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2020-07-12 1 Timothy 2:11-12 THE PRIVILEGE OF SUBMISSION

1 Timothy  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented
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THE PRIVILEGE OF SUBMISSION (I Tim 2:11-12) July 12, 202 Read I Tim 2:11-12 – Squirming yet? That’s because we’re victimized by a culture that puts PC above God’s wisdom. To find the words “woman” and “submission” in the same sentence is anathema in our culture. But the truth is we’ve turned one of God’s great gifts into a dirty word. This passage is an opportunity for us to reclaim our Xn heritage. Society is partially aided by genuine abuses. Like Lady Mary on “Downton Abbey”, eldest of 3 sisters of an aristocratic family in the early 20th century who defended her youngest sister’s right to go to a Women’s rights rally: “Sybil is entitled to her opinion.” To which her grandmother, the Dowager Countess replies, “No she is not until she is married. Then her husband will tell her what her opinions are.” Backlash was inevitable, and it arrived in spades with the feminist movement which had much good to say in many ways, and in other ways has pulled the rug out from under cultural stability. Too often the church has been taken captive by culture, adopting an agenda of gender neutrality at the cost of denying God’s clear instruction. There is nothing difficult to understand here. For 2,000 years its interpretation was not in doubt. Bob Yarbrough, NT prof at Trinity surveyed thousands of articles concluding it was not until 1969 that a revisionist view, denying the idea of submission, began to appear in academic literature. Since then, a floodtide of re-interpretation, following the feminist movement of the 1960’s, has appeared, “indebted significantly, to the prevailing social climate rather than to the Biblical text.” Harold O. J. Brown observes, “When opinions suddenly undergo dramatic alteration, although nothing new has been discovered and the only thing that has dramatically changed is the spirit of the age, [one must conclude] that the spirit has had an important role to play in the shift.” But for a Xn, the question isn’t what is PC, but what is theologically correct – not what does the culture think, but what does God know. Previous excesses in one direction do not excuse over-correction in another which ignore God’s commands. We must get things right in both directions. It’s a question of authority and obedience. Truth trumps good intentions. Submission like all of God’s commands is a privilege, not an imposition. So to recapture this profoundly controversial word, we’ll be looking the I. Privilege, II. Principle III. Purpose and IV. Power of Submission. First 2 today. 1 I. The Privilege of Submission V. 11: Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness.” This is instruction on “how one ought to behave in the household of God” (I Tim 3:15) – public worship. To learn in quiet submission applies to all of us, men and women alike, right? That’s one of the primary reasons we come – to hear from God. “Quietly” means attentively, with a teachable rather than an argumentative spirit. That doesn’t mean we agree on everything. We must always examine what we’re taught in light of Scripture, but first we listen all the way through. And submissively. What does that entail? Paul uses a form of the verb ὑποτάσσω, literally, “to arrange under.” In a military context, it implies rank. It calls for a willingness to surrender one’s will to another. Here it means a submissive attitude toward authority. That starts with submission to God and His commands – applicable to both men and women. But v. 12 further clarifies Paul’s instruction: “I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man.” Now we see to learn quietly in public worship means not to teach men, and not to exercise authority over men. So, in public worship, women honor God by quiet submission to the teaching and authority of the male leadership of the congregation. That’s no different from instruction to the whole congregation in Heb 13:17: “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will give an account.” That’s for men and women alike other than those actually teaching in an official capacity. Men and women alike honor God by listening and learning with a teachable spirit. So, does this verse imply any limitations on women? I think yes, but only one. Both the phrase “to teach” and “to exercise authority over a man” are present tense infinitives – meaning ongoing activity – “to be a teacher.” John Mac says, “By using the present infinitive instead of the aorist, Paul does not forbid women to teach under appropriate conditions and circumstances, but to fill the office and role of the pastor or teacher in the life of the church.” The one restriction then is that a woman is not to teach from a position of theological authority over men; beyond that there is freedom. God teaches similarly in I Cor 11:4) Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head, 5) but every wife who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, since it is the same as if her head were shaven.” Head covering was a sign of submission in that culture. So, the 2 cultural head covering is used to indicate the universal need for women’s submission in worship. Head covering is temporary; submission permanent. God is even more emphatic in I Cor 14:33: “For God is not a God of confusion but of peace. As in all the churches of the saints, 34) the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak (as authority), but should be in submission, as the Law also says. 35) If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak (authoritatively) in church.” The instruction is clear, Beloved. The question is will we obey with gratitude, knowing God’s goodness? Once during the CW Stonewall Jackson and 3 staff went to survey a potential battlefield, unexpectedly encountering 15-20 Federal soldiers. They managed to get the draw on them and Jackson demanded their immediate surrender. As they were passing thru the Confederate lines, one of the Union prisoners shouted out, “Gentlemen, we have the honor of being captured by Stonewall Jackson!” Well, Xns have the honor of being captured by someone infinitely greater, Jesus Christ who promises: Mt 11:30: “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” In other words, you’ll never regret obeying him, even if you don’t fully understand! Submission is a privileged gift from a loving Father. II. The Principle of Submission God has given two great pillars to govern all human interaction – authority and submission. These are found in marriage relationships (husband leads, wife follows); families (parents lead, kids follow); society (governors lead, people follow) and church (elders lead; congregation follows). When faithfully applied, this principle of authority/submission brings peace, harmony and order. When abused by either side, chaos ensues. It’s God’s design; violations have consequences just as with the law of gravity! A. What It Means – In the church, both men and women are to submit to elders. For a woman that submission extends one step further. A woman may aspire to leadership as a deaconess (as we’ll see in chapter 3), but she is prevented by God from from one thing -- the office of elder since that would involve authority over men. She is to defer to the male leadership in the church. That doesn’t mean she’ll always agree any more than a submissive wife always agrees with her husband, nor that she cannot voice her opinions – in a quiet, dignified manner – as should all of us. But in the end, obedience to God requires deferring to local church elders. 3 In the last 50 years, many creative attempts have been made to circumvent that instruction. Some say Paul was simply wrong – that he was echoing rabbinical prejudices against women of his time. But that view attacks the authority of Scripture itself; you can’t have it and inerrancy of the Bible as well. Others suggest Ephesus was a bastion of feminist supremacy in religion with the local cult of Diana, so Paul’s comments are to address a local situation only – no universal applicability. Three problems: 1) There is no evidence of a feminist problem in Ephesus. 2) Paul gave the same instruction in Corinth. 3) Paul’s reasons, as we’ll see, are universal, not local. Other attempts to explain away Paul’s instruction are equally weak. God clearly assigned women the role of submission to male leadership in local churches. B. What It Does Not Mean – Having said that, it is helpful to further establish what this does not mean! 1. It doesn’t mean inferiority – The essential personal equality of men and women was established at Creation. Gen 1:26: “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them (male and female) have dominion.” They are equally in the image of God, and in personal value. But the order of creation establishes headship as re-enforced in Gen 2:24 where God instructs “a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife.” He leads; she follows. Headship is further shown by his naming all the animals (Gen 2:20), and his wife (3:20). Further clarification? Eph 5:22: “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23) For the husband is the head of the wife.” He’s head, but he’s not superior. God created equality in personal worth and dignity but diversity in function. Equal in importance; different in roles. It’s not a question of worth or value; it’s a question of roles. Some counter by pointing to Gal 3:28: “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.” The contention is that Christ has done away with all personal distinctions. If there is no male or female, then there should be no genderspecific restrictions from women assuming eldership roles in the church. But the context of Gal 3:28 is salvation. Paul is clarifying that salvation is equally available to all. In Christ, slaves are just as saved as freemen; Greeks are just as saved as Jews; females are just as saved as males. All are equally justified as believers. We are spiritual equals. But that doesn’t mean slaves are suddenly free, that Greeks are suddenly Jews or that women are suddenly men – or vice versa! In terms of role and function, those distinctions still stand. Dr. Saucy writes, “Oneness in Christ did not obliterate the distinctions 4 between Jews and Gentiles. Nor did it remove the functional differences between slaves and masters. Why, then, should we assume it did so between men and women?” The Bible teaches equality of personal worth; equality of spiritual standing for believers, but diversity of functions – and the principle of submission and authority still applies. In fact, this principle of submission and authority is eternal; it applies to the Trinity itself! That’s right. Turn I Cor 11:3: “But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.” Are you kidding me? Diversity of function within the Trinity? Yes. Did that make Jesus any less God than the Father? Of course not. They are equal in essence; diverse in function. The Father initiates; the Son follows. John 4:34: “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.” The authority of the Father; the submission of the Son. When God asks us to submit to the authorities in our lives, He is asking us to act just like Him! If it’s good enough Him; isn’t it good enough for us? Submission does not mean inferiority ; it just means difference in function. 2. It doesn’t mean no teaching – Paul says, “I do not permit a woman to teach.” Absolutely none? No. Read on. She is not “to teach or to exercise authority over a man.” That clarifies. She is not prohibited from teaching absolutely, but only in a capacity that implies authority over men. This 2nd clause limits the restriction to teaching as an official church leader – a preaching pastor. Women are to “remain quiet” in the sense of not seeking that role. But beyond that, we must not add restriction where God does not. Beyond that is much opportunity. In II Tim 3:14 Paul tells Tim, “continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it [the sacred writings of v. 15).” Who taught Tim? From II Tim 1:5 we learn it was his grandmother, Lois, and mother, Eunice. So, teaching children is a great opportunity for women with the gift of teaching. We have gifted women teaching children at home, in SS and GNC. Titus 2:3: “Older women (more mature) likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, 4) and so train the young women.” Here women are commanded to teach other women. That extends to men in private settings where official church authority is not the issue. For example, when a talented teacher named Apollos showed up in Ephesus, but deficient in scriptural knowledge, Acts 18:26: “He began to speak boldly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and [her husband] Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God 5 more accurately.” This could correspond to private teaching, small groups or home Bible studies under the authority of elders where women could question and share their knowledge with others, including men. All that is really excluded from women is the office of elder and teaching pastor. Conc -- God has used committed women in powerful ways -- Deborah, Esther, Ruth, Mary and others. Paul mentions at least 7 women among those he greets in Romans 16 – one of whom, Phoebe, was probably a deaconess. We can honor God’s one restriction and still give much useful service. But we must all, men and women alike, stop believing the devil’s lie that the only role of significance is that of church leadership. People usually desire places of prominence not to humbly serve others, but to boost their own egos and gain power and control. Leaders, however, bear a heavy burden and responsibility. Submission is not punishment, but privilege. A professor gave a pop quiz, the last question of which was, “What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?” When asked if the question counted, the prof answered, “Absolutely. In your careers you’ll meet many people, all of whom are significant. You need to learn to value all of them, greet them and learn their names.” Great lesson. It should help us all learn that wherever God has put us is a gift, and whatever commands apply to us, are a privilege. Easy to see why when we remember Jesus’ words about His kingdom in Mt 20:16: “the last will be first, and the first last.” Let’s pray. But Paul wrote I Timothy long after Galatians. So Gal 3:28 cannot be doing away with all gender distinctions. 6
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