Leadership & Submission
Part 1: Changing Our Perspective
April 4, 2013
* Glad to have you all here.
* Be sure to pay for meal.
* Set up
The word that catches all of us is “SUBMISSION,” especially women who have been ordered to “submit,” sometimes in very DESTRUCTIVE ways.
Q What is your GUT LEVEL reaction to submission?
Q What are some POOR EXAMPLES that you have seen?
* Submission sounds DEMEANING, CONTROLLING, and UNLOVING.
It is common among modern and post-modern Christians to downplay submission and EMPHASIZE EQUALITY in the Bible:
Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Unfortunately (for them), this verse is just part of the picture – SUBMISSION is a clearly Biblical idea and occurs frequently.
I think our problem with submission it TWO-FOLD:
1. Our culture DEEPLY MISUNDERSTANDS what submission means.
2. We DON’T LIKE it even when we do.
Q Do you think submission implies INFERIORITY?
We think submission implies INFERIORITY by the one submitting and GRASPING for POWER by the one who is submitted to.
We need to RESET our IDEA of SUBMISSION, based not on abuse and misuse, but on the Biblical view:
1 Corinthians 15:24-28 24 Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For he "has put everything under his feet." Now when it says that "everything" has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. 28 When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.
The word “made subject” is the exact same word as “WIVES SUBMIT to your husband.”
Scripture is exceedingly clear that that JESUS is FULLY GOD and equal to the Father, yet he SUBMITS to him. It is a matter of ROLES, not value.
* Jesus’ submission to the Father is clear in Scripture.
Q If Jesus is fully God, then WHY does he submit to the Father?
Basic Christian doctrine: JESUS is NOT in any way INFERIOR to God (John 1:1, Phil. 2:6). Submission and headship has nothing to do with relative VALUE, WORTHY, or CAPABILITIES.
* Submission is all about ROLES.
“Roles” means we all have a JOB to do, and when everyone does their job, everything works better.
FOOTBALL is a great example of roles – there are offensive, defensive, and special teams. Each has an area they excel at. Sure they can improvise when needed, but do best in their area.
* We don’t know why those ROLES FUNCTION in the TRINITY (beyond our knowing), but they clearly do.
Q Is the TRINITY based on SUPERIORITY or LOVE?
The basis of the whole thing – the Trinity, the church, the family, all relationships – is love. Not romance, but preferring others, choosing their good over yours, serving them.
* In love JESUS submits to the Father.
* In love the WIFE submits to the husband.
* In love the CHILDREN submit to their parents.
Q Does it work the OTHER WAY around?
Q How does BEING SUBMITTED TO require love?
Leading, i.e. being submitted to also requires love because Biblical leadership means SERVING the other.
Luke 22:24-27 Also a dispute arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. 25 Jesus said to them, "The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. 26 But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. 27 For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.
I once saw an Onion article that about a PALLBEARER SHOWING OFF by carrying the casket by himself. We laugh at that because we know that funeral is not about the pallbearers.
* Leadership is the ultimate “it’s NOT ABOUT YOU.”
As we make our way in THIS SERIES, we will see how much leading must be an act of SERVING.
STILL NOT A FAN OF SUBMISSION
Q So, understanding Biblical submission, are you all EAGER to submit Biblically?
Even once we understand it, we are still NOT THRILLED. There are two reasons:
1. We are rebels: We want to do what we want to do.
We are rebels at heart, it is celebrated by our CULTURE and submission is a bad word. This is even more true in our post-modern climate where DEMOCRACY is seen as the only right way.
* EG: WRECK It RALPH – no king.
* No on flocks to a SEMINAR on SUBMISSION.
Every age and era has its own weakness and moral BLIND SPOT; ours is rebellion.
2. Do not want to accept the grace of being led.
Submission is an act of HUMILITY that says that I am NOT an ISLAND, I am part of a LARGER GROUP and I play a part.
But understood properly, submission is also a RELIEF – it says “I don’t have to CARRY the WEIGHT of the WORLD. I can lean on others.
MOTIVATED BY JOY
I could have started this series with the more palatable verses, like “submit to one another,” but I want us the dive in the PARTS that BOTHER us the MOST.
* The part of the Bible we LIKE the LEAST are frequently the parts we NEED the MOST.
As I have said many times, OBEDIENCE BRINGS JOY. Since God commands us to submit in various ways, we can begin by submitting to him and waiting to see how it brings joy.
Q & A
Let’s start by looking at our blind spots:
1. In what ways is democracy Biblical?
2. In what ways is it unbiblical?
3. How has our national identity shaped our view of submission?
Take another look at Galatians 3:28;
4. In what ways does the Gospel change submission?
5. In what ways does it not?
Thinking about Jesus submitting to the Father:
6. How does that affect how you view submission?
Looking at yourself now:
7. What are some examples of relationships that require submission?
8. What do you hope to learn from this series?
1. Read John 5:16-23. Spend some time examining it and what it says about the relationship between Jesus and the Father. Notice how the relationship works both ways.
2. How do you react (on a “gut level”) to the word submission? What does it mean?
3. What do you think this reaction means about you? How does your history affect your feelings about submission?
4. On a scale of 1-5, how do you do at submission in these areas:
a. To God
b. In Family
c. In church
d. At work
e. Mutual submission in relationships
5. Looking at your responses, where do you think that God would have you grow?
6. Craft a prayer for God’s help that you will pray this week.
1. Read Ephesians5:21-6:9
2. What are the seven groups that this passage addresses? Which groups are you a part of?
3. What are concerns you have about literally obeying and submitting to the authorities listed in this passage?
4. Pay close attention to the sections written to the husbands and wives. Who do you think has the harder role to fulfill? Why?
* Lewis “Equality” (use Google reader)
I believe that there are three key elements for a healthy church and a healthy home: Leadership, respect, and submission.
* This doesn’t mean “You need to respect and submit to the leader,” but that each of us need to do all three.
Ephesians tells us to “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” (Ephesians 5:21).
The analogy of the church as a body shows the sort of respect we need for each other.
Each of us likewise have ways that we can lead. You have ways you can lead me.
Yet this is not a “no one is in charge, we all love each other” commune. Scripture shows us that we are all equal in value, bound together by love, yet function in unique roles.
* Hierarchy is very Biblical and begins in the Godhead.
Before we can look at leadership, respect, and submission in our homes and church, we first need to look at in the Trinity so we can reset our understanding of them.
* Of these, submission is the most misunderstood and most ignored, so it is the one we will look at.
Some things about Christianity are popular – loving your neighbor as yourself, etc. Others are very unpopular – sin and judgment, for instance.
* The Christian ethic of “submission” is so outside our comfort zone that many Christian avoid it.
Considering how badly it has been misused, is that any surprise?
Q What are some poor examples of “enforced submission” that you have seen?
As is typically the case, one bad theology replaces another. I say that to say that the American ethic of independence and “freedom” is at odds with what the Bible teaches.