Let's talk about soap.   This is a very commonplace and useful household
item.   There was a time when housewives made their own soap.   When
manufacturers entered this field on a large scale, competition became very
keen.   Advertising played an important role in seeking new customers.
Soap manufacturers bought up huge segments of time on radio networks for programs that were know as "soap operas."   Each daily feature contained a certain amount of drama mixed with plenty of suspense.plus liberal doses of advertising.  

 The main sales appeal was on "whiteness."   Each brand
claimed that its product produced the whitest wash.   One company invited
comparison and claimed that their brand would result in at least ten
tintomenter shades of greater whiteness as compared with any rival product. So it went on for many years.   Each make claimed the best product, but all their effort was calculated to sell their brand of soap.   The user was the judge of the results and some listeners were convinced to use one kind while others preferred a different brand.

It's possible for churches to emulate the methods used by soap sellers.
Our Lord has told us that He will provide white robes for all His followers.
In Rev. 6:11, it says: "And white robes were given unto everyone of them."
Rev. 7:14, tells us the manner in which the robes are made white:. "These
are they which came out of great tribulation and have washed their robes and made them white in the Blood of the Lamb."   The apostle Paul reveals the kind of church our Lord expects by observing, "That He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish." (Eph. 5:27)  Now, since our
Lord has made it clear that He demands robes of white, perhaps this explains why so many churches boldly assert that their brand of religion comes the nearest to producing this unique garment.   And perhaps we should examine and scrutinize our emphasis to determine whether we are just trying to sell "our" soap, rather than seeking to be robed in white.

Sometimes we act as though we believe that our church turns out the whitest robes.   We admit that they're not perfect, but compared with other groups we definitely are superior.  The "tattle-tale gray" is much more pronounced in other churches.   Compare for yourself.   Try other brands first and then accept a free sample of ours and see the difference.   The superiority of our product is beyond dispute.

This indicates that we must be nearer to the truth than others because our
brand produces a more spiritual quality in adherents.
The Bible has something to say about the fallacy of this reasoning.   We
read, "For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves, but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves are not wise.   But we will not boast of things without measure, but according to the measure of the rule which God has distributed to us, a measure to reach even to you. For we stretch not ourselves beyond measure, as though we reached not unto you: for we are come as far as to you also in preaching the gospel of Christ not boasting of things without our measure."  (2 Co. 10:12-15a)

Churches were not meant to be mere "spiritual Laundromats."   The Bible
quotations cited indicate the danger of making ourselves the standard of
measurement rather than Christ, the official standard.   The temptation to
"stretch" ourselves beyond our measure is always present.   "Boasting of
things without our measure" may only reveal our own shortcomings, when
compared with Christ, our Standard.   Our goal of perfection is described in
these words: "Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the
knowledge of the Son of God, unto the perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ." (Eph. 4:13)   Soap companies proclaimed the special and sometimes mysterious ingredients, which they maintained, made their products superior to other brands.   Is it possible that churches may spend more time on the subject of superior doctrinal differences of their faith, than they do seeking to uplift Christ as Saviour and Lord?

When we stand before the Great White Throne, can we imagine the Almighty asking anyone: "What kind of meat did you eat on Fridays?"   Which day of the week did you worship on?   What kind of dress or adornment did you wear? Were you baptized with triune immersion or just once?   Were you baptized as an infant?   These and many other things that concern us here, will seem strangely out of place and irrelevant before God's Great White Throne.   He won't ask us the kind of "soap" we used, but what garment do we wear.   The label on the soap doesn't clean anything.   There's no cleansing in the directions on the box.   The trouble with many of us seems to stem from the remedy we seek to apply to the description given in Isa. 64:6, which says: "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags."   Confronted with the evidence of filthy rags, has turned the energy of many churches to the task of demonstrating how their brand of "doctrine" makes rags less filthy.   But our assignment is not to clean rags.   It's something much grander and more attractive.   In many respects the gospel is a sensational story entitled, "From rags to riches," or better still, "From rags to robes."   This result is not achieved by pinning our labels on their rags, or putting their rags through our ecclesiastical Laundromat.   The old rags must be discarded and the robes must be "imported," because they're always "fit for a king" and no substitute is permitted in the presence of the King of Kings.

Standards are important.   Down in Ottawa, Canada and in Washington, D.C. you'll find the Bureau of Standards.   There you'll find the statutory yard kept under glass at a certain uniform temperature and well guarded.   You'll also find the standard of weights and measures with the accurate pound and the prescribed gallon or liter.   These weights and measures are the standards which determine all measurements in North America.   Business men, don't advertise.offering the biggest gallon, the longest yard or the heaviest pound.   Competition doesn't extend to selling greater tons.
Anyone who tries to tamper with standard weights and measures is liable upon conviction to severe punishment.  Everything is governed by the standard and valued accordingly in relation to that standard.

The church has a standard too.   It's preserved in our capital in heaven at
the right hand of God.   Yes, Christ Jesus, the Lord is our standard and it's
according to "the measure of the fullness of the stature of Christ," that
all perfection is gauged.   Grace is not measured by the various sizes of
our ecclesiastical cups, with each one claiming to have the largest or best
cup.   Nor is spiritual stature achieved in terms of our "stretchy"
theology.   Christ, and only Christ, is the standard.   Spiritual cleanness
is not attained by washing our rags, but by wearing the new robe.   Since
Christ will judge us before the Great White Throne, would it not be prudent
to let Him be our Judge here, and now?  "Some men's sins are open
beforehand; going before to judgment; and some men they follow after." (1 Tim. 5:24)   Will your sins tattle on you before God?   Your robe.or your rags will tell.



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