Index by Subject

Modest Dress: A Man’s Perspective

Spring is in full bloom, and with the increase in temperatures, we see a corresponding decrease in the amount of skin covered by those who seek comfort in the sun and the approving gaze of others.

What? You say that your skimpy dress is not an attempt to gain approval (most often from the opposite gender?) Well, I was born in April, but I was not born this last April!

The immodest fashions of the day are very clearly designed to produce lust. The most common term that is used to describe bikinis, short skirts, halter tops and tight fitting clothes is “sexy.” The term sexy is defined by Webster, “sexually suggestive or stimulating: EROTIC” While the term has become common place, it nevertheless reveals a concept that is antithetical to the Christian’s perspective and profession.

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Delicate Power

Often, by puberty, young ladies are not as physically powerful as their male counterparts, whose muscles tend to develop larger. Yet every female possesses a physical power in her shape and form that can overwhelm or renew a young man. There is power in dressing to be drooled over, but that is an abuse of God’s gift. Modesty has its own delicate power that brings glory to God and no cause for stumbling to men.

The Bible is filled with beautiful women who are acknowledged to possess a gift from God in their physical appearance that we would be foolish to deny. Both her husband and her Egyptian suitors recognized that Sarah was a beautiful woman (see Genesis 12:11-14). Her daughter-in-law, Rebekah, was likewise a beautiful virgin when Isaac first laid eyes on her–it was love at first sight, as they say (see Genesis 24:16, 26:7). Sadly, Leah was not so attractive, but her sister, Rachel was “beautiful of form and appearance” and Jacob was naturally drawn to her (see Genesis 29:17). Abigail was not only of beautiful appearance, but she was also of great understanding (see First Samuel 25:3); unfortunately like too many such women, she had chosen poorly for a husband, Nabal the fool. King Ahasuerus of Persia was too proud of his beautiful wife, Queen Vashti, but eventually replaced her with the stunning Esther of the Israelites. While all these women and others possessed great beauty, we remember them more for their character, and most of them had great character.

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Another Ox Goes to the Slaughter

In the sixth and seventh chapters of the Old Testament Proverbs, the ancient writer of wisdom lays down some timeless warnings for his son concerning the danger presented by “the evil woman” (6:24). Along the way, however, he alerts us all to the perils of sexual temptation and immorality through evil women and men.

The hedonism of this world has infected Christianity to the point that new excuses are being created every day to allow for the tolerance of sexual immorality. Standards of attire, behavior and repentance are being cast aside by the soothing self-delusion that nothing evil will result. In these proverbs, though, we find unalterable truth and a reality that must force us to ask wisdom to be our sister and understanding our near kin. No matter your age, marital status or gender, sexual immorality is an issue that must be soberly considered.

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Walking Worthy: Drawing Lines

Where do you draw the line?

That is the question that confronts many people as they think themselves wandering somewhere in between righteousness and iniquity. How much is too much? When do we go too far?

So many believe that the answers to those questions will always be a matter of personal conviction and that each person’s answer is as valid as the next. Yet in many cases, God has drawn lines for us and inching closer and closer to iniquity is like the moth flitting nearer to the flame. While it is imperative that we resist any urge to draw our own artificial, arbitrary lines and impose them on others, it is equally vital that we learn to respect the lines that God has drawn in his word.

When God Has Drawn A Line

In creation, God enacted certain lines, limits and boundaries for this planet on which we live, and in all the years since, it has not added an ocean or a continent (Proverbs 8:25-31).  In Proverbs 8, personified wisdom respects the authority of the Lord to set limits and draw boundaries, and when those limits are pressed, as they are in storms and floods and droughts, there is great conflict and injury that follows.

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Editorial: A Little of a Coquette

Modesty, Dancing & Behavior

Years ago I read The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, by Washington Irving, as a high school assignment. At the time I was struck by a short passage which I have remembered since as the "ankle passage." I was amazed at how times had changed, regarding the morals of the day. Recently, I read the short story again, and came across the passage. It is a description of a young woman, (a bit of a flirt), who was the object of Ichabod Crane’s attention. Here is an excerpt:

    "She was withal a little of a coquette, as might be perceived even in her dress, which was a mixture of ancient and modern fashions, as most suited to set off her charms. She wore the ornaments of pure yellow gold, which her great-great-grandmother had brought over from Saardam; the tempting stomacher of the olden time; and withal a provokingly short petticoat, to display the prettiest foot and ankle in the country around."

Truly, if a "provokingly short petticoat" is defined as one that displayed the "foot and ankle", times have changed. I ask that you consider two things in regard to this quote.

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Jean’s Day

(Editor’s Note: The following two short articles were written by brother Reeves almost 2 years ago. I overlooked them for a while, and wanted to include them now. Though the reports they refer to are dated, the lessons found are timeless.)

Jeans’ Day

According to a televised CBS news report, Aug. 30, 1999, a privately owned Lutheran High School in Michigan demonstrated how it deals with teen violence: a strict dress code! Girls wear modest dresses; boys wear shirts and trousers—no jeans for either sex! One day out of the month both can wear jeans. The Principal reported that it is on that day (Jeans’ Day) that he sees more students in his office needing disciplinary action or lecturing. "You act according to your dress." Additional restrictions presented in the dress code were these: no pierced ears on the boys, no bright nail polish on the girls, no shorts on either sex.

No comment needed! You can’t argue with a demonstration.

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Boy Scouts and Bad Girls

The fight for modest attire has taken an ugly turn.

Exhausted from fighting short skirts and tube tops, parents are now being dragged onto yet another battlefield, the T-shirt with a message. Every sale circular, department store and mall corridor is teeming with teenage girls expressing their empowerment beneath their chins.

One tight T-shirt on a thirteen year old girl reads “Boy Scout.” Get it? Maybe her daddy didn’t and let her buy the shirt thinking it would assist her in getting across the street. No, the shirt means that she is boy crazy and that interested parties should approach and apply for her affections.

Another T-shirt is even more blunt. The fifteen year old girls graduate to the message “Bad Girl.” True boy scouts may not approach her, but any sex starved pubescent male will. Ladies used to complain rightly about wolf whistles and lewd comments, but now they invite them at the youngest ages through their abbreviated attire and perverse mottoes.

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Works of the Flesh: Lewdness (Lasciviousness)

Introduction

In this lesson, let us consider “lasciviousness” (KJV) and “sensuality” (NASU), identified by Paul as a soul-condemning work of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21). The particular Greek word that Paul uses in this context is aselgeia.

According to Thayer, the Greek word aselgeia as “unbridled lust, excess, licentiousness, lasciviousness, wantonness, outrageousness, shamelessness, insolence&ldots; wanton (acts or) manners, as filthy words, indecent bodily movements, unchaste handling of males and females, etc.” (1)

Kittel says that aselgeia [licentiousness] is defined as “‘License,’ mostly physical, figuratively spiritual. ‘Debauchery’ or ‘licentiousness’ is the sense in 2 Peter 2:7 (Sodom and Gomorrah) and Ephesians 4:19 (the pagan world). Sexual excess is probably meant in Galatians 5:19 and certainly so in Romans 13:13; 2 Corinthians 12:21; 2 Peter 2:2, 18).” (2)

Vine says that aselgeia denotes “excess, licentiousness, absence of restraint, indecency, wantonness.” (3) Continue reading » Works of the Flesh: Lewdness (Lasciviousness)

The Simple Gospel: New Swaziland Dress Code for Schools

The problem with immodesty in our culture is shocking. Many men and women have long since become comfortable appearing in public in various states of undress. Many preachers will not preach on modesty or, if they do, they say little in terms of what should or should not be worn by God’s people. Some will even take issue with those who try to speak plainly on such things. The following news story entitled, Motion Against Miniskirts In Swazi Schools, came via the Panafrican News Agency. If there are preachers in Swaziland, their work of getting young people to dress properly was made easier recently by a new law. Continue reading » The Simple Gospel: New Swaziland Dress Code for Schools

The Foolishness of Preaching Morality

In 1 Corinthians, chapter one, Paul greets these brethren, stating that he thanked God for them. Since Chloe let Paul know of their division over names (v. 11-12), he told them they were to be united (v. 10). He also stated that he was glad he baptized none but the few mentioned in verses 14 and 16 for fear that some might think he had baptized them in his own name (v. 15).

Paul then turns his attention to the “preaching of the cross” (v. 18). In so doing, he makes several interesting contrasts. In the last half of 1 Corinthians one, Paul contrasts the wisdom of this world and the wisdom of God. Paul said God used what appeared foolish to the world, what appeared weak, that which was considered base, despised, and things that are not “to bring to nought things that are.” Paul’s comments in 1 Corinthians 1:18-21 really brings out the contrast. There, we read, “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” Paul makes it clear that God chose what the world calls foolish to save lost souls. And truly, those who are lost consider the things of God foolish. In fact, “the fool hath said in his heart there is no God” (Ps. 14:1). Therefore, it pleased God to use what men consider foolish (preaching the gospel) to save those who believe (1 Cor. 1:21). Understanding passages like this makes me appreciate passages like Romans 1:16 all the more. Remember that Paul said he was “not ashamed of the gospel of Christ.” Though it was considered foolishness by men, he told the Romans it was “the power of God unto salvation” to save those who believe. Knowing the saving power of God is revealed in the gospel, it is imperative that men and women do all they can to spread the gospel (2 Tim. 2:2). Only through teaching and spreading the gospel will men be presented with the opportunity to hear and obey the saving gospel of Christ (1 Cor. 15:1-2). Continue reading » The Foolishness of Preaching Morality

The Distaff: The Foolishness of Preaching Modesty

The temple of Diana at Ephesus was a huge palace of marble columns. It was beautiful and imposing with an air of majesty. As the Ephesian passed through the massive colonnade to the golden interior, his perverse worship of an idol with prostitution was validated by the splendor of the structure itself. He was joined by almost all of Asia. How could that many people be wrong? Even their economy was consumed with the support of their religion. Then along came Paul with his teaching about a God not worshipped with idols made by hands. How foolish he must have seemed to the Ephesian silversmiths in the shadow of their temple! In like manner, God’s message about modesty may seem foolishly old-fashioned in the shadow of our culture. One may be influenced by fashion magazines, clothes worn on television, or all of the tempting goods at the mall. Together they can make an impressive temple to the god of this world. Here is the comparison: just as Paul’s preaching was foolishness to the Ephesian living in sight of the marble temple to Diana, so may sound doctrine about modesty seem foolish to modern man. Continue reading » The Distaff: The Foolishness of Preaching Modesty