April 18-19, 2009
Are you guys ready to talk about fashion? The fashion police are in the House! Hey ladies, have you ever looked at your man and asked, “What were you thinking when you put on that outfit?”
Have you ever said that? Guys, we have a hard time sometimes putting stuff together, don’t we? Men are funny, because a lot of us get locked into certain time zones when it comes to fashion. If we looked good, maybe, in 1997, everything we have is circa 1997. We have our hair like we wore back in ’97, our clothes, our workout gear; everything is like it was in 1997.
Women, though, on the other hand, don’t have the problem as much. But I have to be honest with you though. Sometimes I do want to walk up to people and ask, “What were you thinking when you put that on?”
Have you ever wanted to walk up to someone and say that? “Stop! I’m making a citizen’s arrest; I’m a part of the fashion police. Go back home and change clothes!”
You know the Bible talks a lot about clothes and clothing. And it talks about the fashion police. The message is profound, simple, yet as deep as any depth we can ever imagine. Our God came from the top to the bottom to bring us from the bottom to the top. Our great God sent Jesus Christ to lay aside his righteousness, his perfection; to lay aside his robe and to put on your robe and my robe of unrighteousness, stained with sin and shame. He was buried. That’s right; Jesus was buried, put in a grave, and burst forth with resurrection power. And now we have the opportunity to do what? To put aside our sin and to put on God’s garment.
So I’ve got to ask you a couple questions today. In fact, it’s a question that you’ve heard many times if you have ever watched the interviews on the red carpet. “Who are you wearing?” That’s what they always ask the stars. “Who are you wearing? Who?” And they name different designers. I’ve got to ask you that today. Who are you wearing?
Now the second question. How are you wearing him? So, who are you wearing? And how are you wearing him? Great questions.
Basically, we have two groups of people here in this venue. This is one of our venues. We have another one in Florida, one in Downtown Dallas, one in Fort Worth, Plano and in beautiful, scenic Hawkins, Texas. And also, this will be seen on television worldwide. So let’s give it up for everyone who wants to know about the fashion and the fashion police.
Everybody right now listening to my voice right now or watching this is basically in two camps.
The first camp is those of us here, and I include myself in this camp, who are clothed in Christ. We’re wearing the robe of righteousness. We made this decision, this intentional decision to get dressed. Because getting dressed is not accidental, it’s intentional. I didn’t trip, fall into my closet and come up with this outfit. No, I thought it out. I intentionally put it together. That’s group one.
Now another group, the second group, would be those here who have not dressed in Christ. Yeah, you’re dressed on one hand, but before God, you’re outfits aren’t really working for you. Maybe you’re dressed in yourself, or maybe you’re dressed in finances, or maybe you’re dressed in self-help stuff. Well, we’re going to talk to group one, group A and also to group two, group B as we talk about the fashion police.
The first question (from God) ever mentioned in the Bible, a little Bible trivia, is found in Genesis 3:9. If you have your Bibles, you might want to turn there. If you don’t have a Bible, share with somebody. What a great way to meet someone. “Hey, can I share Scripture with you?” And as I always say, those in the House who are single, you can meet someone and several years later after you get married you’ll remember, “You know, we were in that service talking about the fashion police and I shared the Bible with you and now we’re sharing life together in love.”
That happens all the time here at Fellowship. There have been squillions of marriages over the years of people meeting in church, the best place to meet someone.
Illus: When I was younger, of course, our kids were much younger. And I remember our oldest daughter, who’s now 22, when she was 2, she’d play hide-n-seek with me. I’m the father, she’s the daughter. And she’d stand in the middle of our living room, cover her eyes and say, “Daddy, I bet you can’t find me! Daddy, I’m hiding!”
Are you hiding from God? Are you trying to cover your tracks and cover your shame and your game? Are you trying to hide from God? That’s the first question God asked Adam and Eve, because Adam and Eve were playing a game of hide-n-go-seek.
Genesis 3:9, God asks, “Where are you?”
He was saying, “Hey, Adam and Eve, you sinned. You’ve taken your eyes off me and put them on one another. Where are you?”
Look at Genesis 3:10, this is Adam. “I heard you in the Garden and I was afraid because I was naked.” Is that “naked” or “neckid”? Who says “neckid” here? If you’re from the dirty South, you say “neckid”. I say “naked”. How many “neckid” people do we have here? That’s a great debate! I might Twitter about that later on today. I could blog about that! Naked or neckid?
Now that’s pretty obvious. Adam realized that he was exposed, that he was naked (or neckid), and he hid.
Look at Genesis 3:11. God asks him, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat?”
Adam and Eve learned something very quickly. What we cover, God will uncover; what we uncover, God will cover. Adam and Eve took their eyes off God, put them on one another after sin, they realized their nakedness, so they tried to become the first tailors who ever lived. They tried to sew together, the Bible says, a bunch of fig leaves to cover their nakedness.
Problem. There was a wardrobe malfunction. Problem. They couldn’t do it. So what did God do? God came in, killed an innocent animal, skinned it, and used the animal’s skins to cover them, to clothe them. This is the first instance we have of clothing ever mentioned in the Bible. So why do we have this desire for clothing?
Illus: Well, in the month of November, I did a lot of traveling and speaking. And in one trip I went from New York to London, from London to Johannesburg and I spoke at all those places. And between some of the speaking sessions, I got to do some shopping. And I walked in some of the greatest shopping districts in the world. Whenever I saw, though, a dress or a suit or a pair of shoes or whatever, I thought about the book of Genesis.
Why do we have clothing? Why do we wear clothing? Because of our nakedness, because of our sin. That is why we get dressed. I think another reason we like fashion and get dressed is because it’s a need that is expressed in buying clothes and colorful things to really be clothed in the robe or righteousness, the robe of Jesus.
So if you want to get down to the nuts and bolts of why we get dressed it’s because of sin. And from there one of the reasons I think we like fashion is either knowingly or unknowingly we want to be clothed in the robe of Jesus. Now many of us have been clothed in righteousness, and that’s awesome. Many here are into fashion and think about clothing, and you don’t realize that it’s really a mirror or a deeper need to be clothed in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Animals, though, don’t get dressed. You know people tell us that we’re animals. We’re not animals! God has told us that in the book of Genesis. We’re made in the image of God. Animals are animals. Animals don’t get dressed. It’s one of the things that separate human beings from animals. I’ve never seen a rhinoceros walk up to me in a three piece suit. I’ve never seen an elephant in pumps. I’ve never seen a tiger in a really cool pink tie. I’ve just never seen that.
We’re different than animals. We have a desire to get dressed. Why is that? It’s because of sin. And it’s also because we know down deep in our heart of hearts that we need to wear the perfect robe of our Lord.
So we’re trying to get dressed. And we want to have something that is perfectly tailored for us. Because the Scriptures tells us that the only way we get to heaven is if we’re dressed perfectly, if we are perfect. That’s the only way we get to heaven. And I’m getting to heaven because of that.
“Ed, are you saying that you’re perfect?”
No way. I’m a sinner. If you don’t believe me, ask my wife. All of us sin. I’m getting to heaven, though, and so are you if you’ve been clothed in Christ, because I’ve laid aside my sin and my unrighteousness and I’ve put on the righteousness of Jesus; I’ve put on the perfection of Jesus; I’ve put on the holiness of Jesus; I’ve put on the grace and mercy and forgiveness of Jesus.
So, when God sees me or God sees you, he says, “Whoa! There’s my son; there’s my daughter. They’re clothed in the righteousness of Christ.”
So the first group, those of us who are clothed in Jesus, cool. That’s great. But what about the second group. Are you still trying to sew fig leaves together to cover your shame and your game? Are you still trying to do stuff your way? Are you wearing yourself? Who are you wearing? Because if you’re trying to hide from God, because sin always leads to fear and to exposure; if you’re trying to hide from him, you look as silly as Lee Beth did 20 years ago standing in our living room saying, “Daddy, Daddy, I bet you can’t find me!”
It’s obvious. So it’s time that we admit the obvious to God and it’s time that we choose to get dressed, because there’s only one designer that works. And that is the Lord himself.
So what we cover, God will uncover; what we uncover, God will cover.
Now Romans 13:14 says, “Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ. And do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.”
Clothe yourselves in the Lord Jesus Christ. How do we do that? It’s a top to bottom deal. He will clothe us from top to bottom, from bottom to top, from head to toe. He’ll totally envelope us and surround us with his love and grace. That is what is out there for you.
So think about this phenomenal wardrobe, this perfectly tailored outfit that is just for you. And the nail pierced hand of Jesus is giving you this outfit. You either receive it or you don’t. You either get dressed or you don’t. I hate to be graphic, but a lot of us are walking around here naked. We’re exposed in the eyes of God.
And clothing, again, is just a mirror of a greater need. So whenever you get dressed, whenever you shop, whenever you walk around a mall or whatever, think about the human condition and think about the love and the grace of God.
I think I’ve always loved clothes. I remember asking my mom one time, “Mom, when did I start liking clothes?”
You know what she told me? When I was a year and a half old. Are you ready for that? My mom said, “Back in the ‘60s you couldn’t buy pants with stripes down them. And you wanted stripes down your pants.” So you know what my mom did? She sewed stripes down my pants. And I wanted to have shirts with numbers and things on them. And my mom is an artist, so she would draw numbers and things on them. I’ve always liked clothes. It’s cool. Because clothes make a statement. I enjoy fashion.
But again what I’m talking about is much deeper than fashion. Fashion, what’s hot, what’s not, what’s in, what’s out. That’s fine and dandy. I’m talking about something deeper. I’m talking about a desire to be clothed, to be enveloped from top to bottom, from bottom to top, from head to toe. Have you received the robe of Jesus?
T.S. Well, let me limit the rest of my comments; I hate to do this to group two, group B. But let me limit the rest of my comments to group one, group A. Do you mind? I mean, if you’re in group two, group B, listen to me because this is what’s going to happen once you clothe yourself in the Lord. But I’ve got to talk to this group, because it’s an urgent need that all of us have.
The Bible says in Romans 13:14, “Clothe yourselves in Jesus Christ,” right? I just read it for you. Then it says, “Do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.”
If you like fashion, you’re best friend should be the tailor. You can shop anywhere you want to shop. I don’t care if you shop in a very expensive store or you shop in a dirt cheap store. If you have someone who can tailor the outfit after you purchase it, the tailor; the man or woman, can make you look phenomenal. And most people buy clothes that are two or three sizes too big for them. Most men and women buy clothes, I’ll say it again, two and three sizes too big. I said most. Some buy things that are way, way, way too small. But that’s a whole other message.
How are you wearing Jesus? How are you wearing him? How are you clothed in Jesus? Because group one, group A I think we have some people who are wearing Jesus in unique ways, because it’s a challenge to wear Jesus. And this is going to mess somebody up right here. I’m talking to the balcony; I’m talking to the floor. Turn to your neighbor and say, “You’re a supermodel.”
You’re thinking, “Oh, no way. I’m not a supermodel. You don’t know my bone structure. I’m overweight; I’m underweight. I’m this; I’m that.”
No, no, no. You’re a supermodel and so am I. We’re modeling something 24/7. Group two, group B is. And we know group one, group A is. We’re on the runway, we’re modeling 24/7.
Hey, dads, you’re modeling authenticity. You’re modeling a marriage. You’re modeling how to handle finances. You’re modeling language to your kids.
Hey, students, you’re modeling Jesus Christ to others. You’re modeling him on the athletic field. You’re modeling him in the classroom. You’re modeling him when you go out to lunch. You’re modeling him when you go on some date. You’re modeling Christ.
So 24/7we are modeling Jesus Christ. If you’re in group two, group B, I don’t know who you’re modeling. You’re maybe modeling yourself of someone else. But I’m talking, again, to group one. We’re modeling Jesus. How are you modeling him?
Again, who are you wearing? Jesus. How are you wearing him? I don’t know. Some here pimp Jesus.
“Yeah, man. I’m just pimping Jesus, man.”
We think that we can get Jesus to do what we want him to do. We think we can use him as some genie or some errand boy. What’s up with that? We can’t use Jesus! Hey pimps in the House, we can’t use Jesus. He uses us.
And here’s what is so whack about us. We think that Jesus is our deal, you know. We try to make him do what we desire him to do. So we say, “Jesus, you tailor yourself to my life. You tailor yourself to my behavior.”
No. You got it all wrong. That’s not it. We should say, “Jesus, you tailor me. I’m a sinner, I’m unrighteous. I put on your robe of righteousness and perfection and forgiveness. Now, you tailor me. You work on me. You show me your pattern.”
Some pimps will bow down and say, “Oh, Jesus, I need to close this real estate deal. Oh, Jesus, if I close this deal, I’m telling you I’ll be committed to you. I’ll go into the mission field. I’ll serve every week at Fellowship Church. Oh, Lord.”
Then boom! You close the deal and you spend the money on yourself. You don’t return the first ten percent to the House. You pimp!
“Oh, I’ve got to have the client. I’ve got to!”
Boom! You get the client and you spend the money on yourself. You pimp! What are you doing pimping Jesus.
Single women. “Oh, Lord, bring me a husband! He can be bald and fat (I want him to be rich), bald and fat (he’s got to be rich), bald and fat (he’s got to be worth $50M). Amen, Lord! Grant him, Lord!”
Then the bald fat rich guy shows up and you hop in the rack with him. You have sex outside of marriage.
Single guys, you buy a bikini and hang it in your closet. “Oh, Lord, fill the bikini. Fill the bikini now. I believe it!”
What are you doing you pimps and pimpettes? You can’t use Jesus. This phony theology out there that if you have enough faith you can make Jesus do what you want him to do, you can have your miracle, you can get healed. That’s not biblical!
We wear him another way. We recycle Jesus. We recycle him.
“Oh, man. My dad was a preacher. I’ll just wear his faith. My mother, man, she was a woman of God. I’ll just wear her faith.”
Or, “Ed, I’m going to get right here in the front row at Fellowship Church and I’ll just kind of feed off of your faith.”
Recycle Jesus. I mean it’s fine, as iron sharpens iron and all that. But it’s got to be about your relationship, your modeling of him. Do we have any recycle people in the House?
Oh, then we do another one. We’ll come to church, “Oh, I’m ready man! I’m looking good. Yeah! I’m looking clean. Language is clean. Eye contact with the preacher.”
Then we leave Fellowship Church, get in the car and reverse Jesus. We reverse him. We take him off. Foul language. Go places we shouldn’t go.
Look how bad I look! Inside out, all the shiny stuff. Buttons don’t work; pockets don’t work. I’m a hypocrite!
How many times have you heard this, “I don’t go to church because there are hypocrites there!”
Wow! News flash: there are hypocrites in church. We’re all hypocrites. I am; you are too. But we can’t reverse Jesus.
He died on the cross for our sins and has risen again. We’ve got to wear him and model him with love and boldness and power. We don’t reverse him when times get tough. We don’t reverse him when peer pressure begins to circle us. We don’t reverse him when the boys say, “Let’s go to this strip club,” or the people at school say, “Let’s get high.” No we don’t reverse him.
Jesus talked about hypocrites in Matthew 23:28. This is not the only verse, but he said, “In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous. But on the inside, you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.”
But there’s another way we wear Jesus. The casual Jesus. We just flip him over our shoulder.
“Ha, ha, ha. I’m just casual with him. That’s right. Me and Jesus have this thing going on. I’m committed to non-commitment. Pretty much during the weekend, church is on the back burner. I’ve got a lake house now. And I’ll go to the lake house. If my friends call I’ll go there. Game? Yeah. Whatever.
“If nothing else is going on, ok. It can’t be really sunny or rainy. Just kind of ok weather then I’ll be at church, at Fellowship Church. About once a month is what I do, once a month. I’m committed to non-commitment. Yes.”
What if you worked out once a month? What if you prayed once a month? What if you brushed your teeth once a month? What if you made love to your spouse once a month? What if you went to the restroom once a month?
And I see this epidemic all over the place in my travels. You know, if everybody who came to Fellowship Church once a month showed up every weekend, we’d have about 50,000-60,000 people showing up. How do we plan church for you? Whoo! Pretty tough, pretty tough.
People say, “Man, yeah, I was there two weeks ago. But let me tell you, Ed. I’m dealing with this issue.”
I’ll say, “Oh, you should have been at church last week. I talked about that very thing.”
Inevitably, the thing that we need the most is usually the weekend that we miss. Casual with Jesus. “I’m just casual with him.”
You have just enough Jesus to be dangerous, just enough to still mess around, to still run with the wrong people, to still do what you know you shouldn’t do. And you’re jacket gets all stained and all messed up. But you’re just casual.
There’s another type, another fashion type. Fire insurance Jesus.
“Yeah, I have to pray that prayer and ask Jesus to come into my life. Because when I die, everyone’s going to die, I want to have Jesus right here. And if something bad happens; you know, this economy is schizophrenic, man. I want to have Jesus right there.”
And I’ve watched a lot of you, for months, when the economy was going great you were rockin’ and rollin’ and buyin’ and wheelin’ and dealin’. And now, things are bad, and guess who I see at Fellowship Church!
“I’m back! It’s bad now. I lost my job and lost 80% of my retirement. I’m here serving the Lord now!”
Fire insurance Jesus. Is that you? Fire insurance Jesus? You’ve got him with you, and if times are bad you’ll put him on. But if times are good, “Nah, I’m just going do my thing. If we have a terrorist attack or something I’ll put him on. But right now, nah.”
Group one, group A, how are you wearing Jesus? Yeah, I know you’re wearing him. But how are you wearing Jesus. Because here is the wonderful news; here is the good news.
Those here who are trying to use Jesus, Jesus can use you.
Those here who are trying to recycle him and live off the faith of others, he will recycle you and you can have this personal connectivity with him.
Those here who are trying to reverse him, hey, he will reverse you.
Those here who have him thrown over your shoulder, he wants you to be intentional and be committed.
Those here who have him tied around your waist, you know what? Jesus will untie you and show you how he wants you to walk and how he wants you to model forgiveness and grace and love and righteousness to a lost and dying world.
That’s what’s in the cards for all of us. And next time, I’m going to unpack this in an even deeper way as we see what it means to continue to be clothed in Christ, to making the fashion statement.
But I have to be a member today of the fashion police. And I probably need to make some citizen’s arrests, because some of us are not really wearing Jesus the way God wants us to.
Now let me talk to group two, group B. I didn’t forget about you. You know you can’t get in on the greatest life out there until you throw off your sin and put on the sinless garment of Jesus. The only way you’ll get to heaven is if you’re dressed perfectly. How do you get dressed perfectly? You’ve got to put on the robe of Jesus. I can’t make you do it. It’s not by chance; it’s not accidental. It’s by your decision. Again, it’s not by chance; it’s by choice. Have you made that choice?
Because once you make the choice to put on the robe of Jesus, he is the only designer that’s ever worth wearing.
[Ed ends in closing prayer.]