Sunday Sermon Colossians 3:12-17
Good morning and welcome to FCC, where we worship God in Spirit and in Truth, one verse at a time.
Thank you for that song service and for all each one of you do to make FCC happen, both here at the church, in your homes, and in the community!
The good news is today, we are transitioning from the negative, to the positive, from sin, to the character traits that the Lord desires us to have.
In fact, instead of putting off stinky graveclothes church, we are going to be putting on grace clothes that are a sweet smelling aroma to the Lord and others.
Let us remember, that putting off and putting on is a universal picture of changing clothes.
It means we are getting rid of the old and putting on the new!
Read Colossians 3:12-17
Read Colossians 3:12-17
Over the last few weeks church, we dealt with the sins of immorality, anger, and prejudice that the Colossians were struggling with .
And the Lord has showed us that this is exactly were we are at today in America.
Violence is up because of anger and unforgiveness church.
Immorality is at an all-time high, we are surrounded with pornea, just turn on your TV, look at your computer for it is everywhere.
But the one that seems to be more subtle, is prejudice.
And there are some of us here today, that might be thinking I don’t struggle with prejudice of any kind, my suggestion would be to allow the Lord to search your heart and ask yourself:
Do I look down on others that do not live like me?
Maybe their home is not like mine, maybe they don’t keep up there property like I do.
Maybe they don’t dress and act like you.
Maybe they are from the other side of the tracks or have a pretty sketchy past.
Maybe they have been homeless before or are currently homeless.
How do I look at people form other cultures, races, nationalities, different religions or churches? Different theology? Different....
My point church is this tends to be more subtle and if we do not allow the Lord to search our hearts on this one and certainly the others that we learned the last few weeks, they will creep in and take over our lives.
When this happens, our attitudes and behaviors will reflect this.
We must mortify all the sins that Paul taught us about church
covetousness which is idolatry
We must put these off church, get rid of these stinky graveclothes !
blasphemy which is slander
filthy language out of our mouths
lying to one another
How did you fair with these two categories of sin??
Praise God that he has broken down the wall of separation:
For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.
There was great hostility, anger, resentment, and bitterness church between the Jew and the Gentile, but when Jesus showed up, this all changed!
The wall came down!
When Jesus showed up in your life, did everything change? What is different? How has Jesus changed you? Is the wall of separation gone or do yo still struggle?
Church, because we have risen life, because we have resurrection life, certain things should characterize us.
Certain things are set aside; certain things are taken up in our lives.
Old garments are thrown away, and new garments are taken on.
That’s the thrust of verses 5 to 17.
You’re a new man, you throw away your old clothes, and you put on new clothes identifying with that new man.
Chrysostom, who was the great Early Church Father, said that the animals which went out of Noah’s Ark went out the same way they went in: the crow came in a crow, and went out a crow; the fox came in a fox, and went out a fox. Chrysostom said the porcupine went in a porcupine, and came out still armed with its living arrows; no change. But those who enter into Jesus Christ, who is the arc of salvation, go in one thing, and come out something else, totally transformed.
And Chrysostom said this, and I quote, “Like unto a spiteful fox, that swindler entered the church who built his house on the ruin of his competitors, and behold, he goes out more harmless than a lamb, willing to sacrifice his own interests for the sake of others. Like a crow that sinner entered the church; now behold, he goes out cooing like a dove. And that impatient, quarrelsome man who made everyone smart who touched him like a porcupine, came in bristling; and behold, he goes away like a loving spaniel, gentle to touch.” That’s something about transformation, isn’t it.
Conversion to Christ is a transformation. Conversion to Christ is a regeneration. It is a new life!
Has this happened to you?
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering;
The apostle begins a new section here with a welcome and a description of believers:
“God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved.”
What is remarkable is that each of these three titles was an honored Old Testament titles for Israel, “God’s chosen people.”
But because Jesus showed up, the Colossians and you and I are now God’s elect, holy and beloved.
“Holy and beloved” further describe what it means to be chosen by God.
To be holy means to be set apart unto God, separate from the world.
Beloved means that we’re the special objects of God’s love, just as a wife is to her husband.
But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
So we see a therefore here and we must always ask, “What is it therefore?”
Well, it is here because of what we just talked about.
Since we died with Christ and were raised with him and know who we are positionally, we are to practically work out our own salvation with fear and trembling by killing the deeds of the flesh and putting off the things Paul has instructed us to put off.
Since we have put off the old stinky graveclothes, now he is telling to put on are new grace clothes that put off a sweet smelling aroma.
But before I go there, I wanted to help you understand the significance of not only the verse that we have covered, but the ones we will cover today:
What do you want most out of life?
Most of us sitting here today would rank healthy relationships high, if not number one I hope!
Except for knowing Christ and having eternal life, healthy relationships make life enjoyable perhaps more than anything else.
Even if your health isn’t the best, if you have loving relationships, you can enjoy life.
You can make a pile of money, but if your relationships are broken or shallow, your life will be empty.
A poor man with a loving family and good friends is far richer than a rich man who is poor relationally.
The Word of God ranks healthy relationships as the most important thing in life.
A lawyer a Jewish religious expert asked Jesus :
“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”
Jesus said to him, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
A loving relationship with God is of first importance;
But loving relationships with others is second.
The Bible is all about these two important relationships form front to back and everything in between church!
What is the number one thing in life that brings us the most pain?
What is the number one thing that brings us healing?
The Lord desires us to have healthy relationships at all levels church, but they all must start at the horizontal and move to the vertical.
Here In our text, Paul gives the prescription for healthy relationships.
If you’ll consistently practice these qualities, you’ll have healthy relationships. But maybe you’re thinking, “But healthy relationships also depend on others, don’t they? It’s virtually impossible to have a good relationship with some people!” True. Paul acknowledged this when he wrote:
If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.
Sometimes, no matter what you do, some people are hard to get along with.
But often if you treat a difficult person with the qualities that Paul teaches us about in our text, they will change for the better in how they relates to you.
But even if some relationships never improve, if you relate to others as Paul describes here, most of your relationships will be healthy
Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering;
Let us put on these:
Tender mercies/ heart of compassion or bowels of mercy-
The ancient world, apart from Biblical revelation, was merciless.
The maimed and sickly and aged were discarded; the mentally ill were subjected to inhumanities. But Christ brought compassion, and still does today church, but do you?
So what are these tender mercies, what does it mean to put on a heart of compassion?
tender – splagchnon – bowels, intestines; regarded by the Hebrews as the seat of the more tender affections such as kindness or compassion; the “heart”
Mercies – oik-tir-mos – compassion, pity, mercy; it’s not the deeds that are done with mercy, but the deep inner feeling of compassion on the suffering of another.
Taken together, the phrase could be translated, “put on heartfelt compassion,” or “have a deep, gut-level feeling of compassion.
In the Hebrew thinking compassion had to do with the organs around the middle part of your stomach area.
The Hebrew mind always gave a very concrete, substantial reality to anything that was sort of a Greek philosophical concept.
For example, where the Greek might say, “And I reasoned in my mind,” the Jew would say, “And I thought in my heart.” Why? Because the Jew always related everything to an emotional response that was physical. Greeks were very abstract thinkers.
The Jew understood the bowels to be the seat of compassion, the seat of sympathy; because when trouble was going on, he had a stomach ache; because when he had a lot of anxiety, it got to his gut, and he began to have problems there, and maybe he had an ulcer. And they used the term to refer to the womb, and the stomach, and the intestines, and the kidney, and the spleen, and the liver, and all the abdominal organs, because the Hebrew always expressed an attitude or an emotion in physiological symptoms, never in abstractions like the Greek. So when you see here “the bowels of mercy or compassion,” he’s simply talking about a compassionate person, but he’s doing it in a Hebraism, even though it’s written in the Greek language. Emotions are never expressed as abstract in the Scripture, they’re always expressed in the lowest level of feeling, the physical feeling.
So what would having tender mercies look like or having a deep gut feeling of compassion for another?
Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.
Merciful-oktirmon- actively compassionate. sympathy, favor, not merely unhappy for the ills of others, but having a desire to relieve them of their ills, aid promptly applied!
When is the last time you felt this way deep in your bowels and was moved to relieve someone of their ill, pain, financial distress?
Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”
Note: Jesus was moved with compassion church!
And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick.
When Jesus came on the scene, remember in this culture they did not treat the sick well nor those who struggled with their mental health, in fact some of Judaism taught that people were sick because of their sin church.
So when Jesus showed up and went to the other side of the tracks, he got the attention of all, especially the religious leaders of the day.
It is so sad that the religion of Jesus day and its leaders had fallen from grace, because the Word of God teaches over and over that God is compassionate, full of mercy and he extends this mercy to us to give to others.
But because of prejudice, because of anger, and because of self-righteousness and hypocrisy, Judaism struggled with this.
And not just the Jews church, but us.
Putting on tender mercies, having a heart of compassion means we must get out of our comfort zones and self.
Pride will stop us from having pity on another, while humility is the precursor to being moved with compassion.
Best-Selling leadership author Stephen Covey tells the following story about an incident he experienced in the New York subway system, an experience that would radically alter his perception of what is often happening behind the scenes of our lives:
I remember a mini-paradigm shift I experienced one Sunday morning on a subway in New York. People were sitting quietly – some reading newspapers, some lost in thought, some resting with their eyes closed. It was a calm, peaceful scene. Then suddenly, a man and his children entered the subway car. The children were so loud and rambunctious that instantly the whole climate changed.
The man sat down next to me and closed his eyes, apparently oblivious to the situation. The children were yelling back and forth, throwing things, even grabbing people’s papers. It was very disturbing. And yet, the man sitting next to me did nothing. It was difficult not to feel irritated. I could not believe that he could be so insensitive as to let his children run wild like that and do nothing about it, taking no responsibility at all. It was easy to see that everyone else on the subway felt irritated, too. So finally, with what I felt like was unusual patience and restraint, I turned to him and said, “Sir, your children are really disturbing a lot of people. I wonder if you couldn’t control them a little more?”
The man lifted his gaze as if to come to a consciousness of the situation for the first time and said softly, “Oh, you’re right. I guess I should do something about it. We just came from the hospital where their mother died about an hour ago. I don’t know what to think, and I guess they don’t know how to handle it either.”
Can you imagine what I felt at that moment? My paradigm shifted. Suddenly I saw things differently, and because I saw differently, I thought differently, I felt differently, I behaved differently. My irritation vanished. I didn’t have to worry about controlling my attitude or my behavior; my heart was filled with the man’s pain. Feelings of sympathy and compassion flowed freely. “Your wife just died? Oh I’m so sorry! Can you tell me about it? What can I do to help?” Everything changed in an instant.
Chuck Smith the founding pastor of Calvary Chapel always said:
Grace begotten, is grace bestowed!
God has had and is currently being merciful and compassionate to each one of us right now!
Who is God calling you to be compassionate to?
Paul has given us a command to put on the garment of tender mercies church, let us leave here today with this garment and seek to give away the same compassion and mercy that He has given us!
Does anyone have any announcements?
Humility is the not only the precursor to compassion, but to serving church and we great opportunities to serve here at the church:
Children Church workers- meeting 5/13 at 6pm
IT help for Danny
Judy’s Bible study at 9:30am has started back up
Then He said, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.”
The Lord Bless You!
Your Mission Starts Now!