Friday, December 27, 2013
Are You Wearing His White?
Rev. 3:4 Yet you have still a few persons in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes; they will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy.
Rev. 3:5 If you conquer, you will be clothed like them in white robes, and I will not blot your name out of the book of life; I will confess your name before my Father and before his angels.
Rev. 3:6 Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.
The church in Sardis had once been very vibrant, filled with the Spirit and ministering to their surrounding community. They had a great reputation and had probably been known for exciting worship services, great doctrine and unity among their people. The problem was that the church “was not really what it reputed to be.” (Henry) They had a great reputation and people respected their name but they were no longer living up to that reputation. There was no power — nothing was happening and little by little people were drifting away from their true faith. They thought they knew how to look good on the outside but the church was dying.
Their practice of faith had become extremely shallow. Jesus came to make us his holy people. The white robes represent the holiness of Christ which clothes his genuine followers. Many of the people in the church were no longer clothed with the holiness of Christ but were wearing their own garb. Somehow they probably thought it was a bit more colorful but we are reminded in Hebrews 12:14 “Pursue peace with everyone, and the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.“ Without the white garments of holiness our names will be blotted from the book of life. An imitation of godliness — where we just show up occasionally for a worship service — will never cut it. Listen to what the Spirit is saying!
When we moved to Moscow in the 1990’s my entire wardrobe changed and the predominant color became black. You see, it didn’t take me long to figure out that living in a big city with lots of dirt, mud, rain and snow is not conducive to wearing light colored clothing. Instead, it was best to wear black so that all the dirt didn’t show. One day in light colored clothing and it could be ruined! You didn’t dare to wear white!
Recently I saw a You-tube video of a new substance called NeverWet Superhydrophobic Spray. Okay — sounds kind of goofy, but it’s a brand new substance that you can spray on fabric and absolutely nothing will soil it. You can pour chocolate syrup on white tennis shoes and it will simply flow right off. Somehow this gave me an image of what Jesus’ white garments of holiness must be like. You see, they aren’t like our normal clothing that becomes soiled by whatever may be around us, instead I believe that the white of Jesus’ holiness can’t be soiled! Why? Because it’s not about our own personal white garments that we try to make on our own which can be colored and stained by the world, instead these are made from Jesus’ holiness. Remember the woman who had the issue of blood for 12 years? When she touched Jesus she did not make him unclean, but rather his purity reached out to her and healed her.
I’m afraid that we are selling ourselves short, much like the people of Sardis. We have tried to create our own white garments and the result is that they have become sullied and dirty. No longer are we recognizable to the world as God’s children. In the midst stand just a few who have continued to be clothed in Jesus’ holiness. They stand as a reminder of God’s intention for all of humanity. This letter served as a warning; a reminder that it doesn’t matter how good the church looks, if we don’t put on his white garments, we have nothing.
Whose garment are we wearing today? Are we wearing his white?
Lord, may I be clothed in you. Amen.