The Way It Is: A Sermon on I Corinthians 11:2-16 -- By: James Merritt
JBMW 6:2 (Fall 2001) p. 31
The Way It Is: A Sermon on I Corinthians 11:2-16
Senior Pastor, First Baptist, Church of Snellville, Georgia; President, Southern Baptist Convention, Snellville, Georgia
As we examine the eleventh chapter of 1 Corinthians, we will find ourselves tackling a tough and controversial subject. I have titled this message “The Way It Is,” and it may cause some of you to show your age when I explain.
How many of you remember Walter Cronkite? There was a time when Walter Cronkite was the plumb-line by which every news broadcaster measured himself. He was the giant in the news broadcasting industry. He was far and away the most watched television reporter in his day, and one of the reasons why is that he became associated with a trademark. At the end of every broadcast, he always closed by saying, “That’s the way it is June 25, 19??. This is Walter Cronkite, CBS reporting. Goodnight.”
Recently the SBC passed a revision to its confession of faith, called the Baptist Faith and Message. (If you don’t know about that, you have probably just come out of a coma.) Now to me, the most significant part of that document was the statement made against racism. We, for the first time, put in our confession of faith, “We abhor Racism in every shape form or fashion.” Interestingly though, you didn’t hear that in the news. What you probably did hear from the media was, “What about this issue of only men being pastors of the church?” Well, I want to suggest to you that according to the Scriptures, that’s the way it is.
Now the question is not “what,” but “why?” Why is it that God, in his sovereign will, said that only the male should fill the role of pastor in the church? It is because of God’s umbrella of authority. God has an umbrella of authority. In fact, we see it in 1 Corinthians 11 beginning in verse two. Paul said, “I praise you because you remember me in everything and hold firmly to the traditions, just as I delivered them to you.” In the simplest terms, Paul said to these Corinthian Christians, “I want to brag on you, because when I brought God’s traditions to you, you didn’t gripe and complain. You simply said, “That’s what we are going to do.”
Now the reason why Paul could wield authority, was because he knew how to yield authority. Notice verse 1: “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.” He said, in essence, “I know how to be over because I have learned how to be under.” We are bound to be tossed to and fro by the winds of the world if we are not linked to God’s golden chain of command. We will drown in the storms of life if we are not under God’s umbrella of author...
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