Ministry & Motherhood

Text: 1 Thessalonians 2:5-8

Main Point: Motherhood is good ministry and good for ministry

Sometimes we learn great things from unlikely sources. I was surprised to learn that football greats like Lynn Swann, Herschel Walker, and Barry Sanders took ballet in order to become better NFL running backs. We can learn from unlikely sources. Jesus tells us that we can learn to trust God by studying a flower or watching a bird gather food (Matthew 6:25-34). So, it may surprise you that you can learn how to be more faithful in your work by studying motherhood. If you’re one of those guys who thinks children are women’s work and mothering is equal to weakness, then you need to repent; there is much to learn from the glory of motherhood.

In Isaiah 66:13, when God describes the way he will treat us, he uses the picture of a mother, “As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.” Our Father is compassionate like a mother. When Jesus was heading into Jerusalem he said, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!” (Matthew 22:37). Jesus longs to gather his people like a hen gathers her chicks. When the apostle Paul was shocked to hear of the Galatian church abandoning the gospel he wrote, “my little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you!” (Galatians 4:19). Salvation, the new birth, is like physical birth. There is a glory and strength in womanhood that is worthy of imitation by all.

In 1 Thessalonians 2:7-8, Paul describes the ministry of the apostles using the example of a mother. So, we’re going to follow his lead and learn about ministry by studying motherhood. Lord willing, we will pick up 1 Thessalonians 9:9-12 on Father’s Day. Today, let’s learn from mothers. Let’s read 1 Thessalonians 2:1-8.

For you yourselves know, brothers, that our coming to you was not in vain. But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict. For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness. Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.

Let’s start with the big picture of ministry in verses 5-6. These verses call us to be faithful in the work God gives. You must

I. Be faithful in your ministry (5-6)

How do we do that? Where does faithfulness come from? Faithfulness and fruitfulness come from God. God gives us the ability to do the work.

  • Work hard because of grace (1 Cor 15:10)

1 Corinthians 15:3-11 is another one of those apostle-sections of the New Testament. In 1 Corinthians 15:10 Paul writes, “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace towards me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.”

The apostle Paul did a great work because God gave him great grace. The strength to work, and ultimately the results of the work, were all the product of God’s power working through the apostle Paul. Paul depended on God for the ability to do the work.

Here comes a simple and profound call to prayer. James 4:2 tells us we do not have because we do not ask. Paul was constantly asking the church to pray for him so he could accomplish the work (Rom 15:30; 2 Cor 1:11; Phi 1:19). When is the last time you asked someone to pray for you? You’re bringing up a child. Who is praying for you? You’re trying to win your neighbor. Who is praying for you? You’re trying to evangelize your Sunday school class. Who is praying for you? You’re discipling a new believer. Who is praying for you? If we are proud and self-sufficient then we won’t ask for prayer and we will accomplish little. If we are humble and God-dependent then we will ask for help accomplishing God’s will. In ministry, we pray and we get to work. Also be sure to

  • Preach don’t flatter

Looking into 1 Thessalonians 2, we see that Paul took a beating in Philippi and when he made it to Thessalonica, he had a rough go. By God’s grace he preached the gospel. Let’s note how he did that ministry, verse 5, “For we never came with words of flattery.”

There is a big difference between saying something to build a person up and saying something to get a person to like you. Flattery is not necessarily lying. Flattery can use lies, but flattery can also be telling someone true things to get them to like you or give you something.

You can win people to yourself with flattery, but you can’t win people to Jesus with flattery. The only way to win people to Jesus is to preach the gospel; tell people the truth about their sin and God’s love. In your ministry, in your work, are you preaching the gospel or are you manipulating people? Preach the gospel and

  • Be on guard against greed

Let’s finish 1 Thessalonians 2:5, “For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness.”

Listen, if we say nice things and do nice things there is a good chance people will give us nice things. If we don’t watch our hearts, we will end up working simply to get stuff from people. Regularly ask, “Why do I do what I do? Do I work because God gives grace or because people give stuff? Do I work because I love people or because I love money?”

Falling into greed is as easy as falling off a log. Watch yourself and your ministry. Invite brothers and sisters around you to watch your ministry. Instead of seeking money

  • Seek the glory that comes from God

Put your good eye on 1 Thessalonians 5:6. Paul says, “Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others.” Seeking praise and affirmation from people is often the unconscious motivation of ministry. It is easy to do ministry in order to be seen and celebrated by people. But seeking glory from God and not from people is essential to Christianity. Jesus told a crowd he knew they didn’t love God or love what God loves because they seek glory from one another and don’t seek the glory that comes from the only God (John 5:41). A person can’t be a Christian if he’s so worried about what people think about him that there is no room to hear what God says about him.

So again, faithful ministry is not spent trying to win people to ourselves. We’re not looking for likes; God already loves us perfectly and powerfully. Faithful ministry is loving people and preaching the gospel so that God is seen as glorious. Jesus gives life; we cannot. We must decrease, but Jesus must increase. Seek the glory that comes from God. Though no person may say it of us, may we hear Jesus say, “well done, my good and faithful servant.”

Here is one way to do faithful ministry

  • Use your authority carefully

Some people view all authority or power as evil. But this cannot be true because Jesus has all authority and power and he is not evil. Other people view authority or power as their excuse to take from others or to abuse others. This also is wrong because Jesus has all authority and power and he came to serve others. The all-powerful Jesus is a giver, not a taker.

Look again at 1 Thessalonians 2:6, “Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ.”

Jesus could have played the God-card. Paul could have played the apostle-card. If you have authority you could use that power take from people what you think you deserve. But this is worldliness and faithlessness. If God has granted you some measure of strength, influence, or authority please recognize that you have that gift in order to do good to others. Don’t reject strength, influence, or authority as evil. Don’t use strength, influence, or authority to get money or glory for yourself. Use the strength, influence, or authority you have to do good; protect others, serve others, and lead others to life with Christ. Let me put it this way

II. Be like a faithful mother in your ministry (7-8)

Look at verse 7, “But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children.”

  • Take care of others with gentleness

What does a faithful mother do? She takes care of her children with gentleness. What is faithful ministry? Taking care of your spiritual children with gentleness. It can be tempting to use power and authority to beat people up. Resist the urge! Gentleness is the virtue of being tender and considerate, concerned for the wellbeing of the other, instead of being severe, gruff, or hard (Green, PNTC, 127).

We become rightfully angry when a mom shakes or slaps a baby because we understand a faithful mother takes care of her child with gentleness. A faithful mother teaches, corrects, and disciplines with gentleness. We all have a choice when it comes to speaking the truth. We can speak the truth with love, or we can speak the truth with a flamethrower. Love is the better way!

It is true, ministry, evangelism, and discipleship will require us to do and say hard things as we correct error and teach obedience. We must care for our disciples the way a mother cares for her children.

We provide and protect. We teach and correct, and we do all of it putting their needs in front of our own. What they need is the gospel. What they need is the life of God through faith in Jesus Christ. In verse 8 we see the apostle Paul sharing the gospel and sharing his self. So next,

  • Share the gospel

Paul shared the gospel with them because Paul loved those people the way a mother loves her child. A mother who says she loves her child but does not care for her child is a mother living a lie. A ministry that claims to be Christian but does not consistently celebrate the gospel is not a Christian ministry. The gospel is the good news that we are reconciled to God and live life with God because of the righteous life, atoning death, and victorious resurrection of Jesus Christ. The gift of the Spirit is for all who will believe!

We give good to those we love. The best and greatest that we can give is reconciliation with God. The best we can give is right now life with God. The best we can give is access to abundant grace through faith in Jesus Christ. The best we can give is teaching others to be led by the Spirit. Like a faithful mother who gives her good things to her children, so we must faithfully give the gospel to one another.

But like Paul, we’re not about cold content. We must

  • Love and enjoy people

Look at these phrases in verse 8, “being affectionately desirous of you, we shared ourselves with you, because you had become dear to us.”

Is this how you view the church? Is this how I view the church? Is the church simply a place for you to hear preaching? Or, is the church a people that you love and want to be with? God is loving and self-giving. A growing Christian is loving and self-giving because he knows God.

Let us ask God for more grace so we can get to know one another. Let us ask God for more grace so we can love one another. Let us ask God for more grace so we can enjoy one another. To love and enjoy people we need quality time and we need quantity time. Come early, stay late, get together, and talk to others in such a way that you build them up. Move beyond the shallow stuff to talking about God’s stuff. The way the people of God enjoy one another is by enjoying God together. You have to be here, and you have to be Godward.

Alright, we have seen that motherhood is good for ministry. Let’s look now at how motherhood is good ministry.

III. Be a faithful mother

I’m talking to moms who have physical children and I’m talking to moms who have spiritual children. How are you ladies going to raise children and make disciples? Start here

  • Abide in Christ

Apart from Jesus and his grace you can’t be a faithful mom. Apart from Jesus and his grace you can’t make disciples. I have seen the agony of labor. I have seen the sleep deprived mother. I have seen the wear and tear of constant teaching and correction. It blows my mind that women generally live longer than men. Being a woman looks like terribly difficult work. I think if the male body had to do the female thing it would shorten our life spans by 10 years. So yes, take a nap if you can, and cry out for constant help because you must. When you are walking down the hall for the fifteenth time, ask Jesus for grace. When you get the text message you dread, ask Jesus for grace. Jesus has promised to give you what you need. Trust him.

Spend time in the word and prayer every morning not because it’s the right thing to do but because you need to plug into the source of grace for the day. A faithful minister asks for help and a faithful mother asks for help because the job is too much for us! Moms, this you must do

  • Speak the truth in love

The easiest thing for me to do is to be harsh with my children. Using kind words to correct over and over, again and again, is like pulling a volkswagon beetle around the house; it’s hard work! Thankfully my family has pretty much grown out of the spanking phase, but I remember how being gentle and tender when spanking was so incredibly difficult. Mom listen, your child needs you to stop being a jerk. Mom, your child needs you to stop being a wimp. Speak the truth in love. Let’s combine B&D. Letter D is “Be mom with gentleness.”

Raising children means you will have to do and say hard things. Stop seeking glory from your children. You are going to ruin yourself and your child because you and your child make terrible gods. Because of God’s grace, be mom. Give yourself away. Do hard things over and over. Say hard things over and over. Do all of it with strength, love, and gentleness. This means we must

  • Seek God not money

Moms, what do you want to give your child? Jesus said it is tragic for a man to gain the whole world yet lose his soul. It is equally tragic for a mom to give her child the whole world and then he lose his soul.

Think about it moms, what do you worry about? Money is necessary, I get that, we have to buy food. But, what do you worry about? Do you worry because there is no money in the bank or do you worry because there is no Jesus in your child? What do you work hard to give your children? Do you work hard to give them the stuff they want, or do you work hard to give them the Jesus that will satisfy their souls? Mothers, I plead with you,

  • Share the gospel

The gospel is the good news that sinners can be reconciled to God through the righteous life, atoning death, and victorious resurrection of Jesus Christ. The gospel is the good news that sinners can enjoy the fullness of life with God through the work of Jesus and the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Yes, the content of the gospel must be there. And moms, with the content of the gospel, share your joy in Christ with your children. Show them why you love and trust Jesus by bringing them into your prayers and your singing and your ministry. Tell them why you pray and why you sing and why you give. Share the gospel with your children and share your joy in Christ with your children.

Like Paul with the Thessalonians, I want you to

  • Love and enjoy your children

I just encouraged you to share your joy in Jesus with your children, when is the last time you shared in your child’s joy? When is the last time you enjoyed something with your son? When is the last time you enjoyed something with your daughter? Yes, that easy to please little cuddle puppy of a child has grown up into a teenager, but she still enjoys things. He still enjoys things. You love him. You love her. Maybe it’s time for Barry Sanders to learn ballet.

It’s time to get back into the game of parenting. Ask for grace and strength because you need it and Christ gives it. Share your joy in Jesus with your child. Teach and correct with gentleness. Love and enjoy your child. Motherhood is a great model for ministry. Motherhood is a great good. May we as a church strengthen and honor godly women who are making disciples and raising children. Let’s pray for and give thanks for moms.

Parenting and Gender

Text: Various                                                              9/4/2016

Main Point: The LORD is our salvation and God.

I. Parents, worship and follow God, lead your children

Delighting yourself in God is the best thing for your own life, as well as the best thing for your marriage and family.

  • Your priorities are God first, marriage, and then family

Your relationship with God is foundational and will outlast your marriage. Your love for, and devotion to God, gives purpose and strength for your relationships with others. If you are happy in God, you can be happy in any situation. Hebrews 10:34 is a powerful invitation for you and I to set our affections on God. Turn over to Hebrews 10:34 and look at how these regular ole men and women responded to having their houses and things confiscated.

“For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one” (Heb 10:34).

What type of person joyfully accepts the plundering of his property? Those who joyfully accept the plundering of their property are those people who are right now satisfied with the prospect of eternal life with God. The experience of joy in the presence of God now, alongside the hope of the fullness of joy in the future, cause these regular ole pew sitting Christians to joyfully accept the plundering of their property.

How did they get there? How do we get there? Look back at Hebrews 10:19-25 (read it).

God wants to meet with you and fill you with joy. How do we meet with him? By believing he exists and rewards those who seek him (Heb 11:6). We meet with God through the forgiving and purifying work of Jesus Christ. We meet with him knowing that in difficulty, God is faithful. We meet with him because we have brothers and sisters encouraging us to keep going after God.

Listen, your spouse and children and job and hobby are an insufficient fuel for your soul. Christ alone can strengthen and satisfy you for life and marriage. Seek to work John 15:5 deep into every aspect of life. In John 15:5, Jesus says, “apart from [him] we can do nothing.” Apart from Christ, our bread and drink, we cannot live lives of joyful self-sacrifice for the glory of God and the good of others. Without Christ, the requirements of God, marriage and family will destroy you. With Christ, the burdens become light (Mt 10:28).

Your relationship with God will outlast your spouse and your relationship with your spouse will outlast your children. Be sure your love and devotion to your child never replaces your second love, love for your spouse. Our goal as parents is to launch our children out into the world. We want to help our children find their place in God’s work of redemption throughout this big world. For some children this plan will involve marriage. For other children this plan will involve singleness. Either way, we want our children to be healthy productive contributing adults. If you are the vine and your adult child is the branches then you have a problem. Also, if your child is the vine and you are the branches then you have a problem.

  • Beware of the idol of children

Your child was not made for you; to satisfy you, to be your identity, or to be your life. You will crush your child if you try to make him that powerful. Your child can not be your God or be your friend like your spouse. Our goal is to get our children to God, not get our children to like us. Plus, as a parent you will have to do and say unpopular things for the good of that child. If your happiness and self-worth are dependent upon the loving affirmation of that child, then you will not be able to do and say those hard and helpful things. God created the parent role with discipline and admonition built in. Satisfied with God, happy in God, you will be able to lovingly, patiently, and graciously point your child to Christ.

The gospel must reshape our parenting. We are loved, liked, affirmed, and celebrated by God in Christ. Christ is the vine that feeds us. Satisfied and safe in Christ, we are equipped to correct and train up our children with love, patience, and great compassion.

The gospel must reshape our discipline and devotion. Read your bible every day asking God to show you why you should depend on Christ. Memorize and meditate every day on Scripture that prove the sufficiency of Christ. Remember, how do people change? If you see that your priorities are out of whack, how do you change? Change starts with our thinking. You will learn how to trust Christ in your everyday situations when you first know why Jesus is trustworthy. Parents, worship and follow Jesus Christ. Then, out of the fullness of God, lead your children. Let’s get very practical now

II. Parents, strive to be helpful in everything you do (Col 3:20)

Turn over to Colossians 3:20, “Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.”

Now parents, if children are expected to obey in everything, don’t you think it’s fair for us to be helpful in everything? We must strive to give them only things that are helpful and worth obeying. Mom and dad, how often do you exploit the willingness of your child? How often do we demand or command the unnecessary? Is everything you expect of your child helpful?

I want to give you a profound question which will radically change the way you parent. This single question will shake the very foundation of your decision making and school choices and extracurricular activities. Parents, are you ready to write this down? Grandparents, are you ready to share this profound wisdom with your adult children? Singles and empty-nesters, are you ready to encourage the families in this church? Here is the question to ask concerning any issue with your child: Is this helpful? Ask, is this helpful? And then force yourself to clearly define how this thing is helpful. The more helpful something is the more it should be prioritized and protected. Here is why we should constantly ask, “Is this helpful?”

  • The duty of a parent is to always do good (Gal 6:10)

Turn back to Galatians 6:10, “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”

Another way of asking, “Is this helpful?” is to ask, “Is this good?”.  Is my doing this, a doing good to my child? Striving to be satisfied with God, building a strong marriage, we ask “how can I do good to my child?” Part of the answer is to spend time alone with God in refueling prayer. Part of the answer is to spend time alone with your spouse to strengthen that relationship and come up with a united parenting plan of attack. Part of the answer is to give yourself to your child. Fueled by Christ and united to your spouse, give yourself to your child. Turn off your cell phone and learn what makes your child tick. What does your child enjoy? What is your child afraid of? Knowing the personality of your child, what should you be praying happens in his/her life? Go for a walk and hold hands. Play a video game. Together, go help a neighbor in need. Together, go do something kind to someone who is not in need. Do homework with your child by asking your child to teach you what she is learning. Regularly eat dinner without any technology. Play a board game or go fishing

One of the best ways to do your child good is by regularly engaging in family worship. Family worship is simple but so difficult: read, sing, pray. Work on and talk about our fighter verse during the meal. Do a short bible reading from our daily bible reading plan. Use youtube to sing one of the songs from that week’s worship gathering. Then pray for one another. Read, sing, pray and do your child good. But there is a problem in all this

  • Remind yourself constantly that the fall happened (2 Tim 3:16-17)

The fact that sin has warped every part of who I am means I am incompetent. Parents, we are incompetent. We need to be made competent by the Gospel and the Word (John 15:5). Some days I am going to resent the family dinner and despise family worship. Because of the fact that I still struggle with sin, I’m going to struggle to be a joyful parent. I often desire the wrong things. Give yourself the same grace you give others who struggle. Since the fall happened, you are going to be a bad parent. Repent of your sins, trust in Jesus, go ask for forgiveness, and keep leading your child.

I’ve given you 2 Timothy 3:16-17 in the notes. Let’s look there for some good parenting advice. Because of the fall

  1. Parents, use the Word to teach

Because of the fall, your child does not know God. Use the Word to teach. The reason we read the bible, sing, and pray is so that our children will know God like we do. But we don’t just introduce them to concepts on a page. No, more than that we want to show them how these truths on these pages cause us to keep reading, keep singing, and keep praying. In careful and appropriate ways, show them your struggles. That means when you come across something difficult in the bible don’t pretend it’s easy. When it’s your time to pray, ask God to help you with what he has commanded. Use the word to teach your child to know God.

  1. Parents, use the Word for reproof.

A reproof is a statement that something is wrong. The flashing lights of a police car, a referee’s yellow flag, these are reproofs. Because of the fall, your child is going to do the wrong thing. The fall, your rebellion from God, is the reason you do wrong things. We need to be restored to God and kept from danger. We need the Word to reprove us. How then, do we use the word to reprove our children? Well I’ve found it really helpful to be hypocritical, condescending, and mean. My children love it when I yell at them in Jesus’ name with chapter and verse. No, they hate it. It’s no good.

Parents, if you only or mostly use the Word when your child has done something wrong or something you don’t like, then you are misusing your authority and God’s Word. God has not given us his Word so that we can avoid bad stuff. God has given us his Word so that we can know and enjoy him. Knowing him we know what to avoid. Knowing him we know what is good. Think back over the last week with your child. What is the ratio of using Scripture to warn your child and using Scripture to encourage your child? How much Scripture pointed away from sin and how much Scripture pointed to God? How much law did you give and how much gospel did you give? We must reprove ourselves and our children but always in connection with a desire to gain more of God. Use the word for reproof and

  1. Parents, use the Word for correction.

Correction builds on reproof. Reproving is telling them what is wrong while correction is teaching them how to correct what is wrong. Be on guard against pointing out the wrong without giving patient instruction regarding how to do it properly. Yes, you should not let your child speak to you, an adult, a sibling, or another human that way. Reprove that comment. But then correct it. What is the gracious way to disagree or express disappointment or argue for your way? The fall happened. Correct your child and

  1. Parents, use the Word for training in righteousness (Eph 6:4)

Ephesians 6:4 tells us, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”

Dads, one of the best ways to raise an angry resentful child is to leave him to figure it out on his own. Another way to raise an angry resentful child is to bully him into doing what you want him to do. But if you want to lead your child to happiness, if you want to strengthen your relationship with your child, then give him discipline and instruction. Train him. Dads, you can’t be a personal trainer who does all the work for your child and you must not be that obese coach who runs his players while eating a snickers bar. Find ways, according to the needs and personality of your child, to get into life for teaching and training. And remember, your child is not like you. Part of loving your child is learning to like what he/she likes.

Train your child to love God, to pray, to forgive, to take responsibility. Teach your child how to believe the gospel. Instruct your son how to treat a woman. Help your daughter know how to love a man. This leads us to where we left off last week. Because the fall has effected gender, you need to teach your biological male how to be a man and you need to teach your biological female how to be a woman.

III. The gospel and parenting boys and girls

Kevin Deyoung, a pastor in Michigan, puts the gender issue in stark terms for parents, “Few issues are more important and more essential than helping one’s child navigate puberty and come to a healthy sense of sexual boundaries and sexual identity.”[1]

  • You should assume nothing

Parents, do not assume your child knows how to stand firm in the gospel just because your child is hearing the gospel in Sunday School, AWANA, and this worship gathering.

Parents, do not assume just because the biology is there that the right understanding of gender will be there. It is your role as mom or dad to teach your child and instruct your child. The fall has misshapen your child’s understanding of gender and sexuality. God has given you the role of teaching what is true and good. This means you must teach your biological male to be a man and you must teach your biological female how to be a woman.

  • Teach and model biblical manhood and womanhood

Here is a definition of manhood which fits the boy who loves to wrestle and hunt as well as the boy who loves to sew and cook. Real men, being purified by Christ, reject passivity, lead courageously, love sacrificially, and seek a heavenly reward.[2] Start there with your boys. What about girls?

Here is a definition of womanhood which fits the girl who loves to sparkle as well as the girl who loves to hunt and play sports. Real women, being purified by Christ, reject fearfulness (1 Peter 3:6), respect godliness (Eph 5:33), and seek what is virtuous (1 Tim 2:9-15).

Older men must model manhood and dads you need to intentionally build relationships with other model men. Older women must model womanhood and moms you need to intentionally build relationships with other model women. Model biblical gender and encourage biblical gender.

Parents, regularly tell your child, “I am glad God gave you to me.” Matt Chandler, a pastor in Dallas, encourages us to look at our daughters and tell them, “I’m glad God made you a girl and you do the girl thing really well.” Look your sons in the eye and tell them, “I’m glad God made you a boy and you do the boy thing really well.” Step it up with age. “I’m glad God made you a man and you do the man thing really well.” “I’m glad God made you a girl and you do the woman thing really well.” I’m not encouraging you to lie. I’m encouraging you to be involved in your children’s lives and where you see biblical manhood or womanhood, celebrate it.

Singles, couples without children, and empty nesters, the families of this church need your help. Where you see the boys and girls, the youth, of this church exhibiting biblical manhood and womanhood celebrate it. And set the example. I want my daughters, I want your sons, to have a head full of everyday run of the mill wonderfully God-glorifying examples of manhood and womanhood. Singles, couples without children, and empty nesters, model biblical manhood and womanhood. The boys and girls of this church need you.

[1] https://blogs.thegospelcoalition.org/kevindeyoung/2016/04/08/safe-schools-gender-non-conformity-and-the-death-of-common-sense/ accessed 8/26/2016

[2] I added “love sacrificially” to Robert Lewis’s definition of manhood.

The Good Gift of Gender

Text: Genesis 1:27                                                      8/28/2016

Main Point: God made us male and female.

Fighter verse- Philippians 4:8

At this point in our worship gathering we give special attention to the reading of God’s Word and the pursuit of its meaning. It is my goal to help you understand what is true and then, by faith in Jesus Christ, we help one another bring our thinking and living into agreement with the truth. It is an awesome calling and, I pray, a benefit to you.

I will confess a personal struggle this week with how to preach the truth of God’s plan for gender. Should I offer you a biblical response to the gender confusion of our day? Do we need to solve the nature verses nurture debate? Should I focus mainly on God’s creation plan for gender or the effects of the fall on gender? Should parents intentionally shape or reshape the gender identities of their children? If parents should shape gender identity, how should gender look? What should parents do? Then there is the gospel call to be transformed and this surely relates to the idea of gender. How does the power of the gospel form biblical manhood and womanhood? There is much to be said and I cannot say it all in 30 minutes. So, my goal today is to start the conversation. Additionally, I have written some questions for further discussion, as well as compiled a resource list. You can find those on the church blog. Go to http://www.mambrino.org, click learn, then click blog. You’ll find the questions and resources there.

Our main point today is simple: God made us male and female. The fall of all mankind into sin, and then our subsequent redemption in Christ, make gender no simple matter. “Follow the biological road,” is good advice and so is “save at least 10% of your paycheck,” “don’t eat too much,” and “save sex for marriage.” We are thankful for good simple wisdom but we also need the strength to obey. So we will end today with a look at the gospel and gender. Let’s begin in the beginning, with Genesis 1:26-31.

I. God’s creation plan for gender

  • God created male and female (Gen 1:27)

In Genesis 1:27, the terms male and female are biological references. God created them man and woman; male and female. The male and female bodies were created with separate functions and abilities prior to the fall. One needs only look back to the Olympics to understand a basic biological fact: men and women are different. You can control diet and education, you can teach the unisex myth, but Usain Bolt is still going to outrun every woman on the face of the earth. The obvious biological differences go further than strength and speed. Numerous peer reviewed scientific studies demonstrate the biological differences between the male and female minds. I must point you to the helpful book, Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, for a list of those studies. Instead of reviewing the science, I will remind you of two very important aspects of gender which must be carefully defended. First, males and females are different. The unisex ideal is in fact a myth. No amount of gender reeducation will overcome the biological differences. Second, males and females are equal. A male is no more valuable than a female.

A basic principle of the Christian worldview is the deliberate creation of male and female sexes. But what is the purpose? Let’s move

  • Towards a biblical understanding of gender roles (Deut 22:5; 1 Cor 11:1-16; 16:13-14; Eph 5:22-6:4; Col 3:18-21; 1 Tim 2:8-15; Titus 2:1-6)

Deuteronomy 22:5 and 1 Corinthians 11:1-16 both affirm the biblical wisdom that men should look like men and women should look like women. Ephesians 5, Colossians 3, 1 Timothy 2, and Titus 2 all encourage women to prioritize certain functions and men to prioritize other functions. These differences are born out of biology and God’s purposes for the sexes. It would be simple to say men are only responsible for earning an income and women are only responsible for raising children but this is not a biblical ideal. The Proverbs 31 woman earns an income while Ephesians 6:4 explicitly tells fathers to bring up children. Earning a wage or keeping the home are not gender exclusive.

Biblical gender roles are broader than men earn the money and women cook supper. Let’s build onto men should look like men and women should look like women. Here’s our addition: men should act like men and women should act like women. What do men do and what do women do? Basically, men take the leadership role and women take the supportive role. This doesn’t mean women can’t lead any more than it means men can’t be helpers.

Let’s look at Genesis 2:18. “The Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.’” Ephesians 5:24 builds on the gender role distinctions by instructing a wife to submit to her husband. These two passages, taken out of context, could lead people to believe a husband’s role is to be the boss and the wife’s role is to do what he says. This is patently false. Genesis 2 goes on to describe how Adam cherished his wife. Genesis 2:23 describes woman being created from man and draws this conclusion: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” A man values his wife above all other relationships. Ephesians 5 goes on to instruct the husband to love his wife like Christ, which means sacrifice yourself for her good. Ephesians 5:29 explains the natural way to think about caring for your wife is to nourish and cherish her like Christ does the church.

When we say a man leads we mean a man takes the initiative to exercise dominion over all of creation in ways that value and advance others. When we say a woman helps a man we mean a woman looks for ways to help men take the initiative and exercise dominion for the good of others. Men lead in ways that value and cherish and serve and advance women, while women help men lead in ways which do good to all. God’s purpose in creating biological males was to bless all of creation with strong servants who sacrifice self for the good of others. God’s purpose in creating biological females was to bless all of creation with cherished helpers who encourage and follow the good leadership of their husbands. But things have gone wrong.

II. The fall of man radically effects gender (Gen 3; 6:12; Jer 17:9; Rom 1:18-32; 5:12)

I have given you several references in the notes. We don’t have time to cover them all today. I want to give them to you so you can track these things down and make sure what I am saying is accurate. Let’s press on.

  • It is crucial to affirm and understand the fall

I use the words affirm and understand because it is not enough to simply agree with a truth. We need to understand how that truth is meant to shape our thinking and living.

Adam and Eve were created with a natural inclination to trust God. However, this natural inclination to trust God was not an iron-clad attribute of human life. Adam and Eve were created trusting God but with the potential to doubt. What I’m saying is Adam and Eve possessed a free-will which could be tempted to disobey God. Their default was to trust God. Unfortunately, this default of trust was not unshakeable. Their weakness was exploited by Satan who tempted them to doubt God’s goodness. In fact, Adam and Eve were easily swayed to think God should not be trusted. Apparently it only took a few moments and a few words to convince Adam and Eve that God’s ways were not good ways. Adam and Eve rebelled against God and chose death over life. Humanity’s rebellion is what we call “the fall” and the fall brought death. This death is a two-fold death; it is a spiritual death and a physical death. The fall of man into sin warped the natural inclination of humans. It was once natural to trust God, but now it is natural to doubt God and his good ways.

1 Corinthians 2:14 makes the effects of the fall clear, “The natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.” We are no longer free to trust God. The fall of man has introduced a bondage of the will. Now, the immediate context of 1 Corinthians 2 makes the inability of man primarily a reference to the saving gospel of Jesus Christ. The natural man is not about able to understand and therefore believe the gospel. There is no longer a natural freedom. Instead, there is a natural distrust and an inability to understand, not just the gospel, but also the things of God in general.

Follow me here. Understanding the things of God is not simply possessing the ability to define the words. To understand the things of God means to value and submit to the things of God. Natural people are not able to understand the things of God. Natural people are not able to value and submit to God’s plan for gender much less God’s plan for gender roles. Church, it is not enough to simply affirm the fact that the fall of humanity happened. We must seek to understand how the fall has misshapen all of creation, including gender. Understanding what has gone wrong will give us clarity as we seek to believe the gospel for the redemption and restoration of all things and especially the redemption and restoration of gender. What I mean for you to see is that the fall has radically changed our bodies, our minds, and our souls (our spiritual lives).

  • The fall and its effects on gender
    1. The fall and gender roles

In Genesis 3 God curses males and females and the brunt of the curses relates to their roles. Men will be frustrated in their work and women will experience pain in reproduction. Pay attention to the effects of sin on the relationship between husband and wife. Genesis 3:16, “the wife’s desire will be for her husband and he will rule over her.” This desire is no beautiful romantic desire but a desire for mastery. Now, because of sin, a wife will seek to master her husband the way sin seeks to master the one it tempts (Gen 4:7). No longer will a husband love and cherish his wife for her good. Now, because of sin, a husband will seek to rule over and exploit the wife’s submissive role. Because of the fall, we should expect the extremes of passivity or machismo in men and man-hating or sin-enabling in women. The fall effects gender roles. The fall also effects males and females genetically or physically

  1. The physical effects of the fall on gender

The physical effects of the fall on humanity is sickness in general. The physical effects of the fall on gender can be seen in the existence of XYY males, females with Turner syndrome, and hermaphrodites. In these rare cases there is a genetic or biological reason for gender confusion. This is no surprise to the Christian thinker. Our genetic codes did not remain unscathed in the fall. In these rare cases we must be extremely careful. What we do need to affirm is the fact that males with XYY chromosomes are males and females with Turner syndrome are females. Hermaphrodites, born with indistinguishable genitalia, need genetic testing not a doctor’s best guess. The fall does have it’s effects on gender at the genetic level but there are almost always a clear biological marker to guide the way. We need to be compassionate, patient, and caring to those who experience the pain of the fall at the level of gender.

More confusing than these biological issues are the spiritual and mental effects of the fall. Think with me about

  1. The spiritual effects of the fall on gender

Remember, due to the fall, we humans do not understand the things of God. We don’t understand, value, or cherish life with him. We don’t understand, value, or cherish life as God intended it. So, instead of pursuing gender and gender roles according to God’s design, we do whatever seems right in our own eyes. We doubt God. Instead of worshipping God, we worship gender. Instead of being defined and led by God, many around us are defined and led by their gender, gender identity or sexuality. Being a man or being a woman are good things but they are not the ruling things. I do not mean we are free to define our gender. What I mean is our primary characteristic is being made in the image of God for the purposes of God. This truth, spiritually discerned, is meant to shape being male or being female. Without the spiritual foundation of being made for the glory of God, we will all naturally worship something else. Gender or sexuality are powerful pseudo-gods.

  1. The cognitive effects of the fall on gender

If our genetic codes have been effected by the fall and if our spirituality has been effected by the fall then it should be no surprise that our minds have been effected by the fall. Cognitively, at the level of our thinking and reasoning, we have been misshapen by the fall. It is natural for a natural person to not think clearly. It is natural for a natural person to not think clearly about gender. At restaurants, we expect people to get our orders wrong. They are fallen for crying out loud! We also expect people to get gender and gender roles wrong. They are fallen for crying out loud! We need redemption.

III. The gospel applied

The gospel is the good news that Jesus has come to rescue us from God’s wrath for our sin and restore what was broken in the fall. The means of restoration to God is the righteous life, atoning death, and victorious resurrection of Jesus Christ. Through Christ we are reconciled to God and in Christ gender is redeemed. Think with me about

  • The gospel of acceptance that transforms

As fallen humans, one of our ruling desires is to be loved and accepted just as we are. Love, in fact, is often defined as accepting me and not trying to change me. The idea is, I am good just as I am and should therefore be welcomed and affirmed, not corrected or changed. The gospel of Jesus Christ is utterly offensive to the person with this misshapen view of love. Church, we need to remember how shocking it is to hear, “I love you, you are messed up at every level, come and die to self so you can live in Christ.” When loving and serving the teenager who screams, “Stop trying to fix me!” we need to remember how traumatic it is to hear Jesus say, “You are empty, sick, dead, and thirsty. Come to me and drink. Come to me and eat. Then you will have life (John 6).”

Church, we must not back down on our gospel call to come and be changed. The reality of the fall cries out for redemption! We must speak the truth while increasing our love and acceptance of those whom Christ is seeking to transform.  Basically, I believe the gospel is calling us to think deeply about what it looks like to tell the truth in love while giving grace and patience for gospel change to take root and grow. Because of the gospel, we need to lobby for gender counselling and lobby against those who would criminalize attempts to raise biological males to be males and biological females to be females. Because of the gospel we are accepted as we are and transformed into what God originally intended. Let’s get more specific with

  • The gospel and gender dysphoria

Gender dysphoria is the condition of a person who is in turmoil over his/her biological gender. Here a biological male feels like a female or a biological female feels like a male. Telling this person to straighten up is about as helpful as telling a smoker to give it up. What the gospel can do in these situations, over the long haul and with much patience, is help the confused individual come to grips with the effects of the fall. It is not surprising you are confused about your gender. The fall has affected our thinking, our cognitive and emotional well-being. With great patience and compassion, we remind the gender confused person that gender and sexuality do not define us. Being made by God, in the image of God, and for God defines us. Foundational to sorting out gender is sorting out God and the gospel of redemption.

If you are here today and struggling with your gender identity we want to help you. We will not make fun of you or kick you out. There is hope for you in the gospel. Lastly, let’s think about

  • The gospel and parenting boys and girls

Kevin Deyoung, a pastor in Michigan, puts the gender issue in stark terms for parents, “Few issues are more important and more essential than helping one’s child navigate puberty and come to a healthy sense of sexual boundaries and sexual identity.”[1]

Parents, do not assume just because the biology is there, that the right understanding of gender will be there. It is your role as mom or dad to teach your child and instruct your child. The fall has misshapen your child’s understanding of gender and sexuality. God has given you the role of teaching what is true and good. This means you must teach your biological male to be a man and you much teach your biological female how to be a woman. Older men must model manhood and dads you need to intentionally build relationships with other model men. Older women must model womanhood and moms you need to intentionally build relationships with other model women. Model biblical gender and encourage biblical gender.

Matt Chandler, a pastor in Dallas, encourages us to look at our daughters and tell them, “I’m glad God made you a girl and you do the girl thing really well.” Look your sons in the eye and tell them, “I’m glad God made you a boy and you do the boy thing really well.” Step it up with age. “I’m glad God made you a man and you do the man thing really well.” “I’m glad God made you a girl and you do the woman thing really well.” I’m not encouraging you to lie. I’m encouraging you to be involved in your children’s lives and where you see biblical manhood or womanhood celebrate it.

Singles, couples without children, and empty-nesters, the families of this church need your help. Where you see the boys and girls, the youth, of this church exhibiting biblical manhood and womanhood celebrate it. And set the example. I want my daughters, I want your sons, to have a head full of everyday run of the mill wonderfully God-glorifying examples of manhood and womanhood. Singles, couples without children, and empty-nesters, model biblical manhood and womanhood. The boys and girls of this church need you.

[1] https://blogs.thegospelcoalition.org/kevindeyoung/2016/04/08/safe-schools-gender-non-conformity-and-the-death-of-common-sense/ accessed 8/26/2016

Resources for Parenting and Gender

Here are some helpful resources (in no particular order). My list is dated so I would appreciate your recommendations and comments.

  1. Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood by Piper and Grudem; this is a resource from different authors. So, while it’s big, it can easily be read in pieces.
  2. God, Marriage, and Family by Kostenberger
  3. True Beauty by Carolyn Mahaney
  4. Fatherhood: What It is and What It’s For by Tony Payne
  5. Raising a Modern Day Knight by Robert Lewis
  6. The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller
  7. How to Talk Confidently With Your Child about Sex by Lenore Bush

At first, my next recommendation sounds strange. One of the most helpful ways to shape biblical manhood and womanhood is to pursue a deeper understanding of Christ and the church. Your practical everyday theology of Christ and your practical everyday theology of the church will have a dramatic influence on your understanding of manhood and womanhood. Start with Ephesians 5:22-35, and use the paradigm of Christ and the church to set your priorities for your sons and daughters.

Update: God Redeeming His Bride by Robert Cheong is a helpful resource for thinking through the gospel and redemption. I highly recommend it to you. Do not let the focus on church discipline scare you away. Instead, think about the daily work of kindly and clearly addressing sin in your own heart and in the hearts of your family members.

Give Her Honor- 1 Peter 3:7

Main Point: Husband honor your wife.

Have you ever compared a hammer to a caliper? Let’s go ahead and do that right now. Think about hammers for a second. Hammers are tough and strong. You build stuff with a hammer and when you bend a nail you yank it out with the other end. When you’re done using a hammer you just throw it in the tool box and don’t worry about it. Not so with precision calipers. Calipers are fine tuned tools used to give a precise measurement. Calipers are amazing useful tools but you better not throw them around. You must be careful with calipers. You carry calipers in a case. You must never drop calipers. Each tool has its own strength and role. Both tools are useful but you must treat them differently. Husbands are hammers and wives are calipers.

1 Peter 3:7, our passage today, gives each husband specific instructions concerning his wife. But why six verses for wives and only one verse for husbands? Well Peter is not writing extended treatments of the roles of husbands and wives. Peter is writing to persecuted and mistreated Christians. Since those in authority are rarely mistreated there is less to say to husbands but more to say to servants and wives. It is those in vulnerable or weaker positions who tend to be mistreated. God’s instructions to husbands, therefore, are instructions which protect wives and provide healthy guidelines for the proper use of God-given authority. So Peter commands husbands to care for their wives.

There is much here to challenge us as men. There is much here for you wives to pray for and pursue in your husband. Young women here you have a God-given guide as you seek a husband. Many a woman has hurt herself by ignoring these instructions and many a man has hurt his wife by ignoring these commands. May God raise up godly men and blessed wives through the accurate preaching of God’s word.

Read 1 Peter 3:7

I. God gave her to you

In the Garden of Eden things were a little more clear than they are today. Even after Adam and Eve rebelled from God’s good rule they still understood what happened in marriage. Adam understood that God had given Eve to him (Gen 3:12). What I’m driving at is there is more to marriage than commitments. Marriage is more than a piece of paper signed by two consenting parties. Husband, God has given you your wife. But it’s even more than giving her to you. God has joined you to your wife and God has joined your wife to you.

  • God has joined you together (Genesis 2:20-25)

The marriage of Adam to Eve is recorded in Genesis 2:20-25. From Genesis 2 we must understand marriage is the mysterious work of God. In marriage a man and a woman, two separate individuals, become one flesh. In this one flesh union a husband and wife do not become Siamese twins they become a spiritually and relationally bonded entity. Concerning this one flesh union Jesus said, “So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate” (Mt 19:6). The reality of the one flesh union is used to protect a husband and wife from destructive divorce. Something new has been created by God and it must be protected.

Jesus again picked up the one flesh union in Mark 10 in order to prohibit divorce. Jesus prohibited divorce because a new family has been created. The man and woman leave their mothers and fathers in order to be joined to one another. This one flesh union is not about a new mailing address but a new family unit being created by God. They are to hold fast to one another. There is a unity, commitment, and purpose to marriage which goes much deeper than convenience.

The apostle Paul picks up the one flesh union in 1 Corinthians 6:16 in order to prohibit a man from having sex with anyone but his wife. The same holds true for a woman. It is unlawful for a woman to be joined to anyone but her husband. There is an intimacy to marriage which is acted upon in the marriage bed. So God says in Hebrews 13:4, “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.” In this act there is a unity which is strong and personal. The physical union of a man and woman is the product of the spiritual union of a man and woman. For a man to join himself physically to anyone but his wife is like licking a frozen flag pole. At first there appears to be good there but in the end the tearing apart is far more painful. A man should enjoy the one flesh union only with his wife. There is safety in marriage.

We need a biblical understanding of marriage. Marriage is not about rings, ceremonies, tuxedos, and dresses. Marriage is the creation by God of a new family. So marriage is spiritual; it is a bond which goes beyond partnerships and business agreements. Marriage is also physical; it is a bond which creates something new. A new family is made which can be seen and touched and put on a map. This new family is an awesome creation and with it come responsibilities.

So what do Jesus, Spiderman, and Teddy Roosevelt all have in common? They understood with great power also comes great responsibility. Jesus said, “Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more” (Lk 12:48). Teddy Roosevelt said “responsibility should go with power.”[1]

Husbands when God gave you your wife you were given a great opportunity. Men, we have been given authority in order to bless and lead and encourage and help. Husband, God has given you authority over your wife in order to lead her to be a better woman. She does not exist in order to serve you or fulfill your every desire. Husband, you exist in order to better your wife. In 1 Peter 3:7 God tells us how to better our wives. Let’s put it simply

II. Give her honor

Husbands, when God gave you your wife He gave you superpowers. It is not good for you to be alone. You need a helper fit for you. You must look at your wife like the gift from God that she really is. Now some of you have a hard time seeing your wife as a gift. Some of you honestly see your wife as a curse. But let me give you a friendly slap in the face. If she is a Christian it is probably the case that she is that way in response to you. You have led her to become a thorn in your side instead of a crown on your head. Husbands, we are leading our wives whether we want to acknowledge it or not. What God wants us to do is trust Him and lead her well. That is why we have 1 Peter 3:7. Old marriages need redemption and new marriages need guidance.

Let’s gain God’s wisdom from this verse one phrase at a time. 1 Peter 3:7, “Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way.”

There is a connection running throughout these verses. We have instructions to all to submit to government. Likewise slaves are called to submit to their masters. Likewise wives are called to submit to their husbands. Then comes verse 7, likewise husbands, but there is no call to submit. The way a husband serves his wife is not by submitting to her but by leading her. His authority is for her benefit. And men do more than submit, they lay down their lives. Here is what that looks like.

  • Honor her by doing life with her

Let’s not miss the obvious here. If you want to have a healthy marriage you must live with your spouse. You cannot do life separately. To live with her is to do life with her. Work and family and hobbies and plans are to be shared. You don’t have to do everything together and you don’t have to like the same things. But you do have to be together. Your work and your hobbies should never be a hindrance to a healthy marriage. A spiritually strong and nourished wife is far more enjoyable and relaxing than any hobby you could find or league you could join. Honor her by doing life with her.

  • Honor her by living with her according to knowledge

Here in 1 Peter 3:7 we have a call to study. But we are not simply to study our wives. We are to study God’s plans. What does God expect of you has a husband? What does God expect of your wife? Do you know those passages in God’s word which are meant to guide men to be faithful husbands? Do you know how to trust the Son and Spirit so you can become a faithful husband? Men, you know how to do your job. You go to conferences and training weekends and watch videos in order to be a more skilled worker. Do the same for your wife. Read the word and good resources which can help you be a more faithful husband. Live with your wife according to a biblical understanding of men, women, and marriage.

And living with her according to knowledge also applies to knowing your wife. What are her strengths and weaknesses? What are her fears and joys? What is she excited about and what is she worried about? How has God gifted her? Does she feel like she is using those gifts? What help does she need to better use those gifts? Does she need training, opportunity, or encouragement?

A pastor once told a group of us that he has a notebook which he keeps in order to better understand his wife. I haven’t gone that far though I should. But I do keep a note on my phone where I can record important things about my wife. Study your wife.

Living with her in an understanding way also means we as husbands strive to love and lead her according to her personality. You must strive to understand your wife. The two of you may agree on roles in marriage- a husband leads and loves while a wife respects and submits. You two may agree on the call to put the gospel on display- husbands like Christ and wives like the church. You two may agree on the need to glorify God in all that you do. But I guarantee the two of you do not have the same ideas when it comes to putting these things into practice. Getting the theology right doesn’t mean you’ll get the application right.

I have this horrific ability to make my wife cry without even trying. We’re talking about something. I’m thinking it’s inconsequential and the next thing I know there are tears. Now, my wife is not manipulative. There are some women who are; they cry to get their way and that is sinful and selfish. That’s not my wife. She is a strong spiritually mature woman. My problem is I assume what I like she’ll like and what I do she’ll like. Not the case. We are different people coming at the same thing from a different perspective. What’s my calling? Live with her in an understanding way.

I must love her in an understanding way; in a way which resonates with her. I must lead her in an understanding way; seeking patiently to listen and explain and guide in a way which resonate with her. I must care for her carefully. If I treat her roughly and speak to her roughly and ignore her needs rest assured I’ll end up with a rough woman who ignores my needs.

The problem is not ultimately that men are from Mars and women are from Venus. The issue is not that you can’t understand a woman. Our sin as husbands is that we are passive and selfish therefore we refuse to obey God’s command to live with our wives in an understanding way. May God grant us repentance after being captured by the devil to do his will (2 Tim 2:25-26).

Our next phrase presses the issue even further, “husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel.”

  • Honor her

Both men and women are vessels created by God. We are jars of clay (2 Cor 4:7). But what does it mean that women are weaker vessels. I believe the truth is twofold. First, it is obvious that on the whole men are physically stronger than women. This is why there are women’s events and men’s events at the Olympics. Men and women are not created identically. On the whole men are stronger and therefore must be cautioned against using that strength to hurt, harm, or subject their wives. Men, God made you stronger in order to bless, protect, and give what is good to women. God did not make us stronger so we can force our way on women. Using strength to bully others is the exact opposite of the way of Christ. Women are physically weaker so men must be careful not to be rough or abusive. Guys, you should never treat your wife they way you treat your friends. She is different. Live with her in an understanding way.

Second, I also think the wife is in a potentially compromising situation. As the spouse who is commanded to submit she puts herself in a position of weakness. It is unfortunate and sinful that men have tried to coerce their wives into doing what ought not be done and those men used God’s command to submit in order to get their way. A wife who submits is to be honored not exploited.

The best way to honor her is to lay your life down for her. The best way to honor her is to act like Christ and strive to make her into a godly woman. And also find out what she likes, strive to understand what she considers honorable and do it for her. I don’t care if you don’t like or if you think it’s silly. Understand her and honor her. Knowing this as well

  • She is different from you but equal with you.

1 Peter 3:7 says, “husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life.”

There is only one salvation and women get exactly what men get. There is only one grace and women get as much as men. There is only one Holy Spirit and He fills Christian women to the same degree that He fills Christian men. Never think for one minute that you get more or less than the other sex. Galatians 3:27-29 puts it plainly:

“For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise.”

God has given men and women different roles but equal worth. Never think you are better or worse because you don’t do what your spouse does. Your worth is not bound up in your role. Your worth is bound up in Christ. The gospel doesn’t say you had worth therefore you were redeemed. The gospel says you have been redeemed therefore you have worth. Your worth as a husband or a wife comes from Christ. Husband look at your wife as an equal who needs to be led, loved, nourished and understood. The way you think about her and live with her is very important

  • The way you treat her effects everything

1 Peter 3:7 ends with a warning, “husbands live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.”

This is the basic biblical truth that our relationships with others comes out of and effects our relationship with God (Mt 5:21-26; 7:2). There is much that could be said here but I want to boil it down to the principle that God will treat you the way you treat your wife. A broken line of communication with your wife with produce a broken line of communication with God. The word hindered is a military word it has been used to describe what an army does when it blows up and destroys roads so the enemy cannot move easily from place to place (Heibert, 1 Peter).

A biblical husband, a godly husband, is careful with his God and careful with his wife. Husband by strengthening your relationship with your wife according to God’s word you will strengthen your relationship with God. Husband by strengthening your relationship with God you will strengthen your relationship with your wife. Which comes first? What comes first is the commitment to follow Christ and become like Him. Your relationship with God and others will come out of this relationship with Christ.

Last Sunday I told wives the way to a healthy marriage may be through repenting of a bad attitude toward their husbands. This week I must tell us men the way to a healthy marriage may be through repenting of an unbiblical understanding of women and marriage. Husband consider your expectations of your wife, are they biblical? Consider the way you lead and respond to your wife, are you being like Christ? Does your wife feel honored by you, cherished by you, and valued by you? Let us repent of our sins and trust Jesus Christ to make us godly husbands.

Men you may need to take your wife’s hand and ask her forgiveness. Do it. You may need to start right here and now praying with your wife and listening to your wife. Don’t think being a man means you make decisions for her. God has given her to you in order to help you. Don’t neglect the blessing of her wisdom and input. As a husband who has so much to learn, as a husband who has sinned so often against my wife, I am glad for the grace of God which gives me life. It is only that grace given to me and Angela alike which makes a healthy marriage. We want that for you as well. Let’s pursue it together.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncle_Ben accessed 9/27/2014

Order in the Assembly, 1 Corinthians 14:26-40

Listen to the service here (I did not use my manuscript when preaching so you will notice differences between the manuscript and the audio. There are no differences in theology or application only delivery and explanation).

Main Point: Who we are and what we do should be an accurate reflection of who God is and what he does.  

 

Like father like son. At its best this saying celebrates those moments when a son accurately reflects the godly qualities of his father.  Every time we see Jesus or hear Jesus we can say, “Like Father like Son.” The Son of God is always an accurate reflection of the Father. He never says anything in disagreement with the Father. Jesus never does anything contrary to the Father.  The Son is always in glad submission to the Father; always living in agreement with the Father’s will.

As the church, as sons of God, we should always do everything in agreement with the Father. Other churches should look into our lives lived as the church and say, “like Father like son. That church is living as an accurate reflection of the character of God. That church is doing what God does. That church speaks like God speaks.” Our lives should put the God of the bible on display for all to see.

Who we are and what we do should be an accurate reflection of who God is and what he does. Every month, every year, we should mark progress as we are transformed more and more into the image of Christ who is himself the image of the invisible God.

Our passage today challenges us to become more like God. In these verses God slams the gavel and calls, not for order in the court but order in the church. What we do and how we do it is very important. We live as a display of the person and character of God. May this passage move us to become more like Christ.

 

Read 1 Corinthians 14:26-40

Before writing his monumental chapter on the resurrection, the Apostle Paul needs to nail down the truth regarding healthy church order. What should a church do and why?

I. Everyone does their part for the good of others (v26)

Look with me at verse 26, “What then brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up.”

Here is a basic truth that should guide your thinking about what we do when we come together

  • You have been gifted for our good

Think back to 1 Corinthians 12:7, “To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”

We are being told when the church comes together it will do so as a body gifted by the Spirit for the good of all. This one will be gifted to teach so that this one can learn. This one will be given a word of encouragement so this one can be built up. This one who is weeping will find brothers and sisters ready to weep with him. This one who is rejoicing will find the body ready to rejoice with her. We are a spiritual gathering filled with the Spirit in order to meet one another’s needs.

The variety of gifts and the variety of needs requires a variety of interactions. We cannot possibly do all that needs to be done during an hour on Sunday mornings. Every one of us has a need to worship, sing, pray, and be discipled so we provide that opportunity no matter what every Sunday. We order our worship gathering to meet the big universal needs to sing, pray, and be discipled but inside those universal needs are particular individual needs.

We need you to gather with us with an eye to meeting individual needs; let all things be done for building up. This is why we have Sunday School classes, in order to provide another opportunity to meet individual needs. Individual gifting for the good of others is why I encourage you to come early and stay late. Each one has been gifted but those gifts are not meant to be limited to an hour on Sundays. Open your home and show hospitality for the building up of one another. During these regular informal times you can do great spiritual good.

Because you are gifted by the Spirit for the good of others, join a Sunday School class, come early and stay late, open up your home. We need everyone to do their part for the good of others. But you don’t get to do whatever you want.

II. We must pursue biblical order and submission to godly authority (vs27-35)

Since everyone is gifted for the common good and the worship gathering should be characterized by the meeting of needs we could be led to think that chaos is normal. This person is singing a hymn, that person is teaching truth, another person has gotten a grasp on a deep biblical truth, still another person has been given a tongue, and yet another is equipped to interpret. Everyone is running around exercising their spiritual gifts in a confusing disorderly way; now this one then that one and back again. Does the Holy Spirit bounce erratically like a Ping-Pong ball between the members?

Verse 33 gives us the reason for biblical church order. We should have order “For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.”

  • What we do should reflect what God is like (33)

Biblical order in the church gathering is determined by the character of God. God is not a God of confusion. God is not the author of disorder or turmoil or anarchy. The church gathering should not be a riot against godly authority but everything should be done in submission to godly authority. Because God is not disorderly we should not be disorderly. That’s the negative. Here is the positive: God is a God of peace.

The sovereignty of God along with the omniscience of God produces peace. God knows everything and is control of everything. God cares for me so I can trust him and be at peace. God has graciously told me what to do and given me his Spirit and the church to help me play within the boundaries. The power of God and the orderliness of God comfort me. His rod and his staff comfort me. The orderliness of God gives me peace.

As God’s people we should reflect his character. Our worship gatherings should not be confusing to believers or unbelievers. Our worship gatherings while full of soul stirring emotional truths should also be characterized by peace. There should always be a sense that the Spirit is leading all we do and all we do is in agreement with the character of God. There should be peace not chaos. There should be healthy biblical order.

But some will claim since 2 Corinthians 3:17 says, “Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom,” there should be no order to the gathering but this is not at all the case. Verses 27-35 give us the biblical order for tongues, prophecy, and the role of women in the gathering.

  • The biblical order for tongues (27-28)

Look at verses 27 and 28 again with me.

Notice the word that begins verse 27. It is the word ‘if’. Tongues are not required or even expected for every gathering. However, prophecy, the proclamation of God’s word, is required. So if any speak in a tongue this is how it must be done. Let there be only two or at most three. Three is the limit and let someone interpret. An interpretation is necessary.

If there is no one to interpret then let each of them keep silent. Here is the first of three calls to silence (28, 30, 34). That particular gift does not fit the occasion so it should not be made public (Eph 4:29). What should you do? Verse 28, “But if there is no one to interpret, let each of them keep silent in church and speak to himself and to God.” An un-translated tongue is between you and God to build you up. It’s not for us and it must not rule over us. Remember, just because you are gifted individually does not mean you must exercise that gift publically. Quiet your gift for the good of the body.

Here is the biblical order for tongues. Speaking in tongues is not required for a church gathering to be beneficial or spiritual. For the tongue to be shared with the body there must be an interpreter. If there is no interpreter then the one gifted with a tongue should remain quiet.

Here again we see a common misunderstanding regarding tongues. A spiritual gift will not override the fruit of the Spirit. Part of the fruit of the Spirit is self-control (Gal 5:23). If a person has lost self-control we should seriously doubt that person is actually filled with the Spirit. God’s word is clear though some refuse to acknowledge it. Let’s turn now to prophecy

  • The biblical order for prophecy (29-32)

Let’s put verses 29-32 before our minds.

While we should not expect tongues we should expect prophecy. Let two or three prophets speak and let what they say be tested, sifted, or weighed.

Prophecy, the proclamation of God’s word is expected every time the church gathers. Verse 29 is a command, an imperative, it is not a suggestion. The church needs to be built up through the proclamation of God’s word. Prophets should have the lion’s share of the time in the gathering.

But a prophet is under authority. No person has untouchable authority. No prophet is beyond question. Just because I say it doesn’t mean anything. Just because you say it doesn’t mean anything. Everything said in every venue must be tested against God’s word. There will be a ministry of accountability within the church. The pastors will take the lead in this but every member is called to test everything (1 Thess 5:21).

There is a biblical order for prophecy. Two or three should prophecy and everything said should be tested against God’s word. And then comes the next call to silence.

Verse 30, “If a revelation is made to another sitting there, let the first be silent. For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all be encouraged.” Healthy church order involves valuing the other. Say what needs to be said clearly and quickly. Don’t interrupt. Don’t dominate the discussion. Give everyone an opportunity. When the church is in conversation about some topic you shouldn’t be the first to speak every time. You also don’t have to speak to everything. I for one struggle with this and it is a discipline to keep quiet. Just because you know something and like something doesn’t mean you should share it. Be prayerful, careful, and let others speak.

We fight for silence because we want all to learn and all to be encouraged. We want all to exercise their gift. If this is going to happen we have to all do our part. There will be learners and teachers. There will be those who need to be encouraged and those who are equipped to encourage. Not one person has it all. We need everyone. This is the biblical order for prophecy. Now what about women?

  • The biblical order for women (34-35)

Look down to verses 34&35.

Do women have a role in teaching women? Certainly (Titus 2:3). But God is clear that the teaching, preaching, and pastoral responsibilities in the church are for men only. Biblical self-sacrificing leadership by godly men for the good of others is a gift to the church in general and to women in particular. We spent a great deal of time on this while in 1 Corinthians 11 and I encourage you to go to the website and listen to the sermon audio from these messages if you missed them. Healthy biblical order is for men and men only to pastor the church. The healthy biblical order is for men to lead in the church, in the family, and in marriage. Authority is not divided equally between man and women but has been given to godly men for the benefit of all.

Ephesians 5:22, Colossians 3:18, and 1 Corinthians 11:3 teach plainly that wives are to submit to their godly husbands. The call for the church to submit to godly pastors is made clear in 1 Timothy 2:12 and Hebrews 13:17. There should be an atmosphere of submission to biblical authority in the church. The one speaking in an un-translated tongue submits to the good of the church and remains silent. The one who prophesies submits to the body and allows all that is said to be weighed, tested, or sifted against Scripture. No person or pastor possesses ultimate unquestionable authority. The church in general and women in particular possess an attitude of submission to biblical authority.

The biblical order laid down for us in these verses is not difficult to understand because the verses do not use symbolic or complicated language. What does verse 34 prescribe for women in the churches? Keep silent; just like those with an un-translated tongue in verse 28 and just like the prophet in verse 30. This is not a statement of personal worth or giftedness or ability.

As we continue in verse 34, what are women not permitted to do? They are not permitted to speak. Again we see the call to silence. Again from verse 34, if women shouldn’t speak in the gathering what should they do? They should be in submission, as the Law also says. Paul is again drawing us to a biblical understanding of manhood and womanhood defined by God through creation. Biblical manhood means leading, loving, serving, teaching, and sacrificing for the good of others. We want all the women in the church to be equipped to be all God has called them to be.

Since godly men are leading and equipping in the church we are not surprised to see godly men leading and equipping in the home. Biblical manhood and womanhood does not prescribe intellectual ignorance for woman. Our goal is not women barefoot and pregnant chained to the stove. Women should be intelligent and productive contributing for the building up of all. But women should also be on guard against an attitude of insubordination. There are few things more dangerous than a passive man who will not lead or an insubordinate woman who refuses to be led.

So, if a woman should be silent in the church when should she be speaking? Verse 35, “If there is anything [women] desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.” Husbands and fathers, we have a God-given responsibility to disciple our wives. Like Christ sanctifying his church with the word we should be actively daily involved in sanctifying our wives and daughters with the word (Eph 5:26). Men, strive to be the type of man who encourages questions, welcomes discussion, and provides biblical counsel.

Women, strive to be the type of woman who encourages men to lead in the church. Are you doing or saying or asking something which encourages insubordination? Then abandon it. Wives, strive to be the type of woman who encourages your husband to lead in your home.

This is biblical church order: all things being done in submission to the authority of God’s word.

III. The spiritual pursue and submit to biblical order (vs36-37)

  • You will be tempted to redefine the church (36-37)

Apparently in Corinth there were Christians who received what some call “a word from the Lord”. An individual has a spiritual experience and then becomes an authority unto himself. A woman thinks God has told her something and no one is going to stop her. Any time you convince yourself that you are right no matter what and you are going to do some ministry no matter what, you need the check of verse 36, “was it from you that the word of God came? Or are you the only one it has reached?”

You will be tempted to think you know better than everyone else. I will be tempted to think I know better than everyone else. God has told me what to do and no one can stop me. You see, the Apostle Paul knows there will be some in the church you don’t like biblical order so he encourages them to weigh what has just been written. “If anyone thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge the things I am writing to you are a command of the Lord.”

Today we see the sinful redefinition of biblical church order as women wrongfully attempt to pastor a church. This is not a clouded issue grounded in an out dated culture. The office of pastor being for men only is a clear issue grounded in creation and applies across cultures. Should a woman think she has a word from the Lord to be a pastor it doesn’t mean anything. She is not an authority to herself. If she is a prophet or spiritual she will acknowledge biblical church order. These things are a command from the Lord.

  • Submission to biblical order is a big deal (38-40)

What should we do when we get caught up in unbiblical ministries or activities in the church? What should you do when you see someone engaging in unbiblical church order? You should go to your brother or sister, explain the sin, and call for repentance. You must also be ready to exclude that person. The truth and the character of God are more important than a person’s feelings. Agreement to God will give what is good. Disobedience to God will destroy.

Some will need to be excluded (38). If anyone does not recognize this, he is not recognized. What if she continues on an unbiblical path? What if he continues and refuses to repent? This language in verse 38 is the language of church discipline.

Titus is a letter written to further explain biblical church order. In Titus 3:10 we are told, “As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.” The health and faithfulness of the church will require sacrifice, hard conversations, and difficult decisions. We don’t do this lightly and we certainly don’t respond to subjective “words from the Lord” with our own subjective “word from the Lord.” We must be biblical. Listening to God and ordering our lives His way are crucial.

We must always strive to be more biblical (39-40). Keep things in their proper places. Make the proclamation of God’s truth the priority of every gathering. Don’t forbid speaking in tongues but require tongues to be done in agreement with God’s commands. There should be a winsomeness to all that we do as the body. There should be the clear understanding that all we do is in agreement with God’s Word. We should always be asking, “is this the proper thing to do, the proper way to do it, and the proper time?” There should be order. We don’t want your order or my order we want God’s order.

So what do we do with all of this? What’s the take home?

Look at your life. Where do things feel out of order? In what areas do you lack peace? Starting with our individual lives moving into our relationships, marriages, parenting, and the church we must strive to listen to and obey God. God is not a God of confusion but a God of peace. That disorder and turmoil are not of God but are the product of sin; someone is sinning against you, you are sinning against someone, your responses to sin have been sinful. There are a host of ways we can fall into disorder and end up with a troubled heart.

Do not let your heart be troubled. Be silent before God and ask him to convict you of your sin. Even now pray and ask God to show you how you need to change as I pray and ask God to show me how I need to change. Because of Christ God stands ready to forgive us. Through God’s word the Spirit stands ready to guide us. Let’s listen to Him and be transformed more into his image.

Glorious Submission Part 2, 1 Corinthians 11:11-16

Main Point: God is glorified when men act and look like men and God is equally glorified when women act and look like women.

Earlier we heard Jesus explain the proper use of authority. Jesus said in Matthew 20 that true biblical authority is not a “do what I tell you to do or else” kind of authority. True biblical authority is the willingness of the one in authority to serve the one under his authority. If you are in authority then you are a slave. If you are under authority then you are being served. Real godly authority is for the good of others. Godly men sacrifice everything for the good of the other.

When I think of biblical authority and submission I think about taking a nasty splinter out of my child’s hand. That splinter is or will soon hurt my child. Though my child does not want me to do the painful work of removing that splinter it must be done. Though I do not want to hurt my child I know I must cut out the splinter. Graciously, tenderly, and firmly I will do what must be done for the good of my child.

Those in authority will be sure that everything is done for the good of others and not for the good of themselves. Those in authority will be tender, firm, and clear about what is being done. Those in submission will be sure to trust those in authority. When questions need to be asked they will be asked in humility not with an attitude of insubordination.

As we look at glorious submission from 1 Corinthians 11 remember that God is glorified when men act and look like men and God is equally glorified when women act and look like women. Our goal is to understand biblical headship so that we can live according to God’s wisdom.

 

Read 1 Corinthians 11:2-16

 

I. Paul is applying a biblical principle to a particular situation

  • Biblical principle of headship (v3)

Headship equals authority

1. Christ is the head of every man

2. Man is the head of woman

3. God is the head of Christ

  • The situation in 1st century Corinth

1. Long hair = woman

2. Long hair & covered head = chaste respectable woman

3. Uncovered head = prostitute

4. Short hair & uncovered head = a man

5. Shaved head = slave

  • Gender roles are a part of creation not a product of the fall

1. Eve was from and for Adam

II. Don’t go overboard– on either side (vs11-16)

History has proven that encouraging men to be men and encouraging women to be women is quite difficult. It is easier to just focus on one and thereby neglect the other. But it is only when we pursue biblical manhood and womanhood that we see the glory of both. When Men are equipped and encouraged to be men and when women are equipped and encouraged to be women then both are blessed. Both become a blessing. Man and woman were created interlocked; bound up with one another. What it means to be a man is demonstrated in relation to woman. What it means to be a woman is demonstrated in relation to man.

Verses 11-16 give us some safe-guards to keep us from going overboard with manhood or womanhood.

  • No man is self-sufficient. No woman is self-sufficient (vs11-12)

You can’t do life on your own. You were not made to be by yourself. Robertson and Plummer write, “Although by original constitution woman is dependent on man, yet he has no right to look down on her. In the Christian sphere each is dependent on the other, and both are dependent on God…Each sex is incomplete without the other (234).

No man can look at woman and say, “You need me but I don’t need you.” No woman can look at a man and say, “You need me but I don’t need you.” It is destructive pride that causes a man to look at life and think he can do it well without a woman. It is destructive pride that causes a woman to look at life and think she can do it well without a man. Woman, you benefit from man. Man, you benefit from woman.

So, why is it good to be single? Remember chapter 7. It is the spiritual union of believers together in Christ that makes it possible for a single person to be unmarried and complete. In the Lord, godly men become fathers and brothers for single women. In the Lord, godly women in the church become mothers and sisters to single men. All that you need is provided in the Lord. Do not downplay womanhood. Do not downplay manhood. Both are necessary and both need the other. Don’t value manhood over womanhood and

  • Don’t throw out the distinctions- they’re natural (vs13-15)

Judge for yourselves, now that you understand headship and God’s good plan for gender roles, is it proper for a woman to pray with her head uncovered? Is it proper for a woman to pray to God while intentionally disregarding God’s plan for a woman? Should we honor a woman who doesn’t want to be what God created her to be? Should rebellious women be encouraged to lead out in prayer when the church gathers? No, she should not.

Now, what is it about nature that teaches long hair is better on a woman? There are really two main options: male pattern baldness and the majority of cultures throughout the ages. Our first option is that of baldness. We call it male pattern baldness. Women do not generally go bald like men go bald. A woman’s hair may thin but she won’t be shiny bald like some of the brothers in this room. Apparently the reason men go bald the way they do is because of testosterone. Men go bald that way because they are men. Women keep their hair because they are women. According to nature women keep their covering.

The other way nature teaches long hair is a disgrace for men is that throughout the ages and across cultures men have generally cut their hair short and women have let their hair grow long. Generally speaking long hair on men has been a sign of rebellion of some kind. Now this is not always the case but it generally holds true. Rock stars with long hair typically are not known for their loving sacrificial care for women in general and their wives in particular. It is not always the case but a rebellious attitude and long hair make an easy pair.

It is natural for men to look like men and women to look like women. When Pantene wants to show off the power of their shampoos and conditioners they don’t use a Marine with a flat top. They choose a woman with long beautiful hair. Long hair is a glorious thing on a woman. Her hair is given to her for a covering. Long hair marks her as a chaste respectable woman. She’s not trying to look like or act like a man. That one with the long hair, she looks like a woman. Her covering, her sign of submission, is her long hair. She is gladly embracing what it means for her to be a woman in relation to the men in her life and in relation to the way she wears her hair. Her inward attitude is displayed on her body.

As we seek to faithfully apply biblical principles it is important that we do not throw out the distinctions between men and women and it is important that we

  • Watch out for the cantankerous (v16)

The Holy Spirit anticipates the arguments. The women will say, “But we’re free in Christ to look and act like men.” The weak men will say, “It’s great if my wife wants to wear the pants and act like a man. If she’s the man then I don’t have to be. I can stay home and play video games or go hunting or play in the garage.”

Biblical manhood and biblical womanhood is the practice of the apostolic churches. Faithful, gospel founded churches throughout the ages have pursued the God-glorifying beneficial distinctions between men and women. Men act like men and women act like women. End of story. We can talk about it and explain it and help you understand it but we’re not going to change because our culture tells us to. We’re here to influence and transform the culture around us not conform to the world’s way of doing things.

III. Men should look like men and women should look like women

How should we apply this biblical truth to our hair styles and dress codes?

  • Recognize that there is a God-given difference between men and women that should show up in our hair styles and dress

1. Hair length- if you are a man then look like a man. If you are a woman then look like a woman. I understand that the length of hair is a cultural and personal issue. So, when it comes to the length- let each on be convinced in his own mind. Let us give some thought to why we do what we do. Men, why is your hair long? Women, why is your hair short?

2. Dress code/coverings- men should dress like men and not like boys. Women should dress modestly and not like prostitutes. Men don’t shop in the women’s section and women don’t shop in the men’s section. If you are a woman who regularly gets mistaken for a man or a man who regularly gets mistaken for a woman then you have probably missed the point. There is also probably something deeper going on inside of you. Your heart is displayed in your behavior and in your dress.

I think it is fitting here also to make a quick statement regarding modesty. Women if you want to be respected then dress respectably. I’m not advocating for plate collars and mandatory dresses down to the ankles. What I’m saying is you are sending out a message by the way you dress. You will draw to you people who want what you put out there.

A car lot doesn’t want to spend their time on people shopping for recliners so they put cars on their signs and out front for all to see. Ladies you will attract a man who values what you advertise. Your values will be reflected in what you draw attention to.

1 Peter 3:3-4, “Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.”

If you attract a man by the way you look do not be surprised when that man leaves you for a woman who looks the way you used to look. Men, there is a beauty to a woman that is far more satisfying than her outward appearance. It is time for women to dress up and it is time for men to grow up.

IV. Men should act like men and women should act like women

How should we apply this biblical truth to our roles?

  • Recognize that there is a God-given difference between men and women that should manifest itself in our roles

How will you answer your son or grandson when he asks, “What does it mean to be a man and not a woman? How will you answer your daughter or granddaughter when she asks, “What does it mean to be a woman and not a man?”

John Piper gives us perhaps the most helpful definitions. I have included a link to his short booklet on manhood and womanhood on the website where you can buy the booklet or download the pdf for free. Piper writes,

At the heart of mature masculinity is a sense of benevolent responsibility to lead, provide for and protect women in ways appropriate to a man’s differing relationships.

At the heart of mature femininity is a freeing disposition to affirm, receive and nurture strength and leadership from worthy men in ways appropriate to a woman’s differing relationships.

Men’s roles- initiate through sacrificial servant leadership for the glory of God and the good of others. Women’s roles- gladly follow and encourage godly men for the glory of God and the good of others. Every man should be thoughtfully and intentionally pursuing those things which provide for, protect, and advance God’s particular giftings for women. Women should be thoughtfully and intentionally pursuing those things which encourage men to be godly fruitful men.

Men, you are responsible. When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden who did God go to? He went to Adam. Men, husbands, fathers, spiritual brothers in the Lord, you are responsible. I do not deny the direct and personal accountability of women to the Lord. I do emphasize the God-given role of men to advance the spiritual, relational, and physical health of women.

What does that look like? Husbands, you take the lead in reading the bible and praying with your wife. Use the Gospel readings in our daily bible reading plan. Your wife should not have to be the man in your marriage. Your wife should not have to go around you in order to get to Christ. You lead the way. I say that will repentance for I have not done this well. Husbands, don’t worry about being fancy. Be streamlined, simple, and powerful. Open the bible, read it, talk about it with your wife, and pray according to the truth you have read and the needs of your wife. Guys, if you have a plan you can read and study ahead. Be prepared and be a leader who blesses his wife.

Fathers, take responsibility for your family. You lead the way in getting the children spiritually and physically ready to go to church. Dads, when you are with your wife and your child disobeys it is your responsibility to discipline your child.

Men, open the door for women at the grocery store or restaurant. Women, encourage men when they do. Wear your wedding ring proudly. There are a great number of ways all of us can display and advance God’s good roles if we are single or married with children or without. Be thoughtful and intentional.

V. What if you’ve been a girly man or a manly woman?

  • Repentance toward God and faith in Jesus Christ

Men, our passivity when it comes to our sisters in the Lord, our wives, and our children is sinful. Women, your insubordination and aggression toward your brothers in the Lord, your husbands, and your children is sinful. We have rebelled against our loving King and abandoned his wisdom for a lie. May each of us look to God and mourn our sinfulness. And may each of us look to Christ and find our atoning sacrifice and righteousness. Christ has paid the penalty for sinful men and sinful women. Christ is the only true righteous and submissive one. Men, look to Christ and you will find your righteousness, strength to initiate, and servant leadership for the good of others. Women, look to Christ and you will find your righteousness, glad submission, and your pattern for glad service unto others. Repent to God and put your faith in Jesus Christ.

  • Repent to those you have wounded

You may need to spend some time with God and then you may need to spend some time with your wife, your husband, or your children. Men you need to repent to the person, to the extent that you have sinned against your wife and your children regarding God’s given role for you. Women you need to repent to the person to the extent that you have sinned against your husband and your children. And this holds true also in the church. Men if you have failed to lead in the church you need to repent. Women if you have failed to submit to the godly leadership of the church you need to repent. What you do matters. Repent to those you have wounded.

  • Put together a plan for change

Talk is cheap and apologies are the easy part. You and I need to change. Sit down with pen and paper and map out where you want to get and then determine how you are going to get there. Involve manly men and feminine women. Single parents, are you intentional to involve godly men and women in your family’s life? Single moms, find those godly fathers out there and invite those families into your home. Single dads, find those godly mothers out there and invite those families into your home.

Men, commit with me today to bless your family with the word of God and prayer. Put together a plan and work that plan.