This is a story about a little girl. She grew up in a family with a father and a mother. She lived in a little house in a little village. She had a lot of fun with her father and mother, and they did everything together. Then this little girl grew up and went to college, but whenever she got a chance, she would come home because she loved being with daddy and mommy.
Then her mom got really sick and they found out that she was going to die. The mother and the daughter were really sad. Before she died, the mother called her daughter into the room and said, “I’ve got something very special for you.” Her mother had stitched a very special dress for the daughter to wear. It was a special dress made out of a very special material. The mother said, “I want you to wear it and whenever you wear it, you can think of me. It’s made out of a very special material you won’t find anywhere else. There is no soap and no detergent that can clean it if you get stains on it. I made a little bit of a solution. It’s in this little bottle. Wherever the stain is, just use a little bit of the solution and the stain will come right off.” Then a few days later, the mother died and the daughter was very sad.
Whenever the girl was lonely, she would wear that dress. She was super excited to wear that dress because every time she wore that dress, she could smell her mother. She was very careful to keep the dress clean. She was careful when she was eating not to get food on the dress. Whenever the dress got a stain, she would go home and use a little bit of that liquid that her mother gave her and the stain would come off.
Then she got busy with work, and she was doing well at work. She was living in a big city so she had lots of friends and was enjoying life. But over time, she became careless with the dress. Food would spill on the dress, but she would think, “No problem. I got this liquid at home and it’ll come right off.” And she kept doing this for months and years.
Then one day, she came home and found that there was no more liquid in the bottle! She was really sad and thought, “What a fool I have been!”
Over time, more and more stains came on the dress because she continued to be careless, then the stains became too obvious and she stopped wearing the dress. It was so filthy because it had so many stains on it.
Finally, she said, “I’m going to ask my father what to do.” So she went to her father and just broke down and started crying. She told him everything about how she had squandered everything and how she wished she could have her mother again and how she could have a clean dress again.
Then the father said, “I know how long and how hard your mother worked to make that dress. She knew that you were probably going to get careless. She knew that you needed to come to the point where you really valued that dress again. Well, your mother gave me one extra bottle. Your mother said not to give it to you until you are really desperate to keep this dress clean. Then you can give her this second bottle.
Now the daughter had the second bottle and her attitude was completely different. She was extremely careful with the dress. When she went out to eat, she would get two or three napkins to cover the whole dress so that food wouldn’t touch it. Her friends would laugh at her, but it didn’t matter. She was very careful with the dress.
Sometimes she would make a mistake or trip and fall. But she never felt guilty. She would come home and use the liquid and the stains would come right off. Because she was so careful in using that liquid, the bottle never ran out. That was the miracle of that bottle.
This girl lived for 60 years wearing that dress, but the bottle never ran out because she used it carefully. Then she died and went home to be with Jesus and her mother.
So this is a story about a little girl and how she lived her life but it’s also a parable about us and Jesus. Jesus gives us a robe to wear. It is called His righteousness. It’s the most beautiful dress we could ever wear and nobody can ever make it. No amount of good works can make this dress.
When we’re born again, God gives us this dress to wear. At first, like that little girl, we treat it very carefully. But little by little, we can get careless. We can think, “Oh the blood of Jesus can forgive me of all my sins. I don’t have to worry about sinning.” We act as if it doesn’t matter whether we stay in the robe of righteousness that Jesus gives us. Even though we gave our hearts to Jesus some years ago and were serious about following the Lord, now it’s different. We wonder what happened and we long to have that relationship again. God is trying to come get us to come to an end of ourselves. He says, “I’ll give you a fresh life, but I’ll only give it to you when you recognize the value of this dress.”
God wants me to see this dress is so precious. God wants me to see that the blood of Jesus that He shed for me is precious. When I stop seeing it as precious, God says you’re losing your way. God gives us a robe of righteousness that is absolutely clean, but when we don’t treat His blood as precious, it loses its power. But if you treat the blood of Jesus as precious, the blood of Jesus is limitless and infinitely able to clean us.
Full sermon here.
**By Sandeep Poonen © Copyright – Sandeep Poonen. No changes whatsoever are to be made to the content of the article without written permission from the author at NCCF Church / Photo by Jan Lawrence Suzara at Pexels