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THE BEST-DRESSED PERSON IN TOWN
Intro: Ill. The Context. Joshua the High Priest stands as a representative of the priesthood and the people of Israel. They are wayward and dirty in the sight of the Lord. However, God is about to cleanse them and make a vessel of honor out of these wayward people. When Joshua first appears in this chapter he is dressed in filthy garments. God promises to change his raiment and dress him in robes of glory.
This passage speaks about the change the Lord makes in every life that comes to Him by faith. Today, I want to zero in on the last phrase in verse 4. God says, “I will clothe thee with change of raiment.”
There is an old saying that goes, “The clothes make the man.” The idea here is that your garments say a lot about you. Our world places a lot of emphasis on external appearances. In fact, every year, certain groups gather to discuss who the best-dressed man and woman are. Last year, actress Catherine Zeta-Jones was named best-dressed woman and news anchor Matt Lauer was named best-dressed man. The Senate has decided that Hillary Rodham Clinton is the best-dressed member of their number. While the world may concern itself with what a man wears on the outside, God is far more concerned with what a person wears on the inside, 1 Sam. 16:7.
Spiritually speaking, every person is wearing one of three types of garments today. I want to discuss those types of garments. As I do, I want you to examine yourself and see which type you are wearing. If you see that you are dressed in less than heaven’s best, then today is the day when you can come to the Lord for a change of raiment. This morning, I would like to preach for a while on the subject: The Best-Dressed Person In Town. Let’s look into the Word of God together this morning and discover these types of spiritual garments.
I. v. 3 THE STAINED RAIMENT OF SIN
A. This verse tells us that Joshua the High Priest stood before the Lord in “filthy”
garments. He was dressed in dirty, filthy rags. He is a picture of every person who is lost in sin. The Bible tells us that our own goodness, or the clothing of our soul if you will, is nothing more than the filthiest of rags, Isa. 64:6. In fact, the rags described in this verse are of such a filthy nature that their intended use should not be discussed in a congregation such as this. Suffice it to say, it is the most filthy garments and rags that can be imagined!
B. This is a hard truth to hear, but in our natural state, mankind is filthy in the sight of God.
When he looks at the lost sinner, God sees one who is unfit, or unable to stand in the presence of the Lord. He looks at a person who is defiled, unclean and totally unable to approach the Lord, Isa. 59:2.
C. My friends, this is the stark reality of sin and what it does to the sinner. It renders us
unfit to approach the Lord. It defiles us and makes us thoroughly unclean in His sight. Sadly, every person born into this world is in this condition. As I have shared with you many times, we are all sinners, Rom. 3:10, 23; Gal. 3:22. There is not a person born into this world that is free from the stain and blight of sin, Rom. 5:12. Even the smallest baby is touched by the awful stain of sin, Psa. 58:3.
D. Before I leave this subject behind, I want to show you from the Word of God just what sin does to its victims.
· Renders the sinner spiritually dead – Eph. 2:1; Pro. 21:16
· Separates from God – Isa. 59:2
· Prevents prayer and worship – Psalm 66:18
· Destines the sinner to a life of misery – Pro. 13:15; Isa. 59:8
· Dooms the sinner to an eternity in Hell – Psa. 9:17; 2 Thes. 1:8-9; Luke 16:19-31; Rev. 14:11.
· Will cause the sinner to hear the most awful words that will ever fall upon the ears of any man, Matt. 7:23.
· Ultimately sin will take the sinner to the Lake of Fire – Rev. 20:10-15; Pro. 16:25.
E. My friend, if you have never received Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, this is your
life I am talking about today! If you have never been saved and are dressed in the garments of sin, please come to Him and be saved today! Do not wait until a better time! Do not even wait until the invitation. Get to Jesus while there is time! Come to Jesus while you can, Isa. 55:6. Get to Jesus while He is calling, John 6:44; Gen. 6:3; 2 Cor. 6:2! Flee the wrath to come sinner! Flee to Jesus while the door is open!
II. v. 4a THE STRANGE RAIMENT OF SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS
new garments to be placed upon him. What we see here is a work of the Lord in this man’s life. It is a blessing when the Lord removes our filthy, sin-stained rags and gives us a new suit of clothes. However, it is another thing altogether when we try to do it ourselves.
B. Our world is filled with billions of people who have tried to take care of their filthy
garments themselves. They have sought to trade their dirty, filthy garments for ones of their own design. This is a problem that is as old as man. In the Garden of Eden when man brought sin into the world, Adam and Eve sought to cover their nakedness by garments of their own making. They made themselves garments out of fig leaves. Without a doubt they looked good enough in their own eyes, but in the eyes of the Lord, they were as naked as they could be.
C. I am convinced that most people know they should live cleaner lives than they do. I am
just as convinced that most men have an inward desire to be in a relationship with God. They believe in Him and know that some day they will face Him in judgment. They have a void in their hearts and they want it to be filled. As a result of that desire many people turn to religion. That is, they will start going to church. Others seek the self-improvement method. They will turn over a new leaf. You know, they will stop drinking and cussing and running around. They will give up all that stuff that sinners do. In other words, they will construct themselves some garments of fig leaves. Sadly, this will never work! Regardless of what a man does to the outside, he can never change the inside! When the Lord looks at us He sees as we really are. Not as think we are. Not as others think we are. He sees the truth about us, Heb. 4:13.
D. Since this is true, the self-righteous person, the religious person, the person who lives a
good life and the person who cleans up his life will never please God and they are all headed to the same Hell as the rank sinner! Friends, there is no difference between the atheist and the most religious person in the world, if that religious person has never trusted Jesus! There is no difference between the worst serial killer the world has ever seen and the best church member we have ever seen, if that church member is not saved. Do you understand that religion will never save you? Do you understand that your church membership will never save you? Do you understand that your good works will never save you?
is that all of these merely treat the symptoms and not the problem! The problem is not what a man does! The problem is what a man is! Man is a sinner, and no amount of cleaning up the outside will fix the problem in the sinner’s heart. In fact, Jesus indicated that there were problems that came along with a man trying to clean up his own life, Matt. 12:43-45. There is no way the flesh can sustain clean living. Even if it could, it could never erase the stain of sin. There is only one remedy and that is salvation through the blood of Jesus Christ, Titus 3:5; Acts 16:31; Rom. 10:9; John 3:16; John 14:6. The change will never be produced from within, but it must be produced from above, John 3:3, 7; Eph. 2:8-9. However, those who come to God His way find the cleansing their souls so desperately need, Isa. 1:18.
trying. You will never do it. Jesus Christ has already pleased God for you, 1 John 2:2; Isa. 53:11. If you will trust Him for your soul’s salvation, He will make you pleasing in the sight of the Lord. It isn’t being good that gets a person into Heaven. It is being saved! Are you religious, or have you been redeemed?
III. v. 4b-5 THE STUNNING RAIMENT OF SALVATION
Conc: The best-dressed person in town today isn’t wearing an Armani suit or a Donna Karan dress. The best-dressed person is that one who is saved by the grace of God and is dressed in the righteousness of Christ. Jesus shared a parable in Matthew 22:1-14 that warrants our attention this morning. This parable speaks to the notion that a person must be properly attired to enter the presence of the Lord and to be accepted by Him. I wonder, when the Heaven’s list of the best-dressed people is updated, will your name be on that list? Friend, what kind of garments is your soul clothed in today? If you cannot honestly say that you are saved by grace, washed in the blood of Jesus and headed to Heaven, you need to come to the Lord this morning and be saved. Will you do that today?