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

By: Rev. Adrian Dieleman

This sermon was preached on July 10, 2013

Colossians 3:1-17
"The Christian's Uniform - Kindness"
TASC # 4

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

Tonight we look at kindness. Kindness is a close cousin to compassion. But it is not the same. If compassion is a feeling then kindness is a doing.

In the Parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus told the story of a man who had been robbed, beaten, and left half-dead. Who would show him kindness? Not a priest, not a Levite. These were the leaders among the Jews; the lower classes were expected to follow their example. The priest and the Levite were neither kind nor merciful. But the Samaritan was! He was moved with compassion, treated the man's wounds with oil and wine and bound them up, and then brought him to an inn for recovery. He even paid the injured man's expenses.

The Good Samaritan, notice, had a feeling. But then he went beyond feeling to action. The Parable of the Good Samaritan helps us to define kindness. Kindness means availability, usefulness, benevolence, and care to someone with a need. Kindness means selflessness. Kindness means we give of ourselves to and for others.

I The Clothing to Cast Off
A I mentioned last night you need to take something off before you put something else on. Clothe yourselves with kindness. What do we need to take off so we can wear kindness?

Paul tells us to put to death sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, and greed (Col 3:5). This is the clothing we need to put off and put to death in order to make room for kindness.

Sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, and greed – what do they all have in common? They are all extremely selfish acts, self-centered acts. To make room for kindness we need to remove selfishness. Because selfishness prevents kindness.

B Does anyone here know who is Diotrephes? The Apostle John wrote about Diotrephes in his third letter (3 Jn 1:9). Diotrephes always wanted to be first (3 Jn 9): first to talk, first to pray, first in honor and praise, first in the supper line. His selfishness led him to reject the words of John. But soon he went beyond this and began to "gossip ... maliciously about us," says John, and refused to welcome brothers and sisters in the Lord (vs 10). This reminds us that no one can feed their own ego and look after the needs of others. Diotrephes was not a kind man. He was a bully, a liar, and a rebel against God's order in the church.

The book of Numbers tells us about the time Aaron and Miriam were unkind to their brother Moses. Out of selfishness and some sort of sibling rivalry they said to each other, "Has the Lord spoken only through Moses? Hasn't he also spoken through us?" (Num 12:2). Their selfishness led them to rebel against their brother at a time when he needed all the encouragement he could get as leader of an often difficult and rebellious people (Num 12:1-3).

C I have some apples and grapes here. HOLD THEM UP. You can't eat these because they are artificial. Likewise, we cannot be satisfied with artificial kindness. This is kindness that is shown in order to manipulate people.

The Bible gives us a number of examples of this artificial fruit. Think of Jacob who showed kindness to Esau with the bowl of stew (Gen 25:27); but his purpose was to take Esau's birthright. Think of Jael who treated Sisera to a bottle of milk and a place to sleep (Judges 4:18ff); but her purpose was to kill him by pounding a tent peg through his temple. Think of Delilah who spoke words of love and devotion to Samson (Judges 16:4ff); but her purpose was to cut his hair and rob him of his strength.

The Lord knows how people can use kindness in order to manipulate others. Therefore He forbade the judges of Israel to receive gifts from the people. This way no act of kindness could turn the eyes of the judge away from justice.

We need to cast off artificial, manipulative kindness before we can wear the real thing.

II The Kindness of God and Christ
A number of words and phrases describe God's love toward us: rich in mercy, great love, grace, kindness (Eph 2:14ff; Titus 3:4). The point is, kindness is an attribute of God.

Ask believers and unbelievers alike the single quality that strikes them most about Christ, and chances are they will speak of His understanding, tenderness, gentleness, or kindness. As far as sinful man is concerned, this is one of God's primary attributes. That's why people love to hear what Isaiah says:
(Is 40:11) He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.
And for the same reason they love what David says in Psalm 23:
(Ps 23:1-4) The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. (2) He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, (3) he restores my soul ... (4) ... your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
The rod was used to beat off wild animals attacking the sheep, but the staff was for a far different purpose. At the end of the long staff there was a hook just large enough to fit snugly around the sheep's breast. When a sheep would fall off the path into a hole or pit the shepherd would reach down with his staff and lift it out. Or, when a sheep would begin to stray, the shepherd would hook him with his staff and gently pull him back onto the path. What David did for his sheep, God did for David. God is kind!

The greatest act of kindness, of course, is the cross (Is 54:8; Rom 2:4; Eph 2:7; Titus 3:4). In a incredible act of kindness the Lord Jesus died on the cross so we could be forgiven and granted eternal life.

"You have [died and] been raised with Christ ... Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with kindness ..." (Col 3:1,12). When Paul urges us to clothe ourselves with kindness he is telling us to be like God!

III Cultivating Kindness
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 kindness?

First of all, we must make or take the time for kindness. Consider the case of the Good Samaritan. He could have rushed to his next appointment in Jericho. He could have said he had neither the time nor the money. Yet, he took the time and the trouble to help the wounded man.

It is possible to so wrap oneself in a cause, a job, a hobby, a sport, or yourself that there is no time left for kindness. This is why we need to get rid of selfishness. Selfish people don't make the time to be kind to others, unless it fits their own manipulative ends.

We need to be like Jesus. Jesus was important. He was busy. Often He was tired and hungry. Yet, we see Him taking the time to be gentle and kind to the small children crowding around Him. He visits with the woman at the well and sparks a fire in her heart. He stoops in the sand to restore a fallen woman. It is heart-warming to think of how much time Jesus spent just being tender and kind with people.

Kindness takes time. Those who have died and been raised with Christ not only have a heart for kindness, but also make the time for kindness.

You know, that is what you are doing this week during TASC. All of you could be somewhere else this week. Maybe you are missing a family vacation. Maybe this is your vacation. But you are using your time and your money to be kind. You are using your time and your money to be like Jesus. I praise you and commend you for this. Because you are wearing the Christian's uniform.

B Second, and this sounds so laughably simple, but sometimes the kindest act simply requires a tender touch. I am not talking about the touching I confessed a few days ago that I did to harass one of our youth leaders. I am talking about the soft little caress we do with a tiny, little baby. Because of various concerns people rarely touch each other anymore. It seems strange that in an age when we can reach the moon, bounce signals off far planets, and receive pictures from whirling satellites, we have great difficulty with reaching out and touching someone. We need to learn again the value of the tender touch.

Think of the Good Samaritan. He was not content with helping from a distance – telling the innkeeper or the authorities about someone on the side of the road. He was not content with simply throwing money at the problem. No, he applied the personal touch to the injured person.

Sometimes all that a person needs is someone to hold their hand or to hug them.
A retired judge said he has seen hundreds of juvenile offenders and their parents in his courtroom. Yet, never once in all those years had he even seen a parent touch a youngster, or put his arm around his shoulder, or show any physical sign of affection.

I hope that this week you actually interacted with some of the persons you are helping during TASC. I hope you at least shook their hands and showed that you care.

C Third, I want to tell you about two ladies in Trinity Visalia. The first is Virginia. Virginia designs and prints her own cards. And she sends cards to everyone in Trinity: Get Well, Anniversary, Birthday, Praying for You. And, Virginia does this even now when she has cancer. Virginia is showing kindness.

The second lady is Harriet. Harriet is a woman of compassion. She rejoices with those who rejoice and weeps with those who weep. But Harriet is also a woman of kindness. Every once in a while she grabs me and says, "I think so and so is having a hard time" and she slips me an envelope to pass on to the person in difficulty. Harriet often asks me for the names of people in the church who are lonely or need encouragement and she will invite them for dinner.

Every church and many families have people like Virginia and Harriet. In fact, we have a bunch of people like Virginia and Harriet in Trinity. Search out people like these two ladies. Imitate them. Learn from them. Be kind like them.

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

Kindness fits people like you. Kindness is part of the uniform of the family of God.
You can e-mail our pastor at: Pastor, Trinity United Reformed Church
Back to Index of Sermons Page