Husbands and Wives Mutual Submission

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1 READ THE TEXT: Ephesians 5:21-33 Husbands and Wives Mutual Submission 21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 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. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church 30 for we are members of his body. 31 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. 32 This is a profound mystery but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. INTRODUCTION We are in Ephesians 5 beginning in verse 21. This section speaks to the differing roles God created for husbands and wives. In this passage we will see that the way husbands and wives related to one another creates a living illustration of how Jesus relates to the people in His church. DIFFERENT BUT EQUAL God. Husbands and wives have different roles in the family but they have equal value to Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. When speaking of the role of a wife in marriage, I have heard more than one person begin with verse 22, which says that wives should submit to their husbands. This has sometimes been brought up by those who want their wife to shut up and go along with him even when he is wrong or out of line. In the past this passage has been used 1

2 as an excuse to be verbally or emotionally abusive and cover it up by misinterpreting God s word. Godly men do not need to push women or children around or use power or emotional or spiritual abuse in order to lead the home. Let s continue with the text. If we are going to really understand this passage we have to begin our study in verse 21. Ephesians 5 21Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. It is God s plan for husbands and wives to submit to one another. Verse 21 tells husbands and wives to submit to one another as an act of reverence or worship to Christ. Verse 21 says that we should submit to one another. And then verse 22 tells wives how they should submit to their husbands. Verse 25 tells the husbands how they should submit to their wives. I don t want to miss the fact that submitting to your husband is worship. And submitting to your wife is worship. It is reverence for Christ. 22Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. HOW DOES THE CHURCH SUBMIT TO JESUS? If the church does not submit to Jesus Christ, then it either does not recognize or it does not choose to follow the authority of Jesus. If people are not recognizing or following the authority of Jesus they are doing whatever is right in their own eyes, or they are doing whatever will make them popular with other people. But the thought of helping Jesus build His church is not on the mind of those who are disobedient. It is a me first attitude. Whatever the motivation, a failure to follow Jesus and a failure to cooperate with Jesus is a failure to please God. So also Paul tells us that a wife who fails to do her part of the mutual submission is just like a church that does not acknowledge the place of Jesus Christ as the authority over the church. HOW DOES JESUS HEAD THE CHURCH? The husband is the head of the wife just like Jesus is the head of the church. So if we look at the way Jesus Christ acts as head of the church that should tell us something about the way that husbands are supposed to act as head of the wife. 2

3 First, Christ submitted himself to die on the cross for his bride, the church. In doing so He became her servant. Jesus won the heart of the church because the people in the church know that Jesus loves them. The bible says that we love Him because he first loved us and died for us. The people in God s church should submit to the love and leadership of Jesus Christ. We should respond to his love by following him and living for him. When a wife responds to the love and godly leadership of her husband, she models to the world the responsiveness of the church to her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. If you think more people should respond to Jesus and love Him back, then live that kind of love out toward your husband. Submission does not mean to be inferior or to loose your identity and become a non-person. It does not mean blind obedience or that you should feel used. Submission does not mean allowing your husband to violate the law or be physically or verbally abusive. And it does not mean following your husband into sin or looking the other way while he does so. Submission is responding to your husband s leadership with a view to God s design for marriage. It means assisting your husband to lead by encouraging his initiative. It means looking for opportunities when he is loving you like Jesus loved the people in the church and responding to him. To be honest there are times that your husband will not get it right. And unless he is asking you to do something that is way out of bounds with the bible, you will have to wrestle with this passage and trust that God will fix up your husband. You don t get to obey him only when he gets everything right and only after he is fixed up. Part of your witness to your husband is your attitude and willingness to obey Christ by obeying your husband. 25Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church 30for we are members of his body. 31"For this reason a man will leave his father and 3

4 mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." Being the husband and the head of the family is not about pushing your wife and kids around. It is about mirroring the servant leadership of Jesus Christ. Jesus had a lot of power, but he used that power to meet the needs of his church. So also, men have power, and it is their call to be like Jesus Christ and use their power to meet the needs of his wife and family. Husbands will know whether they have been a good leader of the family if his wife feels honored, safe, provided for, and spiritually closer to God as a result of his influence. Men must ask them selves this question; do my wife, my family and my community get an idea of what Jesus is like when they look at my life? I AM THE PASTOR OF MY FAMILY Here is something else to consider. Today many men abdicate their leadership role in the family. God wired men to be spiritual leaders. Your leadership style is not what we are talking about. Some men are more quiet, some are more vocal. Some men are good at the check book and some are not. We are not suggesting that women are in any way not as smart or capable as men. And it does not matter who manages the checkbook. In fact the Old Testament speaks about the ideal wife that manages the house, and one of her duties according to Proverbs was that she; Considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard Proverbs 31:16 This looks like a woman doing a lot of property management for the family. What I am saying is that God has given both men and women a role. And the role, however that plays out with your personality and family dynamics is that men, you are called to lead your family just as Jesus was sent to lead the church. It s right in the text. Another way to put it is like Tonee Evans suggested; men are called to be the pastor of their families. When men go to church they come to grow in their knowledge and understanding of the word of God so that they can go home and be the pastor of their families. But what do we see in our culture? Men send their wives to church. Women are the pastors of many families. But where are the men? Out playing like boys, or watching tv like a moody teenager instead of engaging in the life of the church and getting training to pastor their families. 4

5 My job as a Teaching Pastor is not to take over your job of being your families pastor. My approach and I believe the approach of every elder to a man is to provide everything you could possibly need to be a good pastor to your family. STATISTICS FOR MEN WHO PASTOR THEIR FAMILY Men, those of you who were at the No Regrets conference heard some powerful statistics about the inborn leadership role that God has give us. 93% of men who come to faith in Christ and go to church end up leading their whole family to Christ. 17% of women who come to faith in Christ and go to church end up leading their whole family to Christ. 7-8% of children who come to faith in Christ and go to church end up leading their whole family to Christ. Girls, young ladies, single women, if the man you love does not know how to pastor his family and is not a grown up in the Lord you are going to have kids and most of them will end up in hell. How is that for blunt? If you dare to date and marry someone who does not know the Lord or who is spiritually lazy you are very likely to be lonely and have great problems in your marriage. You will probably not lead your husband to the Lord. So even though he might be cute, or wealthy, or you may be desperate, he will do little to help you when your family faces eternity. Men of God. If you take your place as the pastor of your family, then this church will suddenly be over staffed. We will have the spiritual power and blessing of God so much so that this city and surrounding area will never forget what happened through this fellowship. If you want to be part of something great, begin by coming on staff as pastor of your own family. We will gladly equip you. And your women will respond to you in a way that you never imagined. Women respond to men that they respect. Women, if you are married to an unbeliever, Paul told you to stay and set a good example. Perhaps you are one of the families that will be saved through your faithful witness. But girls, if you think you will charm a guy into marriage and then change him, you are a fool and you are going to make a family that will be destroyed. If you are single and lonely you won t die if you wait for God to provide you the right man who does not want to use you but who will lead you as a servant leader like Jesus leads the 5

6 church. 32This is a profound mystery but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. Remember when I said that marriage is not so much for people as it is for God s glory? Marriage is given to show how Jesus Christ relates to Christians. Godly marriage might do more to instruct the world about the love of Jesus and our duty to love him, than any words we could speak. HUSBANDS Husbands, have you ever told someone about the love of Jesus? Have you ever talked about the way Jesus lived his life with us in mind. He did not consider us an afterthought. He does not Lord his authority over us. He uses his power to protect his people from the devil. He uses his power to heal those who are sick. He spent his extra time with his disciples instead of just going off and doing his own thing. If you want to tell people about the love of Jesus, make your love toward your wife look a lot like the love Jesus has toward us. WIVES Wives respect your husband and respond to him. Look for things that you can appreciate and respond to. We tell people to love Jesus. We tell people to serve Jesus and hear his voice and we tell people about how wonderful he is. We can serve our husbands, listen to our husbands and brag on our husbands so that people have a living illustration of how we are supposed to relate to Jesus our bridegroom. WIFE AS HELPER One of the roles God has given the wife is a helper role. Genesis 2:18 Then the Lord God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him." When you hear the term helper, you may not think of something noble. However, "helper" is a title of worth. Did you know that God refers to Himself in Scripture as our helper? Psalm 54:4 Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is the sustainer of my soul. In addition, Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit as "a helper." John 14:16-17 And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He 6

7 may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, If I had to take a stand, even if a thousand people were against me I could do it if Shelly were behind me. If she is cheering me on I have the boldness I need to make difficult decisions in life or resolve any problem that might come my way. A wife who acts as my helper and cheers me on is worth as much as 1000 encouraging friends. I have heard this mocked and turned around to make it appear as though men are like little boys who need constant encouragement. The truth is, this helper role is a living picture of how we depend on the power and encouragement of The Holy Spirit in every area of our lives. If you see the wife operating in the role of helper then you have some idea of what The Holy Spirit is like as a helper. And so I believe the wife is a living illustration of the Holy Spirit. When husbands do not have the support of their wives that is a picture of what life is like when we do not walk in the power and guidance of The Holy Spirit. ROLE OF THE HUSBAND Now let s turn our attention back to the husbands. Colossians 3:19 Husbands, love your wives, and do not be embittered against them. 1 Peter 3 7In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat her with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God's gift of new life. If you don't treat her as you should, your prayers will not be heard. A wife feels understood when her husband prays with her in making key decision. And a wife feels understood when her husband considers her needs, values, and preferences. And a wife feels understood when her husband listens without trying to fix her problems. In our prayers we ask God to help us and be there for us. If we do not model being there for our wives, then the love of Jesus is not in our hearts and he will not bless our lives. Why should we ask God for help when we will not treat our wives the way we want God to treat us? LEAD LIKE A SERVANT Lastly, I would like to talk about the leadership style of Jesus. Can you imagine 7

8 what it would look like if Jesus treated us the same way some men treat their wives? What would it look like if Jesus bullied us or ignored us? What would it look like if he went off and did His own thing with no consideration of our feelings and needs? Leadership in marriage is based on Christ s example. Mark 10:42-43 "Rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them but it is not so among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant." TAKING IT HOME 1. Did you realize that the way you treat your husband or wife is just as much worship as singing or giving a tithe to the church? 2. Did you realize women that your role in the marriage is a picture of how the Holy Spirit gives us strength and courage for the Christian life? 3. Men, did you realize that if you do not cherish, honor and encourage your wives God will not hear your prayers? 4. Men, did you realize that you have been called to be the pastor of your family? If so, how does that change your priorities? 8

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