************ Wedding Sermon on Colossians 3:12-17 ************
By: Rev. Adrian Dieleman
This sermon was preached on August 20, 2016
Wedding of Kacie Van Hofwegen & Jonathan Vanden Ende
Jonathan & Kacie, the most important word in your Scripture wedding text is the first word: "Therefore." "Therefore" explains why you are supposed to do what is said in the verses you've asked me to speak on.
So what is the reason? Because you have died with Christ and been raised with Christ. Because you are a new creature in Christ. So, Jonathan & Kacie, Paul is speaking to you as Christians. As someone chosen in Christ and washed in Christ and forgiven in Christ and loved by Christ and sanctified by the Spirit of Christ (cf Col 3:12).
"Therefore" also tells us that you do not enter marriage alone. You enter with Christ at your side. You enter with Christ as head of your home and master of your lives.
So, with that beginning and that understanding, we notice a verb: "clothe yourselves."
How do you get up in the morning? Some have great difficulty, needing a cup of coffee and a couple of hours to get going. Others leap out of bed, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to face the day immediately. No matter what time you get started, however, Paul's word is, "clothe yourselves."
Paul says clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forgiveness, peace, and thankfulness. I call this Christ's graceful clothing. Take off your pjs, so to speak, and clothe yourselves so you are like Christ.
Notice, Paul doesn't just mention one item to clothe yourself with. Paul has in mind an entire outfit. He isn't just talking about socks. He is talking about pants and shirt, dress and blouse, and everything else you wear. He is talking about the uniform of the Christian husband and Christian wife.
Each morning when you get up you make a decision about the clothing to wear. Likewise, when you get up you need to make a decision to be like Christ, to dress in His graceful clothing for the benefit of your spouse. Do this deliberately. Do this every day so that you reflect the life of Christ.
Paul first mentions "compassion." Compassion means "heart of pity." When you come to the breakfast table, come with compassion: compassion for that strange looking creature in her bathrobe and old slippers; compassion for that gruff, stubble-faced fellow reading the news on his tablet or iPhone; compassion for those children trying to get dressed and eat before they leave for school.
After that, going a step further, comes "kindness." This is compassion in action: a smile, a pat on the shoulder, a quick kiss on the cheek, an offer to help.
The third article of clothing is "humility." That is the exact opposite of the worst of sins, which is pride. Those who are humble do not think overmuch of themselves; in fact, says Paul, they "regard others as better than themselves" (Phil 2:3). Never think of your spouse as being less than you. Never think of yourself as being better.
The fourth article is "gentleness." This doesn't mean you are weak. Rather, it means you are more than willing to give up your rights and your wants for the sake of the other person. It further means you are not rude and abrasive about having your way.
The fifth article of clothing is "patience." Literally, longsuffering. It means you are willing to put up with the strange noises and gestures and habits of the other person without becoming upset or speaking sharply to them.
The sixth article is "forbearance." "Bear with one another." This is patience in action. Literally, it means you uphold and support and encourage.
The seventh article is "forgiveness." "Forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you." What a beautiful thing it is to find forgiveness in a Christian's heart. The fact is, Jonathan & Kacie, when people live together they hurt each other. Because we are sinners. Because that old man of sin remains a part of us in this life and on this earth. To live together as husband and wife, we need to be able to forgive.
There is one article of clothing I have not mentioned yet. I have not mentioned the overcoat. Paul says:
(Col 3:14) And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.Love binds all the other virtues together. Compassion in your marriage requires the presence of love. Same with kindness. In fact, all the virtues require the presence of love: humility, gentleness, patience, forbearance, and forgiveness all require love.
"And over all these virtues put on love." The Greek word is "agape." This is the word that describes God's love for us in Christ. It is this love which brought Christ to the cross and the grave. It is this love which we are to have. A love which gives for the sake of the other person, for the good of the other person. A love which isn't selfish and self-centered. A love which gladly makes sacrifices for the other person.
"Clothe yourselves." Get up in the morning and put on the Christian's uniform. Get up in the morning and be like Christ. Get up in the morning and put on Christ's graceful clothing. And yours will be a happy and fulfilling marriage relationship.
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