Sunday, February 21, 2010

February 21st - Play the Man

Prayer Requests
Leon Preaching
29 Verse Dash
Baby Eden
Bethany's Indianapolis Trip
Kari and Jenna's friends: Taylors Skull Fracture, Laura's Cancer

Announcement – Next Saturday is our class get-together and make-up session. We will meet from 2pm to 7pm and will eat at 5pm. I’m calling it “29 Verse Dash: A Race With Peter” and we’ll look at 1 Peter 3:8-4:19 skipping 13-17 which we already looked at.

Text – 1 Peter 3:7

The more I looked at this lesson and how much time we spent on verses 1-6 I feel that we need to spend another topical lesson on the role of the man in Christianity. What is Peter’s call for women? Let’s read it,

1 Peter 3:1-6 Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.

This is a gorgeous passage, I love it. It is pointed mostly at women, then Peter devotes a single verse to husbands, but he says a LOT in this one verse.

1 Peter 3:7 Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.

I think Peter’s main point and the point he would want you to take away if you only take one thing away is that women are people. This may sound obvious, but throughout history it has been far less than obvious. Women weren’t even allowed to vote in every state in the United States until 1920. In the 1800’s in London there were debates to determine if women even had souls. Peter wants his male readers to see that women are both cognitive people and heirs of grace which means they have souls.

Some of things we’re going to go over will seem exceedingly obvious, but you’d be amazed at some of the things we take for granted that just years ago people didn’t know, or things that we do that are certainly not biblical but we don’t want to change. For example, today you’d be hard pressed to find someone for or against abortion who will deny that a baby is a baby from conception, but only a few decades ago the big push for the people who wanted abortion to be legal was that it wasn’t a baby but a blob of tissue. Conversely, pretty much every church and school in the United States operates under what is called “Age segregated learning.” This is where learning is separated by age and maturity; this is purely an evolutionary idea and is totally unbiblical. Every lesson I’ve taught you would be appropriate for high schoolers and also for adults. In fact I taught the exact same lesson on angels that I taught to you to adults with practically no changes and none of them felt it was too dumb or low for them. When I first started working with students I fell for the idea that I needed to tailor my speech to their age range, and I talked to students like they were babies. Fortunately I realized that wasn’t working and decided I’d try talking to students like they are capable intelligent human beings, and it worked and I’ve never looked back. Hannah can attest that during VBS I treat the 1st Graders like they are seminary students; I taught them 5 Greek words and several big theological concepts and none of their brains exploded.

Notice in our verse it doesn’t say older wives or younger wives or middle wives; this is all wives, so even though it seems obvious, the first part, “live with your wives in an understanding/knowledgeable/knowing/intellectual way,” is very important and we need to know that women of every age are cognitively equal to men. They are even smart enough to run countries, and even though Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton are totally ignorant when it comes to biblical and rational government, no one can deny that they are not brilliant people with very capable minds. The Bible knows this, look at the Judge Deborah for example, and Isaiah says women in charge is a judgment on a nation,

Isaiah 3:1-2,8,12 For behold, the Lord GOD of hosts is taking away from Jerusalem and from Judah support and supply, all support of bread, and all support of water; the mighty man and the soldier, the judge and the prophet, the diviner and the elder…For Jerusalem has stumbled, and Judah has fallen, because their speech and their deeds are against the LORD, defying his glorious presence. My people—infants are their oppressors, and women rule over them.

We could spend more time on this, but in order to look more at manhood lets keep going. The next part of the verse says,

showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel

What does it mean when it says the woman is the weaker vessel? It can’t be cognitively, because just a second ago Peter says live with them intellectually, and it can’t mean spiritually, because they are heirs of grace, so it must mean physically. Is that true?

And why are men stronger? Both genetics and also because men are supposed to be the ones doing the hard work. Jesus probably had calloused hands and huge muscles, how do you think he got them? Was it by spending two hours a day in the gym? As a carpenter doing physical labor he was naturally strong. Women are naturally smaller and weaker than men.

Where it says, “Showing honor”, is a terrible translation of the Greek, the phrase means, “Bestow Value” or “Show them they are precious.” The word Time literally means paid for. It’s the same word describing how Christ bought us,

1 Corinthians 6:20 were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

God really demonstrates this incredibly with Hosea and his wife Gomer. Gomer was a prostitute and God told Hosea to marry her. After Hosea married her, Gomer had two children who weren’t Hosea’s, then she took off and ended up on an auction block for half the price of a slave and Hosea paid the price for this old worn-out worthless prostitute. Notice that Peter gives no condition to honor wives as precious only if they are pretty or nice or redeemable; he says to honor them as precious no matter what.

And if they are worth paying for, are they worth fighting for? We saw that Peter said when Christ was reviled he did not revile back, he showed huge amounts of control not to destroy those that were slandering and beating him. Have you seen the Chronicles of Narnia when Aslan is being beaten? This is a good representation of what Christ’s scourging probably looked like, evil men were taking shots at a lion which could have turned around torn them to shreds with a single bite or slash of the paw. Christ could have probably done a fair amount of physical damage to any of the men scourging him, or he could have commissioned angels to wipe out every person in Jerusalem, or with a word he could have destroyed the whole earth, yet when he was reviled he did not revile in return.

We turn the other cheek when struck, but that is ourselves. We do not turn the other cheek when others are attacked, especially the husband with his wife. When preparing this lesson I considered for a long time if there was ever a time when Jesus stepped in for someone else, and while I couldn’t find a time when he did it temporally, he did it in an infinitely higher sense.

God the Father utterly hated the bride of Christ for a very just and righteous reason, for he hates all who do evil. (Psalm 5:5, 11:5) Jesus Christ, not in a confrontational way but still very bravely, stepped between his offended Father and his beloved bride and became the intercessor, the Saviour of his wife, honoring her as worth paying for even though she had not a single redeeming factor as a worn out old prostitute.

Who is weaker? Jesus Christ or the church? Jesus Christ is the carpenter by which all things have been made; the church is incapable of making even a single grain of sand. Christ upholds the world by the power of his word; the church is utterly helpless without the sustaining work of her God.

Jesus has honored as precious his bride the church by demonstrating his strength to redeem her and cleanse her and present her as perfect on the final day. The first person that the Christian man is commanded to be willing to die for is his bride.

Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…

Christ is likewise the greatest friend you can have. How do we know?

John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

The Christian must also be willing to die first for others, especially the church of Christ. Now death is an extreme example, when Christ said to turn the other cheek, he was speaking about absorbing insults, even physical ones. Two years ago in Myrtle Beach I had a group of Middle Schoolers and we were witnessing to an atheist. He got pretty mad and clenched his fists and I was pretty sure someone was going to get hit. I maneuvered myself so that I was between him and them, because there was no way I was going to let him get to them without him having to pummel me first.

Now consider someone is picking on a girl and you step in front of her. There is a chance you are going to absorb a blow that was meant for her, either physically or emotionally. This is the biblical man’s role, it is what Jesus did. He stepped between his Father and his church and absorbed the full wrath against the sinners which comprise the church.

One of the greatest exhortations toward biblical manhood is in First Corinthians.

1 Corinthians 16:13-14 Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.

We read this verse because it puts a huge emphasis on motives. Be watchful means to watch for heretical and unbiblical statements, stand firm in the faith means to stand up for Jesus Christ and the truth. Act like men means to be brave, courageous, and following Christ, and be strong means to be firm in conviction, action, and ability.

Now you can do all of these things and still be wrong. If you do it to elevate yourself or to belittle others then your motives are wrong and no matter how well you did them you will be sinning. The proper motive is that all you do should be done in charity or love; pointing others to Christ, magnifying sacrificial love so Christ’s sacrifice is shown to be magnificent.

Our motives are huge, let me pick something that will probably strike close to many of your hearts. Did you know that soccer can either be pure or sinful? The biblical man, even biblical person, must constantly be checking their motives to make sure they are doing what they are doing for Christ and not for themselves. If you play soccer because it gives you an opportunity to witness to your teammates, hone the skills God gave you and give him the glory, and provides you with ministry, then it is pure. But if you play only because you like it, or because you love the accolades you receive for your skill, or because it’s something to do to pass the time then you need to reevaluate your involvement and set your affections on Heaven.

1 Corinthians 13:11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.

If we had child psychologists or feminists or evolutionists in this class they would be screaming right now. This is utterly and totally different than the world will talk about growing up. We don’t want to be perpetually children, we want to be like Christ, we want to make a difference in eternity, we want to honor Christ the Lord as holy.

Check out Jesus Christ when he was twelve,

Luke 2:42-47 And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom. And when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, but supposing him to be in the group they went a day’s journey, but then they began to search for him among their relatives and acquaintances, and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.

Luke 2:52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.

Twelve years old and impressing the rabbis with his spiritual understanding. Beloved, that needs to be us. Our goal is spiritual maturity, for the men it is acting like men, for the ladies it is the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit. We stand up for others, honor others as worth more than ourselves, be gentle and respectful, and keep our affections on Heaven and point others to Heaven. How do we do that?

2 Timothy 2:22 Flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.

Flee from things that are only about you and pursue goodness and holiness; instead of being served find a place to serve, instead of being taught prepare to teach, instead of watching tv or youtube produce a youtube video that exalts your Saviour, instead of receiving find a way to give, instead of hanging out at your Fish Club volunteer at your Fish Club; beloved time is short and many things need to be done, find what you are good at and get better at it for the glory of Christ.

Charles Spurgeon said it perfectly, “A good character is the best tombstone. Those who loved you and were helped by you will remember you when forget-me-nots have withered. Carve your name on hearts, not on marble.”

And all of this concludes with one of the reasons that men need to act like men, and later will be talked about for women also, so that our prayers are not hindered. We will talk a lot more about prayer next Saturday, but we see that our actions can hinder our prayer life. Leonard Ravenhill, a great man of God, once said, “If weak in prayer, we are weak everywhere.” We see from this passage in Peter that it also works the opposite direction, if weak in holiness we are weak in prayer also.

Christ, our great example, lived the perfect manly life, and also had the best prayer life of anyone who has ever lived. The holier your life, the better your prayer life, and the better your prayer life, the better your holiness, so then your prayer life will improve, so your sanctification will improve, strengthening your prayers, edifying your life. Do you see this gorgeous upward spiral? For this reason, men we act like men, ladies, you act like ladies and this prepares us for life and ministry, and allows us to with boldness approach the throne of grace to receive help in our time of need.

In conclusion I want to look at the last words of some great Christian men:

Daniel Webster: The great mystery is Jesus Christ—the gospel. What would the condition of any of us be if we had not the hope of immortality? Thank God, the gospel of Jesus Christ brought life and immortality to light. I still live.

David Livingstone: Build me a hut to die in. I am going home.

Andrew Jackson: My dear children, do not grieve for me…I am my God’s. I belong to Him. I go but a short time before you, and…I hope and trust to meet you all in heaven.

Martin Luther: Into Thy hands I commend my spirit! Thou hast redeemed me, O God of truth.

John Owen: I am going to Him whom my soul loveth, or rather who has loved me with an everlasting love, which is the sole ground of all my consolation.

Burned at the Stake:
John Bradford: Be of good comfort brother; for we shall have a merry supper with the Lord this night!

Hugh Latimer: Play the man, Ridley! For this day we shall light such a candle in England as I trust shall never be put out.

Polycarp: Leave me as I am, the one who gives me strength to endure the fire will also give me strength to stay quite still on the pyre, even without the precaution of your nails.... For eighty and six years I have been his servant, and he has done me no wrong, and how can I blaspheme my King who saved me?

John Stam (executed with his wife): We are going to Heaven.