Modest ApparelBy Pastor Boffey on Sunday, May 22, 2005.
MODEST APPAREL (1 Ti.2:9-10) I. A Biblical ministry is characterized by a balanced emphasis on grace and practical holiness. 2 Ti.2:19. A. "All holiness" leaves the soul overburdened and without relief or hope. B. "All grace" leaves the soul without conviction or defined direction. II. It should be obvious to any reasonable person that we are living in a society that is in an increasing state of undress. A. A beach party one hundred years ago would have looked decidedly different than one today. This is not likely because they were less biblically-minded one hundred years ago. B. Ours is the era of body-worship. 1. Hence, the popularity of body-building, gyms, tanning salons, diet crazes, etc. 2. Hence, the increase of bulimia, anorexia and female (primarily) depression. 3. Hence also the increase of sexual harassment and predatory behavior. 4. In the age of midriff-baring and six-pack abs, consider Rom.16:18; Php.3:18-19. C. It is a general observation that the long-term viability of any society is inversely proportional to the amount of flesh it exposes publicly. III. God Himself made clothes for Adam and Eve because of their sin. Gen.3:21. A. The clothes were obviously designed to cover nakedness. Gen.3:7. B. The denial of the need for appropriate covering is a tacit denial of original sin at least and a denial or defiance of God at worst. C. The denial of the need to cover nakedness is indicative of an unbalanced mind. Luk.8:27, 35. IV. There is either no standard for apparel or there is a standard. A. If no standard, then anything goes. B. If there is a standard, who sets it, man or God? C. There is a need to steer between extreme permissiveness and impossible rigidity on a topic like this. There will be some areas where each person must "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling" (Php.2:12). V. Nakedness is to be covered. A. Uncovered nakedness is a shame. Isa.47:2-3; Rev.3:18. B. Cover: "To put or lay something over (an object), with the effect of hiding from view, protecting, or enclosing; to overlay, overspread with." C. The following passages define the nakedness that is to be covered: Isa.20:4; 1 Sa.5:9 c/w Psa.78:66; Hab.2:15-16; Deu.23:1; 25:11-12; Lev.20:11, 18; Eze.23:3, 18-21; Pro.5:19-20. VI. 1 Ti.2:9-10 gives apparel guidelines for women. A. Modest: "Well-conducted, orderly; not harsh or domineering. Of female attire: Decent, not meretricious." B. Meretricious: "Of, pertaining to, characteristic of, or befitting a harlot; having the character of a harlot." C. Harlot: "Applied to a woman: a. As a general term of execration. b. A female juggler, dancing-girl, ballet-dancer, or actress (obsolete by 16th C.). c. Spec. an unchaste woman; a prostitute; a strumpet." D. Shamefacedness: "Modesty, bashfulness, shyness." E. "Apparel" translates the Greek word "katastole (S.R.N. #2689)" from "katastello (S.R.N. #2687)" which means a putting down or letting down, in N.T. of clothing, as let down. 1. Clothing may be let down from the top or bottom. 2. Clothing let down from the top would expose nakedness and therefore would not be modest. 3. Therefore, this is clothing let down from the bottom. F. Women should not wear clothing that is clearly sexually arousing or bold. Pro.7:10; Isa.3:18. G. Women should emphasize the adornment of good works and a meek and quiet spirit. 1 Pe.3:3-5. H. Observe the contrast between the godly woman and a harlot. 1. The harlot dresses to allure. The godly woman dresses modestly. 2. The harlot is subtil of heart. The godly woman magnifies the incorruptible hidden man of the heart. 1 Pe.3:4. 3. The harlot is unchaste. The godly woman is chaste. Tit.2:5. 4. The harlot is loud (Pro.7:11). The godly woman is of a quiet spirit. 1 Pe.3:4. 5. The harlot is stubborn (Pro.7:11). The godly woman is meek or submissive. 1 Pe.3:4. 6. The harlot is a gadabout (Pro.7:11). The godly woman is more of a "keeper at home (Tit.2:5)." 7. Women, which are you more like? I. Note that the N.T. emphasis on modest apparel is definitely directed to the woman more than the man. 1. This is reasonable, since men are more driven and aroused by sight. Remember Samson and David. 2. Therefore, a woman should not dress in such a way as to entice the insatiable eyes of any man other than her husband. Pro.27:20. 3. This is not to say that a woman cannot be finely dressed. Pro.31:22. 4. Women, be discreet! Pro.11:22. VII. Exo.28:42 gives the dimensions of a garment that will cover nakedness. A. The express purpose for these breeches was to cover nakedness. B. These were for the priests as they went into the tabernacle to minister. Exo.28:43. 1. There was no furniture in the holy place upon which the priest might sit. He was to stand in his ministration. Deu.18:5. 2. Therefore, these breeches were meant to be sufficiently long for a normal standing posture. C. Breech: "A garment covering the loins and thighs. Now always is the plural Breeches, or "a pair of breeches." "Breeches" are distinguished from "trousers" by coming only just below the knee, but dialectally (and humourously) "breeches" includes "trousers." D. Pair: "Two associated together; a set of two." E. Loin: "In the living body. Chiefly plural. The part or parts of a human being or quadroped, situated on both sides of the vertebral column, between the false ribs and the hip bone." F. Thigh: "The upper part of the leg, from the hip to the knee (in man)." G. This garment reaching to the thighs MUST cover the thighs in order to be a pair since thighs come in pairs but loins do not. H. This is not to say that the thighs themselves are considered nakedness, but if a garment covers to the knee, one can be assured from this verse that his nakedness is covered. I. In the light of Eze.23:3 and Pro.5:19-20, a woman should also keep her breasts covered. J. This verse shows how far a woman's clothing needs to be let down according to the meaning of "apparel" in 1 Ti.2:9. VIII. Mark these additional principles. A. If we have a verse giving us the dimensions of a garment that covers nakedness, it makes sense to set our apparel standard according to that verse, especially since we are to prove all things by the Scripture. B. Since apparel is part of our outward appearance, we should "abstain from the appearance of evil" (1 Th.5:22). 1. Do not wear clothes that suggest evil. 2. In an area like this, where there is a substantial degree of personal discretion and liberty, "use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh..."(Gal.5:13). 3. Remember, we are to hate "even the garment spotted by the flesh" (Jude 23). 4. Maybe you have noticed that the garments of the sporting world are exhibiting more flesh as society degenerates. Be careful of what you find pleasure in. Rom.1:32; 2 Th.2:12. C. A skintight or see-through garment does NOT cover nakedness! D. A certain amount of conformity to our culture is necessary to avoid being offensive. 1 Co.10:32-33. 1. There are different kinds of clothing suitable for different occasions. 2. There is formal clothing, casual clothing, work clothing, clothing for bedtime, etc. 3. Clothing that is suitable for bedtime is not suitable for wearing in public even if it more than covers nakedness. E. Beware of Pharisaism. 1. Don't be too quick to establish rigid ideals which are over much concerned with the outward appearance. Mat.23:24-25. 2. The quality or design of the fabric is not nearly as important as the fabric of the individual. Luk.7:24-28.
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