Colossians 3:12 – 17
In with the good!
I. High-caliber character. [v 12]
1. This is a word picture, literally “spleen of mercy”
a. Why “spleen?” The Greeks believed the spleen was the seat of bad temper and the source of spite. [Oxford]
b. Direct contrast to “anger” [v 8]
2. Jesus demonstrated compassion.
“When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.  Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.  Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” [Matthew 9:36 – 38]
1. How does one be kind?
a. The word used here conveys the idea of “usefulness.”
b. Kindness shows up in our actions as well as our attitudes about others.
2. We see a direct contrast with “malice” [v 8]
1. Problem: “Humility is an impish virtue. Let it have enough reigns and it will think of itself god-like, tighten it down and it will gloat over its holiness. Humility is a gift and desire but so often it comes gift-wrapped in the arrogance of its practice.” [Calvin Miller]
2. Essentially humility is the contrast to “slander” [v 8].
a. We “slander” people, tear others down, to build ourselves up.
b. “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.” [Romans 12:3]
1. Typically translated “meekness.” One dictionary defined “gentle” as: mild or kind; not rough or violent. 2) not harsh or severe. 3) archaic noble or courteous. [Oxford]
2. Contrast with “filthy language” [v 8].
1. The idea here is to be able to suffer/tolerate indignities, delay, or trouble.
[Ill.] Sign that says, “there are three virtues in life: patience, patience, and more patience.
2. This is often contrary to our personalities. Some are very judgmental with the ability to make quick judgements and are often unmovable.
II. High-compliance conduct (Like Jesus).
A. “Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” [v 13d]
1. Parable: Matthew 18:23 – 35
a. Nothing anyone can do to you will ever come close to the debt you owe God.
b. Holding something against someone is ultimately an act of arrogance
2. Promise and Warning: “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” [Matthew 6:14 – 15]
3. A story: Luke 7:36 – 50
1. What do you have if you practice virtue without love?
a. In speech you get noise, in smarts there is only nonsense, when sacrificing the is no gain.
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.” [1 Corinthians 13:1 – 3]
b. “Disorientation, fragmentation, and stagnation” [LAB]
2. Love holds everything together.
III. High-impact compass.
It is said we live life by the calendar (task) or the compass (direction)... Problem is we think doing something is progress. Fact is doing something without a plan/direction/purpose can exhaust us and become counter-productive. What sort of compass does God give us?
1. The word “rule” is a word that came from sports: “referee.” Legally it meant an “arbitrator.”
2. Things peace does not mean:
a. Peace does not mean tolerating bad behavior.
b. Peace does not mean eliminating differences. Instead it means using differences in love and trust.
c. Peace does not allow open conflict or mutual silence.
3. How does peace work?
a. When feelings and desires clash the tendency is to take “the path of least resistance” or the one with less pain. THIS IS MENTAL ILLNESS NOT PEACE.
b. Peace is something God gives:
“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” [Philippians 4:7]
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” [John 14:27]
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” [Romans 5:1]
B. God’s word. (“Word/message of Christ” v 16)
1. The Bible is the only reliable life compass available.
2. Walking in the ways of the Bible will lead us, eventually, to thankfulness.
C. The name of Jesus.
1. We are representatives of Jesus because what we do and say is in the name of Jesus.
a. In America we do not understand group shame anymore... e.g. if a child behaved badly, it reflected poorly on the parents/family.
b. It was motivation to not embarrass our family, group, or country.
[BTW, this is why terrorist do not distinguish between a military target and civilian target... if you are part of the whole you are guilty by extension.]
2. “We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God.” [2 Corinthians 5:20]