Who Are You People?
3/5 – Note to Church (Colossians 2:20-3:17)
Introduction — Here Paul gives a series of clear directives for the holy ones, the saints, in the church of Colassae. “Keep seeking the things above, where Christ is,” Paul states. “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on the earth,” he urges. “Consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry,” he pleads. “Put them all aside [anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth],” Paul insists. Paul reminds them throughout this letter that their life is in Christ, the head of the church. Christ is their rescue. Christ is their resurrection. Christ is their all, and He is in all of them. And so, as those holy and beloved whom God chooses, they are to put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. They are to bear with one another, forgiving each other. Beyond all these things—love—the perfect bond of unity. By His grace, God calls and unites them in Christ. He sets them apart to live holy lives for the glory of Jesus Christ, who is their hope of glory both now and forevermore. They must do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.
Christ is our life. He makes us holy. So, let’s pursue Him by His grace, through His strength, for His glory. Let’s look to Him. Let’s look like Him. Let’s live for Him. Let’s pursue Christ. Christ is our life.
Let the heart of Christ show through you. (3:12-14)
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 on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.
Comments: Here Paul urges the saints of Colossae to put on the character of Christ. Paul wants them to show who they already are in Christ. Their past is in the past. They don’t live there anymore. That’s not who they are. They are new creations, chosen by God, loved by God, made holy by God. They now live in Christ and for Christ. That’s who they are. And so, Paul directs them to put on a beautiful wardrobe that lets the heart of Christ show through. They must wear His mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. They must dress with His forgiveness.
T hey must clothe themselves in His love. Questions: How about us, church? Do we wear His mercy and kindness? Do we display His humility and meekness? Do we shine His patience? Do we offer His forgiveness? Do we put on His love? Do we show His heart? Do we look to Christ? Do we look like Christ? Illustration: For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. ~ Colossians 1:14-15
Application: Forgive. Forgive. Forgive. Offer His forgiveness freely and in love. Whoever has a complaint against anyone, just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you forgive. Note to church: let the heart of Christ show through you.
Let the peace of Christ rule over you. (3:15)
15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.
Comments: Next Paul directs the saints of Colossae to let the peace of Christ rule in their hearts. This peace came at great cost to our Lord. This peace breaks down walls. This peace makes them whole. This peace reconciles them to the Father. This peace builds up. This peace restores. This peace frees. This peace helps. This peace makes right. This peace is right. His peace is completely unlike the world’s shallow and fragile peace. This peace, His peace, leaves them neither troubled nor fearful (John 14:27). This peace, His peace, is their calling and their unity. And for this peace, they must give thanks. Questions: Do we let the peace of Christ rule over us? Does His peace saturate all our thoughts and actions? Do we pursue His peace? Do we see our calling as His body, the church? Do we delight in our unity? Are we thankful?
Illustration: For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. ~ Colossians 1:20-21
Application: Let’s delight in His peace. Let’s consider the cost of this peace. Let’s saturate everything we think and do as His body with His peace. Let’s live this peace. Note to church: let the peace of Christ rule over you.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you. (3:16-17)
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.
Comments: Paul concludes by instructing the saints of Colossae to let the word of Christ richly dwell within their church. This word, His word, is hope. This word is truth. This word bears fruit. This word is good news. This word is powerful. This word is captivating. This word is eternal. This word is alive. This word revives. This word renews. This word transforms. This word is His calling, His promise, His sustenance, and His command. So, it’s imperative that they teach and admonish (with all the wisdom of His word on their lips) one another, and that they sing grateful songs (with all the grace of His word in their hearts) to God. Then, whatever they do in word or deed, they will do in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. Questions: How about us? Do we make the word of Christ at home in our church? Do we long for His word? Do we listen to His word? Do we cherish His word? Do we know His word? Do we bring His word, His good news to others? Illustration: You have already heard about this hope in the message of truth, the gospel that has come to you. It is bearing fruit and growing all over the world, just as it has among you since the day you heard it and recognized God’s grace in the truth. ~ Colossians 1:5-6
Application: Let’s be lavish with the word of Christ among us. Let’s teach His word. Let’s sing His word. Let’s speak His word. Let’s live His word. Note to church: let the word of Christ dwell in you.
Word Study for Colossians 3:1-17
12 chosen (eklektos—chosen; picked out; selected; pure)
12 holy (hagios—holy; dedicated; sacred; pure; set apart; holy ones; saints)
12 beloved (agapao—love; show love; prize; take pleasure in; be content with)
12 put on (enduo—clothe; dress oneself; to put on)
12 compassion (oiktirmos—mercy; pity)
12 kindness (chrestotes—benevolence; goodness; excellence; uprightness)
12 humility (tapeinophrosyne—humility; modesty; humbleness; lowliness of mind)
12 gentleness (prautes—gentlness; moderation; mildness; meekness; leniency; consideration)
12 patience (makrothymia—longsuffering; forbearance; steadfastness; endurance)
13 bearing with (anechomai—accepting; enduring; be patient with; hold oneself up)
13 forgiving (charizomai—show kindness; give freely; give generously; cancel a debt; show favor)
14 love (agape—love; goodwill; affection or benevolence; charity; the love of God for man and man for God)
14 bond of unity (syndesmos—that which binds together; ligaments, joints)
15 peace (eirene—peace; freedom from worry; welfare; wholeness; confidence; be at peace; live in peace)
15 Christ (Christos—Messiah; anointed; anointed one)
15 rule (brabeuo—be judge; arbitrate for the benefit of; control; act as umpire; to govern)
16 word (logos—speech; gospel; message; account; preaching; reports)
16 dwell (enoikeo—live; dwell in; to inhabit; live with)
16 thankfulness (charis—grace; favor; goodwill; kindness; attractiveness)
17 name (onoma—person; reputation; fame; authority)
Application for Colossians 3:1-17
Let’s set our minds on Christ.
Let’s consider our past is past.
Let’s show the heart of Christ.
Let’s let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts.
Let’s let the word of Christ richly dwell within us.
Let’s give thanks through Christ to God the Father.
Let’s do all things to glorify Christ.
Gospel Connections for Colossians 3:1-17
Our life is in Christ. He gives us new life. He holds our lives together. He lives within us by His Spirit. Christ died to free us from sin. Our past is in the past. We don’t live there. Our past is in the past. We don’t need to go there. In Christ, our hope of glory, we receive His life. He makes holy. That’s who we are—saints. As those whom God chooses, holy and beloved, we must show the heart of Christ. We display mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. We bear with one another. We forgive one another. We love one another. We let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts. We let the word of Christ richly dwell within us. Indeed, whatever we do in word or deed, we must do all in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Thoughts and Quotes for Colossians 3:1-17
When we commit ourselves to the pursuit of holiness, we need to ensure that our commitment is actually to God, not simply to a holy lifestyle or a set of moral values ... offer yourselves to God, and in doing that commit yourselves to the pursuit of holiness in order to please Him. ~ Jerry Bridges
There is no holiness without a Christ-centered, Christ-seeking, Christ-serving, Christ-adoring heart. ~ J.I. Packer
Holiness is as much about what you do on a Monday morning on the factory floor as it is about what you do on a Sunday morning in a church gathering. Holiness is as much about the kind of neighbour you are as it is about the kind of church member you are. It is as much about who you are when you are holding a steering wheel as who you are when you are holding a Bible. ~ Tim Chester
We have largely lost sight of the holiness and purity of God today. This is one reason why we tolerate sin so easily. ~ Billy Graham
Oh, God show me more of Your holiness.
Show me more of my sinfulness.
Help me to hate sin and to love righteousness as You do.
Grant me a deeper conviction of sin and a more thorough spirit of repentance.
And make me holy as You are holy.
~ Nancy Leigh DeMosss, Holiness
If Christ has died for me, I cannot trifle with the evil that killed my best Friend. ~ Charles H. Spurgeon
Part of what we pick up in looking at Jesus in the gospel is a way of viewing the whole world. That worldview informs all our values and deeply shapes our thinking and decision-making. Another part of what we absorb is greater confidence in Jesus' counsel and his promises. This has its own powerful effect on what we fear and desire and choose. Another part of what we take up from beholding the glory of Christ is greater delight in his fellowship and deeper longing to see him in heaven. This has its own liberating effect from the temptations of this world. All these have their own peculiar way of changing us into the likeness of Christ. Therefore, we should not think that pursuing likeness to Christ has no other components than just looking at Jesus. Looking at Jesus produces holiness along many different paths. ~ John Piper, God is the Gospel
To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you. ~ C.S. Lewis
Forgiveness is the key that unlocks the door of resentment and the handcuffs of hatred. It is a power that breaks the chains of bitterness and the shackles of selfishness. ~ Corrie ten Boom
What comes up in the bucket is usually what’s down in the well. ~ anonymous Tennessee farmer
Our work is great; our time is short; the consequences of our labors are infinite. ~ John Newton