Putting on Christ

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I Introduction

2.If I had been quicker of mind I would have entitled this sermon “Never Dressed Down”. Or perhaps more positively – “Always Dressed Up”. Dressing up is a horrible thought to many. An official at the Fellowship Office once said to me that the man who invented the tie cannot go to heaven. Dressing up is for formal occasions. It is for those times when you are expected to behave in certain ways. You dress up for funerals, weddings, … . We associate dressing down with relaxation, not having to perform, comfort. How many of us when we go home after a hard day’s work keep the same clothes on? No, we get into something relaxing, something comfortable. We put on the sweat suit, the pyjamas, the house coat. And you sit down to read or watch a movie or favourite TV show, a bowl of popcorn, and a drink – and the doorbell rings. … That is why we have a “dress down Sunday”. We want people to know that church is a place where you can be yourself. You can come just as you are … So, here we are on “dress down” Sunday talking about appropriate dress for the children of God. And the point is that a believer in Jesus Christ must always be in his Sunday best. Always dressed up. Always the most presentable. He must be in the most elaborate, most expensive (though the wearer did not pay for it), the most formal, the most useful … attire possible. And that dress is Jesus Christ Himself. This doesn’t mean that the Christian life is uncomfortable – but it does mean that here is only one suit of clothes for the believer. And that is Christ Himself. And that is what our text is about this morning – being dressed in Jesus Christ Himself.

3.The Emperor’s New Clothes
1.In the Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale “The Emperor’s New Clothes” that I told the children this morning the problem with the emperor is that he thinks he is dressed better than everyone else when in fact he is not dressed at all. And the point is that there are many people who think they are in Christ, dressed in the robes of the righteousness of Christ (although they never think of it in terms like that). They believe that He exists, they believe that He died for them, they believe that they are bound for glory. And they live their lives believing that they and God are just hunky dory. But what they do not know is that they are like the people in the parable of the wedding feast in Matthew 22:1-14 (ESV)
And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, [2] “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, [3] and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come. [4] Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.’ [5] But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, [6] while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. [7] The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. [8] Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. [9] Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’ [10] And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests.
[11] “But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. [12] And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. [13] Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ [14] For many are called, but few are chosen.”

Hear what one man says about this parable: If the gospel be the wedding feast, then the wedding garment is a frame of heart, and a course of life agreeable to the gospel and our profession of it, … This man was not naked, or in rags; some [clothing] he had, but not a wedding garment. Those, and those only, who put on the Lord Jesus, that have a Christian [frame] of mind, and are [dressed] with Christian graces, who live by faith in Christ, and to whom he is all in all, have the wedding garment.i

II The Improper Walk Verse 13

1.Note that quarrelling and jealousy are listed here with orgies, drunkenness etc.
a.See the lists in Romans 1, Galatians 5, II Timothy 3,
2.There is a progression in the lists of sins. There are three couplets listed
a.Orgies and drunkenness – orgies = the revelling that occurs when people get drunk. The drinking starts and it continues and then the wildness kicks in … For those here who have lived such a life this progression is very familiar.
b.Sexual immorality and sensuality – when the partying really gets going the sexual inhibitions start disappearing.
c.Quarrelling and jealously
3.This list is not all the sins in the world that we can commit. And God does not give us this list so we can find all the sins that are not on it and go live in them. It is a list that represents all kinds of sinful behaviour.
III But Put on The Lord Jesus Christ Verse 14

a.”Alla” – strong adversative. Not this – BUT- this instead.
i.There are two choices given here. You can live like the rest of the world in sexual immorality, debauchery, and selfishness OR you can put on Jesus Christ. The one thing you cannot do is both. You cannot live in the activities of verse 13 AND put on Jesus Christ as well. If you have put on Christ then you will not behave in the behaviour of verse 13. And if you do behave in the activities of verse 13 it is because you have not put on Christ.
2.Put on – to clothe
a.It is a decisive act. This is not going to happen in your sleep. You have to be awake. You have to be alert. You are of the light therefore get up and get dressed!! Wake Up!! (verse 11)
b.”When the Christian puts on Christ, he clothes his soul in the moral disposition and habits of Christ.”
i.To put on Christ is to “take on the characteristics, intentions etc.”
c.When you encounter temptation to behave in the actions of verse 13 put on Christ – do what Jesus would instead. You are going to be tempted to wildness and materialism and living for nobody but yourself (lust of the flesh), to sexual immorality – internet pornography, pre/extra-marital sex, …, (lust of the eyes), quarrelling and jealousy – wanting one’s own way, refusing to obey your parents, insisting on your rights … (the pride of life).
d.Put on the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul uses the three fold name of Christ:
i.Lord – Master
ii.Jesus – Saviour
iii.Christ – Anointed One
“Put him on as Lord to rule you, as Jesus to save you, and in both as Christ, anointed and appointed by the Father to this ruling saving work.”2
3.Put on Christ
a.Those who are told to put on Christ are those who have the righteousness of Christ counted
as theirs. When God sees us He see Christ. So we can say Romans 8:16f and Galatians 3:27. We put on Christ by faith when we look to Him for salvation. And that means that we will put Him on in our daily living. See Romans 6:5-11, 12-14, 16-18, 20-23
b.”…to be so intimately united to him, so that he, and not we, may appear”
i.When you put your clothes on they cover up your nakedness. What people see is
not you in all your naked glory (thankfully), but they see your clothes.
(1)When Adam and Eve sinned, God killed an animal and put the skins of that
animal on them. So we, when we have sinned, if we are to live we must have the Lamb sacrificed for us and the proof that that Lamb has been sacrificed for us is that we are dressed in Him. If we are not dressed in that Lamb then how dare we say that He is ours. And that is precisely what this text says. NOT orgies and drunkenness … BUT (alla) having put on Christ. Dear ones do you see it? If you are not living like Christ you are living like the world and if you are living like the world it is because you are of the world and do not belong to Christ. If you put on Christ as instructed here you will not make provision to satisfy the flesh and gratify its desires
c.The natural expectation after the list of things not to put on would be a similar list of good
things that we are to put on. But that is not what is written. Put off all those evil things in one fell swoop by putting on the Lord Jesus Christ. There are other lists that mention various things that should show that we are in Christ, but here all Paul does is give the grand umbrella term. Put on the Lord Jesus Christ. That will include the list in Col. 3:12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,
and Ephes. 4:24 (ESV) and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness
and Ephes. 6:11 (ESV) Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil
and Ephes. 6:14-15 (ESV) Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, [15] and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.

All of those verses boil down to this – put on Christ.

d.See the parable of the Prodigal Son. When the wayward son returns to His father what does
the father do for him – see Luke 15:22 – “Bring out the best robe and put it on him.” The best robe… What robe would that be? It would be his robe. The expensive tuxedo that is reserved for the most formal, very best occasions. When we come to the Father through faith in Jesus Christ, the Father welcomes us. He throws a party. Heaven rejoices. God rejoices. (Here is the bonus point for this morning – Luke 15:10 says there is joy in the presence of the angels in heaven. This is not the angels rejoicing, although that may indeed be happening as well. But the angels rejoice because someone in their presence is rejoicing. And who would that be? That would be God Himself. When a sinner repents God rejoices. He rejoices over the victory of His plan. He rejoices over the victory of the death and resurrection of His Son. He rejoices that He loses none that He gives to the Son. He rejoices in the glory that this repentance gives His Name. He rejoices that His love has triumphed over another sinner’s failed attempts to run his own life. He rejoices that He will welcome this sinner into His presence and that he will be there forever. …) And He dresses us in the best robe. What is God’s best robe? It is Christ Himself. And when we come to God through faith in Jesus Christ we are said to be “in Christ”. We have Him on. This is what Paul is getting at in Galatians 3:27.
e.To put on Christ means that when people encounter believers they
i.See Christ 1 Peter 2:12 (ESV)Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evil doers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. “Let your light shine before men … .”

ii.Hear Christ Ephes. 4:25 (ESV) Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.

iii.Smell Christ – 2 Cor. 2:15-16 (ESV)For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, [16] to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things?
f.To put on Christ means here at least that we are
i.Proactive in our commitment to put on Christ – v. 12 -“Let us cast off the works of
darkness…” . We do not sit around waiting and hoping that the world will not infect us. You are going to be tempted to wear the clothes of darkness. Christlikeness is not going to just happen to you dear ones. You have to deliberately, intentionally, purposefully get out of the clothing that is marked by the darkness and put on the armour of light. Put on Him. See Col. 3:8-11 (ESV)But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. [9] Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices [10] and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. [11] Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.

ii.Self controlled – NOT in orgies and drunkenness

g.To put on Christ means to walk properly. Verse 13 says “walk properly” meaning to stay
away from the things of verse 13 and to take up the thing of verse 14. So go now to Ephesians 4:17-24
i.v. 17 – do not walk like the Gentiles
ii.v. 18-19 – the walk of the Gentiles
iii.v. 20-21 – that is not what you learned about Christ – no, you have been taught the
truth in Christ
iv.v.22-24 – the way you learned Christ was to put off your old self and PUT ON the
new self. What is the new self? The new self is Christ. Not that you are Christ now, but you put on Christ – the likeness of God, true righteousness and holiness. To put on the new self is to put on Christ. It is to walk properly.
v.vs. 25-32 – this is the proper walk…
vi.You know what that proper walk is called? 5:1 – imitation of God – that is putting
on Christ.

IV To the Lost
h.We, the people of TBC who have been purchased out of their sin into eternal life by The Lord Jesus Christ invite you to come to Christ and be received by Him. We do not invite you to just believe something in your head that has no bearing on how you live everyday. No. We invite you to live in the light. We invite you to a life that reflects the very life of Jesus Christ. We invite you to leave behind a life of selfishness and lust and enter a life of real meaning and hope and eternal and the forgiveness of sin and a right relationship with God … .

V To you who know Christ
i.Have you demonstrated that you have had a life changing encounter with Jesus Christ?
Have you been wearing the Emperor’s clothes? Are you really dressed in the righteousness of Christ? Then shouldn’t it show? Shouldn’t Christ Himself be seen and heard and lived out by you/us … .
i.Shouldn’t it show in:
(1)the language you use
(2)the books you read
(3)the web sites you visit
(4)the clothes you wear
(5)the things you count as important
(6)what you do at parties
To the young people – It’s tough out there isn’t it? It’s tougher than when I was your age. But there is a lot that is the same. And the thing that is most the same is that no one wants to be different. No one wants to be out of style, wearing clothes that went out three years ago … No one wants to be listening ot the wrong music. No one wants to be left out of conversations because they just don’t fit in. School can be a very hard and cruel place. Jesus Christ does not say to you “You must be the weirdo at school.” But He does say “Love me more than being popular. Love me more than fitting in. Don’t dress like them if the dressing means being immodest. Don’t laugh with them if the joke is immoral … . Don’t download that music if that music glorifies sex or violence… Don’t join the team if it means you have to miss meeting with the people of God every Sunday.

Kids – do you love Him most of all? Have you really put on Christ? When others see you, hear you, smell you … is it Him they see hear and smell?

Put on Christ dear ones. Put Him on and know the jopy of living for Him. Put Him on and know that if all the world forsakes you it forsook Him too. Put Him on and remember that Jesus is coming and if you have put Him on He is coming to reward you and you will marvel for eternity at how the reward is far, far greater than anything you ever did for Him.

All these things and more reflect what it means to be a real Christian. Have you put on Christ? Or are you wearing the Emperor’s clothes? The stupid admire tose clothes. But don’t be stupid. Know that they are very foolish who believe that their clothes are impressive when in fact they are nothing at all.

Dear ones – Put on The Lord Jesus Christ.