Modesty Matters

I Timothy 2:9-10 – “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; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.”

INTRODUCTION: The Bible establishes guidelines and principals for us to live by when it comes to how we are to dress. There are different circumstances and different styles of appropriate dress for each occasion. While the Bible may not give certain specifics about dress standards for some things, it does give us clear standards and instruction in the area of modesty, and purity in our standards of dress.

Modesty is not anti-fashionable. Modesty does not mean you have to dress like an old maid. Modesty does not mean you have to make sure even your ankles are covered. I know a lot of people seem to think like that when they hear someone start to speak on modesty and dress standards. These verses in I Timothy actually mean quite the opposite of dressing down to be modest. The word “adorn” in this verse speaks of a bride beautifying herself for her husband (Revelation 21:2). It is a term that has the meaning of being well-kept, put in order, neat, ornamented. You can be modest and be stylish at the same time.

In Ephesus the cultural well to do were known for their gaudy and extravagant immodest wardrobes, expensive clothing and hairstyles that were meant to communicate wealth and in today’s terminology “coolness”. Paul was saying you don’t have to mimic this type of dress but you still can be dressed sharp, stylish and modestly all at the same time to the glory of God. In this lesson we are first going to examine how we should dress for God’s house and then we will examine the issue of modesty.

DEFINING MODESTY – modesty does not mean unfashionable, modesty suggests pureness, modesty shows respect for God and others, modesty is about freedom not enslavement. Modesty is motivated by a hatred of sin and a desire to not draw attention to one’s self but to draw attention to God.

PURITY NEEDS TO BE PART OF OUR STANDARDS OF DRESS. (II Corinthians 6:14-17 – Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,)

To be pure means to be clean and unspotted. Is the way you are dressing projecting purity to those around you? Christians need to be separated apart from the world on our standards of purity on dress. There should be no doubt we are a Christian when it comes to our manner of dress.

Separate” in this passage means to be distinguished from or to be different. As a Christian is your manner of dress easily distinguishable from that of the world? If you were accused of being a Christian based on your manner of dress… would there be enough evidence to convict you?

CHRISTIANS SHOULD DRESS IN A MODEST AND DECENT WAY SHOWING RESPECT FOR GOD, THEMSELVES AND OTHERS. (I Timothy2:9-10 – 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; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.)

  • Paul uses the Greek terms “kosmios & aidos” which mean “well ordered” & “decent” to describe the appropriate dress of a Christian lady.
  • A Christian lady is to dress in a well ordered and decent way that does not cause shame or embarrassment to themselves, God or others.
  • A lady can also violate this principle by drawing attention to herself by her manner of dress. It may be modest in that it covers what needs to be covered, but it does it in such a way as to draw attention to a certain area.
  • A Christian lady should act as if the eye of Heaven is upon her, because it is.
  • To dress modestly and decently means to provide sufficient covering for the body so that others are not embarrassed or tempted by the manner of your dress.
  • The Bible in no uncertain terms condemns the lusting after a woman by a man. (Matthew 5:28But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.)
  • But by dressing immodestly the lady can contribute to the sin of the man by affording him the opportunity to sin that would otherwise not have been if she would have dressed in a modest fashion.
  • It is sin to tempt others and be the cause of others to fall into sin. (Romans 14:13 – Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.)
  • God calls us to dress modestly not only to prevent sin but to preserve intimacy. Because if the man can see all he wants to see prior to a marriage union, the intimacy or specialness of the marriage bed is tarnished. (Hebrews 13:4 – Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.)
  • Dressing modestly shows respect for yourself and others and it shows a sensitivity to sin. “With shamefacedness” in our text has the connotation to it of bashfulness and “shame”; and the word implies the idea of grief over sin that is in the world. Knowing that sin is offensive to God a lady should never dress in a way that could provoke others to sin.

MODESTY IS ABOUT HAVING FREEDOM NOT REPRESSION. (Romans 6:12 – Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.)

  • A lot of people see modesty standards as repressive and restricting a woman’s freedom; but modesty standards is the exact opposite of that. True Biblical modesty standards represent freedom, freedom from the chains of the world and its sins of lust, desire and temptation.
  • A woman can be enslaved by her desire to attract a man by her manner of dress. She’s enslaved to wanting to project a certain image to men. She may dress immodestly to do so and think she is free; but she really is not free, she is truly enslaved by that sin and letting that sin reign in her life. There is no freedom in that attitude only enslavement to her own desires and to getting the lustful responses from men she encounters.
  • Paul on the other hand, taught instead of a lady being enslaved by worldly fashion, instead of being enslaved by what she desires to get out of her manner of dress, instead of being enslaved by the lustful responses of men, Paul taught that true Biblical modesty is freedom from all of this. It is freedom from what the world says is beauty and freedom to express your outward and inner beauty on your own terms not on what the world dictates.

IN CONCLUSION: The whole world is under the sway of the wicked one. (I John 5:19 – And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.) We can find in God’s Word clear instruction and principles on how to govern our manner of dress; whether it is our manner of dress when we are in service to Him or whether it comes to determining to dress pure and modest for our Lord. We are by God’s direction in this world but it should be clear we are not of this world by our dress standards. We have dress standards and those dress standards come from the Bible. We need to honor God’s Word on the subject. He knows best in all things. Our wisdom on this subject is foolishness compared to His (I Corinthians 3:19a – For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God). We looked at how we need to have a standard of purity in our dress. We looked at how we need to have a standard of modesty in our dress. We need to have a God fearing, God honoring, and submissive attitude about the standards and principles of dress set forth for us by God is His Word.

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