Follow Christ Not Culture – 1 Corinthians 11

“Miss” Tammy and I love Liberty! We missed you while we were on vacation! It was so good to be back with you on Sunday, to continue our study in 1 Corinthians, and to celebrate the Lord’s Supper together. In 1 Corinthians 11 (I know we jumped again, but I promise we will cover the entire book before we’re done) Paul is addressing disorder in public worship. In verse 16 he says they were contentious, in verse 18 he talks about divisions,and in verse 19 he talks about factions. How can we have unity in the church? Paul begins by saying, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ” (v.1). We must follow Christ, not culture. We do not evaluate the Bible through the eyes of the culture but evaluate the culture through the lens of Scripture. Paul’s answer to bring order back to the church can be summed up in three words:


Complementarian is a theological word for someone who ascribes to the historic, biblical idea that male and female are equal, but different. The extremes in our culture say all men are bad and women are good, or all men are smart and women are dumb. In verses 3-5, Paul explains the truth. He is not talking about men’s and women’s contributions or place in society, he is talking about order in the home and church. In this context, the discussion is on head coverings. I don’t have time to fully explain here on the blog, but you can watch the sermon from Sunday for more detail ( Paul did not forbid women to pray or prophecy in public worship, nor did he speak of inferiority or inequality. He speaks of the God-head, each person being equal but different. Christ is equally God as much as the Father is God. He is not inferior on any level. The Trinity is the model for all relationships. Genesis calls the wife a helper. The Holy Spirit is called the paraclete, which translates helper. The definition and roles of gender are not conservative or progressive issues. They are gospel issues. God created male and female to reflect complementary truths about Jesus. Complementarians believe that males were designed to shine the spotlight on Christ’s relationship to the church and that females were designed to shine the spotlight on the church’s relationship to Christ. Christian complementarians stand against the oppression of women. Who we are as male and female is ultimately not about us but about Jesus! The culture does not get to redefine gender. Only the Creator gets to define male and female. When we understand our God-given roles, it brings unity in the church and home.


“In the beginning God created…” In verse 7 Paul says that man “…is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man.” What does that mean? We see in verses 8-10 the explanation. It is about the order in which man and woman were created. The Bible is clear that both all men and women are created in the image of God. Therefore, every person is deserving of value, dignity, and respect. Verse 10 also references the angels. Angels, like men and women, are part of God’s creation. In Isaiah 6 we read that the angels cover their faces with their wings when they worship God. The whole issue was head covering. Lucifer and one third of the angels rebelled against God. Do not rebel against your Creator. Verses 11-12 say, “Nevertheless, neither is man independent of woman, nor woman independent of man, in the Lord. For as woman came from man, even so man also comes through woman; but all things are from God.” God created this to be a partnership. We are not independent. We both belong to each other and need each other.  Complementary means to complete the whole. “Miss” Tammy and I do not compete, we complete. We are a team! In verse 14 Paul references nature. There are noticeable differences between males and females and God made it that way. The “covering” here reminds us that everyone is under authority.  The principle is timeless, but the application varies.


The third word Paul used to talk about unity was communion. In verses 23-30 he talks about the Lord’s Supper. The Passover meal was when every Jewish family killed a lamb to commemorate God’s deliverance of the Hebrew people who were slaves in Egypt. Remember the story? God sent ten plagues and the last was the death of the firstborn. God told Moses to tell the people to kill a lamb and put the blood on the doorpost. When the death angel came and saw the blood he would pass over. The blood of the lamb was a foreshadowing of Jesus. Jesus celebrated Passover and He interprets saying, “This is my body….” He is the Passover Lamb. He is the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. Jesus died for you and for me. It’s personal. The Lord’s Supper is a time for self-examination. It’s is not a time to examine others but to examine self. The Lord’s Supper, Communion, is a time to reflect and rededicate.  It is a time to re-up. Everyone in the military understands that term. It is a time of unity. We are a team!

Let us examine ourselves and remember God’s design and His call and purpose for our lives. May we imitate Christ, listen to Him above culture, and guard against disunity in the body of Christ.



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