Summary: Christians must remove the Old clothes in favor of the New.
Do you remember the fable “The Emperor’s New Clothes” from your childhood? There is a deceitful and unscrupulous con artist that seeks to trick the king. He wishes to sell the king a new suit of clothes. The clothes, he says, will be made from the finest cloth and very stitch will be perfectly made. And on top of everything else these clothes will be completely invisible to anyone who does not have excellent character and amazing talents. The king’s eyes lit up at the thought of such a wonder garment! He must have this wonderful new suit! So he commissions the man to make him a new suit of clothes. A few days later the man arrived at the king’s door holding only an empty hanger. Look, said the man, isn’t it wonderful to behold? Here feel the smoothness of the fabric and notice how it shimmers. In the entire world there is not a finer set of clothes! Well, the king could not admit that he could not see the clothes. Only lowly and useless people couldn’t see them. So the king fawned over the garment and spoke of how impressed he was with the clothes. Come, said the man, you must try them on! The king called for his servants to help him remove his old clothes and get into his new. Of course none of the servants could see the imaginary clothes either, but none admitted it to the king. They all uhhhhed and ahhhhed over the clothes and complemented both the king and the con man. Finally, someone suggested that the king should hold a grand parade and show off his new clothes to the kingdom. So the next morning they assembled all the citizens and the king put of his new clothes and pranced down main street –stark naked!!
In this passage Paul tells Christians to take off their old clothes. Remove the garments of lust, idolatry, greed and so on. But fortunately Paul doesn’t stop there in the passage. He goes on to say that we should then “put on” mercy, kindness, humbleness, meekness, longsuffering, love, forgiveness and the such like. All to often preachers are always telling us to take of this, that, and the other thing. Stop doing this, and this, and this. Don’t watch this, don’t go there, don’t say that. But we forget that unless we then “put on” new clothes we are naked. I have seen scores of Christians prancing around naked. Oh, they think they are great and wonderful, “Look at me, I go to church, I don’t drink, I don’t smoke and I don’t date women who do! I never curse I never steal and I am simply wonderful!” But the world isn’t fooled they see them as hypocrites prancing around as naked as a jaybird. You see simply removing the outward sins that you hear about all the time isn’t enough. You have to replace them with a new and holy set of clothes.
Last night we voted, at the bossiness meeting, to repair the hallway. There are several bad boards that need to be fixed, especially in the bathroom. Now, when we tear up the carpet and pull out the rotten board boards –then what? Do we just roll some new carpet down right then? Of course not, we have top replace the old board that were removed with new boards. Otherwise we will have a completely unstable and dangerous hallway. Well too may pastors, especially in conservative denominations speed all their time tearing up rotten boards and no time putting in new ones.