Summary: In this passage Paul gives us a list of things that we need to “put on,” things we need to dress our spiritual bodies with.
You know, being in style, keeping up with today’s fashion has become a major issue in American society. Many people’s lives are dictated by their desire to keep up with the newest fashion. You can channel surf on TV and find multiple shows that are dedicated to showing people how to get in style. You’ve got all sorts of makeover shows and even a show with a fashion judge who determines with a jury whether a specific individual needs to have a fashion check up. Numerous magazines are published to show us what kind of clothes we need to be shopping for. Just this week the lady that cut my hair talked me into letting her make my sideburns shorter because long ones are no longer in. Personally, I liked my long sideburns. But keeping up with the fashion is a consuming desire for many people. And to be honest with you, I don’t think there is anything wrong with wanting to look good. I like to think I know how to dress half way in style. A speaker once said something to us preacher boys when I was in college that has always stuck with me. He said, “Don’t be the first one into a new style, but don’t be the last one either.” I think it’s important for us to try to look the best we can. But the world will try to get us wrapped up in making sure that we are keeping up with the newest fashion.
The church world also has its idea of proper fashion. We tend to lean towards the conservative, more modest way of dress. We believe there are biblical principles of modesty. Granted, the lines are different with everyone. But overall, the church does have its idea of the right fashion of dress.
But, this morning, I believe that God gives us an even higher standard of fashion that we need to consider. He gives us a list of things that we need to put on through the apostle Paul’s writing to the Colassian church. But it’s not the kind of fashion that you think He’d be talking to us about. You see, while God is concerned about the way we dress our physical bodies, I believe He’s more concerned about the way we dress our spiritual bodies. So if you would, turn to Colossians with me and let’s read the words that we can find in the third chapter, verses 8-14.
Col. 3:8-14… But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all. Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.
And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.
In this passage Paul gives us a list of things that we need to “put on,” things we need to dress our spiritual bodies with. I want us to look at this list together this morning.
The first thing that God wants us to put on is what Paul calls “bowels of mercy.” I think a better way to say it would be to put on compassion. God’s people are to be a compassionate people. I read an article recently that talked about reasons why the doctrine of original sin, that man is born a sinner, is wrong. And among the reasons why it was supposedly false was that it caused the church to have pity and compassion on the sinner instead of placing guilt on them. Well I don’t believe there is anything wrong with that at all. Yes, there is guilt that the sinner bears, but that is brought about when the Holy Spirit puts conviction on their hearts. We, as Christians are to have compassion for the sinner. After all, wasn’t our Lord compassionate for them? Listen to these verses in Matthew.
9:36… When he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them,
14:14… Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them,
15:32… Jesus called his disciples unto him, and said, I have compassion on the multitude,
20:34… Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes:
Jesus had compassion on the sinner. Where would we be without the compassion and the mercy of God? We certainly wouldn’t be here. But God did have compassion on us, so we in turn need to be compassionate towards others.