Man’s Position in Marriage / Male Headship and Accountability (Sermon text and audio)

Posted on June 19, 2012


This is the third sermon in a series covering marriage, family, and the church. This message was delivered on June 17, 2012 at Hillcrest Baptist Church. This message deals with man’s headship and accountability in a marriage. You will find the text of the sermon, and the audio. Please note that the sermon text is NOT a full transcript. Typically, as I preach, I add to what is in my notes. So, for the full sermon, please listen to the audio version.

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Mans Position


1 Timothy 2:13

There is a term today that is widely used in Christian circles to refer to a man’s role in the home.

That term is spiritual leader. Not only is this term is a misnomer, it is found nowhere in scripture. But, most importantly, it sells short man’s role in God’s plan for marriage and family.

Man s much more than the spiritual leader, he is the head. That apples to everything, not just spiritual issues.

I believe that the term spiritual leader has been adopted by the church as an attempt to harmonize Scripture with popular culture, and that is a definite no-no!

In doing so, it has served to destroy God’s perfect plan for marriage, just look at our divorce rates, even among Christians. I dare say that the vast majority of divorced Christians had not followed God’s plan.

We need to understand that a hierarchy of leadership and accountability does NOT equal inequality. Man is no better than woman, there is no superiority.

Its just that our God is a God of order, and this keeps things orderly.

We also need to understand that nothing in the Scripture gives man the right to be a dictator.

In fact, a wise man will seek his wife’s counsel and advice.

A wise man will involve his wife in decision making.

Man is held as the accountable party, and the Godly wife will understand the and willingly follow her husband’s lead.

Let’s look at how Scripture establishes the headship of man.

Adam was the first to be created

Genesis 2:7,21-22

In fact, the woman was created for the purpose of being a helper to the man.

Genesis 2:18

We also need to understand that the woman’s subordinate role did not result after the fall as a cultural, chauvinistic corruption of God’s perfect design; rather, God established her role as part of his original creation.

As mentioned earlier, God created her to be a suitable helper. That man was designed to be the head, is clear in Scripture, and has always been God’s perfect plan.

Genesis 2:18

Genesis 3:16

Rule (yimshal) means dominion or reign

1 Corinthians 11:3,8-9

Ephesians 5:23

The word for “head” is an interesting word, and is used to literally mean head, and is also used to refer to a cornerstone.

A literal head, is of course where the rest of the Body receives its instructions. Without the head, the body would be useless.

The cornerstone is absolutely essential to the integrity (stability) of a building. It is from this stone that the rest of the structure flows.

Without the cornerstone, the structure would be incomplete and unstable.

Here, the word head seems to express two things: subordination and origination, of which subordination is primary. This is in the same manner that Christ was subordinate to the Father.

However, it also speaks to the fact that woman was created from man.

In a marriage, it is important to have a head for direction, a cornerstone for completeness and stability, and God has designed man for that role.

This shouldn’t scare us, we shouldn’t be afraid of what others think. God knows best.

Sadly, far too many marriages do not have a clearly defined head, or in many cases the woman has assumed the role. When this order is subverted, the results can be disastrous. Look at what happened with Adam and Eve.

By nature Eve was not suited to assume the position of ultimate responsibility. By leaving Adam’s protection and usurping his headship, she was vulnerable and fell, thus confirming how important it was for her to stay under the protection and leadership of her husband.

Adam then violated his leadership role, followed Eve in her sin, and plunged the human race into sinfulness—all connected with violating God’s planned roles for the sexes.

Likewise today, we have a gender confused society, and gender confused marriages. In the majority of marriages, there are no clear lines, no clear roles.

Man often violates his leadership role by being an abusive dictator, or by ceding that role to his wife. either way, it spells disaster for the marriage.

With 50% of all marriages ending in divorce, we have to conclude that something is wrong, and its not hard to see. By watching people, and listening to them talk, you will quickly see that God’s plan has not been fully implemented, if at all. Even among Christians.

Many Christian couples boast of their faith, and their commitment to Christ, but in the home the man is weak and the woman runs the house.

Our culture doesn’t see anything wrong with this, but ask yourself, “is it working?”

Our culture says that there should be no distinction between men and women, but if that is so good, why are so many marriages failing?

Its unpopular to say the the man is the head of the house, it is much more culturally correct to call him the spiritual leader.

Well so much for trying to appease our culture. Relegating man to the position of merely the spiritual leader has been a disaster for marriages.

A very important part of the headship of man, is the accountability of man.

You see, because man is the head, God holds him accountable. Not only for himself, but for his entire house, both wife and children. This is very serious business, and not to be taken lightly.

Ultimately, the responsibility for the fall still rests with Adam, since he chose to disobey God apart from being deceived.

Notice that after the fall, God went to Adam first. Why? Because Adam was in charge.

Genesis 3:9

Romans 5:12-21

1 Corinthians 15:21-22

Men, as the accountable party, you need to get serious. If God is going to hold you accountable for your entire house, then you need to step up and act like a leader.

In doing so, you must remember a couple of things.

1) Being the head requires the type of love that we discussed in the last message, and we will discuss it further (as it applies specifically to men) in another message.

2) Its important to take notice that although Scripture places man as the head, there is no command for the man to TAKE charge (although he should act like a leader, he is not to demand submission). The command lies with the woman to submit.

This may not seem like much, but its huge. Why? Because it places the ball in the woman’s court. It makes it voluntary by the woman, instead of forced by the man.

That may not be comfortable for some, but God will give you the strength. Nothing should ever be able to stop someone from getting INTO the will of God.

As I said, its serious business. Being the leader is not all fun and games, but God’s plan is absolutely necessary if your marriage is going to honor Him.

Don’t wimp out, don’t be weak when God has given you His strength!

If Christians are going to take a firm stand on the Word of God, it must begin at home. If your marriage does not follow the Biblical model, then you will be less effective in other areas.

We need to begin by getting our personal lives and our marriages into the perfect will of God. Once that happens, God will be able to work through you, as a couple, in a mighty way.

Posted in: Family, Sermons