Andrew Fountain - New Clothes

Colossians 3:8–17

Key: metaphor behaviour to one another to God

  1. But now you yourselves are to strip off all these:
    anger, rage, malice, slander, filthy language out of your mouth.
  2. Do not lie to one another,
    seeing as you have stripped off the old man with his practices,
  3. and have clothed yourself with the new man that is renewed
    to a grasp of the truth according to the image of him who created it,
  4. where there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free
    but Christ is all and in all.
  5. Therefore, as the chosen of God, holy and beloved, clothe yourself with
    tender mercies, kindness, humility, gentleness, longsuffering;

  • 13bearing with one another,
  • and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another;
    even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do;
  • 14and of top of all these things adding love, which is the bond of perfection.
  • 15And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts,
    • for which purpose you were chosen in one body;
      • and be thankful [to God].
  • 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly:
    • in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another
      • in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,
        singing with thanks in your hearts to the Lord.
  • 17And whatever you do in word or deed,
    • do all [to one another] in the name of the Lord Jesus,
      • giving thanks to God the Father through him

Parallel in Ephesians 5:18–20

  • 18And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery,
    but be filled with the Spirit,
    • 19speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,
      • singing and making music to the Lord with your heart,
    • 20giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father
      in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
    • 21submitting to one another out of allegiance to Christ.

Sermon notes - New Clothes

0. Intro

  • News just in

Leafs have a new player

Leafs have a new player



Image source: Michael Miller

  • used to play for the penguins
  • “Look, we have payed a lot of money for you, we would really appreciate it if you helped our team”
  • “Please show your gratitude by not body-checking any of our players”
  • “or trying to get the puck past our goalkeeper”
  • “Your’s a leaf now! Our guys are wearing blue and white—go for it!”
  • This is how Paul is speaking.
    • He’s not trying to plead with us. He says—you’re on a different team now!

1. The Story so far

  • There are some damaging errors creeping into the churches in this area
  • Instead of answering them 1 by 1, Paul’s responds by making sure they understand the truth
  • He gives a beautifully compact and exquisitely constructed presentation of Jesus and salvation
  • He wrote it for more than just the Colossians —at the end he says “pass the letter on”.

Tree and Roots

  • The first half is the roots
    • Comes together in the trunk
    • and the second half spreads out and brings fruit






2:8–19 Fulness: Union with Jesus, victory through him

1:24–2:7 Development: treasure hidden, now revealed

1:9b-23 Essence: Jesus, high over all, has made a new creation

1:1–9a Foundation: Truth is what brings fruit and power

  • Two weeks ago I spoke about Union with Christ

There is no truth that has such ability
to give us joy, strength and victory,
and to produce the finest fruit in our lives,
as that of being united with Jesus Christ.

If we really grasp this truth,
really get it,
it will transform us.

  • The second half of the book spreads out from this truth like ripples in a pond:

Ripples in a pond

Ripples in a pond

2. The Passage (Pt. 1)

  • Show the passage:

Colossians 3:8–17

Link to the passage

  • read 8–12
    • notice the flow of argument:
      • strip off (old behaviour)
      • since you have stripped off the old man
      • you have clothed yourself with the new man
      • so clothe yourself with (new behaviour)
  • Explain the colours
  • Paul does not tell them to put on the new man
    • This has already happened to them—now they have to live out of their new identity
      • Who is the new man? Who is the old?
    • Our identity is so important
      • My name is James and I’m an alcoholic
    • Celebrating Sobriety
      • My name is James and I’m a follower of Jesus (who has a problem with alcohol)
  • The two dogs theory

two dogs

two dogs

  • The problem with the two dogs theory
    • Who’s doing the feeding?
  • We are part of the new man
    • We have died to the old man
    • But still have his clothes on!!!
  • As we grow up we learn ways of behaving.
    • And because the world is very broken, and we don’t have renewed hearts, we can learn some very bad patterns.
    • e.g. if we have parents who are very critical...
    • Your siblings might be greedy and you learn to fight for your own toys.
  • [v.10] Renewed into an image, whose image?
    • like drawing a shape around Jesus on the wall, and we grow up into it—what the new creation human should look like.
  • The new identity we have looks very much like Jesus, in fact we bear his image [10b]
    • Nothing like the “good dog” idea
    • we tend to live out of our identity
    • not a “filthy person with white clothes on”
    • but nevertheless, there is a process [v.10] of being renewed
      • the renewing is a process of grasping this truth and living out of it
      • Some translations give the impression that we are renewed “by the truth”
        • (It does say that in some places in the Scriptures)
      • But here the idea is that we are renewed into the truth,
        • and the truth is our new identity as the image of Christ
  • [v.11] The new man is pictured as belonging to a new place—the new creation
    • where there are no special interest groups and tensions between people
    • because this place is defined by Jesus Christ (v.11b) who is all and is in all
      • not subgroups within the church that we belong to
  • The language he uses is all about clothes
    • The idea is that there is a new person underneath, but the old clothes are still on.
      • Now of course we have the same identity in the New Creation...
    • Volunteer (pre-chosen)
    • Descripe each sin:
      • Anger: a deep and settled resentment and anger
        • A 5-year old boy, suddenly felt numb from the waist down. Mom decided to take him to a big hospital...
        • There is a good anger, say against injustice, but unresolved anger is one of the most damaging things there is.
      • Rage: a sudden flair-up. Can become a habit that is part of us
        • Grew up in a critical blame-culture. Criticism=worthlessness
        • Very defensive and snaps back if there is a hint of criticism
        • sensitive to being “devalued” (because of history)
      • Malice: wanting to hurt another person maliciously, maybe revenge. Often it is by cutting remarks. Can become a habit.
      • Slander: Talking behind people’s backs. Oooh, did you hear the latest about Bumo!
        • Actually leaders are particularly vulnerable to this, because for some reason people think they are not human and therefore can’t be hurt by gossip
        • This is a form of cowardice—not speaking to the person directly
      • Filthy language: Can be part of an old set of habits
  • Now we have to “put on”
    • tender mercies: Literally a “heart of compassion” —you can sense that with some people
      • You know what it is like if you feel hardness from a person, or a gentle heart
    • kindness: Goodness, like the “good Samaritan”. He is such a kind person
    • humility: Opposite of the false humility earlier
      • this is about doing the lowly jobs, like cleaning the washrooms. Jobs that other people feel they are too important for.
      • It is about serving others
    • gentleness: (or meekness) Not a person who retaliates, but is soft (yet not weak)
      • You know when something has happened to you that is so upsetting you don’t even want to talk about it
        • If you were to talk about is, this the kind of person you would talk to
    • longsuffering: (expanded in [v.13])
      • Willing to keep forgiving and to keep caring for someone who keeps getting on your nerves

3. The Passage (Pt. 2)

  • Read through and talk about it
    • expansions of [v.12]
    • bearing: sample word for word study: bad situation, or person, but always unpleasant
      • Here’s it’s a person. You probably don’t know anyone like that
  • [v.15] interesting that we were chosen for peace
  • [v.16] peace, now word of Christ. —his teachings
    • people have tried to classify psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, but none of them turn out to be specific words
      • The reason he uses three different words is to emphasize diversity.
  • [v.15,16,17] all give us
    • A command
    • Something for one another
    • Something for God
      • so [v.16] songs is for God, as [15 & 17]
  • What about the Holy Spirit?
    • There is only one mention in the whole book, and that’s at the beginning.
    • Is Paul losing his touch as he gets older?
    • For Paul, being “in Christ” and “in the Spirit” are the same thing
    • To “put on Christ” and “be filled with the Spirit” are the same
      • because the Spirit is the Spirit of Christ
      • Paul often uses this name
    • Not because the Spirit is not a separate person, but because his role is to bring Christ to us.
  • Parallel in Ephesians
    • Same teaching, but replace “put on Christ” with “be filled with the Spirit”
    • A different metaphor for the same thing

4. Application

  • If you are not part of this new creation, then no amount of effort will change you.
    • Ask Jesus to create a new person in you.
  • There are two steps
    1. identify the issues in your life (to put off and put on)
    2. Actually start living out your new identity by puting them off and on
  • We can’t do all of that now, but we can start on the first part
    • So right now we can start to identify the issues that we need to put off and put on, with the help of the Spirit.
    • It’s important that we respond to this as soon as possible. Make a start right now.
  • The problem is that we are all blind to our own issues
    • But we have one another and we have the Holy Spirit
  • Just read down this list
    • Ask the Spirit to show you one piece of clothing you must take off
    • And something he wants you to put on
    • Then pray quietly for a minute or so

Updated on 2016-11-08 by Andrew Fountain