Lesson 12 – THE CHRISTIAN WOMAN’S SPIRITUAL CLOTHING
All Christians (men and women) should adorned themselves inwardly and outwardly with only what is fitting for one of God’s children. Our outward appearance should never shame the name of Jesus or our Heavenly father, nor should we have moth-eaten clothes or nakedness instead of the spiritual clothing God has intended. We know that man looks on the outward appearance while God looks at the heart (1 Sam. 16:7). “But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord sees not as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
So where should our focus be? Should we think only about our outward appearance?
Why do we spend so much time thinking about “take thought for” raiment (Matt. 6:24-34)? What should we do? Why?
Christian women know we brought nothing into this world and we will take nothing out. (1 Tim.6:7-9). “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8 And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. 9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.”
Most women want durable clothing, but what is it, and how do we get it? We know that only eternal things will endure. “And her merchandise and her hire shall be holiness to the Lord: it shall not be treasured nor laid up; for her merchandise shall be for them that dwell before the Lord, to eat sufficiently, and for durable clothing” (Isa. 23:18). When men or women are subject to the authorities that God sets over them it is a beautiful thing before Him. Being subject to authority is being subject to God and not men. That is durable clothing.
Christian women should choose between outward adorning and the hidden heart (1 Pet. 3:1-4). When seeking the favor of God, the Christian woman will rend her heart and not her garments (Joel 2:12-13). Our Heavenly Father sees particular beauty in meekness. Fasting, afflicting our physical bodies or tearing our clothing is not what God wants; He wants us to turn to him and tear away every worldly thing from our hearts.
The Christian woman will adorned herself like the holy women of Old (1 Pet. 3:1-6). She also will adorn the doctrine of God (Titus 2:9-10). We notice that good fidelity (faithfulness) adorns, and in that way, we can be an attraction to God’s doctrine. Notice other things which may be bound on our heart (Pro. 6:20‑23; Pro. 7:2‑3)? We must believe the promises and have faith that His laws are good. That is beautiful in God’s sight. Fulfilling the covenant, which we make as Christians, is beautiful. Knowing and keeping His laws is also beautiful in God’s sight.
The Christian woman binds God’s words like frontlets between her eyes (Deut. 6:6-9; 11:18). Knowing and following the commandments our Heavenly Father makes us beautiful in His sight. Knowing the word and keeping it ever before us is also beautiful in God’s sight.
The Christian woman will clothe herself with humility (1 Pet. 5:5). God particularly favors those who humble themselves to submit. The humble will find more of His favor.
The Christian woman will clothe herself in strength and honor (Prov. 31:25). Spiritual strength is standing strongly for what is right and good. God praises (honors) those who are good in His sight.
The Christian woman avoids spiritual nakedness; she keeps (guards) her garments (Rev. 16:15). This was something the Laodiceans had not done. Will we guard our spiritual clothing so that we are not naked and shamed? “Can a man take fire in his bosom and his clothes not be burned? Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned?” (Pro. 6:27-28). Women may understand this in both a physical sense and a spiritual sense too. We must guard our spiritual wardrobe.
How must we buy white raiment from Jesus (Rev. 3:18)? The Laodiceans were not clean and white. They were lukewarm and unconcerned for true holiness. They trusted in their own riches and had not clothed the inner man of the heart.
How does a bride adorn herself (Isa. 61:10)?
What is the wardrobe of the bride of Christ (Psa. 45:10-15)? The picture of walking in white is typical of a wedding ceremony. We know that faithful, worthy children of God will marry Christ. How can the Christian woman expect to walk with Jesus in white (Rev. 3:4)? White clothing indicates purity of heart and mind. White clothing is also symbolic of what is clean and pure. What else must we do or be to walk with Jesus in white (Rev. 3:5)?
As the bride of Christ, will we make ourselves ready (Rev. 19:7)? Christ’s bride must be fully clothed in righteousness. Will we be prepared and adorned to be the bride of Christ? The bride of Christ also is arrayed in fine linen. Let us note what the “fine linen” of the saints really is (Rev.19:8). “And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.” Notice that the righteousness is the right acts or deedsof the saints. Will we be dressed in a fine linen wedding garment?
May God help us all to accomplish that goal.
Lesson 11 – A WOLF’S WARDROBE
“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves” (Matt. 7:15).
Not long ago, the treasurer for our congregation brought a 20-rupee note (Indian currency) to ask what he should do with it. He said somebody had put it into the collection plate and he could not deposit it in the bank for fear of going to jail. Of course, what he had in his hand was a counterfeit note and not a real one at all. Neither my husband nor I could look at the note and tell the difference between the fake and a real one. Comparing two 20-rupee notes side by side would scarcely show any differences at all. It is the same way with false teachers (wolves in sheep’s clothing).
False teachers wore the same clothing as did the true prophets of God. They walked the same way; they did the same things, yet their intent was to deceive the hearts of the people (Rom. 16:18). Take, for example, what happened in Acts 13:5-12. The deputy, Sergius Paulus, worked closely with Elymas the sorcerer the whole time and could not tell he was deliberately, and actively undermining the teaching of the gospel until God through Paul struck him blind. Elymas had determined to turn the deputy away from faith in God and Jesus, but from all appearances he seemed to be a true seeker.
In such a way, wolves (false teachers) are still in the flock of God deceiving the sheep. As one such ‘brother’ confessed privately when asked what the rest of the brethren thought of his new teaching, “I know what not to tell the brethren.” Change Agents (wolves) know when to ‘swerve’ and when to be ‘godlier and more dedicated’ than everyone else. They know how to ‘show the brethren‘ how much they love God. Unless we are willing to note the signs of a wolf and beware (Matt. 7:15), we will never recognize their fruit (Matt. 7:16). When someone seems ‘too good to be true,’ watch him closely; he probably is. If we are not sick sheep, we should know to follow the one true Shepherd (John 10:3-4; John 10:16; John 10:27).
- Consider this article carefully to see if you can tell why a “wolf” would want to wear “sheep’s clothing?”
2. In this lesson, what is a wolf? Why are “wolves” in the church so dangerous?
3. What two words describe Elymas (also called Barjesus) in Acts 13:6?
4. What did Paul say Elymas was in Acts 13:10?
5. Who was Sergis Paulus? Was he a simple, uneducated man?
6. How could Sergis Paulus not understand what the sorcerer was doing while he was right there with him?
7. How can we know if a man is a false teacher (Matt 7:16-17)?
9. Find at least two scriptures that tell who is the true Shepherd that we should follow. How (what way) is He our shepherd?
10. Find as many passages of scripture as you can that describe sheep. You may use Old Testament scriptures as well as New. From what you read in those scriptures, write a short article about the good qualities of the sheep and why God has a special place in His heart for them. Notice this question has two parts.
Lesson 8 THE SACKCLOTH WARDROBE
But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth: I humbled my soul with fasting; and my prayer returned into mine own bosom (Psa. 35:13).
Often in scripture we read of those who were clothed in sackcloth, humbling themselves before God so that their prayers would be heard. The city of Nineveh not only clothed the people in sackcloth, but also the animals to show their contrite hearts (Jonah 3:8).
If David’s prayer in Psalm 35:1-28 were for Absalom and the traitors that conspired with him to remove David from the throne, then it has heavy implications. If it were for King Saul or some other enemy, we can only imagine its depth of meaning.
David contrasts the enemy’s conduct with his own. He talks of his past life, and about the acts of kindness which he had shown in times of trouble, as more deeply marking the evils of their own conduct now. David begs the Lord to plead his cause and to fight against them that fight him. He says, “Stand for me! Confuse the enemy! Blow them away like chaff!” He even begs the Lord to make their way dark and slippery and to dig a pit for their feet. David has given up on saving their souls though he apparently has tried many times in the past. These are men (or women) who are bound to David by the bands and ties of physical life—people he knows well.
David is brought low because of the false witnesses who have laid things to his charge that he never dreamed of. Yet those same people had been the object of his fasting and prayers in other days. When they had been in distress, he had put on sackcloth and afflicted his soul for their sakes. He had humbled himself before God to beg for their health or their position before the Almighty. Surely in times past he had prayed for Absalom as he watched the turn of his character or as he had witnessed his misconduct. More than anything, he would have wanted his own son to be righteous before God, but now with the insurrection, he sees there is no hope for his soul or the ones with him. David knows that Absalom and his companions hate him without a cause.
David’s final thoughts regarding the actions of his enemies as they compare to his own are that he wishes the Lord would clothe them with shame and dishonor because they have returned evil for his good. Our own hearts need to be humble to the point we would be willing to clothe ourselves in sackcloth to pray for our enemies even if they do not respond well. They will be clothed in shame if they spurn our efforts at peace.
Will our clothing be sackcloth or shame (Job 8:22; Psa. 109:29; Psa. 132:18)? Will we humble ourselves before the Almighty or will we proudly go our thankless way and return evil for the good others do for us?
- Using the Bible Encyclopedia found here: (http://www.christiananswers.net/dictionary/home.html), give a definition of sackcloth and tell why was it worn?
- Sackcloth has always carried with it the idea one of the Christian virtues. With what virtue should we be clothed (1 Pet. 5:5)?
- How serious is the sin of ingratitude ( 1:21,24; 1 Tim. 3:2-5)?
- Under the Law of Moses, men were commanded to give an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. Is it right today to take vengeance or to pray for the destruction of our enemies ( 5:38-42; Rom 12:19)?
- How many good deeds had David done for King Saul?
- How did Saul react?
- What good had David done for his son Absalom?
- How did Absalom respond?
- What is the higher law for Christians today (Luke 6:35)?
- King Ahab was one of the worst kings in the history of Israel. Why did God postpone His judgment against Ahab and give him another chance to live after he had determined to destroy him and his descendants (1 Kings 21:21-29)?