Proper Attire For Worship
Outline By: Brian A. Yeager
A. This lesson is not intended to address the subject matter of modest apparel (i.e. I Timothy 2:9-10). Modesty is an all the time subject, not just a worship service matter (Genesis 3:21)!
1. We know that clothing can show other people something about the character of a person (Proverbs 7:10).
2. We should also realize not to place an overemphasis on clothing in regard to showing faithfulness (i.e. Matthew 3:1-4 and Matthew 23:1-5).
B. Sometimes subjects like this will vary over time and in different cultures for the conscience of others (I Corinthians 9:19-23).
1. In that discussion caution must be exercised wherein bearing with someone’s conscience (Romans 14:1-3) cannot become LAW (I Timothy 4:1-5).
2. This holds true of “customs” that turn into doctrines (Colossians 2:18-23).
II. Body: Is There A “Dress Code” In The Scriptures For Worship To God (I Samuel 16:7 and John 4:19-24)?
A. Some churches of Christ [WITHOUT ANY SCRIPTURES] have attempted to define what type of clothing is meet for worship and leading in worship services.
1. Where do the Scriptures say: “Those who serve the congregation are important to an orderly and meaningful communion service. They should also be neatly dressed in their best. A tee shirt and jeans are not appropriate attire to appear before the congregation (unless that is all one has to wear)” (http://www.truthmagazine.com/the-lords-supper-3).
2. In an opinion laden sermon concerning, “modesty in worship required by the scriptures”, a false teacher said: “As children, we knew worship was important because we put on ‘church clothes’ for it”. He then proposed a dress code, that he said was not a dress code, but then set forth what men have to wear to serve as a rule the elders are “in firm agreement on” (http://www.trchurchofchrist.com/sermons/outlines/edification/Modesty%20In%20Worship%20.pdf).
3. Where does God say this: “No jeans, t-shirts, shorts or sneakers please, and no casual sandals for men. In the winter men wear a jacket, tie and button down shirt. During warmer weather, men may wear a collared shirt or polo top and slacks” (http://www.pioneervalleycoc.org/ministries/worship-ministry).
4. It has been reported that a preacher in Juarez is teaching that men MUST wear a tie in worship services (though he is teaching this covertly [Jude 1:4] and the “men” created a rule on it).
5. When did “elders” become the head of the church (Ephesians 1:22-23) wherein they can request coats and ties of those “serving” (http://www.forrestpark.org/bulletin/2015/Servers/061415Servers.pdf)?
B. We must have authority from the Lord for all that we say and do (Matthew 28:18-20, I Corinthians 4:6, Ephesians 5:10, and II John 1:9-11).
1. There is not ONE single Scripture that says a certain type of cotton (denim -jeans) is wrong in worship nor a Scripture that says a tie, coat, or dress constitutes Scriptural worship attire.
a. If this were God’s thinking we’d read it in the Scriptures (II Timothy 3:16-17).
b. Thus, teaching this is a command of God is SINFUL (Proverbs 30:5-6 and Revelation 22:18-19).
c. Beyond that, even secular history shows a necktie is not a symbol of reverence toward God (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Necktie).
2. Imposing these things as an “instruction of the elders” or “men” is imposing a doctrine of men (Mark 7:1-9 and Galatians 1:6-10).
3. Understand, implying or suggesting such is also unscriptural however suggestively it is said (Matthew 22:15-21).
C. This doctrine shows carnal thinking (John 7:24).
1. What apparel shows godliness the most (I Peter 3:1-4 and I Peter 5:5-6)?
2. Outward “religious appearance” doesn’t make one more religious (Matthew 23:25-28).
3. How much should one’s “Sunday’s Best” mean (James 2:1-12)?
D. A dress code (stated or implied) for worship services shows a great degree of biblical ignorance (Matthew 22:29).
1. Some would say, what about Matthew 22:1-14?
a. Is that Parable about clothing or spiritual preparedness for the coming of our Lord (Revelation 3:4; cf. Galatians 3:27)?
b. If applied to clothing then it would only apply to wedding feasts, which have NOTHING to do with the church (Romans 14:17).
2. Worship does not just happen in a building on Sunday (I Timothy 2:8).
3. Impromptu worship shows attire is not a concern (Acts 21:5).
4. We should always show reverence to God (Hebrews 12:28-29), which if such is shown by wearing a tie you’d have to always do so.
5. God is concerned with our inward appearance before Him, ALL OF THE TIME, not our outward [again; not saying public immodesty is right] (I Chronicles 28:9, Proverbs 17:3, Jeremiah 17:10, and Revelation 2:23).
III. Conclusion: There is a right way to appear before God, and blue jeans have no affect on that (Hebrews 10:22-23).
© 2015 This material may not be used for sale or other means to have financial gain. Use this as a tool for your own studies if such is helpful! Preachers are welcome to this work, but please do not use my work so that you can be lazy and not do your own studies. – Brian A. Yeager