Summary: Clothe yourself, says Paul, in compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience -- all aspects of love.
Sunrise Presbyterian Church
18400 NW 68th Ave
Miami FL 33028
Telephone: 305 821 5841
“The Church’s Dress Code”
October 28, 2001
The Rev. Dr. W. Maynard Pittendreigh
Introduction to Scripture…
We are continuing our series of sermons on Colossians. This is one of the letters of St. Paul that makes up the New Testament. It is, according to some scholars, the most Christ centered book of the Bible.
The first half of the book, chapters 1 and 2, presents doctrine – things we should believe about Christ. It spends a lot of time dealing with true doctrine verses false doctrine.
The second half of the book, chapters 3 and 4, deal with behavior. How does one live the Christian life?
Part one is Christian doctrine.
Part two is Christian Conduct.
Part one is what to believe.
Part two is how to behave.
Last week we made the transition from part one to part two, and today we continue our study, asking questions about how to behave as Christians.
11 Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.
12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.
17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (NIV)
Some of you may not know that the Preschool that this church has operated during the weekdays for the past 25 years is no longer.
In place of the preschool, we now have the Sunrise Christian Academy. We opened our first grade this year and we are looking forward to the second and third grade opening soon. We still have the preschool and the kindergarten, but the old program has grown to include an elementary school.
When we started the first grade, we also started requiring the teachers and students to wear uniforms.
The uniforms are simple. A shirt with an academy logo on it, with a certain style and color pants or dress.
And yet, as simple as the uniform was, the teachers all agreed that there was something different about the students this year.
They were calmer.
They were better behaved at the first of the year.
Was it the uniforms that made the difference? Maybe. A lot of the teachers thought so.
There is a dynamic relationship between what you wear and what you are.
Put on a highway patrol uniform with one of those flat rimmed hats, and no matter who you are, you suddenly project an air of authority.
Put on a nurses uniform, and you project something that enables people to trust you, even though they may never have met you.
As the old saying says, “The clothes make the man.”
St. Paul would agree.
He tells the Colossians to put on a very specific style of uniform.
He begins by telling us that there is a unity in the church. Our opening hymn proclaimed, “In Christ there is no East or West.” It is a concept that comes from our reading in Colossians when Paul said, “there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.”
He could have been preaching to us at Sunrise. “There is no Anglo or Hispanic. There is no Black or White. There is no white collar worker or blue collar worker. But Christ is all, and is in all.”
Christians are united in such a way that no matter what else may divide us, Christ unites us.
Paul tells the Colossians that Christians should be united, and then he tells us to put on the uniform -- “clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
The uniform of the Christian is a set of attitudes.
Now when we clothe ourselves, we project an image. And Paul wants us to project an image as we clothe ourselves with these attitudes.
There are five items in the Christian wardrobe – compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
We could go through each of these five items and study it and unravel it – and we could learn a lot about how to live the Christian life.