Summary: Paul uses Roman armour to describe the characteristic of a successful Christian life
Dress for Success
Can you remember a book that you read the year you turned 16? Did you read any books the year you turned 16? As most of you know, I am a reader. My parents read to me as a child, then I graduated into comic books, anything from Casper the Friendly Ghost and the crew from Archie to any number of war comics, super hero comics and spooky comics. And then I started reading western novels and spy novels. I’ve slowed down in my reading, it wasn’t that long ago that I tried to read three novels a week, and then it was two novels a week and now I no longer count the books but my goal is 500 pages of fiction a week. Not bragging, it’s just a reality in my life. I love to read. And because I read so much it’s not so easy to remember what I read and when I read it. The upside of that is that it’s no problem for me to read a novel and enjoy a novel that I’ve already read.
There are a few that I do remember. In 1968 Action Comics had a five part series where Lex Luther infected Superman with Virus X and we thought he was going to die. I remember reading that, I was eight. I remember staying up all one night in 1988 and reading “The Silence of the Lambs” in one sitting. In the fall of 1990 I read an excerpt from a book in Readers Digest and ordered the book, which was really tough and expensive in Australia, but it became a favorite of mine it was written by Robert Kriegel and is “If it Ain’t Broke Break it” I remember reading “User Friendly Churches” by George Barna in 1991 and “Inside the Mind of Unchurched Harry and Mary” in 1993, they were two of the books that redefined my ministry and how I viewed church.
But the book I remember reading in 1976, the year I turned 16 was “Dress for Success”, it was written by John T. Molloy about the effect of clothing on a person's success in business and personal life. “Why” you might ask “was 16 year old Denn Guptill reading Dress for Success”? That year I started working part time for Tip Top Tailors and I wanted to be the best that I could be, I wanted to know what I was talking about and do the best possible job for my clients. I didn’t consider myself a retail clerk or a men’s clothing salesman, my business cards said that I was a fashion consultant. And I figured unless I wanted to go back to pumping gas in the cold that I better be good at what I was doing at Tip Top.
Three years late I became a Christ follower and as I started reading through the bible I discovered a section in the New Testament called “Dress for Success”, well not really. It was the portion of scripture that was read for us earlier, it is often referred to as The Armour of God. But Paul is really telling the early Christ followers how to dress for success.
Last week my message focused on the battle that was being fought daily in the lives of Christians. And so last week I walked you through this passage and noted a few things. We Need to understand There is a Battle, We Need to Know Who The Enemy Isn’t, We Need to Know Who The Enemy Is, We Need to Dress for Battle and finally We Need to Remember Our Secret Weapon. And while we were on the fourth point I said that we would come back and revisit it, and here we are.
Now understand Paul wasn’t teaching a lesson on Roman armour, it was just a convenient illustrative device. 2000 years ago everyone knew what Roman armour looked like, and as a testimony to the strength of Paul’s illustration 2000 years later people still know what Roman armour looks like. When Sajonna found this gentleman in Rome three years ago she didn’t think he was a bus driver or a waiter, she knew that he was a Roman soldier.
But it wasn’t Paul’s intent to teach about Roman armour, instead it was his intent to use Roman armour to teach about Christian character. But instead of taking Paul’s advice about the armour we are supposed to wear too many Christians agree with Francis Bacon who wrote “The best armour is to keep out of gunshot.” In that same vein, John Sedwick was a Union Army General during the US Civil War, his unit had come under fire from Confederate sharpshooters and were ducking for cover, in an attempt to rally his troops Sedgwick strode around in the open and was quoted as saying, "What? Men dodging this way for single bullets? What will you do when they open fire along the whole line?" When his men continued to hide from the shooting the General said, "Why are you dodging like this? They couldn't hit an elephant at this distance." Just minutes later Sedwick was fatally shot.