What do you need to wear? Or, Dress for Success!

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Colossians  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  42:29
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As we talked last week about getting rid of old filthy garments and now this week we will be talking about putting on clean garments, it reminded of me of the book and then the common expression, Dress for Success.
The Premise of this book written in the 70’s was that through scientific study, they found that if you want to succeed, you need to dress the part. Subsequent studies have been done and it has been verified multiple times that how you dress does effect your mindset and your behavior. You are more confident, and tend to think differently when you dress more professionally. The way you dress greatly influences the way people perceive you. Hence, the way you dress will influence your success.
Paul wanted the Christians in Colossae and everywhere to be successful Christians. He wanted them to know the true gospel, and to live as true Christ followers.
This was also, obviously the desire of the Christians in Colossae. Which is why they came under the influence of other teachers who were teaching them wrong ideas about how to be true Christians. So, Paul wrote this letter to the Colossians to set them back on the right path of understanding how they became Christians, and how they should be living successful Christian lives.
We see his desire in Colossians 1:9-12.
Colossians 1:9–12 NIV
For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.
Let’s pray this scripture for ourselves this morning, and then we will dig into the passage for today.

What do you need to put on? How to “Dress for Success”

The passage for today is Colossians 3:12-14. What I would like to do is to read from the beginning of the chapter, because these three verses are a part of what Paul has been developing through the chapter.
Colossians 3:1–2 NIV
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
Colossians 3:5–8 NIV
Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.
Colossians 3:9–11 NIV
Do not lie to each other, since 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. Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.
But this is not just an outward practice. As we saw last week, it is a change from the inside out. It takes getting down to our desires that spring from our old sinful, self-centered nature. We need to ask the Lord to examine our hearts and reveal our evil desires—those desires that are contrary to our Lord’s purpose and desires. We need to confess those desires, and put them to death. We need to take them off like the filthy garments that they are!
Today, we are going to look more closely at the complimentary action of putting on. Just as we need to get rid of the old filthy garments of our evil desires, we need to put on new, clean garments of godly desires.
Colossians 3:12–14 NIV
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Dressing for Success begins with

Know who you are

God’s Chosen People

Deuteronomy 7:7–8 NIV
The Lord did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But it was because the Lord loved you and kept the oath he swore to your ancestors that he brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
John 6:44 NIV
“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day.
Romans 8:29–31 NIV
For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?


1 Peter 2:9–10 NIV
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Dearly Loved

1 John 3:1 NIV
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
Colossians 3:12 NIV
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

Clothe yourselves...

We decide what to wear… We make the decision each day.
In the same way, we need to make the decision to clothe ourselves with the following:


Word for intestines, bowels. Old King James - bowels of mercy
Tender mercy
Matthew 9:34–37 NIV
But the Pharisees said, “It is by the prince of demons that he drives out demons.” Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.


Not natural.
Colossians and Philemon—The Supremacy of Christ Putting on Saints’ Clothing (v. 12)

George Bernard Shaw once wrote a letter to Churchill: “Enclosed are two tickets to the opening night of my first play … bring a friend (if you have one).” Churchill replied: “Dear Mr. Shaw, unfortunately I’ll be unable to attend the opening night of your play due to a prior engagement. Please send me tickets for a second night (if you have one).”

Romans 2:4 NIV
Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?


esteeming ourselves as small, inasmuch as we are so, the correct estimate of ourselves - Zodhiates, WSNTDICT
Philippians 2:3–8 NIV
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!
Matthew 20:25–28 NIV
Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”


meekness - not weakness, but in power. balance born in strength of character
balance between getting angry without reason, and never getting angry
getting angry at the right time in the right measure for the right reason - Zodhiates, WSNTDICT
Matthew 11:28–30 NIV
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Jesus weak? The one who chased the money changers out of the temple on two occasions? The one who stood up to the religious leaders of the day? The one who bore the stripes of the Roman flogging? The one who took the nails and hung on the cross? The one who bore the sins of you and me and the rest of the world? Not hardly. But he was gentle. He was powerful, and in power could deal gently with others.


Long suffering - able to avenge, yet refrains
Romans 9:22–23 NIV
What if God, although choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory—
2 Peter 3:15 NIV
Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him.

What happens when we Dress for success?

Colossians 3:12–13 NASB 2020
So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so must you do also.

Bearing with each other

Forgiving each other

Colossians and Philemon—The Supremacy of Christ Wearing Saints’ Clothing (v. 13)

John Perkins tells how he was beaten in a Mississippi jail, being repeatedly kicked and stomped on as he lay in a fetal position for protection. The beating went on and on as he writhed in a pool of his own blood while inebriated officers took turns, using their feet and blackjacks. At one point an officer took an unloaded pistol, put it to Perkins’s head, and pulled the trigger. Then another bigger man beat him until he was unconscious. As the night wore on, it got worse. During a conscious period, one officer pushed a fork down his throat.10 It was barbarous torture, a great, substantive reason to hate. But this is what happened, as John Perkins tells it:

The Spirit of God worked on me as I lay in that bed. An image formed in my mind. The image of the cross—Christ on the cross. It blotted out everything else in my mind. This Jesus knew what I had suffered. He understood. And He cared. Because He had experienced it all Himself. This Jesus, this One who had brought good news directly from God in heaven, had lived what He preached. Yet He was arrested and falsely accused. Like me, He went through an unjust trial. He also faced a lynch mob and got beaten. But even more than that, He was nailed to rough wooden planks and killed. Killed like a common criminal. At the crucial moment, it seemed to Jesus that even God Himself had deserted Him. The suffering was so great, He cried out in agony. He was dying. But when He looked at that mob who had lynched Him, He didn’t hate them. He loved them. He forgave them. And He prayed God to forgive them. “Father, forgive these people, for they don’t know what they are doing.” His enemies hated. But Jesus forgave. I couldn’t get away from that.… It’s a profound, mysterious truth—Jesus’ concept of love overpowering hate. I may not see its victory in my lifetime. But I know it’s true. I know it’s true, because it happened to me. On that bed, full of bruises and stitches—God made it true in me. He washed my hatred away and replaced it with a love for the white man in rural Mississippi. I felt strong again. Stronger than ever. What doesn’t destroy me makes me stronger. I know it’s true. Because it happened to me.11


How will you dress for success?

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