'Cloth Me Lord'

Revelation 3: l5 thru l8

Some of you older people may remember the story about the emperor's new clothes.

It's about an emperor who wanted to wear the fanciest clothes money could buy. This desire so consumed him that he never focused on his kingdom. He never worried about protecting his people or paid attention to the advancement of intruders.

One day two fakes came to the gates of the city. They declared they made the best clothes an emperor could wear. They were brought before the emperor, where they shared with him that they could make the most beautiful clothes that had ever been made – for a large sum of money, of course.

They claimed that the secret to their clothes was two things: (l) only those who rightfully belonged in their position would be able to see the clothes. And so they acted as if they were the best...emphasis on acted. They asked for more and more money as they worked in secret on their imaginary looms. When the king sent advisers to see the clothes – which were actually invisible – the advisers bragged about them and declared, “Aren't they beautiful?” Of course, the advisers couldn't see the clothes either because the clothes did not, in fact, exist, but in fear of not being seen as smart, of having it all together, or as to not being able to keep their positions, they told the emperor the clothes were just amazing.

Finally the emperor was invited to see the clothes. He, too, could see nothing. But as the two fakes acted as if they were putting the clothes on him – with everyone seeing how naked he was – the emperor dared not utter he couldn't see them. Doing so would mean admitting he wasn't smart and didn't belong in his position...that, indeed, he was a fake himself.

Naked and exposed, the emperor went before the people. The people knew the rules about the clothes, and so they cheered as if they could see them. But as the naked emperor led a parade for his new clothes, a little boy cried out, “But he's naked!”

The emperor had bought into the lie that he was above the ability to be transparent – therefore, he ended up naked before his people. There is so much we can learn from this metaphorical story.

For instance, is it possible...

    • To be so self-indulgent that you refuse to realize that according to scripture that we are really all wretched, poor, blind, and naked?

    • To have people around you who are so worried about position that they won't be honest with you?

        • To be so wrapped up in our worldly image and even the world's type of religion that we have ignored the very true Kingdom of God in our hearts and what the Lord truly desires for our lives and the truth of who He really is through His very Word?

        • To be so over-whelmed with self that your fear of failure never allows those around you to see the real you or Christ's true light shining thru you?

        • To be so self-absorbed that the enemy can deceive you into purchasing an identity with the world that ultimately leaves you as naked as the king?

        • That in the midst of your parade... people could be singing your praises while family members, children, teens, and young adults or your neighbors see the real you?

Every person, if they are honest with themselves, fear exposure to the reality of how they are really dressed deep within their hearts for others to see. Truthfully, I have prayed more than once, “Please, Lord, don't let them see the real me.” “It's bad enough that they have to see what they see!” “The real me is tired and weary.” “When you ask me to move in Your Spirit, I don't always yield to Your will as I should.” “ Lord, please cover up my nakedness, my wretchedness. Clothe me, God, with your very character, love, holiness, and righteousness, and Yes, Lord...even in Your Power.” “Please clothe me with your clothing that is made in heaven.” “I want to be clothed with more of You...No, with all of You for you are My Pearl of Great Price!”

So often we get dressed just to impress the world...perhaps...so much so that we forget to be really clothed in Him, to go out and meet the world as representatives of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, or show them that we are clothed with rivers of living water that are available from Christ that can flow thru us to a lost and dying world. It is so easy to get drunk off our own vineyards that we end up like Noah, naked and exposed in front of our world and family. Nakedness is always a metaphor for one's true spiritual state, while God is looking to clothe us with royal robes of righteousness and with Himself. Ps. 3:8...confirms what we are saying...”Real help comes from God. Your blessings clothe your people!”

The Good News is the Lord has prepared a royal robe of righteousness for each one of us that represents Himself if we will only accept it: Eccles. 9:8 tells us “Always be clothed in white, and always anoint your head with oil”. The white represents the call to purity, innocence, and cleanliness. The oil always represents the Holy Spirit indwelling our lives. In other words, we are called to be clothed differently than the world. We are made to be clothed in Christ and His very character. It was when Adam and Eve sinned that God found it important to cover their nakedness. It was the Laodicean church who needed to also have a change of clothes. God is calling His church back to transparency and purity so others can see what truly dwells within by faith . We must not ignore those around us who can easily see through to our true nakedness before God and themselves.

Church...It's time we get clothed in Christ. Christ must become absolutely first in our lives. Time is running out! It's time we are changed by the renewing of our minds, looking through the eyes of Christ and not of through our own limited sight and be willing to rise up to an even higher level that the Lord has prepared for those who love Him both in Spirit and Truth.

Revelation l6:l5 says...”Keep watch! I come unannounced, like a thief. You're blessed if, awake and dressed, you're ready for me. Too bad if you are found running through the streets, naked and ashamed.”

Many take to Twitter to proclaim how great they are and some may get on Facebook and share our newest message. We may promote our own ideas, and – yet, to be truthful, we rarely get honest about our true spiritual state.

There is a stirring in God's heart for a cleaning up of the Body of Christ. He sees right through to our innermost beings. We need to see how we have been wearing the world's dirty, torn, worn out, and wretched clothing just living in our complacent and fixed lives instead of being willing to step up, wake up and starting to prepare for our heavenly wedding.

The world wants a good traditional church who looks like them, acts like them, and even pastors like them. But where is Christ in that equation in allowing His very Spirit to move freely and have His being within our midst? The world has always cried out for compromise. Christ, however, cries out for 'obedience'. For He says in His Word..'Those that truly love me...obey me.'

In John l8:40..the people cried out, “Give us Barabbas!” Remember, the people didn't want Jesus, they wanted a murderer. “No, not Him!” they cried “Give us Barabbas! Give us somebody who looks like us and wants what we want. He is much easier to look at and follow than Jesus and all He has shown us and tried to teach us about His Kingdom. And, what about all those miracles Jesus performed? Jesus reminds us how we should be clothed...for Jesus' says in His Word...'Greater things will you do because I go to the Father'. While Barabbas gives us the excuse to say, “ Oh, I'm all right just the way I am.” “Let us just continue as we are all fenced in, safe and secure.” Jesus asks for faith to step out and believe while the world only asks to be clothed in complacency.

Church, we must be different than the world. We must be clothed in the very Spirit of the Living God working in our lives on a daily basis.

Each day, we hear of hate, hate, and more hate...wars and rumors of wars, murdering groups like Isis, shootings even in our own town of Maquoketa, the condition of America, our economy, corruption in politics. We get wrapped up in a mentality of fear and concern over our troubled times and it's easy for others to see right through us as to whether they see Christ's Heart of Love and Hope rather then our own personal fear and concern.

Hear these final words from Joel 2: l3-l4...

'Change your life, not just your clothes. Come back to God, your God. And, here's why: God is kind and merciful. He takes a deep breath, puts up with a lot, this most patient God, extravagant in love, always ready to cancel catastrophe. Who knows? Maybe he'll do it now, maybe he'll turn around and show pity. Maybe, when all is said and done, there will be blessings full and arise such a deep passion, awakening and a true spiritual revival for our God throughout our whole nation!

In closing, in II Chronicles 7:l4, it reads, 'If My People who are called by my name will humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from Heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.'

Let us pray... Dear Lord...We have been a people of the world. We are a people who are indeed, wretched, poor, blind, and naked. Like John the Baptist, we must decrease so you increase deep within our hearts. Help make us ready for your soon return. We thank you and praise you that already, there is a mighty army of believers arising in our nation and around the world in these last days who are clothed in your righteousness and spirit. May we also arise and join you in this hour and be open to what you wish to teach us and show us as we rise even higher and take our place by your side. In Jesus' Name

Right now, I am wondering if there are anyone here who has never truly accepted Jesus as their personal Savior...that You have actually been on the throne of your life and in control for much too long. Or, perhaps, you have known the Lord for many years but seem to have found your life more worldly and naked than spiritual. I invite you now to consider how fully your life has been clothed in nakedness or clothed in the very Spirit of the Lord Most High in His character, power, and life. I pray you may say to the Lord, “I repent of these hidden areas of my life where I have not had the faith to believe and any other area that has displeased you, Lord,”... and make that all important dedication or re-dedication to our beautiful Savior and Lord and pray that He fills Your life with His very presence in His fullness that our oil lamps be found full instead of left wanting...that we become less and less and He become more and more as we grow together.

I will be glad to pray with you if you have any need after the service. The Lord wants us to realize that there is so much more that He has for us...more of Him then we could have ever thought possible. May I encourage you today to open up to more of what Our Precious Lord has to offer 'You'! Amen? Amen.

In conclusion...I would like to share with you an experience/ a confirmation of sorts that I had after our lst time together...something that a woman by the name of Julie Meyer shared. She said that she had an actual vision and it had to do with 'of all things' about 'Going Up Higher'. She said that angels grabbed her arms...BIG ANGELS...and, they were pulling her up to Heaven and they couldn't do it! And, she is a little person. And, all these angels couldn't do it. And, the Angels said to her, “It's not us!” It's YOU!”

If you want to go 'Up Higher', you have to get rid of things that were acceptable in the past but are not acceptable now...things that have hindered your growth into maturity in Christ. I can tell you right now that none of this is possible without the indwelling H. S. You've gotten away with it in the past or

you thought you did. But, you will not get away with it in the future. We can't straddle the fence any longer.

The Lord God says, “Be ye Holy for I Am Holy!' And, it is the most wonderful thing... for nothing can separate us from the love of God and to climb Up even Higher into more of Him. But, we must choose this day whom we will serve and walk by faith. Amen?

I would like to speak a very special benediction over you right now.

“May the junk that has been holding you down now be stripped away and you become the man or woman that the Lord has always intended you to become in Your fullness.”

“I pray, In the Name of Jesus, that you be blessed coming in and going out.”

“I pray that you be blessed in Your family, in Your finances, in Your intimacy

with God.”

“I pray that You be blessed in Your ears, that you hear God clearer than you ever have heard Him before.”

“And, I pray that You would be 'obedient' in All These Things that God has for You”.

In Jesus' Precious Name...God Bless You...Go With God! Amen.