************ Wedding Sermon on Colossians 3:12-14 ************

By: Rev. Adrian Dieleman

This sermon was preached on March 19, 2016

Colossians 3:12-14
Wedding of Jason Vander Tuig & Alexis Koelewyn

Your Scripture reading, Jason & Alexis, talks about clothing. "Clothe yourselves." Clothing is important for a wedding. I didn't realize how important until a couple of years ago when I saw an episode of "Say Yes to the Dress." I understand there are now two spin-offs: "Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta" and "Say Yes to the Dress: Bridesmaids." Many guests at a wedding look forward to that dramatic moment when the doors open and they get their first glimpse of the bride and her dress. As I said, clothing is important for a wedding.

But now I want to tell you, Jason & Alexis, that clothing is also important after a wedding. We all see what you are wearing today. But what will you be wearing in the weeks and months and years to come? As husband and wife, will you be wearing the Christian's uniform? Will you be wearing the Christian's graceful clothing? Will you be wearing the clothing described by your wedding text?

Let's back up for a moment and remind ourselves of the reason for wearing the Christian's uniform in a Christian marriage. The reason is God's grace. We are one week from Good Friday and Easter Sunday. One week from now we celebrate that Christ died for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. By grace, you have been joined to Christ. By grace, you have been joined to Christ in His death and in His resurrection (Col 2:12; 3:1,3). As Christians joined to Christ, you are to take off your old dirty clothes of sin and put on the clean clothes of righteousness.

So, Jason and Alexis, clothe yourselves with the Christian's uniform. Show in your marriage that you are joined to Jesus. Show in how you treat each other that you are joined to Jesus. Show in how you treat others that you are joined to Jesus. In telling you this, Paul lists the items of the Christian's uniform, one by one.

1. Clothe yourselves with compassion. As believers, we need to display tender feelings of compassion toward one another (Phil 2:1ff). 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.

2. Clothe yourselves with kindness. We have been saved because of God's kindness toward us through Jesus Christ (Eph 2:7; Titus 3:4). We, in turn, ought to show kindness toward others (Eph 4:32). One of the most beautiful pictures of kindness in the Bible is King David's treatment of the crippled prince, Mephibosheth (2 Sam 9). David's desire was to "show God's kindness" to King Saul's family because of his own love for Saul's son, Jonathan. David invited Mephibosheth to live in the palace as a member of his family, and to eat at the king's bountiful table. This is the kindness of God! You and I have experienced an even greater kindness, for as Christians, we are God's children and shall live with Him in heaven forever!

3. Clothe yourselves with humility. The pagan world of Paul's day did not admire humility. Instead, they admired pride and domination. Jesus Christ is the greatest example of humility (Phil 2:5ff). Humility is not thinking poorly of oneself. Rather, it thinks of others first and not of himself or herself.

4. Clothe yourselves with gentleness. This word was used to describe a soothing wind, a healing medicine, and a horse that has 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 in a Christian this power is under control.

5. Clothe yourselves with patience. The literal word is "long-temper." The short-tempered person speaks and acts impulsively and lacks self-control. When a person is patient, he can put up with provoking people or circumstances without retaliating. It is wrong to get angry quickly and at the wrong things and for the wrong reasons.

6. Clothe yourselves with forbearance. Your text says, "bear with each other." Put up with certain things. Tolerate certain things. Don't let the habits or idiosyncracies of the other person bother you too much. We enter marriage with our eyes wide open but once we are married we keep our eyes half shut and turn a blind eye to some stuff.

7. Clothe yourselves with forgiveness. It is not enough that the Christian endures provoking people; he/she must also forgive the troublemaker. If he does not, then feelings of malice and anger will develop in the heart; and these can lead to greater sins. It is Christlike to forgive (Eph 4:32), and forgiveness opens the heart to the fullness of the love of God. The very instant we have a complaint against the other person, we should forgive him or her in our hearts.

8. There is one final item in the Christian's uniform. Paul identifies it as the most important item: And over all these virtues put on love. Alexis, you may not think of it this way, but over your beautiful dress is an overcoat. The overcoat is love. Love is the overcoat of a Christian marriage. Every item of the Christian's uniform that Paul has mentioned are but aspects of true Christian love, as a reading of 1 Corinthians 13 reveals. When love rules in our lives, it unites all these spiritual virtues so there is beauty and harmony in our marriage.

Clothing is important at a wedding. But even more important is the clothing you wear after the wedding.
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