Modesty

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Summer time is approaching and people will be wearing less and less clothes. In the June issue of the Old Paths Advocate Doug Hawkins discusses the idea of Modest Apparel. I hope you enjoy reading this article on a very critical and needed subject.

Modest Apparel

Paul writes, “in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly array, but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works.” As evidenced here, the Bible teaches Christian women (and men too) to adorn themselves in modest apparel, which simply means the Christian should wear appropriate attire; attire that professes godliness.
Peter writes a similar message in 1 Peter 3:1-4: “Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.”

As indicated in both passages, “modesty” and “modest apparel” first involves the human heart. Both writers emphasize what is within over what is without – by saying, as Paul did “not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly array, or as Peter did “…not that outward adorning of plaiting the hair and of wearing of gold or of putting on of apparel.” In those statements, the Bible is not forbidding, as some mistakenly think, the wearing of any gold or the putting on of any makeup or fixing the hair to any extent. Such positions become extreme. However, the inwardness overshadows the outwardness and our appearance reflects the heart. Paul and Peter show us not to put the emphasis on the outward man but on the inward man. How we dress, therefore, reflects either a heart of godliness and shamefacedness or a heart devoid of such an attitude. Godliness and shamefacedness create in the Lord’s people a keen sense of moral purity, holiness, and reverential fear. Broadly stated, this attitude of holiness overlays our heart and our clothes and appearance outwardly reflect this inward sense.

Shamefacedness stands in contrast to shamelessness and godliness to worldliness. Both can be seen in how we dress. The prophet Jeremiah asked, “were they ashamed when they committed abomination? No, they were not ashamed and neither could they blush” (Jeremiah 6:15). Without shamefacedness and godliness a person has no ability to blush. Paul also tells us, “…be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:1,2)

Going back to the initial readings in l Timothy and 1 Peter, notice the language used by both Paul and Peter. Paul says, “…with shamefacedness and sobriety and Peter writes, “…chaste conduct coupled with fear [reverence]” Peter continues by saying, “Whose adorning …[should be] the hidden man of the heart in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit which is in the sight of God of great price.” Again, these words describe the inward grace, reverence, and beauty that adorn the Christian’s soul, particularly the Christian woman’s soul. The Christian woman projects this grace outwardly by…”adorning herself in modest apparel.”

From the very outset, the gospel cultivates among the Saints a spirit of godliness and holiness. Titus 2:11,12 says, “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. Teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lust, we should live soberly righteously and godly in the present world.” Peter also says, “As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:14-16) First, when we deny worldly lust and ungodliness and second, when we affirm godliness and holiness in our hearts (truly, fully, and sincerely), the gospel builds in us the divine nature of which all saints partake. (2 Peter 1:4) Again, Paul, writing in contrast to the adulterer, the fornicator, the drunkard and the like, says, “…And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Cor. 6:11)

Conversion involves transformation – something is put off (Col. 3:8) that something else might be put on (Rom. 13:14); something dies that something else might live (Romans 6); we flee lust to follow after faith righteousness and charity with them that call on the name of the Lord out of a pure heart. (2 Tim. 2:22)

Contemplate this very serious point. What mostly influences our lives and our thinking? If television, magazines, the internet and other forms of modern culture have greater sway with us than the gospel, then chances are we may lack the moral strength to be transformed from the world and are more likely conforming to it. We may be found adopting its trends, sporting its fashions, and accepting its standards. Friends, we must take the Scripture’s admonition very seriously. When Paul says, “Come out from among them and be separate says the Lord… and touch not the unclean thing” (2 Cor. 6:17), he is not merely suggesting a way to live. He is admonishing us to avoid the evil in the world. With so much talk and so many images involving lust, sin, and immorality, do we deny the effects of the world on our hearts and minds?

With this as our premise, I want to discuss briefly the Biblical principles of our clothes and how we dress. Our clothes should: 1. Honor The Lord 2. Adequately cover our bodies 3. Distinguish our gender.

Honor The Lord: The ornament of a quiet and meek spirit is of great price in the sight of God. The Christian woman (and man) professes godliness adorning herself (or himself) in modest apparel. Do we really need to sketch a mental image of what’s appropriate and what’s not? Are our senses so dull of hearing and our consciences so seared that we fail to recognize immodesty? Paul would say, “…present your bodies as living sacrifices holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” (Rom. 12:1) I have been told of people making the argument that if you were in a public place where everyone is dressed in bathing suits (like the lake or the ocean) and you stand out because you are not dressed as they are that you are immodest and “drawing attention to yourself.” In response to such a silly notion, Paul would say, “Come out from among them and be separate says the Lord …and touch not the unclean thing.” (2 Cor.6:17) and Peter would write, “wherefore they think it strange that you run not with them to the same excess of riot…” (1 Peter 4:4).

Brother Ronny Wade referred to the following passage once in a sermon a number of years ago and that reference has stuck with me through the years. He quoted Paul saying, “whose glory is their shame” (Phil. 3:19) and then made appropriate application. Just think of how men glory in shame. That statement aptly summarizes the thinking of the modern world. The more seductive, provocative, and salacious the appearance, the more celebrated, recognized and noted that look or that person becomes. The world glories in its thin bodies, its muscled abdominals, its tanned skin, and its nakedness …Again, their glory is their shame. Is the church unaffected? Hardly friends. May God’s Grace teach us and may we keep ourselves from evil.

Covers The Body: Adam and Eve ate the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and their eyes “were opened.” (Genesis 3) Suddenly, they felt a strong sense of shame and with “opened eyes” saw that they were naked. Notice the correlation between their shame and their nakedness. Adam and Eve attempted to cover themselves by sewing fig leaves together. I can hardly imagine that their apron of leaves looked more scant than what some are willing to go into public wearing today. God deemed them inadequately clothed and instead made them coats of skin and “clothed them.” (Gen.3:21) Scholars suggest that the clothes that God made covered them from their shoulders to below their knees. You see friend, we can have clothes on, but still be naked and expose our shame. We may not feel ashamed, but we expose our shame even still.

The prophet Isaiah writes, “Come down and sit in the dust, O virgin daughter of Babylon; Sit on the ground without a throne, O daughter of the Chaldeans! For you shall no more be called Tender and delicate. 2 Take the millstones and grind meal. Remove your veil, Take off the skirt, Uncover the thigh, Pass through the rivers. 3 Your nakedness shall be uncovered, Yes, your shame will be seen I will take vengeance, And I will not arbitrate with a man.” (Isa. 47:1-4)

Distinguishes Our Gender: “Have you not read that He which made them at the beginning made them MALE and FEMALE?” (Matt. 19:4) You couldn’t tell by listening to modern thought in western civilization. Through concerted effort over the last fifty years, academia and progressive social thinking has largely removed all distinctions between men and women, especially with the help of television. Consequently, West Coast States have now opened “unisex bathrooms” for “transgender” children. Shocking? Why? Isn’t it only the natural progression within a society that has removed all specific gender identities from its conscience and mores? Moses commanded, “A woman shall not wear anything that pertains to a man, nor shall a man put on a woman’s garment, for all who do so are an abomination to the Lord your God.” (Duet. 22:5) This unmistakable principle of gender distinction remains in the New Testament too. For example, Paul condemned “the effeminate” (l Cor. 6:9), that is, men who act and dress as women. Now if it’s wrong for a man to dress and act like a woman, is it right for a woman to dress and act like a man?

Beloved, dress, clothes, fads, and fashions reflect a culture, its beliefs, and values. That’s true for the Kingdom of Heaven too. I pray this discussion helps someone, somewhere in the world to be more resolved and dedicated to be all that our Heavenly Father desires us to be. “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” (2 Cor. 7: 1)

Doug Hawkins

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Walking In the Light

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Are you afraid of the dark? It is usually under the darkness of night that many crimes are committed. When it is dark you have difficulty finding your way. A healthy fear of physical darkness is a good thing. In this article Colby Culbertson talks about the idea of spiritual darkness. It is ironic that many fear physical darkness, but then have no fear of spiritual darkness. To walk in spiritual darkness is a danger to the soul. When one walks in spiritual darkness, he is not walking with God, because God is in the light.

“Walking In the Light”
I John 1:7

Of the top 10 fears for humans, fear of the dark is ranked 4th. There are many people whose greatest fear is the darkness. I remember one time my dad told my brother that he would give him $100 dollars to walk down the old dirt road behind our house in the middle of the night. My brother who was probably seven or eight at the time, turned down the offer in a heartbeat, saying there wasn’t enough money in the world to force him to walk that distance in the dark alone.

It is human nature to be afraid of the dark. Everybody knows that in order to ward off the darkness, you only need light. 1John 1:7 say, But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. John here explains that darkness represents sin, and the light represents the way of righteousness. It’s interesting that human nature causes us to be afraid of physical darkness, yet we as Christians don’t seem to fear spiritual darkness. We don’t fear sin! We should fear sin and spiritual darkness, and we should fear the results that will come from making sin a habitual aspect of our lives. John explains further in verse 7 that there is only one way to rid our lives of the sinful darkness, and that is by walking in the light of the Almighty God. John’s argument is simple: As light is opposed to darkness, God is opposed to sin. As darkness cannot exist in the presence of light, sin cannot exist in the presence of God. So John commands the Christian to walk in the light, as He (God) is in the light. When a Christian does this in their spiritual life, the darkness of sin cannot and will not exist. The light referenced here means we are in a “state of supreme sanctity.” In other words we are like God, having no part in darkness and sin. We have the same likes and dislikes that God does. When this occurs, we are experiencing true fellowship with the Almighty God.

The apostle John goes on to explain the benefits of this fellowship with God in the remainder of verse 7—we have fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ and Christ’s blood cleanseth us from all sin. We can now be cleansed from the darkness and the stains of sin ONLY IF we walk in the light! Brethren, it is crucial that we, the Christians of the Church of Christ, walk in the purity of God’s light!

Colby Culbertson

Paul’s Sermon

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There are always some men and women who seem to be more authoritative on preaching than God Himself. A group of such members had journeyed up from Crete to hear Paul at Athens and to see whether or not they liked him well enough to hold their summer meeting. The account of this sermon is recorded in Acts 17.This conversation was overheard on the boat carrying the group back to Crete:

First Lady—Oh, I never was so disappointed in my whole life.

Her Husband— Me too!

Second Lady—And I had heard such good reports on Paul. I guess his zeal has led him astray; Festus said he was mad.

Third Lady—Do you know how he attracted a crowd? An Athenian told me he went in to dispute and debate. Some called him a babbler and a troublemaker. He stirred up the whole town.

Her Husband—Woe is me; woe is me.

First Lady—Now we will never have a church in Athens; they will never forget his “fighting tactics.” I never would have believed Paul was a fighter. Boy was I wrong.

Second Lady—I never was so miserable in all my life during his sermon. I knew all those Athenians were watching us. They will believe that all members of the church of Christ are as narrowed-minded as Paul. I apologized to some of them after the sermon.

Third Lady—My blood pressure nearly exploded when Paul called them by name. He should have known better than that. I told him before the sermon to preach in generalities and principles—not in particulars and facts. This was such a wonderful opportunity, but Paul was too stubborn to listen to me, though.

Her Husband—How I wished he had listened to you; I knew you had called him over to advise him.

Second Lady—I am in shock! Did you hear Paul when he said, “Unknown God”? Then he said they were ignorant. Doesn’t he realize that preaching like that only offends and brings out anger?

First Lady—Then he told them that their gods were false—that Jehovah alone is God. I squirmed in my seat. I can imagine what they must have been thinking.

Third Lady—He preached just to their error; why didn’t he commend their zeal and pat them on the back. You have to save people by degrees. Did you hear them sneer? He drove them away. They will never come back again. One sermon like that can do so much harm.

Her Husband—Amen, amen!

First Lady—Doesn’t Paul know you must use wisdom? People don’t want the truth unless it is watered down.

Third Lady—But the climax of it all was when he demanded repentance. Those Epicureans and Stoics are sincere; it’s not for us to say they can’t be saved. We can’t all agree.

Second Lady—Then he threatened them with the resurrection and judgment. I could see their faces turning redder and redder.

Third Lady—I could have overlooked Paul if had just started out, but he has been preaching several years. It’s sad to hear that Timothy and Silas preach just like him—and Timothy used to be so sweet and kind.

Her Husband—And he never cracked a smile; In fact he was all worked up.

First Lady—If he keeps this up he won’t be able to preach for a church in the brotherhood! He’s too hard. He stays too close to the letter of the law.

Second Lady—My husband is an elder and I’ll see that he never holds us a meeting.

Third Lady—He would have split the church wide open. We still have some members unconverted on the Trinity and immorality. We have stopped the Truth for the sake of peace.

First Lady—How lucky we are that we found out about Paul.

Her Husband—Amen, amen!

Second Lady—How nice it will be to hear Brother Backslapper next week. He is so lovable and kind. He’s always calling for everybody to be a peacemaker.

Third Lady—Thank goodness for preachers like that!
Author Unknown

(This is a fictional account, but nonetheless presents something to think about. Sadly, it portrays the thinking of some in the church today.)

Things I Face Everyday-Attitude

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Have you ever seen a teenager with a bad attitude? Surely not! In this article Carter Culbertson talks about controlling ones attitude.

Things I Face Everyday-Attitude

Another thing that I face every day of my life is my attitude. I know especially being a teenager,in this day and time that we live, that it really is hard to keep my attitude under control. That still should not be an excuse if you are a Christian. Philippians 2:14-15 says Do all things without murmurings and disputings:That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;

In other words you can’t have a bad attitude about things that you don’t like to do. Anybody can do things for God and not have a bad attitude. Unfortunately, we often go to school and complain about our teachers and all the people that we go to school with. That is not setting a very good example. Colossians 3:23 is proof that we need to have a good attitude no matter what we do and no matter who tells us to do it. It says, And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;

So as we see the Bible tells us to have a good attitude no matter what we are doing. If we can master this one aspect in our life, that’s one step closer to being like Jesus.

Carter Culbertson

“Do I Have To?”

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I am sure if you are a parent you have heard the words “do I have to.” We are all aware that certain task have to be done and they have to be done in certain ways. There are rules that have to be followed.

When it comes to religion some people think they do not have to follow the rules. They believe grace covers all. In this article Joey Hickey shows us that grace does not give one an excuse to not follow the rules.

Do I Have To?

“You’re free! Free from the law. Jesus died so you wouldn’t have to worry about rules. Love is important…Law is not…therefore you don’t have to worry about it.”

…This is the message the religious world regurgitates to its followers. After all, “his yoke is easy and his burden is light,” right? But there are requirements that even Jesus asked of those who would follow them. The statement implies, though they may not be heavy or difficult, there is a yoke and there is a burden, there are obligations. Yet there’s still a pull towards a shallow freedom that states, “You don’t have to.” They go to Galatians and sum up their interpretation by quoting Galatians 5:4, “You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.” Another verse I’ve heard in defense of this viewpoint is Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

Both of these scriptures, when taken out of context, pose a serious threat to the idea that there are “rules” that need to be followed. However, when put under scrutiny, they don’t stand. What is Galatians 5, or Galatians as a whole, talking about, and what is the “bondage” that Paul is saying they are free from? If we read the context, binding circumcision, Jewish holy days, and animal sacrifices, from which they had been freed.

Let’s go back to Galatians 5:1, ” Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” …What yoke of bondage? The Old Law, which could not give remission of sins.

Galatians 5:2-4, “Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing. And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law. You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.”

It’s abundantly clear that the law mentioned above is the Old Testament Law. Jesus certainly isn’t condoning discipleship without “rules.” How do I know that?

John 14:15 – “If you love Me, keep My commandments.

John 15:14 – You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.

Matthew 7:13-14 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

Matthew 7:22-23 “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'”

Matthew 5:20- For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.

I’m no scholar, but I think these verses are sufficient enough to prove there are expectations Jesus has of has disciples. We show our love for God and our faith in God by doing what he said with overwhelming gratitude to the one who gave us the chance to obey him instead of watching us suffer the eternal punishment…that, frankly, we deserve.

Why would he say we are bound to obey him or imply that the way to Heaven is difficult and that few find it?

How could Paul dedicate his letters to young evangelists, Timothy and Titus, primarily to the importance of obedience, sound morals, and “sound doctrine?”

Paul had to write two letters to Corinth, correcting their spiritual problems, and those two letters take up a huge chunk of the New Testament…Why all of this if we don’t “have to” worry about every detail of every command? It seems like a waste of breath for Paul to spend that much time correcting things that would not matter.

The fundamental problem in this mindset is the attitude behind the statement, “you don’t have to.” Since when did obeying God become such a burden? I have to take out the trash and do laundry…but serving the God who sent his Son to die for my sins? I get to do that! I don’t have to honor him or obey him, because he gave me the choice of making him my master (Matthew 6:24, Romans 6:16).

If you chose to submit to Jesus and have your sins washed away in baptism, to wear the name “Christian,” you signed a contract–signed with the blood he shed to save us. We owe Him our lives; shouldn’t we want to obey him?

Introducing Colby Culbertson

Colby is another one of the young men who agreed to write for us. Thank you Colby.

Colby Culbertson

Born: February 16,1995 Andalusia, AL

Parents: Jay & DeAnna Culbertson

I currently worship at the Hillcrest Church of Christ in Brookhaven, MS.

My interest are Church work, farming, football, hunting & fishing and spending time with my family.

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Why You Should “Not” Get Baptized

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Most of the time when we mention baptism, we talk of its necessity. There are many religious groups that leave out baptism when talking about salvation. To hear a member of the church of Christ talk about “not” being baptized is a little strange, but in this article Aaron Battey gives us some good reasons for “not” being baptized.

Why You Should “Not” Get Baptized

​There are many reasons why an individual would behoove themselves to get baptized. The most pre-eminent reason being, “For the remission of sins,” as Peter told the Jews on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:38). On the flip side of the coin, there are equally good reasons why one should refrain from baptism.

​Young people are perhaps most susceptible to making fickle decisions. Sometimes we get caught up in emotions, doing things that we otherwise would have left undone. We must remember that every action has a consequence. The consequence can be good or bad. Here is a list of reasons why an individual should not get baptized, because baptism for the wrong reason has eternally bad consequences.

​First, one should not get baptized to satisfy parents. Second, one should not get baptized to date a girl or guy that is a member of the church. Third, one should not get baptized because, “All my friends are doing it!” Last, and most importantly, one should not get baptized if they have no intention of being a faithful Christian afterward. 2 Peter 2:20-21 says, “For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them.” Hebrews 10:26 speaks to the same idea that sinning willfully after remission is a treacherous mistake.

​None of these poor reasons fulfill the commandment of Peter, who said baptism was for the remission of sins. Hence, to be baptized for any other reason is unfulfilling and presents harsher penalties to the offender than if he had stayed dry. May this provoke every reader to think deeply before they make the most important decision in this life.

Aaron Battey

Introducing Aaron Battey

Aaron Battey is one of the young men that agreed to write articles for us. I thought you might like to know something about Aaron:

Aaron Battey
Born: January 9, 1993 – Morrow, GA

Parents: George & Peggy Battey

Current Residence: Claremore, OK – I attend the Angus Acres Church of Christ in Broken Arrow, OK

Career: I am a registered nurse and am employed by St. John Medical Center in Tulsa, OK. I have aspirations to become a nurse/paramedic. More importantly, I strive to be an evangelist one day. Down the road, I would ideally like to do volunteer nursing and preaching overseas.

Interests: My secular interests are baseball. I follow the Atlanta Braves’ every game. When I am not studying, I like fishing, camping, and the outdoors.

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