea of the word long-suffering. This is what Christ did while on earth. In 1 Peter 2:20-23, we see that Christ stood against all types of mistreatment. In the Gospels, we read about the continual rejection and hatred towards Christ. Yet, through all of this, Christ was willing to be patient and forgiving. He patiently endured suffering and shame for OUR benefit.
Appl: A Christian should be characterized by patience and self-control. God is patient with us; so we must be patient with others. How are we to do that? Well, it will be seen in our everyday lives. At work, we will endure mistreatment and ridicule for the name of Christ. At home, one should be patient and longsuffering towards family. When the kids are behaving terrible, you are patient and loving to them even in times of correction. When your spouse is not behaving correctly, you will have patience to deal with them. When your have an unsaved spouse, you will have extreme patience with them since you know that God has had that same patience with you. God loves your unsaved spouse more than you do, and he wants them to be saved more than you do; show patience to your unsaved spouse. (Romans 2:4, 12:19; 1 Tim. 1:16)
f. Lovingly Tolerant
This means to “hold back” or “to endure” even though attacks or complaints are coming and even when you are sinned against. It means one does not retaliate when others would. Christians must endure afflictions and persecutions for Christ. This is so closely related to patience. I think 1 Peter 4:8 is a key verse on forbearance or tolerance, -And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.” You allow someone to sin against you, yet you still love him or her and want to see them do right. This does not mean that you don’t correct sin or confront another’s faults, but it means that you confront and correct in a loving, patient, Christ like manner. (1 Corinthians 4:12; 6:7; Eph 4:2)
Jesus Christ is the perfect example of forgiveness, for He has forgiven all of our sins. Therefore, Christians must follow the example of the Savior and forgive others of the trespasses against them. In Ephesians 4:32, we read, “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” The statement, “if someone has a complaint against another,” means a sin, error or debt against another person. What should we do? We should forgive them.
Grudges have no place in a Christian’s life for they may lead to the sins mentioned in Colossians 3:8-9. We should not hold something against someone- that is not true forgiveness. True forgiveness says, “I forgive you” on the outside, and says, “I forget about it forever” on the inside. You don’t think about it and dwell on it anymore. Aren’t you glad that God doesn’t dwell on you sin and all the bad things you have done! Instead, God looks at your clean, purified, righteous self because of Christ. FORGIVE OTHERS!
Illustration: I believe that having all these Christ like qualities is not impossible. In fact, I believe that I have met someone that exemplifies most, if not all of these qualities. That person is my dad’s mom, my grandma. You know grandmas are very special people. They are so kind and caring to their grandchildren. My grandma is always compassionate. She wants to help in any need whether financial, physical, or spiritual. She always is kind. Even though I might be the ugliest looking grandson, she always says a kind work about my clothes or hair. Humble: She never wants someone to recognize her for anything. If she does something at church, she would just assume that no one ever know about it. She is meek. She has the power to say something harsh or to have her way since she is grandma, but she doesn’t say it. She is always patient. Even when her grandsons would track mud all through her house, she would be patient with us and give us cookies for being “good boys.” Tolerant: Even when I would be in a bad mood, she would “bear it” and not hold it against me. If we ever did something wrong or sinned against her or disobeyed; she would forgive us.
Trans: You know why she is such a good example of all these qualities to me? Because of her LOVE for us! She loves me since I am her grandson. Let’s look at love, the bonding agent.
3. The New Covering: Love v. 14
The verse says, “above all these things,” meaning that this is the Christian characteristic that is the covering of all these or higher than all these. Love is the tie that binds these together. Love is the “belt and buttons” that hold the Christian garments together. A Christian that has true, Christ like love towards God and others will be doing the things mentioned in verses 12-13. We know that love is vital to the Christian. In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul says that love is the chief gift! When Christ like love is present in your life, it will unite these spiritual characteristics and it will unite the body of Christ. The body of Christ must be united in love! (John 13:34-35; Romans 13:10; John 15:9-14; Eph 4:13; Phil 2:1-2)
Ill: Love is like the glue that holds your child’s art project together. Without the glue, everything falls of the paper and the project is ruined. With the glue, the art project is beautiful and finished. Love is the glue that we need to “stick together!”
Application: What does true, Christ like, love do to persons life? Love makes obeying the one you love joyful. It makes you want to please the one that you love. It makes difficult tasks seems easier. Love makes one glad to teach or talk about the name of Christ. Love does not ask for great fame, great riches, or great recognition. Love makes one forget about the cost or the price of doing a task for another. Love forgives! Love gives, even at a great cost to itself. Love makes doing the will of God a joy and pleasure. Love gives our life a meaning.
Illustration: In the first century after Christ, the Roman government was disturbed about the early church. Christians were increasing in number rapidly. Because they wouldn’t take incense and put it before the image of the emperor, the Romans thought that they might be disloyal. Spies went into the Christian meeting and came back with this report: “There Christians are very strange. They meet together in an empty room to worship. They do not have an image. They speak of One by they name of Jesus, who is absent, but whom they seem to be expecting at any time. And my, how they love Him and how they love one another.” Now if spies came to our church from some government to see us, what would be the verdict? Would they comment on our love for each other?
Let’s Change!! How do you put these Christ like qualities into your life? First, you must start to saturate your mind with scripture! Memorize God’s Word. Second, pray for God’s grace to help change you. Pray for the Holy Spirit to convict you of your sin. Third, you must obey. This is sometimes the hardest step. Simply obey what you have learned!
~ The problem is that some of you do not want to change! There is a contentment of where you are in your relationship with Christ. You know you are saved, so that is enough for you! If that is what you think, then you do not understand God and his love to you. God love you so much that he wants what is best for you. That is change to be more like Christ. Commit yourself to God. Memorize scripture and allow God’s Word to change you! Desire change, ask for change, and simply obey and change!!
This passage is so simple, yet it is difficult since it lays out principles that we all must obey. A Christian must be clothed in the proper attire; otherwise, their garments might look too much like those of their former condition – dirty, lost, and sin stained. Christ has changed you into a new person! Wear the garments that a Christian should wear! A new character demands new characteristics! We must clothe our life with these Christ like qualities. Two questions: Are you living like a Christian should live? Are you wearing the “Christian characteristics” that are described in this passage?
Illustration: Clothing tells a lot about a person. A bum or street dweller is known by his dirty, ragged clothes and his unkempt appearance. He is also known by his attitude and actions. He digs in the garbage eating whatever he can find. A wealthy businessperson is known by his impressive clothing and appearance. His sophisticated attitude and his constant talking on a cell phone to another businessperson prove who he is. A Soldier is known by his uniform and his military attitude and actions.
~Just like each one of these are known by his clothing and attitude, so a Christian should be known by his attitude and “spiritual clothing.” A Christian should look and act different so that others can tell that he or she is a Christian. How do you do this?-- You talk about Christ, you serve others like Christ, you love people like Christ, and you act like Christ would want you to act. Believers should so clothe themselves with Jesus Christ that when people look at them, they see Christ.