Christian Concepts of Dress
1 Samuel 16:7 "But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart."
There you have it! This wonít take long because God is not worried about how we dress! Right? Some would think so but letís examine closer.
It was stated in the last session: Balance is our Goal. I want to show you that the way you choose to dress is both RELATIVE & IMPORTANT! (but not to impress God) If you want to impress God then concentrate on your spirit, attitude & inner values.
NOTICE: vs 7 does not say God approves of ungodly dress. BUT it shows that He does not evaluate us totally on that level alone. *** One thing vs 7 does show, is that God looks where man canít. BUT MAN DOES LOOK ON THE OUTWARD APPEARANCE because thatís all he can see! THATíS WHY ITíS IMPORTANT! This verse is NOT a valid argument to say our attire is not important, if anything, it is a verse to argue the opposite! How we dress is important because man looks at it!
Your dress makes a statement about you: It reveals your feelings, commitments, frame of mind.
Rom 6:17 "But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. 18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. 19 I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. 20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. 21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. 22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.
Mat 7:20 "Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them."
Many fruit trees look similar, but their external fruit gives them their distinction. (so will ours) As a P.A. system speaker only amplifies what is being played in the tape deck so does your dress only amplify your inner heart. We need to present a distinctive look to amplify our faith!
THERE ARE TWO MAJOR, BUT BASIC CONCEPTS TO REMEMBER:
#1. MODESTY = humble, decent, (root of moderate)
1Ti 2:9 "In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; 10 But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works."
The subject of this passage is Christian wives:
1Pe 3:3 "Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; 4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. 5 For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands:"
The key idea of modesty is that we should not lend ourselves to ostentation of dress & costly array but rather be distinguished by a proper Christ like spirit. (remember = meekness is not weakness) Women of the world spend so much finance on exterior aids to beautify...all of which are false. God wants you to focus on your spirit where true attraction takes place!
I want to stop and explain a spiritual principle. Ever notice as the weather warms it becomes increasingly simple to distinguish Godís people. (smile) MODESTY never goes out of style in Godís eyes.
A CHRISTIANíS - MODESTY DOES NOT CHANGE WITH THE WEATHER!
When Adam & Eve had their conscious awaked, the 1st thing they did was cover themselves. The 1st thing God did was change fig leaves to skins. (blood sacrifice). Godís intentions since then is for humanity to be clothed. It has been stated: "the farther a civilized society declines the more clothes it takes off". he inverse then is the more civilized a society is, the more clothing it wears.
Important point here...IMMODESTY IS DRIVEN BY SPIRITS! Look at spirits listed in the Bible: fear, lust, jealousy, etc... Many are human emotions but Satan comes and snares us and drives our feelings far beyond their intended use. (puts us in bondage)
Luke 8:26 "And they arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, which is over against Galilee. 27 And when he went forth to land, there met him out of the city a certain man, which had devils long time, and ware no clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs. 28 When he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God most high? I beseech thee, torment me not. 29 (For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For oftentimes it had caught him: and he was kept bound with chains and in fetters; and he brake the bands, and was driven of the devil into the wilderness.) 30 And Jesus asked him, saying, What is thy name? And he said, Legion: because many devils were entered into him."
REMEMBER FOLKS: -- it is the devil is who brings bondage, not God! Do you want freedom? Look at the manís actions! (get serious with God for help!)
LADIES: The fact is, that men are more visually oriented then you are. But yes, modesty applies to both sexes! Things to consider : Necklines, tightness, skirt length, skirt slits, etc... Not exposing your body.
It is true that you cannot keep someone from lusting after you, but you can undertake your responsibility not to provoke it! *** A women who purposely causes temptation, becomes a stumbling block! ***
ASK YOURSELF --- are these things really unreasonable for Godís church?
Paul knew that your dress is the mirror of your mind. We often dress the way we feel. Outward ostentation (showy display) is not keeping with a Godly attitude. We were told to dress with shamefacedness, sobriety etc...
Shamefacedness: self restraint, reverence, modesty
Sobriety: Discretion, Temperance, (opposite of pride)
Modesty is not an option for a true New Testament Apostolic church!
Deu 22:5 "The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a ma put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God."
One thing for sure: The "unisex" styles of our day are an abomination to God. It is a perverse hostility to Godís creation order! It is driven by spirits that wish to put humanity into rebellion.
Men & Women are different: Both Physically & Emotionally by creation. And God has placed certain social methods into place to maintain this difference. To guard against homosexuality & the decline of the family. Today we have women that look masculine & men that look feminine.
1Co 6:9 "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, "--- (websterís: unsuitably womanish)
What are some objections?
Objection #1: vs 5 does not apply to our culture because vs 10-12 do not apply. However: vs 22 prohibits adultery, vs 23-27 rape, vs 30 incest ; do these still apply? Of course. We must understand the difference between the MORAL LAW & the CEREMONIAL LAW.
*** This is the key to rightly dividing the word here! ***
Christís death on the cross abolished the ceremonial law, but not the moral law. Godís moral law stands forever! (the O.T. was the schoolmaster that brought us to Christ)
Col 2:14 "Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; 15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it. 16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: 17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ."
Handwriting of ordinances = "the obligation of debt that demanded payment"
WE WERE IN DEBT TO THE MORAL LAW OF GOD! -- HE NAILED IT TO THE CROSS!
Jude 1:3 "Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints."
Separation of the sexes is a moral law not a ceremonial law! Verses 10-12 teach principle of separation. Israel fulfilled the ceremony physically...Today, we fulfill the principle spiritually. (we still obey the typology of separation)
vs 5 is blatantly a moral law for 3 reasons:
a) God designed it to prevent moral problems like blurring the sexes & homosexuality
b) It manifests the distinction between male & female that is taught in other scriptures, and in nature.
c) The verse states that it is an abomination to God which means "something God detests or hates." The word Abomination is only used in vs 5. (and itís unto God)
Hebrews 13:8 "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever."
*** God does not change from day to day as to His feeling about moral sin. IF HE SAID IT WAS (moral) SIN IN O.T., IT STILL IS!
In the ceremonial law: things were abominations to the Jews (ex: Lev 11) (unclean animals) things Jews should hate. Dressing alike to the point of blurring the sexes is something God hates! Please notice the following thought:...
Revelation 21:9 "But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone; which is the second death."
There is some N.T. support also:
1 Peter 3:5 "For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands:"
Objection #2. Men & Women both wore robes. True: But men & women did have distinctive clothing, or else, why the command? (different types of robes & head gear). Women wore veils also.
Quote from Zondervan Pictorial Bible Dictionary pg 227
" Among the Hebrews neither sex was permitted by Mosaic Law to wear the same form of clothing as was used by the other. A few articles of feminine clothing carried somewhat the name and basic pattern, yet there was always sufficient difference in embossing, embroidery, and needlework so that in appearance the line of demarcation between man & women should be readily detected."
Wight noted about modern times: "Among the Bedouin Arabs of Palestine there is great care taken that either sex shall not imitate the other in matters of dress"
. *** These differences were significant enough to tell oneís gender from afar off.
Genesis 24:64 "And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she lighted off the camel. For she [had] said unto the servant, What man [is] this that walketh in the field to meet us? And the servant [had] said, It [is] my master: therefore she took a veil, and covered herself."
NOW TO PRACTICAL APPLICATION
Part of our DAILY attire should be for gender distinction. Unmistakable, visual, identification of the sexes.
IN OUR CULTURE:----- (which is all we need to worry about) anís attire: = pants, trousers, slacks EVEN THE PICTURES ON PUBLIC REST ROOMS TELLS THIS CULTURAL TRUTH. This could even change from culture to culture but Deu 22 covers ALL CULTURES! and all times.
"Pertaineth to" = things traditionally associated with, or patterned after a man. (slacks have indeed been masculine in our culture)
Historically: WWII factories were the first time slacks started being worn by women. At the same time: short hair, cigarettes, swearing became acceptable feminine behavior. Now that path has come to Abortion, Divorce, Single Parent homes, extreme feminism: Youíve come a long way baby??
WHAT ABOUT MODESTY? Pants are not necessarily more modest than a skirt. It is interesting that every generation of women before us learned how to wear a skirt modestly. * As a matter of fact, a dress tends to change a womanís actions to be more feminine *
THIS IS ANOTHER BENEFIT BEHIND THE CONCEPT
Some women are immodest in a dress because theyíre so used to pants. ( based on how they sit and move etc..)
Our Local Standard: For those few occasions where modesty in a dress is a genuine concern... Dress length, blousy culottes that appear as a skirt is a possible alternative. I feel this meets the distinctive quality. (unless you have a personal conviction about that.) ** Each household should develop its convictions ** (culottes = "a divided skirt") not pant length.
Two things should always govern your decisions:
GOOD TASTE & COMMON SENSE = R e m e m b e r i n g * w h o * y o u * a r e !
God visibly separated Israel: food /dress /farming /worship /Sabbath.. You could tell a Jew by his dress/Actions. The Jews survived 1,900 years without a home land. Itís the only existing ancient culture! GODíS LAWS PRESERVED THEIR IDENTITY! God wants to preserve His church in this day in the same manner!
---- Outer actions bring a GREATER CHRISTIAN COMMITMENT in your life!
Even Joan Rivers (on her syndicated talk show) stated "Everybody knows women wear dresses and men wear pants.". If worldly people know it to be a simple truth, why does Godís church act so stubborn about it?
Let us remember who we are and be proud to carry his banner in these last days!
PRACTICAL HOLINESS by: David K. Bernard
This book brings out tremendous historical reference that this seminar does not have time to cover. Excellent.
WHY? A STUDY OF CHRISTIAN STANDARDS - Pentecostal Publishing House / Electi
RevMGB@aol.com Norfolk Apostolic UPC