daily Broadcast

Is There a Woman in the Home?, Part 1

From the series Marriage that Works

The role of women has been changing for the past several decades and here’s the question: “are women living more fulfilled lives today?”  Chip provides a fresh perspective on this issue and his findings may be surprising.

Chip Ingram App

Helping you grow closer to God

Download the Chip Ingram App

Get The App

Today’s Offer

Marriage that Works free mp3 download.


Message Transcript

Is there a woman in the home? Women have been oppressed, both currently and from ages past. And so, what I want to do is as we start, I want to talk about the evolution of the American female.

I want to go all the way back, I’m going to start all the way back during the time of Jesus and give you a picture of what it’s been like to be a woman, move all the way into the sixties, the radical feminism of the seventies, the disillusioned time of when women got these two jobs where they were full-time at home, full-time at work, and full-time everywhere.

Into the nineties, where there was a shift where women are saying, “You know something? I don’t think I want that much.” And there was a return back to home. Where the average woman is asking, “What’s it look like to be a woman? What’s my role? When and how should I work? How much energy goes at home? What is my husband need? What am I supposed to give? How am I to ‘be fulfilled?’”

And so, let’s start. Let me go all the way back to the time of Jesus. Three cultures were prevalent. The Jews, the Greeks, and the Romans.

In the Jewish, although the Old Testament did not teach this, the Jews had developed a very low view of woman by the time of Jesus. Women were viewed as servants, a Jewish man would get up every day and pray this. Imagine hearing your husband pray this outside the front door. “God, I thank you that I am not a Gentile, a slave, or a woman. Amen.” That is not a good view of woman. Jews basically, pragmatically viewed women as slaves.

The Greeks were worse, however. In the Greek world, there was no legal procedure for divorce because none was necessary. An Athenian orator of the time said, “We have courtesans, prostitutes, for pleasure. We have concubines for the sake of daily cohabitation. And we have wives for the purpose of having children legitimately and being faithful guardians of our household affairs.”

Because the Greek men found their pleasures outside of marriage, fornication, prostitution were rampant.

And so, a woman, basically, among the Greeks, was just an object to be used for pleasure.

So, imagine, as a woman growing up in this situation. This is not pretty. The Jews, the Greeks, it gets worse.

Among the Romans, divorce was not the exception, but the rule. Jerome, a historian of the day and an ancient writer, tells of one Roman woman, “who was married for her twenty-third time, and she was married to a man, and she was his twenty-first wife.”

Marriage in Rome became nothing more than legalized prostitution. You can go all over the world. You can go, especially to the Middle East, but multiple countries around the world and women, women and the word “injustice” have gone together since antiquity.

In fact, some things that you might not recognize that until 1920, a woman could not vote in the United States. In Switzerland, a woman did not get the vote until 1971.

In the 1960s, if you wanted to rent an apartment or get credit, you had to have a man or a male relative sign. This is 1960s in America. They didn’t think women could be responsible enough to make sure they paid their bills.

Today, more than a thousand women, actually, this is, statistics are a little old so we’d probably double that. We have women in legislatures, we have over a hundred women are leading in terms of mayors of cities all over America. We have women, more women now in medical school than men. And so, there’s been this huge, huge transformation of the liberation of women.

Feminism is not a dirty word. Feminism is a controversial word. In fact, let me give you the definition of feminism. Feminism merely states, “It’s the principle,” this is Webster’s, “that women should have equal, political, economic, and social rights to men.”

And then under that, Webster says, “It’s the movement to win those rights.”

But radical feminism and feminism are two different things. If you are a woman here in your twenties or thirties or even in early forties, something happened in the seventies that tilted it from a slave, a servant, an object, you get the vote, boy, now you get your own credit.

Well, now, in the seventies, it became: the core of all evil in the world is men.

And so, it is now time to fight back, no god, no master, no laws.” Basically, men are the problem behind everything.

As that happened, the USA Today sited a study that was done asking women their values in certain things. So, I want you to, ladies, get this feel of what’s been going on in the culture. Because all these things lead up to this unconscious view of how you see yourself, what you’re supposed to do, what you shouldn’t do, or the confusion that you have.

In the 1970s, according to this survey, there was a clear demarcation between a working woman and a stay at home woman and women said, “You know something? I am now liberated.” This movement outside the home.

In 1920, only one out of five women worked outside the home. By 1990, seventy-five to eighty percent of all women between the ages of twenty to fifty, work outside the home.

By the eighties, women in this survey, felt like they had a full-time job working, full-time job motherhood, and felt stressed.

By 1990, a ground-breaking study says, “Women are less driven about career, much less concerned about the neighbors, and are returning home in droves.”

It’s a story of executive women who, basically have said, being a full-time mom and saying that quality time is equivalent to quantity time just doesn’t play out.

They feel overwhelmed, overstressed, and there’s a movement to working part time or, what the study says, women are saying that motherhood and their families take precedence over work.

With that said, and you’ll notice in your notes, you have the evolution of the American female. That’s sort of what’s created this culture.

Second, you have a world between 1920 and today where we’ve had a mother absent in the family. The results were violence is up, divorce is up, SAT scores are down, teen suicide is up, and depression is up.

The total impact of the changing roles, here’s what happened to men. Men got two incomes. The affluence in America is off the charts because of the two income households.

Women got two jobs. We all like to say, oh, woman goes to work and there’s equality and there’s a lot of verbiage. But at the end of the day, women know this: I can go to work full time and when I come home, I get another full time job.

And maybe men help out a little bit but the average guy’s not helping that much, according to ruthless surveys around the country.

And finally what happens is children get too little attention. We have kids that are confused, kids that are, at very young ages, that are taking drugs we never heard of before. We have situations where kids aren’t getting nurtured.

What we know for sure, in the research, is the first five to seven years of any child’s life, over eighty percent of their personality will be formed, their moral values and their self-identity.

And it’s at these times, what we find is, little kids have been shipped off at the ages shortly after they’re born, at times, for the first six or seven years into day care.

With women, they’ve been brainwashed to believe that unless I have this career and this and that, I am not really a valuable person.

And so what’s happening is a reaction to that as women are trying to reevaluate how does all that work?

Which leads me to the fundamental question, which is, are women’s lives, marriages, and families better since the politically correct experiment, or worse?

And what I want to talk about in our time today is how would God redefine womanhood in our marriages and in our homes? Think of all that you’ve been through, ladies. All that you’ve been through.

Is it any wonder that families are messed up, that divorce is everywhere, that kids are confused, that people are shipped back and forth to house to house?

That financially, a third of the people that get divorced live under the poverty level? That forty percent of our people say they don’t even believe in marriage anymore? That we have the age of people getting married growing older and older, almost thirty years old for men as they look and say, “Hey, you know what? I don’t know if I ever want to do this. It doesn’t seem to work for anyone.”

We’ve totally missed God’s roles and God’s design that makes for deep, intimate marriages that stay married, that create homes where there’s rich love and stability for kids.

And so, what we learn is that it always begins with mutual submission. Okay? This isn’t about, the man’s here and the woman’s here and you’re supposed to submit. Everything begins in God’s economy with mutual submission.

Ephesians chapter 5 verse 21 says, “And be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.”

It’s this picture, in quick summary, that there’s this umbrella that a man lives under and a woman lives under.

And the umbrella is the fear of God and the Word of God. And I say, as a man and a woman says, as a woman, first and foremost, I will obey You and I want to do life Your way, according to Your Word.

And so, it’s not about my rights or what she’s supposed to do or what he’s supposed to do. First and foremost, I want to love God with my heart, my soul, my strength and I want to pursue You.

And then, my question in my marriage is not so much who does what. How do I make you successful? How do I love you more deeply? And how do I serve you? So, all the commands about the roles are under that umbrella.

And now we say that this dance, the first step we learn, men need to step up, starts with the man. Now, we’re going to learn that the dance requires clarity – of roles. What a woman needs to understand is, well, what’s my role? Okay, it’s supposed to be beautiful and there’s mutual submission. But, so what is my role?

God says this, “Wives, be subject to your own husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the Church.” Will you underline the word “subject” and will you circle the word “head” where it comes up?

The word “subject” or “submit.” It’s not a dirty word. We’ll find out what it means in just a minute. It has nothing to do with inferiority, has nothing to do with inequality, has everything to do with function, structure, and role for a right relationship.

“He Himself,” speaking of Christ, “is the Savior of the body. But as the Church is subject to Christ so also wives ought to be to their own husbands in everything.” And by way of review, it’s not difficult to submit to, and we’ll learn what that means, in a minute, to a man who lives like this.

“Husbands, love your wives just as Christ also loved the Church and gave Himself up for her, that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of the water with the Word. That He might present to Himself the Church in all of her glory, having no spot or wrinkle, or any such thing, but that she should be holy and blameless.”

Application: “So, husbands ought to love their wives,” how? “As their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh but nourishes and cherishes is it just as Christ also does the Church because we are members of His body.

“Nevertheless, let each individual among you love his own wife,” how? “Even as himself.” And then, ladies? “And let the wife see to it that she respect her husband.” Put a circle around the word “respect.”

We get our word “phobia.” The Greek word is phobia, here. And it doesn’t mean “a fear of.” It means a reverence.

The greatest need a man has is to be honored and respected.

And so, women, here’s what God says. Here’s what it means to submit. Here’s what it means to step in.

Wives are to, here’s the key word, step in and support, affirm, and encourage their husbands with strength and respect to lead their families in righteousness.

Yeah, I want you to write the words “step in” but I chose this, this is the definition of what it looks like when it says, “Wives, be subject to your husband.” This isn’t someone’s bigger or more important.

Notice carefully, it’s stepping in instead of stepping over. And notice, how do you do it? With affirmation, support, and encouragement. But also notice this, it’s with strength. This isn’t passivity. This isn’t “whatever you say, dear.”

It’s with strength and respect and notice the goal. It’s to lead your family in righteousness. It’s under the umbrella of mutual submission and it’s that picture of those two people dancing. Where, once there’s rhythm and the music starts, you don’t know who took the first or the second step. It’s just a thing of beauty.

So, what I want to do now, I want to talk about what this means, and what it doesn’t mean, and how it plays out very practically.

This is what it means. Wives must understand that marriage is not an egalitarian, fifty-fifty proposition. This is not a, we’re not co-, as people talk about, there is a point in time in every organization, whether it’s a company, whether it’s a small group, whether it’s a club, whether it’s rotary, whether it’s the military, the buck in every organization stops somewhere.

Ultimately, someone is responsible. And at the end of the day, God says, just as Christ is the head of the man; men, you are ultimately responsible for the outcomes of your family. Spiritually, directionally, provisionally.

And, ladies, just so, I want you to know, this has nothing to do with value, equality, you might jot in your notes, I’ll read it for you, it’s 1 Corinthians chapter 11 verse 3. I want to give you a picture of someone who submitted himself to someone else that we know, with absolute certainty, there was no diminishment in terms of equality or importance.

He writes, “Now, I want you to realize that the head,” this is this idea of person who ultimately is the source and responsible for, and has the authority to make it happen, “the head of every man is Christ. And that the head of every woman is man. And that the head of Christ is God.”

Jesus submitted Himself to the Father. We know that the Holy Spirit, Jesus God the Son, and God the Father are coequal in essence, in value. There is no higher or lower. But in terms of function and structure. So, that’s the first thing, that’s what it means to submit.

The second thing is, wives must voluntarily support their husbands from the heart, as an act of obedience. It’s voluntary. Submission is not a burden to bear. It’s not a cross to bear. It’s not, “Oh boy, I’ve got to do this.”

This is a real sense that, from a joyful heart, I’m going to believe that God has put this person in my life, for my good, and ultimately, he doesn’t have the power to mess everything up because God is in control and is sovereignly working. But this is a voluntary, from the heart, with a joyful attitude.

And, third, wives must believe that submission, stepping in versus stepping over, is a woman’s greatest ally and the key to bringing about positive change. Now, think about that. Your greatest ally. Cooperating with God’s design.

Now, could I just stop for a moment? If you think what I just read and stated is politically incorrect in our day, go back to the evolution of women. See, we read things through this tiny little context of 21st century in the last fifty or sixty years.

Can you imagine, are you ready, guys? Imagine being a man and you grew up in a culture - a Jewish man, a Roman man, or a Greek man. And it’s the 1st century. And maybe you’re a pretty new Christian and so you’re nicer to your wife than most people and you really love her and you’ve got a decent relationship.

But, you do understand that you’ve grown up thinking women are slaves. You’ve grown up thinking women are just an object of pleasure and you’re growing up thinking everybody around you has been divorced ten, twenty, fifteen times, if you’re a Roman. And it’s not a big deal.

And now you receive Jesus as your Messiah and you’re following Him, and you’re in this church in Ephesus and God, through the apostle Paul, speaks and they open this scroll, and they start talking about mutual submission and you’re going, “Whoa, hey, whoa, well mutual what?”

Then she’s a coheir of the grace of God that she’s not only equal, that she’s your partner in life, and you’re supposed to lay down your life for her? Die for her?

Do you understand that the greatest liberator on the face of the earth, of women, was Jesus and the apostle Paul? The greatest liberator. And when they talk about submission or being subject to, it is in the context of a sovereign, good God who created roles that, when they fit together and each does their part, it’s the healthiest, richest.

You know what a woman wants? She wants to be secure. She wants to be protected. But out of your fear, you want to control. And the radical feminism pushed all the buttons into a place where, we not only don’t need men, we hate them.

And there are some vestiges of that planted in our culture and society.