simple – week 3 – Colossians 3
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So, it’s week three of simple - based on the letter Paul wrote to the church in Colosse to give highly practical and simple instructions on how to live in Christ and not make the life of the Follower of Jesus so difficult.
We’ve taught over the past few weeks that if we are in Christ, if we have become Christians, a change has taken place. We have had to say goodbye to the Old Man, to Mr. Wrong and all the habits, passions, and practices of the past. And because Jesus has restored our life, because He has given us abundant life, we are new creations, made in His image.
Here in Colossians 3 verses 12-17 we are given clear instruction on what the new person in Christ looks like. We are told how to live the new life in Christ and what that new life looks like.
A certain and undeniable change should have taken place. That change is not something we have done. It is something Jesus has done for us, in us and through us.
Here’s a big thought that covers a lot of the ground we‘ll cover today - God is always proactive. He always takes the initiative. He took the initiative in creation, He took the initiative in salvation, and He takes the initiative in our new creation. God always takes the initiative and then calls us to respond back to Him in gratitude and respect.
Take a look at five areas where God has taken the initiative to restore us, and the response He expects from us.
I. Because He chose us, we enjoy favor with God (v. 12a)
Paul reminds us that God chose us, and therefore we enjoy a position of unique favor with God. He picked us to be His kids.
We are God's unique creation, His people, chosen to demonstrate His reality to the world. We were chosen to be different so that others can see His power and glory.
We are loved by God. Meaning - God loves us and wants the very best for us.
And Because God loves us He leads us to put off the old sinful way of life, and to put on certain characteristics that will prepare us for peace in our daily lives… This brings us to our second thought. Look in verses 12-14.
II. Because He changed us, we love the People of God (vv. 12b-14)
Paul is talking about unity in the church. He’s talking about the kind of harmony that should exist among those people who really love the Lord, among those people in whom the Holy Spirit is living.
Verse 14 sums it up, and the preceding characteristics should all be seen in light of the love God commands us to have for one another. Remember that love holds all of these garments together.
We are to wear compassion
This is mercy or sympathy. As Christians we are part of the same family. We should not be cruel, harsh, and cold toward one another. One of the characteristics of a genuine Follower of Jesus is that they possess heartfelt compassion for others - feeling towards others as God feels towards them.
We are to wear kindness
Gracious Living - also translated generosity or goodness. Our words are tempered with grace and with tenderness. A kind person is not abrupt or harsh but genuinely cares about others.
We all know someone like this, someone who communicates kindness, even if they never said a word. This is evidence of the Holy Spirit living inside of a us. How are you doing in your clothing so far?
We are to wear humility
This means that we are to submit ourselves one to another. Putting the other person before ourselves, to have a proper estimation of ourselves. In God's economy it is the lowly that are exalted and the proud who are brought down. If Jesus humbled Himself, even to death on the cross, we too must humble ourselves.
A proper humility starts with our view of God and continues through the view we have of ourselves and completes itself as to how we see others…especially others that are different than us!
We are to wear gentleness
It is the willingness to suffer injury instead of inflicting it. What a contrast with the way the world thinks. The world sees meekness as weakness.
What if we were to see meekness and a position of security and power - well Jesus proved that’s the proper view of meekness!
We are to wear patience
I know - I’ve really stepped in it now! This is clearly not my strongest position to personally teach from! Listen though…
Patience in our own strength is impossible. Patience is not something the world teaches us to practice. In fact, while the world may give lip service to these characteristics in a kind of patronizing kind of way, it looks down upon these traits and ascribes them to weak, timid, insecure losers.
So the question is this: Will we give in to pressures and act like the everything the world has taught us - or - will we allow Jesus to have control of our lives, and live according to His direction?
When we put on these traits two specific things take place:
1. We learn to live with one another
2. We forgive one another
I have seen people who call themselves Christians who have unforgiving spirits. Their pride and ego was wounded and they just can’t bring themselves to forgive someone for some offense. Listen folks - Forgiveness is surrendering my right to hurt you for hurting me.
To forgive someone involves three things. First, it means to forego the right of striking back. Second, it means replacing the feeling of resentment and anger with good will. Third, it means the forgiving person takes steps to restore good relations.
III. Because He called us, we participate in the peace of God (v. 15)
The word "called" means to summon or to call your name, as if you had been summoned to court. God has called us out of the world to live in His eternal presence. In His presence there is peace.
Paul is saying that the peace of God should govern our hearts. It should have control of and power over our hearts to the end that as a body we are one.
IV. Because He counsels us, we build up the family of God (v. 16)
Paul says here is the instructive nature of the Word of God - as we ingest it as spiritual food. He’s talking about the fruit it bears in our lives.
We are to allow God's Word to teach us, to counsel us as we teach one another. And all this is to be done in an attitude of praise and worship, as we give thanks. When we’re focused on praising God, worshiping God, thanking God - It keeps us from having a wrong attitude toward others.
V. Because He cares for us, we cherish the Name of God (v. 17)
Our gratitude causes us to be careful about how we carry the name of Jesus. It causes us to be mindful of the fact that we are called Christians, and that our actions reflect to the world the reality of Christ. That's what it means to do something in the name of Jesus - to do it on His behalf, under His authority, and according to His will.
Do these things reflect the change in your life?
Has your life ever been restored? If I asked you to rate these in the reality of your life…what would you rate?
Jesus came that you might look live talk walk and be more like Him in every way…that is simple…but so simple we complicate it. Choose simple today. Choose Jesus.