"DOES YOUR HEAD HURT?"
First Corinthians 11.2-16
1. Have you ever heard of doing the right thing the wrong way? Let me give you some examples of how you can appear to be doing the right thing, but do it in the wrong way, resulting in disaster.
2. Remember Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron? In Leviticus chapter 10 we read that shortly after the Tabernacle had been erected and the sacrificial system of the Law of Moses had been instituted, Nadab and Abihu tried to do the right thing in the wrong way. Letís read Leviticus 10.1-2: "And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD." They tried to do the right thing, perform the duties of the priesthood, but in the wrong way, using strange fire that came not from the altar. Would you say the results were disastrous for them? I would say so.
3. And how about Saul, the first king of Israel? In First Samuel chapter 13 we read of Saul waiting for the prophet-priest Samuel to come and offer a sacrifice to God. But after waiting seven days for Samuel to arrive, Saul took matters into his own hands and offered the sacrifice himself. He tried to do the right thing, offer a sacrifice, but in the wrong way, by presuming to offer it himself instead of waiting for an anointed priest. Would you say the results were disastrous for him? Letís read the words of Samuel in First Samuel 13.13-14 to find out: "And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the LORD thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would the LORD have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever. But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the LORD hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the LORD hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the LORD commanded thee."
4. Letís look at one final example of what can happen when you do the right thing in the wrong way. Do you remember when David was king and he ordered the Ark of the covenant brought from Kirjathjearim to Jerusalem, Second Samuel 6? Do you also remember that they placed the Ark of the covenant on an ox cart to perform this task? Folks, they were attempting to do the right thing, but they did it in the wrong way. Remember, according to the instructions given by Moses, the Ark of the covenant could only be transported by suspending it between two poles that rested on the backs of priests. And what happened to the Ark while it was being transported on the ox cart? One of the oxen stumbled and the cart tipped. And to prevent the Ark from falling to the ground a priest named Uzzah reached out and placed his hand on the Ark to steady it. The result? God killed him. Why? Because God didnít want any manís hands on His Ark. Thatís why He wanted it carried with poles.
5. Folks, with these three examples, and with numerous similar examples that are found in the Bible, God has very clearly pointed out to His people that the right thing must be done the right way. He has established the principle that the process is critical to the product.
6. Now turn to Psalm 127.1 and read: "Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain." Does it need to be proven, today, that your home will not be what it ought to be unless the Lord builds it? I think not. And do we all agree that to have a house that is built by the Lord it must be built the Lordís way? I think we all agree with that.
7. To put it another way, if the Lord is going to build your family and your home it will have to be built His way. That is, the right thing must be done in the right way. The process is critical to the product. Amen?
8. Husbands? Wives? You want to have a marriage that is pleasing to God, right? And you want to have a home in which God will bless the rearing of your children, correct? Then critical to the right thing, which is to have a marriage and a home that glorifies God, you must function within your home the right way. Does anyone disagree with this assertion? Good.
9. With that established, I want us to look at one of the most basic aspects of a godly marriage and home, the Scriptural chain of authority and leadership. And if we understand that critical to doing the right thing is doing it the right way, then we will also understand that Godís Divine order, as we see it in our text for today, is not optional.
10. Our text for this evening is First Corinthians 11.2-16. Please turn there and stand for the reading of Godís Word:
2Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.
3But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.
4Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head.
5But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.
6For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered.
7For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.
8For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man.
9Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.
10For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.
11Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.
12For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God.
13Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered?
14Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?
15But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.
16But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.
11. Godís Divine order for husbands and wives is not optional. This is understood because:
1A. FIRST, REVELATION OF THE DIVINE ORDER IS STATED
Notice what Paul writes in verses 2 and 3.
1B. In Verse 2, There Is Praise For Obedience
"Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you."
1C. What does Paul praise the Corinthians for? And what should parents praise their children for? Donít praise your kids for their beauty. And donít praise your kids for their intelligence. Donít praise them for anything that isnít related to their character or spirituality.
2C. The Corinthians were supremely gifted in every respect, but Paul never praises them for that. What does he praise them for? For their obedience.
3C. And notice what kind of obedience. He praises them for obedience in thought, "that ye remember me in all things", as well as obedience in deed, "and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you."
4C. Parents, make sure that you praise your children for their obedience, not how pretty they are, not how smart they are, and not how fast they can run.
2B. Then, In Verse 3, There Is A Prescription For Order
"But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God."
1C. Note the meaning of "head." Paul is using the term "head" to signify that which gives direction, that which provides direction. Meaning that, according to this verse, God leads Christ, Christ leads the husband, and the husband leads the wife.
2C. Also, note the meekness of Christ. Are Christ and God the Father equals? If you believe the Bible then your answer is "Yes." Both the Father and the Son are Members of the triune Godhead. They are, therefore, equal in every respect.
3C. But the Lord Jesus Christ submits to the Father. Therefore, a personís place in this authority structure has nothing to do with superiority and inferiority, per se. Wives, this passage does not state or imply that you are inferior to your husband in any way, but it is a revelation of the Divine order.
2A. SECOND, WE KNOW THAT THE DIVINE ORDER IS NOT OPTIONAL BECAUSE REBELLION AGAINST THIS DIVINE ORDER IS SIN
Letís analyze this with respect to both men and women.
1B. First, With The Man, Verse 4
"Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head."
1C. What is the infraction? The infraction is to pray or to prophesy with your head covered.
2C. What is the interpretation? Why is it wrong to approach God or to speak for God with your head covered? Well, in Corinthian culture, having your head covered, probably with a veil, was a token of a wifeís submission to her husband. So for a man to pray to God or speak for God while physically displaying submission to his wife, when he should be physically displaying leadership in her life, is an affront. Itís basically yielding oneís position.
3C. And what is the result of this infraction? According to Paul, when a man does this he shames his head. But Who is the manís head? The Lord Jesus Christ. So when a man does something while praying or preaching that communicates that he is not the leader in his home . . . he actually shames the Lord Jesus Christ. Thatís severe. Would you say that this is sin? I would.
2B. What About The Woman? Verse 5
"But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven."
1C. What is the infraction? For the woman, according to Paul, to pray or prophesy with her head uncovered is improper.
2C. What is the interpretation? In Corinthian culture, women wore veils over their heads as a sign of submission to their husbands. So when a woman prays to God or speaks on behalf of God without covering her hair she communicates that she is in rebellion against her husbandís authority, that she is not submissive to him, that she has been "liberated" from him.
3C. What is the result of this infraction? She shames her head. But who is her head? Her head is her husband. When a woman usurps her husbandís position or rebels against him she is shaming him. And the offense is so serious that Paul says itís virtually the same thing as that woman having a shaved head.
4C. But whatís the significance of a woman having a shaved head? In Corinth the heads of adulterous women were shaved. So when a person saw a woman with short hair, he would naturally assume that she was an adulterer whose hair was not yet fully grown back out after being shaved. Short hair had ominous implications in that culture.
5C. Think about these two cases for a moment. Praying to God and declaring Divine truth by witnessing or preaching the Word of God is supposed to occur in the lives of those who are in submission to God. Correct? And submission to God will be evidenced by conformity to His Divine plan. Correct?
6C. Then, what hypocrisy it must be for a man to do those things which indicate submission to God, when he actually is in rebellion against God by not acting like the leader in his home. And what hypocrisy it is for a woman to witness and pray, seemingly in submission to her Lord, while she is rebellious against her husband or unwilling to submit to him.
7C. Partner, if you do not act like what Paul declares you to actually be in verse 2 . . . you commit sin. Ladies, if you do not act like what Paul declares you to be in verse 2 . . . you commit sin.
3A. THIRD, WE KNOW THAT THE DIVINE ORDER IS NOT OPTIONAL BECAUSE REASONS FOR THE DIVINE ORDER ARE STRAIGHTFORWARD
1B. Notice The Cultural Perspective, Verse 6
"For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered."
1C. To explain what Paul says: If a woman is going to look rebellious she might as well go all the way and look like an adulterous woman. Now, Paul is not advocating that women look like adulteresses or rebel against their husbands in the extreme, but that they submit to Divinely instituted authority and conduct themselves like it as well.
2C. To explain what Paul accomplishes: He communicates to his readers a correct understanding of the fact that so-called "liberated" actions by a woman differ only in degree from the rebelliousness of an adulteress.
3C. In the Corinthian culture that show of rebellion against a husbandís ordained position as the leader in the home was short hair on a woman. For the man, abandonment of his position was evidenced by having his head covered. And though different cultures have different customs the principle is the same: Your behavior should communicate compliance to the Divine order.
2B. Now, Notice The Consummate Logic
1C. These are the reasons that lie back of the Divine order. To refute the Divine order and show Paul wrong you must first refute the logic of his next three statements.
2C. Verse 7: "For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man." Who is whose glory? The man is the image and glory of God, and the woman is the glory of man. The man submits to Christ because he is the glory of God. The woman submits to the man because she is the glory of man.
3C... Verse 8: "For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man." Who was "built" first? This matter of oneís position in the chain of command has not to do with ability, but the order of creation. First Timothy 2.11-13 supports this: "Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve."
4C. Verse 9: "Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man." Who was "built" for whom? Folks, Genesis 2.18 indicates that Eve was created by God to fulfill a specific need in Adamís life. That establishes the place in the family chain of command of the husband and the wife.
3B. The Conclusions That Follow Are Several
1C. Women ought to have a human head over them, according to verse 10.
"For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels."
1D. What Paul is saying here is determined by who he is referring to when he uses the word "angels." Now remember, the word "angel" simply means messenger and can refer to either human messengers, such as pastors in Revelation 1.20, or to supernatural messengers, such as the angel Gabriel.
2D. If he is referring to supernatural angels, then he is stating that angels who obey God find womenís rebellion to their husbands offensive.
3D. But if his reference is to pastors, then he is stating that women need human authority over them for the pastorís sake. And I guarantee you that the only women who really ever cause pastors problems are women who are not in submission to their husbandís authority.
2C. Next, Paul concludes that men and women depend on each other, according to verses 11-12.
"11 Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.
12For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God."
1D. That means that Christian men have no reason to get cocky about being the leader, or about being the boss. After all, God has used foolish things to confound the wise. Right, ladies?
2D. It also means that there is absolutely no need for women to feel unimportant and unneeded. The real fact of the matter is that men and women were created to fulfill different functions in a marriage and a home, and both are important.
3D. So, when a man does not lead, or a woman will not properly follow, they are just plain out of position to fulfill their proper function in a marriage.
3C. Judge for yourselves, verses 13-15
"13 Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered?
14Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?
15But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering."
1D. Does it look right for a woman to pray without a veil? Doesnít long hair on a man seem unnatural and shameful? But for a woman to have long hair, since it is given to be a covering for her, or a veil, itís a glory to her. Those are the facts as the Corinthians were to see them.
2D. And when you consider that "nature" refers to oneís native sense of propriety, and when you consider that Paul asks them to judge for themselves, the following becomes quite clear: Paul was appealing to the Corinthians to evaluate these matters in terms of their culture. If something is effeminate behavior in oneís culture, men shouldnít do it. If itís masculine behavior in oneís culture, women should not do it.
4A. FINAL POINT. THE DIVINE ORDER IS NOT OPTIONAL BECAUSE REACTIONS AGAINST THE DIVINE ORDER IS SEDITION
Verse 16: "But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God."
1B. People will always want to argue about this subject of male leadership in the home. Feminists, whether they be men or women, will argue that Paul was a chauvinist, or that his arguments no longer apply in the 21st century.
2B. Or there will be men who will fuss about being leaders in their homes and women who will fuss about the outward signs of submission to their husbands. But Paul refused to get sucked into an argument about it. He just wasnít in the habit of arguing about whether truth was truth or not.
3B. As a matter of fact, neither were other Churches willing to argue to about what was or was not truth. They just declared it. To Timothy Paul wrote, "But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes."
4B. Someone who doesnít know the Divine order is unlearned. Someone who knows it but does not follow it is unspiritual and unwise.
1. Folks, nothing in the Word of God indicates that God wants men to lead and women to follow their leadership because men are better leaders, because men are more spiritual, or because men are superior in any way.
2. Men are to lead because it is Godís will. Period. And both men and women are to conduct themselves in such a way that they reinforce and demonstrate the Divine order, using the customs of their society to do so, where those customs do not conflict with Scripture.
3. In Corinth the custom was that men be uncovered and women covered, as a sign of their respective position in the family unit. But for the Jewish people the opposite was true. Jewish men prayed with their heads covered while Jewish women prayed uncovered.
4. In either case, to ignore the social custom and behave or dress in such a way as to confuse the body language message you are supposed to send, that the husband is the leader and the wife is in submission to him, is sin.
5. And more than just outward conformity is at issue here. Folks, Paul wants family units not just to look like they are in conformity to the Divine order, but to actually conform to the Divine order.
6. He wants the husband to actually lead as well as act like he does. He wants the wife to yield to his leadership, not to just look like she is.
7. Young people listen to me. You fellows marry someone who will follow your leadership. And you ladies marry no one who does not demonstrate to you that he both can and will lead you.
8. And whatís at stake here? Itís all a matter of doing the right thing the right way. You may have a home thatís "Christian," but if dad is not the spiritual leader and mom strongly supportive of and in submission to his leadership, disaster will certainly result.
9. How do I know? Because the right thing must be done the right way. Because the process is critical to the product. Because every example in the Word of God of people trying to do Godís will their own way results in nothing but heartache, pain and suffering.
10. Bottom line is this: Ladies, you either trust God to lead you through your husband or you donít trust God. The kind of husband you are married to is not the issue. Guys, you either trust God to work in your wifeís life to follow you or not. The kind of woman she is is not the issue.
11. Let me close with this questions: Does your head hurt? Are you living the kind of life that shames your head? If you are a woman who shames your head, your husband, you are committing sin. And if you are a man who shames your head, your Savior, you are committing sin.