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Does it matter how we dress when we go to church?

q.gif (1639 bytes)    Is it o.k. to ware T-shirts and tennis shoes to church?


a.gif (1659 bytes)   John 7:24 says, “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.”

When God came down upon Mt. Sinai, these were the instructions that He gave in Exodus 19:10,11, “And the LORD said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them to day and to morrow, and LET THEM WASH THEIR CLOTHES, And be ready against the third day: for the third day the LORD will come down in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai.”

If you are going to meet someone important, then you get cleaned up and dressed up accordingly. If you were invited to a meeting with the President of the United States, what preparations would you make? Would you work on your car until the last minute, and then go to meet him with grease still on your arms, and your clothes all greasy and dirty? That would be disrespectful to do that.

But on the other hand, if your car broke down on the way there to meet the President, and you got dirty trying to fix your car, then that would be understandable. It would be better to keep the meeting date, and explain your circumstances, than to skip the meeting and miss seeing the President.

Even so it is with going to church. We go there to worship the Lord. If we have the time and opportunity to clean up and dress accordingly (it is fit and proper to dress up when meeting with someone important — and who is more important than the mighty God who created us?), then it is disrespectful to go dressed dirty or casual. We would not go that way to meet someone important that we greatly respect.

On the other hand, if someone gets out of work, and has to make the choice of missing church, or else coming straight from work, I would rather have them come to church, even if they are dressed casual or somewhat dirty (if they are too dirty, they could just bring a change of clothes with them, and use the rest room to change and wash up a bit).

So as you can see, we have to consider the circumstances involved. “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.”

When it comes to lost people visiting church, they may come to church dressed casually. That should not surprise us, because they do not know the Lord yet. They obviously do not respect the Lord like they ought, because if they did, they would get saved! When they do get saved, then we need to teach them what is proper and what is not. That is part of the Great Commission. Matthew 28:19,20 says, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: TEACHING THEM TO OBSERVE ALL THINGS WHATSOEVER I HAVE COMMANDED YOU: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

The Bible is very clear that we are not to treat people with special favors just because they are wealthy and have nice clothes. James 2:1-9 says, “My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, IN GOODLY APPAREL, and there come in also a poor man IN VILE RAIMENT; And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts? Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats? Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called? If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.”

It is wrong to treat people disrespectfully who do not have nice clothes to wear to church, but that is no excuse for churches today advertising, “Casual atmosphere — come as you are!” That is showing disrespect for the One whom we are supposed to be worshipping. That is not teaching people the proper respect for God. Malachi chapter 1 deals with this matter of treating the Lord with less respect than government leaders. “A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, WHERE IS MINE HONOUR? and if I be a master, where is my fear? saith the LORD of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name. And ye say, Wherein have we despised thy name? Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar; and ye say, Wherein have we polluted thee? In that ye say, The table of the LORD is contemptible. And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? and if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? offer it now unto thy governor; will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person? saith the LORD of hosts. And now, I pray you, beseech God that he will be gracious unto us: this hath been by your means: will he regard your persons? saith the LORD of hosts. Who is there even among you that would shut the doors for nought? neither do ye kindle fire on mine altar for nought. I have no pleasure in you, saith the LORD of hosts, neither will I accept an offering at your hand. For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the LORD of hosts. But ye have profaned it, in that ye say, The table of the LORD is polluted; and the fruit thereof, even his meat, is contemptible. Ye said also, Behold, what a weariness is it! and ye have snuffed at it, saith the LORD of hosts; and ye brought that which was torn, and the lame, and the sick; thus ye brought an offering: should I accept this of your hand? saith the LORD. But cursed be the deceiver, which hath in his flock a male, and voweth, and sacrificeth unto the Lord a corrupt thing: FOR I AM A GREAT KING, saith the LORD of hosts, and my name is dreadful among the heathen” (Malachi 1:6-14).

Remember, “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” Consider the circumstances as to the way that a person is dressed, before passing judgment upon him or her.

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