Summary: Part 7 in a 10 part series from Colossians. This sermon deals with our progress in holiness.
THE SUPREMACY OF CHRIST
COLOSSIANS 3:12-17: THE LOVE OF CHRIST
SERMON #7: MAY 11, 2008
JERRY L. HILLYER, II
12Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
15Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16Let 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. 17And 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.
12-14So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.
15-17Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.
One of the aspects of the Bible that intrigues me most is where the authors chose to begin their letters, histories, and Gospels. Of course, I don’t operate under the assumption or conviction that the Bible was written merely by human authors. Instead, I think the testimony of Scripture is that the authors spoke as the Holy Spirit instructed them or, rather, that the Holy Spirit spoke through the human authors. OK.
My point is that, at some point, the Holy Spirit so moved and convicted these authors to write these pages for someone and they have been preserved for us. And when the Holy Spirit so moved these people he so moved them to write certain words and to write them in certain ways and in certain sequences. So Paul can write in Corinthians:
This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.
So when Paul writes in Colossians 3:12: “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved,” he is not merely expressing the happy thought that God has selected us to be saved or Christians or disciples. He is using special language here that asserts our relationship to God’s covenant people, namely, Israel. Somehow or other, in some way, WE, Christians, are those people whom we read about in Genesis through Malachi.
This is what intrigues me. Paul could have used any words he wanted to describe who we are or what we are about or how we relate to God. But he chose these words; or these words were chosen for him. So RC Lucas writes:
“…in the making of Israel God was calling a people to himself to be specially his own, revealing by their obedience the divine character and purposes. So to be part of the new Israel is a call to the Colossians to demonstrate the family likeness by imparting to others what they had themselves received. As the Lord has (for example) forgiven you, so also you must forgive (verse 13) is one of the regulating principles of living, according to the New Testament.
“…it is God’s purpose that in the local church should be seen a glimpse of the new man, and through this, a glimpse too of the God in whose image he was made, and by whose grace he has been redeemed.” (151)
Indeed, Paul wrote, “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.” Immediately after he tells us we are being remade into the image of our Creator, he goes on to tell us what sort of things will define the life that is recreated in God’s image? Paul, writing under the authority of the same Spirit that told him to refer to members of the church in terms that were used of Israel—God’s chosen people, holy, dearly loved—describes for us that image of God that God is defining in us as he continues to purify, sanctify, and recreate us into His own image.