Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: "Let your loins be girded.." - urges hearers to be ready for service to God. Looks at attire - contemporary and ancient and the clothing of our Lord.

The Reformed Church of Locust Valley Lent IV March 10, 2002 Luke 12:32-40

“Dressed for Action”

“Be dressed for action and have your lamps it;

be like those who are waiting for their master to return from the wedding banquet,

so that they may open the door for him

as soon as he comes and knocks.”

- Luke 12:32-40

You’re not going to school dressed like that!

Have you ever said that to your child? Has it ever been said to you?

The idea of what is appropriate clothing changes from generation to generation.

One look at me and you know I’m out of the loop style wise. A few years back I was reading an article about Levi’s jeans in the Business section of the paper, how their sales were in a slump because kids won’t buy them. Do you know why? Because they are the kind of jeans their parents wear – in other words, young people perceive Levi’s as old peoples jeans. I’m reading this and I say to myself, “When did this happen?” I remember going to men’s store on 8th Street in Holland, Michigan to buy a new pair of Levis. They were great. Remember, you’d buy them bluer than blue and stiff as a board and then gradually after repeated washing and wearing, they’d get soft and fit just right. Hey, what do kids today know anyway?

And I remember a report on the TV a few years back about the Japanese buying our jeans. The more beat-up and worn they were; so that the ones worth the most money were those with tears and the knees worn through. If only we’d known! We’d be rich.

I look at the styles now. Bare midriffs for girls. The home boy style for boys. Is that still in?

“Be dressed for action,” says our Lord.

Actually the gospel reading this morning says two things. The first is a glorious promise: “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”

Thanks for telling us that Jesus! We call this the gospel. The word gospel means good news. This good news is better even than a seventy-percent off sale on your favorite brand of jeans! The good news is that it is “God’s good pleasure to give us the kingdom.” You couldn’t ask for anything better than the kingdom. What is God’s kingdom?

It is simple if you think about it….God’s kingdom is where God is king. Think of an earthly kingdom. A kingdom is a territory ruled by a king – a place where the king’s word is law and people live subject to the king. God’s kingdom is where God rules. In Jesus, that kingdom has touched down in our hearts and minds.

Oh, we don’t always live in it. But when we are touching God, when we are about God’s work. When we are loving God and loving our neighbors as ourselves, we are in the kingdom of God. In fact it is the best thing that can ever happen to you.

Jesus says God has given his kingdom to you as a gift.

There is another way of considering the kingdom of God. It is as if, in Jesus, God has given you a new set of eyes. When I was in seminary, in my early twenties, I noticed that when I drove at night, the lights started to look like stars. They would have bright rays streaming out from them. Things off in the distance began getting hazy. So finally I went to an eyeglass place for an examination. They checked me out and told me I needed corrective lenses. It is an occupational hazard. Ministers study and read a lot, so as time goes by we become nearsighted. I went back a week later pick up my glasses, and WOW! What a difference! By the way, the eyeglass place was one of these franchises in a mall and when I left the place wearing my new classes, the first thing I saw was a platform in the mall where a clothing manufacturer was putting on a fashion show of the new women’s swimwear for the coming season with live models. I was glad I had those new glasses which sharpened my vision!

Well, we all have a vision problem, called sin. We look out at the world and our vision is blurred. We see only what we want to see. But God corrects our vision, gradually enabling us to see the world as he sees it. To see the hurt and want to heal it. To see our own shortcomings and failures and making us want to be healed. To see the beauty of love to embrace it. And that is even better than swimwear models! Believe me!

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