Mike Gerhardt, 03/24/19, Be Submissive Part 1. Think your family has problems, consider the mayhem created when 76-year-old Bill Baker married Edna Harvey. She happened to be his granddaughter's husband’s mother. That’s where it gets confusing; according to Baker’s granddaughter Lynn: My mother-in-law is now my step-grandmother. My grandfather is now my step-father-in-law. My mom is my sister-in-law and my brother is my nephew. But even crazier is that I’m now married to my uncle and my own children are my cousins. Speaking on family, Robert Orben said: Who can forget Winston Churchill’s immortal words: “We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills.” It sounds exactly like our family holidays.
Paul wrote about relationships that need special attention: wives & husbands, parents & children, masters & slaves. Those of you who are retired, widowed and have no children may get bored! Maybe take notes for someone who needs to hear God’s Word on these relationships. I want to mention three things first: Good relationships are to be normal and should not be the exception. Our faith must be real in the everyday matters and there’s nothing more real than family life and work. But if our faith doesn’t work there then it doesn’t work! In his book John White: 10 Commandments of the happy Home: If you sleep on it - make it up. If you wear it - hang it up. If you drop it - pick it up. If you eat out of it - put it in the sink. If you step on it - wipe it off. If you open it - close it. If you empty it - fill it up. If it rings - answer it. If it howls - feed it. If it cries - love it. Good relationships have understood roles. Boundaries and expectations are needed to rightly relate. If for example, I expect Janet to change the oil in my car, mow the lawn when needed, and take out the trash each week, I may be disappointed. Everyone should define their role: husbands & wives, parents & children, employers & employees. Remember that though our roles differ, we stand on equal ground at the foot of the cross. Colossians 3:11 added to Galatians 3:28 there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all and is in all. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. We are equal in God’s eyes. Equality is not the issue; the issue is one of responsibility. Order and procession of responsibility are needed! God is a God of order; life will always work best when we follow His role for each of us. Good relationships are reciprocal (that is shared, mutual). Husbands & wives reciprocate; Husbands & wives act & react to the actions of the other. Parents & children and employers & employees reciprocate; they give & take to make the relationship work! What Paul wrote here from the first century was radical and would be counter culture today in some countries. Wives, children, and slaves (employees) were not just second or third-class citizens, they were considered non-persons. Christianity elevated women, valued children and gave slaves their freedom! The only place a slave was equal with his master was in the first-century church. We will investigate these relationships in the next two weeks. Husbands and wives: understand your role. Mark Twain and a Mormon had an argument on polygamy. After justifying the practice, the Mormon asked Twain to cite one passage of scripture forbidding polygamy. Nothing easier, no man can serve two masters. These verses are not about control; it is about two equal partners relating in a godly way. We must not think of submission as slavery or dominance. The Greek is a military term and means to arrange under rank. The fact that one soldier is a private & another is a colonel does not mean that one man is less human than the other, just different ranks. Obviously, Mike has never been in the military!! Cooperative leadership is in context. Here it means different roles. The Bible also teaches that God is a God of order, even in the Triune Godhead: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. That order should be seen in society, in the Church, in the home, and in the workplace. The Bible teaches that the man is responsible for his household. He will be judged by God on how he oversaw his home. He is not the dictator. Headship must always be loving leadership. It is the husband’s role to make sure the family is heading in the right direction! The husband is to be the thermostat in the home setting the emotional and spiritual temperature. The husband is subject to the Lordship of Christ. In fact, Ephesians 5:21 says the husband and the wife must be submitted to the Lord and then to each other. This mutual love and submission create a spirit-filled atmosphere in the home that enables both the husband and the wife to become all that God wants them to be. A joy-filled marriage doesn't come automatically. It must be cared for. When we walk in submission to Jesus, we should have no problem submitting to one another. Paul addressed living out our faith as children of light in Eph. 4:17-5:21. That passage is filled with one admonishment after another: vs 25 put off falsehood and speak truthfully; vs 26 in your anger do not sin; vs 29 do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths; vs 31 get rid of all bitterness; vs 32 be kind and compassionate to one another; vs 5:3 must not be even a hint of sexual immorality; vs 8 live as children of light; vs 11 have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness; vs 15 be careful then how you live not as unwise but as wise; vs 18 do not get drunk on wine (or anything else) be filled with the Holy Spirit; vs 21 submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. In verses 5:22-33 Paul begins a section on relationships that have God-given roles, designations of responsibility where even two children of light who are equal must yield to the other. We will be looking at parents and children next time; can you imagine parents submitting to their children’s demands. I think I saw a child throw a tantrum at Walmart and the parent obeyed and submitted to the child’s demands for a candy bar. Can you imagine a boss giving in to every demand of their employee like that parent? There are certain special relationships that have a procession of responsibility.
First Husbands (they get nine of the twelve verses to hear what they must do). Husbands love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church, for we are members of his body. “For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
What a high calling to love and sacrifice for your wife as Jesus loved and sacrificed for you. Men, can you do this? Answer: not without God’s help! In counseling, I ask the guys to pray: help me love my wife as you loved me. I tell them you need to humble yourself before God and lean heavily on him to do this job right.
Only three verses for wives: Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
Ladies if you have a humble and godly man who loves you as Christ loved the church, what Paul wrote should not shock you, demean you or paralyze you. To be the head means to carry the entire responsibility of everything that happens in the home. God will hold each man responsible for the physical, emotional and spiritual care of his wife and protection of his children and the spiritual leadership of their home. Joshua said: As for me and my house we will serve the Lord. Men, have you considered this? Have you proven yourself to take this responsibility for your home and family? Today is a great day to begin. Let us bow in prayer.