Greetings MOL Family!
It’s been a few weeks since part 1 of our lesson on the beautiful love, the beautiful way of our Lord…
The Sacred Circle
Let us turn to Matthew, the 19th chapter. If God’s plan had been carried out, each child, as he grew up, would be a part of the family circle where he was born and reared, and when the time came for marriage, he would leave that family circle and join with one of the opposite sex in establishing a new home, and so on until the world should be peopled. That was God’s plan. But, oh, how the devil has entered in.
Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. – Matthew 19:6
What is twain? Two. The verse before says, “and they twain,” they two, shall be one flesh. Not they three or four or half a dozen, just two. Now in the 9th verse, you will notice what Jesus calls it when anybody allows a third person to come in. What does He call it? Adultery. And so, the law of God says in the 7th commandment:
Thou shalt not commit adultery. – Exodus 20:14
In the book Adventist Home, I read:
There is a sacred circle around every family which should be preserved. No other one has any right in that sacred circle. The husband and wife should be all to each other. – Adventist Home, pg. 177
Now here we have it. Here are all the men in the world, millions of them, a billion, in fact. And over here, here are all the women of the world, all the women on this planet, thousands of them, millions of them, a billion, in fact. And out of them all, one man and one woman are joined together in that inner circle, that sacred circle.
No other man is to get in there. Is that right? And no other woman is to get in there. Is that right? That is a sacred circle. This is the true wedding ring, my friends. It is to be expressed not by wearing a band of gold around the finger, but it is to be expressed in two special ways – one is the demeanor, the other is the dress. By demeanor and dress, both sexes say there is a wall between the sexes; there are barriers between men and women which we respect. The purpose of those barriers between men and women is to safeguard those walls around each and every home.
That is the purpose of those barriers – to make certain that only one man with only one woman join in the holy mysteries of married love. That is the purpose of the conventions of true society. But, today we have a society like Sodom and Gomorrah with conventions, or lack of conventions, accordingly. And so we cannot go by the etiquette books or the society rules of today to learn what these barriers are. Oh, no. But in this, as in all other matters that concern our peace and joy and salvation, inspiration has given us light. I am glad for that, aren’t you? Oh, I am thankful, friends, for these ties of love.
Yes, demeanor and dress are the methods by which we either regard these walls and express these walls, these barriers, or disregard them and despise them. There is a demeanor and a dress that says, “I am not looking for attention from the opposite sex. I am already engaged, fully. Yes. I’m married. I am not for sale or for rent, or for anything or anybody, but for my companion.” I say there are a demeanor and a dress that says that.
I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine. – Song of Solomon 6:3
Oh, I love that text. Isn’t it a shame that this beautiful union, this mysterious love which God gave us in marriage to represent the love between Him and His children, is taken by the devil and dragged into the gutter? Isn’t that a pity? And what a shame that any professed Christian should add his influence to the breaking down of those barriers, which are vital to the preservation of purity.
What do we mean by demeanor? Well, demeanor means what you say, the way you say it, and the way you look. It is what your eyes say, what your mouth says, what your hands say. With your mouth, your hands, your face, you are making impressions all the time, either to build up these walls or to tear them down.
Everybody is either adding to the influence on the side of purity, or adding to the influence on the side of impurity. Notice how these two things of dress and demeanor are linked together in the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy in revealing to us light on this subject. Turn to 1 Timothy 2:9, will you, please?
In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel with shamefacedness and sobriety. – 1 Timothy 2:9
Do you see how the modest dress and the modest demeanor go together? Phillips translation gives this: “The women should be dressed quietly, and their demeanor should be modest and serious.”
As Sister White says, a modest woman will dress modestly. Peter says, when he speaks on the dress question, that the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit is in the sight of God of what? Great price. Oh yes, friends, these are the valuable jewels – the diamonds, the rubies, the emeralds, the pearls – that the Christian woman wears: the graces of modesty in demeanor, quiet, reserved, not loud and bold. In the book Education:
Chaste simplicity in dress, when united with modesty of demeanor, will go far toward surrounding a young woman with that atmosphere of sacred reserve which will be to her a shield from a thousand perils. – Education, pg. 248
A young woman is supposed to be surrounded with what? An atmosphere of sacred reserve. Ah, but somebody says, “How will she ever get married, then?”
That seems to worry some people, friends. May I just say a word on that? There are two ways, girls, to get a husband, there are two ways: The first is to hang out your sign, invite attention, set your cap for somebody, think about it, plan for it, dress for it, encourage it by look and word and action. Let the world know that that’s what you are looking for, and you will have your reward. You will get the man who is attracted by that kind of bait. The other way is to give yourself (body, soul, and spirit) to Jesus, to be His and His alone and His forever; to love Him with all your heart, to look to Him for direction in your service from day to day, and to leave with Him entirely the matter of life companionship. And that last point is so hard for some people to do, my friends. But right there is the test of the whole thing – to leave with Jesus in simple faith, trusting faith like a little child, the matter of life companionship.
If you learn those lessons – to love God will all your heart and throw yourself into His service and put aside all this idea of hanging your sign out and trying to get the attention of men – when God’s time comes for the young man of His choice, do you know what that young man will do? That young man will go to God, having read in the Bible that “a prudent wife is from the Lord” (Proverbs 19:14) and he will look to God for direction. And if you are the one who God has chosen, do you think God can arrange it? Oh, yes.
Ah, but somebody says, “Isn’t there a great risk to that?” Yes, a great risk. You know what it is, don’t you? And if you are so determined to avoid that risk, there is a way that you can get married. Just disregard some of these principles we are studying. Dress in a way that attracts attention from the opposite sex; act in a way; look with your eyes.
Turn over to Proverbs 7 and let’s get the picture. The Bible puts it in plain language, very plain, too plain for some people. But, my dear friends, there are women in this world, God knows, thousands of them, who earn their living by tearing down these barriers. They make it their life trade and the Bible paints the picture in plain language. Every young man should make a careful study of this 7th chapter of Proverbs; older men too.
That they may keep thee from the strange woman. – Proverbs 7:5
Solomon pictures her:
A woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtle of heart. – Proverbs 7:10
What does attire mean? Dress. Well, this woman is dressed like a harlot. Is she in the beautiful way? Oh, no:
Her house is the way to hell. – Proverbs 7:27
Notice that she is not only dressed like a harlot, she acts like one:
Loud and stubborn; her feet abide not in her house…
(She is a gadabout.)
She caught him, and kissed him, with an impudent face. – Proverbs 7:13
Throws her favors around, kisses this one and that one. That is the program of the harlot, my dear friends. And will you tell me, that merely because society today puts on that kind of a show when men and women get together, that it’s all right? Not a bit of it. The Bible hasn’t changed one bit, my friends. Just because Sodom is all around us doesn’t mean that we need to follow that program, not a bit.
Oh, that God may fill our hearts with a love for purity, a love for righteousness. In that closing book of the Bible, the book of Revelation, we have the picture of two women. In the 17th chapter is the harlot woman. Verses 4 and 5 picture her decked in gold and precious stones and pearls, arrayed in purple and scarlet. Loud colors, profuse ornamentations, a big pretension, that is the harlot, the harlot church, and the harlot individual. But in the 19th chapter, verses 7-8, we have the beautiful bride of Jesus, the saints, clothed in fine linen, clean and white.
Oh, my dear friends, do you think that beautiful bride is going to have to go to the beauty shops of Babylon to get fixed up for the wedding? Do you think she is going to have to have her hair set in the parlors of this world in order to look attractive to Jesus? Do you think she is going to be decked out in short, skimpy skirts, low necks, and sleeveless dresses in order to be ready for the marriage supper of the Lamb?
There are some things about dress, friends, that there is room for honest difference of opinion about. But this question is not one of them. Here, we are dealing with morality. We are dealing with the foundations of society. And any dress which, by its inadequacy, by the things which it uncovers and discovers, contributes to lust and adultery, that thing, my friends, deserves to be shunned and opposed with every fiber of our being. Now, when it comes to the precise way in which each one interprets that principle, that must be left with the individual conscience.
We are coming to the end of this wonderful, beautiful study on God’s beautiful way. Next week will be part 1 of our final lesson. Invite a friend, and we’ll see you then…
Did you know that we have more online classes available (and posted daily)?
- Country Living
- Courtship & Marriage
- The Christian Home
- Child Guidance
- Army of Youth
- The School of Health
- Other Present Truth Studies
* This study has been adapted from classes taken by Elder W.D. Frazee.