THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 9-9-01
LESSON TITLE: SOCIALLY ACCEPTED SINS OF TODAY: "IMMODESTY"
Good morning! Thanks for joining us this morning in this service of God. The Living Word Program is committed to proclaiming the simple truth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ - which is confirmed for us in the Bible. I hope you all have your Bible's handy and I hope you are ready to worship God together as we sing praises to His name and study from His wondrous word. Now let's begin by talking to our Father in prayer!
This week we would like to mention another congregation which helps financially to make the Living Word Program possible. The Marshfield Church of Christ in Marshfield, Missouri, has been with our work for some time now. It is great to have them as partners in this effort together to the glory of Christ. We really appreciate this fine congregation for their like-desire to see the gospel of Christ taken to the whole world.
Please take advantage of the opportunity this morning to meet with this family of God. Beginning at 9:30 a.m., these brethren will begin with a Bible study and then at 10:30, they will have a morning worship assembly. On Sunday evening at 6:00, they will again come together for a worship service. This congregation also offers a mid-week service at 7:00 each Wednesday evening. I hope you are able to visit with this family of God very soon.
If you have any questions or need further information about this congregation, please feel free to contact me or their minister, brother Paul Fisher. Their telephone number is: 417-468-4161.
It's now time to join in our songs of praise as we together sing the first hymn of the morning. Won't you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing, "God Is A Fountain Whence."
(SONG # 1)
One of the greatest decisions we ever make is to serve God and to become obedient to His Will! However, I think sometimes people fail to realize the level of commitment we are really making when we do that which God has commanded us to become a Child of His!
To become a Child of God is to become His servant and slave. We must understand that we have been bought and paid for with a hefty price - the own body and blood of Jesus Christ.
We also must accept that as Christians we have a new master to serve under. This includes a new head to guide us and new Savior to protect us. As we are then placed in the body of Christ by the Lord, we are to be obedient to Him, just as we were His own Children.
Probably one of the hardest things to do in our new life as followers of God, is to serve only the one new master. This is the very problem Jesus was addressing in Matthew 6:24. There He said, "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon." Here we read that serving God requires that we follow only Him. We can not be on the fence and try to serve both.
We also have clarified for us in this verse that there are different kinds of things which we can allow to rule over us. It is not just talking about a certain person, or a boss, or a ruler. Jesus even used the example that we can not serve God and mammon or riches. You see, it is just not possible for someone to serve God completely and still try to hold on to the riches of this world - making them also a priority in life.
So, when we choose God, we must choose Him and Him alone. He must be the only priority and we must seek Him first if we expect His promises and rewards. Have you put on Christ as your Lord and Master? If so, is He the only master you serve today?
This morning, we will continue with our series called, "Socially Accepted Sins of Today!" Our specific topic today is, "Immodesty?" So, please continue with us this morning, and after our next song together I will return with our study from God's Word. The name of our next hymn is, "A New Creature!"
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Ray Sullins
Thank you for continuing with us this morning as we again have this opportunity to look into God's word, considering some things today that are really socially acceptable but when we look into God's word, we generally find that God's word is much more strict on these issues and really require something different of those who would desire to be pleasing before Him. We want to talk about immodesty today and if you really think about this word "immodesty", we can look at a pretty broad area, but for our purposes today we really want to look at as far as maybe how we dress and in those things that we do as we get up every morning and we put our clothes on or maybe when we might go to some activity, the way that we clothe ourselves. That's where we really want to focus in our study on being immodest, but there might be other areas that we could claim or really characteristics that might also would make us immodest or improper before God. But really if you think about it, there are many in our society who choose to really dress in ways that often are inappropriate, that are not according really to that which is becoming to one who is professing godliness or striving to do that which God asked them to do. In fact, it doesn't matter where you go or what you're talking about.
It doesn't matter whether you are at the mall and you might pass that individual who has very, very tight jeans or some type of a tight shirt. Some times those shirts are see-through. Even sometimes now the pants we might find are see-through. Not only that situation, but you might go to the ball game and you see that young lady in front of you who is jumping up and down and cheering in very, very short shorts and sometimes we can even see her rear end through the shorts, sticking through the shorts. Not only there but also a pool party, the way that people might dress in putting on types of bikinis and clothing again or maybe I should say, "the lack thereof" of clothing in order that they might have a good time or have fun. Then even sometimes we might say when we go to the beach, many beaches today not only in America, but throughout the world are allowing individuals to even go topless or without tops. So we might ask the question again of immodesty. Where do we draw the line? What's it all about? What does the Bible have to say about this? And I think this is really where we must always start in these types of discussions because the Bible is that which is the greatest authority. It is that which is the final authority in fact, for those who want God to be pleased with them. Some people might say, "Well, it doesn't really matter." Well again, I think they lack the respect that they need for God's word and really what God's word has to say about this topic because it is not silent on this issue.
We might go back to the very beginning in the Old Testament and find out some information from the book of Genesis. I might first of all mention how that nakedness was considered as something that was improper at a certain time, especially after the creation. We'll see how that at first in the creation they felt that nakedness was okay. But later we find that actually there was an occasion that nakedness was improper and considered as such according to the law that God gave.
Now we might look at two different occurrences. One is found in Genesis chapter 9. In Genesis chapter 9, a man that we are very familiar with there, Noah, this man Noah had children and as we know at one time it says that, "he planted a vineyard there," in chapter 9 and verse 21. It continues to say, "And he drank wine and as he drank, he uncovered his nakedness." It says there, "Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father and he told his brothers about it." Now notice what the brothers did there in the next verse, verse 23. "But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it on both of their shoulders and went backwards and covered the nakedness of their father, that their faces were turned away and they did not see the nakedness of him." Now notice here what is being said. So important, so important here that this nakedness was not to be revealed, that one individual is not to show that which was inappropriate to another individual. Now how important was it? It was so important that it seems like here that Shem and Japheth even approached him going in reverse so that they might not in any case see the nakedness of their father, but so that they could cover him up. Well you might say, "Well, was it really that big of a deal?" Well go on with me there in the next verses. In fact in verse 25, after Noah found out in verse 24, it says in verse 25 that "he cursed Cain and said that he would always be and his descendants servants of servants." Now again as we notice in the verse earlier in verse 22, Ham was the father of Canaan, so when it says that he cursed the man of Canaan, he's cursed Cain here because he saw his nakedness. You see, it was not according to the will of God that outside of certain settings or situations, again that being husbands and wives, that really nakedness was approved of or acceptable in His sight.
Now let's go back really to where it all began in Genesis chapter 2, because there we're very familiar with the story about how God created all things in chapter 1, and even in chapter 2, it's reiterated. But also it's mentioned there how God created man. And later on, we know that because man was lonely and God said, "it was not good that he be alone," that God also created the woman for him as a helpmeet out of man. If you'll notice in verse 24 with me in chapter 2 though, He says, "Therefore, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and the two shall become one flesh." And it says in verse 25, "And they were both naked and the man and his wife, and were not ashamed." Now at this early date, at this early time, we see that they were not ashamed. Why? Because all was righteous and good. All was pure. There was not such a thing as sin. There was not something as an understanding of right or wrong or good or evil. But as we know the story continues there in chapter 3 and how they were deceived by the serpent and they did eat of the fruit, and it was after they ate of the fruit if you'll remember that they actually covered themselves. Remember there in verse 7 as it says, "Their eyes were opened after they ate the fruit," chapter 3 verse 7. And then what happened? It says, "They knew they were naked." And at that point they even began sewing leaves together to cover themselves. Well here again, at that point, it seems that things changed, that things changed so much so that no longer was God accepting of individuals to feel that nakedness was acceptable in a public setting. Again, someone would need to cover themselves. In fact, they went so far as to hide themselves even after covering their bodies, they still hid from God, knowing the difference between good and evil.
So in these two situations, we see that in the beginning it was not so, but afterwards, after the sin that they realized that nakedness was unacceptable publicly and even later that even a child, a son seeing the nakedness of his father was unacceptable, that again this was something of the most private nature. What type of nature? Well, the same nature that is mentioned in our verse that we read a moment ago, chapter 2 and verse 25, where it says, "They were naked and not ashamed." Why? Because they were husband and wife. They had become one flesh. You see, there is a setting that we find in the Bible where nakedness is not wrong, where we do not have to be ashamed of being in such a condition without our clothes on and that is with our wife, or for the wife with her husband, because in this situation it is approved of by God.
Let's look further at that and see what the Bible has to say about that. Solomon had so much about this topic. If you'll remember, Solomon being the king, being the son of David, was a man who was very interested in women especially later in his life, he had many, many wives and concubines. But earlier on, we also notice that this man had a great love. In fact, we find there in Proverbs chapter 5, verses 18 and 19 that it mentions there something about the wife of your youth, about that pure wife that is yours, that she is able to have you and you are able to have her in a physical way. Well again, this is according to God, and he talks about that and praises it and glorifies it and in fact, in the Song of Solomon, we see over and over about how he talks about his love and about how he cares so much for the one that he loves. There's nothing wrong with having love for another or finding ourselves physically attracted to another individual as long again as we do not do it in a naked way, in a way that we really have handled ourselves inappropriately, and that's what we want to establish in our discussion today.
If we go over to the New Testament, we find there in the book of Hebrews, a verse that is very specific in this regard once again, in Hebrews chapter 13, the last chapter of that book. We find there that in verse 4 it says, "Marriage is honorable among all and the bed undefiled, but fornicators and adulterers God will judge." You see in marriage there are things that are acceptable. There's nothing wrong with me finding pleasure in the body of my wife or vice versa. There's nothing wrong with me lusting after her. But there is a problem when it is outside of marriage, because this is the design. This is how God instituted that a man and a woman can find pleasure in one another when they become one flesh, not before and not in any other situation do we find that God condones such. Even Paul, a man who wasn't married, understood that according to the Holy Spirit and how the Holy Spirit had instructed him that there was only certain situations that this could be true, that in marriage again that the bed was undefiled, the physical relations, the ability to show our bodies one to another without clothing. That is the only situation.
In fact, if you'll look with me in 1 Corinthians chapter 7, we're reminded there where he discusses this very issue and it says there in verse 2 of chapter 7, he says, "Nevertheless because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife and let each woman have her own husband." Here again, get married because of the lust, because of the sexual desire that you are created with by God Himself. So again, marriage is acceptable. Notice as it goes on to say there in this relationship, the marriage relationship, verse 3, "Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her and likewise the wife also to her husband." The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise, the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does." It goes on to talk about how that we should not deprive each other physically except it be by consent, by agreement of both, and again just for a short period of time. God has designed us to meet the desire that he created us with. But again, that is confined to the marriage situation. And in the marriage situation, many of the sins that we've talked about in themselves would not be sinful because God designed the marriage that we fulfill these desires that we have been created with.
So as we again look at immodesty and we look at these situations, we find that in the beginning nakedness was not wrong, but because of sin, understanding good and evil, that God has said that we must be modest, that we must be righteous, that we must not expose ourselves in an indecent way in any situations publicly. Except again, we find that in marriage we are given the ability to again to quench the desires that we have of a physical nature.
Now then what about outside of marriage? Well let's see what it has to say. In fact, we can actually what Jesus had to say about it in Matthew chapter 5 as He dealt with this issue and really obviously must have known of some who had the problem among them at that time, again the followers of God. In Matthew 5 and verse 28, if you'll read with me there, we'll hear the following. He says, "But I say to you whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery in his heart." Here we see that lust, lust again is improper outside of the marriage situation. If a man looks at a woman to lust, then he is committed adultery in his heart. He has again had a desire, a physical desire and has in a sense gone through it in his mind. That's what lust is talking about here. It's not talking about just maybe finding beauty in another. I know when I've lived in Africa some, they have a great problem understanding this. They have a hard time being able to understand that you can actually find that something's beautiful, like you like a car or you find that a house is very beautiful or awesome in some way, and then they have a hard time understanding that with a person you can feel the same, that you can look at a lady and you can say, "Wow, you know she is beautiful." And that's not lust. That's not a sin. The sin is when we begin to lust and lust meaning again that we begin to in our minds desire to commit something that is wrong with her, when we start trying to see them without clothing or carry out actions in our minds that are improper. That's what's being spoken about here and again it's unacceptable. Well, the first thing we always hear though in relationship to this as we've discussed in some of our other topics is people might say, "Well, if he does then that is his problem. You know, I like wearing these shorts. It's awfully hot outside and even though they are short shorts, you know if someone lusts after me, then that is his problem." Well not necessarily. The Bible actually tells us just the opposite. In fact, in 1 Corinthians chapter 8 and verse 13, Paul went to the extent to say that if a brother would stumble because he even ate meat, then he would not eat meat around such a brother. Why? Because he would be guilty, guilty of causing his brother to sin. Well, you see here causing someone to stumble is just as wrong.
If you wear clothing or present yourself in such a way that is unbecoming of a child of God, what have you done? You have caused someone and placed temptation in front of them and if they sin, you cannot wash your hands of it. There are two verses that primarily also deal with this topic in the New Testament. The first being in 1 Timothy chapter 2, and it says there in verse 8 beginning, "I desire that men everywhere would lift holy hands and pray without wrath and doubting and like manner also that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel with piety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing." Now in all this here, he's giving warnings about how you present yourself. But what's it all about? What's it all about Paul? What are you talking about? In verse 10 he says, "But which is proper for godliness." In other words, a woman professing godliness with good works. In this verse as in 1 Peter chapter 3 and verse 5, we again understand that it says here that we must do all things to the glory of God, that a woman, a man, and again we don't want to single out the ladies here because men can be just as guilty of going half naked, and when they do if they were to cause a woman to lust, they would be just as guilty. But here the situation is that everything we do must profess godliness. When you're at that pool party and you've got that bikini on, would someone say, "Man, what a good Christian." Why do you wear it? I might ask the question, "Why is it that we might want to adorn ourselves in such a setting and a situation?" Well, there's only one reason that I can think of. You want people to look, and it works doesn't it? We want to buff ourselves up guys somehow and then wear these small bathing suits and then have the girls look at us. Isn't that the reason? Or is it really just because it feels better to wear such a small bathing suit? What about it ladies? What about it men? Is it something really that professes godliness, to the glory of God? That's the same thing Peter said again, that "all things are done to the glory of God." When will we ever realize as followers of God, as Christians that we must present ourselves worthy? Being Christ-like. "Presenting ourselves different from the world," Romans 12:1-2. Not like it but different. That we are individuals that "abstain from evil" as we read in the book of 1 Thessalonians chapter 5 and 22. "That we do all in the name of the Lord," Colossians 3:17. And that "we put our minds and affections on things above," Colossians 3:2. And that we "meditate on those things that are good, godly and righteous," Phillippians 4:8. You see, that's the goal that we have. In all things that we do, in our clothing and our dress, in the way that we pierce our body, in the way that we tattoo our bodies, let's do everything in a way that causes people to see godliness and God in us rather than doing something that causes people to feel like we are just another individual in this world, that we are satisfied with being like all the other nations, that we are happy when we do things and wear things that cause people to lust and to be tempted by what we are doing.
Won't we all take more time to wear that which is professing godliness and that which according to His will.
(SONG # 3 - "Footprints Of Jesus!")
What a wondrous time we have had together in participating in the things of God. I hope we all have been encouraged through our time spent together. Please remember, you are invited to join us every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this service of God.
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As Christians, may we all take more time to attire ourselves in a way that is always becoming to those who are Children of God.