March 25-27, 2005
People love to go shopping for Easter outfits. People are always talking about what can I wear; what can I buy; what can I get for Easter? In the family I grew up in, my parents weren’t really into Easter outfits. I don’t know why, but they never encouraged us to get anything. We never really bought anything. Today I’m going to change that tradition because I decided to get a custom made suit for Easter. I’m talking about tailor made. So when it comes to Dallas, you’ve got to think about fashion. And also you’ve got to think about a place I’ve heard about called Silhouette Fashion right here in south Dallas. I hear there’s a tailor in this place who’s incredible. Today I’m going to get one made—custom made. This is going to be sweet; this is going to be fun. So come along as we get something tailor made. I’m talking about some new threads.
[The video on the side screens shows Ed going into the Silhouette store and getting a tailor made jacket. When the video ends Ed comes on stage wearing a new jacket.]
Man, this jacket feels great! Custom made. My name on it. Man, I love it! I love it! Did you guys use to get new outfits for Easter? Did you? If you did, lift your hands. Or maybe you did this weekend. I don’t know. A lot of people do. A lot of people do. Some don’t; some do. That’s cool.
Dallas is a very fashion forward place, wouldn’t you say? People are into clothes in Dallas. All of us are into clothes. Human beings are into clothes. Animals aren’t. We have this desire to cover ourselves. For example, my dogs don’t. I have a couple of dogs the size of cattle. I never say to them, “Hey, where’s your pants? Put a dress on.” No, I don’t say that. They’re just animals. They do what they want to do. They’re not aware of their nakedness. In Fort Worth we called it “neck-id-ness.” Here, though, “nakedness.”
I’ve always been into fashion my whole life. I really have. When I was three years old, my mother told me, I would change clothes like two and three times a day. Back in the 60’s you could not buy pants with stripes, so I made my mother sew stripes down my pants. When I was a little kid, she made numbers for my shirts, because she’s an artist and all that.
I’ve always been into fashion. Fashion is very specific these days. Have you noticed that? It’s very specific: casual, business casual, formal wear. All sorts of clothing for different things. Bike wear. Have you ever seen that? Those bicycle outfits. Wow, those look nice! Clothing for basketball, fishing, hunting. We’re very clothes specific. We really are.
I really enjoyed getting this suit made. It was fun getting all these measurements. And he could tell I wore my watch on my left wrist so he made the arm hole a little bit bigger on my left wrist than on my right. He had a hard time finding enough material to cover my giant biceps, but he did. Yep, tailored made garment. It’s pretty sweet.
[Ed takes off the jacket, gets a pair of scissors and begins to cut the jacket up. He cuts off one sleeve and cuts big gashes in other parts of the jacket. After shredding the jacket, Ed puts it back on and continues the message.]
We’re into clothes in Dallas…always shopping. Have you seen this network called The Style Network? It’s an entire network just around clothes and clothing. Fashion magazines. There’s shows what not to wear. We’re into clothing.
Take your Bibles and turn to the book of Genesis, if you have them. If you don’t have them, you can follow along by view-a-verse.
Genesis 3:21, “The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.”
Look at Psalm 139:13. The book of Psalms is right in the middle of the Bible. “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.”
Luke 2:12, “This will be a sign to you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
John 19:2, “The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe.”
John 19:23, “When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom.”
John 20:6-7, “Then Simon Peter…went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen.”
WHO ARE YOU WEARING?
Did you watch the Oscars with all the movie stars on the red carpet? Did you see that? From Tom Cruise to Brad Pitt, from Julia Roberts to Angelina Jolie. Whenever the press interviewed these people they asked them one question. They asked this question repeatedly, “Who are you wearing? Who are you wearing? Who are you wearing?” Then they would name all of these designers: Versace, Armani, Target—all of the top designers. People like to wear designers. We’re fixated on clothing. It doesn’t matter if we like to dress casually or formally, preppy, edgy, whatever. We’re into it. And I think God is into it as well.
Did you pick up that theme? Clothing and clothes? I thought about this. What if we could take all of the clothing sold over the next 4 months in our country; and then what if we could collect all the thread used to make the clothing? Would that be crazy or what? A lot of thread is used to make a lot of clothes.
I would argue that Adam and Eve started the whole fashion boom. Think about this for a second. Adam and Eve had this perfectly tailored garment from The Ultimate Designer himself. They chose to rebel against God and they ripped their jacket with rebellion. They stitched it with sin, so to speak. And they cut the thread connecting them with God. For the first time they realized, the Bible says because of their sin, that they were naked.
The Bible says they took out some needle and thread and sewed something temporary to cover their nakedness. They sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves. This word meaning “fig leaf” in the Hebrew is pronounced “he-doe.” We get the word “Speedo” from it. (audience laughter) You know I’m joking. The Bible does say, though, they used thread to cover their nakedness with the fig leaf.
Well that was temporary. They were naked, and their physical nakedness, I believe, is a mirror of a deeper nakedness they felt. I believe they felt naked on a deeper level, on a spiritual level, on an emotional level, on a relational level. What did God do? What did our loving ultimate designer do?
We sing a lot around here and say a lot around here that God is holy. What does that mean? “God is holy. God is holy.” It means that God is pure. It means that God’s standard is perfection. So, God, in his sovereignty, began to do some stuff. He began to take a needle and thread out and he began to weave something into the very fabric and framework of our existence.
Adam and Eve tried to cover their nakedness with something temporary, but God did something. God took an innocent animal and killed it before their eyes. They’d never seen death before. They’d never seen the unnatural movements of an animal. As the animal’s blood was spilled on the floor of the earth, God skinned the animal, took thread and made garments from the animal’s skin to cover their nakedness—a foreshadowing of something divine; a foreshadowing of this ultimate pattern, of this ultimate tailor made garment that God would present to all of us. God was showing Adam and Eve, and we read in Scripture, the fact that the shedding of blood from an innocent third party must take place in order to atone for a person’s sin.
God’s standard is perfect. He can’t wink at sin. He doesn’t say, “Boys will be boys. Girls will be girls.” If there’s one stain, one thread, one imperfection in our garment, we’re toast. We’ve cut the thread between ourselves and God. Clothing. Thread.
Push the clock forward to Jesus. The Bible says he was born in a small town outside of Jerusalem—Bethlehem. We’ve heard this and we know the story by heart. Mary wrapped the Christ child in swaddling clothes. And most of us just read right over that. Swaddling clothes. Okay, swaddling clothes. What were those clothes? What made those garments?
If you study Middle Eastern travel during the time of Jesus, often people would wrap themselves in a giant shawl because of the elements. And also, many would clock out. Many would die while taking trips. So instead of going through this long burial process they would take the shawl they were already wearing and that would become a death shawl. They’d wrap the body in the shawl, dig a hole, put the body in, and that would be it. Some scholars believe that the swaddling clothes Mary used to wrap the Christ child in were actually part of her death shawl; thus illustrating and foreshadowing the ultimate sacrifice that God would secure for us in his ultimate pattern, in his ultimate tailor made garment.
We know that Jesus began his earthly ministry at—what?—30 years of age. The Bible says that he wore a seamless garment. A seamless garment. It was made of thread. Jesus lived a seamless life. Sin must have a payment. God must see a seamless garment. And Jesus fulfilled that in every way.
Jesus was arrested, falsely accused for a crime he didn’t commit. After they nailed him to the cross, he was suspended between heaven and earth and the Roman soldiers gambled over his seamless garment. It was a very expensive garment, might I add. They put a mock royal robe, another garment, on him and hurled insults at him. Then he died.
Right before he died he said, “It is finished.” The work has been done, the pattern has been cut. The suit has almost been made. They put him in the tomb. And this weekend we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, don’t we? He conquered death. He conquered sin. He burst forth with resurrection power.
When Simon Peter looked into the empty tomb, what did he see? Clothes. Grave garments made of thread. Made of thread. You see this thread of redemption throughout the Bible. See the power of clothes and clothing and garments?
What do you look like? Better yet, who are you wearing? If you were on the red carpet and the press came up to you and asked you, “Who are you wearing,” what would you say? Who is your designer? If we really knew the facts, we’d look like this before God. [Ed is referring to the torn jacket he is wearing.] We’re ripped with rebellion. We’re stitched with sin. We’re all cut up with compromise.
“Well, Ed, wait a minute, dude. Hold on. Yeah, I’ve got some blemishes and stains and rips and all that. But compared to most people, compared to my neighbor, compared to a guy I know, man, I’m doing pretty good. Ed, compared to these girls that I know, man, I’m doing all right!” God does not grade that way. Sin is sin. If we’ve had one off day, one bad mood, if we committed one sin of commission or omission, we’re in trouble. Everything is not cool between ourselves and God. We’ve cut the thread between God and ourselves.
God does leave open the option of living a perfect life. If we’re perfect, then everything’s cool between ourselves and God. But if we’re not—if we have one stain, one thread out of place, one problem—then we’re toast.
“Well, man, how could a good God hurl people to hell? Man, I’ve just got some problems with that!” Hey, slim, God doesn’t hurl anybody to hell. You make that choice, baby. The ball is in your court. The ball is in my court. God’s standard is perfection. Our problem is sin. The Bible puts it this way in Isaiah 64:6, “All our righteous acts”—in other words, my best days and your best days—“are like filthy rags.”
We try this suit on and we try that suit on and we just try to get the thread out ourselves and repair all the stuff. But it’s filthy rags. We’re ripped with rebellion. We’re cut with compromise. We’re stitched with sin. And because of the resurrection, God has done something awesome. God has given us the opportunity to make a choice. Let me ask you again, “Who are you wearing?”
All of us got dressed tonight. I can tell that. All of us did. No one forced you or me to get dressed. We just made that choice. We’re not robots; we’re not puppets on a string. We have a choice either to get dressed or not. We pick out an outfit, we put it on, it covers us, it looks presentable, and we’re dressed.
The cross is all about the exchange. And the resurrection affords us this opportunity to get dressed. But here’s what happened on the cross. Something happened on the cross that you don’t deserve or I don’t deserve, even on our best days. If you pile up all of our righteous acts, we don’t deserve it. God wove the thread of redemption leading to the cross. As his only Son was taking your junk and mine, your sins and mine, on himself, he was providing an exchange.
If we choose to do so, we can admit the fact that our jacket is all ripped and messed up. We can put it on the cross. Is that a supernatural transaction or what? And because of the fact that Jesus took all of your junk and my junk, your sin and my sin, he gives us the opportunity by his grace to clothe ourselves in Christ.
[Ed takes off the ripped jacket and tosses it on the cross. Then he pulls out the real tailor made jacket from the back of the cross and puts it on.]
That wasn’t the real tailor made jacket. Habib (the tailor) gave us like eight of them to destroy. This is the real tailor made jacket. Now you can tell the difference, can’t you? This one is made for me. Look at this, man! The fabric, everything. The way it hangs. It’s incredible. But I chose to put it on. He didn’t force me to do that, I just did it.
That’s what happens on the cross. We put our stuff, our junk, on the cross. We take off our old garment and put on Jesus. We put on his forgiveness, his grace, his mercy, his purpose, and his power. And, man, that’s the sweetest fashion statement that we can ever make. Because I believe this desire that human beings have to be dressed, to think about clothing, is just a microcosm of the monstrous desire we have to clothe ourselves in Christ.
Who are you wearing? Are you wearing sin or are you wearing the Savior? I paid for this jacket. Jesus Christ paid the ultimate price on the cross for your stuff and mine, for your sin and mine.
Who are you wearing? Do you want to wear Christ? Do you want to clothe yourself in him? I don’t care where you are. I don’t care what you’re involved in. I don’t care how far away from this whole deal you think you are. You matter to God. And he loves you so much that he cut and he patterned and he sewed a perfect tailor made suit for you. He’s measured us. He knows us. And he wants the best for us.
And we can do that deal if we’ll just put the jacket on. So let me show you in a couple of moments how to put on Jesus. Bow your heads with me for a moment. Just a couple of moments. This is the prayer that I prayed and many have prayed to put on Christ. Just say this, “God, I admit to you that my coat is ripped with rebellion. It’s stitched with sin. I turn from that and I turn to you. I put on you, Lord. I want to clothe myself in Christ. I believe, Jesus, that you died on the cross for my sins and rose again. And because of that I ask you to infiltrate my life, to come into my life, to change me, to cleanse me, to take everything. I put on Christ right now. I take off the old and put on the new.”
Hey, if you did that, that is the ultimate fashion statement. So now, one day or 10,000 years from now when God says, “Hey, who are you wearing,” you look at God and say, “God, I’m wearing the ultimate designer, Jesus Christ, because he paid it all. He conquered death and I’ve received it. I’ve clothed myself in Christ.”
Look at me for a second. That’s the first question, “Who are you wearing?” I believe many people, for the first time tonight, did that deal. You put on Jesus. And that’s great.
HOW ARE YOU WEARING HIM?
Here’s the second question: “How are you wearing him?”
Maybe you’re saying, “Well, Ed, man, I’ve put on Christ. I got dressed in Christ a long time ago.” Great! How are you wearing him? How are you modeling Jesus? You believe in the death, burial, and resurrection. Is that power living out and coming out through your life from the inside out? Is it? How are you wearing Christ?
Some here are wearing Christ this way. [Ed takes off the jacket and puts it over his shoulders without putting his arms in the sleeves.] You can’t take him off once you put him on, but some of you are wearing him this way. You’re “pimping” Jesus. You’re coming to Jesus just because of what you want. You’re trying to use faith or whatever to make him do what you want him to do. But Jesus is not your messenger boy. He’s sovereign.
“Yeah, well you know, I want forgiveness of sin so I can have this emotional freedom. And you know, I want Jesus because I want to spend eternity with my loved ones.” That’s it?! You don’t pimp God! No, no, no, no, no. You wearing him this way?
CASUAL WITH CHRIST
Some of you might be wearing him like this. [Ed takes the jacket and casually throws it over one shoulder, holding it with one finger.] You take Jesus and toss him over your shoulders and you’re just—ha, ha, ha—casual with Jesus.
“Hey, man, Jesus and I, we’re tight. Jesus is my home boy. I like Fellowship Church. Yeah, I’m really involved. You know, I’ve done well financially and I travel a lot. I’ll make it, you know, once a month. Okay, I’m not really involved. But Fellowship Church? Yeah, babe. Yeah, I know they need me to serve. They’ve started like, what, 3 satellite campuses? Yeah, um, I know I should go to the Newcomer’s Class or learn more about the Lord from Power Source or get into a small group, but you know, I’m just casual. You know, non-committal.”
TIE HIM AROUND THE WAIST
Some here wear Jesus like this. [Ed ties the coat around his waist.] “Okay Jesus, I’ll tie you around my waist. You know if it gets cold outside, if I get into a financial problem or a marriage problem, or if I lose a loved one or the economy goes south, man, I’ll put you back on. Oh, okay, Lord, I’m there, I’m with you!” Ugh. Yeah, yeah, okay.
Some here reverse Jesus. [Ed turns the jacket inside out and puts it on.] Ah, this is funny. Get a shot of this. That’s my name right on the pocket, Edwin B. Young. Habib did that for me. During the week it’s all about Edwin B. Young. “Yeah, I’m clothed in Christ, but you’d never know it. Whoo! I’ll flash you a little bit of Jesus. But it’s all about Edwin B. Young. I’ll mess around over here, get high over here, adrenalin rush over there. I’ll go to this place and mess around. Oh, yeah, but when Sunday comes—whoo—I’ll do a quick change, like Superman. When that worship music starts I’m the first one up. ‘Whoo, I love you Lord! Yes, Lord!’”
STRAIGHT JACKET GOD
Here’s another one. Some of us do the straight jacket Jesus. [Ed puts the jacket on backwards.] We have a whack view of what it means to be clothed in Christ. “Oh, to be clothed in Christ means, you know, you can’t drink, can’t cuss, can’t smoke, can’t chew, can’t run around with girls who do. Everything’s a legalistic trip and God’s the cosmic kill joy. You know, to really be clothed in Christ, man, you can’t have any fun or excitement or adventure. I mean, no way! You know, if it’s fun it’s wrong.”
Wow! I don’t want any of that, do you? It’s pretty convicting, isn’t it? Did you ever struggle with one of those outfits? Don’t be lying now; I’m the only one that had my hand up. You mean I’m the only one in here that struggles with that?! People are like, “Nah, I don’t Ed. No. Not me, man. No, no. Not me.”
Yeah, you do! We all do. Here’s the problem. We don’t know what it really means to be clothed in Christ. We don’t really believe that Jesus has the best for us. It’s all about something called “lordship.” It’s all about trust. It’s all about faith. It’s all about control. It’s all about Jesus running the show.
I’m going to tell you something. For the next four weeks I’m going to talk about some of the stuff I just talked about. Some of the different ways we wear Jesus. And I’m going to talk about what the Bible says regarding how we allow the Holy Spirit of God to weave Jesus into everything we do, say, touch, feel, smell. You name it. That’s the kind of amazing life that God has patterned for all of us here. We have a tailor made life from The Master Designer. Let’s don’t waste it.
When you walked in you were handed some thread. Take the thread and tie it around your wrist. If you can’t do that, have a neighbor help you tie it around your wrist. And here’s the homework. Don’t take this off for a month. And I’ve already showered in it, it works. It’s fine. It’ll dry. Everything’s cool. This represents the thread of Jesus. It represents the fact that the thread of Jesus is woven into everything. It represents the fact that it covers us. And we’re going to see some exciting implications of thread.
Who are you wearing? And how are you wearing The Ultimate Designer, the one who came back from the grave?