Tape 6 - side A
Actual Topic The place of women in the MINISTRY
Bogus Topic advertised - "The place of women in the scriptures"
Joe Lewis, February 23, 1996
Our study tonight is about women and their place in the scriptures.
So, - I'd never asked um, any of our Sister Workers just ahm, what they've shared with people ah, about their calling into The Ministry before.
So I did that this week.
And there was two things that I appreciated ah, from one of our older Sister Ministers. And one of those comments that she made was simply that she was called. And just like each of you who have chosen to Walk With God because he called you, and you felt his call, and you responded with a "Yea," she felt called into The Ministry - just as clear of a calling as you have your calling to serve and Walk With God. And just as clearly as Terry and I have felt our calling into The Ministry - there was nothing else we could do - it was God's will - this was where he wanted me - that's how clear her calling was into the Service Of God - as a Servant in this Harvest Field.
Another thing she mentioned, um, which most of us are well aware of, is, we don't read anywhere - in the scriptures - where a woman Usurped Authority over Peter, or Paul, or even Jesus himself - none of the Apostles even attempted to do that. But, she said, "And so - so, we just Fill Our Place as Servants, Feeding The Sheep in The Fields where we Labor."
And you've noticed at ah, conventions, um, the Sister Workers - Just Keeping Their Place. You've seen - you've - many of you have observed their lives - never Usurping Authority over the Brother Workers, or um, Bringing Doctrine - false doctrine into the church, against (men) - you just - you just never have observed that.
I'm going to need to take my coat off. . . . That way the rest of you can still be warm. I'm plenty warm . . . . (Mr. Lewis’ face was indeed slightly flushed, but the room was ‘freezing’ cold just 6 feet from his location – let the reader ‘figure out’ what the ‘heater’ was that Mr. Lewis had that none of his audience had.)
Um . . . . so, The Ministry that I'm a part of - we do have women who serve in this capacity - of Sharing The Scriptures with people and Feeding The Sheep. Feeding The Flock.
You know, I grew up going to Gospel Meetings, like this, all my life. And in those years, there were many of God's Handmaidens - that's a scriptural word by the way - um, Handmaidens in The Fields where I have lived. In the cities where I have lived. And you know, I've come to appreciate many, many, many of God's Handmaidens because they have Fed My Heart. They Fed My Soul. They have Brought Bread to Feed My Soul.
Many of you currently are going to Gospel Meetings, like this, being Fed today by God's Handmaidens.
You might remember, in the book of Judges - we'll go into the Old Testament briefly - um, chapter four and five, there's a woman there named Deborah – we read about Deborah. She judged Israel for - for many years. It says that Israel had peace and rest for forty years. Because, while the Canaanites ah, kind of had the children of Israel under their thumb, God spoke to this woman, Deborah, she spoke to a man named Barak. And she said, "Gather the people together and go to war against Sisera, who is the military leader for Jabin, who is the king the Canaanites." (sic) And he said, "Well, you gotta come with me." (sic) She said, "Okay, I'll go." (sic) And she also told him, she said, "The glory won't be going to you, Barak. It will be going to a woman." (sic) "The glory of this battle - the - b-battle will be - be won, not because of you, but because of what a woman does." (sic) That's simply - the simple - um, - aw, - here - anyway - is that God used this woman . . . . Deborah.
He also used Jail - J-a-i-l - a woman - the woman, Jail, who killed Sisera, the ah, military leader who was running from Barak in that battle.
Throughout the scriptures we read of many women who God used; Prophetesses. In the book of Acts we read about four prophetesses. They were the daughters of Philip. And ah, that's in - in the book of Acts. . . .
So, when ah, - Matthew seven, verses fifteen through twenty - I won't turn to them but um, you can look them up yourselves later - um, Jesus was telling there - you can tell a prophet by this - the fruits. A - a true prophet versus a false prophet - by the fruits of their preaching. And ah, you know the fruits of the preaching of those Handmaidens of God that I know - same fruit. Same fruit. Brings peace, brings joy, it brings love, it - all these things ah, the fruit of the holy spirit into the lives of men and women still today. God is still honoring his Handmaidens along with his Hand - his Servants - his menServants.
In ah, Mark sixteen verses one through sixteen - I won't turn to those al - either but ah, you can read them yourselves later - but um, remember those ladies ah, Mary Magdalene, the other Mary, that went to the sepulcher to find Jesus? And they found that he had risen from the dead. Then who did they go and tell the message of the resurrection? They went to the Apostles, told Peter and John.
Now, this wasn't usurping authority over these men. It was just coming with the simple message that Jesus had risen from the dead. This - this story – the resurrection - the resurrection message is one of the majors in preaching The Gospel. It's one of the majors in Paul's ministry.
The first person, besides - in the New Testament - the Servants of God, male or female - the first ones was a - women - to deliver that message – besides Jesus himself, and besides prophets of the Old Testament who prophesied these things. Women brought the message of the resurrection to the Apostles . . . . then . . . . the eleven Apostles.
Um, so God does have a place for women - a place of service for women.
In Luke two verse thirty six to thirty eight - I'll turn there - this is a few verses about Anna. She was a prophetess. It says, "And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years," - that's eighty four years - "which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. And she coming in that instance (sic) gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem."
Here was - here was a woman who knew about Jesus. And she would tell all - anybody who was looking for redemption - she would tell them about Christ - of this - this - this little - this child. She had revelation to understand who this was. She would tell people, here he was. Just like um, Simeon had revelation - understood who this child was.
In Luke twenty four . . . . might turn to Luke twenty four, it's a ahm, very interesting chapter - I - I enjoy this chapter - Christ revealing himself to people after he rose from the dead. Verse eight, of chapter twenty four says, "And they remembered his words, And returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest. It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles." This was the message of the resurrection. Then, in verse twenty two to twenty four, it says, "Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre; And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive. And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not."
Well . . . . you know . . . . most of you have had the privilege of hearing some of God's Handmaidens preach The Gospel. And then, had the privilege of seeing that what they shared was true - see - and believed the message that they brought 'cause the scripture supports what they have shared . . . . just as much as it supports what we have shared.
You know, when Jesus revealed himself to Cleopas here, and another person who was with Cleopas . . . . we read of another person named Cleophas who may have been the same man, Cleopas - but when his name is Cleophas, we read of him having a wife named Mary. I don't know for a fact that this was the same man - the same person. But if it was, then Jesus revealed himself to this man, Cleophas, in this same chapter, and his wife, as they were on their way home. And they invited him to eat at their table. And then they came - they went back to Jerusalem to tell the disciples, the Apostles, that Jesus had revealed himself to them on their way home that day.
In the book of Acts, the first and second chapters, . . . . verse fourteen of chapter one . . . . "These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren." It tells us that there were ah, in verse fifteen - maybe I'll just read it - it says, "And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,) Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled," that the holy ghost - "which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus." - Whenever there's - where there are a hundred and twenty people, of which many wer - many women also. Then we read the holy spirit coming - in chapter two - coming on these - these. And then they - and they shared with a multitude of people from fifteen different regions ah, around the Mediterranean Sea and further east from Jerusalem - these regions - but even from areas like Rome - um, people had come to Jerusalem. And, these men and women prophesying. And we read that - the end of chapter two - that there were three thousand people that believed.
But women were involved in this - ministering this prophesying - telling forth The Gospel - telling forth about Christ - divine inspiration to share the word of God.
Well, three thousand believed.
And in ah, verse fourteen of chapter two, it says, "But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;" Now this is something that was prophesied by Joel. This is what - well, um, hu, Peter is going to reiterate what was prophesied by Joel - it says, "And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:" You can read more if you would like. But as Servants and Handmaidens, God poured out his holy spirit on them both and they would both prophesy. They would –
You know, I'm going to read a definition for - some definitions for prophecy - prophesying ah, in an encyclopedic concordance that I have. Um, it just might be helpful - it was a surprise to me to ahm, to see what ah, the definition for prophet - prophesying was. I always thought it was ahm, just telling - prophesying future events - what would happen in the future . . . . but one of the definitions for prophesying is to speak by divine inspiration. Another definition is to fore-tell. Another definition is to explain religious subjects, to preach, or to exho - exhort. It's not always fore-telling some future event because you have received some vision of something that's going to happen in say a thousand years. But it has off - in - often - a lot of cases it has to do with current, today preaching - giving - bringing forth - telling forth The Gospel message.
Another - the definition for prophet; one who speaks forth a message which has been communicated to him through divine inspiration, whether of practical duties, or future events. The emphasis of a prophet's work lay on the former - the practical duties.
It was interesting 'cause, as a child, I always thought a prophet was just - was just somebody who prophesied of future events that would happen, say in a thousand years. More often their work concerning with today's duties, sharing The Gospel, bringing Christ to people.
In um, Romans sixteen, verses one and two, says, "I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea: That ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also."
That word, um, Servant, in verse one, if you looked into the Greek, what that word was translated from, you would find the exact same word, word twelve hundred and forty nine, is translated both, to minister, or ministers, many other times in the scripture. Many times, it's translated, to minister - the very same exact word. Not a - a conjunction of that word or some other - something from that word - the exact word.
She was a Servant. She was ministering unto the needs of God's People. And even helped Paul. Paul had times of - when he had need. Many other people ministered unto his needs. But she ministered to his needs too. I'm not saying that she ministered - preached The Gospel to Paul. But just that he appreciated her in her place, and she helped him and was an encouragement to him. There's different aspects, different ways that women helped and were useful in God's Kingdom. And some of them were in ministerial ways, and some in other ways. But this woman, Phebe, was a Servant of the church which is at Cenchrea.
If you want to look at some scriptures that were - where that same word was translated to, "minister," first Corinthians three and five, second Corinthians three and six, and second Corinthians six and four. And there's quite a few - there's about twenty total I think.
Anyway, I appreciate the Ministr - this - Handmaidens of God that have fed my heart. And I know many of you love them dearly yourselves.
Um, but - but they are - they're definitely supported by the scriptures in the place that God has for them, and their usefulness in feeding the lambs, and
feeding the sheep.
Tape 6 - side B
Actual Topic The place of women in the MINISTRY
Bogus Topic advertised - "The place of women in the scriptures"
Terry Wells, February 23, 1996
. . . part of my experience. Ah, when I first started going to Meetings I had just - I was in college. And those that were having the Meetings was two men Workers, Dick Mills, and Andy Stevenson. Those were the first Servants of God I ever heard.
They were the first men I ever heard who weren't being paid to tell me something out of the Bible. Um, they weren't making a living from preaching The Gospel. They weren't in it for money. They were the first ones I ever heard. And I went to about two months of their Meetings when I was in college.
And then I moved to Alaska, and I came into contact with these people in Alaska. And there it was two Sister Workers having the Meetings, Helen Arstead, and Myra Hill. And do you know, the message was just the same. The spirit was the same. Everything was just the same. Not that I was aware of comparing one with the other; ah, I never thought of that. But looking back, there was no difference.
Some tell us that ah, it's not scriptural for women to be ministers and to - to preach. And they cite two places in the scripture as their foundation for this. Um, and, if that were true - if God really didn't want women to preach his gospel, and that it was the - a grievous oversight on their part to preach The Gospel - one would expect that God would not give them his spirit when they're preaching The Gospel. But ah, all the Sister Workers that I've heard have the same spirit when preaching the message as - we d ah, - as men have who've been called into This Work.
And um, I didn't need to even consult any scripture to see that obvious fact. It was just a fact. Message was the same. They were going out in the same way - homeless. They left everything behind. Every prospect - every natural prospect. And started out with nothing and continued to have nothing just as God has continued to send his Servants today.
I was just wondering ah, - many of the references that I've been thinking on, Joe touched on but, maybe we could talk about those two portions in scripture - of the scripture that often people ah, wonder about and oft - many cite as the reason why women have no part in - in ministry.
Now, it's - it's interesting to note that um, some of the denominations lump ministers, elders and deacons and church offices all together in one. But, the New Testament does make a distinction between those who were in the ministry, makes a distinction between elders, it mentions - makes a distinction between deacons. And we don't read where deacons were ever women, or elders were never women, but we do read where ministers were women.
And, and those verses that ah, I'd like to mention - the first one - first ones are found in - in ah, first Timothy chapter two, and ah, Joe has already mentioned those where Paul was speaking to Timothy. He says, "I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence."
And um, it's interesting when we just think of it - the wording. To teach over, or to usurp authority over a man, that ah, - that ah, - it - it's just telling a woman what her - that's a - that's her - just her place, isn't it? It is - it is not comely that a woman teach over a man. And women can be in the ministry and be in subjection to those overseers in the ministry who are over them. And it's - it's very comely. And those ministers that I heard that have been women have certainly not usurped authority over anyone.
But, to consider ah, often false doctrine and ah, ah, false teaching derives because of taking text out of context, and not knowing the circumstances under which something is written and the situation in - in which things were written in.
And when Paul wrote to Timothy, Timothy was in Ephesus. When he wrote these verses, Timothy was in Ephesus. And Ephesus had a problem. The little church there had a problem. When - when Paul came there preaching the gospel, he found that the - where women had a very unusual place in that city. Ephesus, as you might know, ah, was the - the home of the temple of Diana. Diana was a - a goddess. Ah, she was just a statue. Ah, there was a beautiful temple in Ephesus. It was rated as one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. It was a magnificent structure. And inside this temple was a - a - a golden statue of the goddess, Diana. Diana had certain functions that she presided over like she was the goddess of the home, and the hearth, and the goddess of the moon. And she had quite a little ken of responsibility. And she had her devotees and her worshipers. There was ah, - men were prohibited from entering the temple. Um, I haven't been able to find out much about the kind of service that went on in the temple, but since men were prohibited from entering in, that service had to be conducted by women. And women were the priests - priestesses of Diana. Consequently, when the gospel came to Ephesus, there was a feeling, I'm sure, amongst many who heard that gospel, maybe of a feeling that maybe women had a - a very exalted position. And ah, a position that was out of order of the plan of God.
And, these were the problems that Paul was dealing with with the Ephesians. And when he wrote to the Ephesians, you'll notice that he mentioned that also in his letter to the Ephesians when he talked about, women ah, obey your husbands and be in subjection to them, and husbands, love your wives. He was very ah-h-h, - striving for them to understand God's order. And when he wrote to Timothy, this was the problem that he was addressing. Ah, you might say, in Ephesus, women wore the pants in the family. And, ah, um, there had been a worship of this deity for over six hundred years. So, what if it wouldn't have been something that would have easily dissipated. And so, Paul had to speak strongly.
And when we read these verses, we have to understand that he's dealing with a particular situation - a particular problem in a particular city. And by no means is he saying that women cannot preach The Gospel - women have no place preaching The Gospel of God. That's not what he's saying.
The other place in the scripture that we read about, is found in first Corinthians fourteen. And this - this ah, verse is cited as justification for why women should not hold a position in church offices, or why they should not be ministers.
I might just add that ah, in the denominational world today, we see more and more of the denominations allowing women to hold church offices; among them, allowing them to be Pastors. This is not due to a sudden revelation from the scriptures that this is right. This is only - it's only a concession to modern times and modern thinking. It has nothing to do with having any revelation from the scripture. Um, I've never read anywhere where anyone ever cited any of the verses that we've mentioned when - when they support women in their particular denomination or church. They usually say, "We have to adapt to the times. We have to adapt to - change to the times." So what we see in the denominational world as a trend of allowing more women to have a part in church functioning and organization isn't due to a sudden understanding of the scripture. But only just bending to the popular movement - the popular women’s movement. It allows - it's allowing women more and more um, leeway and authority and so on and so forth. Some - sometimes we hear it called "women’s lib" - I don't know if that's correct, but anyway –
Um, so, in ah, first Corinthians fourteen - this - this chapter has to do with - this chapter has to do with a - with a - how God's People in - in Corinth were gathering together and - and worshiping - they were gathered - gathering together and worshiping ah, - when they - when they came together to break bread. And he - really the subject of the chapter is tongues. Ah, the - the - the confusion that was a re - resulting in the Meeting in Corinth over so many different kinds of people in the Meetings speaking so many different kinds of languages, and nobody was understanding what was being said. Paul was seeking to bring order to this Meeting. To these thieves - these same people to whom the Lord had told him ah, "Fear not Paul, I have many people in this but - many people in this city. No man will set on thee to hurt thee" (sic Acts 18:10) And now Paul was laboring to seek to bring - to bring orderly - orderly ah, Meeting to these - these people when they gather on S - on the first day of the week. And as he gets to the end of this chapter, in verse twenty eight, he said, "If there's no interpreter, let him keep silence." (sic) That's interesting, I thought; a "him" to keep silence. And in - it says in verse thirty four, "Let your women keep silence in the churches: it's not permitted for them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. If they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church." (sic) This has produced a great deal of confusion um, as to what - what this means. And again, we want to remember that Paul was dealing with a specific situation.
You can imagine what it would be like to be in a Meeting with three different languages being spoken. And one man or one woman gets up to speak, and is speaking in a language that you don't understand. And you ask your husband, "What is she or he saying?" And, you don't even whisper - you just say,
"What's he saying?" And this was - this was the picture in the Meeting. No one - everyone was asking, "What is this person saying - what does this mean?" There were no - there was no interpreter. Paul tried to establish a little order for interpreting the languages that were being spoken. This is why he told the women to be - not to speak in the church.
Now, earlier in - in this same letter to these same Christians, in ah, chapter um, chapter eleven, we - we read ah, ah, - we read about the covering of women - women’s covering. That ah, the covering - it says, "Her hair was given to her for a covering." (sic) And in the first part of chapter eleven, it ah, - Paul was talking about this situation. And he said ah, um . . . . in verse five, "Every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even - is ah, for that is even all one as if she were shaven." (sic) Um . . . . "Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head."
Here, ah, not that - the hair is the covering as it says. And I didn't really want to talk about hair or this or that. But in - in verse five we understand that Paul was saying that women who were covered could prophesy. And he's saying that women uncovered should not prophesy. Now, like Joe's already told us, prophesy just means to publicly expound or to speak forth. That's what prophesying is. For the ends - you'll notice in the scriptures - in the King James version, "prophesying" ends in either "sy" or "cy." When it's "sy," it means to tell forth. When it's "cy," it means foretelling. And here it is "sy" and ah, it means to tell forth or just to speak as though you were in a Meeting.
And so, Paul would not contradict - he would not say that women could prophesy in this chapter, and then reverse the position ah, three chapters later. So we just have to conclude that it was a specific situation - a specific incident. We can't - we can't read between the lines completely when we can't understand that he was dealing with a situation. A particularly difficult situation in bringing order to the Meetings of God's People.
So those are the two verses but - the two portions of scripture that are - for some it's cited as justification for women - why women cannot preach.
When I was thinking about the place of women in the scripture, which is a - a vast subject, I thought of Queen Esther in the book of Esther. And there was something that ah, her uncle, Mordecai, said to her. He said to her, "Who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" Um, and Joe has told us about Deborah. And we could say that same thing about Deborah, and about Jail. They came to the Kingdom at a difficult time. And God used them at a very difficult time. Who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for a time such as this? And the thing that I've enjoyed about ah, Esther and Bath-sheba and Anna, they came into the presence of the king. You know I was just thinking um, when um, well, I'll talk about those.
When Jesus said, Take up thy cross and follow me, ah, Who - whosoever would seek his - whosoever would save his life and ah, should lose it, and whosoever would lose his life for my sake the same should save it - I was just thinking that um, that's how women, as well as men - that's everyone's - everyone's task is to take up the cross and follow Jesus.
Um, and I was thinking before the Meeting also that, in talking about the place of women in the scriptures - purpose was not - is not to exalt women or to exalt men. But those that we're talking about - they exalted Christ. And we know as Paul said in Galatians, he said that there is neither ah, - there's neither ah, Jew nor Greek, bond nor free, ah, male or female, you're all one in Christ Jesus - you're all one. Ah, there's no difference - no distinction. And it's wonderful how God used ah, women - these different women in the scripture.
And - and Esther - she came into the presence of the king with the attitude of, if I perish, I perish. The situation - I - I can't go into it - the situation, but the line - her - her own life and the lives of her people were in the balance. And we - we - we don't have the - the words ah, to describe the - the - the calamity that was facing her people. Ah, but we might be able to get just a picture. When Mordecai heard the words - he - he just - he just - he tore his clothes. He put on sack - sackcloth. He mourned when the - when the - when the Jews of the captivity heard, there was a great lamentation. There was a crisis in the Kingdom. And - and h - here was a woman that God had put in the place of being the queen of the land, um - unbeknownst to her - her background, unbeknownst to the king himself. And - and because of certain rules and laws, she - she was not permitted to come into the presence of the king until she was asked for. But she went in anyway. She had the attitude of, if I perish, I perish. And he held out to her the golden sceptre. And when the king held out the golden sceptre, events began to change. Things began to turn the other way as soon as the golden sceptre was held out.
We might just think about our own lives. Are we willing to - to - t - to c - to come into the inner court, as Esther did, and get into the presence of the king and - and - and wait for the golden sceptre. When the golden sceptre is handed and - held out, things will begin to change for our lives.
Um, Bath-Sheba is another, who came into the presence of the king. Ah, the king was David - it was her own husband. But the situation was critical in first Kings chapter one. David was old and was not aware - he was not aware that um, ah, ah, of what was happening. And the - and the situation is, who is going to be king? Who are we to take? Will it be Adon - Adonijah, or will it be Solomon? Solomon was the one who was chosen. He was the one who was determined, and David said that he would be. The Lord said that he would be. But a man named Ad - another ah, ah, product of the flesh - Adonijah was a product of the - of David's flesh - he waltzed up and said, "I'll be king." I'll be king - those were his words. And he managed to draw some people who should have known better - took them away. It cost them their lives. But at a critical moment when it - it - when it appeared - lets just talk about the flesh. Just call Adonijah the flesh because he was the product of the flesh. And call Solomon the product of the spirit. Just when it seemed like the flesh was going to - well, like the flesh was going to win out, and it was going to get control, Bath-Sheba entered. She went into the presence of the king. She spoke on behalf of the spirit. On behalf of the sp - of - of the Kingdom of God - the king of - king of Israel - the future of Israel. And just as she was speaking, then Nathan came in and he just repeated what she said - just reiterated what Bath-Sheba had told David. And David responded and he - he took the action that was necessary for Solomon to be anointed king. God put Bath-Sheba in a very, very ah, critical place. And she responded to it, and her - her help was needed to preserve the Kingdom. And then, Joe talked about Anna.
And Anna was in the presence of the king when the child, Jesus was brought into the temple. I like what it says about Anna. It says that she was a prophetess. She was a daughter. She had been a wife. And now she was a widow. Um, those of you who are women - you've all been daughters. You may be wives. You may be widows. It may not be your place to be a prophetess or in ministry. But you know what it says of her? It says she served God day and night. Served with fastings and prayers day and night. That could be your portion. It could be my portion. To serve God. And she, as Joe has told us, when she saw Jesus, she spoke of him to all them who looked for redemption. We think about her as a widow - it says she'd been a widow for ah, s - ah, well, it'd been for a long time. It says she had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity and she was a widow about four score and four years. So, she had been a long time ah, been alone, you might say, but she served God so she wasn't alone. But - but - but - but the wonderful thing is, isn't it? She'll forever be the bride - she'll forever be the bride. Ah, that - that is ah, that's - was her hope. That's our hope. Forever the bride. Um, in - when John saw the ah, holy Jerusalem in the last book of Revelations, the angel said to him - he said, "Come," and he says "I'll show thee the bride, the Lamb's wife. I'll show - I'll show her to you." (sic) And then he described this (- audience cough-). Um, that was the bride. And to be forever the bride - it's a wonderful, wonderful thing. Today, a - a woman is a bride for one day - it's a one day bride. But, in eternity, we're a bride for eternity - forever. And this was Anna's hope when she saw the Lord come in, she says, "This is my bridegroom." Even though he was a babe, "he's my bridegroom. this is the one I've been waiting for. This is the one I've been looking forward to see. This is the one whom my soul loveth." (sic) We could talk about the Song of Solomon, but we won't talk about that tonight - we don't have time. But I just felt thankful for different ones - these different souls of greatness.
Um, I was thinking about ah, women in Nehemiah chapter three, we read about some women who were on the wall repairing - building on the wall of Jerusalem. When they returned from the captivity, there were women there working side by side with the men - building - repairing.
And I thought of that hymn, it says, We can find these souls of greatness where the walls are weak and low, where the . . . . battle . . . . how's it go . . . . where the battle is the strongest, where the tears most often flow. For when trials press the hardest, God's . . . . well . . . . God's own Son draws very near to the patient, loyal bearers of the cross.
Women as repairers and builders on the wall. And ah, that would be a - a wonderful example for all of us.
Um, lets sing a hymn in closing . . . . number forty four . . . . then Joe will close in prayer.
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