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The Christian's Apparel - Colossians 3:12-17

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Introduction

1. In the Colossians, we have noticed several admonitions for living the full life in Jesus Christ:

a. Seek the things above - Colossians 3:1-4

b. Put to death your members on the earth - Colossians 3:5-9

c. Put on the new man - Colossians 3:10-11

2. As we examine Colossians 3, verses 12-17, we shall see those things we must put on to be properly adorned as disciples of Jesus Christ

 

Body

I. THE CHARACTER OF CHRIST - Colossians 3:12-14

A. EIGHT VIRTUES ARE LISTED THAT WE ARE TO PUT ON

1. Two describe HOW WE ARE TO TREAT OTHERS

a. Tender mercies (bowels of mercies, KJV)

1) The first word literally means bowels... for the bowels were regarded by the Hebrews as the seat of the softer affections, especially kindness, benevolence, compassion

2) The second word describes "compassion, pity, mercy"

3) Thus we are to have "bowels in which compassion resides", or as we might say today, a heart of compassion

b. Kindness - Benignity, kindness

2. Two depict THE STATE OF MIND WE ARE TO POSSESS

a. Humility (humbleness of mind, KJV)

1) A deep sense of one's (moral) littleness; modesty, humility, lowliness of mind

b. Meekness - Gentleness, mildness, meekness

3. Three virtues relate to HOW WE SHOULD ACT WHEN MISTREATED

a. Longsuffering - Patience, forbearance, longsuffering, slowness in avenging wrongs

b. Bearing with one another: to sustain, to bear, to endure

c. Forgiving one another

1) Meaning "to do something pleasant or agreeable (to one), to do a favor to, gratify; to grant forgiveness, to pardon"

2) Forgiving others is demanded, because we have been forgiven by Christ!

4. The final virtue mentioned is LOVE

a. The Greek. word means good will, benevolence

b. It is described by Paul as "the bond of perfection"

1 ) The perfect tie that binds" the other virtues together

2) Without love, none of the other virtues can last; with it, the others can be easily maintained

B. TOGETHER, THESE VIRTUES DISPLAY THE CHARACTER OF CHRIST

1. Are they not the qualities of Jesus that endear us to Him?

2. If we adorn these virtues, then, we will be adorning ourselves with the character of Christ!

 

II. THE PEACE OF GOD - Colossians 3:15

A. THIS PEACE OF GOD MUST RULE IN OUR HEARTS

1. Why? Because we were called to be at peace in one body (the church)!

a. Jesus died on the cross to make peace! Ephesians 2:14-18

b. If we disrupt the peace of the body, we disrupt the work of Christ on the cross!

c. Thus, we must be diligent to keep the unity of The Spirit in the bond peace - Ephesians 4:3

2. Generally, where there is contention and strife, it is among members of the body who are not letting the peace of God rule in THEIR hearts

3. Peace in the body begins with peace ruling in our hearts!

B. LETTING THE PEACE OF GOD RULE IN OUR HEARTS

1. It must start with our setting our minds on things above

a. Remember, this passage assumes that we are carry out the admonition in Colossians 3:1-2

b. Only a mind that is spiritual can enjoy peace from God - Romans 8:5-6

2. It is experienced as we engage in thankful prayer

a. Paul tells us to be thankful in Colossians 3:15

b. But he makes the connection between thankful prayer and the peace of God more clearly in Philippians 4:6-7

3. And it comes as we follow the teachings and example of the apostles, like Paul - Philippians 4:9

 

III. THE WORD OF CHRIST - Colossians 3:16

A. WE ARE TO LET THE WORD OF CHRIST DWELL IN US

1. That is, the Word is to live, to abide, to have free course in our lives

2. This is possible only through a serious effort to learn it

3. But learning is only the FIRST step!

a. For the Word to truly dwell in us, we must OBEY it!

b. Sadly, many who study never make the application, and remain hearers only - James 1:22-25

B. NOTICE ALSO THAT THE WORD IS TO DWELL IN US RICHLY

1. This happens when we add to our study of the Word of God the element of song

a. This truth we glean as we notice HOW Paul says we are to let the Word dwell in us richly

b. By teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns

2. Does this not make sense? For if the Word is to dwell in us richly

a. It must not only involve the MIND through study

b. It must also involve the HEART through song!

C. THIS EMPHASIZES THE IMPORTANCE OF PROPER SINGING

1. It is the means through which the Word of Christ dwells in us richly

2. For this to happen, of course, we must sing properly

a. We must understand what we are singing otherwise, we are not taught and admonished

b. Our heart must be involved or we are not singing with grace in our hearts

c. Fortunately, this does not require formal voice training, for the emphasis is not on how it sounds to the ear, but how it touches the heart!

d. Thus, ALL can and should sing in the heart

3. For those who have not learned the "joy of singing", they are depriving themselves of the means God intended for the Word to dwell in us "richly"!

 

IV. THE AUTHORITY OF CHRIST - Colossians 3:17

A. THIS REALLY COMPLETES "THE CHRISTIAN'S APPAREL

1. For if we say or do ALL in the name of the Lord Jesus

2. Then it is evident that we have really "put on" the LORD Jesus Christ in our lives!

B. SADLY, MANY FAIL TO ADORN THEMSELVES WITH A RESPECT FOR CHRIST'S AUTHORITY

1. What they do, they do by their own authority, in the name of personal preference

a. They worship in whatever way pleases them, rather than seek out in the Word of God what pleases the Lord

b. They make the church in their own image, adding the traditions of men to the commands of God!

2. But in view of what the Lord taught, we should remember:

a. There is a such a thing as vain worship! - Matthew 15:7-9

b. Many religious people will still be lost, because they did not submit to the will of the Father - Matthew 7:21-23

1) Instead, they practiced lawlessness

2) Being without law, because ignorant of it, or because of violating it

3. Therefore, whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the LORD Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him - Colossians 3:17

 

Conclusion

1. We have suggested that four things make up the Christian's apparel

a. The Character of Christ

b. The Peace of God

c. The Word of Christ

d. The Authority of Christ

2. Certainly the world would be a much better place if all who profess Jesus to be Lord so adorned themselves

3. But what other motives might there be to do so? Four are given in this passage

a. We are God's elect - Colossians 3:12

b. We are holy - Colossians 3:12

c. We are beloved by God - Colossians 3:12

d. We have been forgiven by Christ - Colossians 3:13

 

Are You Saved?

 

-- Don Treadway, June 2009 --

 


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