A WOMAN’S WORTH

Please find my teaching notes below to my Mother’s Day weekend message.

One thing we all have in common today… WE HAD A MOM! Good or bad, no matter who you are, that’s the fact. May not be a Mom, but motherly instincts kick in with nieces, nephews, etc. BUT… I’m not going to share the typical Mother’s Day message, because as you know, I’m not that guy! Instead, I want to essentially honor womanhood! A WOMAN’S WORTH!

Most of our society- women and men, try to find WORTH in all the wrong places. A woman’s true worth comes from the infinite God who created her! Ladies, don’t let culture, Hollywood, chauvinism determine your worth.  Find your worth in God and His purpose for your life. Rejoice that God in His infinite wisdom and grace has given you the wonderful privilege of being a woman.

WHAT IS THE BEST RESOURCE FOR APPRECIATING THE WORTH OF A WOMAN?

THE BIBLE! It is, and has always been revolutionary, even radical! It’s words resist the crashing waves of cultural change. There may be no clearer demonstration of it’s immutable word than what it teaches about genuine femininity and a woman’s worth.

Prov. 31:29-31 ““There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!” 30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised. 31 Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.”



FIRST: THE BIBLE LIBERATES WOMEN!

Whether you completely agree with THIS BOOK or not, one thing it does is rightly exalt women against cultures that distort, degrade, and debase them!  Many in our society tout the sexual and reproductive liberation of women against the supposed oppressive, outmoded standards of THIS BOOK.

“In what way are women truly free? In what way does our culture honor them?” Sure women can vote; women have opportunities to compete in the marketplace. But are women really free? Is their dignity and honor intact? 

Reality is women are used and abused more today than at any time in history! Pornography turns women into objects and victims of dirty, cowardly men! Throughout the world, women are traded like animals for sexual slavery. In more “civilized” places, men routinely use women for no-consequence, no-commitment sex… Certain “rights” groups and their dogma in reality leaves most women feeling guilty, ashamed, and emotionally scarred! Where’s the freedom, dignity, and honor in that?

And ancient cultures were no better. Women in pagan societies during biblical times were often treated with little more dignity than animals. Greek philosophers taught that women were inferior creatures by nature.

Even in the Roman Empire (perhaps the very pinnacle of pre-Christian civilization) women were usually regarded as mere personal possessions of their husbands or fathers, with hardly any better standing than household slaves.

Pagan religion tended to fuel and encourage the devaluation of women even more. Of course, Greek and Roman mythology had its goddesses (such as Diana and Aphrodite). But don’t imagine for a moment that goddess-worship in any way raised the status of women in society. The opposite was true. Most temples devoted to goddesses were served by sacred prostitutes/priestesses who sold themselves for money, supposing they were performing a religious sacrament. Religious ceremonies were often blatantly obscene; including such things as erotic fertility rites, temple orgies, and in the very worst cases, women were sacrificed. 

Contrast all of that, ancient and contemporary, with THE BIBLE. The Bible exalts women. In fact, it often seems to go out of the way to pay homage to them, to ennoble their roles in society and family, to acknowledge the importance of their influence, and to exalt the virtues of women who were particularly godly examples. 

Prov. 31:29-31 “There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!” …a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised. Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.

SECOND: BOTH MEN AND WOMEN ARE CREATED IN GOD’S LIKENESS!

From the very first chapter of the Bible, we are taught that women, like men, bear the stamp of God’s own image (Genesis 1:27; 5:1-2)- men and women were created equal.

Women play prominent roles in many key biblical narratives. Wives are seen as equal partners and cherished companions to their husbands, not merely slaves or pieces of household furniture (Genesis 2:20-24; Proverbs 19:14; Ecclesiastes 9:9). God commanded children to honor both father AND mother (Exodus 20:12). 

YES- the Bible teaches divinely ordained role distinctions between men and women- many of which are perfectly evident from the circumstances of creation alone. LIKE- women have a unique and vital role in giving birth. Women themselves also have a particular need for support and protection, BECAUSE PHYSICALLY- not in any other capacity, they are “weaker vessels” (1 Peter 3:7 NKJV). Although some women in this room could beat me up!!

Never are women marginalized or relegated to any second-class status. The Bible teaches women are not only equals with men (Galatians 3:28), but are also set apart for special honor (1 Peter 3:7). Husbands are commanded to love their wives sacrificially, as Christ loves the church- even, if necessary, at the cost of their own lives (Ephesians 5:25-31).

Throughout the Bible woman are seen and valued as judges (Deborah), prophets (Miriam, Anna, the 4 daughters of Phillip), church leaders (Phoebe, Junias), business owners (Priscilla, Lydia), one woman even built a town (Sheerah- 1 Chron. 7:24)! Many others where shepherds, farmers, and artisans!

We even find Wisdom personified as woman and the church being called the Bride of Christ. God does not shy away from giving credit to women of faith and to using metaphors that require female imagery.

Prov. 31:25-26 “She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness.”



THIRD: CHRISTIANITY LIFTS A WOMAN’S STATUS!

Christianity, born at the intersection of East and West, at its core, elevated the status of women to an unprecedented height.

Jesus’ disciples included several women (Luke 8:1-3), a practice almost unheard of among the rabbis of His day. In fact, Christ’s first recorded, direct disclosure of His own identity as the true Messiah was made to a Samaritan woman (John 4:25-26). He always treated women with the utmost dignity- even women who might otherwise be regarded as outcasts (Matthew 9:20-22; Luke 7:37-50; John 4:7-27). He blessed their children (Luke 18:15-16), raised their dead (Luke 7:12-15), forgave their sin (Luke 7:44-48), and restored their virtue and honor (John 8:4-11). Jesus very intentionally exalted the position of womanhood itself. 

Women became prominent in the ministry of the early church AND NEED TO BE TODAY! (Acts 12:12-15; 1 Corinthians 11:11-15). On the day of Pentecost, when the New Testament church was born, women were there with the chief disciples, praying (Acts 1:12-14). Some were renowned for their good deeds (Acts 9:36); others for their hospitality (Acts 12:12; 16:14-15); still others for their understanding of sound doctrine and their spiritual giftedness (Acts 18:26; 21:8-9). John’s second epistle was addressed to a prominent woman in one of the churches under his oversight. Even the apostle Paul, sometimes falsely caricatured by critics of Scripture as a male chauvinist, regularly ministered alongside women (Philippians 4:3). He recognized and applauded their faithfulness and their giftedness (Romans 16:1-6; 2 Timothy 1:5). 

As the influence of Christianity was felt more and more, women were less and less vilified or mistreated as objects for the amusement of men. Instead, women began to be honored for their virtue and faith. 

(S13) FOURTH: JESUS AND THE GOSPEL LOOKS ON WOMEN WITH THE UTMOST RESPECT!

The Good News of Jesus Christ is why women find true worth and freedom!

Jo Ann reminded me of this quote from Bobbie Houston from Hillsong: “Jesus Christ was the greatest emancipator of women – He believed in them. He released them. He facilitated their gift and talent. He depended on them. He allowed them to support his ministry. His heart melted when they loved and adored Him, and to put it all in perspective, He died for them as much as He did for our male counterparts. May we never forget that these beautiful girls just happen to represent and constitute over one half of the planet’s population, and within the Church, one half of the Bride of Christ.”
John MacArthur states, “Wherever the gospel has spread, the social, legal, and spiritual status of women has, as a rule, been elevated. When the gospel has been eclipsed (whether by repression, false religion, secularism, humanistic philosophy, or spiritual decay within the church), the status of women has declined accordingly.”

Even when secular movements have arisen claiming to be concerned with women’s rights, their efforts have generally been detrimental to the status of women. Feminism can actually bind women and devalue and defame femininity!

Again, God, the Bible, Christianity places both equal value on men and women. And in the case of women, never discourages a woman from having all the roles that men would have.

YET THERE IS ONE PROFOUND DISTINCTIVE THAT A WOMAN HAS! While modern feminists heap scorn on women who would want family and household to be their priorities; in so doing they disparage the role of motherhood, the one calling that is most uniquely and exclusively feminine.

In many ways, the modern feminist movement would say there is really nothing extraordinary about women. THAT IS NOT THE MESSAGE OF THE BIBLE! The Bible honors women as women, and it encourages them to seek honor in a uniquely feminine way (Proverbs 31:10-30).

WOMEN PRAYER “WARRIORS!”

Jesus never, nor should we, discount the female intellect, downplay the talents and abilities of women, or discourages the spiritual giftedness of women.

THE GREATEST POINT?? The most significant women in Scripture, as well as any man mentioned, were influential not because of their careers, but because of their character.

Far from denigrating women, the Bible promotes feminine freedom, dignity, and honor. THE BIBLE paints for every culture the portrait of a truly beautiful woman OF GREAT WORTH!

LET US PLACE THAT WORTH ON WOMEN TODAY: Like the Bible, GCC continually affirms that women are extraordinary. Women have value and worth that is in every way equal to men. Women are no mere afterthought, but are an integral and equal part of God’s design for human beings.

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/95035460″>Mothers day Video-w Audio</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user13208269″>Grace Community Church</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

HAVE ALL WOMEN STAND- APPLAUD!!!

Prov. 31:29-31 ““There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!” 30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised. 31 Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.”


A PRAYER FOR ALL WOMEN: To those who gave birth this year to their first child—we celebrate with you!  To those who lost a child this year – we mourn with you!  To those who are in the trenches with little ones every day and wear the badge of food stains – we appreciate you!  To those who experienced loss through miscarriage, failed adoptions, or running away—we mourn with you!  To those who walk the hard path of infertility, fraught with pokes, prods, tears, and disappointment – we walk with you. Forgive us when we say foolish things. We don’t mean to make this harder than it is.  To those who are foster moms, mentor moms, and spiritual moms – we need you!  To those who have warm and close relationships with your children – we celebrate with you!  To those who have disappointment, heart ache, and distance with your children – we sit with you!  To those who lost their mothers this year – we grieve with you!  To those who experienced abuse at the hands of your own mother – we acknowledge your experience!  To those who lived through driving tests, medical tests, and the overall testing of motherhood – we are better for having you in our midst!  To those who are single and long to be married and mothering your own children – we mourn that life has not turned out the way you longed for it to be!  To those who step-parent – we walk with you on these complex paths!  To those who envisioned lavishing love on grandchildren -yet that dream is not to be, we grieve with you!  To those who will have emptier nests in the upcoming year – we grieve and rejoice with you!  To those who placed children up for adoption — we commend you for your selflessness and remember how you hold that child in your heart!  And to those who are pregnant with new life, both expected and surprising –we anticipate with you!

This Mother’s Day, we walk with you. Mothering is not for the faint of heart and we have real warriors in our midst. We remember you.  All of you incredible women reflect the Image of God by bringing forth new life, nurturing those on her path, and living with the tension of providing both freedom and a safety net.

(c) 2014, Terry Broadwater

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