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Scripture Memory: Security in God.
VERSE : Proverbs 18:10 
"The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe."

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O Worship the LORD in the Beauty of Holiness

3 February 2013
8 am Worship Service:
Eld Khoo Peng Kiat (Victory Over Unrighteous Anger, Jas 1:19-21)
1045am Worship Service:
Rev Colin Wong (Victory Over Unrighteous Anger, Jas 1:19-21)
6:00 pm Evening Service:
Rev Frank Low (Christ, the Son of Man, Heb 2:5-18)

10 February 2013
9 am Combined Lunar New Year Service:
Rev Peter Chng (Looking Forward to 2013, Rom 15:5-6; Rev Peter Chng)

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EQUAL BUT NOT THE SAME

"God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them."

Gender Equality

The account of man’s creation as given in Genesis 1:27 shows us that men and women are equally bearers of God’s image and both have equal value and dignity. We who are in Christ have an even stronger basis for upholding the equality of the sexes: Peter says that Christian couples are to be "heirs together of the grace of life" (1 Peter 3:7) And Paul says that "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus." (Galatians 3:28)

This principle of equality means that the idea of male superiority that has characterised most cultures in history is sinful. Nowhere does the Bible say that men are superior to women, or that women are inferior to men. Whenever gender discrimination is practised the truth of our equality in the image of God is denied.

Cultural traditions and customs that violate this truth should therefore have no place in our life. For example, Christian parents should have no preference to have boys rather than girls, or to leave a larger inheritance for their sons than for their daughters.

However we must be careful not go to an extreme in applying gender equality. While men and women are equal, they are not the same. There are unique gender differences that cannot be overlooked.

Gender Differences

Many are promoting the idea that apart from some biological differences, men and women are all the same. This trend has been expressed in modern culture in various ways. Some call it unisex culture. Others call it androgyny. Yet others describe it as a genderless or gender-neutral society (which is already being implemented in Sweden).

We can already see it in the hairstyles of men and women, the clothes they wear and the range of beauty products and treatments for both men and women. In the entertainment world, male pop stars display effeminate behaviour while female pop stars exhibit masculine behaviour.

In a completely unisex or genderless society, there will be no boys’ schools and girls’ schools. There can be no gents’ and ladies’ toilets – only unisex public toilets. Soccer teams and basketball teams must have both men and women. Our English Bible would be replaced with a new translation that refers to God as ‘our Parent’ instead of our Father.

What will all this eventually lead to? When all distinctions between the sexes are removed they will soon lead society to accept homosexuality, bisexuality and transsexuality as the norm. Since there are no differences, men can become women, and women can become men; men can choose to marry men, and women can choose to marry women. If the proponents of androgyny could have their way, they would want every child to have the right to choose their own gender rather than to live with the gender they were assigned at birth.

All this should make clear how dangerous this trend is, and why we must uphold the biblical principle that there are differences between male and female. Genesis 1:27 tells us that God made man male and female, and the rest of the Scriptures define biblical manhood and biblical womanhood for us.

Biblical Manhood

Man was placed in the Garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it (Genesis 2:15). He was given the task of cultivating the land and taking good care of it. God commanded man to "Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth." (Genesis 1:28). This dominion was reflected in his naming of all the creatures (Genesis 2:19,20).

After the Fall, man’s role did not change, but it became more difficult than before because the ground was cursed. God said to him, "Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground" (Genesis 3:18-19).

From all this we can see that man’s role is to work for a living. Every man since Adam has to use his skills and strength to provide sufficiently for the needs of his family and himself. 1 Timothy 5:8 says, "…if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel."

Providing for the needs of the family also means that the man must spend sufficient time at home to understand and help his wife and children. He is to dwell with his wife according to knowledge giving honour unto her, as unto the weaker vessel (1 Peter 3:7). He is to bring up his children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4). He is to keep his family safe and secure from all harm and danger (Matthew 2:13-21). No man can therefore be an absentee husband or father, or use work commitments as an excuse for neglecting his family.

Biblical Womanhood

Woman was made to be a help meet for the man (Genesis 2:18). Her role was to support the man’s role so that together they may "be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it." The task of multiplying especially requires the woman’s role, since she alone is capable of bearing children.

After the Fall, this role did not change but it became more difficult than before, as God said to the woman, "I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children…" (Genesis 3:16)

More details about the supportive role of women, and of wives in particular, are given in Proverbs 31:10-31, the passage on the virtuous woman. It describes a wife who takes good care of the needs of her husband and children. She buys food at the market (v.14), prepares meals for them (v.15), makes sure that they have good clean clothes to wear (vv.13,21,22) and looks after the domestic affairs of the home (v.27). In the midst of all that, she also keeps a close walk with God (v.30), maintains a godly and loving influence on others (vv.20,26) and keeps herself physically fit (v.17) and emotionally well (v.25).

But her role is not restricted to the home. The virtuous woman invests wisely in property (v.16) and does some profitable business by selling her handiwork to merchants (vv.18,24). The Scriptures therefore encourage women to live up to their full potential. They may maximise their skills and talents to work as long as this does not cause neglect of their family’s needs. The wife’s primary responsibility must always be her family, not her career.

Roles Defined by God

From all this, we can see that the roles of men and women are not stereotypes that originate from society and culture. They are complementary roles defined for them by their Creator.

Some may then ask, "Does this mean that all men and all women must be married and have children to fulfill their roles?" The answer is no. We have examples in our Lord Jesus, John the Baptist and the apostle Paul who were singles. It is God’s will for some to remain unmarried in order to devote more time and effort for the work of His kingdom without being distracted by family commitments (1 Corinthians 7:32-35). And God will give them special grace to cope with all the needs of singlehood.

This also applies for those who marry. God has given men and women different capabilities to enable them to fulfill their respective roles in marriage effectively. Therefore, these roles cannot be changed or reversed to suit their own whims and fancies. Doing this will create confusion and disharmony.

However, if a man is retrenched from work or becomes incapacitated by illness and only his wife can find employment to support the family, then their roles would understandably have to be reversed for a time with the wife going out to work and the husband staying home and doing domestic chores. But this arrangement should only be temporary and regarded as an exception, otherwise their children will grow up confused, thinking that role-reversal is the norm.

Another reason why the man should be the main provider of the home is that it helps him to exercise authority as the head of the home. It is common thinking that the one who earns the money has a right to decide how it is spent. Thus it is more natural for the man to be the head of the family since his role is that of working in order to provide for the family’s needs.

However the Bible is completely silent on the issue of female headship in business, industry or government. The rule that applies outside the church and family is equal opportunity for everyone to prove their capability regardless of gender. Hence, gender should not be an issue when choosing whom to elect into Parliament.

Male headship only applies in the context of the church and family. This was ordained in the way that God created the first woman (Genesis 2:18-22). After man had named all the animals and could not find any help meet for him, God created her not out of the ground like the man, but out of a rib which He took from the man. The order of creation and the different mode of creation both point to the man’s headship over the woman. This point was underscored further by the man’s naming of the woman. The verse after that indicates that this account provides the basis for marriage.

Moreover, since Christian marriage is meant to reflect the relationship of Christ and the Church, it follows that the husband must be the head, and the wife must submit to him. Wifely submission should never be perceived as a demeaning role, since Christ Himself submits willingly to the Father even though He is co-equal with the Father (cf. 1 Corinthians 11:3).

Male headship in the church is based on the principle that the church is a family (Ephesians 3:15). Since male headship is ordained for the family it is also ordained for the church. Pastors and elders exercise oversight and lead the church in the same way that a husband leads his wife (Note: As deaconship is a subordinate role, it is open to both men and women). But just as husband and wife are equal before God, everyone in church is equal before God. The distinction of roles is only one of function. Christ is the Head of the Church and all of us stand accountable to Him.

May the Lord find us faithful in upholding the equality of men and women, the differences between them, and the complementary roles that He has defined for them in the church and in the home. —Pastor

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Book Table (17 & 24 Feb 13)

Winners of Scripture Memory Verse Review and Sunday School prizes can use your vouchers to purchase books at this booktable.

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1) Membership Roll Update Exercise: If you are a member of Life B-P Church, please fill the form and put it in the box at the church entrance.

2) Combined Lunar New Year Service, next Lord’s Day at 9.00 am. There will be NO Evening Service, Sunday School or Children’s Ministry.

3) Lord’s Supper for the 8.00 am service will be held on 17 Feb instead of 10 Feb 13 because of Chinese New Year.

4) Life B-P Church Camp, 17-20 June 2013 at Bintan Lagoon, Indonesia. On-line registration commences today at the church website, www.lifebpc.com. Registration forms are also available at the front entrance for those who have no internet access.

5) Infant Baptism on Easter Sunday, 31 Mar 13Parents who intend to have their infants baptised must register by 24 Feb 13. Please call the Church office (6594-9399) or email Yin Chan giving child’s name, date of birth and parents’ names and contact.

6) Far Eastern Kindergarten : Priority registration for church members in February for children born in 2011(Pre-Nursery) and 2010(Nursery).

Preaching appointment: Rev Seet in Batam.

Vision & Mission

 

To build a united church family that is committed to making disciples through Salvation, Sanctification and Service, to the glory of God.

Verse for the Week

December 3 & 10 - Holy Living

Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, 2 Peter 3:11