************ Sermon on Colossians 3:12 ************

By: Rev. Adrian Dieleman

This sermon was preached on July 9, 2013

Colossians 3:1-17
"The Christian's Uniform - Patience
TASC # 3

"You have [died and] been raised with Christ ... Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with patience ..." (Col 3:1,12).

We continue our study of the Christian's uniform. We've looked at the basis or reason for our uniform. We've looked at compassion. Tonight, I am skipping ahead to patience because I can hardly wait :)!

I The Need for Patience
Right after worship this past Sunday morning a six year old boy comes to me and asks if he can look at our church organ. I took him over to the organ. I had the organist play a few notes. We showed him the stops and keyboards. I thought it was cute. And then he says to me, "Where are the compressors? How many of them are there? Can I look at them?" Huh? What compressors? I forgot the pipe organ uses compressors and I have no idea where they might be.

This boy showed up at my home afterwards for the baptism party. Right away he noticed the solar panels on my roof. He wanted to see the power inverter and started asking questions about wattage and voltage. Then he saw the dish for DirecTV and wanted to look that over. He looked over my gas grill and turned all the knobs on and off. He went to the variable-speed pool pump and looked it over. The cuteness factor was starting to wear off. In fact, he went way past cuteness to annoying to nuisance. And he is only six. Can you imagine him at thirteen? Can you imagine being his parents?

My wife has a couple of pet peeves. One of them is barking dogs. At night. While we are trying to sleep. With the window open. It is surprising the number of neighbors we have with dogs. It is even more surprising the number of neighbors who have hearing problems – because they never hear their dogs barking.

Maybe there is someone on TASC this week that you find really, really annoying. Maybe they have a way of eating that irritates you. Maybe they snore when they sleep. Maybe their stories and jokes are wearing thin on you. Maybe you don't like being touched and this person keeps touching you. I have a story about this, actually a confession. Our youth group had a leader who was obsessive about germs. I put her to the test. I touched her hand, her arm, her leg, her face, the top of her head. Inwardly she was cringing but outwardly she was smiling. She knew what I was doing – something I only did once.

You can absorb nuisances and annoyances and barking dogs and slow checkout lanes and snoring roommates when you clothe yourself with patience.

We need patience to handle life. We need patience as we live and eat and sleep and worship and learn together. We need patience as we work together on TASC. We need patience as Christians as we wait for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. So, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with patience.

II The Clothing to Cast Off
A You don't wear two shirts or two pants at the same time. To wear another pants you need to take the first one off.

What do we need to take off so we can wear patience?

I noticed for the first time this past week that Paul often describes life outside of Christ as a life of anger. Paul says,
(Col 3:8) But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.

(Gal 5:19-20) The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: ... (20) ... hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions ...
Everyone is so angry. There is war and rumors of war, factions, split marriages, split churches. There is angry sports, angry politics, angry emails and letters and texts, angry posts on Facebook, angry phone calls, angry driving. You've heard about road-rage. Cut off the wrong person in traffic and they turn their car or pickup truck into a two-ton battering ram.

Well, did you notice what we need to take off? We need to put off the old clothing of anger so we can put on the new clothing of patience.

B What is patience? Patience is a kind of anger control. Patient people have a long fuse and a short memory as far as irritants are concerned. Patient people are able to take a lot before they lose it.

Think of patience as a kind of motor oil. What does motor oil do? Motor oil stops all the metal surfaces in your engine from grinding together and tearing themselves apart from friction. Motor oil holds in suspension all the contaminants that have gotten into the engine. Motor oil transfers heat away from parts that otherwise would get too hot.

Patient people have a large reservoir of motor oil. All sorts of irritants slip by them without doing damage. Nuisances are held in suspension until it is time for an oil change. Annoyances are not allowed to build up heat.

III The Patience of God and Christ
There is an Old Testament phrase that is used more than once to describe God. He is "slow to anger" (Ex 34:6; Num 14:18; Neh 9:17; Ps 86:15; 103:8; 145:8; Joel 2:13; Jonah 4:2; Nah 1:3). That means He is patient.
The story is told of the atheist Robert G. Ingersoll. One night after an inflammatory speech in which he severely attacked man's faith in Jesus, he dramatically took out his watch and said, "I'll give God a chance to prove that He exists and is almighty. I challenge Him to strike me dead within 5 minutes!" First there was silence, then people became uneasy. Some left the hall, unable to take the nervous strain of the occasion, and one woman fainted. At the end of the allocated time, the atheist exclaimed derisively, "See! There is no God. I am still very much alive!"
After the lecture a young fellow said to a Christian lady, "Well, Ingersoll certainly proved something tonight!" Her reply was memorable. "Yes, he did. He demonstrated that even the most defiant sinner cannot exhaust the patience of the Lord in just 5 minutes!"

This is not the only time God showed patience. In the days of Noah, God waited patiently while the ark was being built (1 Pet 3:20). For at least sixty years He waited. He waited sixty years to save eight people from all the wickedness on the earth. He waited sixty years to punish the world with the flood.

The same patience was shown to the Apostle Paul. Paul, as you know, used to be Saul. Saul was a persecutor of the church; he was someone who hated Jesus. But God had a plan for Saul's life. By God's providence, Saul was given the best education possible in that day and time and place. He was taught the Jewish Scriptures. God, says Paul, displayed unlimited patience (1 Tim 1:16). God was waiting patiently for the right time to turn Saul into Paul, to turn a persecutor into a friend of Jesus, to forgive and save a sinner.

Look through the Gospels. Jesus was so patient with His disciples, with His family, with the people, with the sick, with the disabled. Jesus was so patient with sinners. What do you think it was like to be the Master of someone like Peter? Jesus was so often misunderstood by those closest to Him. He was so patient as He dealt with them.

Clothe yourselves with patience. Clothe yourselves with patience and be like God.

IV How to Get Patience
A All of the virtues we are looking at this week are both God's gift through the Spirit and also our calling as people who have died and been raised with Christ. So, what are we to do to cultivate patience?

First, keep the big picture in mind. Jesus taught us to pray for God's name, God's Kingdom, and God's will. That is the big picture. His kingdom will come in all its fullness. His will is going to be done. His name will be hallowed by all of creation.

Now, with this in mind, what is it that makes us impatient? It usually is the little things, the unimportant things, like a lost golf ball, a flat tire, a game that we lost, a dog that barks. We become impatient with the habits of other people. We become impatient with the pokey driver in front of us.

Keep the big picture. Paul tells you to set your hearts and minds on things above, not on earthly things. When you do, you suddenly realize you are impatient about something that counts for nothing in the new heaven and new earth.

B Second, look for patient people and learn from them. All churches have extremely patient members; many families have one or two patient people. Watch them. Imitate them. A couple of years ago I met a woman who I think must be the most patient person in Visalia. She is a hard-working teacher, keeps herself in good shape, has a positive outlook on life, and always has a smile on her face. She has a husband who is the exact opposite of her. He is fat, lazy, neurotic, defensive, unemployed, and surly. He does some yard and house work, if he feels like it and as long as you don't push him. Family members have wondered why she sticks with the guy. But she patiently sticks with him because that is what she believes God wants of her. I admire her because she purposely strives for patient obedience to God's will for marriage.

James tells us that we can also learn patience from the farmer. He writes,
(James 5:7-8) Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord's coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. (8) You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord's coming is near.
Every farmer knows there are physical laws that govern the planting, growing and ripening of crops and all that he can do is wait patiently. He knows that the time for harvest cannot be hastened.

We have a peach tree in our back yard. Every year the peaches become ready when we are on vacation. So this year we decided to take our vacation two weeks early. Guess what? The peaches will be ready when we are gone. We can't speed it up and we can't slow it down. All we can do is be patient.

Patience is something we especially learn from Jesus. We learn patience by listening to Jesus, watching Him, loving Him, and striving to be like Him in all our ways.

"You have [died and] been raised with Christ ... Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with patience ..." (Col 3:1,12).

Patience fits people like you. Patience is part of the uniform of the family of God.
You can e-mail our pastor at: Pastor, Trinity United Reformed Church
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