“The Women Needed in the Church”
Over the past two weeks we have discussed men needed and not needed in the Lord’s church. As we said when we began this brief series of lesson we would discuss or study “The women needed in the Lord’s church” and next week we will discuss “the Women Not Needed in the Lord’s Church.” When we began with the Men Needed In The Lord’s Church we first recognized the Gifts of Christ found in Ephesians 4:11 – 12, “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ…” You see the Lord gave certain roles in the church to men and others to women. The roles of evangelist and pastors are for men and the role of teacher for both men and women. Since, the Lord designed His church this way we MUST adhere to it. Therefore, for the woman’s role in the Lord’s church, women are to be teachers. Of course there are other things women can do and must do in the Lord’s church, but when it comes to the roles listed in this text this is what has been revealed to us.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at what the Bible says about women in the Lord’s church and the kind of women that are needed. They play a vital role and we don’t want to limit their value, because the Lord gave them tremendous value in this world and in His church. So, what are the “kind” of women needed in the church? Well, we are going to examine 9 different examples from the Bible that will help us with this understanding.
The first is a woman with great faith like the woman with the issue of blood found in Mark 5:25-34, “Now a certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years, 26 and had suffered many things from many physicians. She had spent all that she had and was no better, but rather grew worse. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment. 28 For she said, "If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well." 29 Immediately the fountain of her blood was dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction. 30 And Jesus, immediately knowing in Himself that power had gone out of Him, turned around in the crowd and said, "Who touched My clothes?" 31 But His disciples said to Him, "You see the multitude thronging You, and You say, 'Who touched Me?'" 32 And He looked around to see her who had done this thing. 33 But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. 34 And He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction." This issue of blood could be referring to some sort of hemorrhaging. She would be severely limited in her ability to participate in any full sense in the religious rights of Judaism and she was ceremonially unclean and could not be purified by sacrifices as long as the hemorrhaging continued. She had tremendous faith when she said, “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.” So, when the opportunity afforded itself, this is exactly what happened. She touched Jesus clothes and her issue of blood was healed. Jesus even told her, “your faith has made you well.” Women with this kind of faith is exactly what the Lord’s church is need of.
Now with this great faith needs to come women who teach their children the Scriptures like Eunice and Lois who we read about in 2 Timothy 1:5, “when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also.” We learn of the faith of these two women as the apostle Paul recognizes the genuine faith in Timothy which he was taught by his mother and grandmother. We know he was taught by them because the apostle Paul says in 2 Timothy 3:15, “and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” As we recognized from Ephesians 4:11 one of the gifts of Christ is “teachers.” It is imperative that the church have women that are willing to teach others, especially their children. Let’s not forget what the apostle Paul instructed Titus to encourage and instruct the older women to “teach” in Titus 2:3-5, “the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things-- 4 that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.”
There another example we want to learn from for women needed in the Lord’s church and this is the example of Mary. A few weeks ago we discussed Martha and Mary. We know that while Jesus was in their house Martha was busy and did not sit at the feet of Jesus. While Martha, was doing good, she did not put Jesus first. She put cooking and housework above hearing the word of God. Listen to what is said in Luke 10:38-42, “Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus' feet and heard His word. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me." 41 And Jesus answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. 42 "But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her." You see, Jesus told Martha that Mary chose the good part which will not be taken away from her. She chose to listen to the word of Jesus. We need women that put hearing the word of Jesus first in their lives. This will make the Lord’s church stronger, for it will allow those women to better “teach” others, especially their children.
Now, having women that hear the word and who have practiced teaching or have experience teaching children, guess what, they can then do personal evangelism in teaching others like Priscilla was in Acts 18:24-26, “Now a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus. 25 This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John. 26 So he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.” If you notice from this text, we see a man named Apollos who was an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures, yet he still needed to be taught more perfectly. Did you notice who help to teach Apollos, it wasn’t just another man, Aquilla and his wife Priscilla helped to teach Apollos more perfectly. Personally, I can’t tell you how many women have helped me in my growth in Christ. Some of my finest teachers have been women in the Lord’s church, who truly love God, and share their examples, their stories, and their knowledge with me, to help me to grow not just as a preacher, but as a Christian man, as a Christian husband, a Christian Father, a Christian Brother, and the list goes on. So, I must say thank you to all those ladies who have helped me and to those who continue to help me and to those ladies who will help me in the future. The Lord’s church needs Women like Priscilla! Thank you God for such a wonderful Gift!
Now let’s take a different look at Ladies needed in the Lord’s church. The Lord’s church needs women who show hospitality to the servants of God like the Shunammite woman did for Elisha in 2 Kings 4:8-11, “Now it happened one day that Elisha went to Shunem, where there was a notable woman, and she persuaded him to eat some food. So it was, as often as he passed by, he would turn in there to eat some food. 9 And she said to her husband, "Look now, I know that this is a holy man of God, who passes by us regularly. 10 "Please, let us make a small upper room on the wall; and let us put a bed for him there, and a table and a chair and a lampstand; so it will be, whenever he comes to us, he can turn in there." 11 And it happened one day that he came there, and he turned in to the upper room and lay down there.” This woman showed great hospitality to the servant of God.
When we consider women in the Lord’s church we have to recognize that there are women that are wives. And the women in the Lord’s church are to respect their husbands and are in subjection to them as Sarah was with Abraham as Peter tells us in 1 Peter 3:6, “as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror.” This can be a very challenging attitude to have for women, if their husbands don’t do their part in respecting their wives. However, women who have faith in God and Christ, will do all they can to make sure they respect their husbands and are in subjection to him. This doesn’t make them a slave to their husband, but as God designed woman to be a “help meet” a helper with equal value as a man when it comes to God. God saw that it was not good for man to be alone and He did not design a slave or servant but a companion for man to go through life with. A precious gift given to man by God.
Well, when we recognize a woman being married, guess what she is more than likely going to have, she’s going to have “in-laws.” Hopefully, these in-laws are in the Lord’s church. That would be a great help, for a woman in the Lord’s church needs to know how to get along with her relatives and in-laws as we learn from Naomi and Ruth in Ruth 1:4, “Now they took wives of the women of Moab: the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth. And they dwelt there about ten years.” To be familiar with the story of Ruth is to know about a young lady who was devoted to her mother-in-law even though her husband was dead. Ruth devoted herself to her mother-in-law. She tells her mother-in-law that her people would be her people. This brings to a better understanding of what it means to be a part of a family through marriage. It is quite obvious Ruth’s mother-in-law gave her reason not to leave. It is quite clear that she loved her daughter-in-law dearly. Treated her as her own. Why else would Ruth not want to leave? She was so close, she felt a part of the family without the phrase, “in-law” attached. This is a tremendous feeling if you have ever had that kind of relationship with your in-laws. I am very privileged to be the son-in-law of Allen and Jeanine Martin. And they have introduced me to others as their son and not their son-in-law. That meant “The world” to me. I can only imagine that this was the kind of relationship that Ruth had with her mother-in-law. This is the kind of women needed in the Lord’s church, the kind of women that can get along with their in-laws.
We have two more examples we want to learn from when it comes to women in the Lord’s church. The next one is a woman that is “Modest” as Vashti was in the book of Esther. You see, Vashti was a very modest Queen. We know this because of her refusal to parade herself to the people at the request of the King. Listen to what is said in Esther 1:10-12, “On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar, and Carcas, seven eunuchs who served in the presence of King Ahasuerus, 11 to bring Queen Vashti before the king, wearing her royal crown, in order to show her beauty to the people and the officials, for she was beautiful to behold. 12 But Queen Vashti refused to come at the king's command brought by his eunuchs; therefore the king was furious, and his anger burned within him.” Vashti took a stand against this request. She had a modest mentality and felt that it was wrong to parade herself in this way before others. She took a stand and the King replaced her with another for his queen. Sadly, today, many women succumb to a lack of modesty and they lose themselves to the world. When God desires that His creation be modest in their dress and in their disposition and attitude.
The last example we want to recognize when it comes to the women needed in the Lord’s church we turn to the woman of the city of Abel who was wise and brave. This woman is not as well known as some in the Bible, but she is an excellent example to learn from for she took a stand in defense of her entire city. A man named Sheba had rebelled against King David and sought to overthrow him. David had instructed Amasa to get Sheba. Joab, ends up being the one that ends up with Sheba. But that’s another story. For our purposes, we focus on the woman’s wisdom and bravery to stand against Joab and his army who not only sought after Sheba, when they came upon the city of Abel they battered the walls to throw it down. Listen to how this woman dealt with Joab in 2 Samuel 20:14-21, “And he went through all the tribes of Israel to Abel and Beth Maachah and all the Berites. So they were gathered together and also went after Sheba. 15 Then they came and besieged him in Abel of Beth Maachah; and they cast up a siege mound against the city, and it stood by the rampart. And all the people who were with Joab battered the wall to throw it down. 16 Then a wise woman cried out from the city, "Hear, Hear! Please say to Joab, 'Come nearby, that I may speak with you.'" 17 When he had come near to her, the woman said, "Are you Joab?" He answered, "I am." Then she said to him, "Hear the words of your maidservant." And he answered, "I am listening." 18 So she spoke, saying, "They used to talk in former times, saying, 'They shall surely seek guidance at Abel,' and so they would end disputes. 19 "I am among the peaceable and faithful in Israel. You seek to destroy a city and a mother in Israel. Why would you swallow up the inheritance of the LORD?" 20 And Joab answered and said, "Far be it, far be it from me, that I should swallow up or destroy! 21 "That is not so. But a man from the mountains of Ephraim, Sheba the son of Bichri by name, has raised his hand against the king, against David. Deliver him only, and I will depart from the city." So the woman said to Joab, "Watch, his head will be thrown to you over the wall." This wise and brave woman took a stand and prevented the army of Joab from entering into the city and causing other issues for the people. She gave exactly to Joab what he wanted and did not allow any evil to come upon herself and others. This is a woman that risked her life for others. When it comes to women needed in the Lord’s church, this is definitely one attitude we MUST have.
Just think for a moment about these nine examples: the woman with the issue of blood and her great faith; women who teach their children the Scrriptures; Women who place hearing the Word of God above cooking and house work; Personal workers like Priscilla; Women who show hospitality to the servants of God like the Shunammite woman; Women who respect their husbands; women who know how to get along with their in-laws; Modest women like Vashti; and Wise and Brave women like the Woman of Abel. All of these are attirbutes for women to strive for. Even men can learn from these types of ladies and apply these attributes to their lives. Obviously, men have to respect their wives and lead them as God would have them. But when it comes down to it, all of these attributes can be found in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. For it is quite obvious that He respected our Heavenly father and was in subjection to Him. Let each of us seek after these attributes, especially women. God has provided these examples for our admonition, our edification, and for our growth to learn from others. Let each one of us make the choice to obey Christ as the apostle Paul explains in Philippians 2:12, “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;”