Summary: God's design: Men who mobilize men and women for ministry.
One of the dangers of topical preaching, like the series that we’re in the midst of right now, is that for me as a pastor, it’s easy to focus on topics that I’m comfortable with and to ignore others that may not be quite as comfortable for me or for you. The other danger is that it is relatively easy to begin by drawing some conclusions about a certain topic or issue and then try to find Scriptures, often taken out of context, to support those conclusions, rather than letting the Bible text itself develop the principles.
The topic that we’re going to deal with this morning certainly has the potential to fall into those traps. In many ways, it is a topic that is not entirely comfortable for us. In fact, the last time I addressed this issue a couple of years ago, there were a few people who took issue with that teaching and left our church. It is also a topic where it seems like many people have tried to advance their own views by “cherry-picking” a few verses that seem to support their opinions while at the same time ignoring or explaining away other passages that contradict them.
That is why the foundation we have laid for the past three weeks is so critical. The principles of Biblical manhood and womanhood that flow out of God’s original design at creation and which carry over into the marriage relationship, are, not surprisingly, the very principles that undergird the aspect of Biblical manhood and womanhood that we’ll look at this morning.
So once again, let’s take a moment to review what we’ve learned so far. [Let people fill in the blanks]
Men who love by serving like Christ
and Women who love by submitting like the Church
Man is the head; Woman is the helper
Man and Woman have equal worth but different work
Today, we are going to see just why it has been so important for us to work through these principles quite methodically, with each principle resting firmly on the preceding principle or principles.
We began by looking at the foundational principle of God’s original design for manhood and womanhood that He established at creation. Both man and woman were made in the image of God and are therefore equal in their God-like personhood. As we put it – man and woman have equal worth.
But at the same time man and woman have different God-ordained roles – roles that were determined and given by God at creation before sin ever entered the world. As we put it – man and woman have different work.
After establishing the basic foundation – that man and woman have equal worth, but different work, we were able to develop our next building block. As part of His original design, God created man to be the head – a strong, servant leader who would lead their partnership in a God-glorifying direction. And He created woman to be the helper – a partner who supports and honors that headship. In that design, the man and woman complemented each other perfectly as they respected and served each other. That design resulted in good for Adam and Eve and glory for God.
Then last week, we built some more on that original foundation and our first building block as we saw how the relationship between man and woman in marriage is both rooted in God’s original design and is intended to be a picture of the relationship between Jesus and His body, the church. So in marriage that original design is to be carried out by men who love by serving like Christ and women who submit like the church.
Many have claimed that the passage we’ll look at this morning is outdated or that it was only meant to apply to the specific cultural situation that existed in the church at Ephesus in the first century. And those people would assert, therefore, that it has no relevance for us in the United States in the 21st century.
But what we’ll see this morning that this passage is indeed relevant to us today because what Paul teaches is rooted not merely in the cultural situation of his day, but rather in God’s original design for manhood and womanhood that we’ve been learning about for the past three weeks.
It’s not surprising at all that God’s design for manhood and womanhood in the church is undergirded by the foundation of His original design for man and woman. But what may be surprising, is that God’s design for the home is also an important supporting building block.
Go ahead and turn in your Bibles to 1 Timothy chapter 2 and follow along as I read beginning in verse 8:
I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling; likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works. Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.