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Summary: The aim of this sermon is to give some Biblical direction as to the spiritual relationship between men and women and to encourage us to respect and honor the women in our lives on Mother’s Day and everyday.

1 Corinthians

Mother’s Day

N.O.W. or What?

1 Corinthians 11:3-16

May 11, 2003


A. [illustration]

Three men were talking over coffee.

Two of them are talking about the amount of control they have over their wives, while the third remains quiet.

After a while one of the first two turns to the third and says, “Well, what about you, what sort of control do you have over your wife?”

The third fellow says, “I’ll tell you. Just the other night my wife came to me on her hands and knees.”

The first two guys were amazed.

“What happened then?” they asked.

“She said, ‘Get out from under the bed and fight like a man.’”

1. There is a lot of humor about the battle of the sexes and who is going to be in charge in the family.

2. I enjoy that kind of humor, but as we look at the Bible, we see that there is far more at stake in the relationship than the battle over who is going to be in charge.

B. And when it comes to women’s roles, I believe women have been put in a catch 22…

1. [Illustration]

A few years ago the Promise Keeps (which urges tens of thousands of men nationwide to be responsible, self-disciplined, and God-fearing) drew fire from the then president of the National Organization of Women, Patricia Ireland, “Promise Keepers have created a false veneer of men taking responsibility when they really mean men taking charge.”

2. I believe women today have been thrown into a conundrum.

3. I believe women instinctively know that they deserve to be treated with respect and dignity.

4. I believe that women instinctively know that male chauvinism is not right and that simply because males are males they shouldn’t get preferential treatment.

5. On the other hand, they see the likes of the N.O.W. gang, who are supposedly fighting for their rights, and they don’t feel that that’s quite right either.

a. The above illustration is just one example of the misguidance of the modern feminist movement.

b. While the N.O.W. gang threw an absolute fit at the appointment of Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court because of joke that he had made that a woman found inappropriate, they turned the other way when a president of the U.S. abused women for his own selfish gratification.

c. This year they’re marching at Augusta National for the inclusion of women in a private golf club.

d. And they are getting upset about murder charges being filed in California for the death of Conner, the unborn child of Laci Peterson.

4. I think women instinctively know that the N.O.W. gang is probably not helping their cause any—just as they also know that male chauvinism (often spearheaded by Christians) is not right either.

5. So where are women today to turn for truth and their proper place in society—and the church?

6. Is it N.O.W. or something else?

7. On this Mother’s Day, I want to turn to one of the most controversial passages of Scripture as we continue our study through 1 Corinthians.

8. As we study, I believe we will see some godly counsel.

9. First, let’s read through our text [read 1 Corinthians 11:3-16].

I. The Statement of Authority

1 Corinthians 11:3 (NIV), Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.

A. Now there is no doubt a lot of controversy about this passage of Scripture.

1. There is controversy about it from a secular point of view because the feminists and the National Organization of Women certainly have a problem with this teaching.

2. There is controversy about it from a Christian point of view because no one is sure if this entire text is to be taken literally, or if the entire text is supposed to be taken as totally cultural, or if it is to be taken somewhere in between.

a. Those who take this text totally literal insist that women are in total submission to men at all times and must not cut their hair and must wear hats.

b. Those who take this text totally culturally dismiss the whole thing as being intended only for that church in that culture and adopt modern attitudes for relationships between men and women.

3. I believe it is somewhere in between and I will show you why.

a. I believe that is not totally cultural and not totally literal.

b. I believe that it does have some cultural application, but I also believe that there are some important underlying principles that we need to understand and learn and apply to our lives today.

c. [On Women Speaking in Church, Citation: Catherine Booth in Christian History, no. 26, William and Catherine Booth]

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