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says the tagline of a TV ad promoting a product claiming to combat the
“heartbreaking” disease of psoriasis. It seems, however, that an
increasing number of Christians have adopted this motto in the way they
dress in public.|
Before you dismiss this article as the ranting of an old man, please
understand that I have been writing and speaking out about the sin of
immodesty ever since I was a very young man. Admittedly, it appears to
have been largely fruitless, but that doesn’t mean that we should
Many Christians are careful about dressing modestly when assembling
with the saints, but many are not so careful when out in the world.
There was a time not so long ago when Christians enjoying leisure
activities could be distinguished from others by how they were dressed.
Too often this is no longer true. When Christians dressed more
modestly, their attire was not so drastically different that they drew
stares from onlookers, but they didn’t follow the world in exposing
The trend even among Christians to “show more of yourself” is apparent
when viewing pictures posted on Facebook. Past efforts to discourage
the wearing of shorts and rising hemlines which expose the thighs have
been ignored. The objection has been raised that the Bible doesn’t tell
us where to draw a line between what is modest and what is not. While
there is some truth to this assertion, not even those who use this
argument really believe there is no way to determine what is modest.
Otherwise, the logical end of that argument would justify any amount of
exposure including total nudity. So, because we can’t “draw a line,” we
occasionally see brothers going around shirtless and sisters wearing
clothing with plunging necklines and both genders exposing their thighs
It used to be that when a preacher was
asked to perform a wedding of two Christians, he could assume that the
bride would be wearing
|a modest wedding dress that symbolized her
purity; but this is no longer true. Based on wedding photos, some
brides (and evidently mothers of brides) must think that strapless
gowns fall within the definition of modest or that wedding gowns are
somehow exceptions to the call for modesty. |
Though the biblical instructions regarding modesty are stated in a
context mentioning women, this does not mean that principles of modesty
are not applicable to men as well. I also recognize that the apostle
Paul’s instruction “that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel”
(1 Tim. 2:9) is addressing an over-emphasis on external beauty. Yet,
one can violate this teaching by wearing anything that draws undue
attention to the flesh. The apostle says adornment is to be “with
propriety and moderation” [NKJV]. Other translations use terms or words
such as “with shamefacedness” [KJV], “proper,” “discretely” [NASB],
“respectable” [ESV], or “with decency” [NIV]. The bottom line is that
it should be that “which is proper for women professing godliness”
(v.10). Peter’s instructions for wives to manifest “chaste conduct” (1
Pet. 3:2) would necessarily include wearing apparel that reflects an
inner beauty. Immodest exposure of one’s nakedness is not consistent
with “chaste conduct.”
From the very beginning, God distinguished man from animals by clothing
Adam and Eve to cover their nakedness (Gen. 3:21). Adam and Eve had
already attempted to cover themselves using fig leaves (v.7); yet even
they realized that they were still naked (v.10).
To be guilty of nakedness does not require total nudity, as illustrated
by God’s instructions to Moses regarding the altar that was to be
built: “Nor shall you go up by steps to My altar, that your nakedness
may not be exposed on it” (Ex. 20:26). Throughout the pages of the Bible, the word “nakedness,” whether used literally or metaphorically, is
usually connected with shame. Even in the case where Peter was only
partially clothed [“naked” in KJV, ASV] while
|out on a boat, he “put on
his outer garment” before coming ashore (Jn. 21:7). It seems quite
unusual for one to put on more clothing before plunging into the sea
unless there was good reason to do so. Shame and modesty are good
Without minimizing the need for men to
dress modestly, it is especially needful for women to do so. There is
no denying that the typical man is more susceptible to seeing and
lusting after women than the reverse. Men are typically more sexually
aroused by what they see than are women. This may be why instructions
on modesty are addressed to women. It also may be why Jesus’ words
“whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed
adultery with her in his heart” (Matt. 5:28) were addressed to men.
Obviously, it would be just as sinful for a woman to look at a man “to
lust after him,” but Jesus presented the problem in the most likely
Finally, there is no excuse for looking upon others to lust after them,
regardless of how they are dressed. Such behavior objectifies others
who were created in the image of God. Unlawful lust is always the sin
of the one who is lusting. Always! There can be no blame- shifting.
Sinners are always responsible for their sins. Adam blamed Eve. Eve
blamed the Serpent; but in the end each was guilty for their own sins.
Yet, this truth did not absolve Eve or the Serpent of being complicit
in causing others to stumble. As Christians, we are to avoid putting
stumbling blocks in the paths of others (Rom. 14:13). Dressing modestly
will not prevent all lustful looks, but it will absolve one from being
a stumbling block for that sin. Immodesty is a contributor to lust.
Don’t listen to the world. To “show more of yourself” is shameless
exposure and runs a risk of causing “the one who wills to do good” to
“practice” “the evil” he “wills not to do” (see Rom. 7:14-25).
260 N. Aspen Drive, Cortland, IL 60112
By DAVID DIESTELKAMP
|The Bible records demons doing (and causing others to do) some pretty crazy things. But they are
demons, after all, so this is probably to be expected. A possessed
child cried out, convulsed, foamed at the mouth, and was bruised. The
demon made attempts to throw him into fire or water to kill him (Lk.
9:39; Mk. 9:22). Terrible, but not surprising. And the crazed man of
Matthew 8 and Luke 8—breaking chains, living among the tombs, shrieking
in the night—terrifying, but not really outrageous since that’s about
what we should expect from demons!
Don’t forget the devil’s temptation of Jesus (Matt. 4) and that it was
he who put the idea in the heart of Judas to betray Jesus (Jn. 13:2).
Evil to the core. But this is exactly what Satan and his angels are.
What is so outrageous about evil being evil?
Yes, we have to be “alert and of sober mind” because the “devil prowls
around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Pet. 5:8).
Keep your spiritual armor on “that you may be able to stand against the
wiles of the devil” (Eph. 6:11). We are not “ignorant of his devices”
[“unaware of his schemes” - NIV] (2 Cor. 2:11). Don’t be deceived. We
must see the devil in all his terrifying ugliness—not as the “angel of
light” he tries to present himself as (2 Cor. 11:14). But there is much
more to learn here than the obvious lesson that the devil is evil.
The true outrageous acts of the devil and demons are often overlooked.
These are the things they did that are truly out of character and
unexpected. These are the things which are shocking because demons
simply should not—in fact, would not—do them! These outrageous acts
carry with them important lessons.
#1 Satan quoted Scripture – Matthew 4:6
“Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle
of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw
Yourself down. For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over
you,’ and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your
foot against a stone.’”
There are a lot of crazy things about this, not the least of which is
that the devil is twisting Scripture to the One involved in its
inspiration! But what is outrageous about this is the fact, that by
quoting it, he is suggesting that it is from God and should make a
difference—that it should matter to people who want to please God. Can
you believe that the devil recognized the authority of Scripture while
many who claim to be Christians today do not!?
#2 Demons knew Who Jesus was – Mark 1:34
“Then He healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out
many demons; and He did not allow the demons to speak, because they
Demons knew the power Jesus had and knew Who He was. People today can
read of Christ’s great power, but many do not recognize Him as the
Christ, the Son of God. Sinister demons, blinded by sin, knew Him. What
excuse can we have for not knowing Him?
#3 Demons confessed Jesus – Luke 4:33-34, 41
“Now in the synagogue there was a man who had a spirit of an unclean
demon. And he cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Let us alone! What
have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us?
I know who You are—the Holy One of God!’”
This is certainly not what we’d expect from a demon, the very enemy of
God and Jesus! This demon admitted Jesus was the “Holy One of God” and
“the Christ, the Son of God!” (4:41). Why would a demon make this
outrageous confession unless it was overwhelmingly evident and true?
#4 Demons believe and are afraid – James 2:19 “You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!
It’s startling to think that demons have some degree of belief and that many people don’t. That’s
truly outrageous! And to James’ point, it is even more astounding that
some people will settle for non-saving, non-acting, non-obedient,
non-working demon faith!
#5 Demons understand judgment – Matthew 8:29
“And suddenly they cried out, saying, ‘What have we to do with You,
Jesus, You Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the
Demons understand judgment is coming, and they tremble in dread and
fear (Jas. 2:19). They are not playful and fun loving. They are
condemned and doomed, and they know it. It is outrageous that, while
demons know and fear their eternal future, most people don’t give
death, judgment, and eternity a thought!
#6 Demons worshipped Jesus – Mark 5:6-7
“When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped Him. And he cried
out with a loud voice and said, ‘What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son
of the Most High God? I implore You by God that You do not torment me.’”
Talk about outrageous—demons worshipping Jesus! There is only one explanation! Jesus truly is Lord! It’s time we recognize who Jesus truly is and worship Him better than demons do!
940 N. Elmwood Drive, Aurora, Illinois 60506
By ANDY DIESTELKAMP
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live in a world which continues to diminish the unique value of human
life. General evolutionary theories propagated by humanistic preachers
conclude that our existence is a cosmic accident without purpose or
meaning. Such a philosophy grants liberty from any kind of absolutes,
freeing us to think and do as we please. Yet this “freedom” ultimately
creates a “survival of the fittest” culture whose “laws” are
relative, situational, and easily dispensable.
Scripture presents an entirely different and opposing view. There is no
harmony between the views that life is an accident and that life is
intentional. Scripture declares that God has created us on purpose for
a purpose. The initiative has been God’s from the beginning. God’s
sovereign initiative is seen in Creation and in His communication to
and the covenants made with mankind from the beginning. This divine
initiative culminates in the redemption of man (Rom. 5:8; 1 Jn. 4:9,10).
The Garden of Eden was a beautiful, God-designed paradise for man to
live in and have fellowship with God (Gen. 2:10-14). His covenant with
mankind assigned responsibilities and delineated blessings and curses
(vv. 15-22). When this covenant was broken (3:6), blessings were
removed (vv. 22-24) and curses were pronounced (vv. 16-19). The results
were that sin propagated (4:7,8; 6:5), death reigned (5:5-31), and the
world was condemned (6:6,7). Yet, were this the end of the story,
Genesis would never have been written. The revelation of the history of
mankind begins and ends with a God who abounds in grace and mercy. This
is the message of Scripture.
It was the unilateral love and grace of God which gave man life
and offered covenant fellowship with Him in Paradise in the first
place. God’s love
|and grace did not vanish when man sinned. “If we are
faithless, He remains faithful” (2 Tim. 2:13). Even in the midst of the
faithless failures of men, God’s grace and patience were not hidden.
Consistently God has pursued man and offered Him grace despite his sin
(Gen. 3:8,9,21; 4:9-15; 6:8). It is man who gives up on God, not vice
versa. It is God who once again initiated a covenant with Noah and his
offspring (9:1-17). It is men who once again sinned (9:18,19), and
sought to make a name for themselves (11:3,4) instead of obeying their
covenant with God (cf. 9:1,7). Yet, once again, God graciously
persisted in accomplishing His plan to redeem man from his own sins by
making a covenant with a people set apart to bring forth One in Whom
“all families of the earth shall be blessed” (12:3; Acts 3:25).
The hope of mankind to be delivered from the consequences of sin is not
limited to an obscure reference to Satan being crushed by the Seed of
woman (Gen. 3:16). This promise would become more specifically foretold
in future generations as God chose a man of exemplary faith through
whom He would accomplish His purpose.
Abram was from Ur of the Chaldeans in the lineage of Shem the son of
Noah (11:10-26). God told Abram to leave his country and his father’s
house to go “to a land that I will show you” (12:1). Abram, his father
Terah, and his family left Ur and travelled northwest to the city of
Haran. When Terah died there at the age of 205, Abram was 75, and he
“departed as the LORD had spoken to him” (12:4; cf. Acts 7:4) “to go to
the land of Canaan” (Gen. 12:5).
God promised Abram a land and “by faith [he] obeyed when he was called
to go out to the place which he would afterward receive as an
inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going” (Heb.
11:8). This is the kind of
|faith which God values, and without it “it
is impossible to please [God], for he who comes to God must believe
that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him”
(v. 6). Without doubt, the blessing of Abraham was contingent upon his
obedience in leaving home and going where God directed him.
God promised to make of Abram a great nation. God promised to bless him
and make his name great (Gen. 12:2). When Abram came into the land of
Canaan, God appeared to him and said, “To your descendants I will give
this land” (v. 7), thus intertwining the land and nation promises.
Abram sojourned throughout the land of Canaan from north to south,
calling on “the name of the LORD” (v. 8; 13:4). He had plenty of
opportunities to return to Haran or Ur, but he did not do so because he
desired what God had promised and prepared. Instead he chose to dwell
in tents and wait for the better, heavenly place prepared by God (Heb.
Ultimately, God promised to bless others through Abraham. “And you
shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse
those who curse you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be
blessed” (Gen. 12:2,3). The apostle Paul refers to this as the gospel
(good news) which was preached to Abraham and by which God planned to
justify the nations by faith (Gal. 3:8) “that the blessing of Abraham
might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the
promise of the Spirit through faith” (vs. 14). “For you are all sons of
God through faith in Christ Jesus. ... And if you are Christ’s, then
you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise (vv. 26,29).
323 E. Indiana Ave., Pontiac, Illinois 61764
By AL DIESTELKAMP
D. Roosevelt was president of the United States when I was born;
But his successor, Harry S. Truman, was the first president that I was
old enough to remember. This means that in my lifetime there have been
thirteen different men who have held that office; and, if I live though
January of next year, it appears that I will live under a fourteenth
Prior to 1971, a person had to be 21 years old in order to vote; so
1964 was the first presidential election in which I was permitted to
participate. Admit- tedly, this election cycle is proving to be
different (and more divisive) than any in my lifetime; but a study of
history will show that by God’s grace our nation has actually survived
even worse campaigns and some despicable and corrupt presidents.
The extreme distrust of and dislike toward the only two candidates who
have a chance of winning the election have divided our nation, but we
must make sure that this election does not divide our brethren. Public
discussions (especially on social media) show that brethren are
certainly not in agree- ment about participation or non-participation
in this year’s election.
aforementioned dislike and distrust of the candidates is even more
noticeable among brethren and has elicited spirited debate about what
should be our response. Opinions range from voting for the “lesser of
two evils” to opting out of the election process altogether.
It is not my place or intent to tell you which candidate to vote for or
whether to vote at all. Instead, I would like to remind you that it is
not the outcome of this election which will determine the demise or
exaltation of our nation. What will exalt our nation is righteousness
Many of us must face the fact that no matter which candidate is
elected, unless God intervenes, we may have to give honor to one whom
we consider to be “despicable,” or “corrupt”—or both (Rom. 13:1-7). God
is ultimately in control. As spoken by the prophet, “Blessed be the
name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might are His. And He
changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up
kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have
understanding” (Dan. 2:20-21). He has the power to do with presidents
what He did with kings.
260 N. Aspen Drive, Cortland, IL 60112
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By DON B. NEWCOMER, JR.
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you had a major birthday coming up like a 40th or 50th. Your best
friend says that he wants to throw a party “in your honor” to celebrate
this milestone. He asks you what kind of celebration you would like to
You’re thrilled at his thoughtfulness, so you tell him the following:
“I don’t like big crowds, so please keep it small, maybe 10-12 people.
And I’d like it to be held in the evening at a certain resta- urant.”
He asks you about having a cake and you say, “I like white cake with
The big day arrives, and your friend picks you up just before lunch. He
takes you to a local fire hall and asks you to come inside because he
needs to pick something up. You’re clueless, so you follow along.
When the door is opened, the crowd shouts, “Surprise!”
You turn to your friend and ask, “What is this?” He says, “It’s the
birthday party I told you I wanted to throw in your honor.” But you say, “Why are all these people here? It’s only lunch time! What about the things I told you I wanted?”
counters with, “Well, twelve people seemed too small a number to
celebrate your special day. So I invited about fifty people, including
all my friends and family—and look—almost all of them are here! That
restaurant you mentioned couldn’t hold this crowd, so I rented this
fire hall near my house.” You spot the cake and notice it has yellow
frosting. He sees you noticing and says, “I don’t like white cake, so I
ordered a chocolate cake with butter cream frosting. I hope you’re
happy; I threw this party just for you.”
This story shows the folly of what many people do in worship. They
profess to want to worship God and to do those things which are
pleasing to Him, but in their churches they structure their service in
a way which pleases them. "These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me” (Matt. 15:8).
They add musical instruments because they
don’t feel comfortable singing without some accom- paniment. They hold
their services on Saturday
because they don’t want to have to get up early on the Lord’s Day. They
hire preachers to “tickle the ears” (2 Tim. 4:3-4) of the members
because they don’t want to be challenged about any sins in their lives.
They have meals in the building because it’s much more convenient to
eat there than to have to go out to eat somewhere else. And they do
other things without scriptural authority, all the while claiming to
worship God in the way He desires. “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (Col. 3:17).
Let us always remember Whom we worship and follow His instructions
only. If our desire is to please God and His Son Jesus Christ, we will
be careful to worship His way and not change our worship into something
which we desire.
1987 Centurion Dr., #410, Pittsburgh, PA 15221
Perhaps, like me, you have observed how some politicians who
claim to be pro-life try to excuse themselves from speaking out against
abortion on the basis that the Supreme Court has ruled on the issue,
making it what they call “settled law.” It seems as if they treat a
Supreme Court ruling as having all the force of “the law of the Medes
and Persians, which does not alter” (Dan. 6:8).
By AL DIESTELKAMP
The “settled law” claim is merely an effort to excuse oneself from
acting on principle and to avoid the political backlash one would
otherwise receive from pro-abortion advocates.
Of course, abortion is not the only matter about which the Supreme
Court has ruled in contradiction to God’s law; and the more recent
ruling which purports to expand the definition of marriage is only the
beginning. Already we are hearing the “settled law” argument trotted
out by politicians who claim to “personally believe” marriage should be
between one man and one woman.
In truth, the only law which is “settled” and unalterable is the law of
God: “Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven” (Psa. 119:89).
Yet men are constantly trying to “unsettle” it to suit their own
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