All Dressed Up and Someplace to Go

Title: All Dressed Up and Someplace to Go

Bible Book: Colossians 3 : 12-17

Author: Frank Page

Subject: Attitude; Motive



For several months we have been studying the issue of spiritual warfare. The title of this series of messages is Terrorism in the Spiritual World. We have looked at a variety of foundational issues. First, we looked at a section entitled, Identifying the Enemy. In this, we found that Scripture identifies three primary enemies. They are: the world, the flesh, the devil. Then we moved to some intensely personal areas of warfare. First, we looked at a section entitled, Dealing with Life. Then we looked at the issue of Dealing with the Past. Recently, we have studied the issue of Dealing with Discouragement. Today, we begin in a new subunit entitled, Dealing with Relationships. Therefore, the message for today begins this new sub-unit in the area of personal spiritual warfare.

Listen to these words from Chuck Swindoll:

The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company . . . a church . . . a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past . . . we cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude . . . I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you . . . we are in charge of our attitudes.

In our scripture passage for today, we find the need for new attitudes and motives. We also see why we need them. Turn with me to Colossians 3:12-17. Here Paul and the Lord describe beautifully how we are to be dressed spiritually. This will help us in the area of relationships as we fight in this area of spiritual warfare.


(VS. 12-14).

He tells us why and what.

A. Why?

Paul reminded the Colossians of what God's grace had done for them and

in so doing reminds us. God chose us (v. 12a). This miracle of divine choice did not depend on anything that we are or that we have done. God chose us in Christ "before the foundation of the world" (Ephesians 1:4). If God saved a sinner on the basis of merit or works, nobody would be saved. It is all done through God's grace that it might all bring glory to God. His choice was that all who accept Christ are among the "chosen". God set us apart (v. 12). That is the meaning of the word holy. Because we have trusted Christ, we have been set apart from the world unto the Lord. We are not our own. We belong completely to Him.

God loves us(v. 12).

When an unbeliever sins, he is a creature breaking the laws of the holy Creator. When a Christian sins, he is a child of God breaking the loving heart of his Father. Love is the strongest motivating power in the world.

God has forgiven us (vv. 13-14).

God's forgiveness is complete and final. It is not conditional or partial. How is a holy God able to forgive us guilty sinners? Because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross, God has forgiven us "for Christ's sake", and not for our own sake. Chosen by God, set apart for God, loved by God, and forgiven by God. They all add up to GRACE! Now, because of these gracious blessings, the Christian has some solemn responsibilities before God. He must put on the beautiful garments of the Christian life. That is why we are to be dressed up with someplace to go!

B. What?

Here is the "what" of this new attitude. We are to put on the garments of ...

Compassion (v. 12).

As believers, we need to display tender feelings of compassion toward one another. This is not something that we turn on and off, like the TV set. It is a constant attitude of heart that makes us easy to live with.

Kindness (v. 12).

We have been saved because of God's kindness toward us through Jesus Christ. We, in turn, ought to show kindness toward others. "Be kind one to another" is God's command.


The pagan world of Paul's day did not admire humility. Instead, they admired pride and domination. Jesus Christ is the greatest example of humbleness of mind. Humility is not thinking poorly of oneself. Rather, it is having the proper estimate of oneself in the will of God. The person with humbleness of mind thinks of others first and not of himself.


It is also called meekness. Meekness is not weakness. It is power under control. This word was used to describe a soothing wind, a healing medicine, and a colt that had been broken. In each instance, there is power; a wind can become a storm; too much medicine can kill; a horse can break loose. But this power is under control. The meek person does not have to fly off the handle because he has everything under control.

Patience or long-suffering.

This word is literally "long-temper." The shorttempered person speaks and acts impulsively and lacks self-control. When a person is long-suffering, he can put up with provoking people or circumstances without retaliating. It is good to be able to get angry, for this is a sign of holy character. But it is wrong to

get angry quickly at the wrong things and for the wrong reasons.

Forbearance (v. 13).

This word literally means "to hold up" or "to hold back." God is forbearing toward sinners in that He holds back His judgment (Romans 2:4; 3:25). Meekness, long-suffering, and forbearance go together.

Forgiveness (v. 13).

This is the logical result of all that Paul has written so far in this section. It is not enough that the Christian must endure grief and provocation, and refuse to retaliate. He/she must also forgive the troublemaker. If he does not, then feelings of malice will develop in the heart. These can lead to greater sins. It is Christlike to forgive, and forgiveness opens the heart to the fullness of the love of God. The very instant we have a complaint against another person, we should forgive him in our hearts.

Love (v. 14).

This is the most important of the Christian virtues, and it acts like a "belt" that ties all the other virtues together. All of the spiritual qualities Paul has named are aspects of true Christian love, as a reading of I Corinthians 13 will reveal. Love is the first of the fruit of the Spirit and the other virtues follow--joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, kindness, and meekness. When love rules in our lives, it unites all these spiritual virtues so that there is beauty and harmony, indicating spiritual maturity. This harmony and maturity keep the life balanced and growing. The gnostic system could never do this. Let's take a moment for self-evaluation. Would our lives be described this way or as self-centered? We must put on these new attitudes. It must be the way we "do church" and "do life." Some want church to be the way they like it, no matter what it does to lost people.


(VS. 15-17).

A. There is the Garment of Peace.

When we obey the will of God, we have His peace within. When we step out of His will (even unintentionally), we lose His peace.

We must beware, however, of a false peace in the heart. Jonah deliberately disobeyed God, yet he was able to go to sleep in the hold of a ship in a storm! "I had peace about it!" is not sufficient evidence that we are in the will of God. We must pray, surrender to His will, and seek His guidance in the Scriptures. The peace of heart alone is not always the peace of God.

Something else is involved. If we have peace in our hearts, we will be at peace with others in the church. We are called to one body, and our relationship in that body must be one of harmony and peace. If we are out of the will of God, we are certain to bring discord and disharmony to the church. Jonah thought he was at peace, when actually his sins created a storm!

When a Christian loses the peace of God, he begins to go off in directions that are out of the will of God. He turns to the things of the world and the flesh to compensate for his lack of peace within. He tries to escape, but he cannot escape himself! It is only when he confesses his sin, claims God's forgiveness and does God's will that he experiences God's peace within.

B. There is the Garment of Thanksgiving and Praise (v. 15c).

When there is peace in the heart, there will be praise on the lips, "And be thankful". The Christian out of God's will is never found giving sincere praise to God. When David covered up his sins, he lost his peace and his praise. When he confessed his sins, then his song returned.

C. There is the Garment of Scriptural Adherence (v. 16).

The false teachers came to Colossae with man-made traditions, religious rules, and human philosophies. They tried to harmonize God's Word with their teachings, but they could not succeed. God's Word always magnifies Jesus Christ. It was not the word of false teachers that brought salvation to the Colossians. It was the Word of the truth of the Gospel. This same Word gives us life and sustains and strengthens us. The Word will transform our lives if we will but permit it to "dwell" in us richly. The word dwell means "to feel at home." If we have experienced the grace and the peace of Christ, then the Word of Christ will feel at home in our hearts. We will discover how rich the Word is with spiritual treasures that give value to our lives.

However, we must not think that Paul wrote this only to individual Christians. He directed it to the entire church body. "Let the Word of Christ dwell among you" is a possible translation. As it dwells richly in each member of the church, it will dwell richly in the church fellowship. There is (according to Paul) a definite relationship between our knowledge of the Bible and our expression of worship in song. One way we teach and encourage ourselves and others is through the singing of the Word of God. But if we do not know the Bible and understand it, we cannot honestly sing it from our hearts.

Paul described a local church worship service. Note that the believer sings to himself as well as to the other believers and to the Lord. Our singing must be from our hearts and not just our lips. But if the Word of God is not in our hearts, we cannot sing from our hearts. This shows how important it is to know the Word of God, for it enriches our public and private worship of God.

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