Summary: When Christ is all in all Paul says we will love differently, live differently and learn differently.
You have probably heard the saying, “Clothes make the man.” I want to ask a question. If Christ were to decide to spend the day with you would you dress any different than normal? Would you rush out to buy new clothes? Maybe you would make sure you dressed modestly. Maybe you would put on your best Sunday, “go to meeting” clothes.
Well, in today’s text (v.12) it tells us to clothe ourselves in certain ways. We are to “put on” or as some translations have it, “clothe yourselves” or, as the New English Bible puts it, “put on the garments that suit God’s chosen people.”
Before we can begin our text today we must back up to the end of last week’s text. Look at the last phrase of chapter three, verse 11, “but Christ is all and in all.” When Christ is all in all how different will it be? Clothes don’t make the man, not in Jesus’ view. Where does Christ look? Not at the outward man but upon the heart. (Read the text)
When Christ is all in all, Paul says three things will be different:
(1) We will love differently
(2) We will live differently
(3) We will learn differently
I. HOW TO LOVE (12-14)
A. Graciously (12-13a)
Tender mercies – Literally, “bowels of compassion.” The ancient world was hard and cruel before Christ came. There was no care for the infirm, aged, mentally ill, etc.
Kindness – This word was used to describe wine that was mellow with age, whose harshness had vanished. (Great example of kindness is David’s treatment of Mephibosheth, Jonathan’s son in 2 Sam. 9:1)
Humility – Humbleness of mind, thinking of others first. Ultimate example is Christ (Phil.2:8)
Meekness – Meekness is not weakness, it is power under control. Like a broken colt
Longsuffering – Patience. Literally, “long temper.” We need a long fuse.
(Illustration – A man noticed a woman in a grocery store pushing a cart with a 3 year old girl in it. They passed the cookies and the girl wanted some and the mother said no. The girl pitched a fit. Her mother patiently said, “Now Missy, we just have a few more isles to go, don’t be upset. It won’t take long.” They came to the candy isle and the little girl got upset again. She was screaming and kicking. The mother said, “There, there, Missy don’t cry, only 2 more isles to go. When they reached the check out counter the little brat went nuts reaching for the gum and candy. The mother calmly said, “Missy, we’ll be through in 5 minutes and when we get home you can have a bottle and a nap.”
The man followed her out of the store and stopped her to compliment her on her patience with little Missy. The mother sighed and said, “Oh, no my little girl’s name is Francine, I’m Missy.”
Bearing with one another – Or, forbearance. Holding back judgment.
Forgiveness – The end result of all the others.
Love – This enables all the others and is the most important
B. Generously (13b-14)
“As Christ” (13b) Jesus told Peter to forgive 70x7.
“Perfection” (14) This is the ultimate. There is no higher status. You are clothed with regal robes when you love graciously and generously.
II. HOW TO LIVE (15)
“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts” See also:
27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. NKJV
A. At Peace with Yourself – “In your hearts” His peace is already within us. Yield to it, let it rule. Relax.
B. At Peace with Others – “To which you were called in one body” There should never be turmoil in the church.
C. At Peace with God – “and be thankful” God will take care of us no mater what. “Do not be dismayed what-e’er betide, God will take care of you”
III. HOW TO LEARN (16-17)
A. Through Study of the Word (16a)
Are you in the Word? Promote SS. Promote church library. There’s no excuse in today’s computer age (hold up a CD ROM of complete Bible library).
B. Through Song in Worship (16b)
The Bible is full of music:
Job – “The morning stars sang together” during the creation
Isaiah said – “You shall have a song”
Saul – When depressed called for David the sweet singer of Israel. David played his harp and Saul was refreshed (1 Sam. 16:23).
When the Ark was brought into Jerusalem the nation sang “Lift up your heads” (Ps.24:7).
After the Exodus from Egypt, “Sing ye to the Lord, for He has triumphed gloriously.”