Summary: Jesus has given us some godly clothes that we are supposed to wear at church and all the time. Wearing these clothes will make us look more like Jesus.
June 8, 2003 Colossians 3:12-17
When I was growing up, my family wasn’t exactly poor, but we weren’t well off either. One of the results of our financial condition was that I rarely got new clothes. New clothes were reserved for Christmas and Easter. I spent my growing years wearing hand-me downs. Maybe some of you had the same experience. Some people hate hand-me downs. I liked them. I liked them because they came from my brother. My brother had good taste. He always wore sharp-looking clothes and I figured that wearing his clothes would make me look good too. I also liked my brother’s hand-me downs because I admired my brother. I wanted to be just like him.
This morning, I want to present you with some hand-me downs. They don’t come from me. Hand-me downs from me wouldn’t do you much good anyway. Most of you are taller than I am. No, these clothes come from your Brother – Jesus Christ. I call Him your brother because that is what He called Himself. ( ) He wore these clothes, and now He wants you to put them on.
In verse 12 of this passage, God commands that we “clothe” ourselves – that we “envelope” ourselves with some new clothes – not new as in never having been worn before but new because they are new to us. In one Bible translation known as “The Message”, it says it this way: “Dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you.” I know what you’re thinking. You want to pick out your own clothes. You don’t want anyone else telling you what to wear. You haven’t had anyone lay out your clothes for you since you were a little child. But remember – this isn’t your mother commanding you to get dressed. This is God. And just like you did when your mother set out clothes for you, you’ve got to make the decision about whether or not you’re going to put them on. No one’s going to dress you or force you. It’s up to you. Maybe it will make it easier to choose to wear these clothes as you realize just as I did that the One you admire more than anyone else – namely Jesus, your Brother – wore them before you and wearing them will make you look like Him.
There’s a reason that Jesus has provided these clothes for you and why you must put them on. Eph. 4:22-24 If you’ve followed the commands of these verses and of vs. 9 that we looked at last week and have taken off the clothes that went along with the old self, you need some new clothes to put on. In order to successfully conquer an old habit, it is almost always necessary to put a good habit in its place. It is not enough to take off the old, smelly, dirty clothes. Without putting something else on, you would be naked and cold, and would soon pick back up your old familiar clothing. Those may be nasty, but they are comfortable, and they keep you warm at night. New clothes will make you feel different. They can even make you act different. You know the old saying, “Clothes make the man.” These clothes, though worn on the outside can change you on the inside.
We’re going to begin to describe these clothes now. As we do, your first thought might be that they are not right for you. “It doesn’t fit.” “It’s not in style.” “It’s not the right color.” “It’s not right for my personality.” “People will laugh at me. The cost is too high.” When you are in control of your own life, you have the right to choose what clothing you are going to wear. But if you have truly submitted yourself to the lordship of Jesus Christ in your life, then you have no choice but to gladly wear the wardrobe that He has picked out for you. Let’s take a look at each piece of clothing.
1. Put on caring. (vs. 12)
“compassion” – not indifferent to suffering even when that suffering is self-inflicted
“kindness” – Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-27)
“humility” – “antidote for self-love”; “contrast to the false humility of false teachers” (2:18,23)
We live in a prideful society. We think that the world revolves around us, and when it doesn’t, we try to make it revolve around us. Did you hear about the bomb threat to a plane in Medford, Oregon on Monday? A man who was running late for his flight to Phoenix called in a phony bomb threat in hopes that the plane would be delayed long enough for him to get on board. America West clerks at the Rogue Valley International-Medford Airport became suspicious and notified police after the man came to their desk asking about Flight 6262, which by then was on its way back to the airport because of the threat. The plane had been in the air for just a few moments when a flight attendant took a call from the pilot. One of the passengers said that he knew they were in trouble when he saw the attendant turn white. The 30 passengers were evacuated and a bomb squad searched the plane with the help of a dog. All bags were rechecked for any trace of an explosive device, but nothing suspicious was discovered. Did that man show caring toward the passengers that were on that plane? How do you think the attendant who took that call felt about getting back on the plane? The only person that man cared for was himself. Many of us behave in that same uncaring kind of way.