At Immanuel, we delight in the truth that women and men are both created in the image of God. Both are equal in value before God, and neither one has an exalted position before Him. Both stand in equal need for the salvation that only Jesus can provide. We rejoice in the different roles that God has given to men and women in home family life as well as the family life of the church.
It has been Immanuel’s practice to have our elders and deacons serve the Lord’s Supper—not because they’re the only ones qualified, but simply as an opportunity for you to regularly see the men whom the church has set apart for service as leaders. We trust this has been a blessing to you. Coming soon on a Sunday morning, however, you’ll see sisters serving at the table, and I’d like to give a brief explanation of what you will be seeing and what you will not be seeing.
What You Will Be Seeing
What you will be seeing is a recognition that our sisters are co-equal partakers of the grace of God and the blessings of the New Covenant. They are joint heirs with Christ, and they lack no privilege before the Lord! (Gal. 3:23-29)
Women have always enjoyed an exalted position within the household of faith: from Abraham’s exemplary wife, Sarah, who is an example of fearing nothing that is frightening; (Gen. 12:10-20; 1 Peter 3:6) to Ruth, who left her family and everything she knew to follow after Yahweh; (Ruth 1:16) to Mary Magdalene, who enjoyed the honor and distinct privilege of being the first human witness to the resurrection of our Lord; (Matt. 28:1) to Tabitha, who was such a blessing to the early church that they pled for her resurrection from the dead; (Acts 9:36-42) and to Phoebe, who was such a model servant in the church at Cenchreae that Paul commended her. (Rom. 16:1)
Jesus’s treatment of women and the Bible’s clear, notable exaltation of their value stands out distinctly and gloriously against the dark stains of human history. And what you’ll be seeing is an intentional, albeit small, acknowledgement of this reality.
What You Will Not Be Seeing
What you will not be seeing is any of these sisters exercising authority or teaching. We stand firmly with Paul when he teaches us in 1 Tim. 2 that men are granted the position of teaching in the church. This does not make men more valuable and women less important. The elders of Immanuel will continue to give the exhortation, invitation, and instruction whenever we take the Lord’s Supper together, and since there is no example or principle in the Scriptures that limits sisters from serving the Lord’s Supper, we think it is a great privilege to have both brothers and sisters help serve the bread and cup together.
We think this message of the value and equality of our sisters is important, and we look forward to them serving us as we proclaim together Christ’s death until He comes. We are all equal partakers in the blessings purchased by His death and the hope of our resurrection from the dead.
So then, let us together, brothers and sisters, continue thanking God for what He has done to save us and sustain us through the death of our Lord Jesus Christ. When we next gather, come, eat, and drink in remembrance of Him.