Summary: The need for modesty
1 Timothy 2b: Modesty
Turn with me this morning to the second chapter in the book of 1 Timothy. Timothy is towards the end of the New Testament, in the second half of the Bible. We saw that this is a letter from the Apostle Paul to Timothy, his young protegé. Paul left Timothy at Ephesus to straighten out the problems in the church there. Ephesus was a city filled with idol worship, sexual immorality, and false teachings.
Timothy, though, is a young man and sometimes people in the church did not follow his leadership and give him the respect he deserved. Timothy was timid and shy. He sometimes was sickly, or at least was so troubled by the problems in the church that his stomach bothered him. The tension in the church had him to the point of giving up. But Paul gives him a letter to encourage him to keep on going.
We saw Paul give three commands to Timothy in chapter 1:
1. Teach Sound Doctrine 2. Preach the Gospel 3. Defend the Faith
We looked last week at the beginning of chapter 2. What pleases God? We saw last week that God is pleased when men are PRAYING! God wants all to be saved, and Paul reminds the men to take the lead in praying. It can be easy to have a prayer meeting and get a group of women together, because women are social beings. But for men to pray - that is another story. Men need to share their hearts with God and get along with one another -- which in itself can be hard for silent, loners to do. Men are like the lone ranger - often off doing their own thing by themselves. And Paul reminds men of their need to ask for help; to turn to God and pray. Maybe you know a man like that: they’d rather drive around for an hour instead of stopping and asking for help and getting directions.
God doesn’t focus on the need of women to pray, partly I believe because women are much more social. Did you ever see a table of women sitting in silence? I doubt it. If one of them gets up to go to the bathroom, 8 of them go along for company. Women don’t struggle with the interaction like men do. So, Paul says that God is pleased when men are praying. Today, we see the second thing that pleases God. God is pleased when women are PROPER! Let’s look today, in 1 Timothy 2, starting in verse 9:
Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments; but rather by means of good works, as befits women making a claim to godliness. Let a woman quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being quite deceived, fell into transgression. But women shall be preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint. PRAY!
God is pleased when women are proper. So, you might ask the question, what does a godly woman look like? We might try to define it culturally for today in Owosso with the fashions that are available; yet there ARE some key ideas that apply to any age and any culture. What are they?
1. Right Appearance - Paul says here, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing. The idea of this word is that the clothing is well-ordered, becoming, and decent. Did you ever have your parents say to you, “Put something decent on!” The question still remains: How do you know what is decent? I’m glad you asked that. Because Paul is going to answer that for us here. We’re going to come back to Right Appearance, but let’s move on to look at another key idea:
2. Right Attitudes - to determine right appearance, we need to look into our hearts. We dress according to our hearts. So, in looking at our dress, we have to ask the question:
Is it Modest? Paul says we should adorn ourselves “modestly” - the word means revering the good, hating dishonorable fashion. A godly woman hates sinful appearances. That doesn’t mean you have to dress like your grandma. It is possible to be both modern and modest. The literal meaning of modesty is that you would be “ashamed” to wear anything that you shouldn’t. We have lost the sense of shame in America. There are few things that make us blush. Modesty is one of the keys to what it means to be decent.