Saturday, June 30, 2012

Dress for Success


Throughout the whole Bible God seems to be interested in what people wear.
·        Genesis 3 – God is not pleased with the clothes Adam and Eve had made for themselves so He made them some new clothes.
·        Psalms 45 – Speaks about the daughter of the King being clothed in garments woven with gold and her robe made by needlepoint in many colors.
·        Revelation 19 – The Bride of Christ clothed in fine linen clean and white, which linen is the righteousness of the saints.

God is definitely interested in what people wear – from the first, to the middle, to the end of the Bible, God has particular opinions concerning what He considers to be acceptable dress … and … if we want to be successful we must pay attention to our garments of choice.

Zephaniah 1
7  Be silent in the presence of the Lord GOD; For the day of the LORD is at hand, For the LORD has prepared a sacrifice; He has invited His guests.
8  And it shall be, In the day of the LORD’S sacrifice, That I will punish the princes and the king’s children, And all such as are clothed with foreign apparel.
9  In the same day I will punish All those who leap over the threshold, Who fill their masters’ houses with violence and deceit.

This Old Testament prophet reveals the Eastern culture and customs of his day which required that guests be supplied with garments by the hosts of any great occasion. It was most often at great expense that special garments were designed, fashioned and offered to each person who was invited. For someone to refuse to wear such a gift was considered to be of the utmost insult and offense, as if to disrespect the host and say that the host’s best was inferior to their liking and merited no serious consideration. Basically this action would say: “I want to take part in the benefit but I choose to maintain my own identity.”

I refuse to be like anyone or everyone else – prideful – I’m not entering any way except my own way … those who leap over the threshold.

Jesus also had something to say about this matter and He explains it in:

Matthew 22
1  And Jesus answered and spoke to them again by parables and said:
2  "The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son,
3  "and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they were not willing to come.
4  "Again, he sent out other servants, saying, ’Tell those who are invited, "See, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wedding."’
5  "But they made light of it and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his business.
6  "And the rest seized his servants, treated them spitefully, and killed them.
7  "But when the king heard about it, he was furious. And he sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.
8  "Then he said to his servants, ’The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy.
9  ’Therefore go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding.’
10  "So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all whom they found, both bad and good. And the wedding hall was filled with guests.
11  "But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment.
12  "So he said to him, ’Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless.
13  "Then the king said to the servants, ’Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
14  "For many are called, but few are chosen."

The chosen, according to this passage, are those who show up on time dressed for success.

The insult of the guest in this parable might be viewed no different than if Adam and Eve were to have refused God’s clothing in the Garden of Eden choosing rather to enjoy their own creations which could never cover their sin. Such disrespect shown towards the King is inexcusable and intolerable.

Many of the great stories of the Bible include some reference or connection to clothing.
·        Joseph and
o   his coat of many colors
o   his change of apparel before being brought to Pharaoh
o   the 5 changes of garments he gave to Benjamin
·        The consecrated garments and accessories worn by the Levite Priests
·        Israel’s first defeat in Canaan was due in part to the wrongful hoarding of a Babylonish garment by an Israelite named Achan
·        Samson and the 30 changes of garments he lost to a wager in an act of betrayal by his wife
·        The daughters of King David were arrayed in special garments
·        The leprosy of Gehazi, the servant of Elisha, was connected to the two changes of garments which he swindled from Naaman
·        When Haman was asked what should be done for the man in whom the King delighted – he responded to the King, let him wear a robe the King has worn
·        Even the sackcloth and ashes of Job were garments of holiness
·        On and on and on

Ezra talks about garments, Nehemiah, Ester, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Joel, Micah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts and on and on and on all make reference to garments and their importance to some aspect of what God was doing.

I’m telling you … God is interested in what we put on and He wants us to be clothed in and covered by His righteousness.

Isaiah 61
10  I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, My soul shall be joyful in my God; For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself  with ornaments, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

Notice – “He has clothed, He has covered me …”

There are so many uniform requirements and dress codes in this life from schools to jobs to the military … and those who do not dress for success will not therefore be successful. God has a dress code for success …

Even in the resurrection …

2 Corinthians 5
2  For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven,
3  if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked.
4  For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life.

We must be born again and put on Messiah as a garment of salvation.

Ephesians 4:24  and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.

Allow me to encourage everyone of us this morning to not “leap over the threshold” or take pride in doing our own thing our own way. In order for us to dress for success, every one of us need:

The Two Coverings God Provides Through Jesus the Messiah
1.   The Eternal Garment of Salvation
2.   The Daily Robe of Righteousness

We can’t get there on our own and even if we could, we would only be seen for who we are and get kicked out for being under dressed.
·        Get saved and
·        Get right with God

Stay dressed for success!