Safe and Sound…Part II
Text: Colossians 3:12-16

Proposition: As to be Safe refers to Justification, the term Sound refers to Sanctification, a process of not only putting off idolatry but putting on Christ.

Introduction: Put off and put on, that’s how Paul describes what it means grow in holiness, to be sanctified as a Christian. There are a series of commands in Colossians 3, commands like “Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth, sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed which amount to idolatry.” Implied in that command is the word, “You”. This happens repeatedly, in  passages like verse 9, “Do not lie to one another..”, again the word “You” is implied. Today it’s here again in verse 12, “You” put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering, bearing with one another…”. If there’s any putting off and putting on to be done as regards holiness we need to know that it’s going to take an action of our will. You put on your coat to come here this morning, if you hadn’t done that you would have suffered the cold. You put on your shoes for the same reason. You do it because you benefit. That said take a moment to see how Colossians 3:12 begins, “Therefore, as (the) elect of God, holy and beloved…”. This is again a statement about identity, about who you are as a Christian. Who you are will determine what you do, we talked about that last week. Elect as used here is an adjective, not a noun nor a verb. Elect is a term that describes God, it describes who God is as One who chooses. That same ‘elect’ word is used in 1 Peter 2:6, “Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious, and he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame." This quote from Isaiah 28:16 is a reference to the Messiah, to Jesus, the chosen or elect of God. In 1 Timothy 5:21 it shows up again, “I charge you before God and the Lord Jesus Christ and the elect angels that you observe these things without prejudice, doing nothing with partiality.” This time the holy angels are described as being elect, chosen for a purpose. What’s my point other than seeking to expand our understanding of the use of the term elect, it’s simply to point out that though it’s you who put off and put on attributes leading to holiness you also are able to do this because you are chosen of God, you are holy and beloved of God. In order to put on these next things that Paul itemizes we need to see and receive the truth that God does choose, and He has chosen you to be holy. Holiness moves like a pebble that is dropped into a pond. It doesn’t look like much at the time but it’s ripple starts at the center and then moves ever outward in increasing circles. That’s why Paul describes holiness as beginning with you. You put on holiness. It starts with you but as you continue to read chapter three you see holiness moving from you to the next sphere of relationship in marriage, then in family, then in work relationships and then beyond that to the lives that God will influence through you. So let’s look at what you are to put on, Col. 3:12.

I. Everything We Are To Put On Has Been Exemplified By Jesus Christ.                                                                                                                                                                                  That term ‘put on’ has the connotation of sinking into a garment. It’s not a tight fit that I can barely get into, it’s something that I kind of sink into, it feels great and it surrounds and protects me. You could even say there’s room to grow in this and yet I benefit by having put it on. Look at the list of what we are to put:
1. Tender mercies – in the KJV it’s called ‘bowels of mercies’, the term bowels referring to the seat of emotions. So the word ‘tender’ we would translate into the word ‘heart’. Put on a heart of mercies or a heart of compassion. What does that look like, well it looks like Jesus because everything we are entreated to put on is exemplified in Christ. When was Jesus compassionate, was it when He healed the sick, restored the lepers, raised the dead, fed five thousand? In almost everything Jesus did He showed a heart full of mercy. He saw their struggle and He met them in it. Did they deserve it, like the woman caught in adultery, no, mercy was not something they deserved it was something He gave even though they didn’t deserve it. When you look at the list of things we are to put off in verse 5, a heart of compassion is the direct opposite of all of them. Put on a tender heart.
2. Kindness – it simply refers to moral goodness or integrity. Did Jesus exemplify integrity? When He restored Peter was that integrity, when He refuted the Pharisees about whether they should pay taxes to Caesar, was that integrity, when He pled with God the Father in Gethsemane saying, “Not My will but Thy will be done”, was that integrity? Moral goodness, kindness, replaces evil desire as a motivation. Put on kindness.
3. Humility – literally defined it’s a deep sense of one’s moral littleness. Humility is what Jesus demonstrated when He said, “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works.” Jesus has His confidence properly placed in the Father, that is humility. For holiness to grow in us, you put on humility. When you put on humility, filthy speech and blasphemy or slander are put off.
4. Meekness -  it means gentleness. So when was Jesus gentle?  Was it in the way that He wanted the little children to come close to Him, was it in the way that He let a prostitute wash His feet with her tears and wipe them with her hair? Was He gentle when He called to Mary outside the empty tomb, was He gentle when He walked with the two on the road to Emmaus? When you put on gentleness, anger and malice will be put off. One day Jesus quoted from the book of Isaiah (42:3) , it described the Messiah and it said, “A bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not quench, till He sends forth justice to victory.” Gentle, that’s who Jesus is until He sends forth justice to victory! Put on gentleness.
5. Longsuffering – patient, persevering, forbearing the wrongs of others. Consider this verse from Revelation 13:8 when you think about the longsuffering or the patience of Jesus, “All who dwell on the earth will worship him {the anti-christ}, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” From before the foundation of the world, that’s the timeline of the long suffering of Jesus Christ. The longsuffering of Jesus is what each of us have benefited from, it is that same patience in us that God uses to reach people for Christ. You put on long suffering.
6. Forgiveness – this word needs no explanation but it does help to know that this letter is being written to the people in Colossae. One of the members of that congregation was a man named Philemon. This man had a slave who had deserted him and run away to Rome. It just so happened that this slave met Paul in Rome, was saved from his sins through faith in Christ and now Paul is going to send this slave named Onesimus back to his master. Forgiveness for betrayal, forgiveness for ingratitude, forgiveness for deception… forgiveness…can you think of a time when Jesus exemplified that trait? All I can see is the cross. Put on forgiveness.
7. Love – above all these things put on love. It’s like he’s saying that love is what makes all these other things work. When we were in the north everyone carried a set of tire chains in their pickup trucks. Tire chains made a two wheel drive truck act like it was in four wheel drive, the chains would bite into mud or snow or ice. The thing is when you put on tire chains you need to use these rubber bungees to make the chains tight on the tire or else the tire would spin in the chains and rip off the brake lines. I learned that one the hard way. The bungees hold everything tight, they are what make all the links of the tire chains effective. Love is like those bungees, it gives and takes, but it never quits holding them in place. Love has an elastic quality in that it can be taken advantage of, it can be stretched, sometimes to the breaking point, but it always seeks to hold things together. Did Jesus ever exemplify love? For God so loved the world… but God demonstrates His own love in that… in this is love not that we loved God but that…  You put on love.
8. Peace – let the peace of God rule in your hearts. That word ‘rule’ means ‘to be an umpire’, peace is ruling in you so you can see what a strike is, what sin is. Peace is what God uses in you to say whether a ball you’ve hit is fair or foul and peace is what calls you safe and sound at home plate. Peace ruled in the heart of Jesus, tempted in all things as we are yet without sin. Peace ruled and the response in Jesus was to always be thankful to the Father.
9. Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly – again the word ‘you’ is implied here isn’t it?  Attached to it is all wisdom, teaching and even admonishing one another. The Word, even in song, pulls grace out of us and offers it to the Lord.   
Next week let’s finish this chapter on holiness as we watch the ripples move out into the speres of marriage, family, work and beyond.

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