Summary: Sermon on the "garments of grace" in Colossians 3
“LOVE IS THE GLUE” Col. 3:12-14
INTRO – It’s interesting to see how clothing & fashion are different in different places in our culture & in our world. When I went to Russia several years ago, we Americans stuck out like a sore thumb whenever we wore our blue jeans. All the men there wore dark pants & black shoes. Never saw jeans or khakis.
It’s also interesting to see how different people wear different styles of clothing. Go to Kroger, go to Wal-Mart, go to a park, go to a ballgame – see so many different styles of clothes, so many different ideas about what is fashionable.
Our Scripture passage for today talks about some clothes that we, as Christians, are to wear. They’ve been called the “garments of grace.” And we need to put them on & keep them on as long as we are alive.
The clothing we wear can sometimes say a lot about us. Can tell which sports team we root for; which rock band we’ve seen in concert; which company we work for; which youth camp or DNow we went to. Uniforms that people wear can let folks know if we’ve got some expertise in some area – nurse, pilot, firefighter. They can let people know our rank if we’re in the military. They can indicate the level of authority a person has, like a police officer in uniform, or a judge wearing a robe. They can let others know which sport we play, or which athlete we like.
So, our clothes say a lot about us. And our spiritual clothes, these garments of grace, say a lot about us & our walk w/ Christ. One pastor said, “We need to deck ourselves out in the new man. The Christian never looks better than when dressed in the garments of the new man.” (Grant Richison, http://versebyversecommentary.com/colossians/colossians-312/) So, lets talk about these garments of grace.
The garments of grace are put on – They’re our uniform, identifying who we are.
Like a policeman’s uniform identifies who he is, & a soldier’s uniform identifies who he it, so these garments of grace identify who WE are. They identify that we are Christ-followers, believers in the Lord Jesus. They identify the condition of our heart, & the direction of our lives.
When I began to think of other places in Scripture that refer to putting on certain clothes, my mind immediately went to Eph. 6, the armor of God. The armor is given to us for a specific purpose – to give us the protection we need to withstand the attacks of the enemy against us.
- There’s a verse in 1 Peter 5:5 that tells us to put on humility to guard against pride & arrogance.
- Rom. 13:14 tells us to put on the Lord Jesus to keep us strong in the face of temptation to sexual sin, & jealousy & quarreling.
Each of those places deal w/ specific needs, specific situations, specific temptations, specific areas of our lives. Each of these is important, & it gives us great comfort, peace, & strength to know that God has always provided us what we need to face anything that comes our way.
When we look at the garments of grace in Col. 3, we see a comprehensive list that covers every area of our lives. If we want to live a life that glorifies God, we have the perfect description of what it should look like.
- The compassion we need to feel the pain that others are going through in their lives.
- The kindness we need to reach out to those who are hurting & struggling.
- The humility we need to keep our hearts completely dependent upon the Lord.
- The meekness we need to show others the gentle heart of Christ.
- The patience we need to not give up on those that the world has given up on.
- The ability to bear with others, to endure w/ them, when everything in us screams for us to walk away.
- The forgiveness we need when we’ve been hurt, or mistreated, or persecuted.
Who do all of these look like? They look like Jesus. Everyone of them are a characteristic of His life & ministry among the lost, hurting, needy, sinful people He encountered. And when we put these garments of grace on, we are looking more & more like Him b/c we are becoming more & more like Him.
- When our hearts break for those who are hurting, we’re becoming more like Jesus. Mt. 9:36 – “When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them b/c they were harassed & helpless, like sheep w/out a shepherd.”
- When we CHOOSE to forgive those who don’t deserve to be forgiven, we are becoming more like Jesus. “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Lk. 23:34)