BIBLE WARDROBES AND THE CHRISTIAN WOMAN’S SPIRITUAL CLOTHING – LESSON 12 – THE CHRISTIAN WOMAN’S SPIRITUAL CLOTHING

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.

-Beth Johnson

BIBLE WARDROBES and THE CHRISTIAN WOMAN’S SPIRITUAL CLOTHING – Lesson 8 – THE SACKCLOTH WARDROBE

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 8:22Psa. 109:29Psa. 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?

QUESTIONS:

  1. Using the Bible Encyclopedia found here: (http://www.christiananswers.net/dictionary/home.html), give a definition of sackcloth and tell why was it worn?
  2. Sackcloth has always carried with it the idea one of the Christian virtues. With what virtue should we be clothed (1 Pet. 5:5)?
  3. How serious is the sin of ingratitude ( 1:21,241 Tim. 3:2-5)?
  4. 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 ( 5:38-42Rom 12:19)?
  5. How many good deeds had David done for King Saul?
  6. How did Saul react?
  7. What good had David done for his son Absalom?
  8. How did Absalom respond?
  9. What is the higher law for Christians today (Luke 6:35)?
  10. 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)?

-Beth Johnson

GRACE (God’s Favor) COMES BY:

FAITH

  • Hebrews 12:14, 15—Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: 15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.
  • Romans 5:2-4—By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope.

Continue reading GRACE (God’s Favor) COMES BY:

Entrance to The Kingdom

Jesus gave Peter the keys to open the doors of this kingdom.  Those who believe that the kingdom has not come believe Jesus gave Peter some keys that were of no value to Peter at all.  Keys open doors.  If the kingdom did not come, there were no doors for Peter to open with those keys.  Jesus gift to Peter would have been a vanity.  But Peter did open the doors to the kingdom on the day of Pentecost.  One of the keys that opened the door to the kingdom was of humility–a spiritual key.

And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.  Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven  (Matt. 18:3-4).

God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble (1 Pet. 5:5).  Those he opposes are not able to enter into the kingdom.

The question is, who are the spiritual children, and how did they get to become spiritual children?  Jesus showed Nicodemas how to enter this kingdom.  First Jesus said “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).  We noted that the kingdom can not even be seen without a spiritual birth. How can we enter it?  “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5).  Many different interpretations have been given to this vision.  They cannot all be correct.  Jesus explained that this birth is not a physical birth but a spiritual birth. (John 3:5-8).  Generally speaking, a physical birth puts a person into the physical nation in which he is born.  It is understandable that a spiritual birth would put a person into God’s spiritual kingdom.  This sounds easy enough.  Why would we need to strive to enter it?  The reason is that there are other requirements to get into the kingdom besides seeking.  “And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 18:3).  Not even these apostles were able to enter the kingdom of heaven unless they were converted and became as little children.  How were they to become ‘as little children?’  The next verse tells us: “Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 18:4).  Humility is not easy to gain!  Humility is one of the things that men must ‘strive’ for, if they are going to enter the kingdom.  Entering the kingdom of God is to be born into it to, and thus to become alive to God by a spiritual birth.  Those who are alive to God are spiritual children.

TWO MEN PRAYED

“And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted” (Luke 18:9-14).

When I was young in the faith and read the prayer of the Pharisee, I wondered how he could have been condemned if he really did all those things he claimed to do. I did not understand the heart behind the prayer. Jesus’ parable does not seem to apply to everyone-certainly not to those who genuinely follow God’s commandments. It was given especially to those self-confident souls who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others. Such were the Pharisees who made up their own righteousness (Rom 10:1-3) thereby making up their own commandments (Mt 15:1-3:8-9). The Pharisees despised others, trusting that they alone followed the “traditions” of the fathers. They despised others who did not (John 7:47-49).

The Pharisees were hypocrites (Luke 12:1) who pretended to serve God (Mt 23:23) but who in fact served men (Mt 23:3, 5). This Pharisee would have been justified for turning from extortion, unrighteousness, adultery, etc., if he had done those things for the Lord (Mt 6:1-5). He probably did give tithes of all that he possessed, but it was for the wrong motive (Mt 23:5). Therefore, all of his righteousness was as a filthy rag to God, for he did not love God (1 Cor 13:1-3).

Jesus gave the parable for the Pharisee and gave him a solution to his problem. The heart of the publican was his solution. The publican was genuinely sorry for his sin and begged God for mercy. He did not exalt himself for any reason, but sought God’s help to change. The Lord promised mercy for those who confessed and forsook their sins (Pro 28:13). The Pharisee, on the other hand, was genuinely proud that he only was “walking in the light” and had no intention of changing. There was no hope for the Pharisee. He was right in his own eyes and planned to stand in the same position forever.

Jesus pointed to the hearts behind both men. The Pharisee sought to exalt and justify himself (Luke 15:15), while the publican humbled himself before God. God intentionally abases the proud and promises to punish them (Pro 16:5). God promises to exalt those who humble themselves before Him (1 Pe 5:5-6). Let us confess our sins to Him and trust His promise to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). If we trust Him, He will do that for us.