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Summary: If you’re struggling with the urges of your flesh, or you find yourself consumed by anger and hatred toward others, then you need to get rid of those old clothes so you can put on those new Christlike thoughts and actions. But you can’t get rid of those g

INTRODUCTION

I’ve never been very interested in clothes because I’m color blind. I discovered I was color blind in the first grade when I was using crayons to color a horse in a coloring book. As you know, crayons are labeled on the paper, but this particular crayon didn’t have any paper. I thought it looked like the color of a horse, so I used it. My first grade teacher chided me because she had never seen an orange horse before. She suggested to my parents that I might be color blind—and I am.

Being color blind can lead to some interesting experiences. For instance, when I was in college I was the guest preacher at a little church in Alabama. I didn’t realize I had worn one green sock and one brown sock that day. But as I sat on the platform, apparently everybody else in the church noticed it. After the service several people came up and instead of commenting on my message, they all said, “Did you know you had on one green sock and one brown sock?” Having realized immediately what I had done my answer was, “Sure. And I have another pair just like them back in my dorm!”

The Bible uses many metaphors to describe the Christian life. A common metaphor is the picture of taking off old clothes and putting on new clothes. That’s the imagery we find in this passage of scripture. However, don’t take the analogy literally. Clothes are simply external coverings and the Christian life is concerned more with internal change than in external coverings.

The first two chapters of Colossians teach us what to believe, and the last two chapters teach us how to behave.

Colossians 3:5-12. “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since 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. Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”

Every miracle of Jesus contains a parable and every parable of Jesus contains a miracle. In John 11, Jesus performs a miracle illustrating this spiritual truth of taking off the old clothes and putting on the new. It’s the story of Lazarus being brought back from the dead. Martha and Mary, the sisters of Lazarus, sent word for Jesus to come when Lazarus was sick. Jesus delayed for several days, and Lazarus died. The disciples were baffled by this, and when Jesus finally arrived in Bethany, both sisters said to Him, “Master if you had been here my brother wouldn’t have died.” When Jesus saw their grief, and the grief of others who loved Lazarus, the Bible says Jesus wept with them.

With his eyes filled with tears, Jesus approached Lazarus’ tomb and gave instructions for the stone to be removed. Martha objected saying, “Lord, by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been dead four days.” I always preferred the KJV phrasing, “He stinketh.” Jesus said, “Did I not tell you if you believed you would see the glory of God?” They rolled the stone away and Jesus spoke in a voice loud enough to raise the dead: “LAZARUS, COME FORTH!” I remember hearing a preacher say once it’s a good thing Jesus specified Lazarus by name, or else every corpse in the graveyard would have come back to life!

At the sound of Jesus’ summons, Lazarus came stumbling and hopping out of the tomb. In those days, corpses were wrapped in long pieces of cloth soaked in spices. When Lazarus came out of the tomb, he was still wrapped in those stinking grave clothes. He couldn’t talk, and he couldn’t walk. He had received life, but he still had a problem—those pesky grave clothes!

That’s the story I want to use to introduce this message. Lazarus had been given life when he was dead–that’s a picture of salvation. But he was still bound by those old stinking grave clothes. Many Christians today face the same problem. Jesus gives us life, but we still struggle with the stinking grave clothes of our old life.

In some ways, we’re like Lazarus. He was saved, but he still stunk. He was rescued but he was still reeking. He was energized, but he was still entrapped. He had life, but he wasn’t liberated. When we compare this story about Lazarus with our text in Colossians, we discover the importance of getting rid of those old stinking grave clothes.

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Barnabus Kibisu

commented on Sep 30, 2014

Lazarus had been in the grave for four day now and Jesus who is all powerful did not mind on about the stink that the dead body emits. I believe many of those who come with Jesus close their noses with either cloth or hand. But who can make the clean out of the unclean? (Job 14:4) Only Jesus made us to be clean, for for once we were stinking.Let us speak out to those who are dead in sin. Barnaus (Rev.Barnabus Kibisu, Eldoret.Kenya)

Lester Bates

commented on Oct 9, 2014

Good message Brother, I will use many of your thoughts in a message on "Choices" if it is ok with you. Thanks

Tamara Ramirez

commented on Oct 10, 2014

Oh, Lord! You just gave me answerd to stop rejecting my family for their stinking clothes! Now I can declare words of resurrection to them, full of love, kind, Marcy and hope for them that are blind!! Thank you Jesus Crist, and thanks my brothers for these powerful and transforming message!!!

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