First of all just a little recap of last week. We talked about the glory of the Lord filling the tabernacle. This represents the baptism of the Holy Spirit as seen throughout scripture but notably at Pentecost. It means great power, the very presence of God. This baptism empowered the disciples to fulfil the great commission in ways they could not have on their own. Peter the pathetic became Peter the preacher who no longer feared for his life but fearlessly proclaimed the gospel. Not only that but signs and wonders followed just as Jesus said they would. He was clothed with power from on high. Without this power we cannot complete the mission. Without it what we do accomplish is man-made. To many people are working hard for the present but are missing out on what is needed for the eternal. Sadly we have become satisfied with the man made and have adapted to it at the cost of the word of God being fulfilled. Too much scripture has to be set aside to make it work. We have also given up on the immeasurable that God has for us by doing that.
Today we will be talking about being naked and unashamed. This was a safe way to use a picture. Oddly we have a stick family on our van and mine is the only one without clothes. And no we are not talking about the birds and the bees but about being clothed with power. I have always been intrigued with the story of the Emperors New Clothes especially because what I see in the fashion industry reminds me of the lies that were told in this story. Sure wear this you will look fantastic. Sure wear your pants around your ankles and walk like a penguin but make sure you tighten your belt around your thighs so they do not fall down. Someone has come along and deceived many people in the fashion industry just as what happened in this story. "The Emperor's New Clothes" is a short tale by Hans Christian Andersen about two weavers who promise an Emperor a new suit of clothes that is invisible to those unfit for their positions, stupid, or incompetent. The plot is this: A vain Emperor who cares about nothing except wearing and displaying clothes hires two swindlers who promise him the finest, best suit of clothes from a fabric invisible to anyone who is unfit for his position or "hopelessly stupid". The townsfolk play along with the pretence, not wanting to appear unfit for their positions or stupid.
I think I have shared this before but dreaming you are naked in public is frightening. Laurie and I were away one time and I was finished working nights and was tired so I fell asleep and she was watching TV at the end of the bed. I suddenly jumped up and ran to the bathroom and sitting on the toilet I had a pillow covering myself as I thought I was outside. Nakedness is for privacy and the Garden of Eden. We cannot go back to the garden even though people still try. When I talked last week about the Holy Spirit, Jesus said in Luke 24:44 “He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” 45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” That means you are naked without this power. But so many are unashamed of their nakedness and continue to parade it for all the world to see. The modern church is described by all the churches in Revelations but Laodicea describes us best. “15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.
The pretence is still going on. In our nakedness we continue to carry on the charade. Too many people in the church continue to play along with the deception for fear of appearing stupid or incompetent. To make matters worse the leaders usually help this fear out when someone points out the nakedness. One version of the story says during the process the emperor called the old and wise prime minister, who was considered by everyone as a man with common sense. "Go and see how the work is proceeding," the Emperor told him, "and come back to let me know." The prime minister was welcomed by the two scoundrels. "We're almost finished, but we need a lot more gold thread. Here, Excellency! Admire the colours, feel the softness!" The old man bent over the loom and tried to see the fabric that was not there. He felt cold sweat on his forehead. "I can't see anything," he thought. "If I see nothing, that means I'm stupid! Or, worse, incompetent!" If the prime minister admitted that he didn't see anything, he would be discharged from his office. "What a marvellous fabric, he said then. "I'll certainly tell the Emperor." The two scoundrels rubbed their hands gleefully.”
Meanwhile the swindlers at once asked for more money, more silk and gold thread, to get on with the weaving. But it all went into their pockets. Not a thread went into the looms, though they worked at their weaving as hard as ever. "Your Majesty," the prime minister said, "we have a request for you. The people have found out about this extraordinary fabric and they are anxious to see you in your new suit." The Emperor was doubtful showing himself naked to the people, but then he abandoned his fears. After all, no one would know about it except the ignorant and the incompetent. Everyone said, loud enough for the others to hear: "Look at the Emperor's new clothes. They're beautiful!" "What a marvellous train!" "And the colors! The colors of that beautiful fabric! I have never seen anything like it in my life!" They all tried to conceal their disappointment at not being able to see the clothes, and since nobody was willing to admit his own stupidity and incompetence, they all behaved as the two scoundrels had predicted. This is the best part of the story. A child, however, who had no important job and could only see things as his eyes showed them to him, went up to the carriage and said, "The Emperor is naked, he isn't wearing anything at all!" This is the same message to the church of Laodecia. Cover up your nakedness.
Today the church stands naked and continues to parade the charade, unashamed. Many people do see it but will not say anything in an effort not appear stupid and incompetent continuing to sing praises toward the invisible robes. It is obvious that the Holy Spirit is not present in power in the church today, but to admit to it is a whole different story. You mean to tell me I am wrong, I have been worshipping naked unashamed all this time. What I was taught might not be right. Are you telling me I need to repent? No I’m not but Jesus is when he says “19 be earnest and repent. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. 21 To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” I know when you speak in public they tell you to picture people naked. This does not work because you forget what you are speaking on. But picture this you have a service where all of sudden like Adam and Eve their eyes were opened and they suddenly realized they were naked. The leader suddenly runs off the stage as the music stand is not enough to cover them, people panic trying to cover up but the smart ones head to the altar to repent and ask for some new clothes. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.” We were told to wait on Him “until you have been clothed with power from on high”. 8 You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” How will you know? You will know because the church will once again look like scripture. Isaiah 61:10 I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.” Too many Christians are running around naked unashamed not even realizing they are naked nor do they seem to care. But what about those who want those new clothes, to be clothed with power from on high
As we wait upon the Lord we are asking just like Habakkuk 3:1 “Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord. Repeat them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy.” When the church is once again fully clothed it will look like the church Jesus intended us to be. Ephesians 5 “just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” Jesus started the church by saying repent for the kingdom of Heaven is near. He read from the scrolls which was from Isaiah. 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. 20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” The same thing should be happening in the church today. Isaiah 61 goes on to say, “to comfort all who mourn, 3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor. 4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations. 5 Strangers will shepherd your flocks; foreigners will work your fields and vineyards. 6 And you will be called priests of the Lord, you will be named ministers of our God. You will feed on the wealth of nations, and in their riches you will boast. 7 Instead of your shame you will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace you will rejoice in your inheritance. And so you will inherit a double portion in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours.”
If the church started in power it should continue in power. Repenting means to turn around and to turn from our wicked ways. The church should look like Isaiah 61:9 Their descendants will be known among the nations and their offspring among the peoples. All who see them will acknowledge that they are a people the Lord has blessed.” 10 I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
When Jesus said this they forced him out of their town. What will you do? Don’t respond to quickly. To be clothed in power means miracles signs and wonders as scripture tells us. Today it means Armani and Hugo Boss suits and they flaunt them shamelessly but they stand naked on the platform. The Fortune 500 mind-set has replaced the true church. It is taught that prosperity means obedience in the sense that a big building and large amounts of people mean God is blessing his work. This deception has taken North America by storm. Blessings come from obedience. Will there be numbers yes but there must be the fruit as described in scripture. The church to be the church must look the same as scripture. The enemy is the great deceiver. Many think that because of their prosperity they are secure Christian and non Christians alike. Job 21:13 “They spend their years in prosperity and go down to the grave in peace. 14 Yet they say to God, ‘Leave us alone! We have no desire to know your ways. 15 Who is the Almighty, that we should serve him? What would we gain by praying to him?’ 16 But their prosperity is not in their own hands, so I stand aloof from the plans of the wicked. 24:13 “There are those who rebel against the light, who do not know its ways or stay in its paths. 16 they want nothing to do with the light. 21 They prey on the barren and childless woman, and to the widow they show no kindness. 22 But God drags away the mighty by his power; though they become established, they have no assurance of life. 23 He may let them rest in a feeling of security, but his eyes are on their ways. 24 For a little while they are exalted, and then they are gone; they are brought low and gathered up like all others; they are cut off like heads of grain.”
2 Timothy 3:1 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people. 6 They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, 7 always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these teachers oppose the truth. They are men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. 9 But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone.
Job said Job 29:14 “I put on righteousness as my clothing; justice was my robe and my turban.” Does God bless the obedient with prosperity also, The answer is yes and Job is an example of that. We need to know the difference as a worldly blessing last a lifetime the other eternally. God is already making a distinction between those who serve him and those who don’t as we see churches and leaders fall. Satan is successful in this deception when the church settles for less than the gospel. Don’t settle for an imitation of the gospel but search relentlessly the true gospel.
The message of the gospel has been replaced with nakedness. Once again we must return to the King so that we can have new clothes. Job and David were tested to the point of death and then God blessed them in abundance. Don’t strive for the imperishable. Remember Solomon who asked for discernment to lead the people and God gave him that plus wealth. Jesus said 7 “Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labour or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these. 28 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! 29 And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.” Too many people are striving after things they can only make with their hands and not the things God made with his word. He has so much more for us than what this would can give us. Yes satan is just like the two swindlers in the story and masquerading as angel of light. Many are being deceived by the clothes that are being offered them. They think they are wearing the clothes of kings yet they parade their nakedness before all. Yes the deception looks real just as a twenty dollar bill can used to buy things until it is found out and destroyed. We must make sure we are clothed with Christ meaning we must have the anointing of the Holy Spirit upon us. We must wait to be clothed with power.
Galatians 3:26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. By believing in his word we are heirs to the throne and robes will be real.