Christ and the Church 5: Christ In My Family - Ephesians 5:21- 6:3
Chapter One – Who We are In Christ, 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
Chapter Two - Salvation In Christ, 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Chapter Three – Grow In Christ, 3:18 (You) May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
Chapter 4 Inward Walks In Christ Ephesians 4:1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called 4:2-6 Walk In Unity, 4:7-16 Walk in Maturity, 4:17-32 Walk In Newness
Chapter 5 Outward Walks In Christ Ephesians 5:1 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; 5:2- 6 Walk in Love, 5:7- 14 Walk in Light, 5:15-21 Walk in Wisdom
Chapter 5:21 is the end of walking in Christ or it could be seen as the beginning of family instruction, which runs through chapter 6:9. Ephesians 5:21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Either way it serves as a transition verse, from walking in love and light as children of God in this world to walking with Jesus in our family.
The first family was of course Adam and Eve placed together by God and by God’s design, under his authority and guided by his instruction. Make no mistake when Satan deceived Adam and Eve it was an attack, not just on them as individuals, but on them as a family. From the very beginning God’s plan and purpose for man, woman and child to be a family has been under attack and a prime target of Satan. If Satan can weaken the family then all social and human institutions of civilization are weakened. If Satan can destroy the family then human society and civilization will be destroyed.
We look back at the Garden of Eden and wonder that anyone could so easily be deceived after God had told them the consequences of their actions. Yet today Satan still whispers lies and the children of Adam and Eve are still being deceived by those lies rather than believe what God has plainly told them. Lies about what is a family, Lies about what is real love, Lies about divorce and marriage. Lies about the roles of husband and wife.
You can see the importance Paul places on the family by including it in this book on the church and its relationship with Christ. Without the family the church changes into something it was never meant to be. Without the family as the Bible defines it, the church has no hope for its own future.
Without the family as God designed it, communities turn into war zones. Without the family as Jesus describes it, countries lose all adhesion and soon are no longer nations. Satan has always known this and has attacked the family with the determination of one who hates God and all that God has ever created.
Lie: Your career is more important than your home or your family.
Lie: You can’t find fulfillment as a woman, if you stay at home to raise your family.
Lie: Children in daycare are just as well off as children raised at home.
Lie: In order to be happy a family must have two incomes; one will not be enough.
Here are the Truths that God’s word teaches us about the family:
Truth: Your family is your highest priority on earth next to your relationship with God.
Truth: Fulfillment and self-esteem doesn’t come from anything outside of God’s plan and purpose for you as His child. For the vast majority of us a family, is part of that plan.
Truth: Children raised by a mother at home are better socially adjusted, have more stable self-esteem, a greater appreciation of family and a better chance of a strong family of their own.
When it comes to marriage and divorce Satan and his co-workers, be they demons or researchers continue their lies. They will tell you that if marriage doesn’t work out then throw it away. Start over with someone else, everyone will be happier.
And yet real research tells the truth, which God’s word has been teaching for centuries.
Conducted by a team of leading family scholars headed by University of Chicago sociologist Linda Waite, the study analyzed the relationships between marriage, divorce and happiness. The research team used data collected by the National Survey of Family and Households that had interviewed 5,232 married adults in the late 1980s. Total reported unhappy marriages: 645. Five years later, 167 had divorced or separated, and 478 had remained married.
The research shows that unhappily married adults who had divorced were no happier than those who had stayed married. The 13 measures of well being include self-esteem, personal mastery, depression, purpose in life and alcohol drinks per day.
"Divorce leads to many ills including poverty, depression, poor health and a greater likelihood of suicide," said Bridget Maher, a policy analyst on marriage and family at the Family Research Council. "Divorced men have higher rates of mental illness and death due to accidents and suicide than married men. Also, divorced fathers who do not live with their children are more likely to engage in behaviors that compromise their health. A study of children's home environments found that divorced mothers are less able to provide the same level of emotional support to their children than married mothers."
The research also shows that the unhappiest marriages had encountered the most dramatic turnarounds when spouses addressed problems together, individual partners found ways to improve their own lives, or time simply passed. In each situation, commitment served as the underlying foundation for a lasting and often happy marriage.
There are even more lies, one of them being that it is better for to get a divorce than to have children see their parents fight all the time. Children are strong and resilient they say. They will rebound from the divorce in no time.
The truth is that children of divorce continue to suffer trauma and a sense of loss throughout their lifetime.
Psychologist Judith Wallerstein followed a group of children of divorce from the 70’s into the 90’s. She expected to find that kids bounce back from divorce, interviewing them 18 months, 5, 10, 15, and 25 years after the divorce. What she found was amazing; Twenty-five years after the divorce, these children continued to experience substantial expectation of failure, fear of loss, fear of change and fear of conflict.
Children who experienced their parents’ divorce also viewed premarital sex and cohabitation more favorably.
It is a lie that second marriages are better than first marriages. In reality, the rate for divorce for second marriages is actually higher than for first. If the problems of the couple, that doomed the first marriage, are not addressed it will doom the second, third and fourth.
It is also a lie that staying in an unhappy marriage means it will only get worst. Honest research shows what many of us old married folks know, that those who stay committed to marriage, even when they felt it was not working out, in time found the marriage had worked our just fine and become a happy one. Marriages have cycles of good and bad times. Those who hold on through the bad times will find a stronger, fulfilling marriage on the other side of the tough times.
So now, let’s listen to Paul, under the inspiration of God’s Holy Spirit, give three commands to the members of God’s family. Wives submit, Husbands love and Children obey.
22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
God’s Design For Wives
Wives Submit To Your Husbands. The definition of submission, Subjection. This is actually a Greek military term meaning "to arrange [troop divisions] in a military fashion under the command of a leader". In non-military use, it was "a voluntary attitude of giving in, cooperating, assuming responsibility, and carrying a burden".
Two things to notice. First, this is not for all women submit to all men. Paul clearly says in vs. 5:22&24 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. It is not, nor was it ever a statement all women are to submit to all men or that men are somehow superior to women in all things. Anyone who is married realizes very quickly that in many, many, many, (is that enough, manys,) let me add a couple more, many, many ways, women are far superior to men. God created men and women for different roles in the family. We are studying instructions for the family, not for all of human society.
Secondly, submission cannot possibly mean inferior. The Bible tells us in Philippians 2:5-8 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Jesus submitted himself to God the father, was Jesus inferior to God? To believe that of course is blasphemy. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are all equally God, but each plays a different role in all aspects of creation, salvation and judgment. Men and women are equal in God’s eyes but within the family they have different God given, God defined roles.
1 Peter 3:1-6 Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; 2 While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. 3 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; 4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. 5 For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: 6 Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.
Why, then is it best for wives submit to their husbands? The reason is pretty straightforward, in order for the marriage to work or for anything to work, there must be a leader, God has designed the husband to be that leader of the family.
Does this mean husbands smarter than their wives and can better make decisions? Some of you wives need to quit smiling out there. No, in fact a wise husband discusses and shares with his wife and with his children before he making a decision but he also understands that God holds him accountable for overseeing and protecting his family. Therefore, the final decision and final responsibility before God must be his.
How can a wife best submit to her husband?
By expressing in both word and action an attitude of submission, honor and respect by remembering as Paul said, that it is also a reflection of her submission to Jesus Christ.
Let me just be honest with you, wives who have a problem with submission to their husbands will also have a problems submission to their Lord.
Wives are often seen as having the hardest task when it comes to marriage and perhaps that is true, but it is interesting to note that it is the husbands who are giving more verses about loving than wives are about submitting. They may say something about who has the hardest job, but then again I may be prejudiced, just a little bit. Wives submit, but husbands you must learn what love really is.
25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. 28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: 30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. 31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. 32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.
God’s Design For Husbands
Husbands Love Your Wives. Once again Paul brings the marriage into direct alignment with our relationship with God and Jesus Christ. He says husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church. Specifically, what Paul is say is that husbands are to sacrificially love their wives. They are to give themselves up for their wives and also for their children.
In Matthew 19:5, the husband sacrifices his self-identity, “And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?”
In Colossians 3:19, husbands give sacrifice their rights, “Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.”
If you sacrifice your identity and your rights as a man or as an individual outside the union of marriage, you then begin to understand love as God intended it to be for you wife.
Think about Paul’s use of Jesus as the model for the husband’s love. When Jesus was dying on the cross wasn’t he still Lord of All? Of course, he was, yet he willingly died. He did this because of agape love, self-giving, sacrificial love. Now this is the same kind of love and the same example that Paul says husbands should have for their wives.
He says that a man loving his wife is like loving himself. This is true, spiritually, because of the emotional, and spiritual bonding of the husband and wife. The two separate persons have now become one identity. Therefore, the husband is loving himself, he and his wife are one inwardly.
It is also true practically, the husband who loves his wife is doing the best thing possible for himself. He is stronger emotionally, healthier physically, sharper mentally in a loving mutually sharing relationship.
How then can a husband best love his wife?
Husbands you best love your wife, by being willing to sacrifice your rights, your way, your time and anything else that you may call yours, for the good of your wife. You show that love in your words, in your actions and it is proven as authentic by what you are willing to sacrifice for your wife. That is what Jesus did for us, that is what you must do for your wife.
When a wife submits herself to her husband as the leader of the family and the husband sacrifices himself for his wife, there can be no conflict in a family. No arguments about who is the boss, or who is smarter or my feelings or my rights. The marriage just works and will keep on working because that is the way God designed it.
1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. 2 Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) 3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.
God’s Design For Children
Children obey your parents. This commandment is written larger across the pages of scripture
Colossians 3:20 Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.
Exodus 20:12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
Deuteronomy 27:16 Cursed be he that setteth light by his father or his mother. And all the people shall say, Amen.
Proverbs 20:20 Whoso curseth his father or his mother, his lamp shall be put out in obscure darkness.
There is no question that for a family to be successful, children must obey. That obedience to both parents, both the husband and the wife.
Now where does that obedience stop, at what age or at what circumstance?
Of course in one sense obedience stops when you leave your father's house. When you are no longer under his roof, you are no longer under his authority. But in another more important sense obedience to your parents never stops. The way we live our lives, raise our children, go to church, work and conduct ourselves is all a direct result of our obedience to our parents. We continue to obey in the way we live our lives.
The only circumstance in which obedience would be justified would be when a parent by their own actions no longer acts like a parent. When instead of protecting, loving their child they bring grave harm and hurt to their child.
Of course, honoring our parents never stops, at any age, or under any circumstance. I will always be my parent's child. I should always honor them and the name they have given me.
It is never harder following the Lord than when it comes to the intimate details of our lives and our family. Yet it is at those exact times when me must follow and obey all the more closely.
Quit believing the world’s lies. God created the family, believe what He says about it. God has a plan for the family, do what He instructs. God has a promise for the family, put your trust in him and fulfill that joyous promise. Believing the lies of the world will bring the same sorrow, pain and suffering that is always the world’s lot. Believe and act in the truth of God’s word. Wives submit, Husbands love and children obey. It is a simple plan, but because it is God’s plan it is powerful and filled with His promise.