Last week we were reminded that before we can “put on” the fruit of the new man… or the fruit of the spirit, we must be a new man; a new creation through the redemptive work of Christ
Not an ethic to be practiced but a faith and transformation to be evidenced
Important so that our presentation of the gospel is accurate and effective
Important so that we can have an assurance of our salvation and confidence in our sanctification
This week we will be looking at that fruit which is to be a product of our salvation and sanctification.
Col 3:12ff. “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.”
Same truth in Gal 5:22ff. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
And in 2 Pet 1:4ff “For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. 5 Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, 6 and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, 7 and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ”
And in Eph 4 and 5 “walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, 3 being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace… speaking the truth in love… Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you… be imitators of God, as beloved children; 2 and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you… be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; 20 always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; 21 and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.”
In total, they speak to our hearts and behavior toward God… and our heart and behavior toward one another.
Could we make an assumption, then, that these things might just be important?
They are all things that are part of our sanctification… ways of becoming like Christ and reflecting His character and heart.
Paul, in Colossians 3, is emphasizing our heart and behavior toward one another. This remains his focus through much of the rest of the letter.
Heart of compassion
Lit. “bowels of mercy”; “bowels” was considered the seat of emotion. The phrase has an emotional component. It is something that moves us.
We know this by personal experience;
When we receive bad news
When we are nervous
When we are angry
When we long for something or anticipate
It seeks to help; to render aid; to alleviate suffering
Because it recognizes worthiness; finds value
Ideally, as “bearers of God’s image”
Even when we cannot or should not help, our desire to help remains and we remain affected by their plight
We can often opt for the easier road by becoming hard hearted and uncaring… or by “loving” unwisely to assuage our own sense of guilt.
Kindness, or “goodness”
An innate goodness; other centered rather than self centered. It is perhaps less emotional than the previous phrase and centers less on giving critical assistance than just treating people as valuable and worthy of time and attention.
“Expressions of goodness” can be found in little things…
Paying for lunch, loaning a car, catching chickens, preparing a dinner, building a wall, hauling a motorcycle, putting up a banner every week, bringing a meal, providing a ride, or simply the giving of a hug.
Humility; “it’s not all about me”
Examples of how humility acts… and doesn’t
Not this… Matt 20:20ff. “Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to Jesus with her sons, bowing down and making a request of Him. 21 And He said to her, “What do you wish?” She *said to Him, “Command that in Your kingdom these two sons of mine may sit one on Your right and one on Your left.” 22 But Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?” They *said to Him, “We are able.” 23 He *said to them, “My cup you shall drink; but to sit on My right and on My left, this is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by My Father.”24 And hearing this, the ten became indignant with the two brothers…”
Plenty of “unhumility” to go around; Mom, the brothers (James and John), the other 10 disciples.
Jesus response to them all… Mat 25ff. “But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. 26 It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, 27 and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
Phil 2:3ff. “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. 5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross”
Not from weakness or fear, but from strength.
Often used in conjunction with correction; it is the exercise of authority or strength with consideration; seeing personal value
Gal 6:1ff “Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.”
Without condemnation; with humility
Patience; long suffering
Not becoming angry or resentful under repeated offenses, failings, or “unfairness”. It makes allowance for immaturity and weakness. Patience is clothed in hope, looking to the possibility of repentance and change on the part of the offender
1 Tim 1:15ff. “It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. 16 Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life.”
Bearing with one another; endurance. Literally “upholding oneself”
Where patience focuses on an internal condition, forbearance deals with the outward expression of that internal condition.
Staying the course
1 Cor 4:11ff. “To this present hour we are both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly clothed, and are roughly treated, and are homeless; 12 and we toil, working with our own hands; when we are reviled, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure; 13 when we are slandered, we try to conciliate; we have become as the scum of the world, the dregs of all things, even until now. 14 I do not write these things to shame you, but to admonish you as my beloved children.”
Forgiving one another charizomai, not aphiēmi
The idea is of dispensing grace rather than “removing sin”
And because it is in middle voice, the idea is that is not only brings benefit to the recipient, but the giver as well.
Lit. “bearing grace to each other”; mutuality
2 Cor 2:5ff. “But if any has caused sorrow, he has caused sorrow not to me, but in some degree— in order not to say too much—to all of you. 6 Sufficient for such a one is this punishment which was inflicted by the majority, 7 so that on the contrary you should rather forgive and comfort him, otherwise such a one might be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. 8 Wherefore I urge you to reaffirm your love for him”
Restoration and grace, not resentful glee
Beyond all these things, put on love, which perfectly (or completely) binds them together.
The overarching quality that incorporates all the above.
1 Cor 13:4ff. “Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.8 Love never fails”
The opposite of all these things mentioned is being “self seeking”. They all flow out of our understanding of our own frailty and imperfection, giving grace to those whom God values and loves.
These are all things demonstrated by Jesus and are aspects of His character
Tit 3:3ff. “For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. 4 But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, 5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
Next week we will take some time to see what resources God has given to help us accomplish these things… to bring them into reality in our lives. But to close, I would ask you to consider and reflect upon two things
The beauty of our calling; that we can be like Jesus
The importance of our calling; that we can be examples… representations… of Christ to a dark and dying world. A world in desperate need of the gospel message of hope and reconciliation.
Let us pray