SPRING CLEANING 4-7-19
April 7, 2019
Whenever someone comes over to our house and comments about the Victorian décor and how nice everything looks, Ed always comments, “Just don’t look in her closet!”. Admittedly, my closet accumulates everything that I don’t have a proper place for, but can’t bring myself to get rid of. There aren’t enough hangers or shelves to neatly store all my extra stuff, so it gets a bit messy in there. Alright, more than just a bit…
As Christians, our lives are often like this. We maintain a good outward appearance, but don’t open the closet door! You never know what might tumble out. Hidden sins, repressed anger, lies… But while we might be able to keep others from seeing what we keep behind the door, remember the Bible says, “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” (Hebrews 4:13). “He will bring our darkest secrets to light and will reveal our private motives.” (1 Corinthians 4:5).
The Pharisees in our third Scripture reading (Matthew 23:25-26) by all outward appearances were extremely righteous. They made sure to keep every last detail of the law while they were in public. And they were quick to point a finger at everyone who was not as ‘perfect’ as they pretended to be. But Jesus compared them to a cup that was clean on the outside but dirty on the inside. And who wants to drink from a cup that is full of filth?
Like that cup, none of us can truly be clean unless we clean the inside first. And by the inside, I mean our spirits. Our spirits must be cleansed by the blood of Christ. We are incapable of getting rid of the stain of sin on our own. No matter how hard we try, no matter how many good works we do, how much money we give, or how many church services we attend, we cannot cleanse our hearts of evil no matter how deep in the cup or far back in the closet we try to hide it. Until we give our lives to Jesus, repenting of our sins, and putting our faith in his atoning death on the cross we cannot be truly clean.
But even after we are washed by the blood of the Lamb, sin has a way of creeping back into our lives. We have been justified, and made heirs of salvation through Christ, but we are still living in bodies of flesh and our spirits are still in the process of being sanctified, made holy through the power of the Holy Spirit.
And so, we still need Spring cleaning. Jesus compared it to washing our feet in our first Scripture reading (John 13:1-11). He told Peter that “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean.” (vs. 10). “Those who have had a bath” are those who have been made clean through faith in Christ. Their “whole body is clean”, but they still get their feet dirty. Some might just have a little sand between their toes, and others might look like they just went mudding. But either way, we need to periodically wash our feet of the inevitable soil that accumulates from walking in this world.
In our second Scripture (Ephesians 4:22-32) the apostle Paul told us to put off our old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires and to be made new in the attitude of our minds; and to put on the new self. No one takes a bath and then puts his dirty clothes back on (at least I hope not!), so why would we think that once Christ makes us clean, it is OK to jump right back into our old sins and wear them proudly? A lot of Christians are quick to quote what Jesus said to the Pharisees who were about to stone the woman caught in adultery: “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” (John 8:7). And it is true, we are not to be the judge of each other. That is God’s job. But they too often forget the last words he said to the adulterous woman after her accusers left, and after He himself forgave her. He said, “Go and sin no more” (John 8:11).
So what is still lurking in the back of your closet? What are you still not admitting to God, hiding from the world, and maybe even denying yourself? It is time to turn on the closet light and do some purging. Look into the dark corners of your minds and hearts and remove the junk, the clutter, the broken and stained: those secret – and not so secret - sins, the earthly desires that hinder your Christian walk, the disturbing memories of the past that hold you back, the depression that threatens your joy, the anxiety that imprisons you. Christ died to free you from all of them. Why are you holding on to them? Amen.
"Washed Clean" (Zach Williams) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X9HGYXvFZZ0
"Flawless" (MercyMe) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjLlLPZderk
Pastor Karen had three glasses that were labeled "Us", "Sin", and "Jesus". "Us" started out as pure water, but when mixed with "Sin" (which was red), "Us" became stained and no longer pure. But when "Jesus" was poured into "Us", the water of "Us" became pure again!