Sermon 2132. Christ Put On
A SERMON DELIVERED ON LORD'S-DAY MORNING, FEBRUARY 23, 1890,
BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"But put you on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof." Romans 13:14.
Christ must be in us before He can be on us. Divine Grace puts Christ within and enables us to put on Christ without. Christmust be in the heart by faith before He can be in the life by holiness. If you need light from a lantern, the first businessis to light the candle inside it-and then, as a consequence-the light shines through to be seen of men. When Christ is formedin you, the hope of Glory-do not conceal your love to Him but put Him on in your conduct as the Glory of your hope! As youhave Christ within as your Savior, the secret of your inner life, so put on Christ to be the beauty of your daily life. Letthe external be brightened by the internal and this shall be to you that "armor of light" which all the soldiers of the LordJesus are privileged to wear.
As Christ is your Food, nourishing the inner man, so put Him on as your garments covering the outer man. "Put you on the LordJesus Christ." It is a very wonderful expression. It is most condescending on our Lord's part to allow such an exhortation.Paul speaks the mind of the Holy Spirit and the word is full of meaning. Oh, for Divine Grace to learn its teaching! It isfull of very solemn warning to us, for we need a covering thus divinely perfect.
Oh, for Grace to practice the command to put it on! The Apostle does not so much say, "Take up the Lord Jesus Christ and bearHim with you," but, "Put on the Lord Jesus Christ" and thus wear Him as the garment of your life! A man takes up his stafffor a journey or his sword for a battle-but he lays these down again after a while. You are to put on the Lord Jesus as youput on your garments and thus He is to cover you and to become part and parcel of your outward appearance, surrounding yourvery self as a visible part of your manifest personality.
"Put you on the Lord Jesus Christ." This we do when we believe in Him-then we put on the Lord Jesus Christ as our robe ofrighteousness. It is a very beautiful picture of what faith does. Faith finds our manhood naked to its shame- faith sees thatChrist Jesus is the Robe of Righteousness provided for our need. And faith, at the command of the Gospel, appropriates Himand gets the benefit of Him for it. By faith the soul covers her weakness with His strength, her sin with His atonement, herfolly with His wisdom, her failure with His triumphs, her death with His life, her wanderings with His constancy.
By faith, I say, the soul hides itself within Jesus till Jesus, only, is seen and the man is seen in Him. We take not onlyHis righteousness as being imputed to us, but we take Himself to be really ours. And so His righteousness becomes ours asa matter of fact. "By the obedience of One shall many be made righteous." His righteousness is set to our account and becomesours because He is ours. I, though long unrighteous in myself, believe in the testimony of God concerning His Son Jesus Christand I am accounted righteous, even as it is written, "Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness."
The riches of God in Christ Jesus become mine as I take the Lord Jesus Christ to be everything to me. But, you see, the textdoes not distinctly refer to this great matter for the Apostle is not referring to the imputed righteousness of Christ. Thetext stands in connection with precepts concerning matters of everyday practical life and to these it must refer. It is notjustification, but sanctification that we have here. Moreover, we cannot be said to put on the imputed righteousness of Christafter we have believed, for that is upon us as soon as we believe and needs no more putting on!
The command before us is given to those who have the imputed righteousness of Christ-who are justified-who are accepted inChrist Jesus. "Put you on the Lord Jesus Christ" is a word to you that are saved by Christ and justified by His righteousness!You are to put on Christ and keep putting Him on in the sanctifying of your lives unto your God. You are, everyday, to continuallymore and more wear as the garment of your lives the Character of your Lord.
I will handle this subject by answering questions. First, Where are we to go for our daily garment? "Put you on the Lord JesusChrist." Secondly, What is this daily garment? "Put you on the Lord Jesus Christ." Thirdly, How are we to act towards evilwhen we are thus clad? "and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof." And then I will finish with theconsideration of the question, Why should we hasten to put on this matchless garment? For, "The night is far spent, the dayis at hand: let us put on the armor of light."
I. May the Holy Spirit help us while we, in the first place, answer the inquiry, WHERE ARE WE TO GO FOR OUR DAILY GARMENT?Beloved, there is but one answer to all questions as to our necessities. We go to the Lord Jesus Christ for everything! Tous, "Christ is All." "He is made of God unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification and redemption."
When you have come to Christ for pardon and justification you are not to go elsewhere for the next thing. Having begun withJesus you are to go on with Him, even to the end, "for you are complete in Him," perfectly stored in Christ, fully equippedin Him. "It pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell." Every necessity that can ever press upon you betweenthis life in the wilderness and yonder sea of glass before the Throne of God will be found in Christ Jesus!
You ask, "What am I to do for a vesture which will befit the courts of the Lord? For armor that will protect me from the assaultsof the foe? For a robe that will enable me to act as a priest and king unto God?" The one answer to the much-including questionis, "Put you on the Lord Jesus Christ." You have no further need. You need not look elsewhere for a thread or a shoe lace.So, dear Friends, I gather from this that if we seek an example, we may not look elsewhere than to our Lord Jesus Christ.It is not written, "Put you on this man or that," but, "Put you on the Lord Jesus Christ."
The model for a saint is His Savior. We are very apt to select some eminently gracious or useful man to be a pattern for us.A measure of good may result from such a course, but a degree of evil may also come of it. There will always be some faultabout the most excellent of our fellow mortals and as our tendency is to caricature virtues till we make them faults, so isit our greater folly to mistake faults for excellences and copy them with careful exactness and generally with abundant exaggeration!By this plan, with the best intentions, we may reach very sad results.
Follow Jesus in the way and you will not err. Let your feet go down exactly in His footprints and you can not slide. As HisGrace enables us, let us make it true that, "as He was, so are we in this world." You need not look beyond your Lord for anexample under any circumstances. Of Him you may enquire as of an unfailing oracle. You need never enquire what is the generalcustom of those about you-the broad road of the many is no way for you. You may not ask, "What are the rulers of the peopledoing?" You follow not the fashion of the great, but the example of the Greatest of all!
"Put you on the Lord Jesus Christ" will apply to each one of us. If I am a tradesman, I am not to ask myself-On what principlesdo other traders conduct their business? Not so. What the world may do is no rule for me. If I am a student I should not enquire-Howdo others feel towards religion? Let others do as they will, it is for us to serve the Lord! In every relationship in thedomestic circle, in the literary world, in the sphere of friendship, or in business connections, I am to "put on the LordJesus Christ."
If I am perplexed, I am bound to ask-"What would Jesus do?" And His example is to guide me. If I cannot conceive of His actingin a certain way, neither must I allow myself to do so-but if I perceive, from His precepts, His spirit or His actions, thatHe would follow such-and-such a course-to that line I must keep. I am not to put on the philosopher, the politician, the priestor the popularity hunter-I am to put on the Lord Jesus Christ by taking His life to be the model upon which I fashion my ownlife.
From our text I should also gather that we are to go to the Lord Jesus Christ for stimulus. We want not only an example, buta motive-an impulse and constraining power to keep us true to that example. We need to put on zeal as a cloak and to be coveredwith a holy influence which will urge us onward. Let us go to the Lord Jesus for motives. Some fly to Moses and would drivethemselves to duty by the thunders of Sinai. Their design in service is to earn eternal life or prevent the loss of the favorof God. Thus they come under Law and forsake the true way of the Believer which is faith.
Not from dread of punishment or hope of reward do Believers serve the living God-we put on Christ and the love of Christ constrainsus. Here is the spring of true holiness-"Sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under the Law, but under Grace."A stronger force than Law has gripped you-you serve God, not as servants whose sole thought is the wage-but as children, whoseeye is on the Father and His love. Your motive is gratitude to Him by whose
precious blood you are redeemed. He has put on your cause and therefore you would take up His cause. I pray you, go not tothe steep sides of Sinai to find motives for holiness-but hasten to Calvary and there find those sweet herbs of love whichshall be the medicine of your soul. "Put you on the Lord Jesus Christ."
Covered with a consciousness of His love and fired with love to Him in return, you will be strong to be, to do, or to sufferas the Lord God may appoint. Need I say never find a reason for doing right in a desire to win the approbation of your fellowmen? Do not say, "I must do this or that in order to please my company." That is poor life which is sustained by the breathof other men's nostrils! Followers of Jesus will not wear the livery of custom or stand in awe of human censure. Love of commendationand fear of disapprobation are low and beggarly motives-they sway the feeble many- but they ought not to rule the man in Christ.
You must be moved by a far higher consideration-you serve the Lord Christ and must not, therefore, become the lackey of men.His Glory is to be your one aim! And for the joy of this you must treat all else as a light thing. Here we find our spur-"Thelove of Christ constrains us." Beloved, the text means more than this! "Put you on the Lord Jesus Christ," that is, find inJesus your strength. Although you are saved and are quickened by the Holy Spirit so as to be a living child of the livingGod, yet you have no strength for heavenly duty except as you receive it from above. Go to Jesus for power! I charge you,never say, "I shall do the right because I have resolved to do it. I am a man of strong mind. I am determined to resist thisevil and I know I shall not yield. I have made up my mind and there is no fear of my turning aside."
Brother, if you rely upon yourself in that way, you will soon prove to be a broken reed. Failure follows at the heel of self-confidence."Put you on the Lord Jesus Christ." I charge you, do not rely upon what you have acquired in the past. Say not in your heart,"I am a man of experience and therefore I can resist temptation which would crush the younger and greener folk. I have nowspent so many years in persistent well-doing that I may reckon myself out of danger. Is it likely that I should ever be ledastray?" O Sir, it is more than likely! It is a fact already! The moment that a man declares he cannot fall, he has alreadyfallen from sobriety and humility!
Your head is turned, my Brother, or you would not talk of your inward perfection! And when the head turns, the feet are notvery safe. Inward conceit is the mother of open sin. Make Christ your strength and not yourself-nor your acquirements or experiences."Put you on the Lord Jesus Christ" day by day and make not the rags of yesterday to be the raiment of the future. Get freshGrace. Say with David, "All my fresh springs are in You." Get all your power for holiness and usefulness from Jesus and fromHim alone.
"Surely in the Lord have I righteousness and strength." Rely not on resolves, pledges, methods, prayers. Lean on Jesus, only,as the strength of your life. "Put you on the Lord Jesus Christ." This is a wonderful word to me because it indicates thatin the Lord Jesus we have perfection. I shall in a moment or two show you some of the virtues and Graces which are resplendentin the Character of our Lord Jesus Christ. These may be likened to different parts of our armor or garments-the helmet, theshoes, the breast-plate. But the text does not say, "Put on this quality or virtue of the Lord Christ," but, "Put you on theLord Jesus Christ." He Himself-as a whole-is to be our array!
Not this excellence or that, but Himself. He must be to us a sacred overall. I know not by what other means to bring out mymeaning-He is to cover us from head to foot. We do not so much copy His humility, His gentleness, His love, His zeal, Hisprayerfulness as Himself. Endeavor to come into such communion with Jesus Himself that His Character is reproduced in you!Oh to be wrapped about with Jesus-feeling, desiring, acting as He felt, desired and acted! What a raiment for our spiritualnature is our Lord Jesus Christ! What an honorable robe for men to wear! Why, in that case our life would be hid in Christand He would be seen of us in a life quickened by His Spirit, swayed by His motives, sweetened with His sympathy, pursuingHis designs and following in His steps!
When we read, "Put you on the Lord Jesus Christ," it means, Receive the whole Character of Christ and let your whole characterbe conformed to His will. Cover your whole being with the whole of the Lord Jesus Christ! What a wonderful precept! Oh, forGrace to carry it out! May the Lord turn the command into an actual fact. Throughout the rest of our lives may we be moreand more like Jesus that the purpose of God may be fulfilled wherein we are "predestinated to be conformed to the image ofHis Son."
Once more, observe the specialty which is seen in this garment. It is specially adapted to each individual Believer. Pauldoes not say merely to one person, "Put you on the Lord Jesus Christ," but to all of us, "Put you on the Lord Jesus
Christ." Can all the saints put on Christ, whether babes, young men or fathers? You could not all of you wear my coat, I amquite certain-and I am equally certain that I could not wear the garments of many of the young people now present. But hereis a matchless Garment which will be found suitable for every Believer-without expansion or contraction! Whoever puts on theLord Jesus Christ has put on a robe which will be his glory and beauty! In every case the example of Jesus is admirably suitedfor copying.
Suppose a child of God should be a king-what better advice could I give to him, when about to rule a nation, than this-"Puton the Lord Jesus Christ"? Be such a king as Jesus would have been! No, copy His royal Character! Suppose, on the other hand,that the person before us is a poor woman from the workhouse-shall I say the same to her? Yes, and with equal propriety-forJesus was very poor and is a most suitable Example for those who have no home of their own. O Worker, put on Christ and befull of zeal! O Sufferer, put on the Lord Jesus Christ and abound in patience! Yonder friend is going to the Sunday schoolthis afternoon. Well, in order to win those dear children to the Savior, "put on the Lord Jesus Christ," who said, "Sufferthe little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not."
In His sacred raiment you will make a good teacher! Are you a preacher and about to address thousands of persons? How bettercan I advise you than that you put on Christ and preach the Gospel in His own loving, pleading, earnest style? The preacher'sModel should be His Lord. This is our preaching gown, our praying surplice, our pastoral robe- the Character and Spirit ofthe Lord Jesus-and it admirably suits each form of service! No man's example will precisely fit his fellow man, but thereis this strange virtue about the Character of Christ that you may all imitate it and yet be none of you mere imitators.
He is perfectly natural who is perfectly like Christ. There need be no affectation, no painful restraint, no straining. Ina life thus fashioned there will be nothing grotesque or disproportionate, unmanly or romantic. So wonderfully is Jesus theSecond Adam of the new-born race, that each member of that family may bear a likeness to Him and yet exhibit a clear individuality.A man advanced in years and wisdom may put Him on and so may the least instructed and the freshest comer among us! Pleaseremember this-we may not choose examples-but each one is bound to copy the Lord Jesus Christ.
You, dear Friend, have a special personality-you are such a person that there is not another exactly like you and you areplaced in circumstances so peculiar that no one else is tried exactly as you are-to you, then, is this exhortation sent, "Puton the Lord Jesus Christ." It is absolutely certain that for you, with your personal singularity and peculiar circumstances,there can be nothing better than that you array yourself in this more than royal robe. You, too, who live in ordinary circumstancesand are only tried by common temptations-you are to "put on the Lord Jesus Christ"-for He will also be suitable for you.
"Oh," cries one, "but the Lord Jesus never was exactly where I am!" You say this from lack of knowing better, or from lackof thought. He has been tempted in all points like as you are. There are certain relationships which the Lord Jesus couldnot literally occupy, but then He took their spiritual counterpart. For instance, Jesus could not be a husband after the flesh.Does anyone demand how He could be an example for husbands? Hearken! "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also lovedthe Church and gave Himself for it." He is your Model in relationship which, naturally, He never sustained but which, in verydeed He has more than fulfilled. Wherever you may be, you find that the Lord Jesus has occupied the counterpart of your position,or else the position is sinful and ought to be stopped.
In any place, at any hour, under any circumstances, in any matter you may put on the Lord Jesus Christ and never fear thatyour array will be unsuitable. Here you have a summer and winter garment-good in prosperity as well as in adversity. Hereyou have a garment for the private chamber or the public forum, for sickness or for health, for honor or for reproach, forlife or for death. "Put you on the Lord Jesus Christ" and in this raiment of worked gold you may enter into the King's palaceand stand among the spirits ofjust men made perfect!
II. Secondly, trusting to the Holy Spirit, let us enquire WHAT IS THIS DAILY GARMENT? The Lord Jesus Christ
is to be put on. May the Spirit of God help us to do so! We see how the sacred Garment is here described in three words. Thesacred titles of the Son of God are spread out at length-"Put you on the Lord-Jesus-Christ." Put Him on as Lord. Call Himyour Master and Lord and you will do well.
Be His servant in everything! Submit every faculty, every capacity, every talent, every possession to His government. Submitall that you have and are to Him and delight to own His superior right and His royal claim to you. Be Christ's
man-His servant, under bonds to His service forever-finding therein life and liberty. Let the dominion of your Lord coverthe kingdom of your nature. Then put on Jesus. Jesus means a Savior-in every part be covered by Him in that blessed capacity.You, a sinner, hide yourself in Jesus, your Savior who shall save you from your sins. He is your Sanctifier driving out sinand your Preserver keeping sin from returning.
Jesus is your Armor against sin. You overcome through His blood. In Him you are defended against every weapon of the enemy.He is your Shield, keeping you from all evil. He covers you all over like a complete suit of armor so that when arrows oftemptation fly like a fiery shower, they may be quenched upon heavenly mail and you may stand unharmed amid a shower of deaths.Put on Jesus, and then put on Christ. You know that Christ signifies "anointed." Now, our Lord is anointed as Prophet, Priestand King, and as such we put Him on.
What a splendid thing it is to put on Christ as the anointed Prophet and to accept His teaching as our creed! I believe it.Why? Because He said it. This is argument enough for me. Mine not to argue, or doubt, or criticize-the Christ has said itand I, putting Him on, find in His authority the end of all strife. What Christ declares, I believe-discussion ends whereChrist begins. Put Him on, also, as your Priest. Notwithstanding your sin, your unworthiness, your defilement, go to the altarof the Lord by Him who, as Priest, has taken away your sin, clothed you with His merit and made you acceptable to God! Inour great High Priest we enter within the veil. We are in Him. By faith we realize this and so put Him on as our Priest andlose ourselves in His accepted Sacrifice.
Our Lord Jesus is also anointed to be King. Oh, put Him on in all His imperial majesty by yielding your every wish and thoughtto His sway! Set Him on the throne of your heart. As you have submitted your thoughts and understanding to His prophetic instructions,submit your action and your practical life to His kingly government. As you put on His priesthood and find Atonement in Him,so put on His royalty and find holiness in Him.
I now wish to show the description given in Colossians 3-from the 12th verse. I will take you to the wardrobe for a minute and ask you to look over the articles of our outfit. Seehere, "Put on therefore"-you see everything is to be put on-nothing is to be left on the pegs for the moths to eat, nor inthe window to be idly stared at. You put on the whole armor of God. In true religion everything is designed for practicaluse. We keep no garments in the drawer-we have to put on all that is provided. "Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holyand beloved, tender mercies, kindness." Here are two choice things-mercy and kindness-silken robes, indeed!
Have you put them on? I am to be as merciful, as tender-hearted, as kind, as sympathetic, as loving to my fellow men as ChristHimself was. Have I reached this point? Have I ever aimed at it? Who among us has put on these royal robes? See what follows-thesechoice things come in pairs-"humbleness of mind, meekness." These choice garments are not so much esteemed as they shouldbe. The cloth of one called, "Proud-of-Heart," is very fashionable and the trimmings of Mr. Masterful are much in request.It is a melancholy thing to see what great men some Christians are. Truly the footman is bigger than his master!
How some who would be thought saints can bluster and bully! Is this to put on the Lord Jesus Christ? Point me to a word ofour Lord's in which He scolded and tyrannized and overrode any man! He was meek and lowly, even He, the Lord of All-what oughtwe to be who are not worthy to loose the laces of His shoes? Permit me to say to any dear Brother or Sister who has not avery tender nature-who is naturally hard and rasping, "Put on the Lord Jesus Christ," my Brother, my Sister-and make not provisionfor that unfeeling nature of yours! Endeavor to be lowly in mind that you may be gentle in spirit.
See, next, we are to put on longsuffering and forbearance. Some men have no patience with others-how can they expect God tohave patience with them? If everything is not done to their mind they are in a fine fury. Dear me! Whom have we here? Is thisa servant of Mars, or of the Fire God? Surely this fighting man does not profess to be a worshipper of Christ! Do not tellme that the man lost his temper. It would be a mercy if he had lost it, so as never to find it again! He is selfish, petulant,exacting and easily provoked! Has this man the Spirit of Christ? If he is a Christian, he is a naked Christian and I wouldurge Him to "put on the Lord Jesus Christ," that he may be fully clothed.
Our Lord was full of forbearance. "Consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest you becomewearied and faint in your minds." Put on the Lord Jesus Christ and bear and forbear. Put up with a great deal that reallyought not to be inflicted upon you-and be ready to bear still more rather than give or take offense.
"Forgiving one another, if any man has a quarrel against any, even as Christ forgave you, so also do you." Is not this heavenlyteaching? Put it in practice! Put you on your Lord!
Have you fallen to loggerheads with one another, and did I hear one of you growling, "I'll, I'll, I'll--"? Stop, Brother!What will you do? If you are true to the Lord Jesus Christ you will not avenge yourself but give place unto wrath. Put theLord Jesus on your tongue and you will not talk so bitterly! Put Him on your heart and you will not feel so fiercely! PutHim on your whole character and you will readily forgive-not only this once, but unto 70 times seven! If you have been unjustlytreated by one who should have been your friend, lay aside wrath and begin again-and perhaps your Brother will begin again,also, and both of you, by love, will overcome evil. "Put you on the Lord Jesus
"And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfection." Love is the belt which binds up the other garmentsand keeps all the other Graces well braced and in their right places. Put on love-what a golden belt! Are we all putting onlove? We have been baptized into Christ and we profess to have put on Christ-but do we daily try to put on love? Our Baptismwas not true if we are not buried to all old enmities. We may have a great many faults but God grant that we may be full oflove to Jesus, to His people and to all mankind!
How much I wish that we could all put on, and keep on, the next article of this wardrobe! "And let the peace of God rule inyour hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful." Oh, for a peaceful mind! Oh, to rest in the Lord!I recommend that last little word, "Be thankful," to farmers and others whose interests are depressed. I might equally recommendit to certain trades people whose trade is quite as good as they could expect. "Things are a little better," said one to me-andat that time he was heaping up riches. When things are extremely well, people say they are "middling," or a "little better."But when there is a slight falling off they cry out about, "nothing doing, stagnation, universal ruin."
Thankfulness is a rare virtue-but let the lover of the Lord Jesus abound in it. The possession of your mind in peace, keepingyourself quiet, calm, self-possessed, content-this is a blessed state. And in such a state Jesus was-therefore, "put you onthe Lord Jesus Christ." He was never in a fret or fume. He was never hurried or worried. He never repined or coveted. HadHe nothing to worry Him? More than you have, Brothers and Sisters. And did He not have many things to distress Him? More thanall of us put together! Yet He was not ruffled but showed a prince-like calm, a Divine serenity. This our Lord would haveus wear.
His peace He leaves with us and His joy He would have fulfilled in us. He wishes us to go through life with the peace of Godkeeping our hearts and minds from the assaults of the enemy. He would have us quiet and strong-strong because quiet-quietbecause strong. I have read of a great man, that he took two hours and a half to dress himself every morning. In this he showedlittleness rather than greatness-but if any of you put on the Lord Jesus Christ you may take what time you will in dressingyourself. It will take you all your lives, my Brothers and Sisters, to fully put on the Lord Jesus Christ and to keep Himon!
Let me say again that you are not only to put on all these garments which I have shown you in the wardrobe of the Colossians,but, more than this-you are to put on all else that makes up Christ Himself. What a wardrobe is this! "Put on Christ," saysthe text. Put on the Lord Jesus Christ for daily wear. Not for high days and holy days only, but for all time and every time!Put on the Lord Jesus Christ on the Lord's-Day but do not lay Him aside during the week. Ladies have ornaments which theyput on occasionally for display on grand occasions. As a rule, these jewels are hidden away in a jewel case. Christians, youmust wear your jewels always! Put on the Lord Jesus Christ and have no case in which to conceal any part of Him. Put on Christto keep Him on!
I saw a missionary from the cold north the other day and he was wearing a coat of moose skin which he had worn among the RedIndians. "It is a capital coat," he said. "There's nothing like leather. I have worn it for 11 years." In the arctic regionthrough which he had traveled he had worn this garment both night and by day-for the climate was much too cold to allow thetaking off of anything. Brethren, the world is far too cold to allow our taking off Christ even for an hour! So many arrowsare flying about that we dare not remove a single piece of our armor even for an instant. Thank God we have in our Lord aGarment which we may always wear. We can live in it and die in it-we can work in it, rest in it and, like the raiment of Israelin the wilderness-it will never wax old.
If you have put on something of Christ, put on more of Christ. I dare not say much in commendation of apparel here in England,for the tendency is to exceed in that direction. But I noticed, the other day, the remark of a missionary in the South SeaIslands. He stated that as the heathen people became converted they began to clothe themselves. And as they acquired tendernessof conscience and delicacy of feeling, they gave more attention to their clothes-wearing more and of a bettor sort.
However that may be as to dress for the body, it is certainly so as to the arraying of the soul. As we make spiritual progresswe have more Graces and more virtues than in the beginning. Once we were content to wear only faith, but now we put on hopeand love. Once if we wore humbleness, we failed to wear thankfulness-but our text exhorts us to wear a full dress, a courtsuit-for we are to "put on the Lord Jesus Christ." You cannot wear too much of Him! Be covered from head to foot with Him.Put on the Lord in every time of trial. Do not take Him off when it comes to the test. Quaint Henry Smith says that some peoplewear the Lord Jesus as a man wears his hat which he takes off to everybody he meets.
I am afraid I know persons of that kind-they wear Christ in private, but they take Him off in company-especially in the companyof the worldly, the sarcastic and the unbelieving. Put on Christ, intending never to take Him off again. When tempted, tried,ridiculed, hear in your ears this voice, "Put you on the Lord Jesus Christ."
III. My time fails me, and I must hurriedly notice, in the third place, HOW ARE WE TO ACT TOWARDS EVIL IN THESE GARMENTS?The text says, "Put you on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof." Bythe flesh is here meant the evil part of us which is so greatly aided by the appetites and desires of the body. When a manputs on Christ, has he still the flesh about him? Alas, it is so! I hear some brethren say that they have no remaining corruptions.
I claim liberty to believe as much as I like of a man's statements as to his own personal character. When he bears witnessconcerning himself, his witness may or may not be true. When a man tells me that he is perfect, I hear what he has to saybut I quietly think within myself that if he had been so, he would not have felt the necessity of spreading the information.Good wine needs no compliment and when our town once holds a perfect man within its boundary there will be no need to advertisehim! Goods that are puffed probably need puffery.
Brethren, I fear we have all very much of the flesh about us and therefore we need be on our guard against it. What does theApostle say? "Make no provision for the flesh." By this he means several things. First, give no tolerance to it. Do not say,"Christ has sanctified me so far, but you see I have a bad temper naturally and you cannot expect it to be removed." DearBrother, do not make provision for thus sheltering and sparing one of your soul's enemies! Another cries, "You know I alwayswas a good deal desponding and therefore I can never have much joy in the Lord." Don't make room for your unbelief! If youfind a kennel for this dog, it will always lie in it!
"But," says another, "I was always rather fond of gaiety and so I must mix up with the world." Well if you cook a dinner forSatan, he will surely take a seat at your table! This is to make provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts of it. Do notdo so, but slay the Canaanites-break their idols, throw down their altars-and cut down their groves. Moreover, give sin notime. Allow no furlough to your obedience. Do not say to yourself, "At all other times I am exact, but one time in a year,at a family meeting, I take a little liberty." Is it liberty to you to sin? I am afraid there is something rotten in yourheart.
"Ah!" cries one, "I only allow myself an hour or two occasionally with questionable company. I know it does me harm but wemust all have a little relaxation and the talk is very amusing, though rather loose." Is evil a relaxation to you? It oughtto be worse than slavery! What a trial is foolish talking to a child of God! How can you find pleasure in it? Give no licenseto the flesh! You cannot tell how far it will go. Keep it always under subjection and make no space for its indulgence. Provideno food for it. Carve it no rations. Starve it out-at any rate, if it needs fodder-let it look elsewhere.
When you are allotting your provision to the body, the soul, the spirit-allot nothing to the depraved passions. If the fleshsays, "What is for me?" say, "Nothing." Some people like a little bit of reading for the flesh. As some people like a littlebit of what they call "rather high" meat, so do these folk enjoy a portion of tainted doctrine or questionable morality. Thusthey make provision for the flesh and the flesh takes care to feed on it and to give its lusts a meal. I have known professorswhom I would not dare to judge, dabble just a little in matters which they would forbid to others but they think them allowableto themselves if done in secret.
"You must not be too exact," they say. But the Apostle says, "Make not provision for the flesh." Do not give it a morsel-donot even allow it the crumbs that fall from your table. The flesh is greedy and never has enough-and if you give it some provisionit will steal much more. "Put you on the Lord Jesus Christ," and then you will leave no place for the lusts of the flesh.That which Christ does not cover is naked unto sin. If Christ is my Livery and I wear Him and so am known to be His avowedservant-then I place myself entirely in His hands always and forever-and the flesh has no claim whatever upon me!
If, before I put on Christ, I might make some reserve and duty did not call, yet now that the Lord Jesus Christ is upon me,I have done with reserves and am openly and confessedly my Lord's. "Know you not," says the Apostle, "that as many of youas were baptized into Christ have put on Christ?" Being buried with Him we are dead to the world and live only unto Him. TheLord bring us up to this mark by His mighty Spirit and He shall have the glory of it.
IV. If this is the case and we have, indeed, "put on the Lord Jesus Christ," we will thank God evermore. But if it is notso, let us not delay to be arrayed in these garments. WHY SHOULD WE HASTEN TO PUT ON CHRIST? A moment is all that remains.It is dark. Here is armor made of solid light-let us put on this attire at once-then the night will be light about us andothers beholding us will glorify God and ask for the same raiment. With so dense a night round about us a man needs to bedressed in luminous robes. He needs to wear the light of God. He needs to be practically protected from the darkness aroundhim.
"Put on the Lord Jesus Christ," moreover, for the night will soon be over and the morning will soon dawn. The rags of sin-thesordid robes of worldliness-are not fit attire for the heavenly morning. Let us dress for the sunrise. Let us go forth tomeet the dawn with garments of light about us. "Put on the Lord Jesus Christ," for He is coming, the Beloved of our souls!Over the hills we hear the trumpet sounding! The heralds are crying aloud, "The Bridegroom comes! The Bridegroom comes!" ThoughHe has seemed to tarry, He has been always coming post haste. Today we hear His chariot wheels in the distance. Nearer andnearer is His advent.
Let us not sleep as others do. Blessed are they who will be ready for the wedding when the Bridegroom comes! What is thatwedding dress that shall make us ready? Nothing can make us more fit to meet Christ and to be with Him in His glory than forus to put on Christ today! If I wear Christ as my garment I do great honor to Christ as my Bridegroom. If I take Him for myglory and my beauty while I am here, I may be sure that He will be all that and more to me in eternity! If I take pleasurein Jesus here, Jesus will take pleasure in me when He shall meet me in the air and take me up to dwell with Him forever.
Put on the wedding dress, you beloved of the Lord! Put on the wedding dress, you brides of the Lamb and put it on at once,for behold He comes! Haste, haste, you slumbering virgins! Arise and trim your lamps! Put on your robes and be ready to beholdHis Glory and to take part in it! O you virgin souls, go forth to meet Him! With joy and gladness go forth, wearing Himselfas your gorgeous apparel, fit for the daughters of a king!
The Lord bless you, for Christ's sake! Amen.
PORTIONS OF SCRIPTURE READ BEFORE SERMON- Romans 12; 13:8-14.