Do you remember the movie that came out many years ago called, "The Incredible Shrinking Man"? In the movie the main character is a man who, because of an exposure to a chemical, slowly gets smaller and smaller until there is really nothing left of him.
Today in American Homes, in the Lord's Churches, and American Society the exact same thing is happening. Because of a prolonged exposure to a misguided culture, manhood, true manhood, is slowly getting smaller and smaller until there is now very little left.
Far too many men have become detached, distant and passive in the two most important areas of their life - Home and Church. They no longer take the lead or show the initiative; they avoid responsibility. They run away from commitment and resist obligation; and they renege on the promises that they made to their wives, children, Church and Lord. And this lack of manhood - this shrinking away of true men has hurt our families, churches and our society:
25 million children (36.3%) do not live with their fathers. 40% of children in fatherless homes have not seen their fathers in at least 1 year. While 50% of children who live without their fathers have never stepped foot in their father's home.
63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes
85% of children that exhibit behavior disorders are from fatherless homes
80% of rapists are from fatherless homes.
71% of high school drop outs are from fatherless homes.
75% of all adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers are from fatherless homes.
70% of juveniles in state operated institutions come from fatherless homes.
85% of youths in prison are from fatherless homes.
70% of teen pregnancies are from fatherless homes.
72% of Americans polled recently said the physical absence of fathers is the most serious problem facing America's families.
There is a serious problem in our homes, churches and society - men are missing from action - they are shrinking away from their god given responsibilities, and as you can see from these statistics it is affecting our culture.
Do you remember what Harry Truman said, "The Buck stops here..." Why do you think he said that? Because he was the guy in charge, he was the leader - and with leadership comes responsibility... And Harry Truman understood and accepted that.
God has ordained the man to rule in the home and in his church. Men are to be the ones in charge. They are the leaders and with leadership comes responsibility. And far too many men have abandoned these posts of leadership - in the home, and in the church. They have left their posts and the damage has been great.
So let me ask you, Who's running your home? Who is supposed to run it? The Man! Who said? Why are men to be the head? Men are to lead the home, because it is their God ordained role. When we speak about men and women's roles today we're in danger of attack from the ACLU (that stands for Anti Christian Liberty's Union) and the Feminist. They would have us believe that there are no roles for men and women, no authority and submission.
The Corinthian church faced a situation similar to the one we face today, there was a feminist movement at Corinth. The liberty that Christianity had brought to women was being misused, and many women were pushing for equality of function and authority.
In 1 Corinthians 11, Paul seeks to correct this abuse of authority and regain the order that authority and submission bring. In verse 3, Paul declares the principle of headship that is to govern the people of God for all time. Here is the principle:
1 Corinthians 11:3 (NKJV) "But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God."
The word "head" is the Greek word kephale, which metaphorically means: "government, or authority". Now when "head" is used , figuratively, as it is here, it refers to priority in function. That is what the head of our body does; it runs the body; it is in charge; it is the direction setter of the body. Used metaphorically, therefore, the word "head" means primarily leadership, and thus it is used in this passage. This is clear from the threefold use of it that the Apostle makes here. The one in controversy is the second one, but he brackets this with two other examples of headship so that we might understand from them what the middle one means. The principle is that order and subordination pervade the whole universe and are essential to it's being.
The first one is, "the head of every man is Christ." There is the declaration of Christ's right to lead the whole human race. Whether men know it or not, Christ is their head, and they are responsible to follow him. Christ is the leader of the race, the determiner of every man's destiny, the One to be followed. Do any of you have any problems with that? Good, let's look at the second one.
"The head of the woman is the man," This is where the problem comes. You say this today, and you might be charged with a hate crime. But this is the teaching of the Bible. The man is the authority or leader over the woman. This does not particularly regard marital relationships, but the relation between man and woman everywhere, especially where Christ is worshiped as head. Women in general are to be submissive to men in general. The man is to lead.
Paul applies this principle to the husband and wife relationship in:
Ephesians 5:22-24 (NKJV) Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.
Is that clear? The husband is the head, leader of the wife just as Christ is the head of the church. Christian feminist (oxymoron) appeal to Galatians 3:28 to disprove the idea of female subordination.
Galatians 3:28 (NKJV) "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus."
Spiritually speaking, men and women are equal in terms of their relationship before God, both are responsible to love and serve God. In terms of personal worth, intellect, or spirituality men and women are equal. But in terms of authority and function, men and women are different. A Captain in the Navy is not necessarily superior in intelligence, wisdom, spirituality, moral character, talent or any other ability over a seaman. The Captain, however, has authority over the seaman. A position of authority does not mean a person is a better person. It simply means that his function is different, he has a different role. And the Bible clearly teaches that men and women have different roles in life.
For example, in the Old Testament there are no women Kings listed in the kings of Israel or Judah, none. There are no women Priests in the Old Testament. There are no women who wrote a book or a portion of an Old Testament book. And there are no women who had an ongoing prophetic ministry. The same is true in the New Testament, there are no women elders or evangelists, none wrote any of the New Testament books. There are no sermons or teachings given by women in the New Testament, and all of Jesus' twelve disciples were men. Men and women share equality of spiritual life but different roles.
No matter how much the feminist scream and carry on, the truth remains that God established the principle of male authority and female subordination. Women are quite often more intelligent, more spiritual, more talented; in short, superior to their male counterparts, but they are to live in subordination to men. The matter is not one of superiority and inferiority, but of responsibility and accountability.
The Christian faith brought freedom and hope to women, children, and slaves. It taught that all people, regardless of race or sex, were equal before their Creator, and that all believers were one in Jesus Christ. There were some women in Corinth who were carrying this newfound freedom to excess. They were flaunting their freedom and throwing off their authority. Paul was seeking to restore order by reminding the Corinthians that God had made a difference between men and women, that each had a proper place in God's economy.
In his third example he says, "The head of Christ is God". Jesus, the Son of God, is equal to the Father in his deity, nevertheless, submits himself to the leadership of the Father. Everywhere Jesus went, he stated this. "I do always those things which please my Father." On one occasion he said, "My meat is to do my Father's will, and to please him who sent me." On another occasion he said, "I and my Father are one,"that is we work together. He adds on still another occasion, "My Father is greater than I." That does not challenge the equality of the members of the Godhead, but Christ voluntarily consented to take a lower position than the Father. It is in that sense he says, "My Father is greater than I."
The hierarchy here is God, Christ, man, and woman. God and the Messiah are equally divine, but there is a subordination of function; so too, man and woman are spiritually equal, but one ranks above the other in function.
This is not only true in the home but in the church also:
1 Timothy 2:11-12 (NKJV) Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. 12 And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.
These verses give us the woman's role in the church. She is not to rule or be a teacher over men. Her silence is that of not being a teacher. Many today would say that this is cultural. But Paul in this text says this is how God designed it from creation.
1 Timothy 2:13-14 (NKJV) For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.
Here Paul gives the reasons for the woman's subjection. 1. Adam was formed first - Man was made for God, the WOMAN WAS MADE FOR MAN. Do you believe that?
1 Corinthians 11:8-9 (NKJV) For man is not from woman, but woman from man. 9 Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man.
The priority of creation places man in a position of authority over the woman. Eve was made for the sake of Adam, to be his helper:
Genesis 2:18-25 (NKJV) And the LORD God said, "It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him." 19 Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him. 21 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. 22 Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. 23 And Adam said: "This is now bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man." 24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.
She is to be his helper and his glory:
1 Corinthians 11:7 (NKJV) For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man.
The principle of headship is something true from the beginning of mankind. By virtue of creation, there is a difference which puts the man above the woman in terms of function, a difference we should never forget.
Man is uniquely created to bear the image of God as a ruler, who was given a sphere of sovereignty. Both men and women were created in God's image, but as Paul points out in verse 8, the original creation from the "dust of the ground" was Adam only. Eve was created later from part of Adam himself. The male was given the dominion and authority over God's created world, and is by that fact the glory of God.
Woman is the glory of man, woman was made to manifest man's authority as man was made to manifest God's authority. The woman is viceregent, who rules in the stead of man or who carries out man's will, just as man is God's viceregent who rules in His stead or carries out His will. Charles Hodge says, "She receives and reveals what there is of majesty in him. She always assumes his station; becomes a queen if he is a king, and manifests to others the wealth and honor which may belong to her husband."
1 Corinthians 11:8 (NKJV) "For man is not from woman, but woman from man. "Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man."
The man was created directly for God, the woman on the other hand was made for man. She was created on his account, and not he on hers. God could have simultaneously created Adam and Eve as he did the animals but he created Adam first, then Eve. God made this distinction for all times, and with it he reveals his design and purpose for the sexes. Woman was created under the headship of man
Before the fall it was natural for him to lead, for her to follow, for him to be aggressive and her receptive. He was 'iysh, she was 'ishshah. Woman was made from man, for man, brought to man, and named by man. In biblical thought, because Adam was Eve's source of origin, she must honor and subordinate herself to him. Like the doctrine of the first born son, Adam's position as head of the family is due to his prior formation.
Paul's second argument has to do with the fall:
1 Timothy 2:14 (NKJV) And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.
Eve was the first to fall. Eve's fall occurred when she ignored her divinely ordained position. Instead of following, she chose to lead. Women, do you see the seriousness of not submitting to your husband?
Romans 5:12-21 places the blame on Adam, he followed his wife. Men, God created us to be the leaders. When we fail to do this and follow our wives instead, it causes numerous problems. Eve needed protection, she needed a head. She acted independently and was deceived and fell. The fall was caused by a violation of God ordained roles of the sexes, she took authority, and he submitted.
It is really clear in the Scripture that the man's responsibility is to lead, and the woman's responsibility is to submit. I think that most Christians understand this, but I also believe that in most Christians' homes the woman is running the show. She is not submitting, she is leading. Why is there such rebellion against God ordained priorities of male leadership in the church and family? I think the answer is found in the curse that God pronounces after the fall:
Genesis 3:16 (NKJV) To the woman He said: "I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children; Your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you."
The first part of this verse tells us that the pain of childbirth was to be a constant reminder to every woman who ever lived that she is a victim of sin.
The second part of this verse says, "Your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you." - what exactly does this mean? Many say that this means that it's normal for a wife to have a strong sexual and psychological dependence on her husband, and that it's normal for her to desire the man and for the man to rule over her. I have three problems with this: 1. Sexually, the norm is that the man, not the woman, has the much stronger desire for sex. 2. Historically, women have never loved their role of submission to their husbands. 3. If this was normal, it wouldn't be a curse. Before the fall, the woman was wonderfully submissive and dependent on the man. So the meaning of this passage must be something different than it was before the curse.
"And he shall rule over you" - The Hebrew word used here for "rule" is marshal, which means: "to rule or reign". As part of the curse God says to woman, "He shall rule over you". Eve usurped the headship of the man when she took the fruit and fell. The curse on her than is that man is going to rule over her the rest of human history.
"Your desire shall be for your husband" - The Hebrew word for "desire" is teshuwqah. This Hebrew word is used only one other time in the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament) in:
Genesis 4:7 (NKJV) "If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire (teshuwqah) is for you, but you should rule over it."
The best textual rending of this verse is, "Sin will desire to master you (or control you) but you must master it." The word "desire" used here is the same as that in 3:16. Therefore, 3:16 would rightly read, "To the woman, He said, 'Your desire will be to control your husband, but he will rule over you.'"
This is where the battle of the sexes comes from. It is a constant struggle, and there can only be harmony when believers are controlled by the Spirit of God. Submission is a sign of the Spirit's control in your life:
Ephesians 5:18-21 (NKJV) And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled (controlled) with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, 20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another in the fear of God.
If you are walking in fellowship with the Lord, being controlled by the Spirit, an evidence of that will be submission. What exactly is submission? The word "submit" is from the Greek word hupotasso. It is a military term used for arranging soldiers in order under a commanding General. It means: "to line up under, to get in rank." It demands that we accept our proper station under authority. Submission has the idea of obedience. Luke uses the same Greek verb when he describes the 12 year old Jesus in:
Luke 2:51 (NIV) Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart.
The seriousness of submission is seen in:
Titus 2:4-5 (NKJV) that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.
The word "obedient" here is hupotasso. Ladies, when you don't submit to your husband's authority, you are blaspheming the Word of God.
Men, you are to be running your home. Are you? How do you tell who's running the show? How can you tell who the leader in the home is?
1. Who is making the decisions - leaders make decisions. With the children - if a husband and wife disagree on a certain course of action, whose decision should be followed? Leaders make decisions as to the finances, the church, the schooling of the children. Women, how do you respond when your husband makes a decision that you disagree with? Do you get mad, pout, argue or do you line up under his authority?
2. Listen to the speech - those in submission don't give imperatives. You don't tell your commanding officer, "Get me a cup of coffee." You give commands to subordinates, not authorities. Does your speech betray you?
Ladies, I know this is not easy, but it's right! If you desire to honor God, then you must live in submission to your husband - as unto the Lord. To fail to do so is to come under God's judgment:
Romans 13:1-2 (NKJV) Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.
Men, God created us to lead, in the home, and in the church. Are you? Your failure to lead is as serious as your wife's failure to submit. She can't follow if you're not leading.
Men, I know that when we hear a message like this our tendency is to puff out our chest, grab a club and yell, "Woman, submit." Men, fight that tendency. That is not a Biblical leader. The leaders that God has called us to be are not oppressive, cruel, thoughtless, demanding. He has called us to be humble servant leaders:
John 13:12-17 (NKJV) So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, "Do you know what I have done to you? 13 "You call me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. 14 "If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. 15 "For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. 16 "Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. 17 "If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.
In the kingdom of God, real leaders are servants. Paul was a prisoner on a ship headed for Rome, on his way to stand trial before Caesar. Yet in the storm, when the ship was sinking and all hope was lost, Paul, the prisoner, influenced even the Roman commander. By submitting to Paul, all who were an the ship were delivered (Acts 27- 28). Later, Paul, the hero, was serving everyone by gathering wood for the fire.
Mark 10:42-45 (NKJV) But Jesus called them to Himself and said to them, "You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 43 "Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. 44 "And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. 45 "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."
Men, how is your family doing? How is your wife doing? Is she happy? Content? Is she growing spiritually? How about your children? Are they doing okay? How is their walk with the Lord?
Men, we have been given by God the responsibility of leadership in the home. The questions that we just asked should concern us, because we are responsible for the health of our home. It is without a doubt a tough, a demanding, and sometimes thankless job, but, guys, don't lose hope, you can do it when you are walking with and depending on God.
Men, women, it is our responsibility as God's children to live in accordance to our God ordained roles. In doing so, we will bring glory to God and be a light to the world.