A Healthy Church Thrives when They Emabrace God’s Design

Foundations of a Healthy Church   •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented
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Men and women are given complimentary roles by God to model Christ and the Church.


A Healthy Church Thrives When They Embrace God’s Design

Opening: Our culture views this as the most controversial passage in all of Scripture.
It’s based on a command and a prohibition (Submit, do not have authority)
There are two main views
Egalitarianism: Belief in the equality of all people, especially in political, social, or economic life.
Complementarianism: Theological view that men and women have different but complimentary roles in marriage and certain religious offices
Disclaimer: I cannot say that God’s design has been modeled for you. The reason this view gets such criticism is because men can, and often do, fail to live the way they should act. At the same time, these same men demand that women act in ways never asked of them by God.
My Apologies
Father: Talked down or abused you, God did not ordain or condone that.
Pastor or church leader has made you feel like you are second class or inferior in anyway because you are a women God was not pleased in that treatment.
Spouse or Boyfriend God has NEVER given them permission to dominate, hurt, or control in anyway. If you are in a situation like that I will personally see to it they learn that it is never ok to treat you that way.
My hope is that we would not ignore what is written for what we assume it is saying.
So please, before you guard any position, keep an open heart and mind to God’s word and allow Him to encourage you with this text.
1 Timothy 2:8–15 ESV
I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling; likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works. Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.
Embracing our divine design leads to worship that exalts Christ (8-10)
Explanation vv. 8-10
Paul wants men in every place not just Ephesus to heed the following. This matters later on in the text.
These 3 verses are prescriptive passages not descriptive.
God is not saying women cannot pray, lift holy hands, or that they should come to a service angry ready to argue with people.
Nor is it saying men should wear expensive clothing and avoid being decent or modest.
Consider what all Paul has instructed Timothy with so far
With love as your aim, preach truth.
Defend against false doctrine and those who teach contrary to Christ.
The Gospel message “Christ came into the world to save sinners” is the centrality of the church.
Prayer on behalf of people are to be lifted up to God.
All of the focus of the church is to be on Jesus not ourselves.
Men, Don’t dominate the service with a closed fist, pray to God with an open heart, and arms reaching up as a sign of your dependance on Him. This is how men show that they are “godly” or being changed from the inside out through submitting to the teaching of God’s word.
Women, your godliness is NOT through external beauty but through your internal worth.
Artemis was believed to be the goddess of what is now called feminism. A massive shrine was located at Ephesus where the Church Paul is writing to was also located. She was worshipped all throughout Rome. Her worshipers were taught that sex, immorality, and drunkeness gained them power and purpose. Sex was a weapon to get what you wanted through extortion. They were taught to reject motherhood, nurturing and self-sacrifice for their own independent indulgences.
Today our culture still endorses much of these counter-biblical views about women.
Not that women cannot care about how they look!
You can dress in a way that makes you feel good about yourselves.
Women today are exploited are sex objects.
They can be rich singers but they have to sing mostly naked.
Their bodies are the focus of most lyrics in songs today.
The idea of motherhood as a career is laughable to many women today.
Abortion is the biggest rejection of motherhood in our society.
All of the above views mentioned reject the design God has for women.
Paul was telling Timothy make sure the women understand the truth of God’s word and how he created them to be treasured for their character, good works, and their worship of God.
Don’t let the culture steal that from you. Don’t settle for superficial and meaningless ways of the world. Find your value and worth in God and the way of life He has for you, and you will have greater confidence, joy, and self-worth.
God’s design in worship for men is that they lead by example with hearts surrendered and hands reaching to God signifying dependancy.
God’s design is that in worship women are adorned with a heart of godliness instead of a heart after worldly ways.
Notice these passages are aimed at the goal of worship not the power struggle between men and women?
Dad would sit me and my brother down from time to time when a chore was not getting done right.
I would immediately start posturing for why I was doing the job right and how my brother was wrong. He’d do the same thing. Our thought was wed avoid being grounded if we cleared our name.
However we didn’t realize that dad was instructing us because he just wanted the job done right, to his satisfaction. In the moment he giving us clarity to what was right and would meet his expectations.
To often this passage is taken to mean God cares about how long a skirt is or isn’t or how high lifted arms have to be in order to count. But that is like me and my brother trying to compete for right and wrong when Paul’s instructions are to clarify what God desires.
He wants us to gather with hearts aimed at him not ourselves. With minds surrender to His word and our spirit ready to celebrate him not ourselves.
Our faith is to be in Jesus not ourselves.
If you believe that you don’t need God, or that he has not saved you from anything you cannot save yourself from (male or female)
Paul is saying you need to humble yourself, pray and demonstrate a heart of submission through outstretched arms.
Our value is in Jesus’s life not our own.
If you believe that this is a social affair for people to see you, be jealous of you or feel inferior to you (male or female)
You need to know that your works are not godly. Instead you need to let the transformed work of Christ in you be on display and that will show people your true value.
Transition: My Desire is that as a church we come with hearts and minds ready to worship God, not just in spirit, but in truth.
Embracing our divine design leads to Discipleship that exalts Christ v.11-15.
1 Timothy 2:11–15 ESV
Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.
This is the text that is most scrutinized.
This passage goes from prescriptive to descriptive. The knee jerk response by some liberal scholars is to disregard the text by saying Paul is a product of the gross misogyny of his time.
However, Paul was an apostle appointed by God according to 1 Tim 1:1. It would be easy to say ‘well I’d say that too, if I wanted to be the leader.’
However Peter recognized Paul’s apostolic authority as Scripture.
2 Peter 3:15–16 HCSB
Also, regard the patience of our Lord as an opportunity for salvation, just as our dear brother Paul has written to you according to the wisdom given to him. He speaks about these things in all his letters in which there are some matters that are hard to understand. The untaught and unstable twist them to their own destruction, as they also do with the rest of the Scriptures.
Galatians chapter 1 and 2 Paul says that his authority was from Jesus not men. Although John, James, Peter and those He ministered to also recognized his anointed authority.
When Paul administers a prohibition it is to more than just the church at Ephesus (“men every where”).
We know that it is not to be disregarded or we are guilty of adding or taking away from Scripture.
Revelation 22:18–19 HCSB
I testify to everyone who hears the prophetic words of this book: If anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book. And if anyone takes away from the words of this prophetic book, God will take away his share of the tree of life and the holy city, written in this book.
Tim Keller:
“Something is being forbidden. To what extent you want to apply “authority” can vary by denomination, but you simply cannot ignore what is being forbidden or say that it is not transcultural; meaning applicable in all time of the church age.”
So what is the first descriptive command?
Let a woman learn.
“Quietly” and in “full submissiveness” are modifiers of allowing them to learn.
In Judaism the temple had a few courtyards. The one most taught from did mot include women.
In Rome, women were not encouraged to learn how to read. Most families forbid it.
“Let a woman learn” is very counter-cultural statement to both Jews and Greek.
Discrimination is not the Christian way.
Jesus included women in his ministry giving them both respect and value.
Paul and Peter also utilized men and women in the starting and growing churches.
Timothy was to prevent argumentative men from letting women learn the Word of God.
Three Factors that potentially stood in the way of women being able to grow in discipleship
Paul wants the women to learn.
Learning is a core aspect of corporate worship.
Scripture is what we should be learning.
2 Timothy 3:16 HCSB
All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness,
Quote Yarbrough
“In order for a woman to worship in A PLEASING manner, she needs to belong to a group that encourages her to grow in faith by learning, and eventually teaching others what she has learned. The gospel is not a one-time thing, like a tattoo, rather it's a living message that one learns and then applies in order to transform oneself through the truth learned and the Spirit who guides them.”
2 Timothy 2:2 NLT
You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others.
Robert Yarbrough
The Letters to Timothy and Titus (A. Instructions on Worship (2:1–15))
Paul wants Timothy to zero in on women who are truly seeking God. One responsive, active learner will bring more honor and glory to God than any number of distracted, perfunctory churchgoers.
Timothy must aim at inspiring the engagement required for an individual woman to step into the opportunity to learn that can easily be squandered when Christians assemble.
Notice Paul is advocating for women, not condemning them.
Second Factor that potentially stood in the way of women being able to grow in discipleship.
2. They need to learn in silence. The Greek word is not the same word you would use to say “shut up” or harshly criticize someone. 3/4 uses in the NT of this word refer to the environment being silent not a “person” per say. The most common use of this word in other literature around that time was “rest.”
Again, Timothy is to create a place where a woman can rest, focus, and learn the Word.
The Letters to Timothy, Yarbrough
“The call then is not for total verbal silence from women, but for them to exhibit a peaceful and gentle attitude” in their task of learning.”
The final factor that potentially stood in the way of women being able to grow in discipleship.
They must be in full submission
To what or whom are they to be in full submission to?
If you think the subject in need of submitting to is men you are wrong.
The Greek connects this verb to the “teaching” they are learning.
The Letters to Timothy and Titus (A. Instructions on Worship (2:1–15))
Rather, “a woman” in worship is to be provided with a setting conducive to her discipleship calling to learn “in quietness,” not disruption, and in “full submission” either to what she is being taught, to God, who stands behind the Christian message and comes to his people by his Spirit through their hearing of it, or to both.
The notion of women in general being in “full submission” to men in general is completely foreign to the discourse flow. Given the lengths Paul goes in his letters (including the PE) to inform, instruct, exhort, and elicit the fellowship of agreement with apostolic teaching (not demand mindless “full submission”), a reading imputing sexism to Paul either brings a tin ear to the passage or deploys an unhelpful hermeneutic of suspicion.
Complementarian interpretations that use the text to justify male dominance and control over women are not supported by the greater context.
Men, if you have held the view that women are lesser, weaker or second to you only because you are a man, you need to repent and seek forgiveness from your wife, your mother, daughters, or any other woman you have viewed as inferior.
Disciples of Christ are no different in their value, worth in God’s eyes
Galatians 3:28–29 HCSB
There is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, heirs according to the promise.
Ephesians 2:12–13 HCSB
At that time you were without the Messiah, excluded from the citizenship of Israel, and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus, you who were far away have been brought near by the blood of the Messiah.
Ephesians 2:16–18 HCSB
He did this so that He might reconcile both to God in one body through the cross and put the hostility to death by it. When the Messiah came, He proclaimed the good news of peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.
Jesus does not view anyone as lesser; only redeemed and unredeemed. So do not read into the text below
1 Timothy 2:12 HCSB
I do not allow a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; instead, she is to be silent.
Inappropriate views of women held by some in church
They are weaker or lack intelligence that men do
Needs little explaining. This is absolutely false
Me vs. Beth Moore. That command has nothing to do with ability.
They are not equal to men in God’s eyes.
Genesis 1:26–27 (HCSB)
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness. They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, all the earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth.”
So God created man in His own image [Unity]; He created him in the image of God; He created them male and female [divirsity].
Here both are equal in their design and value and yet also distinct in their individuality. The same before the Lord, unique in their roles
While Adam was charged with tasks and Eve was charged to help Adam. She was not a slave to tend to Adam’s Garden!
They both served in different ways, in God’s Garden.
The distinction between the two (evident, e.g., in the fact that in the biological family it is women who are mothers and men who are fathers) gives a basis for differing responsibilities in certain settings “in God’s household, which is the church of the living God”
1 Timothy 3:15 HCSB
But if I should be delayed, I have written so that you will know how people ought to act in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.
One of those settings is congregational worship. In this setting, tested men called overseers (1 Tim 3) are tasked with instruction and oversight as these responsibilities are administered in public assembly, just as in Gen 2 certain responsibilities were assigned to Adam, not Eve.
The godly woman, who utilizes the worship setting to rest in God, and learn, is comparable to Eve before the calamity of Gen 3.
It is Timothy's responsibility to protect that space for proper worship and promote overseers by setting a good example.
Illustration: Holly and I go to restaurants and in most situations
she is a better cook than their chiefs. She is more talented and more experienced than the chef's. But for her to walk in the kitchen and make the food herself is not acceptable per the experience and what the owner desires. The owner decides the experience and the food not the employers or the guests. This is not a matter of discrimination, it is the owner’s call
The church belongs to God and we do not get to usurp His design. Men are not the owners of the church and neither are women.
Paul links this teaching back to creation which some have used to change Paul’s meaning.
Again, this is not to say all women are easily manipulated and are quick to cross the line.
Paul is more focused on Adam, who given the responsibility to lead, yet he stood in the background and it caused great harm to Eve.
Adam Should have said “That is not what we were commanded by God!” and leave the presence of that temptation.
He said nothing. He remained idol, and then followed Eve’s lead.
Eve sinned first according to Gen. But Paul says that through Adam sin has entered the world. Because he did not stand for what was right.
Satan went around God’s design, Adam abdicated from his responsibility as the leader and Eve usurped God’s design and the door was open for disaster.
God is looking to those he has appointed in the church to stand before Him in that place of responsibilities and it is nothing to do with equality, discrimination, or sexism.
We cannot usurp God’s plan or we open the door for the devil to lead us astray. When we do it God’s way, we can expect God’s blessings
V. 15 READ.
This passage does not imply that a woman must give birth to a child to be saved.
While Eve gets a bad rap, God assures Eve that through a woman, both The Savior would be born and the devil defeated.
Women have a unique gender that holds great meaning and significance.
1. Sisters in Christ, you should strive to fulfill your salvation as women of God, not just as generic individuals.
2. You possess inherent beauty and value, as well as distinct talents and opportunities.
3. You need to flourish in those roles as wives, mothers, and women of God.
Sin has brought disorder and chaos to the world, and Satan has distorted God's design for manhood, womanhood, marriages, families, the church, and culture.
However, Christ has come and triumphed over sin and the Devil. Through Him, we can all flourish. He died to restore us to the men and women that God “originally” created us to be.
Will you humbly submit to God's good design for your life?

Pastoral Reflection on a Tough Text

We Must Affirm Biblical Truth and Authority
We must not try to add or take away from Scripture for culture’s sake
We Must Affirm Biblically Prescribed Female Influence, Leadership and Teaching.
You are very valued here by me and the elders of this church.
Jesus loves women and you are not second class citizens.
Your participation in teaching, leading and disciple-making is not just welcomed it is desired by this church’s leadership
We Must Affirm Gracious Speech.
It is never ok to try to put women down or box them in, or treat them any differently.
We Must Affirm the Goodness and Beauty of God’s Design for the Two Genders.
We are united in creation and equal in value, yet distinct for very good reasons. Do not allow culture to rob you of the joy it is to be the gender you are.
We Must Deny Unbiblical Cultural Norms/ Expectations.
Claiming there are no distinctions in genders is unbiblical.
Equally unbiblical is trying to classify them by greater and lesser.
I want my 3 girls to be strong independent women who do not need a man. If they “need one” they will settle for one who is not the right one.
But I also hope they find husband that demonstrates all the greatness and uniqueness of manhood for them and their families
Let us not look to our culture for what gender functions should be, that is what caused so much confusion in the first place.
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