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Husbands and Wives

Early Morning Devotion  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Roles of Husbands and Wives

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Prayer

Ephesians 5:21–33 NIV
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 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. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church—for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Lesson

Last night I had the chance to speak about equality between men and women. We read Galatians
Galatians 3:26 NIV
So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith,
Galatians 3:26–29 NIV
So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
We learned that we are all equal in Christ. Every Brother, Every Sister.. regardless of race, nationality, gender .. etc etc etc are equal in Christ.
You might feel like I am over emphasizing this, but there is a reason.
Scripture very clearly tells us that men and women are equal in Christ!
Meaning mean are not superior to women and that women are not superior to men.
So why do i feel the need to state this repetitively. This morning we are going to take a look at a verse that has been used to go against what I have just said.
Ephesians 5:22-
As we start out this morning I want to just emphasise something.
I believe that Scripture tells us that when we are in Christ, that men and women are equal.
Ephesians 5:22–33 NIV
Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 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. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church—for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
That means that men are not superior to women
Wow! What a counter statement. I just told you that men and women are equal and now i cam telling you that women should submit to their husbands.
But it also means that women are not superior to men.
I have head this verse quoted many times by husbands angry at their wives for some trivial or sometimes not so trivial thing
There is to be equality.
I have heard women quote this verse as a reason to not get married.
I have heard no Christians use this verse to show how anti-women the Bible is and how wrong Christianity is in the modern world.
However, lets take a moment and look at what it really means.
Let me read it again:
Ephesians 5:22–33 NIV
Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 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. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church—for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
Ephesians 5:21–33 NIV
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 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. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church—for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
One line earlier can change the whole context of the verse. Whereas before it was about women being submissive to their husbands, now we have a verse telling us to submit to one another.
Even the phrasing can be misinterpreted.
22 Wives, submit to your husbands as 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 Saviour. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
Ephesians 5:22 NIV
Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.
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. 28 In 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 his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, 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.
Submit to your own husbands as you do to the lord. NOT submit to your husband as lord.
As Christians we submit to the lord when we follow him and accept him into our lives.
We become one of his flock.
Does this mean we stop thinking, stop speaking, stop asking questions?
No, in fact the opposite usually happens, we start to think more, speak more, as more questions.
We submitted to Jesus gives us a sense of security and companionship.
We submit and live with the knowledge that God is with us and he has a plan for us.
God does not control every aspect of our lives once we submit, he doesn’t force us to radically change our lives. To obey or be punished. He isn't some tyranical leader.
See when we submit to Jesus we do so by choice, its our will to submit and serve because we receive joy and security.
This caption, which Paul never put there, makes you think Paul is starting to talk about something new here. And the problem is the caption, and the place where the caption is put, changes the meaning of what you are reading.
So what is Paul really telling us.
When we read it like that, we would think it is quite clear that wives should submit to their husbands
Maybe he means to have some trust in your husband, and that by working together you will be able to do great things.
He isn’t telling you to ‘obey your husband’ especially when your husband is doing wrong such as mentally, physically or verbally abusing you.
To put this in context, at this time in history women had very little rights. They were often seen as little more than second class citizens. They were often poorly educated and had little rights, so they were either slaves to their husbands or radicals who wanted nothing to do with men.
Paul says
21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
22 Wives, submit to your husbands as 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 Saviour. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
What do you expect to follow?
I would expect to hear how husbands submit to their wives.
This morning I want to interrogate what Paul is saying for a few minutes.
He calls for husbands and wives to submit to one another.
To women he says “Submit to your husbands as to the Lord”
Paul is not asking for a blanket submission. He says “wives, submit to your husbands AS TO THE LORD or AS THE CHURCH SUBMITS TO CHRIST.
So to understand this submission, we need to understand, “How do we submit to the Lord?”
We submit to Jesus with joy and confidence to let Him save us, heal us, provide for us, empower us.
When I am submitted to Jesus, I do not give up my ability to think and speak and ask questions.
When I am submitted to Jesus, He opens my eyes to things I have never seen. He quickens my thoughts so that I am free to think in amazing new ways.
Jesus always stretches me to be more than I ever thought I could be.
We submit to God out of free will and because I know that His plans for me are GOOD. We submit to Jesus because He earned our trust when He died in our place on the cross.
What Paul is telling these women is trust your husbands to put you as equals.
The Greek word used for “submit” means that even though you are strong, put away your strength and allow yourself to be weak.
It’s the same concept as Jesus, who is God, who strips Himself of His Godly nature and takes on the form of a servant.
Paul does not say “Obey your husband”, as in “do everything you are told”, he says submit, let your guard down a little and allow him to help you.
In the movie “DANCES WITH WOLVES, Kevin Costner falls in love with a Native American women called, “STANDS WITH A FIST”.
I think Paul is saying, “Put your fists down”.
In , the Psalmist says,
“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
2     He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
So what about husbands, whats there role in the submission.
3     he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
4     Even though I walk
Ephesians 5:26 NIV
to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word,
through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
Ephesians 5:24 NIV
Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
Ephesians 5:25–26 NIV
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word,
Ephesians 5:25 NIV
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
This person trusts the shepherd to make it lie down in green pastures, the sheep submits to the shepherd to be led to quiet streams. The shepherd guides the sheep in paths of righteousness.
The Church trusts Jesus to lead her to good places. Jesus leads us out of bondage, out of slavery, out from under the curse and into freedom.
Again lets look at this in context of the time.
We can respond to God by allowing ourselves to be set free, or we can stand with a fist and refuse God’s grace and His love.
Do not be fooled into thinking Paul is saying to wives, “Submit to your husband when he is abusing you, beating you and swearing at you.” Paul is not saying submit to your husband when he is leading you to desserts and sin.
Paul says to women in fight mode, allow yourself to drop your armour just as you would to Jesus when he is leading you to good things.
I once did some life saving training, and our instructor said “sometimes when you swim out, the person who is drowning is in a total state of panic and they may resist your help. They may hit you and push your hands away and stop you saving them.”
Many men were taught that they should teach their wives to be obedient. obedient… not equal...
I think this is the kind of image Paul has in his mind. In Paul’s time women were seen as second class citizens. They were usually uneducated and had few rights. And so women were either slaves to their husbands, or violent feminists who wanted nothing to do with men.
However, Paul says that we are to love our wives. Yet he takes it further, we are to love our wives ‘ just as Christ loved the church’!
I believe Paul is saying, “Allow your husbands to set you free to be equals in society.”
Well Jesus so loved the Church that he gave his life up for us.
phil 2:5-
Philippians 2:5–8 NIV
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!
I think Paul would expect me to say to that friend, “My dear friend, Sam is not my slave but my equal, her time is just as valuable as mine, and so if she is still busy, she doesn’t have to rush just because HER MAN is waiting”.
Here was God! Omnipotent,Omniscient, Omnipresent! Capable of doing anything and he gave it all up for us!
And I think Paul would say, “Sam, let Mike speak out for you”.
Jesus gave up all the benefits of heaven to come to earth. He became poor so that e could become rich
He gave up a life free from sin, pain, tiredness to come to earth, not to be born in a palace surrounded by servents who would look after him. But to be born in a manger in a stable to parents who had been turned away by every place in the area.
He says husbands are to love their wives “As Christ loves the Church and gave himself up for her to make her holy”.
In Paul’s day moral teachers taught that men should teach their wives to be obedient. Can you see the contrast as Paul says husbands should love their wives?
Here is where the classically male character usually steps in. Men should ‘ Bring home the bacon!’ Go out get a great job and earn all the money your family needs.
Philippians says Jesus emptied Himself of all glory, He humiliated Himself for his bride.
Jesus loves His bride so much, that He gave up all the benefits of heaven to come to earth. Scripture says He became poor so that we could be rich.
However, that is not the world we live in now. While that might have been an acceptable attitude 40 years ago it isn’t anymore.
As God in heaven, Jesus was omniscient, He knew everything,
He was omnipotent, He was all powerful.
Many women in the modern workplace work longer hours than their husbands, and in many cases they are the primary Bacon earners.
And yet Jesus gave up all of the privilege of heaven to come to earth, not to be born in a palace surrounded by servants, He came to earth and was born in a stable.
Sop what does this mean for the modern man? It means we need to reconsider the classical and stereotypical roles we have in our heads about our marriage.
Application
We need to find our new place in society and at home; and we need to remember what Paul said ‘ Love your wife as Christ loves the church, who gave himself up for her.
I think usually we would say that men need to sacrifice for their wives by going and getting a job, the best job they can, and by working hard to bring home the bacon.
Can you do that? The first step is giving up your pride!
Jesus was not a rich man, moving around the area preaching and teaching. In fact we see many examples of Jesus and the disciples struggling to survive.
Jesus accepted charity to pursue his calling. He humbled himself in a society where men were suppose to ... ‘ can't use bring home the bacon with a Jewish society can I?
He relied on his followers, may of them women to provide for his basic needs.
In this sense it is appropriate to say, “Men should leave the comfort of their lazy boy chairs in front of their big screen TVs and sacrifice their day for their wives.”
So in the modern world men need to learn to do the same. They need to examine their lives and see what they can do to ‘love their wives as Jesus loved the church’
But our world is changing.
Maybe that means they need to start to celebrate their wife's success at work. Maybe it means they need to help out with household chores? Maybe it means they need to be the primary caregiver to the children?
What they need to do is to figure out as a partnership what each party needs to do to submit to the others needs.
What if Paul would then say to us, “Love your wife as Christ loves the Church, who gave Himself up for her.”
Scripture tells us that at least at one time, as Jesus travelled around preaching and teaching, He was financially destitute, and the only way He and the disciples survived was that a group of women who followed them around supported them financially.
Jesus wasn’t being lazy, but what He was doing wasn’t meeting their needs.
But at this time Jesus took charity from these women.
Maybe today Paul would say to wives, “Love your husbands enough to lay down your life for him.”
When it comes to roles in the home, I think as men we need to learn to celebrate our wives successes, and also understand that we need to play supporting roles.
AN American preacher named Andy Stanley found he was working longer and longer hours, and was spending less and less time with his wife and children. He says he used to pray, “Lord look after my family as I work here to build your church”.
One day while he was praying he sensed God saying, “Andy, your prayer is back to front. I have promised to provide for you and to grow the church; I will make sure you have your daily bread. That is my end of the bargain.
But at the same time I have commanded you to love your wife. Now you want me to go look after your wife while you do my work.”
Andy said he went home and asked his wife, “Honey, what are the most important two hours in any day that I need to be home to help you?”
Her reply was that she needed help from 5 to 7 when she cooked and bathed the children.
From that day, he made sure he was home from 5 to 7 to help his wife.
Often at 7 o clock he would need to go out again, but he gave up those hours for his wife because they were important to her.
Imagine if men loved their wives half as much as Jesus loves the Church!
Imagine if women put aside their pride and submitted to their husbands as the do to the lord!
When wives put down their fists and allow their husbands to help them to become all they can be, and when husbands make sacrifices for their wives because they love them, it goes against the grain of the world.
I believe such families glorify God because they serve as examples of how much God loves the Church to all the Christians and non-Christians who observe them .

Prayer

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