David Platt on Biblical Mahood and Womanhood

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What better day to listen to David Platt giving the biblical perspective on manhood and womanhood, than on March 8 – the official international woman’s day.

adam eve gardenIn Part 1 – Platt gives a Summary of Manhood  & Womanhood in Genesis

Some of the Bible’s statements may sound chauvinistic or domineering in our contexts today, if they’re not understood in the context of the Scriptures’s teaching in Genesis 1&2. In part 1 we see 3 truths:

  1. Equal dignity. God created man and woman with equal dignity, both man and woman created in the image of God, and likeness of God, as representatives of  God. Man, not superior to woman, woman not superior to man. Any man who belittles a woman is violating the design of God. Any woman who disparages a man  is undercutting the beautiful design of God.
  2. Different roles. At the same time, men and women are created with different roles. Roles that don’t call into question one’s dignity and worth in any way. This is clear, we look to Genesis and walk through 8 reasons we know this is true. Man created to be the head, in a position of authority, Created first by the design of God with responsibility, representation, authority, entrusted by God. And woman, created to be the helper. Genesis 2:18 and 20 woman created as suitable helper for man, equal in dignity, different in roles in a complementary way, in a good way, not unfair, not demeaning. Cause God did this as a reflection of Himself and of the Trinity- God the Father, God the Son, God the Spirit- Equal in essence, worth, different in role. It’s not chauvinistic, domineering for God the Father to have authority over, and for God the Son to submit to God the Father. This is where we see, the understanding of the personhood of God is huge for understanding our own manhood and womanhood.
  3. For our good and His glory. So, He created all of us, men and women with equal dignity, different roles, for our good and His glory.

David Platt – Biblical Manhood and Womanhood Part 1

Platt recounts the points from the first part (video) and begins the second part message at the 9:30 minute mark.

Sin has woefully distorted those 2 roles. , and we bear, feel the effects of sin. Broken relations with men and women abound. Distorted ideas of manhood and womanhood abound all across our culture. What I want to show you is that it all goes back to Genesis 3.  Every detail is important. The anatomy and the consequence of sin are intertwined directly with manhood and womanhood. I want to show you how sin affects men differently than it affects women, how it expresses itself differently in man and in woman, how the results of sin are different in man and in woman. As sin expresses itself in man and in woman, we see how there’s an active picture and a passive picture.

Manhood-

  • Spineless abdication of his responsibility. This is the essence of what Adam did in verses 1-5. He stands by and does nothing. The serpent, in the very way he is tempting this couple, he is subverting the design of God. He does not come to the head (the man), he comes to woman. The serpent’s saying to woman, „Why don’t you lead the way? Why don’t you make this decision?” The serpent is undercutting the design of God, in the very way he is tempting. Then, when you get to verse 17, when God speaks directly to Adam, „Adam, because you have listened to the voice of your wife…” before He even addresses the fact that Adam ate the piece of fruit- direct disobedience to the command of God that Adam had been given. He says, „Fundamentally, you listened, instead of leading. You stood silently by, doing nothing.” Like a wimp, and then has the audacity, when God confronts his sin, to blame the woman.  Spineless abdication of responsibility in men, and dads, that is alive today because men refuse to lead. They sit and watch TV, play video games, surf the internet, who never come home from work, who don’t step up and take responsibility for wives and children. Males who think they are men, but in reality are little boys, shirking the responsibility that God Himself has entrusted to them. (13:00)
  • Aggressive: Selfish abuse of his authority. Then you go to the other extreme. And what you have is a more aggressive picture, selfish abuse of his authority. A man will rise up and say, „I’m not gonna be a wimp in this relationship, I’m gonna dominate this relationship. Some believe the end of v. 16 „he shall rule over you”, that word there is depicted of harsh, forceful, oppressive rulership, domineering, which is a distortion of God’s design. Headship does not equal domination, man’s controlling woman, man abusing his authority in his position of authority in the relationship. 
  • He will experience pain in his role of breadwinning. Notice of how punishment for sin in man’s life is then specifically linked to his responsibility. As a result of sin, man shall experience pain in his role of breadwinning. This is something that man was commanded to do in a way that woman was not commanded- working the ground and providing for the family. This is gender specific punishment for sin.

Womanhood-

  • Passive: Spineless dismissal of any responsibility. We can’t misunderstand the picture here. It’s not that woman was not responsible for her sin, here in Genesis 3. Man certainly had a level of responsibility, we see that when God confronts man for the accountability for sin, but, woman was obviously and clearly directly responsible for her disobedience to God. And, there’s a distorted picture, as a result of sin that leads, particularly when it comes to submission. Sin distorts this role and causes women to think, „Ok, well, if I’m the helper, he’s the head, then I’m not accountable for what I do. Maybe a woman sees her husband or her children doing something they should not be doing, she doesn’t do anything about it because she says, „That’s my role.” Or maybe she has a husband who is abusing her and she sits idly by, thinking that’s what submission is all about. That is a tragic distortion of biblical womanhood. God has created no woman to be a door mat. He’s created women with a responsibility towards God for how they think, for how they live, for the choices they make, the way they use and present their bodies. SIDE NOTE here- as we come up on summer here. I want to say to the women in our midst that you have a responsibility before God for the way that you dress for the summer, not to lead men into sin. Some would say, „Well, it’s their problem .” It is their problem and it is most definitely your problem. Do not do what Eve did in Genesis 3, leading your brother into sin. Run from every appearance of that. Guard your brother from sin in every way you can. 
  • Agressive: Selfish defiance against authority. In v. 16, as a result of sin, God says to the woman, „Your desire shall be for your husband.” Now, why is that bad, that the woman will desire the husband, as a result of sin? What does that mean- desire? You go to ch. 4:7, and you see the same word, the same language used when God is speaking to Cain about sin in his life. Listen to what God says to Cain, „If you do well Cain, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. It’s desire is for you. But, you must rule over it.” Same language there. Sin’s desire is for you. Is it good for sin to desire you? No. Sin’s desire is to overpower you, to oppose you, to work against you. That’s what sin does. And so, it’s the same picture that’s being used here in 3:16, when God says, „Your desire will be for your husband.” You will desire to overpower him, to oppose his leadership, to work against his leadership. This is defiance of his authority. Your desire will be to usurp his leadership with your own leadership. Not in a complementary way, but in a competitive way. The result of sin in you is you will say, „I wanna do this my way, my rule, regardless of what my husband says or does. I’m in charge here. That is a very sinful sense, desiring the authority that God has given to man.
  • She will experience pain in her role of childbearing. Here, the same way that we saw God’s punishment, uniquely fitted to man, we see God’s punishment and  sin uniquely fitted to women. As a result of sin, women will experience pain in her role of childbearing.Just as God had given man a specific role in providing, working the ground, God has uniquely given woman the role of bearing children. So, God says to woman, I will surely multiply your pain as a woman. You bring forth children. In other words, that which I have created you uniquely to do as a woman, will bring about pain in your life as a woman. You put this together and you realize just how much sin is intertwined with manhood and womanhood. This is not just a generic picture of sin in Genesis 3. This is a picture of sin that is a direct assault, from the adversary on manhood and womanhood , as God has designed it to be. (20:00)

Adam and Eve Casted Out from the Garden Genesis 3:24You can almost picture Satan, at the end of Genesis 3, just laughing, saying, „I’ve got things so distorted now, they’ll never figure this thing out.” You have aggressive man, and you say, „You need to be more passive.” You’ll have passive women, and you’ll say, „You need to stand up and be aggressive. Now, go back and forth between distortions, i.e. contemporary culture, and you’ll never get to the root of the issue. So, take us to the root of the issue: When you put all this together, and the results of Genesis 3 are all across this room.

So, what shall we do? This is the beauty, that in a sense, this is the worst chapter in the Bible. Genesis 3:15 is the promise of grace- the proto evangelion- the first Gospel. And it’s God saying, at the midst of the entrance of sin into the world, to the serpent, „I’m gonna raise up an offspring from woman, and He shall bruise your head, you will bruise His heel.” It’s a promise. God says, at the first entrance of sin in the world, „I’m going to send one, from woman, who is going to conquer sin and Satan and who will bring my redemption. And so, what shall we do, in light of the effects of sin on our marriages, in our homes, and our cultures, on manhood, and womanhood? What we must do is look to Christ. Because He is the one who conquers sin and its effects.

And this is the beauty, you realize. You come to Christ, you’re saved from sin. You trust in Christ as your Lord and Savior and follow the process of sanctification, where you and I, as followers of Christ are being made  in the image of Christ. Sanctification, all growing into the image of Christ. This is where we realize, that as you and I are conformed into the image of Christ, we’re not just conformed into the image of Christ generically. Certainly, some generalities across the board. But, we’re being formed into the image of men and women, and sanctification. If sin affected and is expressed in certain ways, among men and women, then  salvation and sanctification will then be expressed in certain ways among men and women. And our salvation in Christ is not just about becoming the people that God desired us to be, but, our salvation in Christ is about becoming the men and the women God desires us to be. Turning from sinful expressions of manhood, and womanhood, sinful inclinations of manhood and womanhood, to where in Christ be redeemed as the men and women He desires. SO, that’s where we come to God’s design.

This is God’s ideal- God’s design. None of us are there. How can we, from our unique situations, by the grace of Christ, pursue God’s design?

Manhood-

  • praying husband and wifeMan’s primary responsibility is to lead. 1 Corinthians 11, Ephesians 5, God has entrusted, in His design, from the beginning, man for the primary (not sole, but we’ll get to that) responsibility to lead, for the good of the woman. It was good in Genesis 1, and turned bad since Genesis 3. It was good in the design- good for man and for woman. This was not leadership for self appeasement, for self gratification, self exaltation.
  1. This is leadership for the good of others. Christ is our leader and He is good. He is a good leader, and so we gladly submit to Christ, our leader. God’s design , and that’s the whole picture, His design is for men to lead in a way that reflects Christ. Some say, „What about men who area abusive do women, domineering over women?” That’s not good, and that’s not God’s design. There’s a manual on church discipline from the 2nd century. And this manual gives the following instruction. „If there is a man that is abusing his wife in the church, the pastor should take 2 stout elders and go visit that home…”
  2. So it is for the good of woman, and ultimately for the glory of Christ. Man realizes that he is a leader under authority. Man is not the ultimate leader. He is the head. Christ is the head of man, and Christ is the ultimate leader, and man, in the design of God, never resumes the authority of Christ over woman. Man leads in a way that points woman to the authority of Christ. That’s God design from the beginning. That’s why God setup the whole picture, to show who Christ is. This is what drives men to lead: The good of woman and the glory of Christ.
  • In that, man is accountable to God for two things, based on what we see in the first 3 chapters.
  1. Man is accountable to God for protection of his wife and of women. It is clear here in chapter 3 that he does not protect his wife from the adversary. And this is what we see all throughout Scripture in spiritual warfare, in physical warfare, family warfare, man is protector for all of God’s people. In the Old Testament, it’s the men who go off to war, not women. In the New Testament, Joseph is told by God to protect Mary and the child, and go into Egypt. Men are commanded in the church, in the New Testament to protect the body.  In a general sense, we all know this. If you have 2 single guys, and 2 single ladies walking down the street together, and an attacker comes up, we all know it is not a sign of manhood for the men to step back and push the ladies forward. Spineless abdication. It is outside the design of God. Man is accountable to God for the protection of his wife.
  2. Man is accountable to God for provision in the home. When God doled out his punishment for sin, he’s directly addressing the responsibility He had given man to work and to provide for a family. A man feels accountability for provision. Now, it doesn’t mean sole accountability. The Bible’s not saying that it’s wrong for women to work outside the home, or to help provide for the family. But, the primary accountability here is upon man, the leader in the home. (29:00)

WOMANHOOD – 

  • woman prayingWoman’s primary responsibility is to support. She is a helper by God’s designGenesis 2. She is not devalued by that, but she is honored by that, in the same way the Son is honored by before the Father.
  1. She supports through a humble disposition that yields to man’s leadership. The reason I put disposition there is because I know there are all kinds of circumstances in this room. That’s what makes this issue really difficult to apply. I have yet to meet a woman who has a husband, that desires to show loving, Godly leadership, protection, provision, humble sacrificial care for her, I have yet to meet a woman that is complaining about that- that says God’s design is not good. Now, I’ve met a lot of women who have not seen that. But, when this is there, we see this is good. It’s very good. knowing that there’s all these circumstances in this room, knowing that there’s manhood nonexistent in many cases, the reason I use the word disposition, is because there is in the pattern of God, the design of God and inclination, a disposition that He has designed for women to desire that, in a good way, that kind of leadership. You might say, „What about a situation where you’ve got a wife that is really, really gifted? And the husband, not so gifted?” Should she still follow his leadership? Absolutely. This is the design of God, based on position, not on ability. Any husband is going to maximize his wife’s gifts
  2. With ultimate devotion to following Christ’s leadership. The husband is the head of the wife, but not ultimate head. Christ is the ultimate head. And, biblical womanhood does not say, „Whatever my husband tells me to do, I’ll do it, no matter what. No, biblical womanhood has a discerning spirit that is inclined to submit to a husband, but is further inclined to submit to Christ. And if her husband wants her to do something that goes directly against the word of Christ, she yields to Christ over him.
  3. Affirming her husband’s role. (35:00)
  4. Nurture in the home. She is equipped by God to nurture in the home, in a way that compliments a man’s leadership with the children. He protects, provides; she affirms and nurtures.

That is the ideal, and none of us are living in it. And, the temptation is to think, „I would, if my husband would get right.” Or, „I would, if my wife would start living out womanhood.” You could spend all day figuring out how to fix the other people in your life on this issue. But, let’s step back and see the application to our own lives. Let’s resist the temptation to shift blame and responsibility for lack of manhood and womanhood in our culture, in the church, in our families, and our lives. And, to say, „In my own life, how God, by your grace, can I be the man and woman you designed for me to be?

Overall exhortations to guide the application in our own lives:

MEN

Initiate humble, hardworking leadership. God made you to work hard, for the good of women, and the glory of His name. Work at leadership.

  1. in spiritual devotion. Is your wife and are your children flourishing in their relationships with Christ? 
  2. in marital duties. Don’t wait for your wife to come to you and say, „There’s some problems in our marriage and we need to talk about.” You initiate that conversation every single time. Turn off the TV, stop hiding on the ball field, behind the computer or at work. Go to her, as your wife, say, „How can I love you better?’ That’s your responsibility. Consistently and periodically sit down with her, and she will love you for it.
  3. in parental discipline. Men who don’t stand idly by, while their kids talk back to their wives. But use humble, loving discipline of children.
  4. in essential decision. It is not that men are supposed to make every single decision for his wife and family. But, that man will feel the overarching responsibility for decision making. That his wife and his children will look to him for leadership in decision making. That he’ll be known for making decisions for their good, and for the glory of Christ.
  5. amidst inevitable disagreements, in those tough decisions,  to lovingly, caringly, graciously, make the tough decisions, with a commitment to love, lead, guide, protect, shepherd his family in the implementation of that decision. This is not easy, brothers. None of us can do this on our own. That’s why Scriptures call us to look to Christ
  6. lay down your life to honor women. Honor your wife. Do not belittle our wife for her failures.
  7. train boys to be men. We need to show boys the humble responsibility, what it looks like in action.

WOMEN –

  1. incline yourselves toward wise, willing, submission. First and foremost to God, in constant prayer. Obviously, you need not submit yourself to abuse. You take that to a church.
  2. and then to men. If you are a wife, obviously, incline yourself to wise, willing submission to a husband, as best as you can, in a way that honors Christ.
  3. for the glory of Christ, live in a way that demonstrates Godly respect for men
  4. live in a way that shows girls how to be women.

David Platt – Biblical Manhood and Womanhood Part 2

Sin’s distortion of Manhood and Womanhood

Paul Washer – Biblical Manhood Part 3 – A Young Man’s Attitude Towards Women

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