Summary: A sermon on the robe of righteousness as provided by the Seed that God caused to grow.

January 2, 2004 Isaiah 61:10-11

I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign LORD will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations.

The Art of Robe Wearing

Dear Friends in Christ,

At Christmastime it is a tradition that the dad of the family will receive either a sweater or a tie, which he then wears the following Sunday with pride, unless the sweater is pink cashmere or something strange. It was funny to see my daughter and niece get some little dress up clothes for their Christmas presents. They put on these pink little Barbie dresses, purple boas, lipstick, clip on earrings and high heels, and they went strutting around the house like they were the most precious little beauty queens you ever did see. Not to mention we let them eat it up. When they came by, we said, “oh, look at the precious little princesses! Aren’t you just gorgeous!” Then they’d bat their eyelashes and go running on to the next room.

Unless you are a nudist belonging to the Garden of Eden club, most of us - especially the women - enjoy our clothing. Not only does it keep us warm, but there’s something about it that gives you some confidence - makes you eager to go out - and helps you to take pride in yourself. That is, unless you’re like me and are bound to spill some coffee or something the minute you put it on. Before I get into the meat of this text, I beg you to indulge me in the art of clothes wearing for a few moments - it will take me a little longer than usual - in order to set up the whole importance of this text. But bear with me, I promise I’ll get to the main point as soon as possible.

I. The art of common clothes

There is a certain art to buying clothes and also Biblical principles involved in clothes buying. First of all, you need money - because new clothing isn’t cheap. Caution needs to be taken lest you spend a majority of your money on your clothes while you ignore your Lord and the needy. A friend of mine told his wife that after she had her baby he’d buy her a whole new wardrobe, and encouraged her to throw out all of her old stuff. She then asked him, “how much money are you planning on giving me for this.” He said, “I don’t know, two hundred dollars?” She laughed pretty hard at that one. New clothing isn’t cheap. I know one young gal who told me she bought one pair of jeans for ninety dollars! For that price I would expect them to fly!

Second of all, when you buy clothes you want them to be in style. This is a tricky thing, because style depends on who your company is. If you live in western Kansas, buying in style clothes would mean buying boot cut Wranglers with a t-shirt and baseball cap. But in New York, it might mean wearing a turtle neck sweater with corduroy pants or something - I have no idea - but I know it would be different. The trick to buying clothing is finding something that your peers think is in fashion. This is not my cup of tea. Most of my clothes are over ten years old at least, and it was with great regret that I finally gave up my leather skinny ties.

Thirdly, another key to clothing is how it fits your body. My wife’s friend received a real nice sweater for Christmas, but when she put it on it just didn’t quite fit right. How many of you men have had your wives ask you the dreaded question, “does this dress make me look fat?” The truth is that fat makes you look fat. But there are some clothes that seem to expose your weak spots more than others - to hide the extra five pounds with a little looser fit here and a little tighter fit there. When you are buying clothing you do need to be careful that it doesn’t expose those parts that you don’t want exposed.

Fourthly, as Christians, we need to be cautious in being overly vain with the clothing we wear. Even if it is in style, it doesn’t mean it should be worn. Paul told Timothy in 1 Timothy 2:9 I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety. Several years ago, young men thought it was fashionable to walk around with their underwear sticking out and their pants half down. Personally I thought that it seemed to suggest that those young men were overly eagerly to show people their private parts. It seems that women today seem to think that everyone needs to see the size of their mammary glands and the shape of their legs without any room for the imagination. As if men weren’t perverted enough, they wonder why they only date them for their bodies, when their bodies are hanging out all over the place. God wants modesty. This is difficult to apply without being legalistic. But the general principle is that if you “got it”, it doesn’t mean you need to flaunt it for the whole world to see. Such dress only leads to arrogance and pride - so that you end up trusting and relying on your beauty for your self esteem. The only problem is that when you get old and grey and your skin starts to drop and your body starts to shrink, you aren’t left with much but past memories.

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