In the Loom of Heaven

In the Loom of Heaven

Scripture: Romans 4:7, Isaiah 64:1-12, Romans 3:21-31
Date: 04/02/2011  Lesson: 1
Only the righteousness of the resurrected Christ can cover our sins and weaknesses. Obedience to God's law, no matter how strict, always falls short of God's standards.
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Good morning and Happy Sabbath. Welcome again this morning to another study with us in Sacramento, California at Sacramento Seventh-day Adventist Church with Pastor Doug bachelor. A very special welcome to you that are joining us this morning in our sanctuary here. I know we have guests, 'cause I can see you. And a very special welcome to those that are joining us live on the internet this morning streaming around the world, across the United States, and everywhere where you are joining us, a very special welcome.

And we know that you will be blessed in singing and worshipping with us. Our first hymn this morning is hymn number 570, "not I but Christ." And this comes as a request from erika in australia, maurita in California, Christina in Canada, katie and lew in florida, anne in Idaho, josfin in ireland, cecilia in lesotho, winsome in Maryland, wayne in Minnesota, sandie, vern, jenny and jamie in North Carolina, amanda in Pennsylvania, nathan in south africa, and richard and delores in Washington. Hymn number 570, "not I but Christ." And we will sing the first, the second and the last verse. If you have a special hymn, a favorite hymn, that you would like to sing with us on a coming Sabbath, I invite you to go to our website, saccentral.org. And there you can click on the "contact us" link.

And you can request any hymn in our hymnal. And we would love to sing that with you on a coming Sabbath. As you'll notice, we have quite a team up here now. And we just love to sing so send in those requests. Hymn number 439, "how far from home?" This comes as a request from ursula in antigua and barbuda, ralph and birdie in the bahamas, loreen and stephen in australia, chris in Egypt, bo in ghana, tiadore in Illinois, izaac jr.

In the netherlands, denzil, Peter and winifred in New York, alwyn and hamilton in saint vincent and the grenadines, ernest and John in south africa, arlene, marvin, marciel in South Dakota, neema in switzerland, and vikky in trinidad and tobago. Hymn number 439, and we'll sing all 4 verses. I would never have learned that song except for requests from our audience out in tv land. So thank you, that's a great, great song. Let's pray.

Dear Lord, we thank you so much for the hope that you bring us, that this is not all there is. Lord, there's so much strife in this world. And there's so much darkness, as satan has control just for a little while longer. So we just thank you, Lord, that ultimately you already have taken over, that you are already in control and that soon everything will be made new according to Your Word. So on this holy day, Lord, your Sabbath, we come before you to worship and to adore you and to give thanks.

Please be with Pastor Doug as he brings us Your Word this morning, words of life and hope and mercy. And Lord, just help us to take these words to the people around us as we meet them this next week. And that you will be lifted up because they see you through us. We pray these things in your precious and holy name, Jesus. Amen.

Our study this morning will be brought to us by Pastor Doug bachelor. He's the senior pastor here at Sacramento Seventh-day Adventist Church. Thank you very much for our singers. And I think that last song we just sang, if I'm not mistaken written by annie smith, she--it's an adventist hymn that she wrote. Is that right? And it's got an interesting history behind that.

Welcome friends. It's good to be home. I don't know if you noticed I was gone. But in the last two weeks or so, I was visiting with our friends in the collegedale area, nashville, went to 3abn and did a couple of programs there. Then last week I spoke at the village church in berrien springs.

And again want to greet our friends out there. It was really good to be able to see some of our classmates around the country. And very thankful to have those of you who are part of our class here at central. We have some visitors today. Let me see, come on fess up.

Oh good, praise the Lord. Got a nice crop of visitors. Well, you picked a good time to come because we're going to study the Bible. Also because we have a new lesson. And we're just entering in on a new quarter, dealing with the subject of, "garments of grace: clothing imagery in the Bible.

" And for our friends who are watching, a couple of ways you might want to study along with us, of course, it's all Bible-based, but the study guide provides--our Sabbath school quarterly provides us a lot of background studies, some great illustrations and stories that help enhance the different subjects we're studying. If you'd like to study along with us, you can go to a couple of websites that have the Sabbath school lesson online. One is the Sabbath school website for the world church at the adventist church website: adventist.org. And then also I think it's Sabbathschool.net. You can study it there.

You might visit your local adventist church if you have one near you. And I bet they'll share a study guide with you. And free offer that goes along with our study today is called, "riches of grace." We're going to be talking about that imputed grace, "riches of grace." We'll send it to you. Just dial 866-study-more. And we'll send you a copy of that.

And it will enhance your study for today. And lesson today is number one. It's called the "the loom of heaven," "the loom of heaven." And we're going to be talking about a number of passages dealing with both the imparted and the imputed righteousness of Christ, the robes of Christ's righteousness: Isaiah 64, need to read the whole chapter really, Romans 3:21-31, Romans 4:1-7, Romans 6:1-13 and Philippians 3:3-16. Now the memory verse is Romans 4:7. And I'll invite you to say that along with me, Romans 4:7, you ready? "Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.

" We all need that covering. Now I was--two interesting things happened here in Sacramento this week. One is somebody was arrested in north highlands for wandering around in traffic, and it was disrupting the flow of traffic, in particular because they had no clothes on. And so the police came and did not ticket them right away for jay walking or streaking, because they figured there was something wrong with them mentally, or they were on drugs, because they were going around uncovered. Then on March 7th just this last week here in Sacramento, folks watching are going to think Sacramento is a very interesting town.

This is California. "Police in elk grove, California, said a pair of armed robbers stripped a man of his clothes and left him naked in a walmart parking lot Monday night. The victim told police that he went to the walmart on elk grove boulevard--" you're going to think twice before you go to that one now, aren't you? "--To sell a pair of shoes that he had posted on craigslist." The supposed buyers were going to meet him there, but evidently they wanted more than the shoes. "When he got there he was confronted by two men with guns. The victim was stripped down in the parking lot and the two men fled the scene in the dodge charger before 9 p.

m. Police say the victim was able to provide them with the charger's license plate." That had real presence of mind to do that. "And the police soon stopped the vehicle and detained three people who were armed." And it's believed that they must have been the perpetrators. They thought maybe if they stripped this guy, he'd be too embarrassed to run for help. But it didn't stop him.

Not in California. Now clothing is a very important subject in the Bible. So consider this lesson a little bit of an introduction to the whole quarter. We have 13 lessons we're going to be studying on this subject of the symbology of clothing in the Bible, "garments of grace." Man is different from every other creature in that most creatures are born with their clothes on, or if not, they grow them soon after they're born. Humans are different in that we must acquire our clothing from the outside.

Now there are a few hermit crabs out there that they go hunting around for other shells that they may abscond with. But even they're born with some protective covering. And then they sort of trade it in later along. But people need to find their clothing from the outside. God originally even made man with garments.

When it talks about man being naked in the Garden of Eden, it means we had no artificial clothing. Man originally, I believe, had garments of light. Now you might say, "Pastor Doug, where do you get that?" Well, a few places in the Bible. Christ, when he was glorified, it says his garments became so white and shining, so that no soap on earth could do it that way. They were emanating light.

When Moses was talking to the Lord on the mountain, he came down from talking to God, there was this glory about his face that was so bright. His skin shone. I'm sure his skin underneath his clothes shone, but it was covered. And adam and eve had these garments of glory, these garments of light when they had God's natural righteousness. When they sinned, the light went out.

A few years ago, some of you remember the story. I did not see it, maybe you heard me refer to it before. I was not watching, but it was in the news and so a lot of people heard about it. In the 2004 superbowl, during the mid-time show, janet jackson and justin timberlake were doing an act to song and as the grand finale, he reached over and tore off at least 50% of her top, exposing her breast. And there was such an outcry of families and decent people saying this was outrageous.

Folks are home with their kids. They're watching the super bowl. To do something like this, you know, hollywood's always trying to push the envelope and liberating our thinking with artistic expression. I don't know what they were doing. So the response was, "oh, we didn't mean it.

We had a wardrobe malfunction." And that became the new catchphrase, a "wardrobe malfunction." When I heard that I thought some lawyer gave that to them. That was very creative. Well that was biggest wardrobe malfunction since lady Godiva rode into town, got a lot of attention. But it made me think about how in our world sin began with a wardrobe malfunction. Isn't that right? Adam and eve originally were clothed with garments of light.

And then when they sinned, it says they discovered they were naked. It's not like they were streaking around the garden oblivious to their nakedness and then after they sinned suddenly they felt guilty about it. After they sinned their glory faded and they realized they had no clothing, no artificial clothing. So what was their plan? At first they thought, "well, we can do something about this." And so they, they got fig leaves. Genesis 3:7, matter of fact, I didn't give this to anybody.

Who'd like to volunteer to read that, shouldn't take you too long to find it. "And the eyes of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sowed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons." Alright, ever since that time fig leaves sort of became synonymous with self-righteousness. And how much did they make? It says they made aprons. Now if the mailman rings your doorbell, I hope you don't answer with nothing but an apron on. Aprons, first of all it was the wrong essence of material and the wrong quantity of material.

Later God said, "you're going to need something else." And he gave them, the Bible tells us in Genesis 3:21, "also for adam and for his wife the Lord God made tunics--" and that word tunic there is robe-- "the Lord God made robes of skin." Now is there a difference between skin and leaf? Is there a difference between animal and vegetable? What did God say that cain and abel were supposed to bring as an offering, animal or vegetable? "Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness for sin." And what did cain bring, animal or vegetable? Adam and eve tried to cover their sin with vegetable. It was just--it didn't require a death. Now when it said God covered them with skin, many have wondered where did the sacrificial system first begin? There in the Garden of Eden. And it required a death. You read in Revelation about that lamb that was slain from the foundation of the world, right? Alright, so here you see at the very beginning that man had a wardrobe malfunction.

And so God covered them with skin. These robes are symbols of the robe of righteousness that God is offering each of us. Now in our lesson somebody look for me in Luke 10:30. I didn't give this to anybody. Who'd read that for me? Luke 10:30.

Luke 10:30, "then Jesus answered and said: 'a certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.' " Alright so here it tells us that he was stripped. Who does--who do the thieves represent? Doesn't the Bible tell us that the devil is a robber and a thief? And he's a symbol of the--these thieves here are a symbol of the devil. Not only robbed him, but what else did he do? He stripped him. What did the devil do to adam and eve in the garden? Have you noticed how often in the Bible that the devil leaves people stripped? You remember the story of the seven sons of sceva in the book of acts. I forget what chapter it is, it may be 19, where The Sons of a Jewish priest heard that Paul was casting out devils in Jesus' Name.

They thought, "oh, we can do that. Our dad's an exorcist. Let's start using Jesus' Name, maybe that'll work better." It says they went to this demon-possessed man and they said, "in the name of Jesus who Paul preaches, come out!" And the devil talked back and said, "I know Jesus, and I know Paul, but who are you." And he leapt upon, one demon-possessed man leapt upon seven boys, young men, beat 'em up, wounded them, and they left naked, stripped 'em. You remember reading about the demoniac in Mark 5 and Luke 7 and it's also in Matthew. Matthew says there was two of them.

Went around and he wear no clothes, filled with devils. Later when he's healed, he's sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed. So the devil really wants to strip us, of our dignity, strip us of God's righteousness, and to erase the image of God in each one of us. Now there's a quote here--i haven't even got to section one yet--in your lesson, there's a quote from the youth instructor, December 6, 1894, talks about the loom of heaven, which is the title for lesson one, "the loom of heaven." And it says, "who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect. And the answer is it is Christ that died, yea rather that is risen again.

He who has the spotless robe of righteousness, woven in the loom of heaven in which is not a threat of that sinful humanity can claim is at the right hand of God, to clothe his believing children in the perfect garment of his righteousness. Those who are saved in the Kingdom of God will have nothing of which to boast in themselves. The praise and the glory will all flow back to God, the giver or salvation." So the righteousness that fits us, you know got to, I have to avoid--i have to avoid a temptation right here as I teach this lesson. I don't know, if you look in the contents of your study guide, it's talking about the garments of zacchaeus, it's talking about the prodigal son, it's talking about the wedding garment, it's talking about being clothed with Christ, it's talking about Elijah's mantel. These are all sermons I love to preach, and I keep wanting to go to them right now.

And I'm having to reign myself and saying, "doug, not yet. It's coming." But I thought, "what if I'm not here for that lesson? I want to cover it now." So you all pray for me. Someone told me the first time, actually I heard billy graham say it, first time that he ever preached he was so nervous, he had prepared eight sermons. He wasn't sure which one he was going to preach. And he got so excited, he couldn't control himself.

He preached all eight in fifteen minutes. And so there's, you know, preachers face that temptation. Alright so this is talking about the loom of heaven. Any of you ever see somebody work with a loom? You know that's--unless you live in Georgia where they weave the carpets or you've been in one of these fabric mills where you've seen how the looms are very sophisticated now where they make finer clothing, but--or have you ever been to the navajo reservation and watched them weave a rug? And they have a big loom and they got the warp and the woof. You ever heard those expressions before? You've got the lines that are going up and the lines that are going back.

And a shuttle, you ever seen a weaver shuttle? Job talks about, "my days are faster than a weaver's shuttle." And I used to watch the indians, they had these shuttles they'd operate with their feet. And they'd throw the thread through just very skillfully with deaf fingers. And they'd throw it through. They'd pack it down. They hit the loom.

They'd throw it through. And the loom would take all the threads and go back and forth like this with the threads. And they'd throw it through, whip, throw it through, whip. And you watch someone working with a loom like that. And the reason I'm saying that is because today people, these Bible visuals, it meant a lot.

Everybody saw weavers back then like you saw shepherds. And we just don't think on those terms. We think that it all just comes out of the back of walmart somewhere, or nordstroms depending on where you work, your income level. So but, you know, there was a lot of labor that went into weaving clothing to cover somebody. And some was very fine and felt good.

They even had silk back in Bible times, but it came from the east. And some was very rough and course. The poor people sometimes wore something as rough as sackcloth. Any of you ever wear burlap? That's kind of what it--they don't even have burlap potato bags anymore. They're plastic now.

But when I grew up, the potatoes they put them in these burlap bags. And we used to have potato-bag races at the picnics. Anyone remember these things? I'm so old. My grandmother was--she was always knitting. She just, 'cause she could knit up a sweater in a few days.

She was just always knitting and weaving. And I don't know what came over her one time, but she had some, a little extra yarn left, and it was very pretty. And it had gold and kind of metallic threads through this yarn. And something came over her and she decided to knit me a bathing suit. And she thought it would be so cute.

We had a pool in the backyard. So grandma knit me a bathing suit. And I put it on, and I said, "grandma, it's itchy." "Oh you look--it's wonderful!" And she thought it was so beautiful. It's so cute. And that little drawstring in it.

And she said, "you go swim at your neighbor's house." And I left just walking down the street. It was so uncomfortable. And of course now I'm only like four or five years old. And I thought, "I'd rather wear nothing than wear this." So I went by a neighbor's house, and there was a garbage can. I took it off, threw it in the garbage can and went onto the neighbor's house to swim.

And they said--"pastor--doug--" they didn't call me Pastor Doug." They said, "doug," they said, "dougie, you're a little too old to be swimming in the buff." You know, when you're little you let kids get away with that. They said, "you need to get a bathing suit." And so I went home and grandma said, "where's your bathing suit?" I said, "I threw it away." And she locked the door. And I felt fine until I realized I was locked outside naked. And I went and hid behind the hedges and cried and she finally let me back in. But she was mad.

But I remember, I mean she should have felt sorry for me. The thing was awfully uncomfortable. Some of those memories you don't ever lose. Anyway, so in the Bible, they had this clothing. And the garment that Christ offers us is not only exquisite, but it's beautiful.

It feels good too. Alright, "staring in the mirror," section number one. Somebody has Isaiah 64:6, who has that? "But we are all like unclean things, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; we all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away." Thank you. When i--I'll sometimes ask people during a message, "what does clothing represent in the Bible?" And quickly they'll say, "righteousness." I'll say, "no, you weren't listening. I'm not asking about Christ's clothing.

I'm asking about clothing in general." It's a trick question. It depends on who's clothing. You know the story of blind bartimaeus. He's the one who is outside Jericho when Jesus walked by. And he heard through asking somebody that it was Jesus.

And he began to call out. And he said, "son of David, have mercy on me." That was a title for the Messiah, he knew it was him. "Son of David." And they said, "quiet, you're making a spectacle." And he said, "oh, this is my only choice. It's all I can do. I can't go to him.

I can call." So he calls out, "son of David!" Louder, "have mercy on me!" By the way, that's like us praying. You may not get an answer right away, but keep praying. Finally Jesus called the blind man. And there's a little note in there. I think it's in the Gospel of Mark, and this is like in Mark 10.

It says, "casting aside his garment, he came to Jesus." Now if you're a blind person, and you're a poor beggar, what kind of garments does any poor person look like? Well, people aren't going to think you're poor if you don't have, if you're wearing fancy robes. They'll say, "obviously you don't need my help." But if you're a blind beggar and you can't even see the spots and stains, it's probably filthy rags. "Casting aside his filthy garments," his rags, "he came to Jesus." And that's really how we all come. We need to come just as I am, right? Like job said, "naked in the world I came. Naked I'm going to go.

" And so we come to Christ just as we are. So our righteousness is like filthy rags. I don't want to rush ahead. I've got to stop, okay. We've got a whole lesson on that.

I'll get to it later. Philippians 3:13-14, now I'll get someone else to read this. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Thank you. Now one of the things that this lesson emphasizes is the distinction between imputed righteousness and imparted righteousness and sanctification.

When we come to Christ, he gives us a robe as a gift. We must forget what is behind, our filthy rags, and believe that we now have his robe. Because what you're wearing makes a difference. We got a section on that in a little bit I'll get to. Why don't we talk about imputed righteousness.

Now I remember when I started coming to church and someone used that word, I had no idea what they were talking about. They were talking about imputed righteousness and imparted righteousness. There was a lot of what I thought was justification, sanctification, glorification. It sounded like Christian jargon to me and I didn't know what they meant. The word imputed means, "to ascribe, attribute or to charge a person with an act or a quality because of the conduct of another over whom one has control or for whose acts or conduct one is responsible.

" You get credit for the conduct or attributes of another. They are imparted to you. It's often used in legal terminology. Two, it also means, "to attribute righteousness or guilt to a person vicariously. To ascribe as derived from another.

" You might have imputed guilt to you for the deeds of your minor children. You know that? Sometimes--you're responsible--sometimes if your kids break the law, and you know, you've got firearms laying around the house that are loaded. And you let them play with them and they go and they hurt somebody, you might have, even though you didn't shoot anybody, you might experience imputed guilt. For what your child did, you're getting the responsibility for that. And so we're talking now though about imputed righteousness.

We receive credit for the righteousness of Christ. We get this garment that covers our sin, like when the prodigal son came home, and he was received by The Father. We've got another whole lesson on that. Now this is very important. We cannot stand before the Lord and brag about our righteousness.

We really only can plead what was woven in the loom of heaven, his righteousness. Romans 4:3-5, "what does the Scripture say? 'Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him--'" notice that? "Accounted to him," credited to him, "for righteousness." "Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but a debt. But to him who does not work but believes on him who justifies the unGodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness." It doesn't say that Abraham earned it. Abraham was declared righteous by God for his faith. Now his faith affected his behavior, but it starts with belief.

And that's what gives you that garment. Alright, read for me please Luke 15:21-22. "And The Son said unto him, 'father, I have sinned against heaven and in thy sight, and am no longer worthy to be called thy son.' But The Father said to his servants, 'bring forth the best robe and put it on him and put a ring on his hand and shoes on his feet.'" Thank you. Now when you think about a father giving a son the best robe, what story in the Bible pops into your mind? The story of Joseph, right? And what did--and you've heard me refer to this several times, but it's a very powerful Bible image. When the brothers sold Joseph, they sinned.

They sold their brother. How did they cover their sin and explain it to their father? What did they present to The Father? They presented their brother's robe. But it wasn't just the robe. They had stained it with blood. They presented a blood-stained robe.

The robe that Christ wore is the only thing that was left really behind intact. Remember they kind of gambled for the other clothing? They talked--they tore things up. But when it came to his robe, they said, "let's not tear it, but let's--let's gamble and see who gets it, 'cause it was without seam." This seamless robe. Was Jesus' robe there at the foot of the cross, at that point, blood-stained? It was. You read, it says they took off his robe, then herod's soldiers, they beat him.

He had been flogged by pilate. They put it back on him. Do you think it was blood-stained? And he wore it to the cross after being beaten and whipped. He had stripes, as they say. And so here you've got this blood-stained robe.

And there's a lot of legends that have grown up around that, but that's not in the Bible. So The Father's robe that is given for The Son, what kind of robe does The Father bring for the prodigal son? He says, "bring forth the best robe." What kind of robe did Jacob give Joseph? His best robe, his robe of many colors. You know what--what kind of robe did David's daughters wear? Multicolored robes, his virgin daughters. They were royal robes. And that's one reason that it really aggravated Joseph's brothers because they figured , even though Joseph's not the firstborn, Joseph was the firstborn of rachel who he really wanted to be his wife.

They figured Joseph came 11th born, but father's probably going to give him the double-portion of inheritance that belongs to the firstborn. They really resented that. So what kind of robe does God give us when we come to him? The robe of his only begotten son, the one that deserves the inheritance. We get the best robe that qualifies us to see the inheritance that belonged to Jesus. See how important that is? Now if you've got that kind of robe, would that make you feel different? Yeah, it would me.

Now, before we leave this subject, we're emphasizing Abraham's righteousness by faith. But was Abraham a righteous or a wicked man? Was Abraham an obedient man? When he received the righteousness of God by faith, did that change his behavior? So you've got imputed righteousness that then makes you open to imparted righteousness. We are made righteous through justification that then gives us sanctification, desire to be different. And we'll get to this in just a minute about how clothing affects a person. Let me punctuate that.

Genesis 26, you got your Bibles? Genesis 26:4-5, "and I will make your descendants multiply as the stars of heaven; I will give your descendants all these lands; and in your seed all the nations of the earth will be blessed; because Abraham obeyed my voice, kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, my laws." That's pretty specific. I don't know how God can be more specific than that. Now the Bible tells us we're saved by grace, right? Who's the first one that found grace in the eyes of the Lord? There's a song about it, "Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord," right? Noah was saved by grace. But why does God give us grace? Does God give us grace just for imputed righteousness for a cover-up? Or does he gives us grace, and that grace, inherent in that grace is a power to transform. Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord, and then God says in Genesis 7, Genesis 6 he finds grace, Genesis 7, "then the Lord says to Noah, 'come into the ark, you and all your household, because I have seen that you are righteous before me in this generation.

" Was Noah also different? Was Noah seeking to follow God? Because he had found grace by faith, he was different. Now the way that God saved people in the old testament is the same way he saves them today. We find grace through faith. We are made righteous by faith. They were made righteous by faith looking forward to the lamb of God.

Every sacrifice they offered they were looking forward in faith. Is that right? We are saved by faith looking back to the reality of the lamb, the Messiah, Jesus. We are all saved by faith in the cross. Nobody is saved by their works. Is anybody saved by their own robe of righteousness, or are we all saved by Christ's robe of righteousness.

I just wanted to punctuate that. But if we are wearing that, are we different? When the prodigal son came home and The Father covered him with the best robe, did he ask The Father for the checkbook so he could start drinking with the prostitutes and harlots again, as he had done when he left? Was he different when he came home? Do you think he eventually took a bath? He was immediately made acceptable by being received by The Father. He was declared a son, covered by the best robe. Somewhere along the way I bet he cleaned up and lived a new life. See so God accepts us as we are.

We come to him just as we are. He provides that righteousness. All we have to plead is his righteousness. Matter of fact, I've got another verse coming up here. "Without the law," next section, "without the law.

" Romans 3:21, I'll read to verse 23. "But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the law and the prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all--" Paul is emphasizing jew and gentile, old and new testament, it's the righteousness of God that comes apart from the law "--on all who believe." So how do we get that righteousness? It comes on those who believe. "For there is no difference," meaning between jew and gentile, "for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." Everybody has sinned, we all deserve the death penalty. Anybody who is saved is saved by faith. Now read that next verse for me in verse 28, same chapter, Romans 3:28.

Romans 3:28, "therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law." So when it says apart from the law, does that mean we are justified by faith, and in order to be justified by faith you need to start breaking the law? No, it means without depending on obedience to the law, based on the law, we're condemned. We're justified based on faith. Is that clear? This is a big subject that is misunderstood. You know, I also threw in a verse in Ezekiel that--i like these old testament passages because it shows--let me back up and say why I'm saying this. A lot of Christians believe that God changed his mind about how he saves people, that in the old testament they were supposed to be saved by works and that was a different dispensation.

And now in the new testament, we're saved by faith. That's just not true. It's totally wrong. They were atoned by faith then. And we are children of Abraham who was saved by faith, that's old testament.

Abel was declared righteous because he sacrificed the lamb, his faith was in the lamb. It goes all the way back. And so a lot of people are confused about that and they think that Paul dreamed up some new kind of theology for the new testament. It's always been the same. We are justified by faith in the lamb.

Alright, in Ezekiel 16:62, that's a long chapter, "and I will establish my covenant with you. Then you will know that I am the Lord, that you might remember and be ashamed, and never open your mouth anymore because of your shame." What he means by that is you are saved based on my covenant, not your righteousness, so close your mouth and don't brag. That's what he means by, "shut your mouth and be ashamed." "If you're going to talk about what you deserve, you have nothing to boast," he's telling Israel, "I've saved you because of my grace. And you will be saved because of your faith in my grace." Okay? "And I'll provide atonement for all that you have done, says the Lord God." He forgives all of our sins by grace. We have nothing of which to boast.

And that's what Paul was talking about in the new testament. He's quoting things like what Ezekiel says. Alright, next section here, "clothes make the man." Does clothing affect a person's behavior? You know, I actually--it's the sharing book this year called, "who do you think you are?" I got a little section in there about clothing, so I hope you don't mind, I'm trying to recycle some of that material. A person named John t. Molloy, he wrote a book called, "dress for success," in 1988.

He did a little experiment. He went to port authority in New York city, the bus terminal. I've been there many times, grand central station. And he would stop people and panhandle and say he lost his wallet and he needs money to get a bus home. And he wore a suit and a white shirt.

And when doing that he made $7.23. He did it for two hours, and that's how much he got, much more than he needed for the bus back then. Then he changed one thing: he put on a tie. Now just in case you think there's some subliminal message here I'm trying to send you about the importance of ties, I'm not. I hate ties.

I think it's a tragedy a man would begin a day by putting a noose on. It's just, it's another subject. So I'm not making any statement about ties here. I have nothing to push about ties here. But he wore a tie, and then he did the experiment several days.

Whenever he added the tie, the price went up. And after two hours of panhandling with a tie, he made $26. One man even offered him extra to buy a newspaper on the bus to read on his way home. And there's another university that did something like this where they had actors that were wearing the clothes that homeless people might wear. And they would panhandle.

And then they gave them an expensive suit, like a wall street executive. And they would say, "someone just stole my wallet. And the embarrassing thing is I don't have any bus fare home." And people were giving him $20-bills. Same actor, different clothes. Do clothes make a difference? How many of you believe clothes--clothing makes a difference in how people perceive you.

They say you don't judge a book by the cover. And that's true. You shouldn't. We should be very careful not to prejudge people that come through the doors. But you're kidding yourself if people don't look at book covers before they buy a book.

You're right. You shouldn't judge a book by a cover. I've read some good books that had terrible covers. And there's a lot of good books I never read because they had bad covers. I don't know what's in 'em yet because of the cover.

Let's face it. Amazing Facts does a lot of publishing. We think a lot about the covers, 'cause we know people do judge books by covers. Now that doesn't mean we should become hyper occupied with what we wear. Different clothing, different occasions.

I think Christians want to be respectful. We want to be clean. Does it ever bother you if you see somebody standing up front and their tie is off like that? I take it by the rumble that kind of went through the congregation, if I went on like this, how many of you would want to like come up and straighten my tie? Got someone up here who said she's going to. Now I kind of going to use the braille method here because I can't see. Is that close enough? I was at the airport this last week flying through chicago.

I was with stephen. We were coming home. And they take you through the security. And you know, you get all disheveled going through the security. They want your jacket off .

And I got to take off my baseball cap, my boots, and shoes and all. And you got to walk, the first time I've ever done this body scan. That's kind of humiliating. And then you know it's just a busy airport, chicago. Everybody's kind of pushing through.

And there's great congestion. It's a bottleneck at the security. All of you know what I'm talking about. And so folks are behind you. And, you know, I've got all my bags.

I got my laptop, my backpack and stuff. And all these little carts are coming out and they're pushing mine. And it's all starting to pile up like a train wreck. And so you rush and you're trying to get dressed. And I got dressed, and i--and I saw another man who was across from me.

He was rushing just as bad, a man dressed nice suit and everything. And he put his suit on. And his collar was like this. And I saw that. And I thought, well he probably doesn't know.

And are any of you wanting to fix my collar right now? So I saw him later at my gate, same guy. And I walked by the fellow and I said, "you may not know." I said, "your collar." No one had said anything to him to this point. And I said, "you know, your collar is..." And he said, "oh, thank you very much." And he gave me a strange look. And I didn't know why that was. And right about that time I actually passed him, and I went into the restroom.

And I got into the restroom and I looked in the mirror, my collar was like that. [Laughs] and I thought I'm going to have to share that. That's a sermon illustration. We always see the speck in everyone else's eye. We don't see the log in our own.

And as a little peeve, stephen hadn't told me. Ha, ha! "Yeah, dad looks pretty dorky right now. I think I'll let him look that way." Ha, ha, ha, ha! But what you wear not only says something to other people, but what you wear can change your esteem about yourself. You know it--i used to go to military school. And when I'd get to school and I'd put on my uniform, I noticed something happened.

I was a security guard for a while, wore a uniform and a badge. And you know, I was a thief while I lived in boston. Some of you know my testimony. I hope I didn't shock any visitors here, but before I was a Christian, I was a plain old thief. I'd break into houses and steal things.

I was a thief. And I got a job working for a security guard company. But I never stole from the people I was guarding, because something happened when I put on my uniform. I felt responsible. You know, it did something to me.

There's actually a story in your lesson about two thieves that decided an idea for a heist would be one of them would dress up like a policeman. So when the other one was inside robbing this grocery store, no one would suspect anything, 'cause the policeman, the other guy was standing out there out front with his arms folded. So his buddy dressed up like a policeman, he stood out front. And people went by, they were nodding to him as the officer and all looking at him. And they noticed how much they respected him.

When his friend came out with the loot, he decided to arrest his friend. He felt so good about being a policeman. Those of you who laughed, you haven't been reading your lesson, 'cause that's in your lesson. But clothing does affect how we feel about ourselves. So having said that, if you come to Jesus, and you like bartimaeus throw aside your filthy rags, like that prodigal that comes home with the pig stains on your robes, and Jesus gives you that beautiful glowing robe of glory, that robe of majesty that belongs to the King's son, that robe of inheritance, spotless without blemish, without wrinkle.

And you're wearing this righteousness, is that going to change your self-perception? Will you be more careful to want to keep it clean? Does what you're wearing want to change how you feel about yourself? Last section, "cheap grace and legalism." Oh, there's a verse that I gave somebody I didn't read. I want you to read this, 2 Corinthians 3:18. Who had that? But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. We are changed by beholding Christ. We become like what we look at.

And as we look at him, we're transformed into his image. By the way, in Revelation, what are they wearing, the ones who are saved? It's chapter 7:14, "these are the ones who have come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the lamb." So we received this imputed righteousness that then becomes an imparted righteousness. We are also sanctified. We received justification. But then in the process--if you received a beautiful, glorious robe, would you want to keep it clean? I don't know about you, does anyone here have kids that take your laundry services for granted? You tell them to clean their room, and you have folded clothes and washed clothes, and you bring them to their room, and you assume that they are going to then put them away.

But the room's all messed up, and they've been digging through the pile of clothes that you've cleaned. And rather than fold them and put them away, they find it's easier to throw them back in the hamper or the laundry bag again, clean clothes. They don't appreciate how much work you go through. And so their idea of cleaning their room is just throw it. I've worn it once.

It's barely dirty. Throw it. That way I don't have to fold it. Am I the only one who's seen that happen before? But you know what happens? They grow up. They leave home.

And now they've got to wash their own clothes. Do they wear 'em a little longer when they've got to wash their own clothes? And I remember one time when I was on the road, and sometimes, you know, I'm on the road for a long trip and I think, "well, I'll try to find a hotel that's got a washing machine." And some do, and some don't. And I was in some foreign country where there just was no practical way to get my clothes washed. And I brought clean clothes with me. You'd be amazed how careful a person can be when you know, "I've got to keep these clothes clean as long as I can, because there's no laundromat.

" As we near the end of time, will the laundromat eventually close? Right now you sin, praise the Lord, you can go to Jesus and his blood washes our stains. Right? What is the Lord going to say? Revelation 22:11, eventually God's laundromat closes. "He that is unjust, let him be unjust still; he that is filthy, let him be filthy still; he that is righteous, let him be righteous still; he that is holy, let him be holy still." And so the day is coming when the laundromat closes, which means Christ has given you this robe of righteousness. He's asking you to develop sanctification. He gives you justification.

He wants us to learn to be holy also, to keep the garments that he's given us. Isn't that reasonable that he's paid so much to clean them? How careful is a bride when she pays $50,000 for a dress? She tries it on once or twice for pictures. How careful is she with that dress? Does she go eat spaghetti while she's wearing it? You ever notice with spaghetti, sometimes it flings things off your plate. And salad does that too. You know, salad kind of catapults the dressing if you're not careful.

She's real careful. Jesus is coming for a bride without spot or blemish. Amen? We need to thank God for his robes. Now I want to close with this statement. I know we're just about out of time.

They'll edit a minute out somewhere, but let me read this. Talking about "cheap grace and legalism." This is summed up so well in a statement from "steps to Christ," page 59 and 60. Let me just read this to you. "There are two errors against which the children of God, especially those who have just come to trust in his grace, need to guard. The first is that of looking to one's own works, trusting in anything they can do to bring themselves in harmony with God.

He who is trying to become holy by his own works in keeping the law is attempting an impossibility. All that man can do without Christ is polluted with selfishness and sin. It's the grace of Christ alone through faith that can make us holy. Grace through faith makes us holy. The opposite, and no less dangerous error, is that belief in Christ releases men from keeping the law of God, that since by faith alone we become partakers of the grace of Christ, our works have nothing to do with our redemption.

" If you are saved by grace, you will obey. That is just a very clear teaching in the Bible. And so I just wanted to make sure that I provided that balance. And we have run out of time. Bless you, friends.

We do want to remind those who joined us along the way, if you did not hear, our free offer today is "riches of grace." We'll send that to you just for asking. Call 866-study-more, 866-788-3966. God bless you and study your Bible.

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