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Scripture Reading: Ephesians 5:8-17
1. The undressing season has arrived: Hot weather, bare chests and plunging necklines, short shorts, miniskirts, halter tops, tight jeans, bikinis, swim suits and see-through apparel: We Cannot Be Indifferent!
a. The fashion of the world promotes attraction: Lust of the eyes and the flesh, 1 Jno 2:16. [Formal (cf. wedding dresses) to casual: Clothes are a (body) language!]
b. Christians (boys, girls, men and women) are frequently influenced to dress like the world (without giving thought to holiness).
2. What is the Bible pattern (guide) for modest dress and behavior?
a. Does any such pattern exist? If so, are we following it? (Phil 3:17)
b. Does it even matter? If you find you are not applying the Biblical pattern will you change to conform yourself to it?
3. Modest (kosmios): “Well-arranged”, orderly, becoming; “akin to kosmos, in its primary sense as ‘harmonious arrangement adornment’” (Vine). Used by 1st century writers in contrast to revealing clothes.
4. Used in NT of: Behavior (1 Tim 3:2); Clothing (1 Tim 2:9) – Dress and demeanor in 1 Pet 3:3-4 (adornment). “It is the character of the inner life that forms and is expressed in conversation, demeanor, and clothing preferences.” (Jim Harmon, “Modesty: Virtue Ignored - Contending for modesty in the church”)
I. THE CHARACTER OF MODESTY.
A. The Inner Character of Modesty: Holiness of Mind, 1 Pet 1:13-16.
1. “The well-ordering is not of dress and demeanor only, but of the inner life, uttering indeed and expressing itself in the outward conversation” (Trench, Syn., Sec. xcii).
2. Shamefastness (aidos, propriety, nkjv): “A sense of shame, modesty” (Vine); “bashfulness” (Thayer).
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, moderation, nkjv): “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 (cf. 1 Pet 3:2-4).
B. The Outward Expression of Modesty.
1. Conduct that is restrained, not ostentatious/showy, 1 Tim 2:9.
2. Is consistent with the profession of godliness, 1 Tim 2:10.
a. “Modesty is an element of Christian character, and our dress should make the same “profession” that we do.” (Jeff Pollard, Christian Modesty: The Public Undressing of America, 3)
b. Until the character of the heart is modest, one’s demeanor and dress will not be modest.
II. MODEST BEHAVIOR, 1 Tim 3:2 (“respectable, honorable”, A &G).
A. Elders are to be Modest in Behavior.
1. His life is well-behaved, orderly, moderate and dignified (Titus 2:2).
2. In the home: Leads his family in moderate behavior (1 Tim 3:4-5).
3. In the community: He is blameless (1 Tim 3:2), cf. 1 Pet 3:15-16.
4. In the congregation: He is steadfast and faithful, cf. Heb 13:7.
B. Every Christian is to be Modest in Behavior, 1 Pet 2:11-12 (virtuous).
1. Not characterized by revelry and carousing, Rom 13:13 (1 Pet 4:3).
2. In the home (Col 3:18-21), in the community (Col 4:5), in the congregation (Eph 4:16).
III. MODEST CLOTHING, 1 Tim 2:9 (apparel: katastolē, “a lowering, letting down; a garment let down”, Thayer).
A. God Considers Exposing the Thigh to be Nakedness, Exo 28:42-43.
1. Even though worldly-minded men and women do not! Rom 1:31
2. Priests to wear trousers that reached from the waist to the thigh (inclusive, cf. Exo 11:4-5; 18:13-14) - To cover their nakedness.
3. Shame of nakedness is seen when the thigh is exposed, Isa 47:2-3.
4. Covering and clothing are two different things! Gen 3:7-10, 21
B. Clothing that is Orderly, Arranged by Shamefastness and Sobriety.
1. Some object at this point, saying Bible doesn’t give a dress code…
a. Bible demands modest clothing (conceals, not reveals), 1 Tim 2:9.
b. Bible forbids nakedness (exposure of the thigh, less than full complement of clothing, Gen 3:21).
c. Bible commands shamefastness and sobriety (1 Tim 2:10).
2. These Bible truths show some clothing is always immodest (indecent) regardless of the activity associated with it:
a. Revealing (see-through and
b. Less than a full complement of clothing, thus exposing your nakedness (including the thigh). Swimsuits, bikinis, shirtless, etc.
Provocative, sensual and sexually alluring (backless, strapless…)
d. Showy, ostentatious and extravagant.
1. “Parents who are indifferent to their preteen’s or teen’s (boys and girls) desire to dress in many of today’s fashions are putting their children at risk for social and spiritual problems later.” (Jim Harmon)
2. Be wise, understand God’s will and refuse to be immodest! Eph 5:17