- 1 JANUARY 2001
- 2 HOW LONG HAIR FITS INTO THE PICTURE OF SCRIPTURAL HOLINESS
- 3 ADORNMENT AND RESTRAINT
- 4 SARAH – AN EXAMPLE WORTHY OF NOTICE
- 5 HOW CUSTOMS RULE HUMAN LIVES
- 6 ANOTHER EXTREME INTERPRETATION OF THE SCRIPTURES
- 7 SCRIPTURAL HOLINESS – WHERE IS THE BALANCE?
- 8 OUR TRIP TO GHANA, WEST AFRICA
- 9 EXAMINING MOTIVES AND METHODS
- 10 THINGS YOU CAN SEE THAT MAY NOT MEET YOUR STANDARDS
- 11 HOLDING ON TO HAND-ME-DOWN CUSTOMS AND TRADITIONS
WE HAVE SAID QUITE A BIT ALREADY ABOUT TRUE “SCRIPTURAL HOLINESS,” AND ALSO ABOUT MANY OF THE IDEAS OTHER PEOPLE HAVE ABOUT HOLINESS, BUT AS WE CONTINUE ON WITH THE MESSAGE I FEEL THAT THERE ARE YET MANY THINGS TO BE SAID ON THE SUBJECT AND ILLUSTRATIONS THAT CAN BE USED TO REALLY SET OUR FOCUS ON THE REALITY OF WHAT GOD REQUIRES OF THOSE PROFESSING TO HAVE A LIFE OF HOLINESS
We are going to do our best, by the grace of God, to make this easy to be understood. Therefore I ask that you pray for me, that I can say certain things the way God wants you to hear them. Through the years of time there has been so many things said along this line that a lot of people just turn a deaf ear to any mention of holiness. Among the preachers that preach holiness, you can find many versions, and I assure you, not one of those who dictate to their congregations have the picture right. They may preach on one God, or even that Jesus was God, (according to their version) and they may preach that water baptism should be in the name of Jesus Christ, but then, when they start preaching on holiness most of them go directly to a woman’s hair. Some preachers that might be of the old apostolic line could say, Bro. Jackson, every woman in my congregation has long hair. I will look you in the eye and say, the reason you haven’t got any others is you have run them off. You built a congregation for a show piece, instead of building inner character in them. I want to read some to you, so if you have your Bible, turn to Colossians 3. We have only three basic scriptures that we use as our total text in talking about what the Bible, the apostles said about women, their hair and their garments. Whether it was Paul or Peter, or James, they all dealt with this thing of developing and cultivating an inner man that is supposed to reflect a new born again experience. This is a lengthy line of scriptures, written by Paul, but let us read them. Verse 1, “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection (meaning your attention, your heart’s desire) on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory. Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth: fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. (Meaning, when we were unbelievers, just like the world.) But now ye also put off all these; (notice) anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him: Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian; Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all. Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels (or inward feelings) of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity (love) which is the bond of perfectness. (Completeness) And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” There is a lot more in there. I have a lot of other scriptures I could read but I will not read all of them at this time: I do want to list them though and you can set them down to read later. Galatians 5:16-26, Galatians 2:20-21, James 3:5-18. There are still others. All of those are dealing with the inner man, therefore when we just take a look at the outer person that is sitting in front of us, and we start picking on the style of clothes, the hair and so forth, you are not dealing with the inner man at all: You are only dealing with the outer man. I can stand right here and see whether you are chewing gum or not. I would have to purposely take a look at you to know for sure; and that is not why I am standing here. There are preachers that do not like, and even some that do not allow anyone to chew gum in church. I assure you, I do not check any of you to see if you have gum in your mouth. You can sit there chewing gum, and if I did not specifically look at you, to see if you were chewing gum, you could chew it the entire time and I would never notice. I am not looking at that, and I want you to know I am not. I very much desire to see every one of you dedicated to a life of holiness; and I will help you any way I can, but policing your life and habits is not what the Lord called me to do. We are going to use the Bible for what we say, and we are going to ask ourselves the question, What was Paul talking about in 1st Corinthians 11? Was he establishing that every woman will have to grow long hair in order to be accepted by the Lord? I have been around the world in both directions. I spent two and a half years in the South Pacific. I have seen the natives on many islands. They have no barber shop, no hair dresser, and they do not even know what shampoo is. That is why I said last Sunday, Some of those native women have hair that is so thick and kinky, it is like a powder puff on their head. What do you holiness preachers that major on long hair say to people like that? Must they all be doomed to hell, simply because they cannot grow long hair? I have never found anything in my Bible that would make me believe that, and none of you have either, if you read the Bible right. When you look at the native women of those islands, you can see their ears. That is all the hair they have. If we are going to start preaching long hair, what are we going to do with these natives from different parts of the world around the globe? Are we going to say, Send them to hell? Why do you want to be so carnal? I leave that as a thought in this message. I have seen both black and white in other parts of the world. I have seen some in the black race, that have comparatively long hair, but I have also seen others in the black race that did not, and could not have long hair. The larger percentage of them have kinky hair, hair that will only get so long and that seems to be the end of the story. On the other hand, when I look at the Anglo Saxon type of people, I see people with red hair, black hair, brown hair, blonde hair, and all different lengths. Therefore my first objective in this message is to say, I do not care how old the preacher is, or how young the preacher is, or what part of the world he lives in, if he thinks when he looks at his own congregation that they all have to have long hair, that is just according to his own specifications, just the way he chooses to interpret the scriptures, but God is not looking at those women the way that preacher is: He is looking at the inner person. What is inside, is what determines what the outside looks and acts like. It is a fact, that there are women of all races in the world today, that have no intention of ever living for God. They are strictly going to live for the material and social side of life. Some of them can, and do grow very lengthy hair, but that alone does not prove that they are dedicated to a life of holiness. Some of them might run for Miss Universe, or for Miss America. They have been in that great display, some with short hair, some with long hair. What does that prove? You have seen it. There are some women that just simply cannot grow long hair. It is a hereditary thing. The preacher that hears my voice, when you have seen women the world over, especially the poor in countries where you see them living on the streets, they have lost all hope of ever being able to gain an image of respect in their own culture. They live under shelters, under porches, anything they can find to get out of the rain and cold. Some of those poor souls out there have long strands, some have short strands, but it is unkempt, because the soul has lost all hope of ever being able to be anything worthwhile in society. They are only existing from day to day. When a person lives like that, then don’t tell me they are required to do such and such. Scriptural holiness has got to start from the heart. It has got to be something that is a motivating factor of your inner being. If it is not, it is not worth two cents for anything pertaining to holiness. I say that with respect, because of the many denominations that I can think of right now, that have preached and taught strictly from the standpoint of the external appearance, mainly because they are void of any scriptural revelation. Without a revelation, an understanding of the plan of God, what is your place in the future world? Without that, you have lost hope. You speak of Jesus as the Savior, but He is only an alibi to a large number that fall into your slot. He is just a tradition. You dress the flesh any way it pleases you to do so, and then think God is obligated to accept your idea of holiness. It is true, some women can grow real lengthy hair. I have to say to every sister that has the ability to have a head of healthy hair, God bless you, cherish it. But others that hereditary-wise are not able to do so, because it just gets so long then it starts dying on the ends, I am not going to condemn them. After forty some years of looking at a congregation of people, and also looking at people in different parts of the world, and the different races, I finally began to put a picture together. I began to see what is taking place within the lives of individuals. It is just like men, but of course a lot of preachers will not admit it, nevertheless I have to ask them, Why do some men go balk at a very young age, and some others do not go bald until they are very old? Why is that? Is that because they are not serving the Lord the right way? Again I say, that is hereditary. Some are bald by the time they are thirty years old. What did they do, get drunk, and then God cursed their heads? No. It is hereditary: Doing right or wrong things has nothing to do with that.
HOW LONG HAIR FITS INTO THE PICTURE OF SCRIPTURAL HOLINESS
We will bring our thinking back to the female side at this time, because there are a lot of females in the world today, if they could, they would grow long hair just because they want it long: Christian convictions would have nothing to do with it on their part. With them, it is like some women we hear of on the News: It is easy for them to have a little baby, but what then? Some of them dispose of a new born baby just like you would your garbage. They deposit them into a trash container if there is one they can get to. Others just simply go off and leave their little baby in whatever place they find handy. On the other side of this story, you have young women that have just got married, and then find out they cannot have children. They want a baby so bad they almost cry their heart out, but crying does not help. These conditions exist all around the world, and sometimes God will intervene and cause the desire to be granted, but it is not that way in every case. I have to say to every woman that is a child of God, seek to build in your heart, in your life, an inner character and image that pleases God. I say that because many are so unthankful. Every time you stand before the mirror and comb your hair, however long it may be, just remember, there are women in other areas of society that have hair as long as you have, but have no revelation of the word of God. Some have long hair because they are told that they should have. Others have long hair just because they think it is in style, but only the Lord knows what they will look like next year, when the style changes to short hair. I ask you, Preacher, you that harp on long hair every time you stand to preach. What are you going to do with them? Where are you going to put them? When Paul wrote what he did in 1st Corinthians 11, he was truly establishing the fact to every Christian woman that would hear his voice, that if at all possible, they should grow hair to a length that it really does glorify the Lord, but wear it like that being thankful and grateful in your heart that you have the ability to grow it. For every one of you that is like that, there could be two or three others that fall in other categories. Yes it is true, there is always a certain percentage in the world that would not have long hair for anything in the world: They cut it as short as they can, just like a man. At the same time, others are crying and praying, Lord, let me grow long hair: I want to please you. When I made the apology to the school teacher I told you about last Sunday, that was several years ago, while we were still in the church building over behind the Roberts & Strack Veneer Company. She accepted my apology and spent the remainder of her life on earth coming to meet with this congregation as long as she was able to come. She has now gone on to be with the Lord: I took my subject that morning, form what Paul said in 1st Corinthians 11, and started in on it. I was young back then, and I just thought I would do a good job: I would really let the sisters know, God wants all women to grow long hair. When the service was over, she came to me with tears in her eyes and said, Bro. Jackson, may I speak with you for a moment? We sat down, there on the front pew and she said, Bro. Jackson, I just want you to know, I will not be coming here to service any more. That hit me like a ton of bricks. I asked her, Why do you say that Sister? She said, Well I am sorry I have offended you. I said, You have not offended me. She said, Well you evidently see my short hair and think I have to have long hair, but you just don’t know how I have prayed to God and done everything I know to, treating my scalp, treating my hair, but my hair will only reach a certain length. No matter what I do, it just keeps coming out. She said, I had two aunts that went bald. They could not go out in public without wearing a wig. (Wearing a wig would be a no-no for some preachers.) When she said that to me with tears in her eyes, it brought tears to my eyes and caused me to begin to say within, Who do I think I am? I apologized to her. Then I shook her hand and said, Sister, I ask your forgiveness. I also said, Sister, you will never hear me utter things like that again; and I meant it. Well as I said, She stayed with the church until she passed on out of this world. In her later years, many times when she came to church, she had to wear a wig. I never looked down upon her with any misgivings or mistrust whatsoever. That person had a compassion for people, for missionaries as well as others, as much as anyone I have ever known. She stood ready to do her part in everything you could ask a person to do. When it came to the basic things of the gospel that I taught, she stood for it one hundred percent. I use that only as an example, as I try to establish a very important point: If we are going to preach long hair, then turn right around and say, But you can’t plait it, you can’t braid it, you can’t do this or that, and that brings us to what Peter and Paul both taught, so turn with me in your Bibles to 1st Timothy. I will be reading this from the Hebrew, translated to English.
ADORNMENT AND RESTRAINT
As we examine these various scriptures, we should keep in mind, that none of them were written to put anyone under bondage, but rather as a guide to those who are concerned about what pleases our Lord. Let us start with 1st Timothy, the 2nd chapter, verse 9. “In like manner, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety: (sincerity) not with broided hair; or gold, or pearls, or costly raiment. (That would pertain to costly clothing just for show.) But which be cometh women professing holiness.” Now that is all that Paul said concerning the adornment. Which is he after? Was it just the external things that women were putting on, clothing, excessive jewelry and hair styles? What is he talking about? He is first talking about the inner person, and the character and commitment of that redeemed person. Then about letting the outer adornment be that which is modest, and that which shows sobriety, (or restraint) one that is not following all the fashions of the world, such as the braiding of the hair, the wearing of gold, or the pearls or costly clothing. Preachers without revelation like to capitalize on this. They say, See, there! They are against any of these things. Listen to what I am saying. Preachers have twisted these things to fit their external and domineering purpose. They do not seek to know the truth of why such things were written: they just jump on the literal words and use them to rule those who will listen to their condemning teachings. Let us just go right on to 1st Peter, chapter 3, verse 1, where we find the apostle Peter speaking or writing to the Christian woman. “Likewise, ye wives, be submissive to your own husbands, so that those who obey not the word, (Those husbands who do not want to go to church, and have no intention of becoming a believer are what he has in mind.) may be won without difficulty through your good example.” This is what Peter is saying to the Christian woman, if you want to win your husband, then let your appearance, your behavior, your conversation, and all of your manner of conduct be that which speaks externally of what you are on the inside. When they see that you conduct yourselves with respect and modesty, and do not adorn yourself with outward adornments that are copied from those of the world just for show, they cannot help but get interested in the reason why you keep your outer person under such control. When Peter is talking like this, he is not just capitalizing on these external things: He is using them to illustrate how the dedicated Christian woman should put emphasis first on the inner person, and let the inner self judge how the outer self should be seen by others. If we put emphasis upon the first person, then we will learn how God would have us to conduct the outer person. That takes you to what Paul said in Romans 12, starting with the first verse. Did not Paul say, “I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, (He is talking to brethren.) That ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” How can you present your body as a living sacrifice if the inner man has not been crucified with Christ? Sure, we can teach people to do this, do that. Hey, this is easy. It looks like they are Christians, looking only from the external viewpoint. They don’t do this, they don’t do that, but when you begin to look what is inside, a little further down the road, you will really see what the inner man is conducting himself like. Therefore I have to say, If the inward man has truly been crucified with Christ and is dead to the things of the world, that inner man is going to take a good look at the word of God and say, Lord, you help me, because I want to present my body to you according to your word. It is true, as Paul said in another scripture, I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet the life I live, I live it by faith in the One who gave of His self and died for me. Yes saints: We are crucified with Him, which means our desires to want to look like something in the world that pleases the fashions of every day society have been changed. That is why I have stood in this pulpit for forty some years, presenting myself in a way that I have felt was pleasing to my Lord. I have never stood here or anywhere else wearing shorts. I know preachers in the Assemblies of God that wear shorts in public. As for me, that is something I do not intend to do. When we had to spend two months on an island near the equator, I did not wear them. Don’t ask me how hot it got, but it was hot. When we would wake up the next morning after sleeping, you could scrape grease off of your skin. Even still, I wore long trousers. I never have thought men’s legs looked pretty. You see bow legged, pigeon toed, or knock kneed and whatever, and when you look around you out there today, even old men with arthritis in their joints and all out of shape, are wearing shorts. When I was a child you would never see that kind of picture. The human race has lost sight of respect to the Creator. Self is all that matters. As we get back to our basic point though, Peter is not talking about this kind of thing, and we are not even using this for any reason other than a comparative thing. When you see a woman that says I go to church every service: I have never missed a Sunday, and I have an attendance pin to prove it, see here. That is a medal of valor on the field of battle. That is probably the only medal you will ever have in this life. Oh how they adorn themselves putting on this and that. When you look at a Christian using constraint, (modesty) you are not looking at a person that is twisting the scriptures to make his or herself look like some kind of oddball. A Christian woman has the right to stand before the mirror and clothe herself, and fix herself, hair and all, in whatever way she feels comfortable. She is not combing her hair, wearing a ring or anything, just to please that Miss So and So out there in the world. I could not care less what they think: I am interested in what my Lord thinks when He sees me. If there were forty preachers out there, all from the Assemblies of God, or whatever else, and they are all going to a picnic place wearing shorts, I will be going with trousers on. I could not care less, what they think about me for being different than them. That is out of respect for my Creator, that I feel that way.
SARAH – AN EXAMPLE WORTHY OF NOTICE
It is one thing for me to stand here and preach and teach a revelation that we can all understand inside our being, a revelation that enables us to see ourselves in the world to come, because that is what we are going to fall heir to, but while we are still in this life, we have a testimony of the grace of God that He has placed inside us, something that is far greater than anything we can obtain by trying to please the society of the world that is all around us. You may think I am old fashioned when I talk like this, but if that is what this is, then I believe, because of what I read in the Bible, that God thought in an old fashioned way, when He inspired His servants to write these things to guide those who would afterward look for His definition of our walking in harmony with Him. By now, most of us should have already been crucified to all that junk out there in the world. I do not feel any pull whatsoever, to try to dress or do anything to please them. I am going to do what I feel pleases God. Likewise I say to my Christian Sisters, you should not try to grow your hair to please them, and neither should you ever purpose to wear the styles of clothing they wear. This is why, when Peter talks here about women, saying, Do not adorn yourselves with an outward accumulation, (That is the way I have to speak of it.) of ornaments, such as the plaiting of your hair, and the other things he mentioned, he was thinking of how most of that is done to copy worldly fashions. The various things that are mentioned are not necessarily things that God forbids Christian women to have anything to do with: He is just simply looking at your motives for doing things that identify you so much with worldly styles and habits. Let us look at that. Preacher, wherever you are around the world, you that preach long hair, long hair it is. How is the Christian woman with long hair supposed to fix it up, in order to please God? You say, She cannot plait it. Are you against the plaiting or against certain styles that they fashion out of this plaiting? It all goes on hin this world of cultures. As a boy growing up in southern Indiana, there were people of the world, especially in the rural countryside, you could not get women to cut their hair short. There were stylish females that did, but the average country woman of America back then, just simply leaned toward the old Biblical image. When her hair did reach a certain length, she would trim that, but she attired herself with long hair. How many times have they went into the fields to help their husbands put up hay, and had to plait their hair in order to manage it, with the work they were doing? They had to do that, to keep their hair from hindering their work. I have seen that many times in my lifetime. When they would go to the barn to milk the cows, how do you suppose they managed that? Listen to me preacher, Have you ever milked a cow? Did you have a mother that had to milk a cow, or cows? How do you think she sat there with her head against the cow, and she has a bucket between her knees, holding it under the cow? I have seen my mother do that many times. Oh you are not supposed to plait your hair, nor put it up! What! Here she is leaning over a bucket, milking a cow, and you say, She is still not supposed to plait her hair, nor put it up on her head. Do you want her to drag her hair in that bucket of milk? I have seen how they pull their hair up and tie a ribbon on it. Others, if they had thick heavy hair, would divide it in three sections, plait the center and then the sides. They would fix it up in a bun and stick pins in to hold it in place. I see nothing wrong with that. When I think of the old Bible women, the first being Ruth, the Moabite that came back with her mother-in-law Naomi, when she came back into the land, Ruth went gleaning in the fields with the other women. God have mercy on people that are so narrow minded as to think a woman with long hair should go out there and bend over to the ground, picking up stalks of grain and making sheaves and tying them, and constantly fighting her hair because she could not plait it. How many are listening to what I am saying? My point is this, There was such a thing as the plaiting that was common, decent, considered modest, and it was to make their work more convenient. There were other ways some plaiting it and fixed it in styles, and they were dressing strictly for the world. That is exactly what Paul and Peter were talking about. Well having said that, let us take a little trip. When God spoke to Abraham, how many of you know what his and his wife’s ages were? He was seventy five years old, and she was sixty five. It is right here, that we must remember the Bible says Abraham is the father of us all, so from that standpoint, Sarah is our mother, so we ought to consider that. From her image, which you can only read of today, but whatever her real image was, we would not be ashamed to be part of her. By faith, I am a descendant, I am one of her children. I believe Sarah had long hair. I believe she had a right to control it, what length she was going to let it grow to, and how she would take care of it. When they came into the promised land, there was a drought there, so they altered their plans somewhat and headed for Egypt. Crops never failed in Egypt, because it was all irrigation agriculture, but their intention was to return to their own land later. They headed for Egypt, but as they got closer, Abraham must have heard something from the passers by, because of what he said to his wife: His little wife was sixty five years old, but he said to her, Sarah, you are a beautiful woman: I don’t know what that bunch of men down there are like, but I fear for my life. When we get down there, if circumstances prevail, and I have to tell them that you are my sister, you agree with it. Now my point is this, She was already sixty five years old, but the minute they got into Egypt, the young Egyptian men begin to see her beauty, and may have said, Hey, who is that good looking lady with that stranger that is coming by? It was not long until Pharaoh himself heard about her. The minute they bring her in, he is ready to take her for wife. Why would he choose her over all these other younger Egyptian women? What was it about her attire and her image that made her attractive to those men? I have to say, She was a woman of modesty, and of character, and certainly not a woman to be ashamed to be seen with. Do you agree with me? The very minute Pharaoh reached out and took her, over all the other beauties that could have been living in that hour in Egypt, he invited trouble into his house. Here is what the Bible says, (Gen 12:17-19) “And the LORD plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai Abram’s wife. And Pharaoh called Abram, and said, What is this that thou hast done unto me? Why midst thou not tell me that she was thy wife? Why saidst thou, She is my sister? So I might have taken her to me to wife: now therefore behold thy wife, take her, and go thy way.” My point in using that, If she is the mother of us all, basically pointing to the Christian woman, then let us try to imagine something about the woman she was: She was a woman that knew how to conduct herself, because of her inner character. She was a woman that knew how to respect her husband in public, because she was always saying, My lord, or my master. This was probably different than what these Egyptians were used to hearing. She did not come into Egypt wearing a big flowery dress that could be seen ten miles away. When they did get close enough to see how she was dressed, they could see that everything about her portrayed modesty and sincerity. She was not adorning herself to draw attention. It was her beauty alone that caused her to be taken to Pharaoh. I hope you are listening to what I am saying. Why in the world is Abraham hauling all of the jewelry and so forth along with him, if women were not allowed to wear it? When Isaac was born, Abraham was a hundred years old. That made Sarah ninety years old. To show you there was something about this ninety years old woman, after God had appeared to him sitting in the shade, God told Abraham, I will return to Sarah the time or cycle of life next year and she will conceive and bring forth a son and thou will name him Isaac. She is ninety years old. After Sodom and Gomorrah fell, Abraham took Sarah for some reason, and crossed over the hill country into the land of the Philistines. He came into the region of old King Abimelech, another king he had to deal with. Again Abraham said the same thing to Sarah: I don’t know what kind of characters these are, but if they start asking too many questions, I am just going to tell them you are my sister. I have to say, Every time Abraham said that, he failed to get a reward for it. There was something about this woman, that at ninety years of age she was still attractive. It wasn’t long until Abimelech saw this woman and became interested, but the Lord spoke to him in a dream saying, “Behold, thou art but a dead man, for the woman which thou hast taken; for she is a man’s wife.” Again Abimelech came to Abraham and said, Why have you done me this way? Abraham had an excuse, I said she was my sister, and she truly is my half sister. We both had the same father, but different mothers. As I said, I am using this to show you a woman that Peter uses as our model, and you and I know that Peter did not see her with his own eyes: He is just going back in the record of the scriptures and using her for a model, because of the way she is portrayed in the ancient records. I have to say, She was not a woman that was considered an eye sore to look at: she was very attractive. The things that really stood out to me, was the modesty, the character, the image of righteousness, sobriety, and how she conducted herself in public in the presence of her husband. If Abraham, years later, could ask his servant Eleazar, after Isaac is of age, to go back and get Isaac a wife, do you think for one minute that Abraham is going to dishonor his lovely wife that has brought that son into the world? Do you think Abraham is going to dishonor her by sending jewelry, gold, silver, as well as apparel, (raiment) if a certain amount of it was not acceptable? Eleazar went back to the land of the Chaldeans with an abundance of this, not to be worn all at once, but to be worn in modesty. This was a token that the young girl that would be invited would know that she is coming to a household that is wealthy, capable of sustaining her. When Eleazar gave those ear rings and things like that, that was a token of what she was to fall heir to. IN that light, taking it back to what Paul says in Timothy, in like manner also, let the apparel of women be simple, and their adornment be modest and refined, not with braided hair, (talking about excess of style) or gold, or pearls, but notice, or costly array. Notice particularly the word “costly” That is where the revelation lays, and it speaks of showiness rather than price, or actual worth. We have women in the world today, that will not go out in public unless they have on a very expensive dress that draws attention to the fact. That is what I was saying last Sunday. Look at the celebrity world. Look at all the Hollywood actors. They would not be caught going to an ordinary department store and buying a dress that we would consider reasonably priced: No. They have to wear something that draws attention to the fact that it is expensive, and shows much nakedness. I know some cost a lot more than what I might consider to be reasonably priced, but that is not the only thing that is involved here. We live in a world of the elite, the celebrity type, and they strive to be the style-setters. They are the ones that have to adorn themselves with all this excess, because they have to show who they are. I have to say, Yes, I can see what you have on, but when I hear you and watch you, I sure do not want to be like you. Your character, your very image is all just for show. Some are just plain smart aleck’s with all of that, because they like to walk around bragging, I wouldn’t wear that cheap thing and so forth. That is what Paul is talking about. That is what Peter is talking about. There is a certain class of people that live like that, so that everything about this is showy and boastful. They think like that continually, so naturally our heavenly Father would not be pleased to have his family copying their styles, nor their ways. That is why every Christian person, whether male or female, must come to realize that we are Pilgrims and strangers in a world of people whose society we do not fit into. They do not have one thing I want, nor should any of you: Therefore we cannot use them as images and models to pattern our lives after: neither inwardly nor outwardly. We have to find that type of life for ourselves that pleases the Lord; so how do we do that? We do that by reading and studying His written word. What He approved of and disapproved of from the very beginning of time, we know He still does, because He remains the same: HE has not changed His mind. It is the different society’s of humanity that have done the changing for both good and bad. I do realize of course, that there are people in certain religious circles, like the Amish or Mennonite people, that may have taken their refusal to change, to extremes. Not that their ways of doing things is evil, and it is not that their attitude that is wrong, because many of them look down on others who are different from them. God always looks at our attitude and our motives, because they are reflected from within.
HOW CUSTOMS RULE HUMAN LIVES
Several years ago I had the privilege of going into the northern part of the state, then on over into Michigan, preaching to groups of Amish and Mennonite people that had been proselyted out of their old religious beliefs. It was during the deliverance move years ago, that some of them who were sick, or that had children that were sick, started going to some of the healing services and were healed. That caused them to leave the Amish or Mennonite ranks and begin to take up studying the Bible themselves. I was asked to come up there to speak to a group of them; and the one thing I noticed, was that the older ones which by now are dead still held on to their former way of dressing themselves, and their former ways of doing things. One family that had a sick daughter, took her to one of the healing evangelists of that day and when they prayed for her she was healed. That healing led them out of that old belief, but they still held on to their hair style, and the men still held on to their clothing style. When it comes to the men’s style of trousers, coat and shirt, it goes back to 1450 A.D., just about the time the Reformation started. Their ways of life and their ways of maintaining themselves has remained basically the same right on through the years. To me, when a man will wear trousers fashioned just like those in 1450 A.D., he is deliberately wearing something, thinking he is more holy and righteous than anyone else; and little does he realize, he has gone to extremes. Let me use this as an illustration: I remember the one family that had a dairy farm: We stayed all night with them while we were having the meetings there. This brother said to me, Bro. Jackson, when we decided to get out of the Amish fellowship, we could see people all around us with electric lights, and tractors on their farms. Here we were still doing everything by using horses. They would drive their cars to church on Sundays and we would go in our buggies. We stayed with that, even after we left the ranks of the Amish. He said, One day I was plowing corn: (He had a large farm. He was plowing corn with three head of horses and a two row riding cultivator.) It was awful hot; and as I was riding along, all of a sudden a voice said, Go tell them what is right and what is wrong. I thought, Is there somebody following me? I went on about my work, then again that voice said, God o what I told you to do, tell them what is right and what is wrong. I stopped, looked all around, but I saw no one. He then thought, Is somebody playing a trick on me? So he said, I turned around and went on down through the corn field. It was so hot; and I was sweating: Then all of a sudden that voice said again, You go do what I told you to do, Tell them what is right and what is wrong. He said, I stopped, wrapped the lines and got off of the cultivator and took my hat off: I didn’t see anyone around so I looked up and said, Lord, it must be you. From that day on, I began to pray, What will I say when I go there? He and his wife and children picked the Sunday when they would go. He said, We knew what would happen, but we went on in there. (When the Amish come together, it is not like we do here. They will sing a song, have a word of prayer, and then one will read a verse of scripture and comment on it. Then another will pick up a verse of scripture and he will comment on it. Then another will take another verse of scripture and comment on it. It is not long until some of them are in an argument, That is not he way I see it, that is not what it means, it is such and such, back and forth it goes like that. They just trade passages of scriptures and argue and debate on it. So they went that day to do as he felt he must do.) He said, I waited until I saw an opening: I was praying, Lord, help me say the right thing. When I stood up, everything got real quiet. I got nervous, my heart started pounding, but I opened my mouth and began to talk. He said, Words began to flow out of me, I knew it was contrary to what they believed. It was contrary to how I used to believe, but the Lord just made me speak it. He said, They were all getting nervous, pulling their handkerchiefs out, blowing their noses, looking at one another, turning around and looking at another person and not saying anything. After a while I could tell I had said enough, so we left and went home. I knew I had at least told them the right things and the wrong things. I tell these things to show you how religion after religion across this nation, has been established by a few who have reached into the Bible, taken things completely out of context, not knowing the base of what the writer was talking about, and adopted a creed to follow. They have used these varied things to pin together a picture of a way of life that was and is completely contrary to the way everyone else around them lived. That is why, as you go through the Amish country you see no electric lights and none of the modern things that man has used to make life a little easier.
ANOTHER EXTREME INTERPRETATION OF THE SCRIPTURES
At this time, I will tell you something you may, or may not know. When there is a girl in an Amish household that reaches marriageable age, the father usually paints the gate a certain color. Any young Amish boy coming along in his buggy, can see by that painted gate, that there is a potential wife living there. He knows there is a girl in that family that is of marriageable age. That is the way they advertise the girl. One day that boy might bring a bouquet of flowers, pull up to this farm and ask for the father. That is the first thing he has to do. He will say, I see you have a daughter of marriageable age: I am So and So from such and such a family: I live so many miles from here. I just came to see if it is possible that I could see your daughter. The father has the right to allow him, or he has the right to turn him away. Now I will tell you of such a case, and we know it is the truth, because my wife and I, and our family slept in the home during such a time. WE were sleeping upstairs. There was a daughter in the family that was of marriageable age. (They had a large family.) This certain young man came that evening with his request. They sat downstairs for a long while. They had some refreshments. After a while they disappeared. So when we got ready to go to bed, the wife told us to follow her. We followed her up the steps. When we got to the top of the steps we had to make a turn. There by the side of the wall was a big bed. (Now don’t let this shock you.) That boy and girl were in the same bed. It startled me at first, but we went on to our room. I read in a little booklet I have, that this is the custom among the Amish people in dating. The young man does not come and take the young lady to a movie show, he comes and stays in the home, if the father will allow him to stay. The girl sleeps on one side of the bed under one cover, and the boy sleeps on the other side under another cover. How many get the picture? Not under the same covers. They sleep side by side, one under one cover, and the other under another cover. Amish have been asked about this practice and their answer is, This goes back to Bible times. Do you remember when Ruth was gleaning in the field? She was gleaning the fields of Boaz. Boaz became attracted to this young girl, and she (Ruth) became interested in him, but she was timid. Naomi told her what to do. When there is a certain festivity made during the threshing season, go over and lay at his feet, wrap yourself in your own cover and lay at his feet. If he accepts this invitation, he will reach down and put his cover over you. Are you listening? That is where the Amish got that idea: That is their interpretation of how a marriage should be made. The Amish read that and said, This is the way it was done in Bible times and we have less illegitimate child birth following this practice, than you do. How many heard me? This statement is true because their children grow up with an image of self discipline. (I realize this will go around the world, but it is the truth.) We spent three days and three nights in that home. That young man dated that girl all during that time. When the girl got up in the morning, to help her dad milk the cows, the young man got up also, and went to the barn to help. He helped the father around the farm all the time he was dating the girl. Once in a while there is such a thing as him (the young man) taking the young lady out in a buggy, if there is a social get together somewhere that they were invited to, but there is no such thing as the boy taking her to town, to a movie theater. That is totally out of the question.
SCRIPTURAL HOLINESS – WHERE IS THE BALANCE?
Let me now get back to our subject, and to the way it should be applied in our lives. It is true among a lot of our religionists in our extreme holiness groups today, that they do not want any gold, because they think that is what the apostles were talking about. That is not what the apostles were really saying, that we should abstain totally from the use of anything made of gold in our adornment. They are using these little items to illustrate to holiness people where to draw a line between modest use and excessive use of these various things. Do not let your adornment be given over totally, to the excessive use of all this finery, adorning yourself with gold and silver, and costly raiment just to show off, but neither are those apostles saying that women should dress and conduct themselves in a way that makes them stand out like a sore thumb. That is why I said, If Sarah is a model for even our day, and if she is the mother of all of us, by faith, then the young Christian woman can see in her an image of something that through the scriptures we can draw from, and that is modesty, self control, how to conduct one’s self, especially when they stand before the mirror. I have had many women through the years ask me, Bro. Jackson, how should I fix my hair? I have said, You stand before the mirror and ask the Lord, and let Him tell you. You stand there and fix your hair the way you feel comfortable, just as you would if He were to stand there personally and watch you. When you adorn yourself in a way that you would not feel like running away and hiding, if you suddenly realized Jesus was standing beside you in person, then I believe your appearance is acceptable to Him also. When you do see how you ought to fix your hair, then let every day of your life be that way. Not one day one ay, then another day something different, always changing, so that your friends never know what to expect. Let me bring in a few things about long hair and how to take care of it. I am not a woman, but you don’t know the stories I have heard about people with long hair. If you are not allowed to plait it or fix it up on top of your head in any way, and you just have to let it hang down, listen to the next story I am going to relate to you. Back in the 1930’s and 1940’s when the old Maytag washing machine first came into operation, it had a built in wringer sticking up on it. I was about twelve years of age, when my aunt in Jeffersonville, told of a neighbor woman she knew that had long hair. For some reason she had failed to put her hair back out of the way, so as she went to the washer that particular morning and was reaching in, pulling out clothing to run through the wringer, some of her hair got caught in the wringer with the clothing. You know how clothing, when it is real wet, hangs together, so her hair got caught in that clothing and went right into the wringer. Before the woman could hit the release lever, it pulled her head up to the wringer and tore a part of her scalp off of the side of her head. I say these things, because I know we have preachers around that like to use excuses of this or that, for what they reach and preach. Therefore when this goes out, I want it to say to them, What about the woman that opened the lid of a cook stove on a cold winter morning and caught her hair on fire? She had long hair, and just as she opened the lid to put in more wood, the first things he knew some of her hair had fallen over her shoulder right into the fire. I have to say to any and all of you, Long hair is beautiful, and I say to you, Grow it long if you can, but God is not going to come down with a comb and brush and fix it for you. Are you listening to me? You are going to have to fix it yourself or have someone else help, and you are going to say, Lord, help me fix it the way you would like to see me, if you were standing here in person looking at me. As you take all these different examples into accountability, and you realize what godly women of other centuries had to take into consideration when they adorned themselves, I believe you will know how to go about your own adornment, so that you know you are pleasing to your Lord. I know when I take you back out of this 20th century of modern conveniences and modern travel, back beyond air conditioning and all the modern conveniences we are all accustomed to, and show you how the ancient women down through the ages have had to walk and carry everything, and allow you to see how they conducted themselves, you will surely say, If modesty was a part of living in those days, with decency and restraint for the sake of righteousness, Dear Lord grant me wisdom to know how to walk before you in like manner. It behooves every Christian woman to seek to know what pleases God in their conduct and adornment. I realize there are some women who cannot grow long hair: It just gets so long, then it dies and breaks off. That is why I have said, you have a right to trim off those dead ends. Yet I know my saying that, has caused my critics to say, Bro. Jackson tells women they can cut their hair off. Is that a true representation of what I have said? Any reasonable person knows the difference. Let’s just say I have a horse that needs its mane trimmed to even it up and I hand you a pair of snips and say, Go trim that horse’s mane: Do you know what I am talking about? When the mane on a horse gets so long it gets hooked on this and that, and some of it breaks off. After a while there are long strands, short strands, and it just looks very unkept. You trim it back to where it is still a good mane, but it is all even in length. That is proper and acceptable, but if you think trimming means to cut it all off and you cut that horse’s mane off until there is almost nothing left, you have gone too far. I believe every right thinking person knows the difference between trimming and cutting, but there are always those who strain at a gnat and swallow a camel. They are always looking for things to jump to conclusions and be excessive in. Some women, because of hereditary traits, can only grow hair only so long, and even that does not grow evenly: Is God going to condemn such a person who really desires to grow long hair and cannot? You every one know better than that. Anyone has a right to trim off the dead ends to make it look even and decent. In traveling, I have seen poor people in countries where they lived on the streets and have lost hope of any personal image, and of how to exist in a society. They just sit somewhere and beg. You see them sit there with hair that is straggled and very unkept every other way, all because they have lost all hope of any dignity. They just do not care how they look anymore. Christians, Listen to me! It is time we opened our eyes and our minds. We have an image to portray in this mixed up society we are forced to live in. Of course I realize there are some women that just simply refuse to have long hair: They don’t like it, never have and never will. Therefore every time it starts to grow out a little, off it comes. WE are not talking about that kind of people. How many realize that? We are talking about people that want to bring their lives in line with the scriptures, because they understand that is what pleases God. This brings me to another point, so I first want to say, Bro. William Branham had a lovely Christian wife, Sis. Mede. I have seen Sis. Branham when she would have on a little string of pearls. The reason I bring this in, is because Paul said in his letter to Timothy, Not the wearing of gold or silver, or pearls. Many read that and jump to false conclusions. Sis. Branham was a woman that knew the type of dress and collar style, and knew when a string of pearls would go well with that certain dress. I never did see her with pearls on all the time, just when she wore a certain type of dress that she felt a little string of pearls was appropriate with. I have to say, She always portrayed herself in a very modest way, any time you ever saw her out in public. On the other hand, you would never see her trying to appear as some celebrity type would. You would see her as a godly Christian woman. I use that as a type, and as an example of knowing where to draw a line. It is the same way with the wearing of gold. That is why the old Nazarene type would not wear a watch with a gold band. They would wear a stainless steel watch with a leather band. That is the way they used to dress. It was the same way with the Pilgrim Holiness people: They would never wear anything of gold. They would wear a stainless steel wrist watch with a leather band. Again I say, That is straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel, if you know what I mean. When we think like that, we are missing the mark completely. Usually when people are like that, if they get around where you are, and you have on a gold wrist watch, that is the first thing they look at. That is why some of these young preachers that have had this drilled into their mind all their life, will jump up in the pulpit and say, Absolutely no gold, no silver, no this or that, and when circumstances places them in the midst of a congregation where they see a gold watch, Oh, that is wrong, they will say. Somebody might be wearing a string of pearls. Oh that is terrible. The Bible speaks against that. If a woman does have her hair plaited, Oh that is not the way your long hair is supposed to be worn: the Bible is against that, Or if they see someone who does not have enough hair, just a little bunch, Oh, the devil is sure in this bunch of people, you can plainly see that. Well Saints, this tape is going to go out from here, to many different areas of the world, so I have to say to preachers who are like that, Do not ever come around here, because you will see so many different images of the things you major on, it will scare you half to death. You will get so scared, you will leave here and I will never see you any more. I say though, If you believe we have been printing truth for the last thirty years, then I am going to ask you this, What are you going to do with all these short haired women, and these that have plaited hair? Just tell me, What are you going to do with them? Will you send them to hell? I have my doubts you will have the right to do that. What are you going to do with the native women of the South Pacific, or those of central Africa? I have seen them: They cannot grow long hair. Are you going to send all of them to hell also? Some of those poor souls love the Lord down in their heart, just as much as you do.
OUR TRIP TO GHANA, WEST AFRICA
I will never forget 1974, when we went to Ghana Africa. We went to a certain city about twelve miles away from the bush country. After preaching there twice in the city, we came back to the hotel, and the guide told us, Tonight we are going into the bush country. They brought in an old British army truck: It was starting to get dark and th headlights were turned on. That old truck looked totally worn out. Nevertheless all in our party got into the back of that truck and the driver started for the jungle, on an old dirt road full of pot holes. We were going into the bush country, rocking backwards and forwards. Ever so often, the generator on it would not give off enough current and the lights would go out. There we were, creeping along in the dark, then maybe the generator would cut back on and the lights would brighten up for a while. For about twelve miles we rode like that. Finally, we pulled up to the edge of the village and all you could see were rows of little huts. There were no electric lights, but two other brethren and I had Coleman lanterns, so they lit them and that was our light. That was the only light we had, so we took them and started walking down this little street of the village. From every direction, here came the people. They followed us to a certain place, and that was where the native pastor lived. When we got there, we hung the lanterns on the posts of a little porch on the front. Pretty soon, every person in that village was standing there in front of me. I saw black women whose hair would hardly cover their ears. The native pastor asked for prayer and then he started singing a song. From out of the darkness, here came the different sounds of sticks and things you shake. That was the music. For about forty five minutes they sang and danced in the street. They were a happy group of people. When I looked out over them, I did not see a black woman in that entire crowd with hair real long: Their hair was very short, and they had it fixed the best way they could. None of that was offensive to me: We were there to preach the truth of God’s word to them. When I got through preaching, the pastor gave an invitation for anyone who desired, to come up for prayer. I ended up praying for the whole village. I believe some of those people are going to be in God’s kingdom. Those people love the Lord, but they will never be able to meet the requirements of a lot of preachers of our day and hour. They live by what means they have. That is why, when we try to evangelize the world, we are not trying to Americanize everybody. No. Let’s not do that. First we should not try to Americanize everybody, because not everyone is going to be able to be like an American. Then secondly, even if we could do that, it would still not assure them of an eternity with God, because not every godly-looking American is going to end up like that. Many godly-looking people will end up in hell, simply because they never had a personal experience of salvation: they just tried to make it by following someone else’s ideas. It gives me no pleasure to say that, but truth is truth and God is the righteous judge. He judges according to what we have inside and how we have expressed it. There are some things I want to bring out more clearly. One thing I want to say is this, Wherever this message would be played, or if it is printed, or seen on video, I would like it to be understood by all, that I will never try to Americanize any person when I am preaching in another land. I will deal with Christian people in America as I see Christian people, and according to the things that affect them here in their land. By the same principle, I realize I cannot take the American culture and go to another land and expect that God is going to honor what I might say to them, because those people have grown up under other cultures, many times under other religious effects, but by remembering that the gospel of Jesus Christ will fit any soul no matter what culture they have been brought up under, if we begin to look at things in the right way, God can use us with them. Therefore I look for the leading of the Lord on how to present the gospel to people in the society where they are. It is only when we try to make everybody like sausages brought through the same machine, that we get everything out of proper proportion. That might sound carnal, but while it is a carnal illustration, people should understand what I mean by that. For too long now, that is what people have tried to do. Missionaries have tried it. Some have succeeded to some degree because they took a licking and then woke up and God honored them. Others went and came home defeated, because they were focused on the wrong thing.
EXAMINING MOTIVES AND METHODS
I want to read a portion of scripture in Galatians, chapter 5 again, because we are dealing primarily with the inner man, which is what our outward self portrays. We have to get this inner self where it can talk with the Lord, fellowship with Him, and He in return can fellowship with it. He sees my heart long before He sees what I adorn my outer self with. In fact, many times it is what we put on that proves the motive we have within. You can hide a lot within, but naturally, or what we look like on the outside, pleases a lot of people. That is because they judge by such standards. Let us read this scripture here in Galatians. This is another scripture that deals with the inner man. We will start with the 14th verse. “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: thou shalt love they neighbor as thyself. But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.” You don’t do that with external things. You could stand here looking like a dummy, but if you never said a word about what is actually going on inside here, you wouldn’t know whether they hated you or not. “This I say then, walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, (Because they are opposite) and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. (Or should) But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, sedition, heresies, Envying, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit (which is of the inner man) is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith. Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.” Having read these verses, I want to take some of the holiness preachers back a little. They have harped on gold and those things, saying it is not in the gospel. When Peter referred to Sarah in his writings, as we read this earlier, why would Peter go so far back in time and pick up the wife of Abraham, in scriptures that were written 1900 years before the advent of Christ? Why go so far back in time to pick up a model, especially one that none of those people have ever seen? I have to believe her image had passed down from one generation to the next among her offspring, and that it was a story to tell and be appreciated and admired. Preachers would say, Bro. Jackson, Sarah never wore earrings. How do you know she didn’t? What did Eleazar take with him when he went to get Rebekah, the young lady who would have been her daughter-in-law, if she had lived? That is why I said, I do not like to use this type of word, but preachers have become so narrow minded, I have said many times they could look down the neck of a bottle with both eyes at the same time. Again it could be said they are so narrow minded they look like a shadow turned sideways. That is just another expression to call attention to people who are missing the mark because of tradition. I want to ask you just to look at Sarah’s age from two different intervals of time. When God spoke to Abraham, saying, Get out of thy country, away from thy kindred and go on down to the land I will show you, he was seventy five years old. We know Sarah was sixty five at that time, and we know the distance between their ages never changed. As Abraham’s increased in years, Sarah’s increased in years. As we said earlier, There was something about her that made her attractive, because Pharaoh took a liking to her. Sarah at sixty five, you could probably compare her to an Egyptian woman of twenty. What stood out about her that made Pharaoh admire her? I do not believe it was because she was all decked out in a lot of excessive junk. She was a woman that knew restraint, how to be consistent. She knew how to be modest. She made her image look like that wherever she went. To those that say the woman cannot plait her hair, meaning she has to let it hang down loose, I will take you back nineteen hundred years before Christ and show you that ear rings were definitely in the picture. Sarah was on her way into Egypt and Abraham had said to her, You are an attractive woman, and I know what will happen when the Egyptians see you: They will seek to kill me because of you, that they may take you. Now I ask you saints, If Sarah had hair hanging down long, like some people imagine it should be, how is an earring going to be seen? I am asking a question. Let us be sensible as we examine this entire picture. If her hair is hanging down long, part of it is going to be over her shoulders, therefore it is not going to let the ears be seen. Why put something on your body for show, that is not going to be seen? What would be the purpose? Do you catch the illustration? Do you know why I said that? If Eleazar took earrings and put them on Rebekah, it had to be a custom of that day: If she is just going to let her hair hang loose, how is anyone going to see them? What is the purpose in wearing them, if they are not going to be seen? My point is this, The image of a virtuous, conservative woman has never changed from the period of the Law to the Christian era. What was a show off then, is still a show off today. What was a conservative image for a woman then, is still a conservative image for a woman today. That is exactly what we are talking about. We are talking about the inward character of the woman that is born again by the Spirit of God. Such a woman, being filled with and led by the Holy Spirit, as God begins to mold her within, the more she learns about her Lord and Master, her blessed Savior, the more she wants to become as admirable to Him as she possibly can. There is nothing in the Bible that says a woman has to look ugly and stand out like a sore thumb. That is not what the apostles were teaching. Why would they use a woman that is proven in the Old Testament, that she was admired by two kings when she was past age 65, if she was some drab looking person? Think of it, when they first went into Egypt she was sixty five, but when they went to the land of the Philistines, she was ninety. That is quite a difference in age, isn’t it? Yet she was still admirable. Was it because she had a lot of junk hanging on her? No, but she was a woman that was conservative, and knew how to be beautiful in the kind of beauty that pleases God. I have to say it in that way, because of what we read in the Bible. The God that caused you to be created, is the ONE we should seek to please. Therefore I have to say, If there is a certain amount of beauty in your facial expression, or in your general appearance, it is because God created you that way. God is not asking you to do something to mar the image, but only to project and show the real person and character that you are; and that is never shown with an excessive display of jewelry or clothing. Watch the true Christian women, those who know how to adorn themselves, and you will not have any reason to compare the beauty of one against the other. That is carnal, and does not belong in the Christian family. A true, dedicated Christian woman that has walked with the Lord for a while, will know how to allow her personality to be molded in a way that portrays Christ. You can take a woman of the world, one that has all kind of beauty features, and they themselves know it, so they are ready to show it off. Such a person though, will cultivate such a stinking personality, you do not even want to be around them. In fact, you abhor that beauty because you see it is nothing but trouble. That is why I say to young Christian men, Do not judge every female strictly by that of facial beauty. Watch that personality, Listen to how they talk, what they talk about, how they reply to questions and what atmosphere they are most comfortable in. Many times, a woman’s beauty is what comes out of the words spoken from the heart. If there is not beauty in the heart, all else will change within a few years of time. When the face begins to wrinkle and they have to use all sorts of face lifting methods to pull it back to where it used to be, that beauty is just not there any more. That is why I say, Let us take a good look at Sarah, a woman commended by the apostles of Christ, and then come to a conclusion about what kind of woman was she? What did she look like? She was a woman that God admired. Peter said to the young Christians in his hour, and to young converts, Use her as a model. I say to you also, You have to see that in the collective body of the scriptures, and not necessarily just from the three different settings we used. The apostles Paul and Peter both saw in her what I pray you will all see, but I believe you would need to see her in the overall story there in Genesis. If it were possible for Sarah to walk into our midst, I know in my heart, she would not stick out like a sore thumb. Even though times and material things have changed, I have to believe she was a woman that was thankful for her beauty, but knew exactly how to cultivate and express it. Notice how Peter wrote this, 1st Pet 3:5 “For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: 1st Pet 3:6 Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.” She was not ashamed to call Abraham her lord, because that was her way of publicly showing people the proper way for a godly woman to conduct her self. I mentioned my aunt earlier: She and my uncle are both dead now, but I will never forget, as a child growing up, how some of these things began to stand out to me. She was a Methodist and proud of it. She wore her hair long and fixed it up on the back of her head. The Methodists back then, also believed that Christian women were to wear a head covering. When Sunday came, she wore a hat. She had a unique way of placing it on her head. She put on the best looking dress she had when she went to church, and in the church house she looked like a very godly, saintly woman. May God forgive me if I am speaking evil of my aunt, but in the church house she would say, Isn’t that right hubby? Oh how sweet, hubby. When they got home, it was not hubby anymore, it was Emmet, you are making me sick. I am going to have to go the doctor and get something for my nerves! That is a picture of a church goer that only lives what she portrays from the outward when she is around others, what she thinks pleases them, but when it comes from the inside, it is a completely different story. Several years ago, there was a lady that started coming to this assembly: (She is not here any more.) She brought three children with her. One of them used to sit on the platform and play the fiddle, a good singer also. She controlled that boy. She too had very long hair, fixed up on the back of her head. You could not find fault with her appearance: She looked like a Holy Ghost filled, Pentecostal woman, but she had an attitude that stank something awful. If you crossed her, it did not take her long to show it. When a certain situation arose in the church and I asked the deacons to say something in my absence, to allow a certain thing to go on, she took offense at that. When I cam back, she was gone. She said, I don’t have to listen to that. After she left here, she went here, there and everywhere. Finally she would up sitting at home. She just simply did not fit in anywhere. Later, because of the influence and control she exercised over her younger son, it was not long until he was playing country music and running with the wrong crowd. He wound up with AIDS and died at a very young age. Tell me why? The influence has to come from more than what is on the outside. It has got to come from what is inside this body of clay, what comes from the heart. I want every preacher to know, wherever you hear this, we have had every kind you can think of, to deal with here. If you want to dress up the outside, help yourself. I am thankful to be a part of a people that can allow something to be put inside of them. They know what I mean when I say, Now Saints: Let’s let Sarah be a model for all of us, and I will say no more about that right now.
THINGS YOU CAN SEE THAT MAY NOT MEET YOUR STANDARDS
I have been in India more than once. The first time we were there, I was privileged to preach to three hundred Hindu people at one gathering. When I found out they were all Hindus, I thought, How in this world am I going to preach Christ to these people? Keep in mind, the Hindu women sitting there, both young and old, had pierced ears with small earrings in their ears. Also, many of them had their nose pierced on both sides. In there, they had a turquoise stone. When a Hindu child is born, first their ears are pierced, then their nose is pierced. As they grow up in life, it isn’t long until you see rings on their toes and bracelets on their ankles. That is part of the Hindu culture and attire. Many of them have been converted, but conversion to Christianity does not close up those holes where they have been pierced. I preached to those people that night and when I was finished, the interpreter said to them, How many would like for this man to pray for you? They all stood up. I thought, Oh my, praying for three hundred Hindus. Lord I depend upon you. Repeatedly, over and over they would say, Pray for me, I do not have any joy in my life, I have nothing but frustration in my mind. Pray for me, I need prayer for so many things. Over and over they kept saying these things to me. I could not help but think, These people need Jesus Christ. Later we went into other areas where we were preaching to Christian congregations, many of the women in those congregations were converted from the Hindu religion. I am saying to the missionary or th preacher, whether it is Africa, or wherever you are, If you get a young Hindu woman who has had the piercing in the nose and ears and such, are you going to ask her to get rid of all of that in order to be a Christian? If you do, you will be looking at a woman that has holes in her nose, (If she has to blow her nose, watch out.) I just say that to make the point. I never saw any decorations on their ankles or toes, of any of the women in those Christian congregations, but though I never saw any of that, I did see the stones still in the nose and ears of some of them. Others replaced the stones with a small earring. I have to say, There is nothing wrong with that. The ones that did have, and the ones that did not, were not criticizing one another, and they were not using that to try to be a model for each other. I am saying these things because there are other places you could go in the world and find similar situations, especially among the Moslems, where the culture in some places is to wear a small earring. It is the western world, like in Europe or the United States, where women have them hanging from their ears as long as saddle stirrups. In Africa, as well as certain other parts of the world, in the Moslem society, it is usually just a small earring. I have to say, I do not see a thing wrong with it, because they do not attract attention like those other things I mentioned. That is why I have to say, When the apostles were talking about adornment and said, Let it not be of gold, silver, or pearls or those things, nor of plaited hair, they were talking about decorating yourself up to draw attention to your flesh, like making sure you are adorned according to the latest style of the world. So these narrow minded preachers that want to write it all off, and say away with it, that is just the way they look at it. I must say to them though, If you are not willing to accept scriptural examples, then stop preaching Abraham, stop preaching Sarah. You evidently know nothing about them. When that young lady Rebekah, married Isaac, Sarah was already gone, but Abraham was still alive and he could not help but admire the young lady, because he was the one that had sent those articles of jewelry back there with his servant, for the chosen one to wear. I know how these preachers of today really think: Therefore regardless of where they go and what they are exposed to, they can only envision Christian holiness according to the picture they have in their mind of those they call true Christians on the continent they come from, because they only see one type of people and they are the Christian people where they were raised. Without considering environmental circumstances and past cultural practices, they envision everyone that God will accept as having to be like the picture in their mind. They are not going to find things that way in many parts of this world. That is why I say, I will not tell women here in the United States that it is alright for them to wear earrings, because I know the temptation, how the old slogan says, If a little looks good, a lot will look better, or if a little on looks good, a bigger one looks better. That is how the American lifestyle goes. We seem to be extremists on everything: We do not know where to draw the line. That is why I have to say, True holiness that came to America and the new world, was brought mainly by the Quakers and Puritans. Some of the old pioneers that came over here were just trappers, looking for bear hides and deer hides. When some of the early Pilgrims came over and brought the holiness way of life, sure, a lot of them had a very extreme way of interpreting the scriptures, but regardless of that, God used all of that. Out of that, came the birth of a nation that helped to influence our society, that made our society become known the world over as a Christian nation. Within that framework, there were many denominations with all degrees of holiness teachings, but look at America today, they have thrown all of it out the door, saying, We do not need that fanatical stuff in here: leave your religion at home: you can’t force your ideas upon us. I have to say, We do not have much longer to be here among that kind of attitude, so do not take what I am saying in this message to extremes. If you do not have mind enough to know how to maintain yourself when you stand before the mirror, then ask God from a desire within your heart, Lord, how do you want me to look? Be honest with yourself, because, fi you are not honest with yourself, you are only going to fool yourself and make a mess of your life. You are going to try to appear in a way that one element will approve of, but somewhere else, you will not be able to live up to it. That is why it is better to be honest with God, letting your desires come from the heart. That is why I said earlier, I have not changed my way of dressing since I have been standing in a pulpit preaching. Some of the suits are made a little different, but you are not seeing me with long hair hanging down over my shirt collar, and having to have it styled at some style shop, like so many of the preachers you see today. I simply cannot imagine the apostle Paul, or bald headed Elisha, having that kind of thing on their mind. This religious image of the world today, is really something to look at. For the most part, it is an image that could never help anyone. That is exactly why, when we are preaching in different parts of the world, to a different element of people, people that have been brought up and influenced by different cultures, we must ask ourselves and the Lord, How can I present the Gospel of Jesus Christ to these people? Look them over, and then present Jesus Christ to them in a way that will allow Him to fit into their lives. That is where it has to begin, and after the Lord is allowed to get into that life, He is still the Lord that can speak to the innermost part of an individual, and cause their mentality to understand what He requires of them. He is able to say, Don’t do that, or That is enough, do not go any further. When we can get to the place that we are sensitive to the Spirit of God, we will not go through life asking, John, Mom, Uncle Jim, Aunt Susie and others, How do you think I look? Is this OK? What do you think about this? No. We are going to learn what pleases God, and then be guided by that, or we will never be in a position to be very useful to our God. If we have to ask others how we should present ourselves, then rest assured, It is time to get down on our knees, get our face in this book and start reading, and let the Spirit of God speak to you. Fifty years ago, you would not have seen women going into a Methodist Church wearing pants. Fifty years ago, you would not have seen a sixty five year old woman wearing shorts. That is a most sickening sight to me, but it just goes to show how far our society has slipped away from God. It also goes to show how religion as a whole, is just an external display in a large percentage of our society. It is absolutely a mockery, the way some people expect a righteous and sovereign God to accept them just as they desire to live and present themselves. They have no understanding. There is no revelation to guide them. They have no personal communication with God, so they walk in darkness. If you are supposed to be a Holy Ghost filled Christian, you should not even have to ask, Lord, is it OK for me to wear shorts? Nine times out of ten He won’t even answer you. It is a shame that our society has changed so, that nothing is wrong anymore. You are the last generation that is going to have an opportunity to live a lifestyle of Christendom and principals patterned after the image of Christ. Therefore do it with all your heart. Be the kind of person that is not living on questions related to what you can get by with. When you can say, Lord, I don’t want to look or do any different than what you are pleased with, so I will look to you for guidance, you will not have to fight those old battles over again. That is why the apostle wrote, (Rom. 13:14) “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.” Lusts of the flesh is what we, with natural eyes, yield to, because it is reflecting something out here in the world that we desire to fit into. I have no desire to fit in out there, and I could not care less what they think about me, nor how I look to them. I saw a little boy about nine years of age. His dad and mom were pleading with him, hoping he would never follow after the models he sees on television, but you could see by the trinkets he like to get hold of, that they were his models. I have to say, You wonder why the young generation has gone like they have, there are too many models of the devil’s doings on TV programs, that talk like hell itself and they live likewise, and make it sound like the only choice anyone has, if they want to be accepted. I grew up in a generation, when very few young people ever said anything in a public place, that would make people think they did not admire their parents. It used to be said, Like father, like son, because the son usually wanted to model after his father. That is not the way it is anymore. We send them to schools wherein they use textbooks that portray images of our modern parents, one going this way and the other going that way. The poor child looks this way and then looks that way, then looks at the TV, and there, on the TV he sees the image he will pattern his life after. Our schools are such, that the students are not taught to obey their mother and dad any more: In many ways they are taught to be suspicious of their parents. Look at the shootings taking place in our schools. Politicians say, What are we going to do with them. Well, you schooled them. You created an incubator for that kind of behavior, so we all suffer the consequences. It is such a shame, and such a waste, for an innocent child to be shot to death in a public place like that. When I see that bunch of uncontrolled teenagers, I have to feel like they did not learn their lawless ways from their daddy. They learned most of it from the things they saw on TV. Those images get the children’s spirit all mixed up. They see a model that offers adventure. When they took Christ and the Bible out of our schools, and they refuse to allow the students to pray, it caused a lot of them to lose all contact with reality. I watched all that when it began to creep into North America. Our children that at one time would have nothing to do with any of that, now wear rings all around their ears, in their nose, in their tongue and on many other parts of their bodies. That is a picture of a very sick society. Not even the heathen nations of people go to those extremes. All over the South Pacific I saw natives with hardly any clothes on, but I never saw anything like we see out here in our general society today. Why am I saying this? It is because, in different parts of the world, there are different things that people have used because it is attractive to them, but regardless of what you use, the scriptures instruct you to exercise modesty. People have many things they consider to be important to their wardrobe, but I have to say, A woman of modesty is going to know where to draw the line, because she is not wearing any of this stuff just to draw attention to herself and put on a show. It is only something that enhances that of her own beauty. If Abraham had it, Sarah wore it, so that is where I stand on this subject: You who do not believe this, then I say to you once again, Stop preaching Abraham, because you evidently know nothing about the man. Otherwise Eleazar would not have hauled those things all the way back to the land of Ur and put them on the girl he was bringing home to Isaac. Being sensible, knowing where to draw the line, knowing when enough is enough is what this Christian life and example is all about. That is the sad part of this subject: We have too many people in our churches that are influenced by the styles of the world, by all of its fashions and everything it does. You hear, well, I won’t wear this dress any more: it is out of style So what! Just lately, I wore a suit my mother bought for me, when she worked at the store there in the Green Tree Mall years ago. IT is more than twenty years old. Why did I say that? All because of this, I don’t care how old a suit is, if I can still wear it, I will wear it. I am not coming here to put on a style show. I am here doing my best to live for my Lord. I love Him. He has done so much for me. There was a time years ago, that I did not want to get too close to the Bible: I thought it made fanatics out of people, but now I cannot get away from it for very long. In it, I find life, and how to live my life in a way that pleases my heavenly Father. Therefore I am going to defend it, preach it, teach it and use it for my guide to the very end, and I pray you will allow it to be your guide also. It has sure helped a lot of people in this life. When truth is presented in the right way, people cannot help but respond to it in a positive way. False teachings have corrupted the professing society of churchgoers. Many are just simply following the examples of their leaders. That is a shame. This thing that is invading our society, causing our young people to want to wear all this stuff on their bodies, even a ring on the toe, is so pitiful. Do you know where they get those ideas from? We are a multi cultured society anymore. We are subjected to the practices of the Hindu and Buddhist young people that came here to go to our colleges. Young girls, why do you find those things so attractive? Certainly it is not for the sake of beauty. Rings in your nose, your tongue and all the other places they are worn in this day and hour, do not enhance your beauty: They do just exactly the opposite. Naturally I realize the people who read these printed messages are not the people who do all these things we have mentioned, but perhaps these words may find lodging here and there and prevent a few from following the crowd of modern society. If I came here with a ring in my nose, you would everyone say something about it, and you would have a right to. We certainly do not need those things: They belong to this wold bunch that roam the streets at night looking for something to satisfy that empty feeling inside of them. Most of the excessiveness we have covered in this message comes right out of hell itself. That is the only place it belongs. You will never see anyone in the true Bride of Christ with their physical being all decorated up with this nonsense. I pray you everyone understand what I am talking about. Lord help me to say this right: I believe, according to the scriptures, especially in our culture here in North America, that when we know what is right and do not do it, we make it sin. Young girls, young boys, do not come in here bare footed. On the opposite side of that, go with me to the mission fields, to India, Africa and wherever the poor people who have no shoes are found. They will come to service with bare feet and walk for miles on hot paved streets, or the side of the road to get there. Most of them are too poor for even a pair of sandals. They have walked on hot concrete for so long, the bottom of their feet look like leather. They sit on the ground and cross their feet. Their feet stick out from under whatever type of garment they are wearing. I feel sorry for those poor souls, but do you know what I think of when I see them? I think of preachers in the western world that say, “Women, don’t wear sandals: I don’t want to see your toes.” I say to you Sir. Then don’t go to India, don’t got to the Philippines: These people do not even know what a solid shoe is. It is either a thin sandal or a flip flop, if they have anything on their feet. I am saying this to get a point over to all who will listen: Let us not take the cultural practices of other countries and try to bring them to America and put them on Christian people, and by the same token, let us not go there and try to put our ways on them. They cannot live up to all that is required of us in our society. Many of those poor girls grow up to be young mothers with children and never have they seen a movie show in their entire life span. They walk for miles to get where they are going. I have to say, It is not wrong to look at the bottom of their feet, but I do feel very sorry for them. I am not looking at any of them to find fault either. I have to say, Lord, help that poor soul. I know when that day comes and the Bride of Christ is taken out of this world, He is going to lift them out of there with all the rest of the Bride. He will be lifting Bride saints from all over this world, regardless of the way they were forced to live their Christian lives. When the Bride saints are robed with immortality, if there is to be any kind of shoes worn at the wedding supper, it will be a Holy Ghost type of shoe and everyone there will be the same. You will not be able to look at each other and say, Well that group came from a poor place. Why? Because God is going to clothe them in His righteousness and we are going to look, in that state, the way God wants us to look. There is not a lot more I could say now, except, Young people, beware of all this silly stuff coming down the road of life, promoted as the in-thing by young people that do not have mind enough to know what they are doing. In an international airport, is where you see a lot of Hindu women coming through, dressed in all that type of things we have covered in this message. They have the black dot between their eyes. They have all this other stuff on their ears, on their hands and so forth. They are all decked out. They are the model of Hindu women. Remember also, if such an one is ever converted to Christ, part of that, she will be able to shed, but some of it she cannot get rid of, because her flesh has already been scarred for the rest of her mortal life. We just have to accept that as fact. On the other hand, God would not want any of us to appear like that under any circumstances, so beware of copying something from them. Keep it simple. Simple does not mean you have to look like a sore thumb, or totally out dated. That is not what modesty is.
HOLDING ON TO HAND-ME-DOWN CUSTOMS AND TRADITIONS
The Amish women have been wearing the same dress, style and color, ever since 1450. The men wear the same attire also, because they feel that everything else is of the world. This goes to show, that as certain things in the world change, we as wise Christians have to be sensitive enough to know where we change with respect to time, without changing our moral image, and losing sight of what our heavenly father expects of us. Like I have said before, Have you ever wondered where the neck tie come from? Look back to the Colonial era, and to the Pilgrims, the shirts they wore which did not have buttons. They had a big neck opening here. When they pulled that together, there was something like a bandana laced through here and pulled it up. It was like a ruffled collar with a big bow. You may have noticed that. From that as the beginning, we now have the neck ties men wear. My point is, certain changes are appropriate, but do not change just to follow a fad. Sometimes styles that come today may be gone tomorrow. Other styles that have a decent appearance, can come and stay, and there is nothing wrong with us stepping into them. That is why the Amish people have lived so long in the backwoods, being unwilling to conform and change, they still burn the candles and use kerosene lights. They refuse to have electric lights in their houses. They will not have curtains on their windows. They think those things are evil. Well I see nothing evil in those things, but you cannot convince them. I give them credit, when it comes to the rural farm community, you will find none better. They know how to farm. They know how to make it productive. When it comes to spirituality, they are as blind and ignorant in knowing what the will of God is for this day, as anyone possibly could be. That is because they have never moved on with God. They moved out of Catholicism and branched out of the movement of Anabaptist, but that is as far as they went. What a shame. As Christians, let us not be guilty of thinking like that. That is why I have said to a lot of people, that when Bro. William Branham was here, he made a statement, If I had a TV, I would tear that thing up. I can understand why he said that, knowing how some people stay glued to those things, but I am sure of one thing, if the man was still alive today, he would see that it has a proper place for this day and hour. There is a right way to use it, and there is a wrong way. That is why if you look at certain scriptures in the right way, some of them will have to be fulfilled through the television broadcasts. Naturally I am referring to what God is going to do in the Middle East in these last days, and how the scripture says the whole world will behold. How? They will watch it on television, just like we did the Gulf War. Those scriptures could not have been fulfilled in the 16th or 18th centuries. They are only applicable for the time we are living in and for what is just ahead. In everything, there is a right and there is a wrong, so let us seek to follow the right ways and things. God bless you every one. Amen.