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1 Timothy  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented
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THE POWER OF SUBMISSION (I Tim 2:11-15) July 19, 2020 Read I Tim 2:11-15 – Sometimes we treat God’s Word like the fellow who went to the dentist for a root canal. When the dentist entered, he found the patient laboring over a tray of surgical equipment. He asked, “What are you doing?” The guy replied, “Removing the ones I don’t like.” So like us, to remove the commands we don’t like –probably the ones we need most! But last week we saw submission is always a privilege, never a burden. We saw submission is not an indication of inferiority. Men and women have equal standing, value and dignity in God’s eyes. And it doesn’t mean women can’t utilize the gift of teaching. There are multiple ways to express such giftedness. The one restriction is that women defer to male leadership in the church. Beneath that umbrella of oversight, all gifts may operate. It is not a question of superiority; it’s a question of function. For our benefit, God has instituted the principle of submission and authority in the home, in society and in His church – a principle that even applies to God. Within the Trinity, I Cor 11:3c: “the head of Christ is God.” Christ was no less God because of that role. He considered it a privileged function throughout His life to submit to the Father’s will. He exemplifies the privilege of submission wherever He calls for it as He does for women in the church. And we obey, not bc we understand it all but bc we trust His greater wisdom. But God doesn’t leave us without insight into why. Having seen I. The Privilege and II. The Principle of Submission, today we look at its Purpose and Power. III. The Purpose of Submission God instructs a woman should not “teach or exercise authority over a man” in a local church. That eliminates a woman from the office of pastor/teacher or elder, but leaves open many other avenues of teaching and ministry under church leaders. But why this restriction and why should we be careful to obey? If we cannot understand it fully, can we at least understand partially? Why do we adhere to this instruction? A. To Effect God’s Command -- The main reason for accepting this limitation is the simplest: Because God said so. It’s His command, not mine, or some other group of male chauvinists or even the Apostle Paul. But if 1 “All Scripture is breathed out by God” (II Tim 3:16), then this is ultimately God instruction and the best reason for obeying is – because He said so! Now, perhaps that doesn’t fall on your ears any better than when you tell you kids, “Bc I told u so.” We all remember how we loved that reasoning. We had 2 objections. First, we assumed we knew as much as our parents, so obedience without reason didn’t seem fair. Second, we knew our parents weren’t perfect. So “bc I said so” didn’t go over well. But while our relationship with God is like a family; there are also a couple of vast differences. Before rejecting God’s commands, we need to ask: “Would my heavenly Father ever be unfair? Would He ever be fallible? And would He ever ask anything that was not ultimately for my good and His glory?” If you have trouble with those questions, obedience will come hard, BUT it will also come from a hard heart. Why? Bc God can’t be unfair; He is infallible; and He would never ask anything that is not for my good and His glory. Get those answers right and obedience may still come hard, but not hard-heartedly! Tim Keller offers insight. Once his 8-year-old son was being resistant. He said, “Dad, I’ll obey you in this, but only if you first explain why.” Keller responded, “Son, if you obey me only bc it makes sense to you, that’s not obedience; that’s just agreement. The problem is that you are too young to understand most of the reasons why I want you to do this. Do it bc you’re 8 and I’m 38 – bc you are a child and I’m an adult and your father.” That’s how we should meet tests of obedience from a loving heavenly Father. We like to know what’s behind the “obedience” door before we commit, right? But faith requires we resolve on this side of the door who is Lord – Him or us. Will we obey bc He’s Lord?! That’s the issue, so the 1st reason for submitting to His command is bc a gracious, loving heavenly Father said so! B. To Accept God’s Creation – 13) For Adam was formed first, then Eve.” This verse is critical. Why? Because it establishes this instruction as universal and permanent rather than local and cultural. By appealing to the order of creation, Paul is saying, “This instruction is for all time and all places.” He uses exactly the same reason to the Corinthians when suggesting that in their culture, where only loose women went about with loose hair, a woman ought to wear a head covering in church, indicating her submission to male leadership. Why? I Cor 11:8: “For man was not made from woman, but woman from man.” God’s creative plan had and has male leadership built in. 2 Genesis clearly indicates equality of person, but diversity in roles. Headship is the purview of the man. All of the animals appear to have both male and female created simultaneously. With man, it’s Adam first, with Eve coming along later. What happened? God have a senior moment? Forget He needed both? No! He was making a point. This is His design for the human race. God has Adam name the animals. But Adam is also searching. Where is the helper who is fit for, corresponding to, him? He finds none. God’s making a point. Man needs woman. In the ideal situation He is not complete without her. But the delay in her creation illustrates that headship in the relationship belongs to the man, just as headship in the Godhead belongs to the Father. So, God puts Adam under, takes a rib and fashions a woman. A rib to show she is neither his head nor his slave, but a heart companion. Yet made from him to show headship – she came from him, not he from her. God formalizes this arrangement by saying at the wedding: Gen 2:24: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife.” The universal nature of this is seen in that neither Adam nor Eve had mother or father; this is for all who follow. Man is to lead in leaving father and mother to form a new home. Doesn’t the wife have to leave also? Yes, but the man shows the way. The women corresponds to him – acts in a manner that complements his lead. This is God’s example in both I Timothy and I Corinthians. To accept the principle of male leadership, whether at home or at church, is to conform to God’s earliest role definition. John Stott comments: “All attempts to get rid of Paul’s teaching on headship (on grounds that it is mistaken, confusing, culture-bound or culture-specific) must be pronounced unsuccessful. It remains stubbornly there. It is rooted in divine revelation, not human opinion, and in divine creation, not human culture. In essence, therefore, it must be preserved as having permanent and universal authority.” C. To Deflect God’s Chastisement – 14) and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.” Why is this verse here? Maybe Paul’s saying just as men and women differ physically, they differ psychologically/emotionally. Men, on average, are more analytical; women more intuitive. Study after study confirms that, so it’s possible Paul is saying the woman was more easily taken in because of her intuitive nature. She actually believed she’d be better off if she ate. Adam knew he was wrong, but he did it anyway. Yet since he wasn’t fooled, he’d be better in leading, using his analytic skills to protect from false teaching and Satan’s half-truths that destroy people. Perhaps that’s why this is here. BUT 3 But I think his point is this: Adam sinned with eyes wide open, he’s culpable and accountable. But is Eve off the hook bc she was deceived, truly taken in? Not at all. Tho deceived, she also “became a transgressor” and subject to the consequences of her actions. They’re both in deep bc both strayed from God’s role for them. The woman assumed the position of headship. The serpent came to her first; she listened; and then, without consulting her husband, she ate. She was out of bounds, disobedient, and she paid a ghastly price. Meanwhile, Adam “who was with her” (Gen 3:6) stood by, let it happen and then “he ate” knowing he was violating God’s Word. He abdicated and he brought down the whole human race and nature with it. Nothing has ever been right since, and it can only be redeemed by the most awful price paid by the Son of God Himself. Paul’s whole point, then, is that to stray from God’s pattern is to “become a transgressor” and incur the penalty of God as would be the case with any sin. We stray at our own peril, Beloved. And, we pay. Will Rogers on a visit to Paris, sent a picture postcard of the Venus de Milo, with the missing arm, to his young niece. On the back he wrote, “See what happens to you if you don’t stop biting your fingernails.” That’s what Paul is doing here. He’s saying, “See what happens when you get outside of God’s established order. Sin has consequences. Play the role He has given with enthusiasm and pleasure. You stray outside those roles at your own risk.” D. To Reflect God’s Character – Last week we saw in I Cor 11:3c Paul tells us, “and the head of Christ is God,” a permanent functional distinction within the Trinity that plays out over and over in Jesus’ earthly life. And as those made in the image of God, one way we depict that image is by being faithful to the roles we’ve been given, just like Jesus. The Fall seriously damaged that image, but it did not obliterate it. But now men tend to abdicate leadership roles at home or church – or tend to be tyrants. Meantime, women tend to rebel from their role. But as new creations in Christ, we have the ability to faithfully play our part. The old nature rebels, but the more we say Yes to God’s plan, the better we image Him to our world. Say it another way – our lives show some kind of picture of God to the world. Faithful adherence to our assigned roles is one great way to do that. But when we get outside our God-defined boundaries, the picture is fuzzy, grainy. One way to refocus? Play the part God has assigned us with grace, dignity and gratitude – even if others are not! Let’s do our best to pix God accurately. 4 IV. The Power of Submission V. 15 is tough. It moves from a woman (singular) in the first phrase, to women (plural – they) in the second. Why? Also, “saved” can mean spiritual salvation or it can mean to make someone whole physically or emotionally. Interpretations vary widely. Some say Paul is saying a holy life will preserve women in childbirth – but, that is not always the case. Others say women can be saved from insignificance by bearing and rearing children – influencing from bottom up, not top down! Maybe, but it doesn’t explain the difference between singular and plural references – and it doesn’t speak to women who have no kids. So, without being dogmatic, here’s what I think Paul is saying. There were no verse divisions in the original. So read 14b-15a together: “but the woman (Eve) was deceived and became a transgressor. Yet she will be saved through childbearing.” Reading that way, it’s clear the “she” of v. 15 is Eve. The context demands it. Furthermore, as a transgressor, she needs to be saved – spiritual salvation. The word is σωζω occasionally means physical healing in the gospels, but always means spiritual salvation in Paul. So here. And saved through childbearing sounds just like Gen 3:15, when just after the Fall, God told the serpent: “I will put enmity between you and the woman (Eve), and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” That is the first prophecy of how Christ, an offspring of Eve, will provide redemption by being killed by Satan, but then rising again to bruise Satan’s head – “that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil” (Heb 2:14). So Eve the transgressor will be (future to her) saved by “THE” childbearing. What was “the” childbearing – the one different from all others? Christ, of course. So the first part of this verse indicates that as Eve is saved through the coming of Christ – so are all transgressors – male and female alike. And that all happened bc Adam and Eve believed God’s promise, had children leading to Christ, and found forgiveness for their initial failure to stay in bounds. But Paul continues in 15b: “if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.” He’s moved from talking of one woman to plural women. And his point seems to be they (other women) can be saved spiritually as well, as would be demonstrated by their lives of faith, love, holiness and selfcontrol. Their saving faith would be shown by their Christian lives – not that they are perfect, but that they are striving to obey God, showing their faith, love and self-control by staying within the boundaries established by God. 5 In other words, spiritual power for a woman is not found in usurping the place of leaders in the church, but it is found in submissive obedience to God’s commands – believing that He knows best, that His plan is best, exercising self-control to stay within the roles and functions He has assigned lovingly, faithfully and enthusiastically. Believe me, there is power in that – power to bring redemption and power to grow us in Christ. Conc – John MacArthur pastors a wonderful church in San Fernando Valley, near LA. Several years ago he did a series on the roles of men and women in marriage resulting in a front-page article in the LA Times castigating the chauvinist in SFV, claiming he was attacking women. People began to flood services, mainly feminists who objected to the message. ABC, NBC and CBS all had newscasters on-site interviewing the congregation asking, “Why do you come? Why do you listen to this?” It was explosive. The interviewer from NBC was Tom Brokaw who said to John, “I’ve talked with many of the women in your church. They seem like intelligent, caring women. How do you get them to believe this message of submission?” John said, “Simple. It’s because they believe this.” And he held up his Bible. “Wherever it speaks they are happy to respond.” I’m grateful to be part of a congregation where we also have such joyful and enthusiastic responders to His revelation. It is redemptive and life-giving. Let’s pray. 6
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