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The Role & Responsibility of a Wife

Two generations ago, women were told to aspire to be a wife and mother. One generation past, women were told they could have it all—marriage, motherhood, and a fulfilling career. Today, women are told to ditch the husband and kids and focus on personal fulfillment. After all, marriage only exists to enslave women. Or so “the experts” tell us.

But if a Christ follower chooses to get married, what is her role and responsibility within marriage? What does Scripture say about these questions?

In Genesis 1:27-28, God gave Adam a task to carry out. He was to do the work of God by the will of God according to the word of God. He was to fill the earth and rule over it. But he couldn’t do it by himself. He needed someone to help him carry out his assignment. According to Genesis 2:18-20, Eve was created to help Adam do the work of God by the will of God according to the word of God.

From the very beginning, it was God’s design for the wife to be her husband’s helper, to actively assist, encourage, and support him in carrying out God’s task. It was God’s design. While men and women are equal in status, they have different roles and functions. The role of the wife is to help her husband accomplish what God has called him to do. (This means, gentlemen, we need to be in tune with God and know what his plan for us is.) The key recipient of her help is her husband. Oftentimes, the greatest competitor to the wife fulfilling her role is her children. While motherhood is important, helping her husband is her primary role.

While we might grudgingly agree that a wife’s primary role is helper to her husband, we balk at the idea that she is to submit to her husband (Colossians 3:18). When we think of submission, we jump to slavery or inferiority. But the primary meaning of submission is to arrange oneself under authority. In marriage, a wife is to arrange her life in an orderly manner underneath her husband.

From a biblical viewpoint, a wife voluntarily submits to her husband by respectfully bringing all areas of her life under his headship. It is a voluntary action. Her husband does not demand or force his wife to submit. She makes a voluntary choice. A woman is not to submit to all men, but only to her husband. Rather than do it grudgingly and resentfully, she coats her actions with the attitude of respect.

A wife submits to her husband “as to the Lord” because it is “fitting in the Lord” (Ephesians 5:22; Colossians 3:18). When she places herself under her husband’s authority, she is ultimately submitting to Christ. This is fitting and appropriate because it is God’s design.

A wife submits to her husband “in everything” (Ephesians 5:23-24). If he asks her to do something illegal, immoral, or life-threatening, she should follow God’s instructions. But outside of those exceptions, “everything” means “everything.”

She practices her submission with “a gentle and quiet spirit” (1 Peter 3:1-4). The word “quiet” doesn’t mean a wife doesn’t express her viewpoint and challenge her husband’s thinking. Rather, it means a sense of calmness and peaceableness. She doesn’t strive to take over when she feels her husband is making a mistake. She has a quiet trust that God is still in control.

Here are some principles to help put these ideas into practice:

  1. Rejoice regularly that God called you to be the Helper of your husband¾and as you help, to “work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men” (Colossians 3:23).
  2. Communicate your submission and respect so your husband feels respected.
  3. Forgive your husband for any past hurts blocking your submission.
  4. Depend upon the Holy Spirit to empower you to submit.
  5. Enlist spiritually mature married women to encourage you regularly for support and accountability.
  6. Pursue your own spiritual growth and don’t harbor resentment regarding whether or not your husband is the spiritual leader that he should be.
  7. Trust God to change your husband (1 Peter 3:1-2).

About 300 years ago a man lost his job in a customs house. He went home, broken-hearted, to tell his wife Sophia. To his astonishment she only beamed at him. “Now you can write your book!” He answered, “Yes, and what will we live on while I’m writing?”

Sophia quickly went to a drawer and took out a cache of money. “I’ve always known that you were a man of genius,” she said. “I knew that someday you would write an immortal masterpiece.”

“So every week out of the money you have given me for housekeeping, I have saved something. Here is enough to last us one whole year.”

That amazed husband went to his study and began writing. His name was Nathaniel Hawthorne. His book was The Scarlet Letter.

This is the synopsis of a message preached at First Central Bible Church in Chicopee, MA, on June 17, 2018. It is part of a series of sermons on 1 Peter. Please click on the link to download a copy of the sermon notes.

 

The Concept of Functional Subordination

Each one of us has different roles and responsibilities. The pattern for these differences is rooted in the Trinity. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit modeled the concept of functional subordination for the church, marriage, and the family.

  Equality Function Order
Trinity The Father, Son, and the Spirit are equal as persons.

John 6:27; 10:30; Acts 5:3-4

The Father, Son, and the Spirit have different functions.

John 16:7-15;

Col 1:15-18;

Eph 1:3-14;

1 John 2:1-2

The Father has leadership and the Son and the Spirit submit.

John 17:1-5;

1 Cor 11:3;

Phil 2:5-11;

John 14:26

Church All members are to be considered without distinction in the Body.

Gal 3:28

All members have been given spiritual gifts to serve the Body.

Rom 12:6-8;

1 Cor 12:4-11;

Eph 4:7-11;

1 Pet 4:10-11

Christ has the authority and leadership is delegated to elders and pastors.

Heb 13:17;

1 Pet 5:1-4;

1 Tim 5:17

Marriage Husbands and wives are viewed as co‑heirs of the grace of God.

1 Pet 3:7;

Gal 3:28

Husbands and wives have unique functions in the family.

Gen 1:26-31; 2:18-25

The husband is given the role as the leader to which the wife is commanded to submit and respect.

Eph 5:22-33;

Col 3:18-19;

1 Pet 3:1-7;

Prov 31:10-31

Family All members stand in the place of equal responsibility before God.

Ezek 18:1-32 (20, 30)

Different members have different roles and responsibilities.

Col 3:18-21; 1 Thess 2:7, 11

Parents have the authority in the home and the children are to obey.

Eph 6:1-3;

Col 3:20;

Proverbs

(Dr. Mark Bailey of Dallas Theological Seminary introduced this chart at the 1996 Couples Conference hosted by Crossroads Bible Church at the Inn at Semi-ah-moo. I found it to be extremely helpful in understanding submission and have used it ever since.)

 
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Worship is a Choice

 
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Posted by on June 14, 2018 in Quotes, Tim Challies, Worship

 

Counter the Culture

In the middle of 1 Peter (2:13-3:12), the apostle Peter explains how Christ followers are to live in relationship to others. We are to practice submission, willingly placing ourselves under authority as citizens (2:13-17), workers (2:18-25), marriage partners (3:1-7), and members of Christ’s body (3:8-12).

Admittedly, submission is a difficult topic to preach on because we live in a culture that is anti-authority. While we don’t necessarily want to lead, none of us want to follow. We want to be in charge of our own lives and not have to answer to someone else’s bidding.

When Scripture says one thing and society tells us something entirely different, we have several options. We can:

  • Reject the Bible—Don’t even attempt to read or understand what it says.
  • Avoid the parts we find disturbing—Don’t talk or preach about them.
  • Reinterpret the disagreements as “cultural, not timeless”—Since times have changed, those instructions are irrelevant.
  • Negate the problem by “attacking the author”—Accuse the apostle Paul or the apostle Peter of being a male chauvinist of the worst kind; and conclude that only Jesus’ word can be trusted. (Since Jesus doesn’t address sexuality or marriage roles & responsibilities, it must not be important.)
  • Determine it isn’t relevant—While this part of the Bible may be true, it cannot be lived in this day and age.
  • Accept the truth of Scripture and pattern our lives after it.

If you want to be truly counter cultural, study the Scriptures and commit yourself to obedience. Where it says to submit, willingly place yourself under the authority of the one above you. Don’t be afraid to swim against the tide.

 
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Posted by on June 13, 2018 in 1 Peter, Culture, Marriage, Scripture

 

Leading Change on a Larger Scale

Book Review: Leading Major Change in Your Ministry, by Jeff Iorg

Jeff Iorg knows a thing or two about change. He was used as

a change agent, leading major changes in four ministry settings: relocating an established church (Missouri); starting a new church and building its campus (Oregon); revisioning a convention, including constructing new facilities (Pacific Northwest); and relocating, reorganizing, and rebranding a seminary (Gateway).

From those experiences, the author developed several principles on leading change.

The first section of the book outlines foundational concepts to leading major change. The second section explains a six-fold model for leading major change. Throughout the book, the examples and illustrations are from real-life ministry challenges in both local churches and large organizations—not armchair quarterbacking. While theories about leading major change are interesting, practical insight about how to actually do it is more helpful

While the book is interesting, I had a difficult relating to his examples. His experience is on a much larger scale than my own. While the principles are true, the reader will have to work hard to translate and apply them to their own level of experience.

Disclosure: I received this book free from B&H Publishing through the B&H/Lifeway Bloggers program http://www.bhbloggers.com/. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.

 
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Posted by on June 12, 2018 in Books, Leadership, Quotes

 

Is there hope for Christianity in a Post-Truth World?

Book Review: Hope of Nations: Standing Strong in a Post-Truth, Post-Christian World, by John S. Dickerson

“When did it become normal and routine for us to daily expect news of another terror attack, shooting, or act of evil?” With that opening sentence, pastor, journalist, and author John Dickerson launches an insightful, eye-opening explanation of the world in which we live, the trends we are facing, and how evangelical Christians can face these challenges with confidence.

This book explains—definitively, simply, and accurately—just what is happening in our world, our nation, and our society. This book enables you to see where these events are leading and why they are happening. This book combines the research of a decorated journalist with the Bible teaching and guidance of a pastor and bestselling author.

On this eye-opening journey, we will combine culture reporting, surprising new data, global understanding, Scripture, and history to answer the four pressing questions of our day: What in the world is happening? Why are these things happening? Where will all of this lead? And, most importantly, how do we live like Christians now?

Part 1 deals with the first two questions, What is happening, and why? The author goes into detail about five forces that are shaping the cultural landscape. (1) Humans are Sinning; (2) Satan is Scheming; (3) Ideologies are Warring; (4) Western Civilization is Unraveling; and (5) Christ and His People are Prevailing.

Part 2 answers the question, Where will it lead? The author explains what he believes can and cannot happen along with the nine post-Christian trends we will face.

By the end of the first two parts, you tend to feel discouraged and overwhelmed. But Part 3 provides a sense of hope and a strategy as to how to face the challenge biblically. The author presents nine manifestos we can embrace. Each one addresses the nine post-Christians trends presented in the previous section.

Trend we will face Our posture
Post-Truth We will remain rooted to the Christian Scriptures.
Post-Knowledge We will train our young.
Post-Church We will be known for doing good.
Post-Human We will dignify all people as image bearers of God.
Post-Christian We will be ambassadors.
Post-Decency We will love our persecutors.
Post-Prosperity We will remain calm.
Post-Liberty We will be invincible.
Post-Peace We will be fearless.

Throughout the book, the author combines cultural insight, current statistics, historical examples, and biblical teaching. The book is well worth reading and pondering.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

 
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Posted by on June 11, 2018 in Books, Culture

 

Faith @ Work

Prior to becoming a pastor, I spent ten years as a draftsman. Seven of those years were during college and afterwards when I worked for a company that designed and installed conveyor systems for the automotive industry. The remaining three years were working during seminary for a structural steel detailer. The first company was led by a godly man who treated his employees with respect and did business in an ethical manner. The second company was led by a man who promised anything to win a bid but did not keep his promises in delivering a job on time. He wrote his son out of his will because the son wanted to pursue a different career than his father thought he should.

How should we respond to a boss that treats us well? Do we act differently when our boss is disrespectful or unethical? What should our attitude be when we receive a raise? What should our reaction be when we are passed over for promotion?

As Christ followers, we are to serve our employers with respect regardless of how they treat us. We are to follow the example of Christ who lived for righteousness even in the midst of suffering. That is the principle the apostle Peter teaches in 1 Peter 2:18-25.

In the middle section of his book (1 Peter 2:13-3:12), Peter addresses the topic of submission. Rather than being forced upon us, submission is a voluntary choice where we willingly place ourselves under the authority of another person. Peter describes what submission looks like as a citizen (2:13-17), an employee (2:18-25), a marriage partner (3:1-7), and a member of the body of Christ (3:8-12).

We are to serve our employers with respect, regardless of how they treat us (18). Slavery was rampant in the Roman Empire. It was estimated that between 1/2 and 2/3 of the population were slaves. Rather than the normal word for slaves, Peter uses a word that refers to domestic servants, or slaves within the household. This was the most common employer/employee relationship in the ancient world. He encourages servants to submit themselves, regardless of whether their master is good, bad, or indifferent.

If we suffer unjustly, we are to be mindful of God’s presence and seek his approval (19-20). The normal pattern is that if one does something wrong, the person is punished. Conversely, if one does something right, the individual is rewarded. But what if one is punished even if they did nothing wrong? In those cases, a Christ follower is to keep their focus on God and seek to please him. This approach finds favor in God’s eyes.

We are to follow the example of Christ who lived for righteousness even in the midst of suffering (21-25). To those who might say, “But you don’t know my boss …” Peter explains that we are to model our response after Jesus. When he was on trial, Jesus did not sin, was not deceitful, did not seek revenge, and uttered no threats. Instead, he put his complete trust in God’s plan. Through his death on the cross, Jesus healed us of the disease of sin. He provided forgiveness and the strength to live a life that is right with God.

As Christ followers, we are to serve our employers with respect regardless of how they treat us. We are to follow the example of Christ who lived for righteousness even in the midst of suffering.

This is the synopsis of a message preached at First Central Bible Church in Chicopee, MA, on June 10, 2018. It is part of a series of sermons on the book of 1 Peter. Please click on the link to download a copy of the sermon notes.

 
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Posted by on June 10, 2018 in Uncategorized