DashHouse.com

The Blog of Darryl Dash

This blog is about how Jesus changes everything. He changes:

Our relationship with God

Our relationship with others

Our vocations - how we live and work in this world

Our ministries

This blog exists to explore some of the ways that Jesus changes everything. It provides resources and articles that will help you think about the ways that Jesus can change every part of your life.

The Lord himself invites you to a conference concerning your immediate and endless happiness, and He would not have done this if He did not mean well toward you. Do not refuse the Lord Jesus who knocks at your door; for He knocks with a hand which was nailed to the tree for such as you are. Since His only and sole object is your good, incline your ear and come to Him. Hearken diligently, and let the good word sink into your soul. (C.H. Spurgeon, All of Grace)

Two Lost Arts (1 Timothy 3:1)

  • it's 64 AD - only about 30 years after Jesus left the earth
  • all over the Roman Empire, churches are starting
  • the growth of these churches is in many cases explosive
  • within a few short years, there are believers in major cities all over the Empire

  • but there are problems
  • many within the church are baby Christians
  • to make it worse, there is no Bible as we know it now
  • the apostles, who are recognized as having more authority, are infrequent visitors, and are only able to write occasionally
  • false teachers are present within the church
  • how is the church going to grow in a God-honoring and truthful way?
  • how is the church going to protect itself from false teaching?
  • the clear answer in Scripture: godly leadership within the church - people who are entrusted with watching over the church
  • people who will have to give account to God one day for their administration and leadership of the church

  • in Acts 14:23 we read:
  • (Acts 14:23) Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust.
  • Paul and Barnabas literally risked their lives to return to churches where they had been threatened and even attacked
  • why?
  • to organize the churches' leadership
  • to appoint elders within the churches, to keep those churches on a God-glorifying path
  • Paul's normal course of action in every city was to establish a group of elders after the church began
  • Paul even instructed his representatives, such as Titus, to appoint "elders in every town"
  • it appears from a number of Scriptures, such as Philippians 1:1, James 5:14, and 1 Peter 5:1-2 that there were elders in every church in existence at that time

  • what are elders?
  • how do they relate to our current system of deacons and pastors?
  • there is a lot of confusion about church government, and especially about the role of church leaders
  • this is perhaps heightened in congregational systems of government like ours, in which leaders can become hamstrung by popular opinion within the church
  • so let's look tonight at two lost arts - the art of eldership, and the art of what I will call followership
  • and, in a few weeks, we'll look at the art of being a deacon

  • 1 Timothy 3:1 reads
  • (1 Timothy 3:1) Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task.
  • (1 Timothy 3:2) Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,
  • (1 Timothy 3:3) not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.
  • (1 Timothy 3:4) He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect.
  • (1 Timothy 3:5) (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God's church?)
  • (1 Timothy 3:6) He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil.
  • (1 Timothy 3:7) He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil's trap.

  • SOME OBSERVATIONS ABOUT ELDERS:
  • first, what are they?
  • let's get the terminology clear first
  • 1 Timothy 3:1 calls them overseers or bishops - episkopos in the Greek
  • but other passages talk about elders
  • are they the same thing?
  • well, Paul is writing to Timothy, and Timothy is in Ephesus
  • from Acts 20:17-38 we know that there are elders at Ephesus
  • in fact, in this passage Paul calls the same group of people elders and overseers
  • and in 1 Timothy 5:17 we discover that elders are ruling over the church in Ephesus
  • again, in Titus 1:5-7, Paul uses the terms interchangeably
  • it appears that whenever the Bible talks about bishops, overseers, and elders, they're talking about the same thing

  • it's ironic that the term least used to describe elders is the one in use today - pastor
  • in fact, it's found only once in the New Testament to describe this office, in Ephesians 4:11
  • it's clear from 1 Peter 5:2-4 that Peter regarded pastors as the same as elders
  • so whenever the Bible talks about bishops, overseers, elders, or pastors, the Bible is talking about the same group of people

  • how many are there?
  • it's interesting to note that there is a consistent pattern of plural elders as the main governing group of New Testament churches
  • the church doesn't have just one overseer
  • there are some who both teach and direct the affairs of the church, and there are some who lead and direct but do not necessarily teach

  • but what are they to do?
  • what is the job of an elder or pastor?
  • I think you'll agree that if we ask the average person in a church what a pastor's job is, you'll get many different answers
  • but the Scripture outlines their roles fairly clearly

  • one of their major roles is to govern the church
  • (1 Timothy 5:17) The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.
  • Paul also wrote:
  • (1 Timothy 3:4) He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect.
  • (1 Timothy 3:5) (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God's church?)
  • 1 Peter 5 encourages elders to rule over the church without domineering
  • it's clear that they have a leadership role in overseeing and directing the church

  • there are some who attempt to emasculate the role of pastor
  • they try to make it a teaching-only role, with no leadership component
  • but biblically speaking, the role of an elder is to lead

  • but another one of their major roles is to teach
  • in Ephesians 4:11, elders are referred to as "pastor-teachers"
  • in 1 Timothy 3:2, an elder must be an "apt teacher"
  • in 1 Timothy 5:17, Paul seems to imply that there is a group of elders who give more of their time to preach and to teach

  • so the two major roles of elders are to lead and to feed

  • contrast that with the expectations of elders today
  • there is a danger today of expecting elders to be program directors or CEO's of the church
  • we've adopted business models into the church to our detriment, to the point that we see the pastor as an executive, getting by on his charismatic personality or through a forceful personality
  • we also expect the pastor to be in charge of all the programs of the church
  • some churches just expect their pastors to teach, and to stay out of the way otherwise
  • and then there's the chaplain role of the pastor: to preach, and then to cater to the needs of the congregation throughout the rest of the week
  • to visit and to meet people's personal needs

  • many churches have got to the point where the pastor is a hired hand
  • the members' role is to pay his salary
  • and his role is to do the ministry
  • but that's not what the Bible says about the pastor
  • his role is to lead and to feed
  • and, I believe, we could add two other things to leading and feeding: equipping the saints for the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:11-12), and to intercede on behalf of the church and its ministry
  • that's the role of the pastor

  • let's begin to talk about how all of this applies today
  • next time we meet, we'll look at the qualifications of an elder, in which personal character is of utmost importance
  • le t's acknowledge that we've lost something by our one-pastor model in most Baptist churches today
  • the Bible never talks about solo pastors
  • theologian Wayne Grudem writes, "No passage suggests that any church, no matter how small, had only one elder. The consistent New Testament pattern is a plurality of elders ‘in every church' (Acts 14:23) and ‘in every town' (Titus 1:5)'"

  • if someone were to plant a church, I'd suggest that they start with two pastors
  • why?
  • it's biblical, and for very good reason - you need the support of another in leadership
  • you lose something when there's only one pastor

  • let's also realize that there appears to be different types of elders
  • how this can work in today's church is to realize that those who are given the responsibility of spiritual oversight in the church are elders
  • some elders are paid - as in the case of pastoral staff
  • but some elders are unpaid
  • for instance, in what we currently call the board of deacons, some of those men are gifted as spiritual overseers, and in essence are serving as elders within the church
  • many churches have a recognized elders board, with some elders as volunteers and some as full-time pastoral staff

  • I'll say this much: there is little Scriptural support for giving the task of spiritual oversight to deacons
  • if we give people the job of spiritual oversight, it's probably a much better idea to actually call them elders

  • that's a little about biblical eldership
  • we're going to talk next time about the qualifications for eldership
  • 1 Timothy 3:1 tells us that it is a good thing if one aspires to be an elder or a pastor
  • there might even be some people here who are aspiring to the role of the pastor
  • you feel God's call on your life to be an elder
  • if so, you're aspiring to a good thing
  • there's nothing I'd rather be doing

  • but I feel I can't end tonight without talking about the flip side of godly leadership
  • AND THAT IS THE ART OF GODLY FOLLOWERSHIP
  • we live in an individualistic age in which it is fashionable - even within the church - to refuse to follow leadership
  • we derive great pleasure from bashing our leaders
  • this extends to the church, where a "free for all" attitude can develop
  • I even hear well-meaning comments that people who don't like the direction of the church should join and vote to go in an opposite direction

  • now, I'm not here to tell you that you must always agree with the leadership of the church
  • I'm not here to say that leaders of the church have always proven themselves worthy of being followed
  • I'm not advocating blind leadership, but I am advocating what the Bible commands:
  • (Hebrews 13:17) Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.
  • the writer's point is: cooperative followers are a joy to godly leaders
  • God has appointed leaders in the church, and they must one day give account to God for their oversight
  • are you following the God-given leaders in the church in such a way that their ministry is not burdensome to them?

  • I've noticed that many sheep are reluctant followers
  • many churches don't let leaders lead
  • God has gifted some with the gift of leadership within the church, and the church has appointed certain people with positions of leadership
  • within a congregational structure, it's extremely easy to refuse to get behind these leaders, or to frustrate their direction
  • I was a member of a church in which the deacons and the pastor came to the congregation with a significant proposal
  • the proposal was presented in an appropriate way, with adequate communication and a clear rationale
  • but slowly, the tide of one particular meeting began to turn
  • it became a free-for-all, in which everyone felt free to express their opinion
  • and the unanimous recommendation of the deacons and the pastors was defeated

  • now, that is the right of any congregation within a structure of congregational government, but let me tell you what happened
  • the church took a major step backward
  • the leaders had received a clear vote of non-confidence
  • the pastor soon found himself on a leave of absence due to stress, after which he soon resigned
  • that church was one in which you'd have to come early to find a seat, but to this day - ten years later - it still hasn't fully recovered
  • all of which is to say: it is your right to refuse to follow
  • it's not biblical, but it's your right
  • but be aware that there are consequences when the art of followership is lost
  • when leaders aren't allowed to lead
  • that's a key area that we need to recapture within the church

  • if God has given someone the gift of teaching within the church, let them teach
  • if God has given someone the gift of mercy within the church, let them be merciful
  • if God has given someone the gift of service within the church, let them serve
  • and if God has given someone the gift and office of leadership within the church, let them lead!

  • we'll return to this passage in a few weeks
  • but let me close with a challenge
  • is there anyone you ought to encourage to become a leader?
  • if you have leadership gifts, set your heart on being a leader
  • we need people like you
  • if you don't sense that you are elder material, then follow confidently
  • pray for your leaders, make sure they're Scriptural - but then follow them
  • get behind them, and obey them so that their work is a joy, and not a burden

The Model for Giving (Mark 12:41-44)

  • my name is Thaddaeus
  • I know, I know - who is Thaddaeus?
  • everyone knows the other apostles - Simon Peter, James and John, etc.
  • but I was there - look me up!
  • I'm even mentioned two times in the Scripture as one of the twelve
  • I think I have an image problem

  • I'm here this morning to tell you about a story that revolutionized my life
  • it caused me to look on people very differently
  • and it caused me to give to God's work in a very different way
  • but I'm getting ahead of myself

  • it was the last week of Jesus' life
  • the week of Passover, as you know, was a busy one in Jerusalem
  • and Jesus was at the height of his popularity
  • large crowds followed him
  • everywhere Jesus went, he attracted attention
  • you wouldn't believe the excitement!
  • I'll never forget the day he entered the temple and cleared the Court of the Gentiles
  • that got him a little bit of attention!
  • I'll never forget the way the intellectual elite of the city came to do battle with this uneducated man with the rough Galilean accent
  • obviously a man of little education, but he was more than their equal!
  • I'll tell you, that was an unforgettable week in my life!

  • but one day, Jesus drew away from the crowds
  • he had just one-upped the teachers of the religious law, and given a scathing warning about how they loved to get attention
  • how they love the seats of honor at synagogues and at banquets
  • how they walk with these long, flowing robes and have everyone bow to them in the marketplace
  • meanwhile they're shamelessly cheating widows out of their property, and the next minute offering long prayers in public
  • "Hypocrites!" Jesus said
  • he had no time for them

  • but then he took us away from the crowds, and we sat on the steps of the Court of Women within the temple
  • the temple was packed with people
  • we sat and people-watched
  • how interesting to see the people coming and going
  • the looks on their faces
  • the ones that were running around in a hurry
  • those who were absently performing their duties, unaware of our presence
  • I love to people-watch, and it was always very interesting to people-watch with Jesus

  • around the Court of Women were thirteen sofars
  • they were trumpet-shaped boxes into which people threw in their money
  • there were seven sofars for the temple tax, and six for freewill offerings
  • it always made me laugh
  • pious religious people lined up to give a gift
  • they would stand in line, walk up to the receptacle, and announce the amount of the gift and the purpose
  • and the priest would yell back the amount and the purpose

  • some people took their gifts and broke it down to as many coins as possible
  • you get the idea - $100, all pennies
  • click, click, click, click
  • we were pretty poor, and I have to admit being a little bit impressed at some of the large gifts being given
  • we certainly couldn't afford to give the way we were

  • so we were watching the people coming and going
  • and we were watching people line up to contribute to the thirteen receptacles, as the priests announced the amount of the gift
  • I have to admit I didn't notice the lady until Jesus pointed to her
  • she was old, and she shuffled along in the crowds oblivious to all that was going on around her
  • we found out later that she was a destitute widow
  • she was not just poor, she was in abject poverty
  • rumor has it that she had even been financially abused by the religious teachers of the law
  • but she shuffled along, and entered the lineup to contribute to the temple

  • we watched her as she made her way to the front
  • the self-righteous stood in front of her and behind her, armed with gold and silver, ready to demand God's presence
  • they brought their tithes
  • but slowly, she made her way to the front as we strained to hear
  • she dropped some money in the sofar, and we couldn't hear her announcement of what she gave
  • the money certainly didn't make a racket as she dropped it in
  • and then we heard the priest yell out, "Two lepta!"
  • two lepta?
  • they were the smallest coins in circulation
  • they were worth almost nothing - worth less than 1/100 of a denarius, or five minutes labor at minimum wage!
  • it was the minimum amount that you were allowed to give
  • it certainly wasn't a very impressive gift, and we were almost embarrassed for the old woman as she shuffled away into the distance

  • but as she left, Jesus pointed at her and said, "The plain truth is that this widow has given by far the largest offering today. All these others made offerings that they'll never miss; she gave extravagantly what she couldn't afford—she gave her all!"
  • two lepta, the largest offering given that day?
  • the most extravagant gift that was offered?
  • as others continued to give their large gifts, and as the old woman disappeared in the crowd, I began to think about it

  • it struck me that those who were tithing thought they were giving well
  • and here was a woman who gave an inconsequential amount, and walked away viewing her gift as a failure
  • and yet she gave the most extravagant gift of them all

  • it began to hit me at that moment that there are two ways of giving
  • THERE'S GIVING THAT COSTS A PERSON LITTLE, AND GIVING THAT REALLY COSTS
  • here I was watching all the wealthy people come and give their offerings
  • meanwhile, they weren't even thinking of their gifts!
  • they weren't financially needy people
  • I suspect that their minds were on the families and meals that were waiting for them as soon as they finished their temple duty
  • don't get me wrong - they gave, but their giving wasn't a sacrifice
  • they gave and they still had lots over
  • but then this one old woman comes up and gives a meager amount, and yet it was her all
  • sometimes a little gift costs a great deal more than big gifts do

  • I began to think about this issue of sacrifice
  • and I began to wonder, how many people give to God's work in such a way that their gift is not sacrificial?
  • they may give the prescribed amount, but their gift is such a small percentage of their resources that they hardly miss it at all
  • I have to admit that I've given more than once to the temple without really thinking about it
  • oh sure, I could have done other things with the money, but I wasn't really sacrificing
  • it didn't affect my lifestyle that much
  • but here was a woman who gave in such a way that she had nothing left
  • it was the height of generosity

  • I don't know your financial situation today
  • it's not really my place to meddle - after all, I am from the first century!
  • but I've noticed an interesting thing
  • the more resources one has, the less they tend to give to God's work
  • I've found that when people's income rises, their percentage of charitable contributions drop
  • so my question after hearing Jesus talk about this widow is as follows:
  • are you giving - even a large amount - in a way that costs little, or are you giving in such a way that it really costs you?
  • I still remember the words of King David, "I will not offer to the Lord that which cost me nothing!"
  • does your giving really cost you?

  • there's another way of looking at giving
  • THERE'S GIVING THAT LOOKS AT HOW MUCH ONE GIVES, AND THERE'S GIVING THAT LOOKS AT HOW MUCH IS LEFT OVER
  • I was so impressed with the amount of the gifts that were being given, but the truth is:
  • faithfulness in giving has nothing to do with how much we give; it has everything to do with how much we keep
  • I looked at the size of the gifts, and to tell you the truth, the widow's offering wasn't that impressive
  • but it became really impressive when I saw how little she had left over
  • Jesus looked not at the amount of the gift, he looked with how much was left over at the end

  • I've got to be honest with you
  • many of you were taught the principle of tithing
  • but for many of you, giving 10% of your income is no test of faith
  • it's not a risk
  • you still have more than you need left over
  • how much do you have left over after you give?
  • the truth is, God owns it all
  • he's the one who gave you all that you have
  • everything that you have is his

  • Jesus once told the story to us of a man who had a really good crop
  • so he decided with his profits, he would tear down all his barns and build bigger ones
  • I guess in today's terms, it's like one of you who gets a windfall of money and decides to buy a new car, remodel the house, whatever
  • he said to himself, "Self, you've done well! You've got it made and can now retire. Take it easy and have the time of your life!"
  • but then God said, "Fool! Tonight you die. And your barnful of goods—who gets it?"
  • and I still remember what Jesus said to conclude the story: "That's what happens when you fill your barn with Self and not with God"

  • are you filling your barns full of Self or of God?
  • if you're even tithing, but all the while building bigger barns for yourself, building a bigger kingdom - you've made the wrong choice
  • God is going to say to you, "You fool"
  • but listen again: our faithfulness has nothing do with what we give, and everything to do with how much we keep
  • how much are you keeping behind?

  • well, there are two more ways of giving
  • THERE'S GIVING THAT COMES FROM RULE-KEEPING, AND GIVING THAT COMES FROM THE HEART
  • the people who were offering up their gifts weren't all that bad - they were all tithing
  • they were keeping the rules as far as giving went
  • I always used to think that as long as you tithed, you were giving enough
  • but that's the problem with giving according to a formula
  • it's possible to give a certain amount, and yet have the heart ripped right out of the process of giving
  • giving becomes perfunctory and mechanical
  • but the widow - she gave from the heart
  • she gave her everything!
  • what a challenge to me

  • that great teacher, Paul, tells us later in the Scriptures that everyone should make up their own mind what they give
  • in other words, don't just follow a formula
  • pray about it
  • he advised us not to give reluctantly or in response to pressure, because God loves the person who gives cheerfully
  • the attitude is more important than the amount
  • God is concerned how we give as much as he is concerned about what we give

  • when you give, do you give like all the people throwing in their money to the temple according to a prescribed formula
  • or do you give from the heart, like that poor widow who gave it all
  • do you give out of rule-keeping, or do you give as a spiritual act of service

  • well, I really have thought about what happened a lot
  • and one other distinction popped into my head as well
  • and it's this:
  • THERE'S GIVING THAT TRUSTS GOD, AND THERE'S GIVING THAT DOESN'T NEED TO
  • I wonder what was going on in that widow's mind as we watched her go away
  • she had just given the last of her meager resources
  • with no husband, and no income, how would she make ends meet?
  • how could she give the last of what she had?

  • but as I saw Jesus point to her, I couldn't help but think, "Will God not meet the needs of such a woman?"
  • how many of us really think, that after giving so sacrificially, God did not meet her needs?
  • I somehow think God was more faithful to her than any of us could imagine

  • I'm ashamed of the times that I've given God only what I thought I could afford
  • it never occurred to me to give in such a way that I would have to trust God to provide
  • I was giving in such a way that I didn't need to trust God
  • there was more than enough money left over to provide for all of my needs and wants

  • so let me ask you
  • does your giving demonstrate a trust in God to provide all of your needs?
  • or do you give in such a way that God has to step in and provide for you?
  • since that day, I've found that the people who give the most to God are the ones God blesses most
  • oh, I'm not saying that they're the richest financially - but make no mistake about it, they are the richest
  • as somebody from your century has said, "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."

  • Jesus pointed at her and said, "The plain truth is that this widow has given by far the largest offering today. All these others made offerings that they'll never miss; she gave extravagantly what she couldn't afford—she gave her all!"
  • as you give to God in a few minutes, let me ask you again:
  • does your giving really cost you?
  • how much are you not giving? how much is left behind?
  • are you giving out of rule-keeping, or from the heart?
  • and are you demonstrating a trust in God?
  • are you giving half as generously as the widow who gave just two lepta?

  • let's pray
  • (2 Corinthians 9:7) Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
  • (2 Corinthians 9:8) And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
  • I pray that when Jesus looks at us as we give - not just this morning but always - I pray that he will find purposeful, cheerful, extravagant givers, who have discovered that God is able to make all grace abound to us, so that in all things at all times, we will have all that we need, abounding in every good work
  • in Jesus' name, Amen.

Does Gender Matter in Ministry? Part Two (1 Timothy 2:8-15)

  1. OPTIONS IN UNDERSTANDING 1 TIMOTHY 2:8-15
    1. Option A: The passage doesn't say what it appears to. It is not a prohibition against any ministry of women. Arguments include:
      1. The word translated "authority" in verse 12 is translated wrongly. It should be translated, "I do not permit women to teach that they are the source of men." However, there is little linguistic, historic, or scholarly support for this view.
      2. Some argue that the passage refers to women in the context of the home and marriage, rather than in the church. However, the context of the chapter appears to be public worship.
    2. Option B: Paul does place a prohibition on some ministries of women - but only a temporary one. This prohibition does not apply today. Arguments include:
      1. The word "permit" in verse 12 appears to be in the Greek a temporary and limited restriction. Response: the Greek does indicate that Paul wrote for the present time; it does not necessarily indicate a temporal command.
      2. Since Paul permits women to learn (verse 11), the ultimate purpose for them is to teach. However, the purpose of learning is not solely to teach, and Paul does not prohibit all teaching by women.
      3. Paul is prohibiting women from teaching in Ephesus because of the goddess controversy, and the fact that women in that church were not spiritually mature enough to teach. However, this does not deal adequately with Paul's appeal in verse 13 to the creation order.
      4. Paul's appeal to the creation order and the order of the fall corrects some false teaching that was taking place. It does not apply the creation order to male/female roles within the church. However, Paul elsewhere uses the same arguments to refer to male/female roles (1 Corinthians 11:8-9).
      5. Paul uses Adam and Eve as an illustration of what was happening in the Ephesian church. However, this does not deal adequately with Paul's appeal in verse 13 to the creation order.
    3. Option C: Paul places a clear and timeless prohibition on some ministries of women. Arguments include:
      1. The appeal to the creation order seems to indicate that his conclusions are based on timeless, pre-fall principles.
      2. This is the plain meaning of the text (as opposed to the hidden meaning).
  1. EQUAL, YET DIFFERENT ROLES?
    1. The Trinity provides an example for us of what it means to be equal, yet different in role. For instance, the Son is submissive to the Father. This is applied in Scripture to the role of men and women (1 Corinthians 11:3).
    2. There appears to have been a distinction in roles right from creation (Genesis 2:18; 1 Corinthians 11:9; 1 Timothy 2:13). Other aspects of the creation story (the birthright; the naming of Eve by Adam; God speaking to Adam first; Adam representing the entire human race) appear to indicate the distinction in roles.
    3. Redemption affirms the creation order (Colossians 3:18-19; Ephesians 5:22-23; Titus 2:5; 1 Peter 3:1-7). The distinction in roles was not caused by the Fall, and is not removed by redemption.
  2. UNDERSTANDING WOMEN IN MINISTRY TODAY
    1. Both men and women were created in the image of God. Both genders are equal in worth and importance.
    2. Both men and women have vital roles to be played in the church. Examples:
      1. Priscilla taught Apollos (Acts 18:24-26)
      2. Paul frequently mentioned women who were active in ministry (Romans 16:1,6,12; Philippians 4:2).
      3. Women prayed and prophesied in the public worship of the church (1 Corinthians 11:5).
    3. Women were regarded as co-recipients within the church of God's riches (Galatians 3:28). They found new freedom in Christ that was revolutionary in its day (e.g. to learn in 1 Timothy 2:11).
    4. There appears to be a clear and timeless prohibition against women serving as elders in 1 Timothy 2:12. The function of "teaching and having authority" is that of elder or pastor (the words are interchangeable).
    5. Beyond this one prohibition, women are encouraged to use their gifts to the fullest in the body of Christ. Churches should welcome women to exercise all the spiritual gifts, including leadership and teaching, outside of the office of pastor/elder.
    6. The role of deacon in the New Testament appears to have been a serving role more than a governing role. This role appears to be open to women (Romans 16:1). Note: the term deaconess does not appear in Scripture. Deacon (even when referring to a female) is a more appropriate term.
    7. Richview needs to give every woman and man an opportunity to use their God-given gifts to the full extent of their biblical boundaries. We need to examine current biases: Serving communion? Teaching/preaching under the authority of a male senior pastor? The invisible "glass ceiling"?
    8. Sensitivity is needed in this area, in the use of humor and in our attitudes. We need the humility to realize that we don't have the final word, and yet the courage to live by Scripture as best we understand it.
    9. Rather than being restrictive, obedience to God in this area will be fulfilling and freeing.

The Danvers Statement

Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood

Rationale

We have been moved in our purpose by the following contemporary developments which we observe with deep concern:

  1. The widespread uncertainty and confusion in our culture regarding the complementary differences between masculinity and femininity;
  2. the tragic effects of this confusion in unraveling the fabric of marriage woven by God out of the beautiful and diverse strands of manhood and womanhood;
  3. the increasing promotion given to feminist egalitarianism with accompanying distortions or neglect of the glad harmony portrayed in Scripture between the loving, humble leadership of redeemed husbands and the intelligent, willing support of that leadership by redeemed wives;
  4. the widespread ambivalence regarding the values of motherhood, vocational homemaking, and the many ministries historically performed by women;
  5. the growing claims of legitimacy for sexual relationships which have Biblically and historically been considered illicit or perverse, and the increase in pornographic portrayal of human sexuality;
  6. the upsurge of physical and emotional abuse in the family;
  7. the emergence of roles for men and women in church leadership that do not conform to Biblical teaching but backfire in the crippling of Biblically faithful witness;
  8. the increasing prevalence and acceptance of hermeneutical oddities devised to reinterpret apparently plain meanings of Biblical texts;
  9. the consequent threat to Biblical authority as the clarity of Scripture is jeopardized and the accessibility of its meaning to ordinary people is withdrawn into the restricted realm of technical ingenuity;
  10. and behind all this the apparent accommodation of some within the church to the spirit of the age at the expense of winsome, radical Biblical authenticity which in the power of the Holy Spirit may reform rather than reflect our ailing culture.

Purposes

Recognizing our own abiding sinfulness and fallibility, and acknowledging the genuine evangelical standing of many who do not agree with all of our convictions, nevertheless, moved by the preceding observations and by the hope that the noble Biblical vision of sexual complementarity may yet win the mind and heart of Christ's church, we engage to pursue the following purposes:

  1. To study and set forth the Biblical view of the relationship between men and women, especially in the home and in the church.
  2. To promote the publication of scholarly and popular materials representing this view.
  3. To encourage the confidence of lay people to study and understand for themselves the teac hing of Scripture, especially on the issue of relationships between men and women.
  4. To encourage the considered and sensitive application of this Biblical view in the appropriate spheres of life.
  5. And thereby

    1. to bring healing to persons and relationships injured by an inadequate grasp of God's will concerning manhood and womanhood,
    2. to help both men and women realize their full ministry potential through a true understanding and practice of their God-given roles,
    3. and to promote the spread of the gospel among all peoples by fostering a Biblical wholeness in relationships that will attract a fractured world.

Affirmations

Based on our understanding of Biblical teachings, we affirm the following:

  1. Both Adam and Eve were created in God's image, equal before God as persons and distinct in their manhood and womanhood.
  2. Distinctions in masculine and feminine roles are ordained by God as part of the created order, and should find an echo in every human heart.
  3. Adam's headship in marriage was established by God before the Fall, and was not a result of sin.
  4. The Fall introduced distortions into the relationships between men and women.
    1. In the home, the husband's loving, humble headship tends to be replaced by domination or passivity; the wife's intelligent, willing submission tends to be replaced by usurpation or servility.
    2. In the church, sin inclines men toward a worldly love of power or an abdication of spiritual responsibility, and inclines women to resist limitations on their roles or to neglect the use of their gifts in appropriate ministries.
  5. The Old Testament, as well as the New Testament, manifests the equally high value and dignity which God attached to the roles of both men and women. Both Old and New Testaments also affirm the principle of male headship in the family and in the covenant community.
  6. Redemption in Christ aims at removing the distortions introduced by the curse.
    1. In the family, husbands should forsake harsh or selfish leadership and grow in love and care for their wives; wives should forsake resistance to their husbands' authority and grow in willing, joyful submission to their husbands' leadership.
    2. In the church, redemption in Christ gives men and women an equal share in the blessings of salvation; nevertheless, some governing and teaching roles within the church are restricted to men.
  7. In all of life Christ is the supreme authority and guide for men and women, so that no earthly submission-domestic, religious, or civil-ever implies a mandate to follow a human authority into sin.
  8. In both men and women a heartfelt sense of call to ministry should never be used to set aside Biblical criteria for particular ministries. Rather, Biblical teaching should remain the authority for testing our subjective discernment of God's will.
  9. With half the world's population outside the reach of indigenous evangelism; with countless other lost people in those societies that have heard the gospel; with the stresses and miseries of sickness, malnutrition, homelessness, illiteracy, ignorance, aging, addiction, crime, incarceration, neuroses, and loneliness, no man or woman who feels a passion from God to make His grace known in word and deed need ever live without a fulfilling ministry for the glory of Christ and the good of this fallen world.
  10. We are convinced that a denial or neglect of these principles will lead to increasingly destructive consequences in our families, our churches, and the culture at large.

The Danvers Statement was prepared by several evangelical leaders at a CBMW meeting in Danvers, Mass., in December, 1987. It was first published in final form by the CBMW in Wheaton, Ill., in November, 1988.

More complimentarian resources are available at www.cbmw.org.

The Rewards of Giving (2 Corinthians 9:8-15)

  • during a sermon, the country preacher said to his congregation, "Now let the church walk"
  • Deacon Jones said, "Amen, let it walk"

  • "Let the church run," said the preacher
  • "Let it run," echoed Deacon Jones

  • "Let it fly," said the preacher
  • "Amen, brother, let the church fly," said Deacon Jones

  • "Now it's going to take money to let it fly, brother," said the preacher
  • "Let it walk," said Deacon Jones, "let it walk"

  • this morning we're going to talk about the rewards of giving sacrificially
  • in two previous Sundays, I've talked about the subject of stewardship
  • you're probably wondering why I'm doing this
  • is the church in financial trouble?
  • does the pastor have some agenda?

  • what is the reason for even talking about the subject of money?
  • well, the simple answer is that the whole area of stewardship of money is not automatic
  • hardly anyone, left to themselves, becomes a great steward of God's money
  • a lot of people begin to follow Christ in the different areas of life, but guess what happens when it comes to money?
  • nothing
  • unless some teaching is done, and unless proper stewardship is modeled, it's simply not going to happen
  • I'll tell you the two ways that I learned to give
  • first, I was taught on the subject from an early age, by my mother actually
  • second, it was modeled for me by, once again, my mother, who could afford to give very little, and yet gave sacrificially far beyond what could be reasonably expected

  • but the other reason we're talking about the subject of money is this
  • it's because you're missing out on the rewards of giving if you're not giving properly
  • let me put it quite simply: if you're not practicing proper stewardship, you're missing the boat
  • you haven't experienced all the blessings that come from being a faithful giver
  • there are certain blessings reserved for those who give faithfully and sacrificially
  • there are certain promises that will only be received by those who know what it means to sacrifice
  • and this morning we're going to look at the rewards of giving

  • but first let me ask you: why are you hesitant to give?
  • and don't look at me in that funny way: "Who says that I'm hesitant to give?"
  • listen: I know
  • there's not a person here who hasn't struggled in this area
  • unless you have the spiritual gift of giving - defined as the "divine enablement to contribute money and resources to the work of the Lord with cheerfulness and liberality" - unless you have this spiritual gift, you are probably on occasion a reluctant giver
  • we're sometimes hesitant givers because the motivation for giving is external
  • in other words, we're forced to give
  • the motivation is external, rather than internal
  • the story is told of a pastor who was about to preach on stewardship
  • he took the drastic action of calling in an electrician and wiring the pews
  • the next day, when the offering time came, the pastor announced, "From now on all pledges will be made publicly in the worship service"
  • then he added, "All those who will pledge $10 per week, stand"
  • at that moment, the switch was thrown that sent the juice through the wires in the pews
  • the response was immediate - one half of the congregation jumped to their feet
  • then the pastor said, "All those who will pledge $20 please stand"
  • the electrician raised the voltage and a second, stronger shock wave caused more people to rise
  • the whole process was repeated several more times
  • each time the amount was raised and so was the voltage
  • the ushers had to work frantically to get all the names and the pledges written down

  • later, in the counting room, the pastor and his staff were busy adding up the totals and congratulating themselves on the great success of the campaign
  • until an usher came in and announced that four parishioners had stubbornly remained glued to their seats and were electrocuted

  • you might not have been shocked into giving, but if the reason for giving is an external one - an emotional appeal or manipulation - then you're a reluctant giver

  • you might also be a reluctant giver if your motivation for giving is legalistic
  • you might be aware that the standard of giving in the Old Testament was a tithe
  • under Mosaic law, Israel was commanded to give a tenth of its crops, herds, flocks, and the fruit of its trees to support the Levites
  • some say that the tithe is also a principle for the church to follow, but there's one problem
  • besides the time that Jesus acknowledges that he Pharisees tithed while neglecting the weightier matters of the law, Jesus nowhere commands his disciples that this is to be the practice of the church
  • nowhere in the New Testament is the principle of tithing taught
  • there is no indication that an Old Testament command based on a theocratic form of government and based an agrarian economy should be applicable to the church

  • in fact, the New Testament holds us to a higher standard than the traditional tithe
  • instead of prescribing an exact amount to give, the New Testament makes giving a matter of the heart
  • if you're giving legalistically - against a prescribed standard and not out of an overflowing heart - then no wonder your giving is reluctant
  • the problem with tithing is that when we give according to an external standard, the heart is cut out of the gift
  • there's a better way, that we'll discover next week

  • but there's another reason that many of us can be reluctant givers
  • we're sometimes reluctant givers because we're worried about the cost
  • on a fixed income, or with only so much money left in the bank account, we're concerned that the more we give, the less we'll have

  • and to you, God says this morning:
  • (Malachi 3:10) Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.
  • God says, "Test me, because there are specific benefits that come to those who give"
  • "Just try giving to me, and see if your blessings don't increase to the point that you have no more room to receive them"
  • "Give it a try. Give all you want, but you'll never outgive God"

  • let's look at four bold promises that God makes to those who give
  • these are four things that God promises to do
  • he drives a stake in the ground and says, "Test me on this. Just give it a try. See if I don't do these four things to you in abundance"
  • these are the four rewards of giving

  • FIRST, GOD WILL MEET YOUR NEEDS
  • (2 Corinthians 9:8) And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
  • the New Living Translation says:
  • (2 Corinthians 9:8 NLT) And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.
  • he will in all things and at all times meet our needs when we faithfully give to him
  • he is able - continually able - to make all grace abound to us; to generously provide all that we need
  • (Psalms 34:10) The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.
  • God knows everything you need
  • God is able to provide for his children
  • over and over again, Scripture tells us that it's God's inclination to meet the needs of his children
  • (Matthew 7:9) "Which of you, if his son asks for b read, will give him a stone?
  • (Matthew 7:10) Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?
  • (Matthew 7:11) If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
  • (Romans 8:32) He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all - how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
  • to use a modern analogy, if God paid off the national debt, don't you think he has enough to buy you a candy bar?
  • God knows your needs, and he promises to meet them
  • as John Bunyan wrote, "A man there was and they called him mad; the more he gave, the more he had."
  • I've found this true over and over in my life
  • there have been times that I've been pretty sure I couldn't afford to give anymore
  • my finances were tight; I didn't know how I was going to make it
  • and yet I went ahead and continued to give to God sacrificially
  • do you know what?
  • God never failed to provide
  • I'll never forget praying in school over my finances, saying, "Lord, I don't know how I'm going to make it"
  • and just then, before resuming my studies, deciding to check the mail - anything but returning to the books - and finding in the mail a gift from an unexpected source to help pay my expenses
  • more recently, the time when one income stream dried up on Friday, and by Sunday night the Lord had replaced it in a most unexpected way
  • over and over I've seen God fulfill his promise: God will meet our needs

  • promise number two
  • GOD WILL NOT ONLY MEET YOUR NEEDS, HE WILL MORE THAN MEET YOUR NEEDS
  • it's difficult to describe how richly Paul piles up the terms in verse 8 in the original language:
  • "God is able to make all grace abound...so that in all things at all times you have all that you need to abound in every good work"
  • the emphasis is all and every - God will always provide in every way possible
  • he will make us more than abound - he will make us overflow to the point where the word Paul uses in verse 8 - "having all that you need" - literally means that we'll be self-sufficient
  • God promises not only to meet the bare minimum of our needs, God promises to go beyond that and meet more than our needs

  • remember what Paul just wrote:
  • (2 Corinthians 9:6) Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.
  • or what Jesus said:
  • (Luke 6:38) Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."

  • you might ask, "Are you saying that we should give in order to get?"
  • these passages aren't talking about the motivation for giving - they're talking about the results of giving
  • don't give simply to get; but realize that God will incredibly bless you when you do give
  • verse 11 gives a little hint to us:
  • (2 Corinthians 9:11) You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
  • when God blesses you after you give, your job is to give to get to give again
  • you will become like a Teflon tube with no stick
  • the more God pours his blessings on you, the more you'll be able to give to others
  • give to get to give again
  • God will not only meet your needs, he will more than meet your needs

  • third promise
  • WHEN YOU GIVE, GOD MEETS THE NEEDS OF OTHERS THROUGH YOU
  • when you give, not only will I more than meet your needs, but I will take your gifts and meet the needs of other people
  • (2 Corinthians 9:12) This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God's people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.
  • when the Corinthians gave to help the Judean Christians, who were living in poverty, the immediate result was the provision of need for those who were poor
  • when you give to God, not only will God provide for your needs, but God will take your gift and multiply its effects in the lives of other people
  • the money you contribute to God will have an eternal impact on the lives of other people: in the lives of the children who are being taught in Churchtime; through the missionaries we support from Toronto all the way to the other end of the world
  • in Luke 16 Jesus told us the parable of the shrewd manager, and concluded it with this point:
  • (Luke 16:9) I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.
  • and the point is this: invest your money in such a way that it has an eternal impact
  • give so that your money is invested in what will last into eternity
  • specifically, in reaching others for Jesus Christ for all time

  • I can't tell you what it will be like to meet someone in heaven one day, and hear the words, "Thank you."
  • you might respond on that day, "Thank you for what? I don't even think I know you"
  • and then to hear them say, "Because of your sacrificial gifts, a missionary was able to plant a church, and through that church I heard the gospel."
  • or to hear, ‘Thanks. Your gift helped to build Richview Baptist Church in 1999. Because of the ministry of that church - made possible by your gifts - I became a Christian"
  • use worldly wealth to make friends for eternity
  • God takes your gift and meets the needs of others

  • there's another promise to those who give
  • not only will God meet your needs and the needs of others
  • WHEN YOU GIVE, GOD HIMSELF WILL BE GLORIFIED
  • God himself will be the beneficiary of your gift
  • (2 Corinthians 9:11) You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
  • (2 Corinthians 9:12) This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God's people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.
  • Paul says that when the gift is received, people will recognize your generosity for what it is: God's grace at work in your life
  • when people see this, God will be glorified
  • so while the immediate aim of your gift will be what it does for others, the ultimate goal of your giving is to bring honor to God himself
  • that's what God promises

  • so are you a reluctant giver?
  • are you in fact robbing God by withholding your resources from him?
  • are you stingy and legalistic - giving the bare minimum
  • enough to not feel guilty; not so much that it affects your lifestyle
  • if that's you, you're missing out on God's blessings
  • you're missing out on God meeting your needs
  • you're missing out on God meeting more than your needs
  • you're missing out on impacting the lives of others through your money
  • and you're missing out on glorifying God

  • expand your faith
  • put God to the test
  • see if he doesn't throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it
  • researchers have placed goldfish in tight little bowls
  • for months, they swim in small circles
  • when such fish have been released into a large pond of water, they continue to swim in tight little circles
  • they don't know that the barrier is gone
  • we're like that
  • we move in our own tight little circles of getting, keeping, stowing away, hoarding and clutching
  • in so doing, we miss out on what the blessings of giving

  • let's pray
  • Father:
  • what we have received comes from you
  • we thank you that when we give, you are able to meet our needs, meet more than our needs
  • you are able to meet the needs of others, and bring glory to your name
  • so we surrender all and give it to you
  • in Jesus' name, Amen.