A Daughter's Place in the Family

A Place in the Family  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Hello, my name is Sara and I am a daughter of the King of Kings. I have always loved that title. I’ve never been disappointed about being a woman. I’ve never felt the need to fight for my gender. I was highly valued as a child and as a young woman in my family. I never felt like my voice was unworthy or unimportant. But in the church, it was a different story. The church I was raised in was wonderful! I loved the people there! I attended the same church from the time I was born until I moved to Wyoming when I was 26 years old. The pastors were amazing men of God. My Sunday school teachers were powerful women of God. The women who took care of me, to the women who taught me from kindergarten through 5th grade, were knowledgeable and capable. They instilled in me a love for Jesus and for His Word. But they were never allowed at the pulpit. And I internalized this and bought into it for as long as I could remember. I never questioned it. As I attended other churches, the majority of people teaching were men, but the women were always quietly teaching and discipling behind the scenes. They maybe shared on Mother’s Day, but they were never allowed to preach. As I grew older the more I grew to love God’s Word. And I have been seriously studying it for over 20 years. God has used it to encourage me, rebuke me, teach me and correct me. It has honestly saved my broken and mangled mind on more than one occasion. And the more I’ve studied it, the more I’ve noticed that women played an integral role throughout the Old Testament, in Jesus’ own life, and in the early church. But there have been 2 passages that kept women silent for a long time.
Today I am going to address these verses right off the bat. In 1 Timothy 2:11-15, Paul says, “A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. 15 But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.”
And again in 1 Corinthians 14:34-35, “Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. 35 If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.”
Now that we’ve cleared the elephant in the room, lets talk about it. These verses used to intimidate me. When Pastor Frank took me into his office 5 years ago and asked me to pray about becoming a pastor at this church I honestly went into shock. The first words that came to mind were, “but women can’t do that....” I was overwhelmed with the thought of it. I remember telling Carsten with wide eyes, wondering what his response would be. I remember telling my parents and being afraid that they would disagree based on the previous verses we just looked at. I remember walking around the track at Peak Fitness with Daviette and sharing this shocking news with her. I prepared myself for the blow, but to my amazement, they all took the news in, allowed me to process it with them, and they all responded by saying, “We agree with Frank.” My world was spinning and I needed to seek God on this. So I went to His Word and started to dig for truth.
When we take one verse, out of context, and out of the whole scope and sequence of the Bible, and make it doctrine, we can get into major trouble. Take these verses for example:
Luke 14:26 clearly says that we should hate our family. “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.”
Philippians 4:2 clearly says that salvation is works based. “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling”
Ephesians 6:5 clearly says that slavery is permissible, “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ.”
Matthew 21:22 clearly says that you will be given anything that you pray for, “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”
Taking verses from the Bible out of context can lead to many false doctrines and away from the heart of God. So let’s start at the beginning and see what God thinks about His daughters.
Genesis 1:26-27 says, “ Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” 27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”
Before the curse, God created men and women to be co-regents. We were supposed to rule over the earth together. Side by side. We are all created in the image of God, and before the fall we reigned together. Then sin entered the world. And because God is just, He pronounced a curse that would affect all humankind for centuries. Genesis 3:16-19, “
To the woman he said, “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” 17 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. 18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”
Out of this curse came a system of society and government called patriarchy. We can see this weaved throughout the Old Testament. And it was allowed by God, but it wasn’t His initial plan for creation.
God often, worked through women to accomplish His will. He used Moses’ mother to take a stand against the government and save her son, who would become the man to lead the Israelites out of slavery. He used Deborah, not as a plan B, but as plan A to rescue Israel. He used a woman named Huldah to prophesy and teach a delegation of men who were sent by King Josiah, the King of Judah. She prophesied about a coming destruction which lead to the King and His country’s repentance. He chose a young woman named Mary to carry His Son into the world. And once Jesus arrived, everything changed. He came to establish the Kingdom of God on this earth and by doing so, He reversed the curse that had plagued all humanity since the Garden of Eden.
We see this immediately after His birth. When Mary and Joseph took baby Jesus to the Temple to present Him to the Lord, they were confronted by a man named Simeon and a prophetess named Anna. Both recognized Him as the promised Messiah. There had been no mention of a prophet for hundreds of years, so it’s noteworthy that God had raised up a prophetess to be the first one to see Jesus and proclaim His deity through thanksgiving.
If we really want to understand God’s heart for His people we simply have to look at Jesus. Over and over again, Jesus tells His followers that if they have seen Him, they have seen the Father. So, if we want to know what God thinks about His daughters, we simply have to examine how Jesus treated the women of His day.
Luke 8:1-3, “After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, 2 and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; 3 Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.”
Women were integral to Jesus’ ministry. Women did not attend school, so they would not have any training in Torah. Therefore, Rabbis never asked women to be their students. So why would Jesus allow these women to follow Him if He never intended for them to learn and take His message and mission into the world? Jesus wanted women to be equipped because He had a plan to use them alongside men to proclaim the Gospel and expand His Kingdom.
Mary Magdalen , who was mentioned in this passage, was the sister of Martha and Lazarus. The next time we see her in scripture she is doing something that only men had been allowed to do.
Luke 10:38-42, “As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” 41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one.  Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Culturally, a woman’s place was in the kitchen. In a patriarchal society, women took care of the home, their husbands and their children. Martha was doing what she had been taught to do. Her desire was pure, she wanted to serve Jesus. But Mary, she sat at Jesus’ feet and broke all the rules. Sitting at the feet of a Rabbi was reserved for the disciples. Men sat at a Rabbi’s feet, not women. But in the upside down Kingdom of God, Jesus flips the script and now invites women to be His disciples.
Another example of Jesus’ interactions with women is the passage where He had a powerful conversation with a Samaritan woman at a well. He entrusted His divine identity to this woman. And when she ran off to tell her entire village about her encounter with the Son of God, Jesus didn’t stop her. He knew that she would be proclaiming the good news of Who He was and what He had done, and He let her go and witness to men and women in her town, which resulted in the salvation of many!
Jesus healed a woman who had been bleeding for years and instead of letting her slink away in anonymity, He stopped the whole crowd to look into her face and acknowledged her. Jesus also spared a woman who deserved death because He valued her life and wanted to establish His rule of grace on the earth.
And when He was placed on the cross, who stayed by His side? John 19:25-27, “Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” 27 and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.
The rest of His disciples had fled, but John and the women had stayed. They witnessed the whole thing, first hand, and they didn’t look away. They refused to abandon their son, friend, teacher, and Messiah.
Then, after three days in the tomb, we see Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to the tomb to care for the body of their beloved teacher. And to their amazement the stone was rolled away and the body was gone. We’re told in the Gospel of John that Mary ran back and retrieved a couple of the disciples who ran to the tomb to see for themselves. When these men saw the empty tomb, they ran to see for themselves. Once they saw, they immediately went back to the other disciples. But the women stayed. Just like Mary had stayed at the feet of Jesus, she stayed at the tomb a little while longer. And that’s when the resurrected Christ revealed Himself to her, a woman. He speaks her name and she knows immediately that it’s Him. Matthew 28:9-10 “So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
Jesus could have revealed Himself to Peter or John, but He didn’t. He entrusted the news of His resurrection to a woman. The thing that would forever change history was first told to women, who the went and told their brothers the good news. This was not Jesus’ plan B, this was His plan A.
And when the Holy Spirit came on the day of Pentecost, it fell on men and women in that upper room. And it fulfilled the prophesy found in Joel 2, “
In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.
18 Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
and they will prophesy.
19 I will show wonders in the heavens above
and signs on the earth below,
blood and fire and billows of smoke.
20 The sun will be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood
before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.
21 And everyone who calls
on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Men and women received the same Holy Spirit. Women did not receive a junior version of the Holy Spirit. We are given the same Holy Spirit as men and with that Spirit we are given different gifts. The gifts of wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miraculous powers, prophecy, tongues, discernment, interpretation of tongues, teaching, mercy, administration, leadership and exhortation. We can also be given the title of apostle, evangelist, teacher and prophet. If you don’t believe me, just read through Romans 16 and you will find women like Phoebe who is given the title of deacon by Paul, the man who said women should be silent. She is known as the deaconess of a church is Cenchreae, which is the same thing as being a pastor over a local church. Or women like Priscilla who was a co-worker in Christ along with Paul and her husband Aquila. Mary who worked hard for the churches, Andronicus and Junia who are called outstanding apostles who were in Christ before Paul. Out of the 29 names mentioned in this greeting, 10 are women. And these women are all co-laborers with Paul for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
So how do we reconcile the first two verses that I brought to your attention at the beginning of this message, with the entirety of scripture? There are many differing opinions on this. Some think that Paul was addressing specific churches who had women interrupting the services with their questions, and so in order to maintain order, he was asking the women to refrain from disrupting the meetings and asking questions at home. We could spend hours debating this and, believe me, I have been confronted on more than one occasion by well-meaning brothers and sisters in Christ who want to put me in my place. But here are some things I have learned from faithful men and women who have gone before me. Never debate a pharisee. You will only waste your time and your energy, when you could be using those to be the hands and feet of Jesus. And prove them wrong by the way you live. I don’t feel the need to defend my calling and my title. For some reason, God has entrusted me with the gift of teaching and He has given me a love for His Word and for His people. I can’t deny that. So if I remain faithful in what He has called me to do, then people will take notice of the fruit He is producing through my life. .The first verses that I brought to your attention have been used for years to suppress women’s voices in the church. Because of this, some people have swung in the opposite direction from patriarchy and they have joined in with the feminist movement. But what if there is a third way?
I firmly believe that the Kingdom of God is best represented by men and women who are not threatened by each other, but instead champion each other on in the good works God has called us and equipped us to do. It has taken me years to come to this place. The Holy Spirit has had to do a mighty work in my life. Women, we don’t have usurp authority or try to gain power and control. We don’t have to join a movement or a political party. We don’t have to manipulate others. We simply get to live our lives faithfully for the One who has set us free and tell everyone who will listen about His love, His faithfulness and His goodness.
Daughters, you are welcome at the table. Your voice is valuable, your gifts are needed, and your presence is necessary in seeing the Kingdom of God continue to become a reality here on earth.
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