Title: The Hope We Have that Comes from Godly Men & Women
Text: 2 Timothy 2.8-15
Introduction: My parents split before I could form memories. My dad was a military man, so I was shipped back and forth to my grandmother as needed. My religious formation comes from her and I stand before you today because of her prayers.
When I was in 8th grade, my grandmother made $125 a month babysitting for two Air Force Officers. I made about $20 a month throwing Newspapers. Never once did I eat a cold breakfast. She was up early fixing a warm breakfast before school. I saw her reading her Bible in her bed as I made my way from the shower to the bedroom to get dressed. I saw the same thing at night when I was getting ready for bed. She would stop and come in and read a chapter from the Bible with me.
I’m grateful for the strong influence my godly grandmother passed on to me.
Let me also say, there was a period in my life, not so long ago, when I was surrounded by girls. Jennifer and three little girls came to live with us when they had been abandoned. My life was filled with estrogen. Lisa, Jennifer, Elizabeth, Caroline, and Sweet Annie. Even our little dog is of the feminine persuasion. Lisa created for me a safe haven where I could flee to and watch news and sports!
And I shall always cherish those days – hugs and kisses at night. But you didn’t give me no hugs and kisses, Pa!
I want to tell you that I want good things for my little girls! I want them to dream big and chase those dreams to become whoever they want as they pursue their dreams in relation to their faith in Christ.
I think many preachers have abused this text before us today. I pray that I get this right. Not because I’m worried about your response, but rather, I fear the response of the Master – The One who has called me to this service.
Let’s pray: God, help me get this right.
One of the reasons so many teachers and preachers get this wrong is because they take the Scripture out of Context. Context is everything. DA Carson: A text without a context is a pretext for a prooftext. I know you’ve heard that before. I promise you will hear it again. (ill.: Worship Conference Radio Advertisment – Jesus said, “32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”)
Our Context for this passage is Public Worship. You remember from last week that we don’t have the same worship experiences of those in the early church. At first, they met in public places. Eventually, they met in public places and in their homes.
The Goal is that the lost, who witness the church in action, might be saved. The converse of that is that the lost might very well remain that way because of the church’s poor behavior in action. That’s a negative way to say: Church, get your act together!
1st, Let me walk through the text with you and show you how this is all playing out:
Evidently, the problem with what was happening in Ephesus was that the lost would observe some of the men being contentious and also observe some of the women, who were dressing in inappropriate clothing. Now, that is the close-up.
Ill.: Read Acts 19.8-10; this is church planting in action! As they met in the synagogue and then in the Hall Tyrannus, and later, wherever they were meeting publicly, their behavior as men was detrimental to the spread of the Gospel! And the behavior of the women was just as detrimental: they were more concerned with their looks and appearance than their godliness and good works.
But, I think the problem is even deeper: there appears to be a lack of respect for those in authority. The whole church seems to have this problem.
Let’s pull away from this small passage on prayer and practice to gain a greater perspective.
- Purpose Statement in 3.14-15: 14 I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, 15 if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth.
- The Church is a witness to the World against what is false. She is a witness to the Truth of God.
- Her witness appears to be damaged because of her behavior. This letter is to inform you of how you ought to behave within the household of God.
- A major part of that breakdown for the church was their disrespect for leadership and those in positions of authority. I find it odd that Paul says in combating false doctrine to 1st, pray for:
- Kings and all who are in high positions (2.1-2)
- Toward their pastor (4.12; 2.11-15; 5.17)
- Toward the elderly in their congregation (5.1-3)
- Slaves toward their Masters (6.1-2)
- The Rich toward others (6.17)
There seems to me to be a major problem with these members having respect for those who’ve been put in positions of honor and respect and authority. And, it is hurting their witness. That is the context of this letter: Public Worship viewed by lost folks & a blatant disrespect for others and their positions.
So, Paul commands them to get organized! God gave us structure and within that structure, God gave us roles and responsibility. And, within that structure, you need to show respect where respect is due. Honor those who deserve honor. Respect those who are in certain positions.
Ill.: I learned this in the military. I had an older man who was teaching me. I told him how hard it was to salute an officer who was a low life – unworthy of the respect due to his office and rank. Without missing a beat, my elder said: you salute the rank, not the individual.
Ill.: a few years back, when President Obama was our president. I made a comment about him coming into our worship center. A lady in the congregation – an ultra-conservative lady – made a derogatory comment about the president. And I let it slide. But I shouldn’t have. It was very public, and it should have been corrected in public. There was a blatant disregard for the office of the President. I’m not saying you have to agree with him. Indeed, I can’t find anything for which I can agree. But as Christians, we respect the office.
I saw that as a young man watching my pastor. We were at a convention and the governor was invited to speak. You probably remember her – Governor Ann Richards. When she came in the whole congregation stood to their feet in respect of her position. Except for my pastor; He remained seated. His wife simply looked at him and in a quiet voice said: Are you going to practice what you preach? He stood. It’s was a great teaching moment for me.
Notice 1st, he gets on the men: read 2.8; evidently, their witness was horrible in front of the lost community watching the gathered church; there is contention here; they are lifting hands in anger and they are quarreling in public.
Oh, but women, you’re not without fault either. Your witness is damaged, too. Rd v 9; the women are more concerned with their physical appearance than their spiritual appearance. They want to be seen as pretty and not pious. They want to be seen as gorgeous and not godly. They want to be noticed because of their beauty and not recognized for their behavior.
No one is without fault here. The Church as a whole has been damaging the witness to the world that is watching. But, And here is our 1st point! Our Hope comes through:
1st, Men and Women Behaving as Believers: men, women… the world is watching so ‘behave’.
2nd, When we fulfill our God-given roles and responsibilities in the church. There are roles for leadership and there are roles for men and there are roles for women. That role you fulfill is vital in the presentation of the Gospel by the church as a whole.
As a matter of fact, I think v11-15 actually go closer to 3.1ff, than they do with 2.8-10 or even 2.1-10. It is like he’s saying:
- Pray in public for your worldly leaders. There is a hint of: stop being disrespectful of them before the lost world that is watching. Remember: you are to lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.
- When you gather and pray – Men, stop being contentious and quarrelsome. Women, stop trying to cover up your lack of inner beauty by dressing up the outside. Instead, play down your external beauty and let the inner beauty come through in what you do. Godliness and Good works; with modesty and self-control.
- As a matter of fact, let me turn my attention toward leadership in the church. And he does so now in 2.11.
Paul stays on the topic of women; rd 2.11-12; 11 Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.
So, as we look toward leadership – women, respect those men who’ve been placed in authority within the church.
So, I think this is about the position as Elder or Overseer or Pastor. In the church, the position of pastor is for men only. And, I believe God has created this picture with purpose – just like he has in marriage. When you read Ephesians 5 you see that marriage is a picture of the Gospel.
And it is the same here. God has a purpose in his design.
So, let’s look closely at what is doing. I think for v 11, he’s simply restating what he has said before. Notice the words he has repeated:
- Godliness: rd v 2; godliness is required of every believer;
- Quietly: rd v 2; here in 11 and again in v 12; that doesn’t mean she sits down and shuts up; No! that demonstrates her attitude and demeanor. She is living her peaceful, quiet life within the context of her position in the congregation. Men are to be the same way.
- We will see peace and dignified again, too.
I get from this that there may have been women who were being disrespectful of the overseers, including Timothy. Maybe, there may have been some who were trying to take over his role. Paul is simply stating how behavior in the church should go and when it comes to the office of Pastor/Elder/Overseer, that office for men.
For me, it is interesting that when you look at the qualifications for elders and deacons, they really aren’t that special – as compared to all Christians. Review 3.1-12;
But then he says in 2.13-15 just why these roles are put in place by God. And, he uses the Old Testament as hermeneutical grounds. Rd v 13-14; He’s quoting from Genesis 2 & 3; There is “the role” and “position” in the Creation account; and, there is the fact of the fall.
- Adam is formed first and Eve is fashioned from him to be a helper suitable for him.
- Then, in the fall, consequences take place – and this is what Paul is referring to…
Turn to Gen 3.13ff; The Fall we find hope; in sin, there is the promise of a Messiah who will come and crush the head of the serpent! But continue in v 16; She will endure tremendous pain in bearing children, but in the bearing of her children comes the hope of a descendant who will crush the serpent’s head.
As we go back to our text in 1 Timothy, we see that in v 12 (12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man;). Paul isn’t saying a woman shouldn’t be a teacher. Indeed, as you compare that with other passages of Scripture, we know women are to teach. Indeed, Timothy’s two greatest teachers were his mom and his grandmother! In Titus, he encourages older women to teach younger women. So it isn’t that a woman isn’t to teach. It’s within the context of chapter 3. She isn’t to be an elder. Paul cites the creation account as grounds for this teaching. And, in his reference to Eve, it’s her faithfulness that one day brings about the Messiah. Rd v 15a;
In 15b, Paul moves from the Genesis account back to the women of Ephesus: if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control. Salvation comes through you, too, ladies. Your faithfulness, your love, your holiness, your godliness, your self-control, your modesty, your quiet, peaceful life is a tremendous witness to your children, your spouse, your neighbors, your grandchildren and to the lost who are looking in from the outside.
That would be point # 3: There is hope in the order and organization: 1st, through Eve’s faithfulness, her seed is Jesus. 2nd, through faithfulness today, women bring that same hope of salvation. There is great power in submission. There is great power in showing respect and honor.
I see that in my life. And this is my one take-a-way for this morning: There are tremendous power and influence in a peaceful, quiet life lived out in all godliness and dignity.
- What an incredible leadership role you play in the lives of your children, grandchildren – in the formation of their spiritual lives and their eternal destiny.
- Men, do you realize how detrimental you are when you crush the spirits of your women and your children through your behavior? Or, your mischaracterization of Scripture
- Organization and structure within the church are beneficial for the church and for the lost world.
I believe I am where I am today because a strong, godly woman – my nana – prayed for me and was an example of faith, love, godliness, and self-control. Furthermore, I mean not to embarrass my wife, but her faithfulness is something that has blessed me, too.
In memoirs of an ordinary pastor, DA Carson tells the story of a turbulent time in the life of his family that he never knew about.
His father lost funding for a church plant where he was pastor. What Carson didn’t know was that it came about because his father spoke out against a leader in the denomination. That leader was furious and with his power, pulled all funding that kept that little congregation going. The pastor and his family had to move. DA Carson writes that he was a teenager when all of that happened.
Years later, he encountered the man who had hurt his family. But DA had no idea of what had happened. He was kind and respectful because his mother and father were always kind and respectful of that man. After the mean man walked away, a pastor walked up to DA and asked how he could have been so kind and respectful to that man after all of the damage he caused the Carson’s? DA asked, “What damage?” It was only then that he learned what had happened.
DA Carson said in all the pain that leader within their denomination caused his family, never once did his father or mother speak ill of that leader. They always showed him great respect and spoke highly of him in front of their children. Carson said it was an invaluable lesson he learned from his father and mother about behavior in the church.
So, ladies, I don’t think this is ugly at all. I think this is empowering. You have tremendous power in how you pass on the faith. You do it in your behavior. You do it in the way you live out your quiet, peaceful life with all godliness and dignity.