Tuesday, June 14, 2011

More Clothing Imagery

Second Quarter 2011 Adult Sabbath School Lessons
“More Clothing Imagery”
For the week of June 12 - 18, 2011
This week’s lesson is a look at clothing contrasts revealing infinite spiritual realities.  The Bible abounds in symbolism using ordinary thing to express great spiritual truth. Jesus takes ordinary sinners like us, and transforms us from rebels into Kings and Priests, “Heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ.” (Rom. 8:17)
Biblical concepts proclaimed with pen and voice by Ellen White, Jones, Waggoner, and W. W. Prescott form a foundation for an understanding of clothing imagery.
·        Jesus, the Son of God, took upon His sinless nature our sinful, fallen nature. He lived without sin in this nature, to qualify as our Savior, and to be an example for the believer. (Heb. 1, 2; 4:14-16)
·        Jesus has given “justification of life” (Rom. 5:18) to everyone in the world, giving them the opportunity to choose eternal life. His Spirit pleads with them to accept Him until their death or the close of probation (Rom. 3:24, 25).  God calls us to proclaim this message of reconciliation in Christ to every person in the world (2 Cor. 5:19-21).
·        When Jesus is received personally, in heartfelt gratitude and love, a glorious peace is experienced.  The Holy Spirit begins transforming the individual into the likeness of Jesus.  The believer receives the image of Christ through beholding Him by study and meditation. As we come to know God, the light spreads through sharing our personal testimony (Rom. 3:26; 5:1-10; Eph. 2:6-8; 2 Cor. 3:17, 18).
·        Taking our burden of sin and self-righteousness, He works in us, if we permit. Through Him we may live so as to uplift Jesus and the Father before others; relating to them as He did (Phil. 2:12, 13).  So long as we consent to be in Christ, we have the guarantee of eternal life (Phil. 1:6; 1 John 5:11, 12).
·        God calls each person in the church and the world to an experience of deepening repentance, revival, and reformation.  Then the Holy Spirit will return in latter rain power, working through us to hasten the coming of Jesus (Rom. 2:4; 3:26; Acts 2:1-4).
The love of Christ compels us to live for Him who died for us (2 Cor. 5:14, 15).  Theory alone is insufficient.  “Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father.  Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in your name?’ Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you. Depart from Me you who practice lawlessness’” (Matt. 7:21-23). Faith is an action word.
“Who Touched My Clothes?” Jesus’ union with His father was so close that divinity could not be concealed.  So the woman with the issue of blood “said, if I may but touch His clothes, I shall be made whole” (Mark 5:28). 
Hebrews 1 portrays Jesus as the divine Son of God, one with His Father.  Chapter 2 portrays Him as the Son of Man, with our fallen mortal nature.  He accomplished our salvation through total dependence on His Father.  He said, “I can of myself do nothing” (John 5:30).  So it is with us.
“He laid Aside His Garments.” In laying His garments aside, He revealed the hiding of His power.  The followers of Jesus will claim the Father’s power as Christ did.  He laid aside His divine prerogatives that He might experience what we experience. He lived with our temptations, trials, and rejection, that we might experience His victory and joy (Heb. 12:1, 2).
“Nor Rend His Clothes” “And Moses said to Aaron, and Eleazar and Ithamar his sons, ‘Do not uncover your heads nor tear your clothes, lest you die, and wrath come upon all the people’” (Lev. 10:6; Lev. 21:10).  
As a representative of God’s perfection, the High Priest could not rend His holy garments regardless of the cause.  Self must be denied that God might be all and in all. “For the death that He died, He died to sin (self serving) once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.  Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead unto sin but alive unto God” (Rom. 6:10, 11).
Garments of Mockery Jesus could endure what He did for us because His character was pureagape. “And the (Roman) soldiers twisted a crown of thorns and placed it on His head, and they put on Him a purple robe.  Then they said, ‘Hail, King of the Jews.’  And they struck Him with their hands” (John 19:1-3).  With no spiritual discernment, they saw Him only as a deluded fanatic.  Are we willing to be considered as such for Him?
“They Parted My Garments”  The One who knew no sin was “made sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21).
As he hung on the cross, the His last earthly possessions – the clothes on His back, were stripped from Him and divided among the clueless soldiers.  The seamless garment, symbol of His righteousness, became an object of gambling. Even so, it was evidence of His Lordship  (Ps. 22:18).
The crucifixion which is death to human ambition, is life to every believer (see Signs of the Times, August 9, 1905).
--Lloyd Knecht