Yes, the way an evangelist dresses will affect one’s communication. What the Apostle Paul said about women, the principle is just as applicable to men as well. “Likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, 10 but with what is proper for women who profess godliness, with good works.” (1 Tim. 2:9-10)
Proper standards of dress are important to us as true Christians, and they are important to the God we worship. What the Scriptures say about dress and grooming is clear evidence that the Sovereign of the universe has wholesome standards of clothing for his true worshippers. Therefore, our choice of clothing and grooming should not be determined only by what is pleasing to us. First and foremost, we should consider what is pleasing to our heavenly Father.
Certainly, the clothes that someone wears makes the first impression to those who see us. When Jesus said to be no part of the world, this is the sort of thing that he referred to, the way one dresses, the way one thinks, the way one believes, the things one does, and the way one carries herself. The Apostle Paul told the Christians in Rome:
Romans 12:2 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
How do we view the world? How do we view celebrities and other prominent people? How do we view movies and sports stars? These men and women may be worshiped in the minds of this world. Does any Christian spend an immense amount of time playing or watching sports, as though it is a religious institution? Does a believer demonstrate a worshipful attitude toward immoral people within the sports or entertainment worlds? Does a Christian feed their mind on inappropriate music videos, movies or songs on their iPod and computer? Does a Christ follower dress similar to these idols? Does one have a rebellious spirit because of the lyrics absorbed from songs? Have parents taken the time to listen to the lyrics of the music that their children have on their iPod and computer? Both adults and children idolize and copy these influential stars, and it affects their relationship with family and God. Parents must keep themselves and their child or children focused on the Christian walk, not the pattern of this world.
Women who set a good example for younger females demonstrate modesty and have self-control in the way they dress, as well as their personal appearance, and in other aspects of life. (1 Tim. 3:11) Again, this principle would not just apply to women alone. Paul addresses some things, which he believed unsuitable for women to wear in the congregation meeting: “braided hair and gold jewelry or pearls or expensive clothing.” We must examine the context of first-century Ephesus, the place to which Paul directed this counsel.
In ancient Ephesian festivals, women dressed up in their finest clothes in honor of the pagan goddess Artemis, the guardian of Ephesus. Why? “It was the custom at this festival to find husbands for the girls and wives for the young men.” However, Paul had to exhort the wealthier women of the Ephesian congregation, that this is not the way of the modest and humble Christian women. Some of the well-off women may have dressed up in their finest and flaunted their jewelry, which left the poorer women feeling uncomfortable. Moreover, this would have disrupted meetings because the women who were dressed in such sensual ways would have potentially sexually stimulated men.
Both Peter and Paul moved to direct Christian women not to give excessive care to their hairstyle and jewelry, as was the practice of the time. Alternatively, they exhorted women to emphasize “the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is highly valuable in the sight of God.” (1 Pet 3:3-4; 1 Tim 2:9-10) The woman’s responsibility, as well as the man, is to draw attention to God, not to themselves.
Ephesians 4:18 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
18 18 being darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart;
First century Christians had a continuous battle against the spirit of the world that catered to fleshly desires, which set them apart from the unbelievers of that time. Many people in nations of that time had calloused hearts, which ceased to feel moral pain. They sinned with greediness, having no remorse, just seeking more gratification. Thus, the Apostle Paul’s words aptly describe the first-century world, their deep spiritual and moral darkness. This certainly proves to be the case in our day, as well. Therefore, Christians must follow Paul’s counsel from verse 17, which states, “That you must no longer walk as the Gentiles [worldly people] do, in the futility of their minds.” We must be walking with God, staying separate from the world, being in it, but not fully of it. While Christian today face the Bible critic, who would argue that God does not exist, believers know he does exist and that many in human history have walked with him, by adjusting their life course, to align with his will and purposes. The prophet Micah wrote: “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does Jehovah require of you, but to do justly, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Mic. 6:8, ASV_
Why will the way one dresses affect one’s communication? How does one view the world? How do we view celebrities, other prominent people, and movie and sports stars? In ancient Ephesian festivals, what did they expect of women? Why do Christians have a continuous battle against the world?
|Evangelism Opportunity: While going house-to-house to evangelize in a community the woman who answers the door says, “We are Muslims.”
You ask, “____?”
She might reply, “____.”
You respond, “____.”
Do Not Love the World
1 John 5:19 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
19 We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.
The ultra-religious Christian has one serious flaw in his spiritual armor. They overplay what can and cannot happen. Thus, he either laughs at the idea of Satan affecting their life or dismisses it as absurd because God protects him. This overconfidence reveals a lack of knowledge of Scripture. Let us be honest: Satan, the devil, cannot defeat Jesus Christ. He cannot win the war of Armageddon, but he intends to inflict as many casualties as he can before Armageddon comes, and God casts him into the abyss. In a war, the enemy likes two different kinds of opposition: (1) those that have grown weak; and (2) those that remain overconfident, because both make mistakes. Satan knows for sure that he must weaken a person, or allow them to gain too much confidence in their walk with God because of arrogance. Satan will attack with unrelenting power when we are alone, and he is very crafty.
The world falls under the influence and control of Satan, the devil, as the Apostle John affirmed in 96-98 C.E. when he wrote 1 John. He also wrote the Gospel of John just two years earlier where he recorded what Jesus had said about Satan in 33 C.E., “Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out.” (John 12:31) Nevertheless, other texts show Satan has been controlling world affairs since the fall of Adam and Eve. By the time of the flood, Satan successfully attracted the help of a third of the angels, who have long been known as demons. Satan has long deceived most of humankind, and only must focus his undivided attention on the true followers of God as they try to return to pure worship. (Micah 4:1; John 15:19; Revelation 12:12, 17) In these critical and difficult times we live in, true followers of God have Satan and legions of demons paying special attention to them.
Thus, Satan uses many crafty acts being used by Satan these days, and they play on our human weaknesses while we remain imperfect on this side of heaven. Humans bend toward evil, so Satan has the upper hand at the start. However, Christians have a new spirit that dwells within each one of us once we put on the new self, as well as, possess the mind of Christ. Moreover, we must detest what is evil, and stand firm in what is good. By doing so, this will not open up any opportunities for Satan to take advantage of us. Lastly, we must maintain a good conscience because it will serve as our guide. If believers repeatedly violate the Christian conscience that has been trained to distinguish between good and bad, it will become calloused and unfeeling. To violate the conscience means to ignore it when it tugs at a believer to do the right thing.
If we violate our conscience over time, we may lose the ability to distinguish between what is right and wrong. Nevertheless, when we conduct our lives as a Christian, our clothes say things about us before we ever have an opportunity to speak. Just as we evaluate people that we see, they evaluate us, as well. Our clothes send a sense of what we believe, what we think, and our objectives. When a youngster wears, a T-shirt to a church that says objectionable things on it, or a woman wears a revealing dress, or a man wears shorts and sandals into the church, it sends a message. Today, some pastors go to church wearing long hair, a scruffy beard, and an earring, promoting an attitude that those who are clean cut are old fashioned. Instead of picking a look that displays a spirit of the world or that advocates an immoral lifestyle, we must demonstrate that we truly “glorify God.” (1 Pet. 2:12)
An internet web page asks, “Why are pastors so hip looking?” One person, who responded, offers us the mentality of many Christians today,
What’s wrong with pastors looking hip (male) or sexy (female)? After all, they are salesmen selling their product to the masses. It never hurts to dress up trendily to give a rocking impression.
Another internet web page mocks the conservative look of pastors by saying, “Ensuring Your Pastor Isn’t ‘Cool’” It then makes several mocking points for someone to identify whether their pastor is cool or not: “Warning Sign 1: Your pastor wears narrow-rimmed glasses. [Supposed cool thing] Warning Sign 2: Your pastor doesn’t like to wear ties. Warning Sign 3: Your pastor actually doesn’t wear a tie. Warning Sign 4: He writes a book, and it sells more than 5,000 copies. Warning Sign 5: Your pastor makes reference to music written after 1916. Warning Sign 6: Your pastor is seen wearing T-shirts in public. Warning Sign 7: Your pastor wears sandals at the church office. Warning Sign 8: Your pastor REALLY likes coffee. Warning Sign 9: Your pastor has anything made by Apple.”
The church has developed into a breeding ground for worldly ways. Many churches have not grown because believers have failed to go out into the community, so church-goers resorted to adopting the look and feel of worldly ways. This proves to be a sign of a spiritually weak church where certain people believe they possess spiritual maturity because they prove to be so accepting. They attempt to mold their church so that the world outside of their doors will accept them as cool, hip, sexy, and modern. However, taking each individual must consider what Jesus said about those who could benefit from the Kingdom.
Matthew 7:21 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
What did the Apostle John say?
1 John 2:15-17 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. 17 The world is passing away, and its lusts; but the one who does the will of God remains forever.
Some believers may agree that when they go out into the community to share biblical truths with an unbeliever, it is best to dress by showing respect for God, as opposed to drawing attention to themselves. However, perhaps they have gotten relaxed in the congregation and have lowered their standards. (2 Cor. 6:3, 4) Believers must remember that we must prove ourselves if we are going to be Christians 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and we need modest dress each and every one of those days. After all, witnessing opportunities make themselves available to us every day.
Dress for the occasion whether one may be at the beach, a movie, out to dinner, having guests over, or whatever the occasion. Being modestly dressed simply means we must be clean and orderly. What we wear should reflect the moral values of the Scriptures. This does not mean that a woman must dress like a nun, covered from head to toe, but that what she wears will be viewed as morally clean. The new look among sports, music and movie stars is to look disheveled, unkempt, ruffled, and scruffy. Therefore, to adopt that spirit does not stay within the values that are found in Scripture, and it sends a message to anyone who sees us. Whatever a believer wears it must be adjusted properly, neat, clean, and modest, as opposed to gaudy, flashy, loud, sensuous, or provocative. (1 Pet. 3:3)
What one serious flaw does the ultra-religious Christian have in his spiritual armor? Satan and his demons focus their undivided attention on who these days? What about the current condition of the world causes Satan to have the upper hand? What has the true Christian been given? How important is the Christian conscience and how can it become calloused? What have of the modern day churches become like to attract new people? Why is this wrong in the extreme?
|Evangelism Opportunity: While going house-to-house, to evangelize in a community, the woman who answers the door says, “I am a Hindu.”
You ask, “____?”
She may reply, “_____.”
You respond, “____.”
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