SERMON NOTES: Putting on the New Self
Clothes can say a lot about a person. What you wear might indicate the kind of job you work, or your spending habits, or your personality. And as we all know, certain occasions call for certain attire. Well, I can remember one particular instance when I wore something that did not fit the occasion. When I was in seminary I was a part-time associate pastor at a church outside of Boston. And one particular weekend they were having a special dinner. And somehow I failed to realize that this was more of a formal event. And so I showed up wearing jeans and an untucked shirt. And when I got there I thought, “uh oh…I’m underdressed.” And it was too late. There wasn’t time to go home. And everyone else coming into the building was wearing their best attire; dresses, slacks, coats, ties. And here I am, feeling terribly out of place. And I thought maybe no one would really notice. And then someone kindly leaned over to me and said, “I guess you didn’t get the memo huh?” And now by God’s grace I have a wife who prevents me from making such mistakes.
Well, in our portion of Scripture this morning Paul tells us about the kind of clothes that are fitting for the saints. And to be clear, he’s not talking about a cotton poly blend garment. He’s talking about the very character that should be worn by those who are walking in close fellowship with the Lord. In chapter 3, Paul uses the metaphor of taking off and putting on clothes as a way of helping us understand what should be true of those are believers.
You see, in the same way we dress our bodies every day, we dress our souls. But the sobering reality is that at times we dress in the wrong attire. The character we dress ourselves in is not an accurate reflection of who we are in Jesus Christ. So we need to be asking ourselves the question, “Does the character of my life reflect the person that I am in Christ? What does my behavior and my attitude say about me? Have I put on the Lord Jesus Christ? (Romans 13:14), When people see me, what do they really see?”
Taking Off and Putting On
Now to recap where we’ve been, Colossians has brought us face to face with the supremacy and sufficiency of Jesus Christ. He is the image of the invisible God. All things were created through him and for him. He holds all things together. He is the very center of the universe. And when a person becomes a Christian, they are then united to Christ Jesus forever. Our lives are then intertwined with the life of Jesus. So much so a Christian can say things such as…
I have died with Jesus Christ
I have been raised up with Jesus Christ
Jesus Christ is my life
I have the hope of glorification with Jesus Christ
And because of that, two things should happen: 1) We are to take off the old way of life. The habits, the patterns, the thoughts…everything that characterized our lives before meeting Christ should be removed. 2) We are to put on the new life. It’s not a matter of simply not doing certain things, but instead replacing them with a new way of life. New habits, new patterns, new thoughts. There should be nothing short of radical transformation that occurs when a person becomes a Christian. And an ongoing one at that, where our behavior is progressively being brought into line with our new self. If we’ve truly come to know the Lord Jesus Christ, then we need to dress the part. What we wear on the outside, should be a display of what’s on the inside.