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The Original Manual on Manhood, Part 1

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
September 5, 2022 12:00 am

The Original Manual on Manhood, Part 1

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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September 5, 2022 12:00 am

Godly male leadership is becoming a lost art. Gender confusion, love of power, and desire for autonomy have stripped the term manhood of its original, God-designed beauty and meaning. Peter's unchanging message to men in 1 Peter 3:7 is a welcome anchor in this sea of ever-shifting voices.

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So Peter is stating in general terms to husbands and the men in general, we need to be careful and kind and considerate in the way that we treat our wives specifically and women in general. You want to prove you're a man, show it in the way you treat women.

Don't blur the distinctives by the way. Peter does it, the Bible doesn't between men and women. God intended for us to highlight that this is the pinnacle of his creative acts, male and female. God has created men and women differently.

There are some people who don't want to admit this, but God designed us with unique characteristics and roles. Part of what it means to be a godly man is to understand these roles and to treat women respectfully and properly. Today on Wisdom for the Heart, we're looking at 1 Peter 3.7. Stephen Davey is continuing through his series on marriage called For Better or For Worse. Today the focus is on husbands, so men listen up. Stephen's calling this lesson the original manual on manhood. Here's Stephen with today's Bible lesson.

In this series we've entitled For Better or For Worse. We've been in the process of discovery as it relates to God's design not only for husbands and wives, but in a broader sense for biblical manhood and womanhood. God designed us to complement one another as we pursue his design in the created order of male and female. I don't think you could find a more politically incorrect passage of scripture on the subject of manhood and womanhood much less on marriage than the one we're going to talk about today. We, however, haven't gathered as an assembly because, you know, we're interested in what is politically correct but what is biblically correct.

In fact, most often in our world whatever is politically correct is usually biblically corrupt. So I'm going to invite your attention back to a text of scripture and we're going to pick it up where we left off. And this is what I'm just going to refer to as God's original manual on manhood. It's Peter's first letter.

We're studying through it ever so rapidly. I want to begin. You go to 1 Peter 3 and then don't look, okay?

Just listen. I want to open with a lengthy quote, so forgive me for it being rather lengthy, but it's the opening of a little booklet by John Piper called The Biblical Definition of Manhood and Womanhood. And let's just begin to address this subject with what he writes.

It's lengthy but I think you'll appreciate it. He writes this, when I was a boy growing up in Greenville, South Carolina, my father was away from home more than half of every year preaching across the country. While he preached, we prayed and stayed behind my mother, my older sister and I. In those days, I learned that my mother was what I call omnipotent. She handled the finances, paid all the bills, dealt with the bank and the creditors. She once ran a little laundry business on the side. She was active on the park board, served as the children's department superintendent in our small Baptist church. She taught me how to cut the grass, how to pull Bermuda grass by the roots, how to paint the eaves of the house, how to splice electric cord and shine the dining room table with a chamois and drive a car and keep French fries from getting soggy in the cooking oil. She helped me with the maps and geography and helped me believe that Algebra II was possible. I had heard once that women don't sweat, they glow. Not my mother. The sweat would drip off the end of her long sharp nose.

Sometimes she would blow it off when her hands were pushing the wheelbarrow or she'd wipe it with her sleeves between the strokes of a swing blade. It never occurred to me to think of manhood and womanhood as categories. Both my mother and father were strong. Both were bright. Both were kind.

Both could kiss me and spank me. Both prayed with fervor. Both loved the Bible. But unmistakably, my father was a man and my mother was a woman. They knew it and I knew it.

It wasn't just a biological fact. It was a matter of personhood, identity, and relational dynamics. In fact, when my father would come home, he was clearly the head of the home. He led in prayer at the table. He called the family together for devotions. He got us to Sunday school and church. He drove the car. He guided the family to where we would sit. He made the decision after church to go to Howard Johnson's for lunch. He led us to the table there. He called for the waitress.

He paid the check. He was the one we knew we would reckon with if we were ever disrespectful to our mother. These, I remember, were the happiest times for my mother. She rejoiced to have daddy home. She loved his leadership. It never occurred to me that leadership from a man and submission from his wife had anything to do with superiority.

It wasn't a matter of capabilities and competencies. Over the years, I've come to see from Scripture and from life that manhood and womanhood are the beautiful handiwork of a good and loving God who designed our differences to complement one another. They are profound and they go to the root of who we are. Well said. Have you ever thought about the fact, beloved, that the climactic creative act of God was not the creation of the elephants and the giraffes and the birds and the grass and the trees and the rivers and lakes?

Although that was all, he said, good. The climactic moment of creation occurred when God designed and uniquely crafted them male and female. Genesis 1 21.

That was the grand finale of the creation account in Genesis 1 and 2. Maleness and femaleness with all their nuances and all their complexities and all their abilities and all their disabilities are all a part of God's glorious creation. And the manual God has given us through inspiration that you may hold on your lap today describes us as male and female.

It's a personhood. And it is not the result of culture or convention. It wasn't made up by man.

It goes back to creation. This was made up, as it were, by God. I want you to listen to what in our culture today is an earthshaking statement. It would not have been earthshaking for my father to preach or my great uncle to preach or my great great grandfather to preach. In fact, when I make this statement, the reason it strikes you as earthshaking is because of the propaganda that is a barrage against our ears and hearts.

Here it is. In God's creative design, he never intended to separate anatomy from identity. Anatomy and identity are bound together in personhood. That's what makes you, you and me, me. Yes, within our fallen human nature, because of sin, there are the capacities for all kinds of aberrations and inclinations and dispositions and desires and mannerisms and all the potential in the world for every evil act that defies a creator God.

But the idea of being fundamentally male and female remains a gift from God who knit you in the womb. In fact, Jeremiah said he knew you before you were you. He designed you. He knows everything about you, the good, the bad, and the ugly, right? He knows the saint you will become through salvation. He knows the sinner you will battle because of temptation. He knows everything about inclinations and dispositions and the fallen human nature. If I could go one step further to add to the challenge facing the human race is a creature created by God who hates God and has spent the last few thousand years battling the creation of God, Satan.

He hates you and me because you are a unique image bearer created in the image of God with an eternal spirit and the ability to worship God. And that's what he wants to destroy. So Satan's end game is he studies mankind and he watches our nature and he takes notes. He's not omniscient. He's always learning.

He's had a long time to study us. His end game, by the way, as he attacks the creation of God is not divorce. His end game is not homosexuality or lesbianism. His end game is not same sex marriage. His end game is not surrogate motherhood. His end game is not bisexuality. His end game is not transgenderism. He wants to destroy, attack and destroy the very peak of God's glorious creation within the human race. He wants to eliminate the concept of gender, male and female.

Today we are observing one more digressive step in his agenda. There is an all-out attack on male and female distinctives. In fact, it's terribly out of date for me today to speak of manhood and womanhood as any kind of fixed state.

Gone is that day. Gender is now considered fluid. Fluidity has replaced biology, hasn't it? There's no specific foundation or meaning to manhood or womanhood. You shouldn't speak of such fixed states, which means, beloved, there's no longer any structure. There's no longer any plan for what it means to be a man or a woman. Gender confusion is already and will be a growing epidemic.

The consequences of the enemy's agenda on an unbelieving world is already becoming catastrophic. There are more sexual perversions and aberrations claiming normality today, not less. There is more abuse and promiscuity, not less. There's more social awkwardness and uncertainty today, not less.

Still our culture continues to defy their Creator. And even now in our world, you pick up the newspaper or magazines like the one that came across my desk just this week and you watch the propaganda machines churning out new curriculums. In one article I read a few days ago, as school systems are racing to avoid any kind of gender specific language, one program that goes under the title, Welcoming Schools.

It sounds inviting. You'd want to go to a welcoming school, but that's really code for a curriculum that is encouraging teachers, and I quote, to use their influential role in the lives of children to create conditions where children are safe, they feel safe in expressing and identifying their gender. The key word is identifying. See, they need to decide now if they're in second grade or third if they're a boy or a girl. Anatomy has been divorced, as it were, from personhood. Little wonder that transgender affirming children's books, one of which I was made aware of recently, openly coaches teachers to, and I quote again, and affirm gender fluidity. Got a long way beyond reading, writing, and arithmetic, haven't we?

One school counselor was rather proud of this. In fact, she told the reporter that they are eliminating gender specific language and activities. I had one teacher tell me, you can't say all the boys over here and all the girls over there.

That's too specific. It places too much pressure on them. They're deciding. She said, in our school, there are no more muffins for mom and donuts for dad. It's just now muffin mornings and donut day. I read some time ago about the controversy in one school system in England. They're facing the same issues, where in response to complaints, the school lunchroom had renamed the gingerbread man the gingerbread people.

Four hundred schools complied with that until somebody else complained enough and the school board, after a lot of debate, gave the gingerbread man back his name. One author wrote this way, and I think this is the bigger issue and it sort of sets up our study, the male and female sexes today have lost the script or they are defying the script for their lives and they no longer know what role they are to play. Let's go back to the script.

It's written and produced by the creator. And as we explore one more little phrase in a verse, it's going to take us all this time to do just that, but I want us to do this. I want us to dig into what is nothing less than the original manual on manhood, especially, and womanhood, by the way. You can't miss it. I don't want you to look down. Just trust me, it's in there for a moment.

We'll look in a moment. But let me just read to you this phrase. It is shocking, especially to the ears that have been shaped by the propaganda of our culture today. Peter writes, you husbands, in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way as with someone weaker since she is a woman. You've got to be kidding.

Talk about politically incorrect. Now look, it's 1 Peter 3 verse 7. Peter is defying his culture and ours, by the way.

The agenda never changes. You might make several observations from this text that sort of jump out at you. Peter violates the shrine of gender neutrality here by making a statement of gender distinction.

Women, husbands. He clearly says here that women are weaker than men. He also tells men that they're supposed to treat women differently because they are women. This strikes your ears as sexist, bigoted, patriarchal, and all that stuff, right? Peter is also stating that the female sex is essentially genetically and anatomically and inherently different from a man.

Peter would never be invited to speak at the local PTA. At first glance, it might sound like Peter is demeaning women. In fact, to our ears, trained by our culture, it sounds like it, but he isn't. He's doing nothing more than telling men to act like men, women, to be treated, expect to be treated like women. And God's manual on manhood, by the way, has a lot to do with how a man treats a woman.

A man can clam on a man. Look at how he treats his wife if he's married or women in general. Now Peter, if we go back to the beginning of this verse just to get a running start, he begins it with a command. This isn't a suggestion. You live with your wife in an understanding way that is with insight, that is with consideration and deference.

Why? Now Peter adds here because she is weaker. What does this mean, she is someone weaker? Your translation might read, she is a weaker vessel, which I prefer. What does it mean that a woman is a weaker vessel or weaker than a man? Well, it's not that hard really to figure out, as someone said.

It's not rocket surgery. I thought that was funny too. This is heavy, isn't it? The word for weaker in the original text, Asthenes, relates to the fact that in general, and he's speaking in general terms, the average woman is physically weaker than the average man. He's speaking in general terms about the female sex as contrasted with the male sex. He says in general terms, if you lined up 125-year-old women over here and 125-year-old men over here and you put a rope in between them and said, okay, now pull and the men would drag the women into that muddy puddle. Now if you don't like this interpretation, you're left then wondering if Peter is telling us here that women are intellectually weaker or morally weaker or mentally weaker or spiritually weaker or theologically weaker or weaker in their resolve or weaker in their faith. He's not saying any of that.

He's saying something very obvious. Now I had a man tell me recently, you know, that this verse clearly teaches that a woman is inferior to a man. That's not what Peter says at all. Inferiority and physical weakness are not the same thing. In fact, the Bible never suggests inferiority. And Peter's going to make it very clear later on in the verse, and we'll get to that later, that the woman is equally deserving of being rewarded in the coming kingdom just as believing men. She is a fellow heir in the grace of life, he'll say. Peter, that is delivering a general statement on the physical makeup of the average woman, contrasted with the physical makeup of the average man.

In general terms then, she can't throw the ball as hard or run as fast or lift as much. What's interesting to me also is that the word Peter uses for vessel in the Greek text, skeuos, is a word that Paul used when he wrote to Timothy, referring to household utensils. And I'm going to come back to that in a minute. He also used the word in 1 Thessalonians 4 to refer to the physical body.

The body is a vessel. So Peter is stating in general terms to husbands and the men in general, we need to be careful and kind and considerate in the way that we treat our wives specifically and women in general. You want to prove you're a man, show it in the way you treat women.

Don't blur the distinctives, by the way. Peter doesn't, the Bible doesn't between men and women. God intended for us to highlight them. This is the pinnacle of his creative acts, male and female. He wants us to acknowledge them. He wants us to enjoy them. In some ways we share them. He wants us to not remove them, but respect them.

He doesn't want us to erase them. He wants us to exult in them, referring to women as the weaker sex, by the way, which is the term coined by Peter here. It isn't derogatory.

It isn't demeaning. It isn't diminishing the value of women. In fact, Peter is essentially commanding men to treat women with distinction as women. In blunt terms then, you could paraphrase him to say, men don't treat women like a bunch of guys.

They're not guys. Treat them like women. Honor them. Don't exploit them. Don't misuse them. Treat them with courtesy.

Why? Well, for starters, again, he says they happen to be women since she is a woman. So as strange as it sounds, Peter is commanding specifically husbands to treat their wives like women.

Isn't that interesting? He's telling the husband to treat his wife like a woman. You can't do that unless you understand a fixed state and those characteristics that identify in general terms manhood and womanhood. So what would that look like to treat your wife like a woman? I'm sure the ladies could come to this platform and give us about a hundred different ways. I've whittled it down to four for the sake of time.

They all start with the letter A to help us men remember. We'll answer it that way. What's the opposite of treating your wife like a woman? Well, the opposite is going to look, first of all, like apathy. Apathy. You can call it indifference. You can call it unconcern for their needs and their well-being.

You could call it irritation, you know, rather than interest. Criticism instead of commendation. You could think of it as failure of a man to step up to the plate, take his responsibility to provide and protect. There's an old Hebrew proverb that I came across in my study.

One of the authors referred to it from the Talmud that gives this really interesting practical advice. It reads, every husband should eat and drink beneath his means, clothe himself within his means, and honor his wife above his means. And all the women said, treating your wife like a woman is the opposite of apathy. Secondly, treating your wife like a woman is the opposite of absence.

Absent. You could call this a self-centered pursuit where her activities never matter and yours are never missed. This isn't just failing to step up to the plate. This is acting as if there's no plate at all or no ball game to enter. You know, don't bother me with your life.

I've got my own. Treating your wife like a woman is the opposite of apathy and absence, further abuse. You can call it verbal intimidation or physical threats or outright harm. It is using your strength to your advantage to bully and dominate your wife in order to get your way.

Evidently, what we learned early on as little boys out in the playground when we didn't get our way with our classmates, we learned to push, we never grew out of. Listen to the words of the Apostle Paul that have fresh meaning in relation to this study. He's writing to the men in the church at Corinth and he makes this statement, act like men.

Stand firm in the faith. Act like men. He's assuming we understand it's a fixed state, that there are distinctives to being a man, so act like a man.

There's no paragraph to say that is what it means. Just act like a man. Act like men.

What a concept. Not act like women or act like boys. Grow up. Act like men. He's not asking men to be macho.

Okay, I'm going to be a man. He's asking men to be mature. And evidently, Paul, like Peter, is challenging every man in the church to this day to grow in maturity and that relates to how we treat women. Acting like a man then is not throwing your weight around.

It doesn't resort to selfish anger by yelling and slamming and throwing, name calling and cursing, maybe even hitting. Acting like a man in relation to your wife is using your strength to make sure she is cared for, treated with respect. Men, I hope this lesson has encouraged you and challenged you.

There might be some things that you need to repent of regarding your relationship with your wife. If so, I encourage you to deal with those issues today. There's actually more to this lesson, but we'll bring you that next time. This is Wisdom for the Heart with our Bible teacher, Stephen Davey. Stephen is the president of Shepherds Theological Seminary in Cary, North Carolina. Join us next time for the conclusion to this message here on Wisdom for the Heart. .
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-02 07:36:31 / 2023-03-02 07:45:37 / 9

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