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What Shall I Wear?

Scripture: Genesis 3:7-21
Date: 12/16/2000 
The topic of this sermon is, "What shall I wear?" The Bible has much to say about what we should wear. We wear clothes because of modesty. Clothing keeps us appropriately covered from the elements. The most important clothing we can wear is the robe of Christ's righteousness.
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You know it is aggravating having to worry about what shall I wear? What shall I wear? Well, you know I was surprised as I looked at the word of God how much the Bible has to say about this subject on what to wear. You know there’s one thing that everybody should wear. You know what that is? A smile. Now you think, “Doug, that’s really cute, but it’s not Biblical. Oh, yes, it is. It’s Biblical.

Coming to you from the capitol city of California Amazing Facts presents the Everlasting Gospel. We’re gathered with God’s family of faith at the Sacramento Central Church. Together we will explore the Bible with teacher, author, evangelist, Pastor Doug Batchelor. In the atmosphere of heartfelt prayer to our Savior and Lord, moved by songs of love and praise to God and his amazing grace and inspired by the dedication and personal witness of our brothers and sisters in the body of Christ, we will study the timeless, everlasting truths of God’s word. From messages which inspire us with the hope and freedom we have in Christ to practical, down to earth sermons which give us the tools to live godly lives in a secular society as well as messages that give Bible answers to our spiritual questions and look at what God says about the future. There is sure to be something for everyone. So we invite you to join our family and experience the transforming power of God’s Spirit in your life.

I’d like to talk with you this morning about the subject of what to wear. What shall I wear? Have you… are you ever concerned like I am that you might be wearing the wrong thing at the wrong time in the wrong place? You know I was very frustrated growing up because I had to go to military school when I was five years old. You had to wear a uniform. And then I vowed I would never wear a suit when I went to work because I went to several boarding schools and catholic schools where I had to wear a suit and a tie every day and I became a pastor and I’ve got to wear a suit and a tie. One of the things I really enjoy about vacation when we get to go up to the hills is I can dress down if you will. I can just kind of grab anything that will protect me against the elements and you can relax. You don’t have to worry about making a fashion statement. I don’t have the gift some people have for knowing what matches. And I know sometimes I’ve been an embarrassment to my wife. I’ll be on my way out the door and she’ll say, “Where are you going like that?” And I’ll say, “Is something wrong?” “That doesn’t match!” I’m learning. I’m doing much better. I am. I’ve got things all categoried. I know she’s approved certain assortments, combinations and I try and hang them together in the closet so I don’t make any mistakes. But you know it is aggravating to have to worry about what shall I wear? What shall I wear? Well, you know I was surprised as I looked at the word of God how much the Bible has to say about this subject of what to wear. You know there’s one thing that everybody should wear. You know what that is? A smile. Now you think, “Doug, that’s really cute, but it’s not Biblical.” Oh, yes, it is. It’s Biblical. Have you read in the book of Job chapter 9, verse 27, “I will put off my sad face and wear a smile.” Alright so the first thing we want to put on is what? You could do a lot more to advertise for Jesus by being happier. We’ve got too many people who are Christians and they go around looking like they’ve been baptized in lemon juice and people would want to be Christians if we would look more positive and happy about our relationship with Jesus. But what about the specifics of clothing? We might start with some basics. Why do we wear clothes? You ever wonder that? I bet if I was to ask six people here why do we wear clothes you’d probably get seven different answers. But there are some things that we could learn as we study. One thing that I want you to notice, man is different from every other creature in the respect of clothing. All the other creatures in God’s kingdom the clothing comes you would say from the inside out, so to speak. They’re born with their clothes and the clothes grow and sometimes they shed and develop new clothes, but man is the only creature who has the clothing coming from the outside. Sometimes it requires the sacrifice of another creature that we might be clothed. Now that takes us back to where the first clothes, artificial clothing came into being. In your Bibles you’ll read in Genesis 3:7 that after Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit it says the eyes of them both were opened and they knew they were naked and they sewed fig leaves together and they made themselves aprons and the Hebrew word there for aprons is the equivalent of belts. They were wearing belts of fig leaves. Now just so that you have the proper background, when it says that the man and woman were naked and were not ashamed that does not mean that back before sin Adam and Eve were streaking around the garden in their birthday tuxedos oblivious that they were naked and suddenly they ate this forbidden fruit and they had enhanced understanding, “Hey! We’re naked. We shouldn’t be.” That would almost make it seem like the fruit really did make you wiser. But Adam and Eve had robes of light. They had natural garments from God and when they sinned the light went out. You might be saying, “Well, Doug, how do you know that? Does it say that in the Bible?” Well, indirectly. Some of you remember for instance when Moses talked to God face to face on the mountain. He came down. What was happening with his face? The only part of his body that was glowing was his face. He had been in the presence of God. He actually had to veil his face because the people said, “We can’t look at Moses,” and he veiled his face because it was so bright. They didn’t have sunglasses back then. Can you imagine that? When Adam and Eve talked to God on a regular basis they glowed with a holiness. They wore these robes of light. They had natural clothing just like the other creatures did. But when they sinned the clothing gradually faded and suddenly they were aware they were naked and so they tried to cover their nakedness by developing their own righteousness. They tried to make their own robes. Fig leaves in the Bible are synonymous with self-righteousness. You remember when Jesus cursed the fig tree? Because it had leaves. What kind of leaves does a fig tree have? Fig leaves. That’s right. Because it had leaves and no fruit. So fig leaves are a symbol of self-righteousness and also keep this in mind when Adam and Eve made those aprons had anything died up to that point? They maybe thought they would last longer and I bet before God even pointed out they began to shrivel. And they realized this is not going to work. They were not modest for one thing. The Bible says they made aprons or belts of leaves. Later God said that’s not appropriate and the Bible says “also for Adam,” Genesis 3:21 “and his wife the Lord God made tunics…” And the word there tunic is robes “of skin and clothed them.” Now a robe is a little different than an apron. They made mini-skirts and God made robes. So what is one of the reasons that we wear clothing? Modesty. The Bible doesn’t tell us that right there in the beginning the environment had any harsh change. There may have been some mild changes, but the principle reason that clothing was originally distributed by God was to cover their nakedness for modesty and it’s probably appropriate at this time to mention that when we do come into the presence of God in a special sense we should remember that there ought to be a modesty. You’ve read in the book Isaiah chapter 6 that the angels around the throne of God veil their faces and they veil their feet and they cry, “Holy, holy, holy.” Those angels administer in the presence of God. Now the angels that came to and from earth that visit with men it doesn’t say they walk around covering their faces and their feet, but when in the presence of God there ought to be a special humility and modestness. And I think it’s appropriate for those of us especially that are Christians, especially if you’re ministering in some capacity before the Lord that everything ought to be high enough and low enough and loose enough to cover the limbs and the legs. Amen? Of men and women because we’re in the presence of a holy God. So modesty is one reason. There are some other practical reasons for clothing. Another one would be what? The temperature, the climate that we might be warm enough. Certain parts of the world that applies. Other parts of the world you wear clothing to stay cool, to protect from sunburn or something like that. You know there’s a very touching story in the Bible when you read in II Timothy the last letter of Paul before he was executed. Did you ever catch this? Paul writes and he says to Timothy, “Bring the cloak that I left with Carpas and Trois when you come and the books, especially the parchments.” Then it says in verse 21, “Do your utmost to come before winter.” Paul was in that prison, the mamantine prison. They did not have air conditioning and heating and blankets; whatever you had in a prison back then your friends supplied. Paul was cold. He was getting old. He said he had fought a good fight. He was going to be executed. His health was not good and you could almost empathize with the aged apostle there. He says, “Please bring my cloak that I left. Come before winter.” So part of the reason for our clothing is to protect us from the temperature. Now everybody is wired different. Have you ever been at someone’s house and think, “Boy they keep it warm here.” They’ve got the thermostat way up. And you go to other people’s house and you go, “Boy they keep it cold here.” Those are the frugal people. Of course unless it’s summer time then they’ve got the air conditioner way up. We’re all a little wired differently when it comes to our body thermostat and I don’t know how you are but I would rather sweat than shiver any day. It’s just easier for me to handle the warmth. I like warm weather. I like the heat. Maybe it’s because I’m part Jewish and we were bred in the deserts. I like that a little better than shivering. I can’t stand to be cold. I hear about these people that get calls to go to places like Michigan to work for the Lord and I think, “That’s really a sacrifice.” Going back to the east coast. So one of the reasons we wear clothing is to protect us from the elements. Would you like to hear a little Amazing Fact? The forth largest clothing manufacturer in North America who makes women’s clothing is Mattel and they make clothing for Barbie dolls. The forth largest manufacturer and they make millions and millions of yards of clothing and they’re never worn by people. That’s sort of, I mean, we’re not trying to take the dolls away from the little girls, but you think about it. It’s really a tragedy when you consider there are so many people in the world that have no clothing and the forth largest clothing manufacturer in North America makes it for dolls. So one of the reasons for clothes of course is for warmth another reason is protection. Sometimes because of the environment we’re in we need special garments. I remember it was Neil Armstrong I think that said, “Whenever you’re wearing that space suit” when he walked on the moon and those missions, he said, “especially when you’re outside the capsule you realize that you have one quarter inch between you and eternity.” If they accidentally should bump or rip their suit on some rough or sharp surface they would expire. Would you say that’s important clothing? These pilots that fly at high altitudes and do these fast maneuvers going the speed of sound, they wear these special pressure suits because if you take a radical turn and your pressure suit is not operating so that it keeps the blood to the head you pass out and you crash. So sometimes people wear clothing to sustain life, for protection. Another reason that we wear clothing is for respect. Now this is something that I think is very important. What you wear often says something about what you’re doing and where you’re going and who you’re with and different clothing that’s appropriate for different occasions. You don’t wear necessarily the same thing you would wear working at Taco Bell or some fast food joint where they’ve got a uniform as you might wear when you’re out picnicking with your family. When you come to worship before the Lord you might not wear the same thing that you wear going on to the beach or for a casual outing. Different clothing is appropriate for different occasions. I came to church last night. Just in case you’re ever wondering if you come by the church on Friday the office staff meets twice a week together. We meet Wednesdays. We meet Friday mornings. Friday is our frumpy Friday. We usually do a lot of cleaning and work around the church getting ready for Sabbath and so we don’t all wear our suits Friday. We all look a little frumpy. And I yesterday came I had my tennis shoes and my jeans on and my sweatshirt and my baseball cap. And you know you’re shuffling and picking up and doing things around the church. I did not have time to change before the Prophesy Bible Study last night. Now Pastor Art fortunately was teaching, but I’d told him I’ll come and help him hook up the projectors and do a few things. Well, I was embarrassed because I had a day and a half worth of beard and on me that doesn’t look very good. Matter of fact, I probably don’t look like I shaved already and it’s only been about three hours. You know I’ve got my jeans on. I was embarrassed. Some of you were at the study last night. You probably thought I wasn’t here. I was here. I went around the side. I think Jay Castillo saw me sneak in the door and I went like that. I went back here and I did all the computer work and the projector work and I snuck out and I went into the youth room because they were all frumpy already over in the Camellia Room and I sat in with them, but I just did not feel right. I know some of you are thinking, “Oh, Doug, it doesn’t matter. God looks on your heart.” Wrong. It does matter for me. I know better and I think it would be a bad witness if I came to the house of the Lord when we’re studying God’s word and I’m frumpy for a formal gathering in a sacred place. And so out of respect for God I did not feel comfortable doing that. You know what I think is interesting sometimes people will come to church and they look like they’re going to the beach. Now if that’s the best clothes you’ve got, then bless your heart you come anyway. But they may have clothes hanging in their wardrobe that they would reserve for, well, if they were invited to the governor’s house for dinner they wouldn’t wear the beach clothes. You all know what I’m talking about? They would have more respect for some earthly ruler or politician than for the King of the Universe. And so I think when you come before the Lord you wear your best whatever it happens to be. If you’ve only got one garment then praise the Lord that’s your best and God will bless you. But if we give our best to sinful mortals and if we’ll show more respect and regard for man than we do for the King of the Universe then that’s not the right priority. Would you agree? So for respect, we wear certain clothing because of respect. Another reason we wear different kinds of clothing is identification. I know I went to military school and I had several different uniforms and actually it was easier at military school because they told you every day, “Today you wear your dress uniform. Today you wear your fatigues.” And we had two or three different kinds of uniforms. We wore one for class, one for parade, and one for our dirty work, our fatigues. And I guess the military is still like that like it was in military school. You didn’t ask for my opinion but I’m going to give it to you which I usually do every week anyway all day long, but the schools are debating now what’s better, uniforms or no uniforms. My opinion, I feel fervently that uniforms are better for a lot of reasons. I went to schools, fourteen different schools. Some had uniforms, some did not. I went to public schools, private schools, catholic schools and I found that the schools where the children wore uniforms typically they were not preoccupied with who is better than who, who is making a fashion statement, who is rich and how is poor and they could focus more on relationships and their schoolwork than trying to make a statement with their status and I really thought that there was an advantage to that and you may agree or disagree but I wanted to fit it in. So we identify. You know during the Gulf War it was important that the soldiers had different uniforms. Otherwise they could be killed because of friendly fire. So for identification. Sometimes, matter of fact, we’re talking now here at the church. We had an elders meeting. They said, “Is it possible that the ushers could wear a badge or to wear a band or something to identify them so if someone needs an usher that they stand out?” So it’s important sometimes to recognize a policeman. If he’s under cover he doesn’t have his uniform on, right? You can’t spot him in a crowd. And so identification of course is another reason. Which leads us to a very important point; when you get to Revelation chapter 12 and chapter 17, you’ve got two women. One woman represents God’s church. The other woman represents an apostate or counterfeit or fallen church. Do these women ever speak? No, they never open their mouths and utter a word. How are we to identify who they are? Does the Bible tell us what they’re wearing? That’s all it tells us. Well, of course it does tell us the woman in Revelation 17 is sitting on a dragon so that ought to help us know something about her. But it tells us what they’re wearing and they’re identified by what they’re wearing. Now you should not judge a book by its cover, they say, but I’ll tell you what we just finished a new book. Oh, incidentally! I am so thankful the Mary book is out now. It’s printed and they’re shipping it and I am so excited. We’ll tell you more about that later. But you can bet we spent a lot of time on the cover of that book. You shouldn’t judge a book by a cover, but people do, isn’t that right? If you want a book to sell well you better have a good cover. Even though it may not be fair it still works that way. People should not judge somebody’s heart by what they’re wearing, right? But they do. And so as a Christian you do not want to give a person the wrong reason to misjudge who you serve. Color. You know I remember I lived back in the east coast and we went back to Pennsylvania. Is it the Amish or the Mennonites? The Amish in Pennsylvania. Then in New Mexico we had some friends that went to a Mennonite church. Some of the more conservative Amish and Mennonite communities wear no color. How many of you know that? They believe it’s sinful. Does the Bible teach that? No. Did God have his priests wearing color? They were the holiest men in their uniforms and they had blue and they had pomegranate and they had white and it was very bright. You look at the sanctuary and there is plenty of color. God is a God of color. You look at the nature that the Lord made and even Jesus said, “Behold the lilies of the valley and the flowers of the field. Even Solomon in all of his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” And so there’s nothing wrong with color. Different colors often denote different things. When you think of white what do you think of? Purity. And why does a woman typically wear white on her wedding? It’s a symbol for purity. And my mother for her forth wedding, I think I told you, she wore scarlet. She wanted to make a statement. But different colors have different symbols. Who knows what the color purple represents? It’s a symbol for royalty. That’s right. You know the Bible talks about a character by the name of Lydia who was part of the early church, a leader in the early church and she was a “seller of purple”. That’s all it tells us about her. We don’t know if she sold the dye or if she’d dye the cloth and sell the cloth. But it was a specialty. It was a rare color and it’s a symbol for royalty. So is there anything wrong with wearing color? No, I don’t think so. I don’t think God has designed we should all be like the ancient, well, they’re not ancient, but the communist Chinese a few years ago everybody wore the same color. Now they’re a lot more western. If you go to China today the people are wearing the colors that the typical western world wears. They all used to wear this blah kind of green color and it was pretty drab. But having said that is it possible still to use taste? I mean God uses his artistic skill carefully. I think it’s important to put a little thought into dressing so that you match. Some people have a gift artistically. Those of us that don’t have the gift like myself have to look to those that do when it comes to knowing what matches and what to wear because you don’t want to look like a circus when you leave the house, do you? And let’s face it, some people deliberately get everything that is shocking and as bright and outrageous as possible to be flamboyant and attract attention to themselves. While color is wonderful and God likes color I don’t… What did Jacob give Joseph? A coat of many colors. You know that was a symbol for royalty too back then. Matter of fact, I’ve got a little story in here about that. In your Bibles, not everything is on the screen today, Genesis chapter 37. Genesis 37, you remember Jacob gave Joseph a coat and that coat, that beautiful coat of many colors was a sore spot. Incidentally that was a coat of royalty given to special children. You remember King David’s daughters wore coats of many colors. The Bible says Tamar the sister of Absalom wore a coat of many colors, one of David’s daughters. Well after the boys threw Joseph in the pit it says in verse 29, “Then Ruben (the firstborn) he returned to the pit and indeed Joseph was not in the pit and Ruben tore his clothes…” Have you read in the Bible where people tore their clothes? What was that a symbol of? Anguish and mourning. Do your clothing, does it represent something about who you are and what you’re thinking. When they would tear their clothes it was a symbol for mourning. You remember the High Priest tore his clothes when Jesus said he was the Son of God and David when he found out he had sinned and he was confronted he tore his clothes. It was a sign of humbling of themselves and mourning. “He tore his clothes and he returned to his brothers and he said, ‘The lad is no more and where shall I go?’ So they took Joseph’s tunic...” that beautiful robe with many colors “…and killed a kid of the goats and they dipped the tunic in the blood and they sent the tunic of many colors and they brought it to the father and said, ‘We found this. Do you know whether or not it is your son’s?’” Here that robe from Jacob’s son stained with the blood of the sacrifice was the means of covering their sin. They had sold their brother and that bloodstained robe covered their sin. Does that make you think of another bloodstained robe that covers our sin? Which leads me to another thought. I told you that sometimes people would rend their clothes when mourning. Joseph wore a coat of many colors. What does black symbolize? Black clothing is typically something someone wears during a time of mourning, but not only that you know it’s interesting that it’s often a symbol of not just mourning but death. And because wearing a lot of black perpetually is a symbol of death… Now I’ve got some black on now. I’m not saying anybody who wears any black is a symbol of death, but I think you’d agree with me that those who are deeply entrenched in the occult they often predominantly wear black. Now Jesus says he’s going to give us what color robes? White robes. Now I’m not suggesting everybody go buy a white robe and everyone throw away their black clothes. I’m just saying that I think we agree that different colors have a different meaning and we should know that. What shall we wear? The Bible tells us several things that we should remember to put on. For one, we need to put on the armor of God. Ephesians 6:11, “Put on the whole armor of God that you might be able to stand against the whiles of the devil.” Put on the armor of God. Now God supplies it but you and I must put it on. How many of you remember that story about the emperor’s new clothes? I went on the Internet yesterday and tried to find that story. Everyone knows it. I couldn’t find it anywhere, but the best of my recollection is that there was this frivolous king, this vain king and he had this tailor that he paid a lot of money to make special garments for him. The tailor squandered the money and when it came time to produce the clothes the tailor before he takes them out of the box says, “Now, Your Highness, these clothes I’ve worked on for a long time. They’re very special. They’re special. They’re magic. Only wise people can see these clothes.” And all the king’s counselors and the king was there when the tailor pulled out this hanger with nothing on it, and nobody wanted to say, “I don’t see the clothes” because that would mean you’re stupid. So they all said, “Oh! They’re gorgeous! Yeah! They’re beautiful!” And everybody is gushing over these invisible clothes that aren’t even there, they didn’t exist, because they didn’t want to look stupid. Now when we talk about putting on Christ or putting on the armor of God these are not imaginary clothes. These are very real things. When the Bible says that you wear the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, the sword of the Spirit, the word of God, the belt of truth and you’ve got these different implements, the gospel shoes. These are very real, tangible things that you put on by putting the word of God in your mind and in your heart and in your feet means where you go, the sword. It really does work. It’s what Jesus used to fight the devil. They’re not imaginary. So keep that in mind as we discuss these different things. Romans 13:12 talks a little more about that armor, “The night is far spent. The day is at hand. Let us therefore cast off…” Before you put on the armor what do you have to do? You “cast off the works of darkness and let us put on the armor of light.” Jesus said that people ought to look at us and see that we’ve got a light. “So let your light shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” You know I like that story in the Old Testament where Jonathan, Saul’s son, the crown prince, he took off his armor and his robe and his sword and his weapons and he gave them to David. You know we named of course our youngest Batchelor Nathan. And the word Nathan means gift. Nathaniel means gift of Eloheem. Jonathan means Jehovah’s gift. Isn’t it interesting that Jehovah’s gift gave David his armor, his robe, his sword, his spear, and Jesus gives us these same things too. He provides that armor for us. You know there’s a number of stories in the Bible about people who had experiences that related to clothing with Jesus. I’ll name just a few of them. When Peter was delivered from prison, we studied this a few weeks ago, the angel came to him and said, “Put your garment on and follow me.” Now I think that’s significant. Before Peter gets out of prison the angel said, “Put on your sandals, put on your garment and follow me.” How do we get out of prison? We put on Christ’s robe and then we follow him. John 21:7, you remember the last fishing trip of Peter and the apostles? The Bible says, “Therefore when that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It’s the Lord!’ Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment for he had removed it.” You know when you’re fishing you don’t wear much. “…and he jumped into the sea.” Before he came to Jesus, before he jumped into the sea, he put on his garment. What does what water represent in the Bible? Peoples of the world. You know if you’re going to be reaching the peoples of the world we need to put on that garment before we are jumping into the sea, so to speak, and coming to Christ. That sort of a picture of what we do. Christ is coming soon. We want to be ready to meet him. We are going to meet him. In the process we’ve got to jump in the water. We’ve got to be a witness for him, which leads me to another reason that people wear clothing; if we’re going to be effective in saving others we need to be properly clad. Can you say amen to that? I remember hearing a terrible story years ago in Texas. I used to live there. A father stopped at a gas station and he was out front talking to some friends and his son had gone inside to the convenience store and I guess a line, a gas line ran under the station. Nobody to this day knows exactly what happened, but the store burst into flames and the place was just engulfed in flames. It just exploded. Gas had been leaking in there. The father was outside and the boy surrounded with flames in the middle of this store is calling out to his dad and his dad kept trying to run in to save his boy. He could hear him shrieking. He could do nothing to save him because even though his heart wanted to go in his body kept being repelled by the heat and he was severely burned wanting to save his child but he didn’t have the right clothes do it. Firemen are equipped for this. If you’re going to save other people you need to make sure that you are properly clad for the emergency. Amen? It’s hard to get somebody out of the water into the boat when you’re still the water. You ever tried that before? You’ve got to make sure that you’re in the boat if you want to get them out of the water into the boat. So that’s another reason it’s important to have the right kind of clothing. Ephesians 4:24. What shall I wear? “And that you put on the new man which was created according to God in true righteousness and holiness.” We are to put on a new man. Put off the old man. Put on the new man. There’s a company I heard about that’s made this new winter jacket for children that has these specially treated plastic panels that change color depending on the temperature. When it gets warm the panels turn purple. No, I think when it gets warm they turn orange. When it gets cold they turn purple. Any of you ever seen this before, this material? My kids have got some little matchbox cars that do this. <> The Bible tells us that the Lord is coming for a special bride. Verses 25 to 27 “As Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the Word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing but that she should be holy and without blemish.” Now the calling that the Lord has provided for you and me of purity is a very high one and you might be thinking, “Well how do I get my garments without spot or without wrinkle?” I’d like to read a little quote that I found. It’s from Testimonies to the Church. You’ve heard of that. Volume 5, page 472, if you take notes. “We are to exert every energy of soul in the work of overcoming and to look to Jesus for strength to do what we cannot do for ourselves. No sin can be tolerated in those who shall walk with Christ in white. The filthy garments are to be removed and Christ’s robe of righteousness is to be placed on us. By repentance and faith we are enabled to render obedience to all the commandments of God and are found without blame before Him. Those who shall meet the approval of God are now afflicting their souls, confessing their sin and earnestly pleading for pardon through Jesus their advocate. Their attention is fixed on Him. Their hopes, their faith are centered on Him and when the command is given ‘Take away the filthy garments and clothes him with a change of raiment and set a fair miter upon his head’ they are prepared to give Him all the glory for their salvation.” I think that’s a beautiful statement. Do we have a role to play in being properly clad? Yes, we’re to do everything we can earthly, everything we can do in our earthly strength to receive the garments that Jesus has made available at such a great cost. Which leads us to the next very important question. How do we clean our clothes? I’m really thankful for… Karen and I have a good understanding in our marriage. I know in every marriage people will do have different things. Karen and I, we share making the bed, I often help with the dishes, there’s different things we do. She does all the laundry and I am so thankful because I don’t like doing laundry. I don’t know anything about it and if I did know anything I haven’t let her know because... I just dump it all in together, pour in lots of bleach, she says, “What are you doing?” “Isn’t this how you do it?” and I’ve been relieved of that duty, but I’m really thankful she doesn’t mind. She folds the clothes and that’s a great relief to me. But you know one thing I’ve discovered is sometimes we’ve had places where we had a washer and dryer and you not as particular about what you get clean and dirty when you’ve got a good washer and dryer right at hand. You know what I’m talking about? Up at our cabin in the hills the washer and dryer broke and I found I was wearing the same thing for several days, and I was getting a little riper than I normally would because I didn’t want to have to hand wash the clothes. Have you been there before? You stay in a hotel room, you don’t have a washer and dryer and you’re using the sink or the bathtub? Any of you done that before? Do you wear things a little longer? Are you a little more careful to keep them clean when you know you don’t have that kind of availability of a washer and dryer? How available is the grace of Jesus right now to wash our sins when we ask him? It’s very available. Will it always be that way? No. Is there a day coming when Christ is going to be declare that the Laundromat is closed? “He that is clean, let him be clean still; he that is filthy, let him be filthy still.” So if you saw a seminar advertising “learn how to keep your clothes forever clean” would you attend? Would you save all that money on laundry bills? Well you know the Lord is trying to teach us now how to keep from falling. I think so many of us are waiting for some sort of special prescription to be handed out that’s going to teach us to live victorious lives. That’s available now, friends. Amen? So how do we keep our clothes clean? Well you know the answer was given in that story we used in our scripture reading. When Joshua stood by… Now this is the High Priest. Joshua stood by and the devil was there to point out the dirt on his clothes. He’s called the accuser of the brethren. But the Lord said, “I rebuke thee, Satan!” Were Joshua’s clothes dirty? Yeah. The devil was rebuked by the Lord and the Lord said, “He is a brand plucked from the burning,” and he declared, he commanded not by anything that Joshua had done, Joshua simply was in the presence of the Lord and that’s what we do. We come into the presence of the Lord and look for mercy and grace. And the Lord declared, “Take away his filthy garments and put clean garments on him.” Notice the sequence. Filthy garments gone, clean garments come. “And put a miter on his head,” that’s the equivalent of a crown. The Bible says that we’re going to have crowns too. I’ll get to that in a minute. How do we keep our clothes clean? Revelation 3:18 “I counsel you to buy from Me white garments that you might be clothed that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed.” Buy it from Jesus. How much does it cost? It costs to your faith. The Bible tells us, “Ho, everyone that thirsts,” Isaiah 55, “come to the waters. He that has no money come, buy, eat.” How can you buy with no money? What is it the Lord wants? He wants the gold of our faith, the silver of our love, and that’s the currency that we used to secure this. Furthermore, Revelation 7:14 helps us identify who they are and how they get their robes clean, speaking of the 144,000, “These are the ones who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the lamb.” Now when is that blood going to be available for washing our clothes? It’s available now. Do you mean we could have clean robes now? Yeah. First of all, the robe is cleaned two ways. Your robe is cleaned through justification and what that means is you come to the Lord just like you are and he gives you his robe. It’s available as a free gift. Then there’s the process of sanctification and that’s where your very nature is cleansed in the blood of the lamb and that robe becomes your own. It isn’t forever something you’re borrowing. Anyone ever borrow your clothes? Are you like me? I mean to you like to lend your clothes? Let me ask do you like to borrow clothes? How many of you prefer your own clothes? I mean it’s real personal when you start wearing someone else’s underwear. You know everyone wants to have their own clothes, right? And the Lord tells us it’s going to be our robe. This is what that scripture says “their robes.” It becomes a gift that we keep. It’s ours. How important is it that we have the right clothes when Jesus comes? Have you read that parable in Matthew chapter 22 about the king who has a feast, a wedding feast to be specific, and the king sends out invitations to everybody. Now have you ever been to a wedding where people are wealthy? Sometimes a low budget wedding, the bridesmaids and the groomsmen have to go rent their own tuxedos and buy their own dresses, right? You know what I mean? Some of the more lavish weddings the sponsor say, “We will buy the dresses for the bridesmaids and we will pay all the tuxedo rental for the groomsmen.” When a king has a wedding you can know that he is supplying the garments for the wedding. That was understood and especially in the parable when you consider that the king had to go out into the highways and the byways and the hedges to get people into the wedding. Do you think they were walking around with wedding garments? The king provided these wedding garments at his expense and after all that the Bible tells us that someone showed up without the wedding garment. Matthew 22:12-13, “So he said to them,” Matthew 22:12-13 this man shows up without a wedding garment and wants to go in. “Friend,” same thing Jesus said to Judas. “Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?” and he was speechless. You know why he was speechless? There was no excuse. The king had purchased one. They were available. He just figured it wasn’t necessary. He didn’t take the time or energy to don the garment. “He was speechless. Then the king said to his servants, ‘Bind him and foot. Take him away. Cast him into outer darkness and there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’” Friends, is this just a fun sermon or is this a very important issue? Having the right garments on when Jesus comes, is it just something to tickle our imaginations and challenge us intellectually? Or is it absolutely essential that we have those robes on when Jesus comes? Is the robe available? He’s paid the price. It’s a free gift. If we refuse to put it on, you notice all the scriptures that I’ve pointed out where it says put on the armor, put on Christ? The Bible is inviting us to take action to put these things on. The Lord does not wrestle us to the ground like we do our three year olds to put their clothes on. You know what I mean? We must choose. He will not force us to wear these garments. We must choose to put them on. You know I like the story in the Bible about that woman who believed that… she had been bleeding for twelve years and spent everything and wasn’t any better. How was she finally healed? She said within herself, Matthew 9:21, “If only I might touch his garment I shall be made well.” How do we get cleansed? How do we get whole? It’s through the garments of Christ. She believed and Christ said, “Daughter, go in peace. Your faith has made you whole.” Perhaps you remember the story in Mark chapter 10, verse 50, blind Bartimaeus. Christ is going through Jericho and Bartimaeus is calling out, “Son of David, have mercy on me! Son of David have mercy on me!” And the crowd says, “Shh, you’re making a spectacle. Be quiet. You’re disrupting the parade!” And he cries even louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Finally Jesus stops the whole parade as it’s going through Jericho and here is this poor blind beggar. What do you think beggars wear? If you can’t see, how clean do you think your clothes might be if you’re a blind beggar? Probably looks like filthy rags, wouldn’t you agree? And I think it’s really interesting what it says here, “and throwing aside his garment he rose and came to Jesus.” How do we come to Jesus? The Bible says in Isaiah 64, “But we are all like an unclean thing and all of our righteousness is like filthy rags.” We are all fading like a leaf, fig leaves, if you will, “and our iniquities like the wind have taken us away.” You can come to Jesus just like you are even though your righteousness is filthy rags. You can reach out to Jesus when he passes by and get a hold of that garment and it provides new life. Can you say amen? You know I can even see in nature a symbol, if you will, of how this all works. You look at how you can have this slimy caterpillar crawling on the ground. Does he ever dream that someday he’s going to be soaring overhead with these iridescent colorful wings? How does a caterpillar get to where he grows wings? He eats copious amounts of what he was supposed to eat and then he goes through this conversion, you might say, where he builds a chrysalis and has a metamorphosis and suddenly he’s robed with new garments and he can fly. That’s a very simple often used illustration but it still is amazing to me. I just stared at the pictures today while I was studying this morning and I thought, “How in the world?” I’d like to sometime dissect the chrysalis halfway through the process and see how that bug’s skin turns into butterfly wings. I know that sounds kind of gory to say that but how does that happen? Have you ever wondered? How can we ever live with angels? How can we be robed in white with our lives as sordid and filthy as they’ve been? With God all things are possible. Amen, friends? You can be wearing those new beautiful robes that he had provided. You know the Bible tells us that Jesus became naked that we might be clothed. The only thing Christ had was his robe and at the cross they took that away. And I think it’s significant that they cast lots for his garments and divided them into four parts symbolizing that the righteousness of Christ would go to the four corners of the earth: north, south, east, and west. And his outer garment that was a seamless robe, they gambled for that because they didn’t want to tear it. It was like the robe of a priest. Christ’s robe is what covers our sins. He became naked that he might provide clothing to cover our nakedness. Have you ever wondered what did Jesus where when he went to the cross? What shall I wear? Well he wore a crown of thorns. Why did he wear that? When did thorns first appear? When sin first appeared and it was a symbol for how he became the King of sin. He took all the sin and all the suffering of every human that would ever live. They put purple on him, I’m sorry a purple robe symbolizing he would be the King of Sin and then they whipped him and you could have the scarlet there that was on his robe that had been stained, the symbol for the sins of the world. You know the Bible tells us, and this time of year a lot of us are thinking about this passage, the first advent of Jesus, it says, “And Mary brought forth her firstborn son and she wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn.” These swaddling clothes, as I’ve studied, evidently the priest’s garments, the priests used to wear some of the finest woven garments that were available back then, they were sacred, holy garments and when they had become washed and they got to the place where they could no longer be rightly represented they were given new ones. The old garments were then torn up and they did two things with the old priest’s garments. They used them as wicks in the candles that burned in the temple, they soaked up the oil and these priest’s garments kept the light burning and they used them for wrapping the newborn babies. Now when it says they wrapped Jesus it doesn’t mean they wrapped him with a diaper. Any of you ever seen how some of the Burmese and the Native American women wrap their papoose? I remember years ago, the transition even happened while I was a young man. They used to just take babies and they kind of loosely wrapped them and then they found out that the children were more secure if they kind of wrapped them up like little burritos in their blankets and made them real snug because they’d been in the mother with all this little external pressure and they cried less when they wrapped them up tight. So Jesus when he was born was taken in the garments of a priest that’s also used to keep the light burning in the temple. How appropriate. And he’s snuggly wrapped up. And then Mary had to wrap him again someday, didn’t she? After Jesus died Mary was there and she had to wrap him one more time from head to toe and laid him in the tomb. Christ was clothed with these garments symbolizing that he came into the world as our priest as the light of the world and then ultimately as our sacrifice. You know the Bible tells us when we’re deciding what to wear that someday not only did Joshua have the garments that were cleansed that were provided by the Lord but it says “put a fair miter on his head.” What is a miter? It’s synonymous with a crown and the Lord is offering crowns for you and me. Revelation 3:11, “Behold, I am coming quickly. Hold fast what you have that no one might take your…” Your what? Not only does Jesus have a crown because he’s the King of Kings, but he says you’re going to have a crown. Not only does the Lord have that robe but you are to have royal robes. We’re going to live and reign with him. Amen? What shall we wear? Well you know what we wear now will determine to some extent what we wear then. If we put on Christ now and the armor of God now and… You know there’s another passage that I left out I wanted to read you of what we’re supposed to put on. Oh, did I lose that? Where it said… Here we go. Colossians 3:12 and 14, you ought to jot this down. It’s really good. “Therefore as the elect of God, holy and beloved put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering,” and then he says in verse 14, “but above all these things put on love.” Put on love. God doesn’t force it on us. We must choose, but God’s grace, to put these things on. We do it by prayer asking him to put it on us. The Bible tells us that when the prodigal son had run away from home and squandered his father’s inheritance he finally came to his senses and he came home. The father received him. Jesus will do the same for us. The father said to his servants, “Bring out the best robe and put it on him.” If you come to Christ just like you are now, he will give you that garment. He will put it on you, that robe that will cover your sins even though your sins may have been like scarlet, red like crimson, he gives you the best robe to cover the sin. You know why it’s the best robe? It’s his robe. How many of you would like to be covered with the robe of Christ? Do you realize how important that is if we’re going to be prepared for Christ’s coming? Please turn in your hymnals to a song that deals with this. “Cover With His Life” Whiter than snow. 412 in your hymnal.

Look upon Jesus, sinless is He; Father, impute His life unto me. My life of scarlet, my sin and woe, Cover with His life, whiter than snow. Cover with His life, whiter than snow; Fullness of His life then shall I know; My life of scarlet, my sin and woe, Cover with His life, whiter than snow.

I remember one time I was conducting meetings out of town. I needed to preach that morning and there was a potluck where they ate spaghetti and I was supposed to speak again that night and all I had on was what I wore that morning to church. I was a long way from home and you know what happened while I was eating my spaghetti? I had an accident and I made a big old fashioned statement with tomato sauce on my tie and my shirt and I thought, “What am I going to do?” I didn’t have enough time to change. I had a meeting coming up and someone said, “Well, do you have a double breast jacket? Did you get any on your jacket?” I said, “No.” He said, “Maybe your jacket will cover the stain.” And lo and behold I was so thankful that I could stand before the people boldly, unembarrassed because my jacket just happened to be situated right to cover the map of tomato sauce that was all over my torso and folks never knew the difference. You know that’s a cover up but when you first come to Jesus he provides a cover up. That’s what justification is. When the prodigal son came home, the father covered him just like he was, but you can be sure first chance I had I washed my shirt and my tie and changed my clothes. That’s sanctification. Everybody here can come to Christ like you are right now and he will cover you right now. You come by faith. He provides that robe as a gift. Then because you love him you want to live a new life and you want your inner heart, your inner garments to be cleansed by the blood of the lamb. Is that your desire, friends? You know we’re going to have a special prayer following our service today. While we sing the third verse if you are questioning whether you’ve got that garment the King has provided and you want to know that you do, you can come and ask for it right now. You just come in faith as we sing verse 3 together and we’ll pray for you that you can have that assurance that you can stand before him wearing the right garments. Verse 3.

Longing the joy of pardon to know; Jesus holds out a robe white as snow; “Lord, I accept it! Leaving my own, Gladly I wear Thy pure life alone.” Cover with His life, whiter than snow; Fullness of His life then shall I know; My life of scarlet, my sin and woe, Cover with His life, whiter than snow.

Before we sing the last verse, I know we’re long on time here, but I just want to read the words, the first part of verse two, we skipped it. Deep are the wounds transgression has made; Red are the stains; my soul is afraid. O to be covered, Jesus, with Thee, Safe from the law that now judgeth me! You know as we sing the last verse, there may be some here who have made decisions to be baptized, to join God’s people as you have seen the testimony of others today. We invite you to come as we sing the last verse. There might be some here today who are still struggling with that security that you know that your sins are covered by the blood of the lamb. You too may come for prayer as we sing verse four together.

Reconciled by His death for my sin, Justified by His life pure and clean, Sanctified by obeying His word, Glorified when returneth my Lord. Cover with His life, whiter than snow; Fullness of His life then shall I know; My life of scarlet, my sin and woe, Cover with His life, whiter than snow.

Father in heaven, we are so grateful for this message of truth that Jesus has come into this world and made such an infinite sacrifice that we might have our sins covered. Lord, I pray that everybody here today can have that confidence, that security that all of our sins are safely under the blood of the lamb and even beyond that, Lord, I pray that we can have the resolve to look to thee, to follow thee that we might put on the characteristics of Christ, that we might put on the robe that you’ve provided, that we might put on the armor of light and the armor of God and even put on a smile and a happy countenance that we might be witnesses for thee. Bless each of us here to this purpose, Lord. I pray that we will take and put into our lives and to practice the things that we’ve learned from this message. We ask in Christ’s name. Amen.

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