Outward Appearance--Inward Me
by Dorothy King
"The aged women...teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, CHASTE, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands...Titus 2: 3-5.
This was originally class material for a young women's Bible class for July 30, 1987.
CHASTE; To be pure, virtuous, modest, innocent, blameless.
I. Reason for the study: Immodest trend in the church.
II. Guidelines on the subject requested.
A. Most "don'ts" and guidelines taught and preached 15 years ago are seldom, if ever, discussed. It's just about impossible to pick out a Christian from others in the world, because it seems that we've all melded together.
III. What do the Scriptures say about "outward appearances?"
A. Adorning oneself outwardly, a common practice.
1. Bridegroom used ornaments; a bride, jewels. Isaiah 61:10.
2. A maid with ornaments; a bride remembers her attire. Jeremiah 2: 32.
3. Clothes of crimson, ornaments of gold, painted eyes. Jeremaih 4: 30.
B. Majesty of Christ's Kingdom compared to the King's daughter, richly dressed. Psalm 45: 13-15.
C. The holy city, new Jerusalem, compared to a bride addorned for her husband (Revelation 21: 2).
IV. Two ways to look at us: I Samuel 16:7
A. Man looks outwardly.
B. The Lord looks inwardly at the heart.
V. The attire of Jezebel and harlots.
A. Jezebel beautified herself just before her death. II Kings 3: 30.
B. Good description of how harleots and other wicked women entice men. Proverbs 7: 6-27; harlots at work in Ezekiel 23: 40-45.
VI. Peter warns against outward adorning for the wrong reason. "...ye wives...whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; but let it be the midden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands." I Peter 3: 1-5.
VII. Paul also speaks: "In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array. But which becometh women professing godliness with good works." I Timothy 2: 9-10.
VIII. Paul tells Timothy in his youth to be an example of the believers in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in PURITY. I Timothy 4: 11-12. The same applies to youthful women, whom he instructed Timothy to intreat as sisters, with all PURITY!
IX. Paul speaks to the church at Corinth of his desire to present them as a CHASTE virgin. II Corinthians 11: 2.
X. Peter tells wives to use CHASTE conversation in trying to convert unbelieving husbands. I Peter 3: 1-2.
XI. Worldly influences of permissiveness and immorality surround us, but the CHASTITY of a Christian woman shines before men who see her good works and give glory to God. Matthew 5: 16.
XII. A a Christian woman, my body is the temple of God and the Holy Spirit. I Corinthians 3: 16-17.
XIII. The church as a whole is the body of Christ. Ephesians 1: 22-23. As a part of the church, I, as a Christian woman, help the entire body to be strong or I can contribute to spiritual weakness. "Modest, chaste, lady-like behavior upbuilds the body itself and its reputation in the world. Opposite behavior by one Christian woman can quickly destroy the church and its influence on society ... to glorify God, the Christian woman needs to be modest in every way. Such modesty leads her to be moderate, retiring, proper, and seemly. This will include the way she dresses (I Timothy 2: 9), speaks (Matthew 5: 34b-37 ), Colossians 4: 6; acts (I Samuel 2: 3), and thinks (Proverbs 23: 7; Romans 8:7; Colossians 3: 2)." [from Bid the Older Women...Train The Yong Women..., lesson 5 by Linda Holcomb.]
XIV. What teaching did you receive from your mother/grandmother that was just for you, because you were a girl?
XV, Vashti, a heathen woman but an example of modesty. Esther chapter 1.
A. Vashti was wife of Ahasuerus (Xerxes), king of Persia. She was summoned by the kind to appear at a feast of seven days which he held to display the riches of his kindgom before the princes and nobles of all his provinces. The King was "merry with wine," and Vashti did not want to parade herself before all the people. The king was so angry, he took away her crown as his queen.
From Daughters of Eve by Lottie Beth Hobbs, pages 147-150. "As far as we know, Vashti was not a worshipper of God and therfore would be classified a heathen queen. Yet her firm conviction and her example in modesty may serve to shame many who are God's children ...
"Why does God instruct women to dress in modest apparel? Not because the body is harmful, but because it is sacred. The body is a creation of God; and for Christians it is the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. It is too sacred to be desecrated and paraded exposed before the gaze of the whole world. The physical body is a treasure which should be kept pure and inviolate, reserved for the holy relationship intended by God.
"God requires modesty lest women lead others into sin. Much has been said of David's sin, but everyone recognizes that Bathsheba was not held guiltless. She also had to suffer the consequences of their sin. If Vashti had been living where Bathsheba lived, think how different David's life probably would have been. The father of a teen-age boy said, 'I am so grateful to mothers who require their daughters to dress in a manner which makes it easier for my boy to conduct hinslef as a Christian.' How wonderful it would be if this could be said of all mothers of teen-age daughters.
"What constitutues modesty? It involves more than just apparel, but this is the aspect under consideration in I Timothy 2: 9. Surely honesty would force the conclusion that much of the scanty clothing worn today cannot possibly be classified modest. When in doubt, test a clothing outfit by these questions: 'Would I want to see the most godly woman I know dresse in this? Would it look immodest on my mother/grandmother? Would I want the godliest man I know to see me? Would this pass God's test?'
"Since the ideals of women can control the moral standards of any society, it is alarming when a nation develops the attitude that the most notable attainments of women are measured primarily by inches. The young ladies of this generation have a real challenge before them. If they will hold to spiritual precepts and moral purity, think of the excellence to which the next generation could attain. If they fail to do so, think how disastrous will be the results.
"Vashti had strong convictions and spoke one of the righteous "no's" of the Bible. Others were Joseph to Potiphar's wife (Genesis 39: 7-20); Moses to living in the king's palace (Hebrews 11: 25); John the Baptist, who lost his head standing for truth (Mark 6: 22-28); Daniel who refused to stop praying to God (Daniel chapter 6); and Stephen who was stoned to death because of his faith in Christ (Acts 9:79)."
XVI. Holding firm to our convictions---
A. All of us believe something, but we don't all necessarily stand for something. We must make sure our beliefs are right and then be willing to withstand the wiles of Satan to hold on to them.
B. Satan goes after the one who stands for nothing.
1. If honestly is not important to me, then Satan can influence me to be dishonest.
2. If I don't stand against stealing, then Satan approaches me to steal.
3. If I don't stand four-square against lying, then Satan has a fertile ground to sow seeds of lying.
4. If I don't stand against IMMODESTY and for a PURE, CHASTE life, then how can I expect Satan to leave me alone?
5. Satan looks for my weak areas in which to work, and he won't waste his time on my strong areas.
6. This principle can be applied to all areas of my life, and it's totally up to me to strengthen my own convictions, based on Biblical truths. Oftentimes it comes with a price which is difficult to pay, but Philippians 4: 13 says, "I can do all things through Christ which strengthenth me."
XVII. Having established that God requires MODESTY with a PURE, CHASTE life, does my outward appearance reflect how I really am inside?
A. Am I sending the wrong signals?
B. Do I want to be responsible for some man's impure thoughts? Proverbs 30: 18-20: "There be three things which are too wonderful for me, yea four which I know not: The way of an eagle in the air; the way of a serpent upon a rock; the way of a ship in the midst of the sea; AND THE WAY OF A MAN WITH A MAID. Such is the way of an adulterous woman; she eateth and wipeth her mouth, and saith, I have done no wickedness."
C. Do I want the world to judge the church by me?
D. There was a time when God's people were recognized by their modest dress, their manner of speaking, their faithfulness at church services, their stand against immorality. Our influence was great! That can no longer be said in truth.
IVIII. How important is my appearance at work? at play? at worship?
A. How do people re-act to the way I look?
B. If first impressions are lasting impressings, will others ever know the real me?
C. Does the way I look influence the way I act?
D. Does sloppiness have a place?
E. Our ability to worship God should never be determined by our outward appearance, but our sincerity in worship could be influenced by our attitude of dress.
F. How important is outward appearance between husband and wife?
G. How important is good grooming?
H. Is my husband loving and caring toward me, or is he somewhat turned off by me?
XIX. What about modesty in men?
XX. What about mixed swimming?
XXI. Custom plays a large role in what is modest. In order to establish Biblical gidelines, how much does it play in today's society that we as Christians might feel we're pleasing God, but at the same time not drawing critical attention that would lessen our influence with others?
As Christian women, both young, old, and in-between, we are advertisements for the Lord and His church. As such, we must not have the attitude, "What I do doesn't concern anyone but me." But rather, "I'll examine my personal habits, because I want to please God, be a good example to my family, and influence others for Christ--and not bring down criticism on the church, the body of Christ."
I Thessalonians 5: 22--"Abstain from all appearance of evil."
I Peter 4: 16--"If we suffer a a Christian, let us not be ashamed."
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