Sermon – Burkas and Bikinis! How to Dress in the Church (1 Timothy 2:1 – 2:10) – Cornerstone Church Kingston
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1 Timothy 2023

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Sermon 5 of 18

Burkas and Bikinis! How to Dress in the Church

Pete Woodcock, 1 Timothy 2:1 - 2:10, 12 February 2023

Pete continues our series in Paul's letter to Timothy, preaching from 1 Timothy 2:. In these verses we see God's vision for how Christian women should be adorned in the church. How should we understand Paul's words about women in our day?

1 Timothy 2:1 - 2:10

2:1 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling; 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.


Transcript (Auto-generated)

This transcript has been automatically generated, and therefore may not be 100% accurate.

And if you have a Bible and you wanna turn to the passage this morning, it's 1 Timothy, chapter 2, and we're going to be hearing from versus 1 to 10. 1 Timothy, chapter 2, verse 1. I urge then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession, and thanksgiving be made for all people. For kings and all those in authority that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

For there is 1 god and 1 mediator between god and mankind, the man, Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This is This has now been witnessed to at the proper time. And for this purpose, I was appointed a herald and an apostle. I am telling the truth. I am not lying and a true and faithful teacher of the gentiles.

Therefore, I want men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing. I also want the women to dress modestly with decency and propriety, adorning themselves not with elaborate hairstyles or gold pearls or expensive clothes. But with good deeds appropriate for women who profess to worship God. This is the word of the Lord and peace in the come now and preach this passage to us. Well, good morning.

My name is Pete Woodcock. I'm 1 of the pastors of the church. If you are visiting, then it's great to have you with us. Particularly if you're visiting with family because of half term and all of that sort of thing, then it's lovely to have you with us. And do make sure you make yourself known to us.

We're going through 1 timothy. Everybody's looking forward to the next sermon, but we're just holding short. But it'll be interesting. Won't you? This is all about women wearing pearls.

And what a joy I have to come and speak to you about that? I do feel I need God's help and God's protection. And that is holy angels who'd be around me with their swords out. So let me pray. Father, help us now to treat your word seriously.

Please help us to treat it seriously. This is your word to us. For every generation. So help us not to edit it in ways that we don't like, but help us to hear and obey that we may be people that follow our God. We pray in Jesus' name, R.

M. Recently, I saw a a TV drama that had a scene in it that actually haunted me for a for a couple of weeks and still does to some degree. The scene was a teenage girl in the loneliness of her bedroom, taking selfies of herself and then posting them up on some kind of social media platform for people to see. And then she'd go to bed and then she was woken up throughout the night by alerts on her phone that would tell her that there's another comment about her picture, another comment about her body. So she was getting little sleep and reading these comments.

And as it goes on, she tries to up the likes and up up the positive comments. By wearing less and less in her photographs that she uploaded and eventually dressing in laundry. To try to get attention. This whole thing was killing her. And her soul died a little bit more every time she uploaded another picture and every time there is another anonymous comment saying something about her body and her picture.

She was a happy, intelligent, girl that was brought close to suicide on her own in alone depressed depressive state. Now that type of thing goes on all the time and there are girls in this room that I probably feel that. All the time. To have your body commented on, all the time is extraordinary pressure. Isn't it?

And many girls and many women feel that pressure all the time. In this drama, the girl eventually had the courage to break down in front of her mother, which was a good thing, and to open up to her mother. But here were the haunting words. She said, Mom, I'm lost. I'm lost.

So that devastated me when I heard that. I'm lost. When women are objectified, that whole objectification of women, it's awful. And if you're a woman that have to go through that, it must be weary some and degrading at the least and scary sometimes to be objectified. To be judged by your body shape or your clothes is to turn women into a mannequin or a car or a dog at Kraft's dog show.

It is to gut women of anything important to take out any deeper stuff and to gut them, like you've got a fish and are just left with the flesh and the fillets. She's only a fully a woman if she conforms to the naturally, unnaturally thin wrinkle free makeup, ideal of Hollywood. She's only a really a woman if she conforms to Hollywood's idea. Of what a woman should be. Women are looked down on for their obsession with losing weight and going on diet.

But at the same time, beauty is seen as only 1 type. You've got to be this shape. You've got to be this form. And the media pushes this as we know and promotes these great lies that you need to be a certain shape to be of any significance in our age or a certain physical appearance to have anything to say to the world. And far too long, the cosmetic industries and the clothing industries and the fashion industries and the publishing industries have this enormous terrony over women that really destroys their their sense of worth.

This is very serious stuff. How many forests have been cut down? To publicize and propagate the beauty myth. And then not only that, There's the hyper secularization. Isn't there of women's bodies?

When you go to the music videos of Beyoncé or Taylor Swift or Ariando Grande, strutting across the stage with perfect bodies that no 1 can really get hold of except them. Or aspire to. Think of how women's bodies are used to sell everything from chocolate to cars. Think of the billboards that are around. I mean, as I was writing this, a bus went past.

With some film that's up, I think, actually, I forgot what the film was, some wet wedding film. With a girl, you know, with a perfect body on, Just pass my window. It's everywhere, isn't it? It's on the billboards. It's in the glossy magazines.

It's on the TV. It's full on on social media. I I actually often wonder what it's like to be like a Meghan Markle. Or or a famous woman. What is it like to be then?

Where people in the paparazzia focusing in and to get a picture of your leg when you're in your bikini. Oh, there's cellulite here, isn't there? Is there a little bit of hairy leg here? Oh, what about those bingo wings? They're forming, aren't they?

Broadenity, isn't it? To be under the spotlight like that, I've even noticed on serious TV programs, the camera angles they do when it's women presenters, telling you about the history of somewhere. There's serious programs. I've noticed you'll you'll notice it when I say. That they often start when the woman standing before a building with her feet, and then the camera angle comes up throughout her whole body and to her head and then she starts speaking, why would you do that?

They don't do that to the blokes. Imagine that. If we started here at Cornerstone, it would be a little disappointing. Wouldn't it? I mean, you'd see a perfect legs, beautiful body, manly body, and then the face.

It's extraordinary, isn't it? Now, that's our world. And I've slowed down and tried to paint that picture because that's our world. And it's that world from which there are voices that dare to say that the Christian message is anti woman. It's extraordinary that they can say that.

And I want to say to those young girls struggling in their rooms for identity, Will you listen to the Christian message? Will you listen to the Lord Jesus Christ? Because he's he's utterly beautifully liberating. Let me read quite slowly a piece of Jesus sermon from Matthew chapter 6. Listen carefully to this.

The wonder and the beauty of how you're treated as a woman. Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life what you will eat or drink or about your body. What you will wear is not life more than food and the body more than clothes. Look at the birds of the air. They do not sow or reap or store away in barns.

And yet your heavenly father feeds them. Are you not worth much are you not much more valuable than they? Can any 1 of you by worrying at a single hour to your life. And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow.

They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, that not even Solomon in all his splendor will dress like 1 of these. If that is how god clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, what shall we eat? Or what shall we drink?

Or what shall we wear? For pagans, non Christians, people that don't know that God is a heavenly father, people that don't know that God loves us, but are trying to prove themselves to God. For pagans, run after these things. And your heavenly father knows that you need them, but seek first the kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow.

For tomorrow, we'll worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. These are wonderful, gorgeous words. He's talking about a heavenly father that will dress you in such a way that even Solomon wouldn't be able to live up to it. There's a heavenly father that will look upon you as such a treasure that you're worth more than all of the fields.

With all of their glory of flowers. This is a beautiful, beautiful thing here. This is something where you can be you before god and bloom and blossom and know the freedom of this reality. And it's that message that changes people's lives, that brings them into church, And so here's my question. What do women expect in church?

What's gonna happen when they walk into church? Women go for a job interview and they'll be judged by what they wear. You know that? Women will go to school and to college and to university and they will be judged by their appearance. But what's it like?

For a woman to come into a place that believes what I've just read about Jesus, about God. What is what's it like for a woman to come into church? And here's my first point. Paul's apostolic vision for the church. We've seen what that word apostolic means.

It basically means the teaching of Jesus. Paul's apostolic vision for the church. This is the teaching of Paul wants a woman to be able to come into church and see men not judging them. Men that are not women watching, but men verse 8 that are left stating up holy hands without anger and disputing that men who are praying. They haven't walked in when they walk into church, into a fashion show or a night club.

They haven't walked into a cattle market where men are bidding for the girls. This is a place of full reverence for God. This is a place that makes men treat women as precious. This is a place where the teaching of the apostles, the teaching of Jesus produces a GAAP A love, divine love, service love. This isn't a place to prove our identity by our clothes.

This isn't a place to prove our identity by costly, jewelry, or what we wear, or don't wear. This is a place of equality and love. This is a place where men are praying for people, including women to be saved from the world and all the lies and all the trash and the abuses that they face out in the world. This is a place where people can come to know God as father, precious father. This is a place where women can be nurtured and cared for and served and learned and grow and be beloved children of God and have massive significance because of this place.

God's design for men and women in this world was that it would be a place where men treasure, honor, love, provide protect, lay down their lives for women. That's how God designed men, a place where men will desire women, but not as objects, but as lovers to serve. Just listen to how A man, a Christian man, is to be a husband to his wife. Ephesians 5 husbands love your wives. Yeah?

Just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy cleansing her by the washing with water through the word and to present her to himself as a radiant church. Without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish but holy and blameless. In the same way, husband's or to love their wives as their own body. It's extraordinary teaching And it's the teaching of the church that this is a place where husbands love and serve and give their lives for their wives. But listen to 1 Timothy.

Paul goes on if you turn over to chapter 5 and verses 1 to 2, you'll see sort of relationships in the church starts with men and it ends with women. Look at it. Chapter 5 verses 1 and 2. Do not review can older man harshly, but exhort him. As if he were your father.

Treat older men as fathers. Treat younger men as brothers. But look at this. Because this is the subject we're on. Older women as mothers.

What a beautiful expression that is? You don't objectify your mother, I hope. You treat older women as mother's mom. You love your mothers. You know your mothers have served you.

You honor your mother. That's the church. Women should come into the church. And if you're an older woman, you should be treated like a mother. Oh, here.

First, you go first. Listen. Younger women are sisters. It's not that a girl comes into church and it's all a lamp. It's see her.

Gosh. You know, she's got legs. I bet you she knows how to use them. You know, it's not that. It's as a younger sister with absolute purity.

That's a safe house. When people walk into church, the apostle Paul wants them to see an alternative society to the world. This is different to the world. 1 that conforms to the beauty of God's creation, where men and women are equal but different. Wouldn't it be a joy to come into a place where you're treated with dignity, respect, love, where you are not objectified, where you don't have to go down the road of drawing attention to yourself by the way you look or the clothes that you wear.

Where your character is more important than your clothes, a place where you're treated as an eternal being. And not some fashion item that's in or out depending on the age. Church, Paul is saying, is to be a place where you don't form your identity by outward fading body and clothes. You form your identity by the inner beauty of good works produced by a gap a love by divine love where you serve your brothers and your mothers and your fathers and your sisters. Your outward beauty will fade, but your deeds will last.

That's my first point. That's that's I think Paul's vision. For the apostles, for for an apostolic church. Here's my second point. Church therefore is not a catwalk Church is not a catwalk.

Look at verses 9 and 10. I also want women to dress modestly with decency and propriety Adawning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God. I also want women. He'd been talking about the men in public worship. And now he turns to the women.

He says, I also want just as the men, mustn't be distracted from prayer by arguing and fights and things and all of those silly arguments about silly false teaching ideas just as I don't want men to be distracted by that. I I don't want women to be distracted by dress. See, both sex is that to be holy when we come to public worship. And we're to worship God in an appropriate way. Men don't do this, women don't dress like that.

And so there are principles laid down here, and they are prince they take time to work out. We're gonna have to work them out. Principals about women's clothings in the context of public worship. We're not talking about the beach here. We're talking about public worship.

And it's marked women by modestly, decency, and proper behavior. And the principle is that you wear clothes that don't draw attention to your self. This is not a catwalk. This is not a nightclub. You don't have to prove yourself by your clothes.

You don't stand out by your clothing. And Paul says, I want. Now that's not a personal preference there. This is an aristolic command here. In other words, this is what Jesus wants.

I want I'm an apostle. I will. I want this to happen. And so he says dress modestly. That means with respect respectable dress respectively.

And so if you're a respectable person, dress respectfully, then that's gonna be different for different cultures and in different ages. So we've gotta work that 1 out. He says dress decently. It's interesting some old versions have don't be shame facedness. So dress decently.

Don't be shame facedness. And it actually comes from the word from avoiding extremes. Don't go to the extremes of fashion. The extremes of boundary or the boundaries. You know, don't be extremely dull and we look at that in a minute when I apply it.

And don't be extreme at the, you know, the front line of fashion where you're pushing the boundaries all the time. You know, don't do a lady Gaga, and dress in meat as she did. She had a dress of meat. That would be odd. You could do that on Church lunch, I guess.

But other than that, I wouldn't do it. But there's decency. Propriity, that means right mindedness. In other words, your mind is in control of what you're dressing at. So don't come to church in a bikini.

There's a place for a bikini. Yeah? You know, and that's the beach, I guess, or before your husband or something. There's a place for a bikini or a swimsuit, but it's really not church. That's not appropriate.

And everybody knows that. Don't they? If you came in a if I was standing here in a bikini, you would know there was something a bit odd. Wouldn't you? Right?

So we're not in a fashion show. This is not a catwalk. You are at home Remember, this is home, the alternative home to the world. You're at home with your brothers and your sisters. And god your father.

Yeah. You don't have to prove anything. First 9, I also want women to dress modestly with decency and propriety. Adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds appropriate for a woman who professes to worship. Poised saying, women, I want you to adorn yourself.

I do really want you to adorn yourself. But I don't want you to use hairstyles and golden pearls and it expensive designer names to be that, you know, that's it. Whether the reason for wearing those types of clothes is to get attention or whether the reason for wearing those type of clothes is to make yourself better than others. Or whether the reason for wearing those type of clothes is some kind of power dressing or whether the reason for wearing those type of clothes is to show that you're rich and important. Or whether the reason for wearing those clothes are, as some commentators would say, is a sort of feminist approach.

In other words, I'm under no man because what was certainly happening in Rome in those times where the women were were actually voting against marriage. And they did it by the way, they dressed. So even though they were married, they dressed with not propriety. They dressed in sort of wayward ways and sexualization ways so that they could say, I don't care about my husband. Look men, you can be attracted to me, and my little husband, I don't care about him.

And that was certainly going on in Rome in those in those days. And in the Roman emperor into those days. And if you're wearing it for that reason, then it's a it's a problem, isn't it? By the way, it's interesting this because perhaps that's linked with the false teaching that Paul mentions in chapter 4, I have no time to read it, but he mentions about the false teachers forbidding people to marry Perhaps there's an anti marriage way of dressing going on here. I'm dressing as a single, even though I'm married, We don't need to be married to men anymore.

We're free. We're married to God sort of approach. Yeah? And I mean, that, as I say, was certainly going on in the Roman empire. And because the church was the place where women were equal and free, it was the freest place on earth to be in the Roman empire, church, then that would attract the these early feminist movements.

They would go to church, to meet up with their fellow feminist women. Church was the free place for women, you see. And perhaps they were then dressing in this way that was a cultural or pro lit or political movement, and the women were dressing in that way to say, I'm part of this cultural go boom. And Paul is saying, hey, I don't want you to dress like that. Be careful how you dress in church.

We're not to be aligned to some cultural political movement because if you do that, you'll lose the gospel. That will become your gospel. So be careful what you wear If if you're wearing t shirts that are saying something cultural, you know, I remember when I was a was a a Christian, there was a there was a bloke who was in the worship band and he always wore a t shirt saying don't pay your politics. He always wore a t shirt saying, I hate Maggie. Now you can wear that on the street if you want to, but not in church.

And perhaps that sort of thing was happening, anti men, anti marriage. You know, we are free women. We will dress like that to prove ourselves. Paul is saying, don't do that. This isn't a political rally.

This isn't a cultural rally. Be careful of that, and it's not a fashion show. So verse 9 again, I want I want the women to dress modestly with decency and propriety. Adorning themselves not with elaborate hairstyles and gold or pearls or expensive clothes. But with good deeds appropriate for women who profess to worship God.

What characterizes the Christian woman is not good clothes, but good deeds. But with good deeds appropriate for a woman, who profess to worship God, they're the things Christian women should be concerned about. Don't measure a woman by what she looks like or her makeup or her clothing. But by the good deed she does. It's not that people notice her but it's whether she notices people in their need.

We saw some time ago. I don't know when it was. And I'd recommend that you go and listen to that sermon because I really enjoyed preaching it on Tabatha or Dorkers in acts chapter 9. But here was a woman that did good works and she was so good. It says she always she was always doing good and helping the poor.

And when she died, it devastated the church. They didn't know what to do. And they sent for Peter to come and resurrect her from the dead because she was so good, because she was always doing good in helping the poor. Just have a look at 1 Timothy 5 again. Just look at that because he has good deeds again.

He says no widow may be put on the list of widows unless they're over 60. So if you're under 60, you can't come on the list. Okay? But not just the age, it says, has been faithful to her husband. I mean, that's something, isn't it?

There's a good work there. Now, that's despised, isn't it? But that's a good work. If you're faithful to your husband, then your husband's died, then the church will be faithful to you. That's what you're saying.

But then look, here's more good works. And is well known for her good deeds, well known for them, such as, and here's a good deed. Here's a good deed. Such as, what does it say? Women?

What does it say? No. What does it say? What does it say loud? Gosh.

Bringing up children. We should never have that phrase and women, it's gonna be banned from now on. When I when someone asks you, what do you do? And if you just say, I'm just a housewife. Get rid of the word just.

Bringing up children is a good deed. Yeah? We always think we have to send them somewhere else to be brought up. Bringing up children is a good deed, and you mothers are doing good deeds. Yeah.

And it goes on showing hospitality, washing the feet of the Lord's people, helping those in trouble and devoting themselves to all kinds of good deeds. They're the clothes to wear. They're the things to put on. How do you dawn yourself? How do you beautify yourself?

How do you get likes from God when you, you know, when he's looking at you? How is it when God looks at you and say, they're mine. When you do those good deeds, don't fall into the trap of thinking about attractiveness is a matter of hairdos and jewelry and clothing. Because the god it's not. So how are you known, ladies?

Are you known by your clothing you wear? Well, she's always got designer clothing, and she's macular, beautiful. Yeah? Or by your deeds. You're wearing God's designer clothes.

God's designer clothes have the name tag good works. When when you're described, you know, when someone's describing you, and they said, no, I don't know who that is. And you say, yeah. No. No.

No. You know. You do know. That's the woman that always brings a meal around when someone's ill. Oh, yes, I've got her.

Or is it, you know the 1? No. I don't know. Yeah. You know the 1.

It's all legs and cleavage. Oh, yeah. I know that. Yeah. How are you known?

It's my third point. What is the time? Oh. Here's my third point. Turning this passage from love to legalism.

Now it's important you tune in here. Turning this passage from love to legalism, the apostolic doctrine produces love. If it doesn't, we've got something wrong somewhere. This is a passage that can and has been, and you probably know, been misapplied and turned into a legalistic, repressive dress code, and it's horrible, and it's not meant to be that. This is where the Christian stars he come out and stop measuring the length of skirts.

Heather's gonna pray afterwards, where is Heather? She's going to pray afterwards that's saying, well, how long is your skirt? Let me measure it. But it comes down to her ankle, but I'm not sure it should be over the ankle probably. You know, there's starsy like this.

And then you can even turn this right around, this passage. So it's a sort of fashion show for dull clothing. So the duller, the clothes, the more godly you are. That's how wicked we can do with this. So I'm going to go through a load of points and we'll see how we get on.

How not to apply this, okay? And then we're in with something more positive. How not to apply this? Or what the false teachers that that Paul was telling Timothy to be aware of would do with a passage like this. Number 1, Paul is not placing an apostolic ban on certain hairstyles.

So anyone got braided hair here. Yeah? You're just about alright. Okay? He's not banning that.

He's not banning wearing gold or designer labels or even pearls. Right? He's not saying that. He's not saying you can't wear those things. He's saying that your beauty shouldn't depend on those things.

Yeah? If your beauty depends on something you buy, you are in big trouble. You'll be like the girl in the bedroom on her own. You've hollowed out, you've gutted yourself. In the old testament, the temple was overlaid with gold, to make it beautiful for a place of God.

In the new testament, we are called the temple of God But we're not overlaid with gold, says, Paul, but with good works. That's what makes you beautiful. And that's a freedom in this world. You can help someone and you're beautiful to god. Here's my second thing.

The answer to wearing these clothes that Paul talks about is not to find some weird religious fashion or some weird religious way of dressing. So that you stand out in some strange way. They know you're a follower of Christ because you wear some weird thing. When you go to that church, because you're wearing weird clothes or you're old fashioned in the way that you dress. Now you can prove this from lots of lots of historical groups throughout Christendom, but the Armish you probably know about or the mennonites.

They're there in the north of America and into Canada. Yes? Back somewhere in the eighteenth century and I don't know the exact date and so you could come and tell me what the exact date is, but it's something like the eighteenth century. They didn't want to stand out. They wanted to obey these rules by be being modest.

Yeah? And so they tried to be modest by wearing plain working class clothes of the day, so they didn't stand out. And the clothing needed to be inexpensive. But they've stayed wearing those clothes. And now they're very expensive to make, and now they stand out like anything, and they go on about buttons and collars and it's very interesting that their godliness is all about what they wear and not about the good deeds or preaching the gospel.

So they've turned this into into something that is just a cultural eighteenth century way of living. In fact, I was look I looked up the army, so I was reading a a a little book on fashion, but even not because I often do that. And it mentioned the Amish in it. And they have 28 styles of hats for the men. Now when we look at the hats, they all look exactly saying that they have 28 styles, and they all mean slightly different things.

And if you want to rebel as a young man, you wear a hat with a thin brim. Whoa. You stand out then. It's pathetic. They haven't moved with the culture within the boundary of decency, they're just wear wearing eighteenth century cultural stuff, which cost them a lot of money and makes them stand out to be different.

Because their godliness is about their clothing. Do you see how we twist these things? John Calvin, who likes John Calvin, hands up who like John Calvin? Yeah? You're not wearing a collar.

Good on you. Calvin didn't like collars. So that's good for you. Are you wearing a collar? No.

Good on you. Who asks like John Calvin? You're wearing a collar. He would throw you out of Geneva for wearing that. Alright?

Who's got anything embroidered on them? Hands up, who's got anything embroidered? Yep. Get out. Who's got a necklace on?

Anybody got any kind of necklace thing? Yep. Get out. Yep. What about silver chain?

Anybody got a silver chain in any way? Brother, Nick, you've got a wheelchair, get out. Yep. If you were in Geneva, they were all banned by John Calvin. Under the sumptory laws.

Anybody here now, here we are, ladies? Anybody color their hair. Right? Who colors their hair? Get out.

Now there were good reasons why he brought that into Geneva because they were sumptory laws to make people better than others in their dress and he was trying to get rid of that. But you see how it goes wrong. And it's hilarious when people say, I'm a Kelvinist. Can you say, oh, why are you wearing a color then? Or purple, hated purple.

Rightly so. Look, the point is it's not about shaping your identity through wearing old clothes. It's not about being godly because you wear old, funny, bloody clothes. You don't dress to depress. Don't wear miserable clothes that make everybody else miserable.

Yeah. You see what's happening. They're they're making this law of love into a legalism and they're forgetting the whole point is that we wear good deeds. Third thing. Yeah.

It's not taking away a woman's expression and personality and dress. We all have different personalities. You like different things. Some of you like color. Some, you know, go for black or whatever it is.

You know, we're different and it's fine to dress within your personality likes. This isn't saying that this is not uniformity. This isn't communism. Communism, you see, tries to make everybody equal and they all have to wear the same dull clothes. Yeah?

This is Christian. And Christianity believes in equality within diversity That's the beauty of Christianity. So we can be a diverse as we like, and particularly as we've got different cultures here, it's a beautiful thing to be diverse, isn't it? The same as you might like a certain kind of food, you might like a certain kind of dress. Well, great.

As long as it's modest and decency and has propriety. You see that we're open to all of that stuff. So it's never saying that you can't have expression and express your personality through clothing. And it's not a burqa. This isn't going for the burqa.

The main purpose as far as I can see for the burqa is to get rid of the shape of the woman, the shape that God created And we get rid of the shape of the woman because men blame women for their struggles of sexuality. So the woman gets blamed for the man's ungodliness and unholiness when he should be holding up holy hands and praying to god he's blaming the woman and so cover our up. We dump all of our Philthy thoughts on the woman, so cover her up. She's not saying that either. And it's not saying the woman shouldn't dress like a woman.

You should. We should be able to know that you're a woman or you're a bloke. And drudgyny, which is the big thing around, or as it used to be called unisex, is not Christian. In deuteronomy, it says a woman must not wear men's clothing or a man wear women's clothing for the lord, or god, detests anyone who does this. In other words, there's got to be within the culture and the cultures change and all of that There's a difference between men and women in the church.

So we don't want everybody wearing just a burqa or everybody wearing the communist work suit. So we're not sure whether it's a bloke or a woman. You are to celebrate that you're a woman. And you'll do that within your own personality, and that's good news. And that's what Paul wants.

Unisys or an Androgyny is not Christian. We need to know who is who. Then the fourth thing is, it's not dressing to see the king coming to church. This is a big 1. Those are people who have a go at us for this.

I don't know how many times I've had to go at. Why didn't you wear a suit? Why didn't you wear a tie? Why don't you? You know?

Why don't you wear a suit? I nearly did it. I nearly I I this morning, I thought I'm gonna put a suit in time and just confuse you. I couldn't be bothered. The height ties.

But we - and the argument is if you're going to see the king or it used to be, if you're going to see the queen, you would dress up, wouldn't you? So if you're going to see God or King Jesus, then don't you dress up? Yes, you do dress up with good works. This isn't a fashion show. This isn't a wedding.

It isn't going to see an earthly king. That's a different world we're coming from. Now, of course, there's diversity in this. Some like to dress up because you're going out and you want to say, you know, I mean, in some ages, if you go right back to slave trade at the slavery in America when the slaves were allowed to go to church on Sunday, they would dress up because that was getting out of their horrible slave clothes and saying look at us, we're free before the king. Yeah, I get that.

Dress up in those circumstances. That's a beautiful thing. So, you know, there are different cultural situations where we got to work out. And if you want to dress up fine but never look down upon someone who doesn't because it's good deeds that it's about, that's the thing the king likes. So don't divert it to clothing.

For fifthing, it doesn't mean that you can't be into fashion You can be into fashion. You can like fashion. And things change. There was a time in this country for women to wear you know, trousers was to be dressed like a man. It's not the case today.

It's different. That's changed. And so, Christians can wear trousers, but we're not to be at the sharp edge of changing the distinction of men and women's dress. That's what I think. So I love this little poem or bit of a poem.

Be not the first by whom the new is tried nor yet the last delay the older side. That's Christian. Be not the first by whom the newest tribe. Yeah? No, yet the last the last the last the last the last sold, the the older site.

We're not meant to be old funny duggies in France. Yeah? But we're not meant to be right at the sharp end, particularly where Androgyny happens, particularly where it's the challenge of the changeover from men to women's clothes. In 10 years' time, we can wear that stuff perhaps. So if you go back to my sort of age, when I was a teenager, a Christian really shouldn't have been a David Bowie person wearing makeup, androgyny, pushing the boundaries.

Yeah? Now you can dye your hair, men red if you like, like he did. And you can put glitter on if you want to because men can do that sort of thing these days. Doesn't look like any of you not do it, but that's fine. But we're not to be at the forefront.

That's what I say. And then here's a sixth thing, you still with me, anyone. Okay. The apostolic doctrine in all of this is to produce love. Yeah?

There must be freedom in the way we dress. But more than anything have good works. Judge yourself by your good deeds. Serve without judging others by their clothes or their body figure. And lastly, but with good deeds appropriate for a woman who professes to worship God That's what it's about.

It's about worshiping God. And women you want to come into church to be in the safe place where you don't have to prove yourself by your dress or your figure or your makeup. But you wanna come into church where there are brothers that love you and care for you. You wanna come into church where there's father god where there's mothers and fathers around you and serve them. And as you serve them, you're dressing and adorning yourself.

And you're like the lord Jesus Christ and you're becoming a completely lovely person and people love you and they see through whatever your body shape is or whatever you've got wrong in your face. They see through it. You know that, don't you? You know someone that's had some kind of facial distortion. If you I know someone who's got quite a bit of facial distortion.

And at first, you only see that. But after a while, when you know this person loves the Lord and you love them, you don't see that anymore. It's a servant of God, and we've worshiped God together, the God who is our heavenly father, The God who cares for us, the God who will dress us in good works and they're much more beautiful than the flowers of field or anything in Solomon War. So church is the safe place for women. The safest place on earth.

I'll stop there and hand over to Dean, but let's bow our heads and have a moment quiet. Father God, we thank you for speaking to us today. Please, Lord, help us. To not live like we are lost in this world. Lord, we we pray that through our witness, through our good works when the world sees the unity that we have with each other through through Jesus that they would see that he is real, that that you love us and that there's a place where lost people can come and be found, be forgiven, be restored, Please help anyone here today who is thinking of that girl that we heard about at the start mom and lost That would be terrible if someone would to walk out of this building today, still thinking, feeling that.

Please lord, you know you know us inside out. You know what we need. Please would you give it to us? Please lord help us to to be a church that is free That's just free to worship you. Will we ask these things in Jesus name?

Oh, man.

Preached by Pete Woodcock
Pete Woodcock photo

Pete is Senior Pastor of Cornerstone and lives in Chessington with his wife Anne who helps oversee the women’s ministry in the church.

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