- Sermon Notes
Putting Off and Putting On
Paul is writing this letter to the church at Colossae. He didn’t plant this church nor had he ever been in that city. The church in Colossae was planted by Epaphras who had heard the gospel when Paul was in Ephesus. He was radically saved by the gospel and he eagerly brought the good news to the people in the city of Colossae. At this point the church was thriving, their faith was well known and they were constantly bearing fruit and increasing.
Paul is writing because Epaphras came to him with news; though the church was healthy and strong, false teachers had come into the church and there was danger that they could cause real damage, so Paul sends this letter to lay down a strong foundation of the truth. He intends to strengthen their faith, to refute false teaching, and encourage them to keep growing in their relationship to Christ and maturity of faith.
Last week we read that Paul was praying for them. That prayer is also a call for each one of us to be strengthened in faith and to live out that faith in our lives.
“Be filled with real knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and spiritual understanding… so that you may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, pleasing Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God,”
Paul prayed. In other words, when there is true revival in your heart and the Spirit is strengthening you in the inner man, it transforms how you live.
In contrast, the problem with the false teaching that was coming into the church was that it gave no hope of eternal life or the forgiveness of sin, the inner man was not strengthened by the Spirit, and it was of no value against fleshly indulgence. (Verse 2:23).
In chapter 3, Paul speaks of the practical transformation that comes to a believer who is strengthened by the Spirit in the inner man. He uses the picture of putting off the old and putting on the new. His point is that spiritual transformation is of great value against fleshly indulgence, and the Spirit encourages us to desire that victory in our lives. “Keep seeking the things above… Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth,” Paul wrote.
I. Lay Aside the Old Self
- When you read these verses it’s easy to get the idea that you simply take off the old clothes from the past, go to God’s closet, take out the clothes of the new man and put them on. It’s not that simple.
Illus – There’s a scene from the new Star Wars movie where a stormtrooper named Finn escapes the evil Empire, only to crash on a nearby planet. As he leaves the crash site he removes the old stormtrooper armor piece by piece, leaving a trail behind him. I love that scene, but in reality, it’s not that simple.
- You have to keep putting off the old ways of thinking, old habits, old feelings and emotions.
- When you came to faith in Jesus Christ, you brought a lot of the old life with you and you have to keep putting it off and putting on the new. Old practices, old habits and old emotions were there first and it’s easy to fall back on that which is familiar.
- But those ways were hurtful to you and those around you and what God wants for you is so much better.
- But those ways were hurtful to you and those around you and what God wants for you is so much better.
Illus - Israel lived in the slavery and oppression of Egypt for 400 years. God miraculously set them free through Moses, but setting them free from their old way of thinking was a different thing altogether. God set them free, but they kept thinking the same old ways.
Numbers 11:5-6, “We remember the fish we use to eat in Egypt, the cucumbers and the melons and the leaks and the onions and the garlic, but now our appetite is gone. There is nothing at all to look at except this manna.”
Isaiah 43:17-18, “Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past. Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it?”
A. Lay aside the old way of treating others
- Verse 8 – lay aside all these kinds of hurtful words.
James 3:9-10, With the tongue we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way.
James 1:26, If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue, but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless.
- All of these things come from hurt emotions; and hurt emotions are based on pride and immaturity. God gave emotions to us as a gift, but they were never meant to master over us.
1 Corinthians 6:12, …I will not be mastered by anything
- The problem with anger is that it makes you overreact and you say and do things that are hurtful and later regret. Anger is a very strong emotion.
Illus –A water moccasin in Arkansas, cockroaches in Africa.
Proverbs 16:32, He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his own spirit, than he who captures a city.
B. Lay aside lying
- Truth is very important to God; truth is part of His nature, His character. Jesus said, “I am the way, I am the Truth, and I am the life; no one comes to the Father but through me.”
- Lying and deception is part of the nature of the enemy, the devil, and it’s part of the nature of the world from which we came.
John 8:44-45, “You are of your father the devil, and want to do the desires of your father… He does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me.”
- Lies are very destructive. Relationships are built on the foundation of trust and truth; through this word God is strengthening and building and edifying relationships.
Proverbs 12:22, Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who deal faithfully are His delight.
Illus - When I was 18, I lied to try to get out of a traffic ticket. It didn’t work. When I was 45…
- That being said, Paul also said in another place that when you speak the truth, you should also speak the truth in love. Truth without love can be hurtful, but truth with love is edifying.
Illus - If your wife asks, “Honey, does this dress look good on me?” and you think it’s atrocious, don’t say, “Pastor Rich said I have to tell the truth... Better to say, “You do more for that dress than it does for you…”
II. Put on the New Self
- When you opened your heart to receive Christ, God created the new man; the eternal, forgiven soul that has already inherited the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. God created it; now live your life according to it. That’s what Paul is saying.
- Verse 10 – the new self is being renewed, Paul wrote, according to the image of the One who created him. In other words, transformation of soul, of heart and of character is a continual process; verse by verse, chapter by chapter, day by day, we are being changed. Into what? Into His character, into His perspective, into His heart.
2 Corinthians 3:18, But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.
- To have an unveiled face is to open your heart and trust His grace, His kindness, and His forgiveness.
Illus - When Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4, He spoke to her about living water. She responded, “Sir, give me this water…” Jesus said, “Go, call your husband and come here.” She answered, “I have no husband.” Jesus said, “You said it correctly, for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; this you have said truly.”
- Why was Jesus even speaking to this woman? Clearly He knew what kind of woman this was, so why speak to her at all? Answer; it wasn’t about what kind of woman this was; it was about what kind of heart God has toward sinners.
A. Put on a heart of compassion
- To put on the new self is to put on a heart after Christ, a heart like His, a heart of compassion.
- It’s easy to become religious and become high and mighty and look down on those who have made mistakes, who have made a mess of their lives.
- But to have a heart like Jesus is to have a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience…
Luke 7:36-50 He who is forgiven much, loves much.
- Because Simon of that story looked down on Jesus, he also looked down on that woman. But when you see Christ in His glory you want His heart for yourself, and the result is compassion.
B. Put on a heart of forgiveness
- When you put on the new self, created in Christ Jesus, you’re putting on His heart. That’s seen in verse 13, “Bearing with one another, and forgiving each other… just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.”
- He who is forgiven much, loves much. But not only should we love the Lord for how much He has forgiven us, we should extend that same forgiveness.
- Peter asked of Jesus, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”
Matthew 18:22, Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.”
- When we forgive, we become like Him who also forgave us. In other words, forgiveness is a wonderful blessing for the one who receives it, but it’s transforming to the one who gives it.
- But if you do not forgive, if you hold onto a grudge, then bitterness takes hold of your heart and that bitter heart will make everything in your life bitter.
Hebrews 12:15, See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled;
C. Put on a heart that loves
- Verse 14- Beyond all these things put on love which is the perfect bond of unity. In other words, it is the greatest of all things.
- The word ‘love’ is often used too broadly in English. We use it to say that we love many things, but here the word is ‘agape.’
- God is love and it determines the course of His actions. “God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son…”
- Love is what makes us something…
1 Corinthians 13:2, If I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing…
- Can you imagine living and not loving? God made us in His image. God is love and He made us to love and be loved.
Illus - At this is why it’s disturbing to see someone who has such disregard for another human life. It’s offensive to our soul because we were made in the image of God and God is love. How does a person turn into a monster? They become so disconnected from others that they cannot love.
- One of the most important things you can give a child is love, it’s what makes him something.
- Love is something you give away; it comes out of who you are in the inner man. Transform the inner man with love and you have something to give away. The more love you give away, the greater you become in spiritual things.
2 Corinthians 12:15, I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls.
- Many people think the goal of life is to be loved, this is not quite right. We are already loved beyond all we could ask or even imagine. The goal of life should be to give love.
- The blessing of giving love, however, is that it comes back to you…
2 Corinthians 9:6, This I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
Colossians 3:8-17 NASB
8 But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, 10 and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him- 11 a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all.
12 So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. 14 Beyond all these things put onlove, which is the perfect bond of unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.