Go

Contact Us

  • Phone: (509) 747-3007
  • Email:
  • Meeting Address:
    115 E. Pacific Ave., Spokane, WA 99202
  • Office/Mailing Address:
  • 608 W. 2nd Ave, #101. Spokane, WA 99201

Service Times

  • Sunday: 10am
  • Infant through 8th grade Sunday School classes available
  • FREE Parking!

Sermons

FILTER BY:

Back To List

Nov 12, 2017

A Whole New Wardrobe

A Whole New Wardrobe

Passage: Colossians 3:8-14

Preacher: John Repsold

Series: Colossians

Keywords: anger, christ, lying, malice, prejudice, rage, slander, truthfulness, unity, spiritual & behavioral clothing, filthy speech

Summary:

This passage deals with the heart of God for what's at the heart of our behaviors. We must learn, in the Spirit, to take off certain thoughts, attitudes and behaviors as well as put on Christ's life. This passage helps us learn how to do that.

Detail:

A Whole New Wardrobe

Colossians 3:8-14

November 12, 2017

INTRO:  In 1980-81, I spent a year living in Manila, The Philippines.  Ferdinand Marcos and his wife, Imelda, were in power.  He was in his 16th of 21 years of rule, much of it under Marshall Law.  If memory serves me correctly (which it doesn’t more and more these days!), his wife, Imelda, was quite loved and respected by most Filipinos…that is until he was ousted as dictator in 1986, had to flee the country and the truth about Imelda came to light.  Remember what it was? 

            Imelda had this thing for shoes.  When protesters stormed the palace after the Marcoses fled to Hawaii in 1986, they discovered that this supposed women champion of the masses had amassed some 2,700 pairs of shoes in a country where millions lived barefoot and in squalor.  Meanwhile, she and her husband had pilfered some $5-10 billion from the government coffers.  Ferdinand ended up dying in Hawaii while his wife went on to return to the Philippines and be elected to the national Congress as well as run several times for President.  She still lives in the Philippines and serves in politics today.  Imelda had quite a wardrobe of shoes, perhaps an all-time world record. 

            We’re back in Colossians 3 today to look at the rather massive “wardrobe change” God has given each of us who are “in Christ” by faith in Him.  In this passage, Paul uses wardrobe language.  He’s telling us that in order to enjoy the new wardrobe God has provided to every child of God in terms of behaviors that clothe our personality, we need to “get rid of” some of our old behavioral clothing and “clothe ourselves” with new behavioral clothing. 

ILL:    My wife has this new rule about the closet we share:  if she buys a new piece of clothing, she has to get rid of an old piece.  No more “forever expanding wardrobe.”  She’s found that it’s a lot easier to get rid of something she hasn’t worn for a long time than it is to try and part with something that is just plain wearing out but she still likes wearing it.

            The same is true for behavioral clothing.  I’ve found that it’s a whole lot harder to “give away” or “get rid of” a behavior I frequently “wear.”  It has to do with both habit and holiness.  Old habits die hard.  New ones are born with pain.  But thanks be to God that we’re not just talking about habit hangovers.  We’re talking about kicking out the old, sinful, disgusting, messed-up, corrupted, corrupting, callous, uncaring, selfish, stubborn, proud, arrogant, angry, slanderous, filthy, lying, cheating no-good…you get the ide… “old self”.  As we do that, we make room for the the new, renewing, life-giving, self-sacrificing, life-changing, unifying, loving, humble, kind, gentle, strong, gracious, forgiving and refreshing life of Christ Jesus.

ILL:  Taking off the deeds of the flesh—start putting on a shirt that doesn’t fit over what I'm wearing.   It looks ridiculous and isn't comfortable either!

            This is why Paul, in teaching us what our new life in Christ is like, calls us first to “rid ourselves” of the old behavioral clothing.  Even well-tailored clothes don’t fit or work over top of old, dirty, ugly, bulky bad behaviors.  And we’ve all got them, right? 

APP:  How about taking a few moments to see how well in touch we really are with the “old nature” bad-behavioral clothing we still tend to put on.  Can you/I think of, in 15 seconds, 3 of the most common bad-behaviors you/I put on display to others or maybe just God in the course of a regular week?  GO! [15 seconds to think about 3 old nature go-to behaviors.]

            In vs. 8, Paul writes out a “short list” of old behavior clothing God’s people need to get rid of.  It’s not clothing you even want to be giving away to Goodwill.  God wants it thrown away in the trash bin of discarded behaviors.  Here they are.

Colossians 3:8ff--But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices….

Let’s just take a quick look at each of them. 

First, this is not, by any means an exhaustive list.  We saw several weeks ago that there are a bunch of sexually-related flesh-patterns that God calls us to dump as well.  This list is a continuation of that list in vs. 5. 

Paul is just intending to get the juices flowing about the kinds of things we tend to hang onto as God’s kids when we should be taking them off and destroying them. So from sexual sin he moves to word and attitude sins that are triggered often by reactions we have to other people’s behavior towards us or people we love.  And my guess is most of us engaged in one or more of them this week.

Anger:  the original word used here is also used in vs. 6 to talk about God’s anger/wrath coming against sexual immorality and idolatry.  So clearly not all anger is evil. Anger can be the proper response to evil that damages and destroys people.  Godly anger does not seek the destruction of people; it looks to deliver the victim from further destruction and the perpetrator from further evil. 

ILL:   Jesus’ anger in the Temple--  Jesus dealt with the evil of money changers making it hard for Gentiles to worship in John 2:15ff at the beginning of His ministry.  They didn't change.  So again at the end of his ministry (Mt. 21 & Mark 11), he demonstrates anger to them again.  It moved him to overturn tables and kick out people.  This was a divine reaction to assaults on God’s plan for people.  It not only righted a wrong; it kept money changers from continuing their evil…at least that day.  But His anger didn’t go on for hours or days.  God is “slow to anger” but quick to forgive.  Godly anger is usually slow to develop, enduring plenty of insults, but once expressed, it is put away. 

ILL:  When my anger over the lies Planned Parenthood wanted to teach our young people in Spokane about sex and sexuality moved me to invest hours of my time these past few weeks to stop them, I believe it was godly anger.  The more I read of the lies in the curriculum, the more my determination to do something protective to stop them grew.  And when we won a temporary battle, it lifted immediately. 

But if it stops there, it will fail to engage the full heart of Christ for the perpetrators of those lies.  Godly anger should also moves me to pray for and engage the staff and supporters of Planned Parenthood in such a way that I can call them humbly to Christ over the remaining time God has me in this battle. 

The emotion addressed here is not something that usually rises up in a moment.  It’s a slow, deliberate build, like an allergic reaction to a bee sting where your hand swells up little by little as your cells react to the invasion of venom. 

So if there is godly anger, there is also sinful anger.  What’s the difference?  It may feel very much like godly anger.  It may be a slow build.  We may get more and more agitated, more and more worked up.  We may stomp around the house for days, everything we do colored by our anger.  

Selfish anger is usually motivated by a personal offense of wound.  We may have suffered a genuine insult or abuse.  But selfish anger consumes and colors every corner of my life.  As much as we try to compartmentalize it, it spills over to other people and things.  It poisons other people and things.  And it doesn’t end quickly.  Rather than reversing evil it increases it and destroys both the perpetrator and the victim. 

Rage:  Where anger is a slow build, rage is usually anger boiling over in unchecked and destructive emotion.  As a child, I learned rage well.  I saw it modeled at close range.  So naturally, as I got older and began to encounter painful and frustrating situations in life, rage became my emotional fit of choice.  I doubt that there has ever been a time when my rage has been godly. 

The ungodly type of anger and rage usually comes about because some expected or (we think) justified goal is blocked in our life. 

  • Someone doesn’t behave as we think they should, whether on the freeway or on the soccer field. So we get angry.
  • Someone doesn’t give to us the words or behaviors we think we deserve or want. So we get angry. 
  • Someone ruins some of our stuff…so we get angry.

Godless anger and rage usually damages and destroys relationship rather than damaging the work of evil, which is what godly anger does. 

Since this is one experience in life I think all of us can relate to, how about we share things that have helped us control anger rather than anger controlling us?  Let’s do a “Top 10 Tools to Use Against Godless Anger.”  

Now let’s ask the Holy Spirit to point out any relationship that has been or is being damaged by our anger. 

APP:  What potentially redemptive relationship God might want you to have is being damaged by anger? Family member?  NeighborPoliticianFellow worker or student?  Let’s ask God to speak to us about that right now. [Silence-- listening to God.]

Anger often moves us to sin further with our attitudes, thoughts and speech. So now Paul moves to the mind with the word “MALICE” 

            Malice carries the idea of wishing someone ill.  In Titus 3:3 it is associated with envy and hatred that people without Christ naturally walk in toward someone they don’t like or are opposed to them.  It is thoughts that plan or hope for evil to fall on someone else.  It rejoices when someone fails or falls. . 

            Clearly our relationships with one another in God’s church are to never be characterized by this.  You might be thinking, “I’ve never seen people wish evil or ill on others in the church.”  Good, but if you live long enough, you will.  I’ve ministered in a church after a very acrimonious and bitter split took place.  When people either are wounded deeply or will not let go of their demands to control others, you will sadly find them wishing ill for and rejoicing at others misfortune unless they put on the love of Jesus. 

            But God doesn’t say we’re just not to practice malice with other Christ-followers.  Every relationship with an unbeliever is to be free of malice and instead full of love too. This is one of those things that God intends to set us apart from how the world operates. 

ILL:  Last week’s story of Richard Wurmbrand

ILLPrayer Summit a few weeks ago.  We were praying against the deadly work of abortion in our community.  Planned Parenthood is building a new $5 or $7 million dollar abortion clinic right across the street from Salvation Army Family Center on Indiana in Spokane.  One of our leaders started praying that God would curse the ground on which that clinic is being built.  After he ended his prayer, a Native American pastor gently rebuked this godly brother.  Native Americans understand that the earth, while not god, is to be a blessing and to be blessed by us.  He challenged us to pray for God’s judgment on evil works, but never on people or property. 

            So about a week later, 7 of us gathered on the sidewalk next to this clinic, walked back and forth in front of it and prayed.  We asked God to make it a place of life, not death.  We claimed it for a Christ-centered clinic in the future and called on God to stop evil in that place and overcome it with good. 

            As we were doing that, one of the employees of Planned Parenthood who I’ve gotten to know through this battle against their curriculum in the public school came walking by and smugly said, “It’s quite a building, isn’t it?”  I just smiled and said, “Yes, it’s a beautiful building”…and kept thanking God that someday it’s going to belong to God’s people!  J

            But you know what will be even better than that?  The day SHE belongs to God and finds forgiveness in Christ! Norma McCorvy who was “Jane Roe” in the infamous Roe v. Wade Supreme case court of 1973 eventually became a follower of Jesus.  Abortion clinic directors have found Christ through the years.   

Praying for those who oppose us, those who oppose God, those who hate the truth and fight and rail and curse against it should be our response to thoughts of malice.  We should never wish ill on them.  We must never be people of malice, no matter how grievous the sin against us.

  • Someone steals your spouse? Don’t give into malice.
  • Someone steals your business? Don’t give way to malice.
  • Someone does bodily injury to you that results in disability and/or constant pain? Don’t return malice. 

Love the sinner and pray for blessing on those we would naturally have malice towards. 

APP:  Anyone God is showing you who you are wishing ill for?  Confess it as sin.  Then ask for the Holy Spirit’s work to replace malice with love, compassion and kindness

Thoughts unchecked by the Spirit will almost always move to words that come from the flesh and the devil.  “

SLANDER and FILTHY LANGUAGE from your mouth” rounds out this dirty almost half-dozen deeds we must “take off.” 

Slander is simply speaking ill of another.  It can be 100% truth but the intent is lower other’s opinion of someone.  It’s paired with a word that is only used once in the N.T. for “filthy speech/ language.”  Apparently in God’s eyes, when we tear down someone else’s reputation we are using our mouths for speech which really defiles and sullies US, the speaker.

ILL:  Often when I’m working in the back yard, I’ll hear kids walking back or to Ferris High School.  Some of them have some pretty foul mouths.  Foul speech tells me a whole lot about them even if we’ve never met. 

Most of us probably don’t go around using a bunch of filthy language or 4 letter words among God’s people or at home.  But when we do…or when we slander anyone…it tells us and the people listening a whole lot more about us than the people we are talking about.  It puts us on the side of darkness, not light.  It puts us in the camp of the Accuser of the brethren, the devil, not in the camp of our Advocate, the Holy Spirit.  He makes intercession for needy sinners, not accusations.    

We all seem to offend in this matter too.  Have we ever slander is simply speaking ill of another.  We all seem to offend in this matter too.  Have we ever gone a whole week without saying something negative about another?  Negative speech about people is NOT to be what Christ-followers are either known for or engaged in.

Lastly on the sins of speech, Paul tackles truthfulness…or actually it’s opposite, lying.  Colossians 3:9-10

 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.

            Again, we don’t normally think of brothers and sisters as liars. But we all struggle with truthfulness in different ways. 

ILL:  It reminds me of a story about a pastor who noticed a group of boys standing around a small stray dog.

“What are you doing, boys?”

“Telling lies,” said one of the boys. “The one who tells the biggest lie gets the dog.”

The minister was visibly shocked. “Well, when I was your age,” he said, “I never thought of telling a lie.”

The boys looked at one another, a little disappointed and crestfallen. Finally one of them shrugged and said, “I guess he wins the dog.”  J

            How do we engage in “lying” with one another in the church? Paul is talking about how we relate “to each other.”  Lying isn’t just telling boldfaced, outright lies.

1.)  We lie when we fail to be honest about our weaknesses, failings, struggles and even emotions.

“How are you” is probably the one question we all lie in response to most.  I get why we give sort of glib answers.  But it doesn’t lead us into love as a spiritual family.  Being in touch with truly “how we are” is the first step to getting into deeper, Christ-centered relationships with others.  We all need honest relationships where we can give more than a 1-word answer of “fine/great/horrible/struggling/well.” 

ILL:    I know of people who struggle with chronic pain or illness who hate to come to church because people who have been praying for their healing want to hear they are doing “better.”  When month after month the answer is “I’m really struggling,” unless people are prepared to have a more in-depth conversation or to talk about the struggle, we end up lying to each other just to be polite…or avoid a crying spell? 

            We are so used to merely passing, ricocheting relationships all day long that when we come together as a spiritual family, it’s far too easy to treat one another like we treat people at school or work.  “Don’t get too personal with me or I will have to be transparent and real if I’m going to be honest.” 

            But how much love or compassion or prayer or wisdom or truth or exhortation do we forfeit when we choose not to be truly truthful with one another? 

ILLCarl T.’s challenge to me last week after presenting with undoubtedly some degree of frustration and passion how damaging I felt the P.P. curriculum was for our community.  He came back later and very gently and kindly share how he has never really won an argument or a person to his way of thinking by attacking them.  Rather, trying to understand WHY they do what they do, trying to develop a relationship, and trying to work together for a common goal produces far better results. 

            That was not lying to me about what he was honestly thinking about my evident passion and frustration.  In doing so he risked our friendship (had I been defensive).  But because he did, God has been speaking to a blind spot in my thinking and behavior all week long.  I plan to initiate some change with regard to people I know with P.P. and people at the School District.  And I am hoping that a new tone and focus in our conversations may actually produce a much better product for our youth. 

Lies take many forms, don’t they?  Got any suggestions?

  • “Little white lies”: like when the dentist asks you how often you floss (like he/she can’t tell). J
  • Exaggerations: You make the comment to someone you want to impress about your spiritual diligence, “The other morning during my regular devotional time…” when the fact is “regular” has to mean once/week. 
  • Cover-ups: for others, for ourselves—for an alcoholic family member; taking sick-days because you have a mild headache…but not enough to keep you from cleaning the house or doing errands. 
  • “Courtesy/polite” lies: like when someone gives you fruitcake for Christmas…and you hate fruitcake.  So when they ask you 2 weeks later how you liked it, you say something like, “Wow!  Fruitcake never stays around our house long.  It was gone in 2 days!”  J
  • Business lies: Ever been asked to write a recommendation for someone who you probably shouldn’t be?  But instead you write, “I can assure you that no person would be better for the job.”  J
  • Silent lies: not saying anything when you know what is being said is not factual, whether about you or someone else. 
  • Not the full story/truth; leaving out important or uncomfortable parts of a story or statement.
  • My personal favorite—“Shades of gray” (not 50!)--changing how you present something depending on the person you’re talking with so that you can avoid conflict or win their favor.

The only possible biblical exception to this command (as well as the 8th Commandment) is intentionally deceiving in order to save the life of another person (see Hebrew midwives [Ex.1:15-22] and Rahab with the Hebrew spies in Jericho [Joshua 2:4-6] >>Hebrews 11). 

            Paul follows his charge not to lie with a couple of reasons:

  1. Because we’ve taken off this old nature/person/flesh.
  2. Because we’ve put on the “new self” that is growing every day to be more like Jesus, i.e. “renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator” (vs. 10).

            Here’s where many of us fail in this battle.  We may try very hard to “take off” these sinful and self-focused characteristics Paul has mentioned.  But without continual renewal, ongoing renewal in “knowledge” (epignosis--experiential knowledge of Christ), we will not get closer to the image of God in which we were originally intended to live.  

This is an adventure that must be taken with Christ.  It’s not enough to just stop lying.  Vs. 12 will go on and tell us what must take the old nature’s place:  “clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”  That certainly describes our Lord Jesus Christ, right?  He’ll go on and add in vs. 13-- “bear with each other and forgive one another….Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  14) And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” 

  • Imagine how many marriages would avoid divorce court if God’s children would just practice these 2 verses?
  • Imagine how many church splits would be avoided.
  • Imagine how many friendships in the Body of Christ would be preserved and flourish?
  • Imagine how many people would find the church a true family of loving, Christ-living people.

This is WHY, I believe, vs. 11 highlights a host of different things that naturally would divide, stratify and isolate people in the family of God.

Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.  Notice what are the different types of differences presented here:

1.)  Gentile or Jewracial.  Surely wherever there is racial prejudice or preference among God’s people, we are not experiencing Christ.

2.)  circumcised or uncircumcisedreligious.  I’ll be the first to say that theology matters and theological differences matter.  But they matter to how you live out your faith and how you experience Christ.  Sadly, we’ve transformed this “NO circumcised or uncircumcised” into, “YES, Protestant vs. Roman Catholic.  YES Baptist vs. Lutheran.  YES, contemporary vs. traditional.  YES, Evangelical vs. Charismatic, etc., etc.” 

3.)  Barbarian, Scythiannationalistic/cultural.  One of the great privileges I’ve had in life is to know, live among and worship with a multitude of different cultures—Costa Rican, African American, Spanish, Romanian, Ethiopian, Indian, Chinese, Filipino, Cambodian, Russian, etc.  Every culture brings something different and beautiful to the body of Christ.  And in Christ, we are really ONE.

4.)  Slave or freesocial/class/socio-economic.  This is MOSAIC!  This is why I love experiencing Christ in this local family of believers.  But, even among us, we feel the stress and strain, right?  We still have to work at finding things we share in common, at being able to talk and listen past or personal experiences or educational levels or income levels. 

            What I’ve found is that the more we talk about, focus on and concern ourselves with Jesus Christ, the easier it is to experience a heart-bond of unity.  We may have virtually nothing else in common.  But since we have Jesus “in common,” we have far more “in common” than we have “different.”  The immensity of God himself is our common ground.  His love, mercy, grace and sacrifice for us is our common ground. 

“Here,” in the family of God, NONE of these differences should ever be allowed to divide us! Because (vs. 11b) Christ is all, and is in all.”

            When we get to heaven, none of these “differences” are going to matter.  So the sooner and closer we get to that state of perfection, the better off we’re going to be.  Christ is “all”—all we need, all we may someday have left on this earth, all our souls desire most deeply, all we should be longing for.  And He is “in all” of us who know Him as our Lord and Savior. 

            It is no accident that God gave us 4 Gospels.  If you read only one thing each day, read the Gospels.  Read about Jesus.  Put yourself in the crowd listening to Him.  Walk on the road with Him and the disciples.  Go to dinner with Him at the Pharisee’s house…or hang out with him among the “sinners and tax collectors.”  Go to the Upper Room with Him…to the Garden of Gethsemane…to the torture room with the Romans…to Calvary with all its mockers, all its blood, all its darkness. 

“Christ is all!”    We just need to set aside enough of the “old us” so that we can be clothed with all the “…compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness…patience….forgiveness and love” of CHRIST!

APP:  How is God asking you today to put on Christ more?  How is he inviting you to make Him more “your life…your all”? 

  • If you find more of the sins we’ve looked at today and little of Christ in your daily experience right now, perhaps you need to encounter Jesus today as Savior and Lord? [Invitation]