1. The Christmas season is an opportunity for the church to present Christ to the world. It is one time when people seem to be more open to listening to the good news of Jesus Christ. And so, as churches, we invite those beyond our walls to special services and concerts and programs. We want people to know who Christ is and why He came to earth in the first place. We want them to respond by placing their trust in Him as their Lord and Saviour. Christmas allows us to live out our church vision - "Knowing Christ - Making Him Known".
2. As those involved with the Sunday School program can tell us, Christmas is a lot of work. It takes effort to make Christ known. It takes commitment, time and energy. But it is worth it.
3. I do not to take anything away from our Christmas efforts to present Christ to the world. But there is another way by which we can present Christ to the world this Christmas season. This way is no easier, perhaps even more difficult. And yet I believe it is more effective.
4. This way of presenting Christ into the world is by showing that He is alive today and that He lives in us. As Tim Brown told the men at our men’s conference, the children of God ought to look different or better than the children of the world.
5. But often we do not. We blend in with the crowd and we are no different than those who are not the children of God.
6. We are going to spend a few Sunday mornings seeing how we are to be different. To see how we can present Christ to the world in the way we live.
1. Paul has been writing to the Colossians to remind them that Christ is to be exalted. He reminds them who Christ is - the very image of God, the Creator, the fullness of God in bodily form.
2. He reminds them who they are and he reminds us who we are. He tells us we are no longer who we were. We have died to our old self. We have been raised with Christ.
3. He tells us: vs. 9-10 "you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator." Our new self is being renewed in knowledge in the image of Christ. We are changing, we are being changed by God into the likeness of Christ.
4. But we have role to play as well. And as we change, we present Christ to the world.
5. In the passage we will be looking at over the next few weeks, Paul tells us how we are to do present Christ. And as we do that, we will experience Christ in a much deeper relationship as well. As we live in Him, we come to know Him more. And so Paul tells us how we ought to live as believers
6. In vs. 12 he begins by presenting the reason why we ought to live differently than the children of the world live.
a. We are God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved. He does not say that we ought to become these things but that we are already are. We have talked a number of weeks about how God has chosen us to eternal salvation, but He has also chosen us to be His children and to live as His children ought.
b. We are holy. We have been given the righteousness of Christ and we have been set apart by God - to present Christ to the world and to bring glory to His name.
c. And we are loved by God. We are His dearly beloved. He has shown His love to us and continues to do so. When we think of what God has done for us, we want to live for Him and to reveal His glory to others.
7. This week we consider the first way in which we ought to live. And that is to clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience..
8. We are to clothe ourselves. To put these characteristics on. Paul says this in Romans 3:14:
Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.
9. We are still sinners and the old self is still a part of us. In our old self, compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience are not natural to us.
10. And so we have to get dressed. There’s a saying - "The clothes make the man." By putting these clothes on we will become more and more like them. What we are saying is put on clothes even if they do not fit. Pretend to be someone we are not naturally until we get it right. Perhaps that sounds hypocritical, but it works.