We knew this midweek service was going to be a powerful and insightful one when the Ladies Wing President began by saying “We are going to do just three things. We are going to take off some clothes, we are going to put on some clothes and we are going to complete them.” Ministering on the theme for the 2017 GLC Week: Completing the outfit, her main scripture reference was from Colossians 3:12-14 with verse 14 being the main focus of the message. Just as she initially said, the message was in three sections; Taking off some clothes, putting on new clothes and completing those clothes.
Taking off Grave Clothes
Referring to Ephesians 5:8 she pointed out the fact that we were once darkness due to Adam’s sin and Christ bore our sins on the cross when he died for us and brought us light and salvation. Therefore, it was our sins that made us darkness and these sins were a set of filthy clothes we didn’t have to wear anymore through Christ’s Death.
When Christ was on the cross within the sixth and ninth hour there was darkness (Luke 23:44) because Christ Jesus who is the light of the world (John 8:12) was bearing our darkness so we would not have to be clothed in them any longer. This explains why there was total darkness till after the ninth hour when Christ cried out in a loud voice and died, to signify he had borne our darkness and taken away this cloth of darkness from us.
When Christ died, he was wrapped in linen to signify death, because he bore our sins and had to die because of its penalty so we would not bear them any longer. Thus he put on “grave clothes” so we could put on “grace clothes.” Since Christ’s death did all this we are supposed to live our lives, putting off sin and its practices because that is the garment of our old self. (Colossians 3:8-9)
In admonishing the church on the significance of taking off these grave cloths, the preacher referred to the story of Lazarus (John 11:43-44) whom Jesus rose from the dead. After coming out from the tomb, though alive he still had linen cloths of the dead. And therefore, to prove he was alive and part of the living now, Jesus asked the people to take off the linen cloths. Thus, as Christians and in our daily walk we are not to walk in these sinful grave clothes any longer. (Romans 6:1-2)
In Christ’s resurrection he left the linen cloths in the tomb and didn’t walk around in them. In this way we must also walk, taking off our grave clothes of sin and darkness and walking in new clothes.
Putting on Grace Clothes
In taking off our grave clothes of sin we would have been left naked in shame, but God provided us with new clothes to put on. Clothes which God himself chose for us to dress in. We see what these clothes are in Colossians 3:12,13. Clothes of compassion towards our neighbours (Like the good Samaritan) by identifying and meeting the needs of others. Clothes of kindness, clothes of being ready to listen and respond with compassion to others. Clothes of humility, which is not low self-esteem but being selfless in the knowledge of your position and confidence in God (Philippians 2:6-7). Clothes of meekness, that is strength and power under control and not weakness. Clothes of long suffering by not acting on impulse. Clothes of bearing with one another and forgiveness, as Christ forgave us.
Completing the outfit.
In putting on all these clothes we must bind them all together and complete them with love. Love is the basic all-purpose garment which encompasses all the virtues of the clothes we are to put on (1 Corinthians 13:4-7). Love is a demonstration of giving without expecting anything in return. Just as God gave himself not expecting anything in return because he knew He would never sin for any of us to die for Him. Love caused Christ to show compassion, meekness and humility on the cross. So in taking off grave clothes and putting in grace clothes we must complete it with love.
To wrap up, let us not forget that love is not by words but action. Our outfit will only be complete when we do all these out of love. Love encompasses all!
May God bless His word!!!