God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. - Genesis 1:27
Notice in Genesis that both male and female are called by the name of man. And our world hates hates hates this.
A few weeks ago the Prime Minister of Canada had a townhall meeting. He was talking about his attempts to be “inclusive” in all his cabinet appointments. A woman who was no doubt herself a feminist said that the country needed an economy filled with women because "maternal love is the love that is going to change the future of MANKIND." Uh Oh! What an unfortunate slip of the tongue. Thankfully the Prime Minister was there to correct this faux pax. “We like to say peoplekind, not necessarily mankind," He mansplained, excuse me, I mean peoplexplained to a rousing applause. He was later mocked online.
But you know what, he isn’t the only one trying to stop using the word man or mankind to refer to people. Christians do it. New bible translations are always tripping over themselves to do it.. One way they do it is by taking the word Adelphoi which means brothers and translating it as people or brothers and sisters. This word is used a lot in the New Testament to address the people of the church. Though the word means brothers it is inclusive of both men and women. Why then am I saying it is a big deal to translate it as brothers and sisters or people rather than just as brothers. God is the author of scripture and if he had wanted to include the word for sisters he could have. But instead he uses these masculine inclusive words like man, mankind, and brothers to teach us a lesson. What is the lesson?
Look at your favorite chapter of the bible, 1 Corinthians 11:
2 Now I praise you because you remember me in everything and hold firmly to the traditions, just as I delivered them to you. 3 But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ. 4 Every man who has something on his head while praying or prophesying disgraces his head. 5 But every woman who has her head uncovered while praying or prophesying disgraces her head, for she is one and the same as the woman whose head is shaved. 6 For if a woman does not cover her head, let her also have her hair cut off; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, let her cover her head. 7 For a man ought not to have his head covered, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man. 8 For man does not originate from woman, but woman from man; 9 for indeed man was not created for the woman’s sake, but woman for the man’s sake. 10 Therefore the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. 11 However, in the Lord, neither is woman independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. 12 For as the woman originates from the man, so also the man has his birth through the woman; and all things originate from God.
Read this part one more time:
For man does not originate from woman, but woman from man; for indeed man was not created for the woman’s sake, but woman for the man’s sake.
The use of the male inclusive language teaches us this all throughout scripture. Man does not originate from woman but woman from man. Man was not created for the woman’s sake but woman for the man’s sake.
That is why the world hates this language. Because we live in a world where a woman don’t need no man. But God says wait a minute, I created woman for man and from man. Furthermore, our culture reads back into scripture all its hatred for femininity and thinks that when Paul says what I he says in 1st Corinthians that he is being a chauvinistic pig. Because when Paul says that woman is the glory of man and that man is the glory of God than in their opinion Paul must be saying that woman is a lesser being, mostly likely subhuman. They are reading into it their own hatred for womanhood. But read what Calvin says about the woman being the glory of man.
“There is no doubt that the woman is a distinguished ornament of the man; for it is a great honor that God has appointed her to the man as the partner of his life, and a helper to him, and has made her subject to him as the body is to the head. For what Solomon affirms as to a careful wife — that she is a crown to her husband, is true of the whole sex, if we look to the appointment of God, which Paul here commends, showing that the woman was created for this purpose — that she might be a distinguished ornament of the man.”
Woman is an ornament, a splendid, beautiful, remarkable an d glorious adornment of man. A godly wife is truly the better half. She is a glory of man. This is what Adam says in chapter 2 of Genesis when Eve is created ““This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.” Woman is the weaker sex but she is the fairer sex. She is the more graceful sex. She is glorious. But her glory is the glory of man. And she was made for man. She was made to be a helper. When a man love and lead his wife, she will be glorious. When she is helper she is glorious.
Finally, my brothers, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
Ephesians 3:13-19 NASB Therefore I ask you not to lose heart at my tribulations on your behalf, for they are your glory. For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.
Paul suffered significantly to take this good message abroad. He was despised as a traitor by the Jews and mocked as foolish by the gentiles. The Jews ran Paul out of their synagogues, had him beaten, and tried to stone him to death. Paul proclaimed that Christ is Lord over all nations, Christ is King of Kings. Yet those nations and those kings imprisoned Paul.
The temptation for the churches that Paul had planted was to be ashamed of Paul. They were tempted to want nothing to do with him because they feared persecution.
“Paul, you are doing things the wrong way and you are causing problems for all of us other Christians. If you would just calm down a bit, perhaps they wouldn’t hate you so much and they wouldn’t hate us. Paul, if you were more like Jesus they wouldn’t persecute you.”
Paul knows they will be tempted to be ashamed. In Verse 13 he says, “Therefore I ask you not to lose heart at my tribulations on your behalf, for they are your glory.” Don’t be ashamed of the persecutions I am facing. They are for you. They are so that I can take the gospel to the nations.
Just as bad, they would also be tempted to lose faith when they saw Paul being persecuted. If the one who had planted their church was being persecuted, what could they possibly hope for. How could they possible stand when the time came for them. Paul says don’t lose heart. Don’t lose faith, these tribulations I am facing are for you.
Paul who was mocked, despised, persecuted for Christ, and who the church would be tempted to be ashamed of or lose faith over then says in verse 14: "For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. " He bows his knees before the Father. Even though Paul from a worldly perspective had reason to complain, grumble, or rebel, he didn’t. Rather than thinking of himself, in humble submission he bows his knees and prays for the church in Ephesus. Rather than becoming bitter at those who would be tempted to be ashamed of him, he is concerned for them. Rather than focusing on the the tribulations he was facing, his worry was that they would be strengthened. And so he bows the knee.
Those of us engaged in certain ministries that are confrontational, i.e. abortion ministry, often face deep persecution and hatred by the world. As we are persecuted, other Christians often are tempted to despise us, be ashamed of us, or lose faith.
We often feel like the dwarves at the beginning of the Hobbit movie who watched the elves abandon them in the battle.
We cry out to the Lord, "where are all your people?" When grow tired and frustrated at other Christians who aren't involved in the same ways we are or who on the surface don't seem involved in any battle at all.
We can respond in one of two ways. One, we can start despising them, be ashamed of them, and lose faith in them. We can become those who constantly belittle the church. In our minds, all pastors are out to build their own kingdoms. We can complain about the ministry industrial complex. We don't need them anyways, they are just a bunch of ecclesiasticrats.
Or we can bow the knee to our heavenly Father and pray that our brothers and sisters are strengthened by the Holy Spirit so that Christ may dwell in their hearts by faith, and that they may know the fullness of the love of God. We can have true concern for other believers who may be called to other battles. We can gently encourage, exhort, and call for our brothers to join in the battles God calls them to. If we love the Father we will love all the Fatherhood that gets its name from him.