Modest Dress

 

I.         Some people seem to be resistant to the idea that God is concerned with matters in this physical life.

            A.        They hold a nebulous idea that God only deals with spiritual matters — ideas such as love, joy, and righteousness.

            B.        But they refuse to see that spiritual ideas spill over into the physical realm. The things we do in this life directly reflect our spiritual conduct.

            C.        For example, the Scriptures plainly teach that a man is wear his hair short and a woman is to wear her hair long - I Cor 11:14-15

                        1.         Why should it matter how long or short my hair is?

                        2.         Because it reflects my attitudes towards submission.

            D.        Similarly, some object to idea of modest apparel, even though the Scriptures plainly teach that we are to dress modestly. - I Tim 2:9-10

                        1.         In an interesting twist, one man, whom I’m ashamed to hear is a preacher in the church, claims that since the adornment of a godly woman is suppose to be good works, this means that God is not talking about outward appearances, but the inward heart.

                        2.         Perhaps I’m too simple-minded, but verse 9 is clearly talking about outward items.

                                    a.         The dress is to be modest, discrete, and proper

                                    b.         Items such as elaborate hair styles, expensive jewelry, and expensive clothing will not match these definitions.

                        3.         Why? Just like hair lengths, the outward appearance of a Christian reflects an inward attitude.

                                    a.         Women who spend their time and money on elaborate hair styles, expensive jewelry, and expensive clothing are showing something about themselves that Christians should avoid.

                                    b.         What is it?

II.        What is the purpose of clothing?

            A.        People use clothing for warmth, to make a fashion statement, but to understand the practical purpose of clothing we need to see where it originated.

            B.        Man did not always wear clothing - Gen 2:25

                        1.         The lack of clothing showed the innocence of man.

                        2.         Just as a small child can run around after a bath buck-naked without a concern about his appearance, so was man at one point.

                        3.         However, things changed after the fall. Man’s eyes were open to good and evil. With that knowledge came the loss of innocence — man was aware of his nakedness - Gen 3:7

                        4.         Adam and Eve made themselves garments to cover their nakedness.

                                    a.         The description is of a belt of fig leaves.

                                    b.         However, their attempt at covering was inadequate, for even with the covering, they hid from God because they were naked - Gen 3:10

                        5.         After punishing Adam and Eve, God made garments of animal skins to clothe them - Gen 3:21

                                    a.         The description is of a tunic, a shirt that reached from shoulders to knees.

                                    b.         The purpose for the skins is clearly stated. It was to cover (clothe) the man and the woman. It fixed the problem of their being naked with their belts of fig leaves.

                        6.         We still require clothing.

                                    a.         We may not have eaten of the tree, but we still learn of good and evil. Not by eating, but by living in a world full of sin. Hence, Rom 5:12.

                                    b.         We start out as children innocent, but some point we become aware of sin - Deut 1:39

                        7.         From this we learn that belts of leaves is not adequate clothing. Tunics are acceptable clothing.

            C.        Today, we wear neither fig leaves nor tunics, so how can we determine if our clothing is acceptable?

                        1.         Clothing styles come and go. What is acceptable today was outrageous in the 1800s.

                                    a.         We know Jesus was properly clothed, but few business men in America would be caught dead going to the office clothed as Jesus was.

                                    b.         No matter which era we pick, or region of the world, the styles change.

                                    c.         We need a fix rule. A solid measure that is not based on the whims of mankind’s fancy.

                        2.         Clothing must cover a person’s nakedness

                                    a.         The altar was not to be elevated, less the worshipers saw the priest’s nakedness - Ex 20:26

                                    b.         As an additional precaution, the priests were to wear linen shorts that covered from the waist to the thighs to hide their nakedness - Ex 28:42-43

                                    c.         From Ezek 16:7 we learn that the exposure of a woman’s breasts and groin was considered naked.

                                    d.         We then concluded that any exposure of the sexual organs is considered nakedness. The purpose of clothing is to cover and hide those areas on the body.

                        3.         Some clothing cover, but do not hide a person’s nakedness

                                    a.         Adam and Eve’s belt of fig leaves still left them naked.

                                    b.         Job 22:6 talks about stripping the naked of their clothing. In other words, they were clothed, but they were still considered naked.

                                    c.         Examples,

                                                (1)       Clothing that does not cover in all positions.

                                                (2)       Clothing that made of material that is too transparent.

                                                (3)       Clothing that forms too closely to the body, leaving little to the imagination.

                                                (4)       None of theses hid a person’s nakedness.

                        4.         Clothing must respect the differences between male and female.

                                    a.         God has been firm that men and women are not to dress alike. It shows a respect for the different roles - I Cor 11:2-16

                                    b.         Even under the Old Law, God clearly stated that cross dressing was forbidden - Deut. 22:5

III.       These points give us a minimum standard for the amount of clothing a person must wear, but we have not addressed what makes some clothing modest and others not.

            A.        The words in I Tim 2:9-10

                        1.         Kosmious - modest

                                    a.         Orderly, well-arranged, seemly, or modest

                                    b.         In other words, clothing that is neat and appropriate for the occassion

                        2.         Aidos - shamefastness

                                    a.         Having the sense of shame, modesty, or reverence

                                    b.         The ability to blush at inappropriate behavior (including dress)

                                    c.         In other words, dressing with the sense of propriety

                        3.         Sophrosuna - sobriety

                                    a.         Being of sound mind, self-controlled, of good judgment, moderate

                                    b.         In other words, not pushing the limits of taste in what you chose to wear.

            B.        Elaborate hair styles, costly jewelry, and expensive clothing do not meet these qualities.

                        1.         They call attention to the wearer because of what she has on and not because of who she is.

                        2.         My clothing should not out shine the Lord, whom I represent.

            C.        Appropriate, modest clothing will sometimes change due to situations

                        1.         If I am teaching among the Amish, a dark suit with no metal buttons, will help to keep the minds those I am teaching on the Word of God and not on a breach of their society’s etiquette

                        2.         If I am teaching among dairy farmers, a formal tuxedo would be out of place.

                        3.         Paul said he became as his audience so that he might win the more - I Cor 9:19-23

                        4.         Don’t place a stumbling block to God’s message because of the way you chose to dress.

IV.      So how does a Christian dress up?

            A.        A Christian’s jewelry, the thing that draws attention to themselves, is their behavior.

                        1.         Good works - I Tim 2:10, I Pet 2:12

                        2.         Good works makes us peculiar, special, or outstanding - Tit 2:14

                        3.         I Pet 3:3-5 - meekness, quietness, submission

                        4.         I Pet 5:5 - Clothe yourselves with humility

                        5.         Isa 61:10-11 - ornaments of salvation and righteousness

            B.        You may claim you have these traits, but you dye your hair pink, or wear risque clothing, or are bedecked with expensive jewels.

                        1.         Your outward appearance shows your inner heart is not as it should be.

                        2.         Wild color hair does not reflect a meek, quiet, and submissive spirit

                        3.         Risque clothing shows a pursuit of the sensual and worldly

                        4.         Expensive jewels show a concern for worldly wealth and the admiration of others.

            C.        Show your faith by your works - James 2:18