Processing John Piper’s “Lionhearted and Lamblike” Sermon

I just listened to John Piper’s sermon entitled “Lionhearted and Lamblike.” You can find the sermon here:

If you follow the link above, you can listen to the sermon online, download the audio in MP3 format, or download the video.

Some background: God has forcefully placed it on my heart to diligently, passionately seek out what it means to be a Christian man. What it means to be a husband, father, brother, and citizen who truly radiates Christ’s character and actions. In passionately seeking a clear articulation of this, one of the things I have done is search the archives of Godly men whom I respect, such as John Piper and Matt Chandler, and find sermons dedicate to the subjects of Biblical Manhood, Eldership, Headship, Fatherhood, and related subjects. That is the context for my discovery of “Lionhearted and lamblike” by John Piper.

This is one of the clearest articulations I have heard of God’s heart for men to love, serve, and lead their wives and children. I don’t know if I can articulate all of the details of how this sermon impacted me. It was like soil soaking in rain. I heard God behind the man preaching. I heard integrity towards the truths of scripture; Biblical exposition; letting the Word of God be the Word of God and not adding or subtracting or rationalizing to force it to fit into the square hole of our culture.

The sermon is founded upon one of the defining scriptures in the Bible conveying God’s vision for marriage: Ephesians 5:22-25. “The husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church.” John Piper unpacks the simplicity and gravity of these verses, in the context with other scriptures and the Gospel message at large.

Here’s what I heard:

1. God had a vision for marriage prior to the fall. God’s vision for marriage didn’t change with the fall.
2. Men have a distinct role in marriage. Women have a distinct role in marriage. Marriage cannot attain to God’s vision and goal, where men refuse their role and women abandon theirs.
3. Marriage was always intended to be a reflection; an illustration, of Christ’s relationship with the Church, his Bride.
4. As a result of the fall, the institution of marriage in action became distorted. The roles, as they are carried out, became warped by sin.
5. Men are called to loving, servant leadership. Christ is the example of how they are to love and lead.
6. Women are called to respect and submit to their husbands; to recognize and promote their husband’s leadership.
7. Here’s how sin plays itself out in distorting the husband’s role. Men in marriage today tend to fall into one of the following camps:
a. Harsh dominators who neglect their call to love and sacrifice themselves. “I’m the man and you better do what I say.”
b. Passive “bumps on a log” who neglect their call to lead.
8. Here’s how sin plays itself out in distorting the wife’s role. Women in marriage today tend to fall into one of the following camps:
a. Obsequious manipulators who portray womanliness as helplessness weakness
b. Independent, self-willed dominators who rebel against the very idea of any man having authority over them.
9. John Piper spoke against the error in the idea of Christian Egalitarianism. I did a quick search on the term. According to Wikipedia, Christian egalitarianists believe that “gender equality in Christian church leadership (including pastors) and in Christian marriage is biblically sound.” You can read more about it at:
10. According to Piper, the teaching of Christian egalitarianism emphasizes Ephesians 5:21, “submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.” and de-emphasizes Ephesians 5:22, “wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.”
11. Piper faithfully illustrated that neither of these truths is to be de-emphasized. He referred to the scriptural account of Jesus Christ taking on the garb of a servant and washing his disciples feet. Was he serving them? YES! Was there any doubt as to who was the leader in the room? Absolutely not.
12. God’s vision of marriage is not characterized by one or the other. God’s brand of marriage requires both mutual submission and the mutual recognition of God’s plan for Biblical headship. Man is the reflection of Christ, “the head,” and woman is the reflection of the Bride, “the body.” God’s brand of leadership only flourishes where love is present. Otherwise, authority is just an exercise of power at the expense of the one being ruled over. Mark 10:42-43:
a. Jesus called them together and said, "You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.

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