Let’s jump right into Sunday’s sermon stuff because there are several things that I’d like to say about it.
As I jumped into the study for Colossians 3:18-4:1, I was struck by the overarching theme of Colossians, which is Jesus is superior over all things and all people. And what struck me (powerfully, I might add) was the posture that Jesus took in caring for us, His people, as our Lord and Savior. He never once sarcastically dissed us. He never once used His authority as a sledge-hammer. He was always leaning in to serve. His humility is well displayed in Philippians 2:5-8 and it’s seen in any understanding of the gospel. Jesus loving led us and willing served us. For our eternal good and joy.
So, when I started studying last week, I was compelled to make sure that same posture was revealed by these verses. So often, we get into the wives/husband dialogue and we start with submission/leadership and we don’t take a very good look at the attitude of the heart that Jesus is going after when He gave us these commands.
My hope is that is was very clear that the posture of our hearts can & should change from fighting for supremacy with one another to humbling serving each other because of Jesus work for us. From all indications, that seemed clear.
Things I wish I had time to elaborate on:
These are things I mentioned, but just didn’t get take the opportunity to elaborate on because it would’ve swayed me from the main point.
- I wish that I could’ve elaborated more on Paul’s teaching from creation in other NT books. For instance, take a look at 1 Timothy 2 and 1 Corinthians 11 to see this. In both cases are dealing with roles in the church, Paul points back to creation. Now, I think the reason he does this is because the creation mandate never changes and it allows us to have objective answers for changing culture.
- As we were going through the Genesis account, I wish I could’ve elaborated more in the trouble that sin has caused us in our relationships.
- For instance, I read this by Matt Chandler and it was really good: “Now the man has been commanded by God to cultivate all that is on the earth. He is to be a representative ruler of God Almighty, and that starts primarily in the family unit and then rolls out to society and culture at large as he’s been commanded. ‘Have children with the wife of your youth, fill the earth, and subdue it.’ Now what ends up happening to the man is that all he was commanded by God to cultivate now wars against him. All that we were commanded to build is now difficult. Life is now difficult. There is no way to make life not difficult, because of the Fall. Man was also commanded by God to cultivate his wife. Was he not? This once again gets into the relationship between the man and woman where we will at times kind of bump heads with one another.”
- Doesn’t this sinful curse on our work and on this world show us, one possible reason why we idolize our work? Work is hard, but it is a must to put food on the table and money in the bank to pay bills. It’s constantly warring with us. But in order to get more, earn more, and be fruitful, we have to give ourselves to work. There’s always new problems to solve; new inventions to make; or more money to make. It sucks us in like a Black Hole. The pain of work, the challenge of work…all make it easy to idolize work.
- I said at one point that the principles are the same (wives, submit; husbands, love; etc.) but your marriage will look different from others because there are different people in your marriage. Here’s what I mean by that: each marriage is uniquely different, just like people are. And each marriage, while the roles are the same for each, will look different than others. For instance: some marriages function great with both partners working outside of the home; some work best with only one person working outside the home; some work best by working together in the same business from the home; and the list could go on and on (and not just with home and work issues). Who is best at balancing the budget? Who’s best at household repairs? Who’s best at investments? Who’s the better reader? There are simply a myriad of reasons why every marriage will look different. But…what should not change are the clear roles of wives submitting as a helper and husbands loving leading.
- Further on this point: husbands must (and I mean must) think through how well they’re leading their wives by serving them for their good. This means that a husband needs to be “living with his wife in an understanding way as a fellow-heir of the grace of life.” Living with her like this will cause you to understand her strengths, what are her gifts, what makes her tick, what gets her excited about life, etc. And this will help you, as a loving leader, be open, willing, and happy when she’s serving Christ and others in those areas.
- But I would also say that this is should be a consideration for wives. What has God called your husband to be, outside of your home, for the kingdom of God? What are his strengths, gifts, and what gets him excited about life? This will allow you, as a wife, to release your husband at times for the good of others.
- Again, you can see how vast this is and how each marriage will look different, but how the principles are the same.
- One of the key points that came out of the Genesis story was the fact that sin makes us fight for supremacy with one another. Rather than joyfully working together, we are trying to rule each other. Now, I made it a point to speak to abuse and “strong-arming” women. This is right and it’s important. But, I what I didn’t elaborate on is the fact that this issue is not just a male issue. Pride, fighting for supremacy, and trying to rule over people is just as much a female problem as it is a male problem. Often (and I think correctly) we rebuke men for being proud and leading poorly. But rarely do we rebuke women for also being proud. I can tell you from experience…when we’ve addressed a woman’s pride in marriage counseling, many times, sadly, counseling is stopped by couples. The normal thing I’ve seen is that we can address men on their pride and by-in-large they’re willing to see it and attempt to change. I think this is because we’re so used to looking at it from the angle that this is a male issue. But, I believe Jesus is transforming all of us, by His grace, and pride wells up in us all, at one point or another.
- I didn’t elaborate on my comment about John MacArthur being disrespectful about Beth Moore, when he said she should “go home.” At the recent Truth Matters that Dr. MacArthur hosted, he was asked by the panel leader to give an answer in 2 words to the names that he brought up. The first name was Beth Moore and Dr. MacArthur responded with “go home.” It came across as disrespectful and degrading. It made those who believe like we do (that men and women were made to complement one another and that there are different roles/functions in the church/home for men and women), look arrogant and mocking in our tone. Now, to be clear, Dr. MacArthur, in a recent sermon, did go into more detail about what the Bible teaches regarding women preachers. In the introduction to that sermon, he said that he doesn’t like to be put in positions where he has to give short answers. And while I agree with much of the content in that sermon, I just wished he would’ve apologized or made a statement of regret for the tone of his original answer while still defending the Word of God’s position on this subject.
There are many who read Paul’s words about servants (slaves) and masters are believe that Paul is a slave-trader or that Paul gave room in his theology and life for the despicable practice of slavery. There just wasn’t time on Sunday to address this issue, but I thought I’d say a few things here about it:
- It is true that slavery was a part of the 1st century ethic. As a matter of fact, many slaves were in households and that’s why much of Paul’s instruction on slaves and masters comes directly after his discussion on family relationships.
- It is also true that many slaves in the 1st century, were slaves by choice. Meaning, many were set free from their masters, due to legal reasons, only to return to serve them because the master treated them well or because they simply needed a job.
- It’s with that social construct in mind that we have to understand what Paul was doing in writing this book:
- First, he’s not writing to the leaders of society to change the social ethic…he’s writing to members of the church, living in a very real world of slavery.
- Second, this is why he makes clear the equal standing before God and in the church of the slave and master. They are not slave and master in the Church. They are brothers/sisters. Fellow-citizens of God’s kingdom.
- Third, since Paul is speaking to the members of the church, it got me wondering: what would like look like for a slave to come to Christ, become a member of the church, and then, after, his master came to Christ, and joined the same church? Very likely the slave would’ve been a leader of some sort in the church and the master would have to ‘submit’ to him in someway.
- Fourth, and this one might be a challenge for us…while Paul was given revelation concerning the superiority of Jesus, because the social constructs were ‘normal’ to him, this was not something that Paul deemed as inappropriate or concerning. What was at stake for Paul was Jesus being the Savior and Lord over all and the impact his Lordship should make on the way we treat others. This alone would make us think that Paul would’ve come to the same conclusions that others like William Wilberforce came to when he read Paul’s writings.
- Finally, there is a companion book to Colossians, which is Philemon. Written to a slave owner and sent by the hand of his runaway slave, Onesimus. In that short letter, Paul appeals to Philemon, to forgive and reconcile with Onesimus, not as a slave, but as a brother in Christ. For those accusing Paul, this short letter should speak volumes. Paul’s passion was that all of us would treat others with respect and dignity, because we’re made in the image of God and especially if we both call on the name of Jesus. In the church, there is no room for disdaining, putting down, or disrespecting others.
- On this subject, here are some comments from others that I found helpful:
- It would bring slaves yet more misery if Paul were to tell them to revolt, nor would it be any comfort to think that apostolic protests against social evils might change things in a future too far off to benefit any of them. The purpose of Paul’s ministry was to set people free in Christ now, and it is doubtful whether he had any visionary dreams of a time coming when slavery would be abolished. When that happened, however, it was the weapons he forged that won the victory. What a benefactor he was!” Lucas, R. C.
- We certainly agree that slavery is ultimately incompatible with consistent biblical teaching, and it is to the church’s great discredit that it took so long to recognize that fact. Some believe that these passages endorse slavery. They do not. They simply address an institution that happened to be a significant element of ancient society. For various reasons, some theological and some practical, the New Testament writers do not attack the institution of slavery as such. The household codes are practical and specific: they require believers who occupy these roles to relate to each other in certain ways. Whether those roles should continue or are endorsed by the author or by God is simply not in view. Moo, D. J.
- Not sure that I would’ve believed you, if you told me that I would be sitting in the stands, watching my son perform in a play. But…Caleb did and he did a great job. Sometime, if you want a great laugh, ask me what song he sang for his audition. I couldn’t have been prouder…
- Umm…where did that team with the Star on their helmet, that played Sunday against the Rams, come from?? Yes, it is very hard being a fan of this team.
- I love Christmas…and shopping online has made me love it more. Wow, what a gift!
- To hear baseball pundits think that my favorite baseball team, the Texas Rangers, have one of the best pitching staffs, 1-5, in the big leagues??? Pitching…in Texas?? Those 2 things go together like “Reformed” and “Charismatic”…not normally connected…yet here we are!
Have a great week, enjoying the grace of God found in Jesus!