This past weekend, we wrapped up our fall series on biblical manhood and womanhood, A Beautiful Design. All along, I planned to land the plane in a particular way and spent last week writing and preparing that message. But at the last minute—literally on Saturday—I felt the Spirit compelling me to go a different direction and give a sermon that would be far more pastoral than prophetic.
Out of that sermon, I shared my six final hopes from A Beautiful Design. And before we move on and transition into Advent, I wanted to give us the opportunity to consider deeply again the reality of what we covered these past 10 weeks. Here are my six hopes:
1. That we would fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and the Perfector of our faith.
Being a man, in the biblical sense, is overwhelming. The call to lead, protect and provide—the call to sacrificial love—is burdensome. The same is true for women. The role of a helpmate, in a similar way that the Lord is our help, is weighty. To be called to submission, especially in a world full of men acting like boys, is hard. We must look up to Jesus. He has written our faith. He is perfecting our faith. Without the gospel, everything unravels. Without the gospel, there will be no mutual submission.
2. That we would trust the Bible as our authority and that every command and implication leads us to life and joy.
When it comes to gender, what culture says is good and right conflicts with what the Bible says is good and right. Because He is the Creator and we are created, though, we can trust that God knows best. He is eternal. We are not. There are going to be times when we don’t understand or agree with the Scriptures, and in those moments, we have to submit to the inspired Word of God. What we can’t do is try to change Him. To change Him would be to rid ourselves of all of Him.
3. That we would take biblical manhood seriously, celebrating and encouraging it.
As daunting as the call to biblical manhood is, men must put forth the effort in their marriages, in their families and in their other relationships. It’s never too late. I’m not saying it’s easy, but we have to try, and God will honor it. Sitting around in a bathtub of self-pity will not lead to biblical manhood. We are to take our call seriously and enter the fray, as messed up and as broken as we are. We can do it, and women need to come alongside men, helping us to be who God has called us to be.
4. That we would take biblical womanhood seriously, celebrating and honoring it.
It is my prayer and desire that our women flourish in their giftings and in how God wired and designed them. Women are indispensable and essential for The Village to be all that God has called us to be as a church. This means our women must commit themselves to the making of disciples, to ferocious engagement and leadership in ministry and to honoring and helping their husbands order the home for the growing up of children who love the Lord. Men also need to encourage and empower women, helping them to be who God has called them to be. We desperately need and desire for our women to flourish.
5. That we would be deeply and visibly for each other.
It’s so easy to take a consumerist approach to church, soaking up from others but never giving back. In order for us to thrive as men and women, we must be for each other, willing to encourage and serve one another. This means that we won’t simply be going around speaking the truth in “love,” quick to rebuke others, but that we would be willing to do the hard work of building relationships and entering into training and discipleship with each other.
6. That the way we interact with each other as husbands and wives and as men and women would be a beacon of hope in a depraved and broken world.
We have an opportunity to set and change culture through the way we display God’s beautiful design for manhood and womanhood. The way we model complementarianism can make a difference in our communities. We have an opportunity to put on display the gospel, demonstrating a better way to live life, one that leads to flourishing.
When it comes to our roles as men and women, let’s not just stay where we are. Let’s walk forward. The Lord has not called us to what He won’t provide. May we fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfector of our faith. May we trust the Bible as our authority and that every command and implication leads us to life and joy. May we take biblical manhood and womanhood seriously, celebrating and encouraging it. May we be deeply and visibly for each other. And may the way we interact with each other as husbands and wives and as men and women be a beacon of hope in a depraved and broken world.
In all of this, my ultimate hope and prayer is that we would be a church that is not only complementarian in our theology but, more importantly, on the ground in our daily lives—for the glory of God and the joy of all people.