Dressing for Church Matters
DRESSING FOR CHURCH MATTERS
(Exodus 28:1-5, & 39-43)
Exodus 28:3 – “And thou shalt speak unto all that are wise hearted, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron’s garments to consecrate him, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office.”
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 how we should dress so that we “may minister unto” the Lord. It also gives us clear instruction in the matter of modesty and purity in our standards of dress.
STANDARDS OF APPEARANCE FOR GOD’S HOUSE. (Exodus 27:16-19 – And for the gate of the court shall be an hanging of twenty cubits, of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen, wrought with needlework: and their pillars shall be four, and their sockets four. All the pillars round about the court shall be filleted with silver; their hooks shall be of silver, and their sockets of brass. The length of the court shall be an hundred cubits, and the breadth fifty every where, and the height five cubits of fine twined linen, and their sockets of brass. All the vessels of the tabernacle in all the service hereof, and all the pins thereof, and all the pins of the court, shall be of brass.)
- As you can see by these verses, God sets a high standard for the appearance of His house. We should be very concerned with the appearance and upkeep of our church building. God wants our church building to look the best it can look. We honor the Lord by keeping our church building as beautiful as we have the means to make it.
- God wanted His Tabernacle to look beautiful because this is where his people would come to worship Him. This is where the priests would come to “minister unto me” as the Lord said.
- God wanted His Temple to look the best it could look because people knew this is where His Holy Spirit would dwell. It was literally the Temple of the Holy Ghost.
- What does the Bible say is the Temple of the Holy Spirit now? – We are. We are the Temple of the Holy Spirit. (I Corinthians 6:19-20 -What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.)
- Our bodies are that temple if we are saved. Shouldn’t we put as much effort into the appearance of our Temple that was put into the appearance of the Temple of God back then when we are serving and worshipping God? Yes, we should.
- We should strive to look the best and dress the best we have the ability to for the Lord especially when we are doing service for God in this Temple, our body.
- Like the Bible says in Exodus 28:1 – “that he may minister unto me in the priests office”. Minister means to serve. When we are ministering unto God the Bible demonstrates unto us this principle we should want to look the best we can for the Lord because we are His Temple. When we are serving the Lord we should want to be dressed in the best that we have for our service to Him.
STANDARD OF DRESS FOR THE PRIEST THAT MINISTERED UNTO GOD. (Exodus 28:1-5 – And take thou unto thee Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office, even Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron’s sons. And thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother for glory and for beauty. And thou shalt speak unto all that are wise hearted, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron’s garments to consecrate him,that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office. And these are the garments which they shall make; a breastplate, and an ephod, and a robe, and a broidered coat, a mitre, and a girdle: and they shall make holy garments for Aaron thy brother, and his sons, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office. And they shall take gold, and blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen.)
- The Bible tells us 3 times in these 5 verses why the garments of the priests were to be the best they could make them. Why? – “that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office” – The priests’ garments were to be the best they could make them because they were ministering or serving God while they had them on.
- They were to honor God with the best garments they had while they were serving Him. The Bible does not say they had to dress like this all the time, only when they were serving the Lord, because it was a special and holy privilege to serve the Living God.
- They could dress down, they could dress in a relaxed manner; but this Biblical principle in these verses clearly demonstrates when it comes time to serve the Lord we should be trying to dress up to honor Him as we serve Him.
- So how do guidelines about how a priest in the Old Testament was to dress as he served the Lord apply to me? – Good question. The answer is found in I Peter 2:5-9 – “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:”
- These verses describe to you the principle of the priesthood of the believer; which essentially means we all as believers can offer spiritual sacrifices or service to the Lord, and we can get access straight to God through our great High Priest. As we are serving the Lord this way, we should follow the Biblical example of the Old Testament priests, and where practical and possible represent our Savior the best we can.
- So who is the great High Priest in New Testament times? – The Bible tells us in Hebrews 4:14 – “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.”
- The Bible gives us the example here of dressing up to serve the Lord, dressing up when we go to church to hear His word preached and taught, dressing up while we minister to others, dressing up while we go out to visit and witness to the lost.
STANDARD OF DRESS TO HONOR GOD (Genesis 35:1-3 – And God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there: and make there an altar unto God, that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother. Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments: And let us arise, and go up to Bethel; and I will make there an altar unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went.)
- God told Jacob to go to Bethel and build an altar to honor Him there; that is where God had appeared to Him. So Jacob then spoke to his family and told all that were with him to get ready to go to where God had visited Him and helped him in his time of trouble. He said he was to build an altar there to honor God.
- Jacob began this faith journey with recognition of how much God had done for him, and how much he needed God in his life. He wanted to get himself ready and his household ready to experience God too.
- “Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean” – this signifies the need for repentance and coming clean to God about our sins. (Romans 3:23 – For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;)
- “change your garments” – this implies a change of our hearts toward sin. Our outside should be a reflection of our inside, our outside appearance when we journey to the physical place of worship of God should, to the best of our ability, reflect the holiness and pureness of God.
- God looks at our heart; however, what we wear to worship our holy and pure God may be an indication of our heart condition. Getting dressed in our best helps prepare our hearts and minds to the worship of God.
- There can be many legitimate exceptions to this. Those coming straight from work may not be dressed in their best but did not want to miss the church service, those who do not have the physical ability to dress as sharply as others, and those whom to the average person may not look like they are dressed in their best but they really are. It is not up to us to judge those who come to church, however they are dressed for the service. It is up to us though to teach the whole council of God, and God’s Word clearly teaches the principle of dressing up in our best for God when we come together in corporate worship. (Matthew 7:1 – Judge not, that ye be not judged.)
IN CONCLUSION: How we dress for church and for the corporate worship of God at the physical location of our church does matter. It matters because the Bible teaches us that we are to present the temple of the Holy Spirit as best as we can when it is involved in the worship of God. The Bible teaches us that we are priests, and as priests, we should dress up in our best to honor God as we worship Him. Jacob set an example with his family and household in that when it was time to go up to Bethel to build an altar of worship and thanksgiving to God, he had them get clean and change into nicer clothes to get ready for what was to come. The Bible gives us several clear principles about dressing in our best when it comes to going to church to worship and hear from the Lord, and we need to be following those principles in our life.
***Yes… It Does Matter – the preceding post is chapter 10 in the book – Yes… It Does Matter***