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1 Timothy 2:9-15
PUTTING A WOMAN IN HER PLACE
Intro: I am going to tread in dangerous territory today. I am going to preach on the subject of Putting A Woman In Her Place. I realize that there are many differing viewpoints on a woman’s place in life and in the church. There are some men who feel that a woman’s place is under their feet. That is not biblical at all. Others say that women should be kept “barefoot and pregnant”. That is not biblical either. Others believe that women are second class citizens in society, and in the church. That is not a biblical view either.
I am interested in looking at what the Bible says about the role of women in the church. When we understand what the Bible says about women and the important place they fill in our churches, then we can get about the business of putting women in their place.
Before I dig myself too deep of a hole today, I want to say that I appreciate the women of this church. I appreciate the important work they do for this congregation. Ladies, I thank you for your work through The Sister In Faith. I thank you for the work you do in C.A.R.E. I thank you for the work you do in Sunday School. I thank you for the work you do in the nursery. I thank you for your godliness and for your commitment to the cause of Christ. Calvary Baptist Church would not be the church it is today if it were not for the selfless work of our good and godly women.
There are two basic views that dominate society when it comes to the respective roles of men and women. Let’s examine those views for just a moment today.
· Egalitarianism – This view states that men and women are absolute equals in every area of life. This is the dominate view of modern feminism. Under this view both men and women have the right to preach, serve as Deacons, Pastors and Elders in the church. There are no restrictions placed upon the role of women in the church or in society. This is the dominate view in many modern minds and churches. Proponents of this view use Gal. 3:28 as the basis for their view. That verse reads, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”
· Complementarianism – This view teaches that men and women are created equal, but different. The differences between men and women serve to compliment the areas where the other gender is lacking. Under this view, men and women stand as spiritual equals in Jesus, but the sexes fill different roles within the church. In my opinion, this is the biblical view. When God created women from Adam’s rib He said this, “And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him,” Gen. 2:18. The phrase “help meet” literally means “one who completes, one who helps, one who compliments.” Thus, while men and women are spiritual equals in the eyes of God, He does expect them to fulfill different roles within the family and within the church.
When God created the female, she was designed to be a completer, Gen. 2:18-25. Together with her husband, they became one flesh, or a complete person. Eve was created to furnish that which was lacking in Adam. Adam filled out what was lacking in Eve. Men and women still fill those vital roles to some degree today.
When sin entered the world, the fall of humanity into sin changed the roles of men and women. Not in God’s eyes, but in the eyes of men and women. Gen 3:16 says, “Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.” After the fall, the women became a competitor. That is, she now has a desire to dominate the man. Of course, the fall did not affect just the female. Men tend to be domineering. They want absolute control over the woman. Neither of those attitudes was in God’s original design for the sexes. It has been said that “the woman came from a man's rib. not from his feet to be walked on, not from his head to be superior, but from the side to be equal, under the arm to be protected, and next to the heart to be loved.” I think that is just about right.
In the ancient world women had no rights in society. In most of the world, they were considered to be property. They were expected to be subservient to their husbands. They could be divorced and removed from the home at the slightest whim of their husbands. They were expected to stay in the home, care for the children, and do as they were told by their husbands. It was a hard world for women.
Under the Jewish Law women fared much better.
· The Law was given to both men and women – Deut. 1:1.
· The Law protected both men and women – Ex. 21:28-32.
· Women had the right to inherit property – Num. 36:-12.
· Men and women were to participate in the religious feasts – Ex. 12:3; Deut. 16:9-15.
· The Nazarite vow was open to both men and women – Num. 6:2.
· Women were involved in spiritual service – Ex. 38:18; Neh. 7:67.
· God often dealt directly with women – Eve, Gen. 3:13; Hagar, Gen. 16:7-13; Samson’s mothers, Jud. 13:3.
Of course, even with the special status afforded women under the Law, there were still distinctions between the roles of men and women in Israel. There were no queens who ruled in either Israel or Judah, except for Athaliah, and she was a usurper. Deborah was a judge, Jud. 4:4-5:31, but even she refused to lead the nation into battle. She deferred to a man named Barak.
When Christianity arrived, the role of women was elevated even higher. I want to take a look at several New Testament passages that speak about the role of women in the church, the home and in society. As I said, I want to preach about Putting A Woman In her Place. Let’s notice some important thoughts that present themselves in these and in a few other verses.
I. THE GODLY WOMAN
AND HER TESTIMONY
A. v. 9 – Her Personal Testimony – In these two verses, Paul lays out his expectations regarding women and how they were to present themselves when they came to church. Ancient Ephesus, where Timothy, the recipient of this book was Pastor, was a center of pagan worship. The temple of Diana was on a hill outside town and over 1,000 temple prostitutes transacted their business all over town. It was all the rage to try and look like these prostitutes, who were considered celebrities in Ephesus. When some of the women in Ephesus were saved, they brought the dress and the appearance of the world into the church. Paul is writing to let them know that, because they are saved, they are to be different. So, Paul speaks to these women about their appearance and their attitude when they came into the house of God. Let’s take a look at what he says to them.
· They were to “adorn themselves in modest apparel” – The word “adorn” gives us the word “cosmetic”. It has the idea of “putting something in order, or to make ready.” The thought here is that women are to arrange themselves appropriately when they come to church.
“Modest apparel” has the idea of “proper clothing”. Women are called on here to come to church dressed to meet the Lord. In other words, they were to prepare themselves for worship. They were to remember where they were going, what they were doing and they were to come to church with the right attire and the right attitude.
Let me just speak a word to our ladies. I appreciate how you come to church. Most of the women here understand that this is the house of God and you dress appropriately. I appreciate you wearing dresses to church. When we gather here, we are gathering to meet with God in worship. That demands that we make an effort to look our best. If you were going to meet with the President or some other important person, you would not dress like a slob. You would wear your best! God deserves more from us than some human dignitary.
We need to think about how we come to this place. What I see in these verses teaches me that proper adornment of the outer man reflects a properly adorned heart. Your clothing is a reflection of your heart. What you wear to church reveals what you think about church and about the Lord Jesus Christ. This is not the place for casual dress. This is not the place for shorts. This is not the place for revealing attire. This is not the place for “come as you are.” This is a house of worship and our outward appearance should reflect a heart that is prepared to worship the Lord.
· Women are to adorn themselves with “shamefacedness and sobriety” – These two words refer to “modesty” and “self-control”. It is the idea of “modesty and humility” being blended together. Paul is talking about how a woman is to adorn herself for church.
Women are to think about how their attire affects others. The godly woman should feel shame and guilt if her attire distracts others from worship, or if their attire sparked a lustful thought in someone else. The whole point here is that a woman should dress in such a fashion that she does not call attention to herself, or to her body. That is true both within and without the church.
· “Not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array” – This section has to do with a woman’s appearance. In those days women were known for their elaborate hairdos. They would pile their hair on top of their heads and attach gold, silver, pearls and other jewels to their hair to call attention to themselves. It was also common for women to spend exorbitant amounts of money on their clothes. Some of the rich women of that day were known to wear dresses that coat several hundred thousand dollars. Common women were known to spend upwards of $40,000.00 in today’s money on their dresses.
Paul’s point here is not that women shouldn’t dress nice, or wear jewelry or makeup. Women have the need to feel good about their appearance. That’s fine, and we men appreciate the efforts you make. He merely wants Christian women to know that they should not wear anything that draws attention to themselves and distracts from the Lord. The fact is many women adorn themselves like they do so that they can attract attention. They wear makeup in an effort to appear more attractive. They wear jewelry to flaunt their wealth. All Paul is saying is that there is a better way!
B. v. 10 Her Powerful Testimony – In these verses, Paul relates the reasoning behind his words. He wants Christian women to know that it is not the outward appearance that matters in the end; it is the good works of godliness. Instead of being known for your clothes, your hair, or your jewelry, a godly woman should be known by her works.
Just as your choice of outward adornments is a reflection of your heart, so are your works. The implication is that inner beauty is far more important than outward styles and trends. Peter told his readers that the inner beauty of a changed life will serve as a powerful testimony to the lost who see the works of a godly woman, 1 Pet. 3:1-6. Peter wants his readers to know that a clean heart will do more to bring a lost spouse to Jesus than any amount of nagging, pleading and fussing will accomplish.
I will leave this part of the message with this thought: inner beauty is what truly matters! When too much emphasis is placed on the adorning of the outward woman Jesus Christ and His glory are no longer the priority of the heart. When Jesus is enthroned in a heart, He will make His Lordship known by how He fine tunes the outer person.
I. The Godly Woman And Her
II. THE GODLY WOMAN
AND HER TEACHING
A. v. 11-12 The Negative Aspect – To say that these verses are controversial is an understatement. Some people read them and attempt to get around by saying they do not apply to our modern world. Actually, nothing has changed! What God said to Timothy in the First Century still applies today. So, let’s take a look at what Paul says in these verses.
· Verse 11 – He tells us here that women were not to be excluded from the public meetings that featured the Word or God.
In ancient times, women were mostly excluded from public worship. Jewish women rarely went to the synagogues, and pagan women were not usually allowed in the pagan temples. Most Jewish rabbis refused to teach women. Many said it was like “throwing pearls to swine”. Paul wants women to know that they are to participate in the public services.
However, their participation is to be done in “silence with all subjection”. This does not mean that they cannot speak at all, it simply means that they are not to take the leadership role in the services, but they are to humbly yield to male leadership in the church. Certainly women can, and should testify, sing and praise the Lord. Women should have a voice in the business meetings of the church. Paul explains his meaning in the next verse.
· Verse 12 – This verse forbids women from taking the role of teacher in the congregation. That is, they are not allowed to preach or to hold any position of authority that places them over men.
A lot of women are offended by this restriction. They are upset that that cannot preach or be a Deacon in the local church. In our day, many churches simply ignore this verse, or try to explain it away, and do as they please. There are many churches around that have women Pastors and Deacons. I would say that every single one of those churches is in error because they are disregarding a clear word from the Lord. Besides, how can a woman ever be called “the husband of one wife”? (1 Tim. 3:1, 11)
Some would say, “Well, what about the women in the Bible that are called “prophetess”. There are a few women that were given that name among them are Miriam, Ex. 15:20; Deborah, Jud. 4:4; Huldah, 2 Kings 22:14, Isaiah’s wife, Isa. 8:3, and the seven daughters of Philip, Acts 21:9. These women, and others, made prophetic utterances, but none of them carried on an extended prophetic or preaching ministry. God does not give this command because women are spiritually inferior to men, because they are not. God gives this prohibition because it is His plan for the godly woman, Ill. 1 Tim. 2:13-15. Whether you like it or not, this is the way God wants His church to function.
Ladies, you should not be bothered by the fact that you are prohibited from holding offices of leadership within the church. When God gave this responsibility to the man, God was placing a heavier weight on his shoulders than He placed on women. Men will have to give an account to for their leadership; you will merely have to give an account for your willingness to submit to their leadership.
B. The Necessary Aspect – This does not mean that women can teach. They must teach for they have insight in the Word of God and they have a perspective about the Word of God that men lack. They can teach other women, they can teach children. They can even teach men one on one, as Priscilla did alongside her husband Aquila, Acts 18:26.
Most importantly, they have a responsibility to teach other women about how to live godly according the God’s Word. Titus 2:3-5 has much to say about that.
· The older women in the congregation – They are to be:
Ø Holy – Their lives are to manifest Christlikeness.
Ø Honest – They are not to use their time for idle gossip about others.
Ø Sober – They are not to turn to drink, as was the custom among older people in Pail’s day, to combat the pain and the loneliness of old age.
Ø A good example – they were to set the example for others by the way they lived their lives.
· They are to teach the younger women to be:
Ø Sober – Disciplined, keeping their minds on the tasks they have been assigned.
Ø Lovers of their husbands and children – Committed to the family at all costs.
Ø Discreet – Self-control, being able to curb one’s impulses.
Ø Chaste – Modest and free from sexual sin.
Ø Keepers at home – The organizers and maintainers of the home. (Ill. Nearly 90% of all women between 16 and 65 work outside the home. Thus, the husband should be willing to do his part at home to help his wife, just as she helps him pay the bills.)
Ø Good – Kind, considerate, sympathetic, etc. This has the idea of being God-like as you allow the Fruit of the Spirit to be seen in your life.
Ø Submissive – Yielding to the headship of their husbands in the home, Eph. 5:22-24.
I. The Godly Woman And Her
II. The Godly Woman And Her
III. THE GODLY WOMAN
AND HER TASKS
(Ill. Women are prohibited from holding offices of leadership within the church, but that does not minimize the role that women play in the church. Let me share a few of the special tasks women must perform for the church and for the glory of God. Don’t get hung up on what you can’t do; busy yourself with those things you must do!)
A. She Must Be A Worshiper – 1 Cor. 11:2-16 describes the duties of women in worship. 2 Tim. 2:15 tells us that Timothy’s mother and grandmother were worshipers of Christ. 1 Sam. 1:9-28 talks about Hannah and how she worshiped the Lord. Luke 2:36-37 speaks of Anna who worshiped in the Temple continually.
One of the greatest things a woman can do is worship. To worship Him implies that there is a relationship with Him. When a woman is saved and engaged in the worship of God, she is delivering a powerful message to those around her.
B. She Must Be A Worker – In Rom. 16:1 Phebe is called “a servant of the church”. She worked in the church for the glory of God. There is much work for women to do around the church and community. I am grateful to so many of our women who teach us by their actions how to serve the Lord.
C. She Must Be A Witness – In 1 Pet. 3:1, Pater talks about how a saved wife can reach her lost husband. This is just a reminder that women can be and are powerful witnesses to the saving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. Ladies, your faith is important and it is imperative that you tell the world about what the Lord has done for you. Tell it to your family. Tell it to your church. Tell it to your community. Tell it to everyone you meet. Your testimony is important.
D. She Must Be A Warrior – In Acts 1:4 and 12:12, women are shown as they are engaged in the business of prayer. They prayed with the church and God moved in answer to their prayers. In 1 Cor. 11:2-16, Again women are engaged in the business of prayer. Hannah prayed, 1 Sam. 1:9-28 and God blessed a nation through her prayers.
Women can be powerful prayer warriors. There is a passion and a compassion is a woman’s prayers that is often missing in the prayers of a man. Ladies, we need your prayers! The church, the family and the community need you to be on your knees touching Heaven for the glory of God.
E. She Must Be A Window – In 2 Tim. 1:5, Paul describes the faith of Timothy’s mother and grandmother. To Timothy those important women were a window through which He could see the glory of God. In their lives, he saw a living, vital faith relationship with God that he wanted for himself. Timothy’s mother and grandmother were a window through which Timothy could clearly see the results of God’s amazing, saving grace.
Ladies, there is no higher calling than for you to be a window through which someone can see Jesus. When you faith is real, vital and empowered by the Lord, that is just what you will be. Let me encourage you to keep living for Him and keep letting Him live through you. Your life is not in vain, and neither are your sacrifices or your love for others.
Conc: I hope the ladies of this church know how vital and important you are to what we are doing here. I hope you know that you are appreciated and loved. I hope you know that the men know that this church would be nothing without you. I am just trying to encourage you to keep the course during these dark and difficult days. I am challenging you to set the example of good, godly womanhood for the rest of us.
I am not sure how to give an invitation for a message like this, but here goes:
· If you have never been saved and Jesus is drawing you to Him, please come to Him today and put if off no longer.
· If you as a woman are ashamed of the life you have lived, come and make it right.
· If you are blessed with godly women in your life, would you come and pray for them today?
· If you thank God for the godly women of this church, would you come and pray that God will protect them, guard their testimonies and continue to use them for His glory.
· It may be that you just need to go to some of the godly women who have made a difference in your life and tell them you love them and are thankful for their influence in your life.
· Would you simply mind Him today?