Sermons

Summary: The men of a congregation are to provide leadership in public prayer.

“I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling.” [1]

Males receive bad press in this present day. Social engineers, many thoroughly indoctrinated in feminist philosophies, appear determined to ensure that little boys will be feminised while little girls are trained to believe that they can act like men. It is as though culture is being wussified. To ensure that boys are docile and compliant to the demands of primarily female educators, we diagnose them as suffering from a bevy of strange new alphabetical maladies—ADHD, ADD and DCD, all of which are NUTS. Having saddled our boys with a chronic condition identified by a scary sounding name—an affliction that has only recently been invented—we medicate our sons into hebetude. Then, we cluck our tongues because as result of their drug-induced stupor they aren’t able to think as clearly or as quickly as the unmedicated girls we compel them to compete against. Then, after the boys grow to be young adults, the young women mourn that there are no men able to match their abilities. All the while, politicians create new ministries to promote women while doing all within their power to ensure that men continue to be complacent and compliant.

If that isn’t confusing enough, now little boys who think they are little girls, and little girls that wish they were little boys, are enabled through politics to be whatever they decide they are. We see news reports on an increasingly regular basis informing us that six –year-old girls identify as boys, receiving government mandated support to use boys’ wash rooms; and fourteen-year-old boys identify as girls, demanding and receiving governmental support to play on female sports teams. Somehow, I don’t think this was what Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan had in mind in the early days of feminism. Are you sufficiently confused yet?

Our neighbours to the south are redefining combat roles so that G.I. Jane need no longer be merely the title of a B-rated movie—she can actually join the combat team! Even my beloved Marine Corps is being compelled to reassess combat roles so women can now be traumatised and suffer with PTSD. I’m no prophet, but I am prepared to state without equivocation that the outcome of this particular social experiment will be a blast of cold water to feminist thought, leading to disastrous consequences. Soon, the nation will discover what the Israelis and Russians discovered years ago, compelling them to withdraw women from front-line combat roles.

Unfortunately, an egalitarian emphasis has infiltrated most of the churches of the Master. For the most part, the concept of complementarity is foreign to contemporary church life. Contemporary church goers have embraced a lifestyle that assigns greatness to power and transforms positions of service into platforms for personal advancement as power brokers. Thus, women’s demand for a place at the table has taken on a strange, new meaning within the evangelical Zion. Today, women demand increasingly prominent roles in directing the affairs of the churches. What should be especially disturbing about this transition is that as women assert themselves as leaders in the roles assigned by the Master among the churches, men retreat from participation in the services of the assemblies. As has been said on several prior occasions, as women usurp authority among the churches, men attend the services disguised as empty pews.

Men are to be leaders, both in their families and within the congregations of our Lord. The leadership men are to exercise within the churches is not as some might imagine; men are not to control matters as though they had power—men are to provide spiritual leadership through leading in prayer. If prayer is lacking among the people of God, no leadership will be exercised. Everything else being equal, the power of a congregation will be determined by the vitality of the prayer life of the assembly; and the vigor of the prayer life of the assembly will be determined by the involvement of the men in this essential activity.

The text for our study today is one verse—a verse easily overlooked in the rush to address the more extended statement concerning the role of women among the churches. However, we dishonour God and the Word that He has given if we fail to consider what He has said concerning the ministry of men within the assembly. Paul answers the question that is seldom asked, “What’s a man to do?”

A UNIVERSAL EXPECTATION — “I desire then that in every place the men should pray.” The Apostle expresses his personal desire, but the word chosen speaks more strongly than expressing a mere desire. Paul chooses a word that expresses an authoritative apostolic command based upon a strong theological basis; he is pointing back to what has already been written previously. Unfortunately, because preachers can only deal with a small portion of what is said at any given time, and because we tend to forget what has gone before, it is common that the messages can appear disjointed, unconnected and even uncohesive.

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