Wednesday, July 30, 2014
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This is the daily broadcast for people who have been made new by the blood of Christ. I’m Robert Hatfield, and this is The New You. Here is today’s Scripture:
In like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works (1 Tim. 2:9-10).
Today we’re talking about the ever unpopular issue of modesty. I won’t be a bit surprised if I get some angry email or if I lose a few listeners as a result of this episode. Here’s all I’m asking of you: listen to God’s Word and respond by doing whatever it says to do. That’s what The New You is all about.
The New American Oxford Dictionary defines modesty as follows: “the quality or state of being unassuming or moderate in the estimation of one’s abilities; the quality of being relatively moderate, limited, or small in amount, rate, or level; behavior, manner, or appearance intended to avoid impropriety or indecency.” Simply put, modesty is about being in the middle: not too much and not too little.
Let’s make a few observations from 1 Timothy 2:9-10. First, notice the admonition. Paul says, “in like manner also…” That points us back to verse eight, where the Holy Spirit says that men (that is, the males, the Greek word is specific) ought to lead the worship of the church. When Paul wrote those words, he did so by the authority that he received from the Holy Spirit. He is, after all, an inspired writer (2 Tim. 3:16-17). What he writes is authoritative. It is by that same authority that verses nine and ten are penned.
Second, notice the address. Paul focuses verses nine and ten on women. Is modesty just a female issue? Of course not. Are women more likely to be extravagant in their apparel on one end, or to wear too little on the other end of the spectrum? I think we must honestly answer yes. So Paul addresses the ladies.
Third, notice the adornment. Paul says that women should “adorn themselves in modest apparel.” That word “adorn” has to do with one’s arrangement or order. The word “modest” comes from a Greek word that means decent, neither overdressed or underdressed. Now think about what that means. What is too much? What is too little? We’ll get back to that in a minute.
Fourth, notice the admiration. Paul says that women should dress modestly, “with propriety and moderation.” The word “propriety” means “a sense of shame.” Has our world forgotten how to blush? Absolutely. The word “moderation” could also be translated “sobriety,” that is, self-control. So we should exercise some self-control in relation to our dress? Exactly!
Fifth, notice the aspiration. Verse ten details what it’s all about: “but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works.” So what is Paul getting at here? He’s saying that our dress shouldn’t cause others to be distracted from what is truly important. The context of 1 Timothy 2:8-15 is a worship service. The point of a worship service is not to turn heads or to “dress to impress.” It is about God. Could we not easily apply this to life in general? Don’t let your clothing be a stumbling block for someone else. Think about how you can profess godliness in what you wear.
Let’s wrap it up: I recently heard about a blog post that was written by a wife to other women. In it, this concerned wife implored her readers not to post pictures of themselves that could cause her husband to stumble. The response to the post was overwhelming. Some were positive, but many were negative, saying that they weren’t responsible for how this woman’s husband reacted to their pictures.
Here’s the thing: modesty does matter. Here are four reasons why:
First, modesty matters because being a stumbling block is a serious offense. Jesus said that it would be better for someone to die before they had an opportunity to cause a faithful child of God to fall away (Luke 17:1-2).
Second, modesty matters because modesty reminds us how to blush. Jeremiah writes about people who had forgotten how to blush (Jer. 8:12). The same could be said of our culture.
Third, modesty matters because our dress reflects how we think. The wise man writes about a woman who had “the attire of a harlot” (Prov. 8:10).
Fourth, modesty matters because God expects all of His children to be holy (1 Pet. 1:13-16). Is immodesty holiness? According to the New Testament, it is not.
Memory Verse: May the sentiment of this week’s verse be our sentiment in every facet of life:
But now, O LORD,
You are our Father;
We are the clay, and You our potter;
And all we are the work of Your hand (Isa. 64:8).
Sometime today: I want to challenge you to dig deep into 1 Timothy 2:9-10 and see for yourself whether the things that I have said are true. It isn’t fun to teach things from the Bible that counter our culture, but it is necessary if you want to continue to be the new you.
Thanks for joining today me on The New You. New episodes of this broadcast are released each weekday, Monday through Friday, from The Light Network. Archives of this program, episode transcripts, and more Christian podcasts are available there, too, at thelightnetwork.tv.
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I’ll meet you tomorrow for another edition of The New You. I’m Robert Hatfield, have a great day!