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Col 3.18-4.1

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Col 3:18 AiJ gunai'ke", uJpotavssesqe toi'" ajndravsin wJ" ajnh'ken ejn kurivw/.

Col 3:19 OiJ a[ndre", ajgapa'te ta;" gunai'ka" kai; mh; pikraivnesqe pro;" aujtav".

Col 3:20 Ta; tevkna, uJpakouvete toi'" goneu'sin kata; pavnta, tou'to ga;r eujavrestovn ejstin ejn kurivw/.

Col 3:21 OiJ patevre", mh; ejreqivzete ta; tevkna uJmw'n, i{na mh; ajqumw'sin.

Col 3:22 OiJ dou'loi, uJpakouvete kata; pavnta toi'" kata; savrka kurivoi", mh; ejn ojfqalmodouliva/ wJ" ajnqrwpavreskoi, ajll j ejn aJplovthti kardiva" fobouvmenoi to;n kuvrion.

Col 3:23 o} eja;n poih'te, ejk yuch'" ejrgavzesqe wJ" tw'/ kurivw/ kai; oujk ajnqrwvpoi",

Col 3:24 eijdovte" o{ti ajpo; kurivou ajpolhvmyesqe th;n ajntapovdosin th'" klhronomiva". tw'/ kurivw/ Cristw'/ douleuvete:

Col 3:25 oJ ga;r ajdikw'n komivsetai o} hjdivkhsen, kai; oujk e[stin proswpolhmyiva.

Col 4:1 OiJ kuvrioi, to; divkaion kai; th;n ijsovthta toi'" douvloi" parevcesqe, eijdovte" o{ti kai; uJmei'" e[cete kuvrion ejn oujranw'/.


Col 3:18 Wives, be submissive to your husbands as is fitting in the Lord.

Col 3:19 Husbands, love your wives and do not become bitter towards her.

Col 3:20 Children, obey your parents, according to all, for this is pleasing in the Lord.

Col 3:21 Fathers, do not rouse to anger your children, so that they might not lose heart.

Col 3:22 Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not in eye-service as men pleasers but in singleness of heart pleasing the Lord.

Col 3:23 Whatever you do, work heartily out of the flesh as to the Lord and not unto men.

Col 3:24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; serve the Lord Christ;

Col 3:25 For he that deals wrongfully will receive the wrong that is due him: and there is partiality.

Col 4:1 Masters, show to your servants righteously and fairly, knowing that you also have a master in heaven.

Exalt His Name; Live His Purpose

“God Centered Christianity - in the Home”

Colossians 3:18-4:1

Thesis:  Family relationships are the “litmus test” of our renewed status in Christ.  As we are being transformed into His image, Christ serves as our model of love and submission.

I.          Introduction

            A.        ILL: Housekeeping Monthly, 1955

            B.         This passage is viewed as having several problems.

                        1.         The passage doesn’t seem to jive with Paul’s previous comment                                                that all are equal in Christ (3:11).

                                    a.         Didn’t the work of Christ on the cross erase all the barriers                                                        between people?

                                    b.         Isn’t it true that in Christ there is no gender barrier, no                                                   ethnic barrier, no economic barriers...?

                                    c.         Just one way that we as Christians are distinct from the                                                  world – there are no barriers between the people of God                                                           because despite diversity we are all in Christ.

                                    d.         Then, why does Paul now speak about “submission,                                                      obedience, and servitude?”

                        2.         Whatever the difficulties in this passage, it doesn’t really matter                                      because Paul’s culture operated a lot different than our own.

                                    a.         Times have changed – Paul lived in a male dominate                                                      society, and we do not.

                                    b.         So Paul’s instructions were applicable for his day, but not                                                          for the 21st century.

                                    c.         Today, slavery is outlawed and women enter the marriage                                                         union as their husband’s equal not in a submissive role.

                                    d.         Does this passage even apply to us in this day?

            C.        Authority of God’s Word

                        1.         Q:  What are we guilty of if we say this passage has no application                                             for us today?

                        2.         A:  We are guilty of making our culture more authoritative than the                                 Bible.

                        3.         In other words, if the Bible fits the context of our culture, then we                                              can draw application; but if the Bible doesn’t fit our culture, then                                          we can claim that passages like this one cannot be authoritative                                            over our lives.

                        4.         This mindset is a growing trend in the church today.

            D.        Although this passage can make us feel uncomfortable, we cannot and                           must not abandon the fact that we are dealing with the authoritative Word                          of God, and that His Word is used by His Spirit to conform us into the                               image of Christ – and therefore must be obeyed and applied to our lives.

                        1.         It is easy to dismiss this passage – the instructions seem barbaric                                                and at the very least outdated, so skim over it and resign the fact                                          that it was appropriate for Paul’s day but not for ours.

                        2.         However, if we affirm that Scripture was inspired by God and is                                                authoritative for all people of all time, then we need to understand                                              this passage.

                        3.         We will begin by …

                                    a.         Understanding the instruction from Paul’s point of view

                                    b.         Understand how Paul’s instruction fits in the context of his                                                         letter.

                                    c.         Draw application

II.         Why did Paul write these words?

            A.        Understanding the culture

                         1.        Paul’s instruction specifically targets the “family unit” of the first                                      century.

                                    a.         Family unit consisted of more than just husband, wife and                                                          kids.

                                    b.         The family unit could include the husband’s brother and his                                            family or the wife’s brother and family…

                                    c.         It also included servants and their families…

                                    d.         However, in each family unit there was a definite structure                                                          – a pecking order if you will.

                                    e.         The husband was considered to be the authority of the                                                   household and his word was law – everyone else was under                                          him.

                                    f.          In giving instructions to the family unit, Paul seems to be                                                             accomplishing two objectives.

                        2.         Objective #1 – Becoming a Christian does not cancel the                                                          requirement to show respect for authority and to fulfill your duties                                              as a family member.

                                    a.         As Christianity spread, the issue of Christ’s lordship was                                                           viewed as a threat against the structure of the family unit.

                                    b.         Paul repeatedly taught that Christians are free – there is                                                             distinction in the body of Christ (see 3:11)

                                    c.         The unsaved community was starting to see Christianity as                                                         a revolt against the foundations of their society.

                                    d.         However, Paul was NOT trying to destroy the family unit                                                          of their culture.

                                    e.         As you notice there is still structure…

                                                1)         Wives are to submit

                                                2)         Children are to obey

                                                3)         Servants are to obey

                                    f.          Paul makes it very clear that “freedom in Christ” does not                                                          cancel our obligation to respect and obey authority.

                                    g.         He is not trying to start a revolution – he is instructing                                                     Christians on how to live within the structure of society.

                                    h.         Sometimes, loyalty to Christ did create conflict within the                                                           family unit – especially in a situation when a Christian was                                                          married to an unbeliever.

                                    i.          But ultimately, Paul desired Christians to live within                                                        society’s structure, so that the unsaved would be drawn to                                                         Christ. (See Titus 2:9-10 and 1 Peter 3:1-2)

                        3.         Objective #2 – Becoming a Christian will transform lives within                                      the family structure.

                                    a.         Wives are instructed to submit to their husbands

                                                1)         For Paul to instruct women was unique – men did                                                                      not give instructions to women, because to do so                                                                       implies that a woman is capable of making her own                                                                         decisions regarding the instructions.

                                                2)         Women were not decision makers – they simply                                                                        carried out the duties of the husband.

                                                3)         Paul’s instruction is for the wives to submit to her                                                                       husband.

                                                            a)         Paul is not condoning the same “inferiority”                                                                                promoted by the culture.

                                                            b)         Means a voluntary submission – a willing                                                                                   choice, not some universal law that                                                                                            promotes male dominance and female                                                                           inferiority.

                                                            c)         Paul is not equating the woman’s                                                                                               submission to that of her culture, but to a                                                                                   submission that is fitting to the Lord – a                                                                                     submission that is required of all Christians                                                                                    not just women.

                                    b.         Husbands are instructed to LOVE their wives

                                                1)         The typical head of household was taught to                                                                              exercise his rights over the family – he is the law.

                                                2)         However, Paul instructs Christian men they are not                                                                    to exercise their rights over their wives but to                                                                 exercise love.

                                                3)         Therefore, if a woman is called to submit to her                                                                         husband; it is to submit to his love not his                                                                                   dominance.

                                    c.         Children and Slaves are instructed to OBEY

                                                1)         Again, for children and slaves to be addressed as                                                                      people, much less household members was not very                                                      common.

                                                2)         Paul directly ties their obedience to authority to                                                              obedience that is pleasing to the Lord.

                        4.         Therefore, Paul is not trying to upset the family structure of the                                       culture, but he is instructing the believers that Christ’s Lordship                                            over their lives will transform their understanding of how to                                                function within the family structure.

            B.         Understanding the letter

                        1.         The key to understanding how these instructions fit into the overall                                 letter to the Colossian church is the key phrase “in the Lord”.

                        2.         Phrase is repeated seven times in nine verses...

                                    a.         Submit as fitting in the Lord (18)

                                    b.         Do what is pleasing in the Lord (20)

                                    c.         Obey out of fear in the Lord (22)

                                    d.         Work as unto the Lord (23)

                                    e.         The Lord shows no partiality and renders either judgment                                                          or reward (24-25)

                                    f.          Serve the Lord (24)

                                    g.         Know that you have a Lord in heaven (4:1)

                        3.         We have said that Paul is calling the Colossian believers back to a                                             “God-centered Christianity”.

                                    a.         Is this evident in this passage?  Absolutely!!

                                    b.         Paul is instructing the Colossian believers on how to live                                                             God-centered lives within society’s family structure.

                                    c.         Their model is Christ – who submitted himself to God and                                                         desired His glory above everything else.

                                    d.         Their model is Christ – for the purpose of bringing others                                                           to him.

III.       Application

            A.        Family relationships are one of the greatest “litmus tests” of our new life                                     in Christ.

                        1.         As acknowledge Christ as Savior and Lord over our lives, his                                        lordship ought to be evident in every aspect of our lives, and most                                               certainly in the day to day routine of life.

                        2.         But the place where we are most likely to reveal our true selves                                                 and our true allegiances is in the home.

                        3.         Nothing is more difficult than living in a family where the virtues                                      of compassion, kindness, gentleness, patience, forgiveness, and                                         love are tested daily.

                        4.         Yet it is within the context of the home where we are instructed to                                              demonstrate the lordship of Christ over our lives.

                        5.         Paul’s commands to do not abolish structure and order within the                                              family unit…

                                    a.         The husband is clearly the head of the home

                                    b.         The wife is called to submit to him

                                    c.         And the children are commanded to obey their parents.

                        6.         However, the context of these relationships are to be based in                                       voluntary submission, sacrificial love, and selfless giving.

            B.         <Show beginning slide> We may not live in these days anymore; times                           do change.

            C.        However, God’s Word does not change; in fact, God’s Word changes us.

                        1.         Do you demonstrate the Lordship of Christ within the structure of                                              your home?

                                    a.         Husbands – we are called to love our wives as Christ loved                                                       the church and gave himself up for her.

                                                1)         We are called to lead but not as authoritarians

                                                2)         But to lead our wives and our children in love and                                                                      self-sacrifice.

                                    b.         Wives – you are called to voluntary submit to your husband                                           as you have submitted yourself to Christ.

                                    c.         Teens – in this passage your faithful duty is to obey                                                                    your parents as unto the Lord.

                                                1)         Your freedom in Christ does not cancel the                                                                               requirement to know your place and obey your                                                                         parents.

                                                2)         Paul implies that if you rebel against your parents,                                                                      you rebel against God and his Lordship over your                                                                      lives.

                        2.         How do you characterize your relationship with your dad, your                                      mom, and your siblings?

                        3.         Do our family relationships express our full allegiance to Christ or                                               do they express worldly values – such as selfishness, deceit,                                               hatred, envy, jealousy, or rebellion?

                        4.         Family relationships are indeed the “litmus test” of our renewed                                      status in Christ. 

                        5.         As we are being transformed into His image, may Christ’s example                                of love and submission be our goal for our family relationships.

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