Summary: An expository message on the difficult passage of head coverings in 1 Corinthians and its implications toward submission.
INTRO: I will tell you unashamedly that I am not scared to preach on this passage. Not scared, I am terrified! I want to handle the Word of God rightly and accurately. There is a big, gigantic “HUH?” that you could right over the top of these verses in your Bible. You read this passage once, twice, or five times, and you always come away with the same brilliant, theological question – “What now?” “What does this mean?”
Besides the difficulty of the passage, we are talking about women here! Women! Some of you ladies walked into church today, opened up the bulletin and saw the title had to do with you – and you might already be mad at me. “Well, let’s see what the preacher man has to say about this!”
But let me give you rule #1 for preaching to women about women: “If I say something that can be taken in two ways, one good and one bad, always assume that I meant it in the good sense of the word.” And rule #2 is that when you are in doubt, refer to rule #1.
This chapter begins a new section of the book about order in the church. Pretty large and meaty section of the book.
Illus: A study was done on how members of the various sections of a major symphony orchestra perceived each other. The percussionists were viewed as insensitive, unintelligent, and hard-of-hearing, yet fun-loving. String players were seen as arrogant, stuffy, and unathletic. The orchestra members overwhelmingly chose "loud" as the primary adjective to describe the brass players. Woodwind players seemed to be held in the highest esteem, described as quiet and meticulous, though a bit egotistical.
Interesting findings, to say the least! With such widely divergent personalities and perceptions, how could an orchestra ever come together to make such wonderful music? The answer is simple: regardless of how those musicians view each other, they subordinate their feelings and biases to the leadership of the conductor. Under his guidance, they play beautiful music.
That said, chapters 11-14 of 1 Corinthians help us understand some principles of public worship, and how Christians with all of our differences and diversities can submit ourselves to God and harmonize with our fellow believers. This will be seen in the roles of men and women in the church and in the home, proper procedure for the Lord's Supper, how to use your spiritual gifts to help others, showing true, Godly love and not self love, and so on.
So, why are these verses so tough? Because culture, context, and characters always play a huge part in understanding Scripture. We have to consider to what extent and how this applies to us today. I don’t think we can lift this teaching that was written to 1st century Corinthian Christians and plop it right down on 21st century Christians in America.
I will endeavor to give you a basic understanding of the teaching and also throw in some universal truths that apply today that you can use.
You ready for this? Cause there ain’t no turning back now...
I. The Sensibility of Submission (2-3)
– You have to just trust me on this one, but this passage really does make sense. It is a sensible and logical teaching. Paul wants them to understand it. God wants us to understand it. Though it often doesn’t seem like it, I don’t think that God doles out difficult verses to understand and then has a fun time watching all the theologians fight over what it means.
– Listen, there is something here that makes sense and that we are to get hold of
– Paul starts with words of praise. Even with all their problems and spiritual immaturity, Paul was glad they were remembering some things. They respected Paul’s authority on the teaching he was trying to give them. They were receiving the teaching, but it wasn’t always changing their lifestyle.
– Here’s the deal, the problem with Corinth, the problem with us...is not our doctrine, but our morals. Not our beliefs, but our behavior.
– Let me put it this way. There was nothing wrong with their orthodoxy. The problem was with their orthopraxy. Their doctrine was good, but their practice was bad. So Paul had words of praise for their doctrine. Words of clarification for their practice of doctrine.
– Same with us. We have no issues understanding the proper role of women in church here. We get the fact that women are to submit to their husbands. The problem comes in the practical application of that on a daily basis.
– Look at verse 3. Paul uses logic here to open the conversation on submission. Three statements about headship. First, Christ is the head of every man. Probably also means that Christ is the head of the church. Second, man is the had of the woman. Like it or not, this is the way God has set it up. So, your beef is not with me, it is with God. It is not right for the woman to be the head of the man. God says the head of every woman is the man. Applies most to husband and wife relationship, but it is universally true for all men and women as well.