1. Every aspect of the Christian's life is to be reflective of who he/she is & what he/she stands for (clothing, conduct, speech, attitudes, values, etc.).
2. We are to live without reproach in the midst of a sinful world! - Phil. 2:14-16 (Matt. 6:13-16)
3. Like everything else, our clothing must reflect reverence for God & exert a good influence upon men - Rom. 12:2.
4. Ask ourselves some questions as we begin to help us assess where we stand on the subject. If we answer "no" to any of these, then we need to rearrange our priorities (Matt. 6:33).
I. ONE'S CLOTHING REFLECTS EITHER GODLINESS OR UNGODLINESS.
A. Identifies Ungodliness - Prov.7:10; Gen. 38:14-16.
1. Clothing can identify character / motives.
2. Prov. 7:10; Gen. 38:14-16 - Identifies her (conspicuous garments which catch the eye - Rev. 17:4).
B. Those Professing Godliness Should Dress Accordingly - 1 Tim. 2:9-10.
* -The way a Christian dresses should indicate a sense of modesty, propriety & moderation because these traits should be a part of her/his character!
1. Fundamental issue: INTERNAL MODESTY IS REFLECTED BY OUR CLOTHING - 1 Tim. 2:9-10; 1 Pet. 3:3-6.
2. Clothing must be governed by internal qualities of godliness!
3. This is NOT the world's standard for choosing clothing!
a. Opposite! (Sensual/sexy/daring/provocative/alluring / Etc...)
b. Even world knows that CLOTHING REFLECTS AN ATTITUDE: Salt Lake Tribune (5/22/92). - Destroys shamefastness, sobriety & modesty!
4. Both underdressing & overdressing is immodest:
a. Overdressing - Isa. 3:16-24 - Vain display, extravagance in clothing condemned. Such vanity & worldly ostentation reflects selfish pride & sensuality!
b. Underdressing - Cf 1st century silk market & clothing (East to Cathay: The Silk Road, Robert Collins, McGraw-Hill, 1968, pp.44-46). Sheer, revealing, exposing.
II. WE CAN DEFINE IMMODESTY & APPLY IT TO OUR CLOTHING:
A. The Words Used In 1 Timothy 2:9:
1. Modest (kosmios) - "Orderly, well-arranged, decent... " - (Vine).
a. "Respectable, honorable" (Arndt & Gingrich); 1 Tim 3:2.
b. Used by 1st century writers to contrast with revealing clothes.
2. Shamefastness (aidos) - "A sense of shame, modesty"- (Vine).
a. "That modesty which is 'fast' rooted in the character."
b. Word was used in Gk. for opposite of "promiscuous" (ability to blush, Jer. 8:12).
3. Sobriety (sophrosune) - "Soundness of mind...sound judgment."
a. "It is that habitual inner self-government, with its constant rein on all the passions and desires, which would hinder the temptation to these from arising..." (Vine).
b. Used in sense of being free from intoxicants of worldly values and lusts (not of literal intoxicants of alcohol).
4. We must see immodest dress as shameful (not attractive), as indecent (not cute)!
B. The Words Used In 1 Peter 3:3-4:
1. Meek (praos) - "Denotes gentle, mild, meek;... " (Vine).
a. "It is that temper of spirit in which we accept His dealings with us as good, and therefore without disputing or resisting." (Ibid.)
b. Closely linked with humility: "It is the humble heart which is also the meek, and which, as such, does not fight against God & more or less struggle & contend with Him." (Ibid.)
2. Quiet (hesuchios) - "Indicates tranquillity arising from within, causing no disturbance to others." (Ibid.)
3. One's adornment is to come forth from a meek & quiet spirit.
C. Nakedness As Defined In The Bible.
1. "Nakedness" - In Bible, not necessarily a complete lack of clothing (nudity) - suggests the condition of one who is lacking a full complement of normal clothing - Jno. 21:7.
a. Gen. 3:7 with 3:21 - Were wearing something, but God "clothed" them. Put on something more substantial to cover their nakedness and remove its shame by replacing what was less & what failed to do so.
b. Exo. 28:42 - Had the priests' body been exposed "from the waist to the thighs" their "nakedness" would not have been "covered" (their nakedness would have been seen)! (A Hebrew idiom of inclusion & range.)
c. Isa. 47:2-3 - Exposed thigh equivalent to uncovering your nakedness & revealing your shame - Uncovered thighs are said to be naked!
d. Such exposure (nakedness) symbol of shame - Isa. 47:3; 20:2-4.
2. "Immodest clothing" is both the lack of a full compliment of clothing (shamefully revealing, Isa. 47:2-3), as well as the prideful display of extravagance by means of one's clothing (Isa. 3:16-24).
D. A Telling Contrast.
1. Modest dress:
a. Covers the shame of nakedness (Gen. 3:7, 10, 21).
b. Reflects shamefastness, sobriety, godliness & good works (1 Tim. 2:9-10).
c. Reflects purity, reverence & a quiet spirit (1 Pet. 3:3-4).
2. Immodest dress:
a. Exposes nakedness without shame (Jer. 8:12; 1 Tim. 2:9).
b. Reflects a worldly heart void of shamefastness & sound moral judgment which bears the works of the flesh.
c. Reflects impurity & an irreverent spirit (1 Pet. 3:3-4).
E. Making Practical Applications Is Possible!
1. NOT: Everyone is left to decide for themselves! (cf. Plan of salvation; moral issues).
2. Based on foregoing Bible definitions & contextual usage, some types of clothing are always indecent:
a. Revealing (see-through or skin-tight).
b. Lacking a full compliment of clothing, thus exposing one's nakedness (thigh).
c. Provocative, sensual & sexually alluring.
d. Showy, ostentatious or extravagant.
3. Are you prepared to justify wearing apparel which
"covers" but does not "clothe" your nakedness?
4. Are you ready to justify the wearing of a swimming suit (or any other article of clothing) in public that bares a part of the body which the Bible calls your "nakedness?" (Illus. Won't wear only a bra to the mall, but will wear what amounts to a bra at a public swimming pool!)
5. What line of Biblical reasoning do you have that you will feel comfortable with on judgment day? (1 Ths. 5:21; 2 Cor. 5:10; Rom. 14:12)
III. SOME OF THE REASONS OFFERED BY THOSE SEEKING COMPROMISE.
A. "You Can't Draw A Line Showing Where Modesty Ends & Immodesty Begins."
1. Modest clothing never has to be defended -- it speaks for itself!
2. Not so with cheerleading uniforms, swimsuits, short shorts, etc.
B. Reasons Given For Wearing Immodest Clothing Include:
1. Hot weather- Cooler. Sacrifice may be necessary!
2. Everybody does it - Nobody cares. Christians are different!
3. Popularity (cheerleaders, twirlers, sports) - With man or God?
4. Fashionable. Again we say, modesty is always fashionable!
5. Nobody will notice me. Whether they do are not, God does!
C. Where Is The Plea For All That We Can Do To Be Modest Rather Than The Least We Have To Do? - 1 Pet. 2:9-10 (2 Cor. 6:14-18)
1. Every Christian should be careful to dress modestly so as to reflect godliness, good works and a meek & quiet spirit!
2. To achieve this, we must constantly examine our hearts to develop & keep a basic sense of decency & shamefastness that should characterize Christians. Then, we will dress modestly!