Mike Gerhardt, Be Submissive Part 2, 4/7/18, Colossians 3:18-4:1. We addressed husbands loving their wives as Jesus loved the church. Submitting to the Lord's way can revolutionize our lives one relationship at a time. Wives submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. I made the statement that I don’t know a woman who would not submit to her husband if he was loving her as Christ loved the church. What if he doesn’t love her like that? 1 Peter 3:1-2: Wives, in the same way, be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.
According to scripture, we are to submit to one another, parents, bosses, and government officials even if they aren’t Christian in their beliefs. Fair, unlikeable, or mean. The exception is when they direct us to sin against God, then we should disobey and submit to the consequences as did Paul, Peter, and James, who were punished unto death.
Parents and children: encouragement and obedience (20-21): Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged. Communication is a priority.
Children: A small boy asked his mother for a cucumber to take to Sunday School as his teacher suggested. Though she was slightly puzzled, she complied. Later, she asked what the cucumber was for. He replied: Sorry mom, I got it wrong; we were supposed to bring a newcomer!
So that families don’t get it wrong the apostle Paul wrote some advice to parents and children. The child submits to the parents. The parents are not to exasperate the child. Much has been said about the rights of children. One right that has been debated since 1973, is the right to be born. Children born into Christian homes to be blessed to have parents who will teach them the Word, pray for them and discipline them in love. John Starkey was a violent British criminal. He murdered his wife, was convicted for the crime and executed. The officials asked General William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, to conduct Starkey's funeral. Booth stood before the gathered crowd who were angry at this murderer. His first words disarmed them all, John Starkey never had a praying mother! Do you pray for your children? Do you read to them scripture? Do you discipline them in the Lord? Children need encouragement, they also need to obey (one of the 10 commandments). Children obey in everything. First-time obedience is crucial to survival. When a small child is running into traffic and a parent says stop, you want that child to obey not ask why as they continue to run. Parents, who are submitted to the Lord and to one another, lovingly live out before their children the things of God. To obey in everything means not only to obey in those things that please the child but submitting to the parent in all areas! The child who does not learn to obey his parents is not likely to grow up obeying any authority. He will defy his teachers, the police, his employers and anyone else who tries to exercise authority over him. The breakdown in authority in our society reflects the breakdown of authority in the home. Mostly, children do not create problems, they reveal them. Parents who are not disciplined or reject authority, will usually not discipline their children properly. Parents submitted to the Lord will exercise spiritual and physical authority over their children. In verse 20b: The motive of the child's obedience is to please the Lord. If I gave you a quick test to list the things that please the Lord most would say worship Jesus, do things for others, pray, give to the poor, stay pure, share the gospel, help others. I wonder how many if any would put down by submitting to my parent's authority even when I don’t want too! Yet this is proof our faith is real. It pleases God.
Parents, you must make it possible for children to obey. Do not be harsh with them, do not exasperate them, or provoke your children. Four things to do to discourage a child: Ignore them. A father with no time for his children is raising them with deep-seated resentment. Give your children time when they are young, or they will most likely DO TIME when they are older. Indulge them. Give them everything they want, spoil them and they grow up feeling like the world owes them. Insult them. Be so overly critical that your child believes they can never be any good enough. Intimidate them. Threaten them often; set unfair expectations; break their will so they cower under your authority and believe they can never please their father no matter what they do.
Masters and Servants: Honesty & Devotion. Someone asked the Pope how many people worked in the Vatican. He replied: About half of them!
Servants (employees): Slavery was an established institution in Paul's day. Almost half of the people in the first century were slaves. Many were well-educated people who carried responsibilities in the homes of the wealthy. Slaves helped to educate and discipline the children. Why didn't the church of that day openly oppose slavery and destroy it? The church had no political power to change an institution that was built into the social order when the salvation of souls was priority number one. Paul instructed Christian slaves to secure their freedom if they could as indentured servants but did not advocate rebellion. Had the first Christians been branded as an anti-government sect, it would have hindered in their soul-winning effort. Don’t forget that the gospel message is one of liberty and values each person. It was William Wilberforce, known as the conscience of Parliament, who pushed to abolish slavery. He wrote: God Almighty has set before me two great objectives the suppression of the Slave Trade and the Reformation of Manners. His effort led to banning the transport of slaves.
These principles can be applied to employment. A Christian worker ought to be the best worker on the job, to obey orders and to work well whether anyone is watching or not.
A missionary was put in charge of supervising a group of natives on a work detail. He was frustrated because they were lazy and worked only while he was watching them.
When he left they would sit around and not work. The missionary had a glass eye so he took his glass eye out and sat it on a fence post and told the natives he would be watching them even when he was away. The missionary was thrilled it seemed to work well until one day he came back and saw them sitting around again. He looked over to the fence post and saw that someone had put a hat over the eye. Our motive for working is that we are serving the Lord.
If a Christian follows these principles, they will receive their reward from Christ even if their earthly boss does not.
Masters (Employers): Just as the husbands & wives and parents & children have mutual & reciprocal responsibilities, so do employers and employees. Paul admonished the Christian masters to treat their servants with fairness and honesty. This would be a revolutionary idea. Masters had almost total control over their slaves. Few unsaved Roman masters ever thought of treating their slaves with fairness.
The world into which Paul wrote had social standards which were antithetical to Christian ideals. A master was to treat his slave as a brother in Christ. 1 Corinthians 7:21-22 reminds the Christian masters they are slaves to Christ and that the Christian slave was a free man in Christ. In other words, let your social and physical relationships be governed by your spiritual relationships. In our passage, the word Lord is used five times. When the Lord is over you, you don’t “lord it” over others, whether a husband, parent or employer. As we review this very practical section of Colossians, we see once again the pre-eminence of Jesus Christ in our lives as believers. It is by His power and authority that we should live in our daily relationships. If He is the pre-eminent One in our lives, then we will love each other, submit to each other, obey one another and treat one another fairly in the Lord.