Christian Interrelationships

12 February 2017 PM – Colossians 3:12-15 – Scott Childs

Introduction: Being kind to a loving friend is easy. Being kind to a person who hurts you is another story. It is far easier to respond to him or her in anger or revenge.

A Christian’s interactions or interrelations with others are to be different than those of an unbeliever. As Christians, we are to have a new kind of interrelationships. We are not to react to hurtful situations as unbeliever’s react.

Transition: In this section, God tells us three things about our new interrelationships with other Christians that we must learn and practice.

1.        The Motivation for New Interrelationships

a.         1st we see the motivation of replacement (v.5-11).
1)         The word “therefore” points us back to what has just been said. Whenever something is removed from our lives, it creates a void that needs replaced.
2)         Replacement began at salvation.
a)         At salvation, true Christians put off sin (v.9)
b)         At salvation, true Christians put on the new man after the likeness of Christ (v.10).
c)         Christ now lives in all believers of all races and classes (v.11).
3)         The need for replacement continues as we mortify the sins of the flesh (v.5-9). As we put off moral sins, social sins (e.g., anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth) and lying, a void is created that we must fill. When you take off your dirty coat, you must put on a clean coat. What God is saying is that as you put off sinful actions and attitudes, you must put on good actions and attitudes to replace them.
b.         2nd we see the motivation of relationship (v.12).
1)         Christians have a new relationship with God
a)         Christians are among the elect of God. To be “elect” means to be chosen. If you have truly trusted Christ to change your life and save you from hell, you are among His elect or chosen. You are part of God’s family. (John 1:12) “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:” This ought to motivate you to put on God’s new way of life.
b)         God has made each of his children holy. The word “holy” means to be set apart from sin and reserved for God’s use. God calls His children saints. He has justified them completely. If you are a saint, you ought to want to live like one. You ought to put off all that is sinful and worldly and put on the character of God.
c)         Christians are beloved or greatly loved by God. God loved the world enough to send His Son Jesus to die for the sinful world. He has an even greater love for each one who repents of his sin and trusts Christ for forgiveness and eternal life. (1 John 3:1) “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.”
2)         Our new relationship with God ought to motivate us to put on new interrelationships with other Christians.

2.        The Character of New Interrelationships

a.         New character traits must replace our old lifestyle.
1)         Look at what God said about the old lifestyle that we are to put off. (Colossians 3:8-9) “But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another…” New character traits include…
2)         Bowels of mercies: The word “bowels” refers to the inner part of your being that we usually call our heart. Mercy includes compassion and pity. Instead of getting angry, hateful and saying unkind things about those who hurt us, we are to have compassion on them. If you did nothing to deserve their abuse, they need pity. They will answer to God for what they have done.
3)         Kindness: Kindness is the opposite of being mean or vengeful, but it also includes moral goodness and integrity. (Romans 12:21) “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”
4)         Humbleness of mind: This is having a humble opinion of yourself. It is sometimes called “lowliness of mind”. It is the opposite of thinking that we are better than others. It reminds me of God’s warnings in (Galatians 6:1) “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” (1 Corinthians 10:12) “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.”
5)         Meekness: This is the quality of being gentle or mild. Remember, God is telling us how we are to replace the sinful reactions of our old lifestyle. When we respond with a spirit of anger or bitterness, we are not being meek.
6)         Longsuffering: This is the opposite of a quick temper and a vengeful spirit. It is patiently enduring hardships. (Proverbs 14:29) “He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding: but he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly.”
7)         Forbearing one another: This refers to both bearing one another’s burdens and enduring one another’s irritations. Each of us can be irritating at times. That is why we need to be forbearing. “To forbear is to control our emotions, surrendering our rights for the time being in patient hope that God will reveal his purpose and will.” Mahan
8)         Forgiving one another: if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. What more can we say?
b.         New character traits are glued together by love
1)         Charity or love is to be at the top of our character list. Love is giving to meet the needs of others.
2)         Love is the bond or glue. Lightfoot defines: “the bond of perfection, i.e., the power which unites and holds together all those graces and virtues which together make up perfection.”
3)         These character qualities that we are to put on do not overlook sin or excuse it. They do not to treat a Christian who is unrepentant as if all is well. Rather, they react to hurtful situations as God would react.

3.        The Umpire for New Interrelationships

a.         We must let the peace of God rule
1)         The word “rule” means to be an umpire; to decide, determine; to direct, control, rule.
2)         God commands us here to let His peace in our hearts to rule or to umpire when others treat us wrongly.
3)         Here is how Peter Pett described it. “It is this peace in its many aspects which must rule all our decisions, peace with God, peace with each other and peace from God, the peace that passes all understanding (Php 4:7). We must make decisions as those that are at peace with Him and are at one with each other, for this is our calling, to be one body.”
b.         We must also be thankful.
1)         This word is only found here in the Bible.
2)         It’s meaning includes being mindful of favours, grateful, thankful; pleasing, agreeable.
3)         We must have gratitude toward God for the peace that he gives when we put on the new character that he has prescribed. If we respond to hurtful situations in God’s way, God will give us peace and for this we should be thankful.

Conclusion: What are your interrelationships like? How to you respond to others when they hurt you? Do you respond like an unbeliever often does in anger, hate, bitterness or revenge? Or have you put that off and have put on compassion, kindness, humbleness, love and the other character traits God has commanded us to put on?

It is easy to put these on when your brother, sister, or spouse treat you kindly, but it takes determination to put off the old and put on the new response as God commanded. You will need the help of the Holy Spirit. Though it is difficult, if you truly know Christ, you can do it.

Song: His Way with Thee – 367