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Ephesians 5:21

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Submission and the Christian Life

I enjoy teaching Paul’s letters because as we look at them they appeal to both the head and the heart. Both reason and experience, thought and emotion. As we are a couple of sessions before we close out Ephesians, I want to review quickly so we are all caught up.
Theme Verse for Ephesians
Ephesians 2:10 (CSB)
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time for us to do.
As we were created we are not God, in no sense and form could we be if we were created by Him,
Our purpose was for good works in Christ… We talked about being a new creation in Christ which the first three chapters of Paul takes great care to teach theologically. Then he shifts in Chapter 4 and then begins to call us to live out this theology. To Walk Worthy
Ephesians 4:1 CSB
Therefore I, the prisoner in the Lord, urge you to walk worthy of the calling you have received,
Ephesians 4:13 CSB
until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, growing into maturity with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness.
How then are we to do this? Paul answers this in verse 18
Ephesians 5:18 (CSB)
And don’t get drunk with wine, which leads to reckless living, but be filled by the Spirit:
We recognized that there is no formula to be filled by the spirit ways we may be filled with the the spirit are by prayer, study and application of the Word, and by our gathering to worship. A result of of Spirit(fullness) is characterized by: 1.Praise 2. Giving of Thanks 3. Submission to one another.
(One last thing I want to mention is that being spirit filled is not a “deeper” sense but rather the “normal” of Christian life, there is no secret knowledge or achievement of a deeper, these are eastern influences and philosophies that have been plaguing the church since the second century to which we can point to the Gnostics and other such teaching.) We can discuss this during coffee and fellowship after if you desire.
What then is the definition of being spirit filled?
“The fundamental meaning of being filled with the spirit is being filled with joy that comes from God and overflows in song.” - John Piper (Being Filled with the Holy Spirit)
“We have just claim to all Christ’s promises the moment we believe in Him, but we cannot have their fulfillment until we allow His Spirit to fill us and control us. Unless we know what it is to be directed by the Holy Spirit, we will never know the bliss of the assurance of heaven, or the joy of effective work for the Lord, of having our prayers answered constantly, or of indulging in the fullness of God’s own love, joy, and peace within us.” - John MacArthur (NT Commentary)
The key to rightly living the Christian life is being controlled by the Holy Spirit, who provides energy for walking "worthy of the calling with which you have been called" (Eph. 4:1). Unless you are controlled by the Spirit of God, you can never walk in humility, love, unity, light, and wisdom. The life of God in the soul of man is the only way anyone can live a righteous life. To walk without the Spirit is to walk without wisdom (cf. Eph. 5:15 -17).

Spirit(fullness) Ephesians 5:18-21

1. Praise (Sing of it) v.19
2. Giving Thanks v.20
3. Submitting One to Another v.21
Last Week we discussed the necessity of our Praise, particularly in our singing as a congregation and Giving thanks.
As we pick up this week we will need to understand this concept of v.21 because it will be our launching pad for the next three weeks.


Submission - Military Term we are familiar and challenged with, it means, “To arrange under.”
(Submission to authority placed over us, a part of the enlisted oath is “I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me” the authority for this of course is the UCMJ )
This is done in our military voluntarily, The officer oath of enlistment states “I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter”
Thus submission is willing and free, otherwise it would be subjugation.
Biggest challenge we have in leadership the military often comes down to a discipline issue, lack of discipline often occurs when soldiers do not submit themselves willingly to the authority of the Officers and Regulations that are to guide them. Forsaking this for the autonomy of the individual. In our American military sometimes we often pride ourselves for this, and it may have won a few key battles but it comes at too far a cost. At large our country embraces 2 things “moral relativism which says there is no governing authority over us, and personal freedom says there are no rules to follow. This is not a winning military strategy. Moreover it is not a winning strategy in our faith. It is the submitted individual who acts for what is best for the group as unto the greater authority.
We do live in a fallen world and there are dangers of people in the church who do not submit to another, we often fear this and try to be an authority unto ourselves, and very admittedly there are people who will take advantage of this. We see this fear of submission in the early Church very admittedly there are people who will take advantage of this:
Acts 20:30 CSB
Men will rise up even from your own number and distort the truth to lure the disciples into following them.
3 John 9 CSB
I wrote something to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to have first place among them, does not receive our authority.
We often Fear submission, but that is because we have the wrong kind of fear and in the wrong place.
We are not to fear when we submit to Christ first and those he appointed.
Ephesians 1:22 CSB
And he subjected everything under his feet and appointed him as head over everything for the church,

Our Motive for submission - Fear of the Lord

Fear - State of Alarm or Profound Reverence...
Matthew 28:8 CSB
So, departing quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, they ran to tell his disciples the news.
Acts 9:31 CSB
So the church throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and was strengthened. Living in the fear of the Lord and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers.
We(believers) are called to submit: (willing acceptance of role and authority)
Romans 13:1 We are to submit to our governing authorities.
Romans 13:1 CSB
Let everyone submit to the governing authorities, since there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are instituted by God.
Echoed in 1 Peter 2:13-14, (bad leaders are often seen in the Bible as a judgement or as a result of a rejection of God’s rule)
2. Hebrews 13:17 We are to submit to our spiritual authorities
Hebrews 13:17 CSB
Obey your leaders and submit to them, since they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account, so that they can do this with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.
Echoed 1 Peter 5:5, (Spiritual leaders will be held accountable. We all have roles we are to fill and responsibilities we are accountable for, and so you will be to as we will study in the next couple of weeks as we will see this submission play out in our most private to our most public areas of our lives.

Submission One to Another (Ephesians 5:22-6:9)

1. Husband and Wife
2. Parents and Children
3. Masters and Slaves
“They don’t have their own agenda; they don’t want to dominate. They eagerly step aside and give way to others.” - John MacArthur
What does it mean to be spirit-filled?
What does it mean to be submitted?
What are some practical ways that you could submit to other Christians?
What might it look like when everyone submits to each other? Who then is head?!
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