Saturday, September 20, 2008

Does A Fish Know It Is Wet #2

As stated before I have been on a journey of discovery. I am discovering my responsibility as a believer in the fellowship with other saints. It has been one of great trial and exhausting examination. I have not only had the opportunity to see scripture in a new light, I have been able to walk it out. So the last post, “Does a fish know it’s wet?” has become very real to me. I have been able to examine some traditional practices against the word of God. I found I was wet in many respects.
Here is where we are as a Christian culture. Women and men are trying to become so equal that God given distinctions are lost. Women teach men in bible study, often to the neglect of teaching younger women and their own children. Men have taken a back seat and allowed women to be in control of everything. In most of the local church settings, women are the dominant force. The men can’t be found. When it comes to teaching, a man would be more willing to ask a woman to teach so he wouldn’t have to fulfill his role in the gathering or even the home. Basically our homes are out of order, thus when we gather as believers our fellowship will be led wrong and our thinking will be wrong as well. By wrong I mean unbiblical. Please remember I am talking to believers in THE ONE TRUE LIVING GOD.
This is what God’s word tells us we need to ascribe to. I will hit pretty hard on the women issue only because I am a woman. I believe that where scripture calls you out, you must respond accordingly. So I will lay out some text and go from there.
“As in all the churches of the saints, the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in the church.” 1 Corinthians 14:33b-35
Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Titus 2:3-5
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. 1 Peter 3:1-6
Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. 1 Timothy 2:11-12
And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James. All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers. Acts 1:13-14
On the next day we departed and came to Caesarea, and we entered the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, and stayed with him. He had four unmarried daughters, who prophesied. Acts 21:8-9
but every wife who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, since it is the same as if her head were shaven…… Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman; for as woman was made from man, so man is now born of woman. And all things are from God. Judge for yourselves: is it proper for a wife to pray to God with her head uncovered? Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair it is a disgrace for him, but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For her hair is given to her for a covering. 1 Corinthians 11:5;12-15
Simply stated, women according to scripture are to pray, prophesy, learn in submission to their own husband, not teach men or have authority over men, teach younger women what is good, adorn themselves in holiness, be respectful and pure, and be silent in the gathering of the saints during the teaching. All of this may seem to be a hard pill to swallow. It was for me in the beginning. The first time I was told to submit to my husband about ten years ago I literally flipped. I was not at all receptive to that information even though it was and is the word of God. So, today the Lord in His grace and mercy is calling me to be dried out even the more in order that I may die to the flesh and live in Him.
A woman’s silence in the gathering is one of the controversial issues in the body of believers. For most people who attend a traditional church gathering where the preacher or pastor is the sole or primary bible teacher it is not very difficult to be silent. In fact everyone is silent.
My family gathers on Saturdays in homes with other believers to build one another up in the faith, through prayer, fellowship and the Lord’s Supper. The purpose for this gathering is that we may all be equipped for every good work in Christ. The structure for our meeting is laid out in 1 Corinthians 14:26-40, often termed “participatory meeting.” In that meeting the women are silent during the teaching. The silence from the women propels the men to lead in the teaching. When a meeting is dominated by one individual it creates a dependency on that one person rather than each believer studying to scriptures themselves and presenting truth to build up. During the week we are to be lifting one another in prayer and seeking the Lord for what He would have one to share to build up the body of believers. Remember the scriptures tell us to build one another up, to teach the young women and children, pray and prophesy that all may be built up.
So how does a woman’s silence build up others? If the women are silent it pushes the men to their place. They are called to lead, instruct in the word of God, to love and serve. Often women overshadow their husbands and no where in scripture do we see that God honors that. I am silent that my husband and the other men may lead. I receive as much if not more because I am able to hear, without preparing my next statement. What the Lord has awakened me to is the following…I show respect to my husband by participating in silence during the instruction of the word. Most importantly, I am following a command of the Lord.
In times past I have taught the adult Sunday school class. In most of our local fellowships the Sunday school classes are mixed with male and female. Well the word of God would say that practice is unbiblical. Can a woman teach? Yes! The question is not if she can teach, but to whom does God say she can teach. We are to teach our children first and foremost, then we teach other women. We are also examples to our husband and other men. In my silence my husband stated, “You have taught me the importance of listening to God.” It was not that he did not listen to God however he was able to see honor, respect, and obedience in a new light because of my obedience. So is the scripture telling women that we are second class citizens and you have nothing of value to say? God forbid! The scripture is telling us to line up! Jesus Christ who is himself God, submitted to God the Father in all things. Over and over we see especially in the gospel of John, that Jesus came to do the will of the Father. If we truly desire to love and obey God we will be willing, in fact desirous to obey and seek His will above our own. I did not write the scripture. We must stop fighting the truth and scripture and effort to live it out through the power of the Holy Spirit. The things we don’t fully understand, the Holy Spirit will teach us in due time.
Today I would classify myself as a drying fish. I can’t fully say I have dried up but the Lord is gracious and pouring Himself more and more. What an exciting thought! The comment room is always open. Let me know how dry you are.

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