Tag: Gender

Reverent Women

Titus 2:1-10

Short sermon, not much needs to be said about women! On the contrary! Much needs to be said, few have courage to say it. Let’s start with some images – mental ones, that is. How does our society present women – what images used in media, fashions promoted in stores, adjectives used to describe various public figures? Ideal or stereotype woman portrayed as one whose allure sells pickup trucks, is equally at home in board room and locker room, can do all a man can do and probably better. Now what do we see in the church? Any different? Not really. Talk about “Today’s Christian Woman” like she should be different from yesterday’s Christian woman. Speak and think of successful women, professional women, liberated women, in the church, no less!!

Be honest, now, some of you have probably thought in those terms, perhaps even aspired to be considered that way. “My Beautiful Princess Bible”; “Homeschool Mom’s Bible”; “Military Wives Bible”; “Faith-Filled Catholic Women’s Bible”; “One Year NT for Busy Moms”. 453 Women’s Bibles on CBD. STOP IT! Don’t think that way! For sake of the church and your own growth in godliness, don’t live that way! Those are wrong categories, unbiblical ways of defining what it means to be a woman pleasing to God. Women in the church need to first smarten up, then smarten up the next generation of women. How’s your blood pressure doing, ladies?

World has been sending strong message about identity, role and value of women for 1000’s of years. Not only strong message, it’s wrong message – turns what God has said in his Word on its head. If we as people of God, committed to inerrancy and authority of his Word, are to live pleasing to him, have much work to do. Must first get our thinking in line with God’s thinking, then speak strongly on this issue so we don’t lose another generation to the world. As we work through our text, ok if you disagree with my opinion; not ok if you disagree with God’s Word. So,… listen carefully, think carefully, ask God’s help to identify and correct areas where your worldview must change to more closely match God’s.

A. older women

“older women as mothers, younger as sisters” 1 Tim. 5:2

two categories stated, one implied: older, younger, in training – all of female gender fit one of three

problem in Crete, problem in Gorham, all over world: people adopted into family of God, need to be taught how to behave; same true for those born into godly families – need training

as with older men: target are chronologically older, farther down road of life experience; has application to those more spiritually mature

one from godly heritage may be better equipped to help older woman who is new to the faith

character v.3

reverent in behavior”; better translation: “exhibit behavior fitting for those who are holy”; best (mine!): “behaving like one devoted unreservedly to God’s use”

not successful, professional, exceptional, modern, useful, intellectual, fulfilled; holy, reverent, devoted without reserve to God’s use

identity: daughter of God; role: faithful bond slave of God; value: priceless, bearing image of God

expected to teach what is good, must be living what is good: exemplary living

showing by action that thought and desire are captive to Christ – slander, expression of wrong thinking; drunkenness, expression of wrong desires

ministry v.4a

“admonish”; “train”; “bring them to their senses, to their right mind”

on basis of God’s Word, God’s working in their life – older women to persuade young women to live “devoted without reserve to God’s use”

will be evident when they practice following five behaviors

inverse also true: women who do not exhibit these behaviors not showing their unreserved devotion to God’s use

not qualified to teach younger women either; talking general character of life-if perfection were demanded, no one would be qualified

B. young women v.4b-5a

attitude and character

receptivity to older women as God’s teachers, his gracious gift to them for their good and his glory

commitment to live so God’s word, the message of the Gospel, will not be discredited

ultimate goal: that model of holy living found in older women be reproduced in young women

duties

love your husband –

told in Eph. 5:25Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.”

could rightly say: young women, love your husbands, just as the church loves Christ

no qualifications, no if/then statements; nothing can make up for missing love in a home – is to be mutual love, “let each esteem others better than himself” (Phil. 2:3)

love your children –

“Few women realize what great service they are doing for mankind and for the kingdom of Christ when they provide a shelter for the family and good mothering—the foundation on which all else is built. A mother builds something far more magnificent than any cathedral—the dwelling place for an immortal soul (both her child’s fleshly tabernacle and his earthly abode). No professional pursuit so uniquely combines the most menial tasks with the most meaningful opportunities.” Dorothy Patterson, B.A., Th.M., D.Min., contributor to the NIV Women’s Devotional Bible, etc.

be self-controlled and pure –

sees herself as God’s temple (1 Cor 6:19, 20) – you don’t belong to you, belong to God

work on the inside – beautifying “the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves” (1 Pet. 3:4-5)

busy at home

doesn’t mean never leaving the home – barefoot, pregnant in the kitchen

does mean home including husband and children are priority; want to serve God? serve family first, they’re the ones God has entrusted to you

“Homemaking—being a full-time wife and mother—is not a destructive drought of usefulness but an overflowing oasis of opportunity; …it is not a rope for binding one’s productivity in the marketplace, but reins for guiding one’s posterity in the home; it is not oppressive restraint of intellectual prowess for the community, but a release of wise instruction to your own household; ….it is neither limitation of gifts available nor stinginess in distributing the benefits of those gifts, but rather the multiplication of a mother’s legacy to the generations to come and the generous bestowal of all God meant a mother to give to those He entrusted to her care.” Dorothy Patterson

submissive to your husband –

fighting words in today’s culture; result: sad consequences for the family and the church and the world

3 basic principles come into play (Eph 5:21-23; 1 Pet 3:1)

submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ” – show love for Christ by mutual submission

“husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body” – show love for Christ and his body by modeling relationship of Christ / church in your marriage

“so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives” – show love for Christ in love for husband and submission to him

but you don’t know my husband – God does…. it’s God’s command, not mine

I could do that if only he were more like….

umm, Jesus submissive to Joseph & Mary Luke 2:51 without complaint or reserve

will be subject to the Father 1 Cor. 15:28 when this age comes to an end

Lord Jesus is our example, even in submission in human relationships

C. motivation v.5b, 10b

world’s idea of greatest motivation – “It’s all about you”, “You deserve it”, “You have right to spoil yourself”

God’s Word says it is not all about you; it is all about others – first God and his Gospel, then others

again, our example, Lord Jesus – cross not about what he did for himself, it’s all about how he gave himself a sacrifice to God for others

honor God’s Word

living lives that demonstrate transforming power of God by Word and Spirit

“…it is not the nominal Christian who is fully aligned to society’s mainstream, who suffers discrimination. It is those who strive to live according to the high ethical demands of Christianity, who experience a clash. Those are not the majority.” Dr. Gudrun Kugler, Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians (a nonprofit group based in Austria)

unbeliever reads Bible, looks at character of your life, what does he / she conclude?

that you take Bible seriously, that you are the way you are by power of God?

adorn the Gospel

“so living as to show to all around them that there is a reality in the gospel, and to lead others to love it” Barnes

living so when you make the claim “the Gospel will change your life” you have credibility

Living transformed life in conformity to God’s Word a goal men, women, boys, girls should all have. Giving up claim to our stuff, surrendering to Jesus is good start. But requires more than that – must surrender world’s ideas and priorities and values. Must embrace not only God’s Word but also God’s ways, in all things, in all of life, not just what happens on Sunday morning or during daily devotions. Must fill our minds with his Word, be filled and taught and guided by his Spirit, surrender our way of doing things to his leading. May God by his grace and Spirit enable us live Christianly, to “adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things”.

Deceived, Yet Saved

1 Timothy 2:14-15

For most of human history, the family = building block of society. True for practical if not theological reasons. Technological developments –> Octomom only few decades old; prior to that, at least functional equivalent of dad/mom/children was necessary for birth rate > death rate. But more to issue than simply propagation of species; all kinds of creatures manage that without family. How should family members get along? Do different members have different roles/functions within family? Does that pattern, do those principles have application to other institutions?

Answer to last question is an obvious “yes”. Inspired Word of God uses record of family’s institution to explain practice in church. What roles should men and women have in the church? Look at God’s instruction for the family. What relationship should exist between men and women in the church? Look at God’s instruction for the family, In other words, foundational truths for order in the church are found in order in the family as defined in Genesis 1-3.

Major problem with society and the church – denial of Creation and Fall account as historical fact. Here’s the consequence: if evolution is true, argument of v.13 has no basis – no Creation, no Adam first then Eve. If evolution is true, argument of v.14 has no basis – no deception and no Fall. Also no God-ordained pattern for family to follow – can be whatever works however people feel like making it work.

We believe differently. Genesis 1-3 are historical fact, intended to be profitable to us just like rest of Scripture. If we are to “do church” so as to please God, need to understand what our text in 1 Tim. is based on: the circumstances, the consequences, and the cure. First principle underlying male/female roles in church: order established in Creation. Second principle: what happens when relationship established in that order is not followed.

A. the circumstances

begin with first encounter between man and woman: God brought woman to man, joined them together

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” – Gen. 2:24

only complete together, less than complete apart from one another; concept here of union, way more than simple partnership

God’s design – that man and woman, husband and wife would act together in close and complementary cooperation

working together to take place under leadership of the man, remembering his accountability before God

along comes the serpent – woman followed leadership of serpent, not of her husband; in the process:

“The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” – Gen. 3:13

judging by results, man was responsibility for spiritual leadership for very good reason

remember our text: “Adam was not deceived, …the woman was [fully] deceived”

remember also who we’re talking about: Eve, perfect woman, exactly conforming to God’s design, without any history of wrongdoing or inclination toward it

had man and woman acted in union, serpent would probably have been unsuccessful

in sequence of time Eve sinned first, but Adam gets credit for bringing sin into world

so what was that sin against God? depends on who you ask! Adam or God. will get different answers

“Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.” Gen. 3:12

God doesn’t immediately challenge Adam’s take on the problem, turns to the woman to get her version

God then deals with serpent, woman and man, issuing those awful words of condemnation and curse

God accepts Eve’s version of events as accurate; when he comes to the man, a different story – begins by correcting Adam

Adam’s self-evaluation: his sin was eating of the forbidden fruit; that’s not what God declares:

“Because you have heeded the voice of your wife and have eaten” – Gen. 3:17

notice what God puts first: another sin which led to the one Adam identified – role-reversal

instead of fulfilling God-given responsibility of leadership, Adam willingly, knowingly followed wife’s lead, then immediately sinned again

both cases sin against God – not doing what God told him to do (leadership), doing what God told him not to (eating)

B. the consequences

for few brief moments, God left Adam and Eve hanging – spectators to decree of judgment on the Serpent

before God turns back to man and woman, includes words of great hope – promise of survival, a future, a Redeemer – v.15

now the woman:

blessing promised at Creation will come at great expense:

“I will intensify your labor pains; you will bear children in anguish.” – Gen. 3:16HCSB

blessing promised at first wedding will come with great potential for conflict

“Your desire will be for [to have mastery over] your husband, yet he will rule over you.” HCSB

had experienced only blessedness of life in God’s presence in Eden pre-Fall; must have seemed like immediate death sentence to Eve – life literally would never be the same again

and the man:

creation/nature will resist man’s efforts to subdue and manage it

“In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread” – Gen. 3:19

and his days are now numbered

“Till you return to the ground. For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return.”

impossible for us to fully comprehend the full scope of what Adam and Eve experienced in brief episode there in Garden

the more of it we get, the better we understand the awfulness of sin

all in context of what God considers the “first” sin: a willful rejection of God’s order of things

Adam/Eve: “we can do this relationship thing our own way, we’ll be fine” – resulted in God’s curse, not his blessing

that’s what we should expect from a just and holy God; not only in family setting, in church and civil government also

if God has said “do it this way” and we don’t, have absolutely no claim to his blessing

is family life a disaster? are you doing it God’s way? following the roles and relationships he established?

how about affairs of church? same question. obviously goes far beyond who can be an elder – where God has spoken plainly, giving clear instruction, we must do our best to comply

“Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, “I have acquired a man from the Lord.” Gen. 4:1

Bible doesn’t say how Eve reacted to being pregnant – fear, confusion, anxiety, perhaps at least the first time

might have even thought part way through delivery that she was gonna die!

Eve’s first recorded statement following birth of Cain – shows she believed he was at least beginning of fulfillment of God’s promise of a Seed

know from later revelation it was Seth, not Cain, who was ancestor of Jesus

Paul’s argument: look at what happened in the beginning when man and woman decided to turn God’s way of doing things on its head

all creation labors under the Curse, will do so ’til the Second Coming

don’t make same mistake in who you choose for leadership roles in household of faith

C. the cure

serpent didn’t get away with his deception – would not have same freedom to deceive in future

in addition to crawling on the ground, “I will put enmity Between you and the woman” – Gen. 3:15

would meet his ultimate doom at hands of promised Seed, the Lord Jesus

He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.”

in Curse of the serpent is found truth of Cure for mankind – One who would eventually crush Satan would also conquer power of sin

victory would only come with great sacrifice – very life of only Son of God, the Seed of the woman

foreshadowed in the Garden:

“for Adam and his wife the Lord God made tunics of skin, and clothed them” – Gen. 3:21

first bloodshed not Cain murdering his brother; was God sacrificing animals – provided covering for Adam & Eve’s sin and their bodies

so is there any future? for husbands and wives? for the church? for the human race?

answer is a resounding “YES”, because of gift of salvation

“continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control” – 1 Tim. 2:15

faith in Christ, demonstrated by love, holiness, self-control

when that describes parties to a relationship – husband/wife, parent/child, elders/church family – effects of curse on relationships diminish

Are you looking for greater fulfillment in life? more joy and satisfaction? Our good and wise God has particular place of service for each of his children. Will gain fulfillment, joy, satisfaction when, in full dependence on Christ, do our best to fill place of service in humble obedience. Must remember – if there’s particular task God has assigned to you, you don’t do it, won’t get done. Can’t count on him to assign it to someone else; true in all spheres of life. Also must remember – impossible to please God without his help; in own strength, on own terms, will never succeed. Need his help and strength and provision every hour of every day.

Praying Men, Godly Women – Part 2

1 Timothy 2:8-10

In Matt. 16:18, Lord Jesus declared purpose to build a church. Would withstand anything death and hell could throw at it. Means it has to be built on right foundation with right kind of materials. Wise builder has clear expectations: mind’s-eye view of finished structure, full understanding of how to get there, ability to communicate both to others. Lord Jesus lacks none of those. Communicated clearly to the apostles, through the apostles, we have in our Bibles the content of that communication.

Last time in Part 1, established basis beginning with Creation for gender distinctions – God made mankind male and female. We don’t get to pick gender, God already decided. God didn’t end his decision-making with creation’s Day 7. Continues as he further sets out how the order God laid down in creation follows, plays out in daily life for mankind. Don’t lose sight of fact that we’re talking about circumstances prior to Fall. The nature of roles for men and women in home and church are what they are because God ordered it that way, before sin, not as a consequence for sin.

Bible teaches us that men have things to do in the home and church, women have things to do in the home and church, people apart from gender have things to do in the home and church. Bible gives us foundation for those roles, makes it plain they should be filled by praying men and godly women.

A. foundation for roles

1 Cor. 1:2; 2 Cor. 2:14; 1 Thess. 1:8 1 Tim. 2:8 εν παντι τοπω (MacArthur, Lindsay, Lock)

everywhere / in every place: technical term, 4x, when gathered for worship

is apparent this is what is meant by context, given what follows in 1 Tim. – addresses conduct of men / women in church meetings, qualifications for office-holders, pastoral care of church members, dealing with false doctrine

beginning trajectory – male leadership

parallelism between creative order / human family / church family

Adam created first, Eve created from Adam and as a helper to him – Gen. 2:18

husband is head of wife as Christ is head of church – Eph. 5:23 – connected back to creation order in Eph. 5:31 (quotes Gen. 2:24 to establish the point)

men & women have defined roles within church family – tied directly to creation order and Fall – 1 Tim. 2:13-14

and roles within the home – 1 Tim. 3:4-5, 12; Titus 2:3-5

consistent pattern here, would expect that from a God who is “not a God of confusion” (1 Cor. 14:33)

position as outlined is strongly counter-cultural

culture says leadership is up for grabs; Bible says leadership comes with territory as assigned by God

are you husband? Bible declares you are the head, the leader of your family

culture says church leadership open to anyone with right skills; Bible uses different rubric

are you member of local church? Bible defines distinct ways men & women are to serve family of God

Bible also defines areas of overlap: 1 Corinthians chapters 12-14; Romans chapter 12; Ephesians chapter 4; and 1 Peter chapter 4 provide extensive teaching on nature and exercise of gifts

prophecy, service, teaching, exhortation, giving, leadership, mercy, wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, distinguishing of spirits, tongues, interpretation of tongues, apostleship, helps, administration, evangelism, shepherd, hospitality, intercession – some have ceased, many not gender-specific

B. praying men

men should take the initiative

leaders are out front – first to act, first to serve

“one another” 44x in NT

leaders are accountable – God has assigned certain responsibilities to men, men are answerable for their actions

this all shouldn’t be a surprise: natural tendency of boys to be active, doing, trying things

men should be known as pray-ers – first expectation, more to follow!

Paul, speaking with apostolic authority: it is my intention that you will do this

has just finished articulating need for prayer, subjects of prayer, motivation for prayer – vv.1-7

in effect says “men, get busy!”; lead in prayer, spend time in prayer, persevere and prevail in prayer

major reason for weakness of church: lack of praying men; thank God for praying women, but…

kind of praying not for sissies, girlie-men; think Elijah, prophets of Baal, praying close/open heaven’s faucets

characterized by personal holiness – holy hands

if you came to church/prayer without washing hands, what would be on them?

dirt and grime from honest labor in service to God and neighbor?

sticky little girl or boy fingerprints left by a child you helped to find the right way?

hands tightly closed to hide unethical profit? covered to conceal bruises from abusing another? evidence of behavior displeasing to God? if so, God will not listen to you (see Isa. 1:15)

holy hands are ones opened so they may be filled by One who gives good gifts, meets every need

ones that have done good, dependent on God for resources to continue serving well

hands not like priest or Levite, but like Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37) – toward all who come within reach

Christ-like attitude

minds as well as hands to be captive to Christ; not like little boy, told to sit in corner, standing on outside, but inside…

reverent and worshipful in thought as well as word – prayer and praise must be consistent with thoughts

remember what Jesus told Samaritan woman: worship acceptable to God is “in spirit and truth” (John 4:24)

God is just as concerned with mind and motive as he is with specific action

no anger, no quarreling

public worship not the place for airing grievances or even stewing on them – why Jesus said: don’t even think about worship, go mend the relationship first (Matt. 5:23-24)

surrounded by brothers and sisters – prayer should be: may we all receive blessing God has in store, encouraged and stimulated and equipped for coming week

and, if anyone here not brother/sister, pray God will convert them, adopt them, change from enemies to children

C. godly women

how do you define beauty? basis for self-worth? Is it a function of external appearance? That hairstyle/color – makeup – outfit – brand – will make me beautiful, desirable. I know I’m beautiful/valuable if I turn heads going down the street or hallway or aisle because of the above.

==>> important note: Bible not against beauty, fashion, desirability. Bible does teach women are to be beautiful according to God’s definition, wearing fashions that enhance that beauty, having a beauty that makes them desirable to right people in right way for right reasons.

way of life, not manner of dress, should be how you are known

dressed modestly

sensibly, with moderation, suitably for the occasion and culture – clothing and accessories that send right message

braided hair / gold / pearls / costly clothing – sent wrong message in Ephesus

must communicate: love Jesus and care about bodies as temple of the Holy Spirit, not a symbol of something world considers important

“Yet we must always begin with the dispositions; for where debauchery (promiscuity) reigns within, there will be no chastity; and where ambition reigns within, there will be no modesty in the outward dress.” Calvin

life adorned with good works

beauty fueled by inner holiness – 1 Peter 3:1-4

“a gentle and quiet spirit” evident in both appearance and life

Rev. 19:7-8 “…the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.

so, ladies: is your primary investment in the “fine linen, clean and bright” that has significance in both this life and the next? Or is it in trinkets and treasures the world holds dear?

Matt. 5:16 “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and praise you to high heaven.” NOT

If you truly believe it is your most important duty to glorify God and enjoy him forever, you must be known as one who lives a godly life.

If pleasing God at home and church is your motivation (and it should be), must have reputation for drawing attention to God, not self.

This kind of character, quality of life – cannot be achieved by following list of do’s and dont’s. Will only be found in men and women who are filled with Spirit of God and are committed to following Word of God. That’s only true of those who have been redeemed by the Son of God, the Lord Jesus. Cleansing from sin found only at the Cross of Christ also essential ingredient. Thank God he has done for us what we could not do for ourselves – guaranteeing full salvation to those who “believe in the Lord Jesus Christ”.

Praying Men, Godly Women – Part 1

1 Timothy 2:8

In case you have been disconnected from news and culture recently, lot of confusion over gender issues. What does it mean to be male and female? Who or what decides your gender – your preference or biology? Are men / women equal in every respect? What about roles and relationships – are there differences, who decides? Not just out there, issues of workplace equality and bathrooms and ball teams and marriage rights and military service and political office.

Surprise, not just out there; in here, too. Within the sphere of religion much questioning and confusion. What relationships will church sanction? Can people in non-traditional relationships serve in church? If so, how? And what about gender in the church? Is every role and office open to anyone regardless of gender?

Regardless of sphere, what serves as authority? Tradition – e.g., traditional marriage? Society – e.g., gender a social construct, defined by present society/culture, subject to change in next generation? Politics – e.g., gay “rights”? Does it depend on where you are / who you’re with who or what defines?

Do you place confidence in tradition, society, political process, friends,… or

The Holy Scripture is the only sufficient, certain, and infallible rule of all saving knowledge, faith and obedience. LBCF, I.1

If there is a God and he has said something on this topic and we have access to what he said, we ignore or reject or redefine it at our peril. That’s true whether in marketplace or workplace or church or home; true whether born again or still dead in sin. For us as believers, must have “conscienceiscaptivetotheWordofGod“. Regardless of what this political figure or that church leader or the other cultural icon says about it, the Bible wins. Even strongly held personal beliefs and opinions must change if needed to conform to Word of God.

Bible indeed has much to say on topic: clear indications in present text and elsewhere. Strongly encourage you: listen carefully, hear what Word of God says, respond as child of God should.

A. anthropology, androids and gynephobia

study of human beings, mechanical men, fear of women

ἄνθρωπος, ἀνήρ, γυνή – anthropos, aner, gyne – mankind, man, woman

ἄνθρωπος – man, men, mankind – v.1, 4, 5; not necessarily indicating gender

ἀνήρ, γυνή – specific terms, indicate gender; also words for male (άρσεν, arsen) female (θῆλυς, thelus). Heb., too

see Gen 1.26-27; 2:18-22

distinct yet complementary

made differently, made to be different

Adam – from the dust; Eve – from the man

neither complete without the other – see Gen. 2:24

neither is interchangeable with the other

equal in standing and value, not equivalent in function and role

both male and female are equally human: one not subhuman, property, lesser in any way

both male and female are equally image-bearers: both mirror and represent God to his creation

both male and female as redeemed in Christ have equal standing and value before God

both male and female have valuable but distinct roles and responsibilities as defined by God

why all of this about gender and roles and etc. now?

this text begins extended section addressing church order: how God has ordained for local churches to be structured and to function. Covers same issues in letter to Titus 1 & 2, speaks clearly and precisely about gender and roles in the church.

present series: “The Household of God – God’s Plan for the Church”; if we’re to understand God’s plan and follow it, essential to understand what he says on on these issues

B. holy people

crucial to healthy church

church should be example to world of how family / community works; both elements present in local church

not just men who need “holy hands”, women and boys and girls need them too

church to be populated by people who are saved:

Acts 2:47 “The Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.”

saved -> from sin, to good works, a life of holiness, equipped for serving God by serving one another

attract attention for right reasons

are to be different from the world in a good way, drawing notice because we are

Phil. 2:15blameless and pure, children of God without blemish though you live in a crooked and perverse society, in which you shine as lights in the world.” NET

filling God-designed and sanctioned roles

if God has designed people in certain way with particular roles and relationships in view, will only achieve maximum usefulness to him in those roles

same is true for achieving personal joy and fulfillment – cannot be had outside God’s plan

committed to doing life God’s way

holy people, blessed by God are those who joyfully willingly do all spheres of life God’s way

regardless of cultural pressure – they’re all doing it that way

in spite of pragmatic evidence – their way works, look at the results

tendency of fallen man: rebel against God’s way even/especially in church affairs; must not give in

World and culture need healthy churches, supported by people committed to doing church and life God’s way. Healthy churches need men and women with hearts so full of Christ that you have a reputation for being holy people. Tasks enough for both brothers and sisters.

You make New Year’s resolutions? If so, make first one: to be man or women that God wants you to be in the home, in the church, for his glory.