A Christian's Apparel

Shannon Baptist Church
101 N.
Broad St
Shannon, Illinois 61078
815.864.2779 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            815.864.2779      end_of_the_skype_highlighting

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written by Pastor David Wood


Scripture emphasizes three principles that provide a basis for our discussion of Christian apparel:

1. Modesty
2. Gender
3. Appropriateness

By making application of the timeless truths in the Word, principled decisions will guide our choices about clothing rather than fads, personal opinion, or emotion.

1. Modesty
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. 1 Timothy 2:9

In Bible times certain styles carried connotations of worldliness– suggestiveness that caused others to lust. Likewise today, connotations exist in our styles and dress. Since men are most influenced and tempted by visual images, much of the discussion about modesty focuses on the need for women to be careful what they wear. However, modesty applications should not be limited to women alone–men need to be modest too.

The principle of modest apparel is that the individual does not draw attention to the body with revealing or tight clothing.

How does one identify immodesty in current American culture?
Ladies clothing with low necklines in front or back, or clothing that reveals the thighs can be immodest. However, ladies clothing with an appropriate neckline that covers the shoulders and clothing long enough that it covers the thighs supports godliness.(1)

Why is there no shame in being uncovered? Have women today lost the ability to blush? Where is the awareness of God's presence? Where is the awareness of God's holiness?(2)

2. Gender
Deuteronomy 22:5
"The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God."

Why was the matter of men's and women's clothing important enough to be written in the law? The answer–pagan worship. In their worship practices heathen men wore the attire of a woman and committed whoredom in the temple; the same was true of the women. It was a wicked practice God hated. God insisted that his people have nothing to do with that abomination for obvious reasons.

Deuteronomy 22:5 teaches that men should look like men, women should look like women.

One may ask the question, "Doesn't the Bible say that women shouldn't wear pants?" No, the Bible says, a woman and a man should not mix clothing; they should not appear the same. In our culture clothing styles have changed drastically from earlier decades. For most women slacks are commonly accepted in feminine styles. Yet, they are made for women. If a woman puts on clothes that are obviously made for a man, she would be wrong; the same is true for a man. Christians should avoid styles where there is little distinction between the two.

Most Christian institutions will draw lines as to what attire is fitting for those involved in their ministries creating an atmosphere most conducive to the Holy Spirit's work. Some organizations will determine that women should wear dresses as opposed to pants. If a camp, a Christian school, or a church sets standards for their operations, they simply fulfill their responsibility to create an atmosphere where God will be honored. Ministries have an obligation to establish consistent guidelines. Participants should respect that responsibility.

3. Appropriateness
Ladies or men ought not consistently come to church in sloppy sweat pants or torn jeans. If worn out clothing is all the person has, he comes with his best and ought not to be judged. For most, the question is not whether one has clothes nice enough, but rather if he has an attitude of respectfulness.

Exodus 3:5
"And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground."

In the Old Testament culture, the way to express respectfulness was to take off the shoes. Today, respectfulness is often demonstrated by the type of clothing worn. At a dinner where the president of the United States is to speak, one does not go dressed in old painting clothes or barnyard clothes. The expectation is that the best clothes available be worn.

One needs to keep in mind when coming to church who it is that he comes to worship–God! The best clothing one wears should convey an attitude of respect and admiration for God whom we worship.

Every Christian should make a clear statement of conviction regarding attire. It could be stated something like this:

I believe men and women ought to be modest in their appearance, careful to distinguish between masculinity and femininity, and alert to that which is appropriate for the situation.

Determine personal guidelines for that conviction. Each individual stands accountable to God to insure he never disgraces God's name. That means leaders in churches should establish clear standards for their ministries. Parents in homes should have clear standards, consistently maintained, for their children and themselves.

A good place to start for the Christian wanting to establish a good guideline regarding clothing is with this statement:

"Lots, loose, long, and for the women, ladylike!"

A standard stated in those terms can be consistently kept no matter what the circumstances.

As a Christian you bear the name of Christ. You are the testimony of Him to others of His truth. Your responsibility is to live in such a way that others would see Jesus. Your appearance bears testimony of what is inside. Your goal ought not to be like the world, but rather to be set apart as something special that God can use.

Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.
2 Corinthians 6:17
With Bible open, humbly ask God to show you His timeless truths for personal decisions regarding dress. Determine life convictions based on Biblical principle.

Establish guidelines that will keep you true to God. Remember to whom you belong and what you represent. Sweetly respond remembering that you represent Christ to a dying world who desperately needs Jesus.

Communicators observe that we communicate 5% verbally and 95% visually. Your appearance does impact the effectiveness of your testimony for Christ.

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." Matthew 5:16

(1) Notice the portrayal of immodesty in Isaiah 47, how it describes "shame" for a young virgin. Certainly, Isaiah 47's main emphasis describes the judgement of God. However, for a young lady to have her veil removed, her legs uncovered, and in particular to have her thigh uncovered when out in public proved shameful.

(2) Exodus 28:42 provides an interesting insight as to God's definition of nakedness. The Christian who respects the holiness of God accepts God's definitions of nakedness.

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