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And He Himself gave some to be....evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ...
- Ephesians 4:11-12

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Location: The Hill Country of Texas

Pastor - Providence Reformed Baptist Church
Director - TIME in the Word Ministries

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Do Not Look Like the World

TIME in the Word - Daily Devotional
Together for Inspiration, Motivation, and Encouragement

Verse of the Day - 1 Tim 2:8-10
I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting; 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.

Daily Scripture Reading - Proverbs 31

Puritan Catechism
Question #30 - What is effectual calling?

Answer - Effectual calling is the work of God's Spirit (2 Tim. 1:9) whereby, convincing us of our sin and misery (Acts 2:37), enlightening our minds in the knowledge of Christ (Acts 26:18), and renewing our wills (Ezek. 36:26), he does persuade and enable us to embrace Jesus Christ freely offered to us in the gospel ( Jn. 6:44-45).

Confessing Our Faith
A daily reading from The Second London Baptist Confession of Faith, 1689, as amended by Charles Spurgeon.

Chapter 3 – God's Decree

Devotional Thoughts
We have followed a fairly simple progression, or digression, through the influence and affect that the world has on the church. We have seen that followers of Jesus Christ do not belong to this world. We are not of the world. And if we befriend the world and adopt worldy thinking, speaking, and behavior then we make ourselves an enemy of God. Do we even realise how serious a charge that is? To make ourselves an enemy of God?

And just as we are not to think, talk, or act like the world today we will see that we are not to look like the world. We are a peculiar people! That does not mean we dress in peculiar fashions, necessarily. But it does mean we are in EVERY WAY conceivable different and distinct from the world.

Let me state right off that some in circles I have traveled think that this means we are to shun all that is fashionable and dress in clothing and in styles that were "in" 30 years ago. The truth is, first, that those nasty styles have unfortunately come back in vogue, and secondly, purposefully dressing out of date proves nothing when it comes to our spirituality.

The bottom line is that Christians should always be presenting themselves from the inside out as modest, moral, and mature. The world dresses in the opposite way. The world is immoral, immodest, and immature. Let's think about these as we examine the Scripture and what it tells us about our outward appearance.

1 Timothy 2:8-10 truly sums this discussion up concisely:

I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting; 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.

Admittedly, some people think that these verses address specifically the women. They think that modesty is a topic women need to study but a man can wear whatever he wants! However, we see in context that this is for men and women. It is for all of us.

The men are expected to pray and be holy without wrath and doubting. Women adorn yourselves in modest apparel and don't look like the world. It is really a shame that we should even have to say that we need desperately to teach young people (and old alike) not to dress like the world. But we must teach each other not to talk, think, act, or dress in any way like world because we don't belong to the world. And if we love dressing up in the latest immoral and immodest fashions and cannot wait to shop for these revealing cloths, then the truth is we are embracing the world and the love of God is not in us!

Again, men, you are expected in every way inwardly and outwardly to be known for your holiness and communion with God. You are to openly and actively shun and reject uncontrolled anger and immaturity in the faith! You are to stirve to be self-controlled, spiritually mature, and HOLY. You should be known for your prayer not your profanity, your spiritual maturity and not your fantasy sports team.

Women, you are to be modest. Modesty of course is lost when the inside does not match the outside. Really, if the outside appears modest but the inside is not then worldy attitudes and words will tip off the observant observer. And if the inside is rebellious, self saturated, and immodest, then the outside will most likely reveal that true state of being.

Modest

What is modesty? For men and women it is humility, love, gentleness. It is the fruit of the Spirit. For men it is being manly and strong, a leader yet also transparent and holy. For women it is being feminine and submissive to your husband.

In fact, the measure of beauty men is your wife. She, not the cheap counterfeit images that the world offers, she is the measure of true beauty for you. Wives, your husband is the ideal man. Teach this to your kids and they will not fall for the vain images presented all around us today.

Men, if you want to know if you are being immodest or flirtatious, ask your wives. They know what women are looking for. Women, if you need to know if you are dressed seductively, ask your husbands. They know!

Why is modesty important? Because to be immodest is to literally make an offer of yourself to another person in a sexual way - a person that has no right to think or act toward you in a sexual manner. To entice a member of the opposite sex through dress, attitudes, or speech is to defraud others, to betray your marriage and purity, and to sin against God and your family. Even if you are single, to offer to a person who is not your spouse what rightly and truly only belongs to your spouse is to lie and defraud. EVEN IF YOU ARE NOT AWARE THAT YOU ARE BEING IMMODEST, immodesty is still a sin!

As a side note, it is true that if a person is filled with lust they can lust at another person who is modestly dressed. But we as believers should be aware, educated, and active in our living, talking, and looking so that we are what we appear to be - holy. We should never give the world an opportunity to cast its eyes upon us in a lustful manner!

Moral

Just as we are to be modest, we are also to be moral. The word modest means "well arranged" and the word moral means "clean." In truth, this brings up a point I have been pondering for some time. In this day and age it seems that there is a lot of discussion going on about sex before marriage. Some teens in a recent poll even explained that many "acts" that were once considered taboo are now not even considered "sex". Sex has come to refer only to intercourse. And we in the church have let the world define the terms to the point that a former President of the United States argued about what the meaning of the word "is" is when he was accused of having sex with an intern!

But when it comes to not looking like the world here is what we must remember. While the Bible is specific in why God has given us sex within the context of marriage we must not let the argument descend to the point that we are arguing what is and is not sex. No. The discussion needs to be about what is and is not IMMORAL. Immorality, uncleaness, lust - it all refers to those actions, thoughts, and words that defile. So we are to be moral. Good, right, and clean, above reproach. If our words or actions lead others into sin then that is immoral! If the way we dress is designed to draw attention to our bodies, or designed to draw a man or woman's eye to features that are in fact reserved for admiration by our spouse in the privacy of the marriage, then we are being immoral.

Let us raise the standard to where the Scriptures firmly place it - not on sex or even on lust. But on being moral!

Mature

Third, in not looking like the world we need to be mature. We need to look and act our age. The world is obsessed with youth. As if growing old were a curse. In truth the Bible has lots of positive things to say about growing old!! It is God's plan for us. If we continue to live we will get older.

And yet the world has gone to extremes from injecting toxins into the body to erase wrinkles all the way to radical make-over surgeries that reconstruct our every feature. Listen, if you have such a bad self image that you need radical surgical mutilation in the name of feeling better about yourself then you have more serious problems than a big nose, chin, or thighs!

Chasing youthfulness in dress, cosmetics, or through surgery is really fearing man and being driven by pride further and further into sin. Why do we fear the world? Why do we fear what other people think about us? Like Del Fehsenfeld, Jr., used to preach about fearing men, "We should be more concerned with what God knows about us!"

Maturity is expressed in dressing nicely, being well put together, and being deliberate in how we present ourselves inside and out. It is more than the clothes we wear. It is so much more that the outward appearance. But the outward appearance is a factor in determining what our standards of modesty, morality, and maturity are. In other words, being a slob, a snob, a siren, or a saint starts in the heart and works its way out in how we present ourselves to others.

The church needs to wake up and see that the world has invaded. It is telling us how to think, talk, act, and dress. And in the end, the result is that we cannot tell by looking who is and is not a follower of Jesus Christ. And if someone has to ASK us if we are a follower of Jesus then we surely must not look much like Him!!

Today, with purpose and determination, strive to think, talk, act, and look modest, moral, and mature.

Links for Further Study
(links to study each daily topic in more detail if you have the desire and the time)

Purity by John MacArthur
Female Piety by John Angell James
For Single Men and Women by John Piper
The Counsel on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood

Bible Reading For Further Study

Recommended Songs for Worship

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