Summary: #9 in series. This lists the qualities not becoming of believers in Jesus.
Colossians 3:5-11 – What Not to Wear
Today we pick up once again where we left off in Colossians 3. Today’s passage might be what some consider “Da Rulz”, a list of things that we aren’t supposed to do. I’d like to look at today’s passage not in a heavy handed way, but in a realistic way, and see if we can gain some positive encouragement from these verses. Let’s read Colossians 3:5-11.
We’ve been learning about the 5 God-given purposes of the church, and what that means for us here at Centreville Baptist. We have seen that this church exists to Glorify God, Reach out to others, Aspire to live like Jesus, commit to serve, and Encourage one another. Today we are on the A – to aspire, to seek, to desire, to hope, to aim to become more and more like Jesus. This passage is the nuts and bolts of that desire.
Let’s admit this, right from the start. We fall so far short. We don’t love as He does, we don’t forgive as He does, and we don’t see things as He does. But we are on that journey, that voyage, that expedition to have the image of Jesus stamped on our hearts.
Now, before we rush into all the do’s and don’ts, let’s go back a few verses, to the start of the chapter. Paul tells us how we are connected to Jesus. He says we died with Him, we have been raised to new life with Him, and we’ll reign with Him in heaven. In addition to this, Paul says that Jesus is our very life, the air we breathe, the hope we have, the source of our strength. Christ is our life.
So when verse 5 opens with the word “therefore”, that means that what has been said is the reason for what’s about to be said. Because Christ is our life, this then is how we should live. Because Christ is our source of life and strength, here’s how we should live our lives. Because of all that He has done for us, is it too much to ask to give Him our lives in return. Sounds simple, huh?
The thing is, all this requires some willingness to change. If you hadn’t noticed, living like Jesus doesn’t come easy. I’d like to say that it’s natural for Christians, but I’m not sure of that either. Change isn’t easy. Growth and transformation and making adjustments – all these can be tricky.
I’m going to step out of the room for a second, and while I’m gone, I’d like you to watch a video. It’s about a guy who talks about his Sunday school experience, and how he has found a class that is suited to his spiritual growth.
(At this point, I changed into an awful ensemble of colours, flowers, patterns and so on that looked awful.)
The Bible uses different metaphors or word pictures to represent becoming more like Jesus. Growth is one. Today’s passage contains a couple. One is “put to death”. Kill. Mortify. Execute. The other one in this passage is an interesting one. The NIV uses the words “put off the old and put on the new”. The words in passage for the next sermon from Colossians are this: clothe yourselves. It’s about what a person wears, puts on, and shows to others.
It’s actually a fairly common word picture. In Psalm 93, God is pictured as being robed in majesty. Isaiah 61 mentions it a couple of times. We sang about 61:3, talking about putting on a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. And Isaiah 61:10 says that “He has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness.”
And in the New Testament, we are given all kinds of commands like this. Romans 13:14 – “Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.”
Galatians 3:27 - all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
1 Peter 5:5 - All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
And Paul tells us in Ephesians 4 that we absolutely must be made new and different. “ Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
Clothing ourselves in what is right is important. Going back to that word “therefore” in v5… because Christ is our life, all these other things detract from that. They bring us death to our spirits and injure us. Let’s not fool ourselves into thinking these things aren’t serious – v6. God is angry with sin, even forgiven ones. Let’s not think that God is OK with Christians sinning, just because we’re forgiven.